With license sales up 11 percent from last year, the state Fish and Boat Commission expects the state's most popular bass fishing spots to see a surge in use when the season kicks off on Saturday.
"We're very happy that license sales have continued to increase," said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. "Bass are already one of the most popular sportfish targeted by anglers. Because last year was unseasonably cool and wet, we think anglers are even more anxious to get out this year and make up for last year's lost days."
The start of bass season coincides with the end of the school year for most students and falls on Father's Day weekend. Arway expects this to have an impact on participation as well.
"With school out, kids have more time to spend outside," he said. "I can't think of a better way for grandfathers and fathers to spend their weekend than outside fishing with their sons, daughters and grandkids."
The commission reminds anglers that new "catch and immediate release" regulations apply to smallmouth and largemouth bass on the lower sections of the Susquehanna River (below Sunbury) and Juniata River (below Port Royal) and into the rivers' tributaries to points one-half river-mile upstream from the confluence.
"We know that deteriorating water quality is a significant factor contributing to the decline of the smallmouth bass population in portions of these rivers and we continue to work with other state agencies and conservation groups on the issue," Arway said.
"But at the same time, we can protect the existing bass population by reducing angling pressure on them," he added.
The commission website has a host of information to help anglers plan their fishing trips. Visit www.fishandboat.com and select "Fish" and "Fishing Fundamentals" in the left navigation column to get started.
For a guide to fishing regulations, visit www.fishinpa.com.
Through June 4, anglers had purchased 683,031 licenses, an increase of 67,389 from the same time last year.
A 2012 resident license costs $22.70 and can be purchased at more than 900 retail locations across the state.