Like fishing? Hatcheries are now releasing trout into streams, lakes across Pennsylvania

Brian Whipkey
Pennsylvania Outdoor Columnist

Trout are now being placed in streams and lakes across Pennsylvania through the efforts of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

Eight of the agency’s 13 hatcheries work throughout the year to have fish available to anglers across the state. The season begins on March 26 with a youth mentor day of fishing, and the statewide opening day is April 2.  

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One of the places raising fish is the Reynoldsdale State Hatchery in Bedford County. It serves portions of Fulton, Bedford, Somerset, Fayette, Green and Washington counties with rainbow, brown and golden trout.

Harry Wade, manager of the Reynoldsdale State Fish Hatchery for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, displays a large rainbow trout Feb. 16, 2022. Trout season begins April 2 in Pennsylvania.

An estimated 3.2 million fish are to be stocked, and sportsmen groups will be placing about 1 million more fish in waterways through the agency’s cooperative program.

The goal at Reynoldsdale is to raise about 200,000 trout that mostly average 10 to 11 inches each year, according to Harry Wade, manager of the facility. About 5,000 of those fish have grown to about 20 inches long.

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He enjoys his work as he remembers other people stocking trout when he was a young fishermen. “I enjoy giving back to what people have done for me," he said. "It’s rewarding.”

In addition to those fish, Reynoldsdale grows about 350,000 fingerling length trout to stock in waterways and to provide to sportsmen groups to grow through a co-op partnership.

Harry Wade, manager of the Reynoldsdale State Fish Hatchery for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, displays a large golden trout Feb. 16. The mentor youth trout opener is March 26 in Pennsylvania.

Wade said having trout season start earlier than past years will help the hatcheries get the fish out to the anglers earlier and will allow the staff to start working on more fish.  It takes about 18 months for a fish egg to become a trout that’s more than 10 inches long.

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In past years, the raceways could reach their holding limit capacity when the new fish were waiting for the mature trout to be taken to the streams. “It’s giving us room for the next year,” he said.

A net full of rainbow trout at the Reynoldsdale State Fish Hatchery that will soon be placed in a stream or lake in southwestern Pennsylvania.

He said the agency depends on volunteers who follow the stocking schedule and meet the trucks at the waterways. “You’re more than welcome to come out and carry buckets to the streams,” he said.

You can access the online trout stocking schedule at fishandboat.com and the FishBoatPA mobile app. You can select the county and dates you desire. 

“We rely on the people who want to stock the fish,” he said about being able to scatter fish further along stream banks. “We raise the fish for them," Wade said. "We work for the anglers.”

Harry Wade, manager of the Reynoldsdale State Fish Hatchery for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, displays a large brown trout Feb. 16, at one of the hatchery's raceways.

Raising trout throughout the year is a passion for the staff of nine who take their work seriously throughout the year. “So many people are relying on us to do our job,” he said about having all the streams and lakes stocked each spring.

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The hatchery dates to 1928 and is open every day of the year. The hatcheries were closed to visitors during the coronavirus pandemic's peak but have since reopened to the public. 

“You’re more than welcome to come to the hatchery,” he said. "See the fish, have a good time and see where the fish come from.”

Pennsylvania's hatcheries

The Fish and Boat Commission's hatcheries are open to the public every day of the year.

Bellefonte State Fish Hatchery for trout

1115 Spring Creek Road

Bellefonte, PA  16823

814-355-3371

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Benner Spring State Fish Hatchery for trout

1735 Shiloh Road

State College, PA  16801

814-355-4837

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Corry State Fish Hatchery for trout

13365 Route 6

Corry, PA 16407

814-664-2122

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Fairview State Fish Hatchery for steelhead

2000 Lohrer Road

Fairview, PA 16415

814-474-1514

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Huntsdale State Fish Hatchery for trout/striped bass

195 Lebo Road

Carlisle, PA  17013

717-486-3419

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Linesville State Fish Hatchery for walleye/warmwater species

13300 Hartstown Road

Linesville, PA 16424

814-438-2222

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Oswayo State Fish Hatchery for trout

96 State Route 244 East

Coudersport, PA 16915

814-698-2102

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Pleasant Gap State Fish Hatchery for trout

450 Robinson Lane

Bellefonte, PA 16823

814-359-5121

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Pleasant Mount State Fish Hatchery for warm water species/lake trout

229 Great Bend Turnpike

Pleasant Mount, PA 18453

570-448-2101

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Reynoldsdale State Fish Hatchery for trout

162 Fish Hatchery Road

New Paris, PA  15554

814-839-2211

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Tionesta State Fish Hatchery for walleye/steelhead

172 Hatchery Lane

Tionesta, PA 16353

814-755-3524

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Tylersville State Fish Hatchery for trout

43 Hatchery Lane

Loganton, PA 17747

570-725-3965

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Union City State Fish Hatchery for mussels

9450 Route 6

Union City, PA 16438

814-438-2222

Brian Whipkey is the outdoors columnist for USA TODAY Network sites in Pennsylvania. Contact him at bwhipkey@gannett.com and sign up for our weekly Go Outdoors PA newsletter email on your website's homepage under your login name. Follow him on social media @whipkeyoutdoors.