Penns Creek Catch-and-Release Miles Doubled — Yes, You Did It

by | Nov 9, 2018 | 10 comments

You probably voted this past Tuesday, right? You walked into the booth and cast a ballot in this midterm election cycle for your state and local representatives. Or maybe you voted early. Maybe you mailed in a ballot. However you voted, it’s pretty easy to think that your one, single vote didn’t matter much, because even close state elections are often determined by thousands of votes. It’s understandable to feel like your vote doesn’t make a difference. It does, but that’s another discussion . . .

By contrast, you can personally have a direct influence on the way wild trout policy is decided in Pennsylvania. And many of you have.

On October 16, 2018, the Pennsylvania Fish Commission voted to add 3.8 miles of Catch-and-Release regulated water on Penns Creek. This “Section 5” water now doubles the miles of C&R river available to anglers, and it protects the Class A wild trout population within. This is an enormous success, and many of you are part of it.

In September, I published the article, Two Percent — Penns Creek Needs Your Voice. It circulated well. There was a lot of discussion through email and on various social media channels, and hundreds of people followed the link in the article to the Pennsylvania Fish Commission website to quickly fill out a form and be part of the public comment period. But do hundreds of comments really matter? Yes. They absolutely do!


There were 549 comments in total, and 440 were in favor of Catch-and-Release regulations. According to Rob Shane, Mid-Atlantic Organizer for Trout Unlimited, the sheer number of comments was outstanding. Rob says that 100 comments on wild trout policy is more typical of past proposals. And these public comments are a key factor in the board’s decision to pass such regulations.

The point? If you want to make a difference in wild trout policy in Pennsylvania, you can. And many of you already have.

“It’s incredible to see the public engage so much on such a critical issue,” said Rob Shane. “Getting 549 people to take the time to make their voices heard is a testament to the quality of Penns Creek as a fishery and a treasured resource. It’s also proof that anglers are not shy to stand up for something that they know is the right choice.”


The move for a strong wild trout coalition in Pennsylvania came to a crescendo last August (2017), when the PA Fish Commission held their first Wild Trout Summit. You can read about that here:

READ: Troutbitten | We Are Wild Trout | Looking forward, after Pennsylvania’s first wild trout summit

And now, as my friend Chase Howard (President of the Seneca Valley Trout Unlimited Chapter of PA) said to me, “We’ve come a long way in a short period of time. But there’s still a lot of work to be done before we realize our potential in Pennsylvania.”

The future of wild trout in PA just received a major shot in the arm, with the doubling of Catch and Release miles to Penns Creek.

READ: Troutbitten | Why Wild Trout Matter

Thank you, to everyone who took the time to make your voices heard during the public comment. Know that it made a difference.

Further information:

PFBC: Addition of Penns Creek, Section 05, Union County, to the Catch-and-Release Artificial Lures Only program — PDF (Oct. 2018)

PFBC: Penns Creek, Section 05 Fishery Update and Regulation Review — PDF (Feb. 2018)


Here’s a video of the PFBC 129th Board of Commissioners Meeting | October 16, 2018. (The Penns Creek Section 5 discussion starts at the 1:04:30 mark.)

Now let’s keep moving forward.

Fish hard, friends.


Enjoy the day.
Domenick Swentosky

Share This Article . . .

Since 2014 and 600 articles deep
Troutbitten is a free resource for all anglers
Your support is greatly appreciated

– Explore These Post Tags –

Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

More from this Category

Test Without Bias

Test Without Bias

Of all the reasons why I fly fish for trout, two captivating things keep me coming back: refining a system, and breaking it all apart.

Go into any new exploration with a clear head and without expectations. Remove your prejudices and forget your preferences. Achieve this, and you may well be surprised by what you find with a fly rod in your hand. Ignore this, or fail in the attempt, and you’ll likely learn nothing. Worse yet, you may learn the wrong thing.

Let the river teach. Let time be the gauge. Let the fish have their say. Forgo conclusions and look instead for certainty in trends. Test honestly and without bias — always . . .

Troutbitten State of the Union — 2020 Wrap Up

Troutbitten State of the Union — 2020 Wrap Up

The real joy of having Troutbitten as my career is in all the chances I have to be creative. The articles, presentations, videos, web design, and the guided trips — each one is an opportunity to communicate ideas about why we fish, how we fish, and what keeps us wishing to fish, day after day. Thank you for that chance . . .

Troutbitten Opinion: Nicholas Meats, LLC vs Fishing Creek

Troutbitten Opinion: Nicholas Meats, LLC vs Fishing Creek

Fishing Creek is currently at risk for drastic increases in groundwater withdrawal by Nicholas Meats, LLC of Loganton, PA.

Troutbitten stands against this proposal and believes this operation will be detrimental to the sustained life of Fishing Creek, as well as the health and welfare of all living things that rely on it.

Please read and understand this dangerous issue, then do something to protect Fishing Creek . . .

What does it take to catch a big trout?

What does it take to catch a big trout?

For many years, I believed that it takes nothing special to catch a big trout. I argued with friends about this over beers, during baseball games, on drives to the river and through text messages at 1:00 am. My contention was always that big trout don’t require anything extraordinary to seal the deal. They need a quality drift, a good presentation, and if they are hungry they will eat it. I frequently pushed back against the notion that big wild trout were caught only with exceptional skill.

So for all who’ve heard me make this argument, I’d like to offer this revision: I still believe that large trout don’t need more than a good presentation. But what is GOOD may actually be pretty special. Meaning, it’s rare to find the skill level necessary to consistently get good drifts and put them over trout (large or small).

Here’s more . . .

Angler Types in Profile: The Gear Guy

Angler Types in Profile: The Gear Guy

I think every angler has some gear obsession. It’s part of us. Because fishing is the kind of activity that requires a lot of stuff. Big things and small. Clothing and boots, packs and boxes, lines and tools — and all the stuff that non-fishers never imagine when they think of a fishing pole. So it’s understandable that we pack our gear bags with stuff we know we need and then add in everything we think we might need. Time on the water is limited, and we want to feel prepared.

But nothing signals rookie more than a clean fisherman.

A Comprehensive List of Fishermen’s Excuses

A Comprehensive List of Fishermen’s Excuses

Fishermen are full of excuses for failure — because we get a lot of practice at not catching fish. Mostly, Troutbitten is here to share better ways to catch trout, but here’s a big list of explanations for when you don’t. Why’d you take the skunk? This list of reasons will help explain it all away.

These excuses can roughly be grouped into three classes:

Conditions — where you blame the weather or the water.
Fish’s Fault — where you blame the fish for not eating your flies.
I Wasn’t Really Trying — these excuses are centered around the inference that if you really wanted to, you could have caught more trout . . .

What do you think?

Be part of the Troutbitten community of ideas.
Be helpful. And be nice.


  1. Excellent news!

  2. Absolutely huge news. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Right on.

  3. Congratulations.

  4. Thanks for writing these articles in general. However I would have likely not known about the form or where to find it. Your article led me to it and I made sure my voice was heard. Popular sovereignty and consent of the governed at its finest. Now we can double how hard we fish on Penns

  5. Yes.. Congratulations
    Protect them wild fish

  6. Congratulations from the Province of Ontario Canada. Conservation Authorities oversee many of our coldwater streams and rivers and with input from Trout Unlimited many have been catch and release for several years. No live bait, no treble hook lures, barbless flies only. My home stream is 45 minutes from the Greater Toronto Area of near 5 million people and wild Brook and Brown trout are still resident there. One river 1 1/2 hours away has heritage status and draws anglers from far and wide for its outstanding Brown trout. Thanks to catch and release.

  7. Great news. Penns creek is a phenomenal fishery from trout to smallmouth

  8. Now if only Michigan DNR would wise up and stop dumping 5″ fish (SUB LEGAL), into bath tub sized stream pools.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Articles

Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

Pin It on Pinterest