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Tuesday, April 07, 2015

New FishBoatPA App Shows Real-Time Stockings, Nearby Streams

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) today unveiled a new smartphone app to help anglers and boaters better navigate the Keystone State’s streams and lakes. The “FishBoatPA” app will help Pennsylvania’s fish and boat community to see which waters have been stocked with trout, how to get to those locations easily, and what other access areas are near their current fishing spot.
The new “FishBoatPA” app is now available for free on both Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store.
According to PFBC Executive Director John Arway, the goal of the app is to meet the needs of anglers who are increasingly using smartphones.
“We want to make it as easy as possible to access our stocking information and purchase a fishing license,” he said. “The use of smartphones has skyrocketed, so we have found a way to improve the fishing and boating experience for our anglers and boaters. Now they can spend less time looking for information and more time fishing and boating.”
First Lady Frances Wolf, a relative newbie to the angling world, tries to make time to fly-fish a few times a year. 
“I’m excited to explore the beautiful streams of our state with this new tool,” First Lady Wolf commented. “I may finally be able to improve my technique with the FishBoatPA app – it will certainly work better than the “How To” books I usually carry with me!”
On the PFBC website, the stocking page is the most visited by far, with anglers generating more than 1.2 million visits to the page each year. So when the FishBoatPA app opens, the first item anglers see is an “Upcoming Trout Stocking” link, which updates in real-time.
Users can sort stocking schedules by county. The app is tied directly into the PFBC’s online stocking schedule, so anglers can see past and upcoming stockings and the type of trout placed in a water. GIS coordinates allow users to use mapping apps installed on their phones to get directions to their favorite stocking site.
The “Near Me” feature uses a phone’s GIS coordinates to locate and display trout waters within 5, 15, 25 and 50 miles of the user.
Another prominent feature on the app home page is the link “Get a license today.” This enables users to find an issuing agent near them and to see pricing options for licenses.
The app also links to a “Fish ID” guide with color pictures; a “Learn” section with links to helpful information like tying knots and learning how to properly handle fish; and to PFBC rules and regulations.
Another option is a “My Trophies” section where anglers can post pictures to share with others using the app. Users can add a title, fish weight and length, the date they landed the fish, and their comments, like the type of lure they used. They can then share their trophies by email, text message or through social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
Arway said additional content and enhancements will be added in the coming months to make the app even more appealing to anglers and boaters.

Monday, April 06, 2015

The Best Time to Fish Mystery Revealed

When you take into account all the water flow data, the water temperature, the hatch du jour, the Solunar tables, the tides, the moon phase, the flowers that are blooming, and the price of tea in China, the best time to go fishing is when you can, where you can, and for what you can. Just play the cards you're dealt and enjoy the game.

One other important consideration, and I'm being serious here, is to fish far from the cell towers. I don't know if it's the electromagnetic fields, but when you're away from the towers I've noticed that your phone doesn't ring. And that just makes a good thing better.

New York Ponds Experience "Winterkill"

Late Ice Contributes to Natural Phenomenon

The extended period of ice, blanketed by deep snow, is likely to result in fish die-offs in numerous western New York ponds, according to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Region 9 fisheries biologists.

"As winter ice has started to melt away, we are receiving calls from concerned pond owners reporting large numbers of dead fish in their ponds," said DEC Regional Fisheries Manager Michael Clancy. "In most cases, fish kills that become evident when the ice melts can be attributed to a natural phenomenon known as winterkill."

Winter die-off of fish, or "winterkill," is caused by oxygen depletion in the water through the winter. Ice that accumulates on ponds or lakes prevents wind action from adding oxygen to the water. If there is significant winter snow accumulation on top of the ice, sunlight is prevented from reaching plant life in the pond. Without adequate sunlight, the oxygen-creating process of photosynthesis cannot occur.

Shallower ponds are particularly susceptible to winterkill, due to their low storage capacity for oxygen. With the exception of extreme situations, it is rare that all fish in a pond will die as a result of winterkill. Typically, larger fish are more susceptible than smaller fish.

"Sensitivity to low oxygen levels varies by fish species," Clancy said. "For instance, catfish and carp are more tolerant of low oxygen levels than species such as sunfish, bass or trout."

If desirable fish species are completely eliminated from the pond due to winterkill, replenishment by stocking may be necessary. Please remember to obtain applicable stocking permits from DEC.

A long-term approach to avoiding winterkills is to deepen the pond. Pond depths exceeding 12 feet are recommended since ponds will gradually fill in over time. Removing some of the organic substrate (decaying plant material) that accumulates within the pond can also help combat oxygen depletion. As a pond ages, organic materials are deposited on the pond bottom; these decaying materials have a high metabolic demand for oxygen.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Pennsylvania Withdraws Delayed Harvest Proposal

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) announced today that it has withdrawn a proposal to change the Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only (DHALO) regulations after receiving public comments overwhelmingly opposed to the measure.
The PFBC Board of Commissioners approved the withdrawal of the proposal and the end of the public comment period in a vote conducted this week.
“The DHALO program is a stocked trout program, and social factors play a critical role in how the program is managed,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “The proposed changes were designed to do two things: first, maximize the harvest of stocked trout before stream temperatures increase to lethal levels and, second, increase the opportunity for kids to catch fish.”
“The proposed changes generated much public comment in which questions were posed that would require substantial staff time and effort to fully answer,” he added. “Therefore, we believe that we need to withdraw this idea and focus on identifying other changes where we can more easily accomplish these objectives.”
Approved at the PFBC’s January 2015 quarterly business meeting, the proposal included the following:
  • Move the start of the trout harvest period from June 15 to the Saturday before Memorial Day.
  • Allow the use of bait by all anglers during the trout harvest period.
  • Allow youth anglers under the age of 16 to use bait year-round in DHALO areas.
  • Change the minimum length limit from 9 inches to 7 inches.
As of March 31, the agency had received 343 comments, with all but five opposed to the proposal. A main concern expressed by the individuals was the use of bait during the harvest period. 
First launched in 1983, the DHALO program is designed to make more stocked trout available later in the season. The current regulations allow harvest only between June 15 and Labor Day, have a minimum size limit of nine inches, and a creel limit of three fish. The waters are open to fishing year-round.