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Minsi Lake will be stocked with trout

For the first time in three years, Northampton County’s popular Minsi Lake will be stocked with trout.

If you’d like to witness the historical event, head to the boat access area parking lot on Blue Mountain Drive (off Lake Minsi Drive) at 10:30 a.m March 24, ahead of the regional Mentored Youth Trout Day March 28.

The lake will be stocked with rainbow trout and golden rainbow trout. Volunteers are welcome to help release the trout into the lake. Additional trout will be stocked throughout the spring and fall.

Minsi Lake was drained in 2017 for a dam rehabilitation project. The lake is a 117-acre impoundment within the Minsi Lake Wilderness Area. The dam rehabilitation cost $4.9 million and was completed in December 2019.

The lake refilling began in early February, at a rate of about 2-3 feet in depth per week, and should be full in approximately 6 weeks.

“It’s an exciting time because we’re all anxious to see the lake return so we can enjoy it again,” said Paul Urbanik, Director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Bureau of Engineering. “It’s also vital that we control the pace (of the refilling) and monitor things closely along the way.”

Urbanik explained that refilling goes slowly so that the earthen portion of the dam can saturate, while engineers monitor the new concrete dam structures, which are under water pressure for the first time.

Minsi Lake is regulated under a temporary special fishing regulation requiring catch and release – no harvest at all – for all species except for trout.

To see the trout stocking schedule, and for more information about mentored youth programs, go to www.fishandboat.com.

The temporary regulation is needed as PFBC biologists and hatchery staff begin to implement a multi-year restocking plan, which will include the introduction of fingerling-sized warm water game fish, such as largemouth bass, various panfish and minnows.

It’s hope that these stockings will result in self-sustaining populations of those fish species. Regulations may be adjusted in the future.

The Regional Opening Day of Trout Season is Saturday, April 4. The PFBC annually stocks approximately 3.2 million brook, brown, rainbow and golden rainbow trout into public waterways all across the Commonwealth – soon Minsi Lake will be back in the mix.

What you need to know:

2020 Pennsylvania fishing licenses and permits can be purchased online through The Outdoor Shop (pa.wildlifelicense.com) or from more than 700 license issuing agents.

To participate in any Mentored Youth Fishing Day, anglers ages 15 and under must obtain either a Voluntary Youth Fishing License ($2.90) or free Mentored Youth Fishing Permit from the PFBC and be accompanied by an adult licensed angler to participate. Youth may harvest up to two trout (combined species) with a minimum size of 7 inches. All other Commonwealth Inland Waters fishing regulations apply.

Adult mentors (anglers 16 years or older) must possess a valid Pennsylvania Fishing License and a current Trout/Salmon Permit and be accompanied by a properly permitted or licensed youth (less than 16 years of age). While mentors will be permitted to fish for trout, they are not permitted to harvest trout and must release them unharmed.

Minsi Lake was drained so that repairs could be made to its dam. It grew into a meadow while it was drained. It will be restocked with trout this spring. PHOTO COURTESY OF TYLER SACKS/FRIENDS OF MINSI PARK