SLATE RUN - The Slate Run Tackle Shop in Lycoming County is one of two businesses in Pennsylvania that is offering to pay the $2.70 fee to allow children ages 15 and younger to get a voluntary youth fishing license.
The shop is offering the free license to the first 200 kids who come into the shop. It also is offering a free fishing class on May 17 at the Tomb Flat access area, 1 mile downstream from the village of Slate Run. One of the instructors at the class will be Amidea Daniel, northcentral region education specialist for the state Fish and Boat Commission.
Kinsey's Outdoors, in Mount Joy, Lancaster County, is the other business. Its offer is good on May 8 and 9, just before the statewide Mentored Youth Fishing Day on May 10.
The commission had planned for two mentored youth days on March 22 and April 5. But cold weather and lingering ice on most of the waters forced the days to be combined into one day and rescheduled for May 10.
"We're very excited that outdoor businesses like Kinsey's and Slate Run see the benefit of using the voluntary youth fishing license to encourage kids' interest in the sport and as a way to benefit sportsmen and sportswomen across the state," said commission Executive Director John Arway.
"This is exactly the type of opportunity we thought businesses might pursue when we introduced the product earlier this year," he added.
For every voluntary youth license sold, the commission will receive about $5 in federal revenue from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Sport Fish Restoration Act program, which provides funds to states based on a formula that includes the number of licenses a state sells. All revenues earned from a voluntary youth fishing license will be dedicated to youth fishing programs.
After a highly successful first run last year, the commission expanded the popular Mentored Youth Fishing Days program across the state this spring.
The program regulations will remain the same on the new May 10 statewide date. The waters will be open only for mentored youth day participants from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and anglers may keep two trout.
After 7:30 p.m. the waters will be open to all anglers.
To ensure that plenty of stocked trout are available to anglers on the mentored youth day, the waters will be closed to all fishing from noon May 9 until 8 a.m. on May 10.
To participate in the program, adult anglers (16 years or older) must have a valid fishing license and trout/salmon permit and be accompanied by a youth. Youth anglers must obtain a free PFBC-issued permit or a voluntary youth fishing license.