July 4 fish for free day and other PA Fish & Boating Commission news

Staff Writer

The second of the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission’s (PFBC) fish for free day will be Saturday, July 4. Residents and non-residents can legally fish on the state’s rivers, streams, creeks, ponds, and lakes without a fishing license. The first free fish day was held on Sunday, May 24. According to the PFBC, Trout/Salmon and Lake Erie permits are also not required. All other fishing regulations still apply.
In other PFBC news 19 new Waterways Conversation Officers (WCO) graduated June 26, a new state record flathead catfish was caught on the Schuylkill River at East Falls, and parents, students, and teachers are encouraged to visit the commission’s Activities and Educational Portal.
Sergio Herrera of Smethport was among the 19 graduates of the agency’s H.R Stackhouse School of Fishery Conversation and Watercraft Safety in Bellefonte, Centre County. He has been assigned to McKean County to begin his duties this week.

According to the PFBC Before graduating, officers undergo an extensive 52-week training program encompassing all aspects of conservation law enforcement. Following civil service testing and selection, trainees completed a 22-week Municipal Police Officers Basic Training conducted by the Pennsylvania State Police at its Northwest Training Center in Meadville, Crawford County. An additional 30 weeks of training was conducted at the school and included field training alongside seasoned WCOs. During their conservation law enforcement careers, the officers' duties will be multifaceted and include patrolling the streams, rivers, and lakes in their regions; assisting with investigations; participating in public outreach events, and stocking waterways with fish. The PFBC is currently recruiting applicants for a new class of WCOs. The State Civil Service Commission (SCSC) will accept applications until July 18, 2020. Applications will only be accepted online. To view the announcement and apply, please visit the SCSC website at www.employment.pa.gov. The class of trainees is expected to report for training in January 2021 and graduate in the summer of 2021.
Applicants to the class must already possess Municipal Police Officers Basic Training (Act 120) certification.

Thirty-four-year-old Johnathan Pierce of Philadelphia caught the record flathead catfish on May 24. He was fishing off the bank of the Schuylkill using a brown trout head as bait when he landed the record which weighed 56 pounds-and-three ounces. The girth measured 28.875 inches. Pennsylvania records are only judged by weight and must exceed the previous record by at least two ounces. Pierce released the fish back to the Schuylkill waters. The previous record was caught in the Susquehanna River in Lancaster County last year. The flathead weighed 50-pounds-and-seven-ounces.

The PFBC’s Activities and Educational Portal was set up for children, parents, teachers, and informal educators. On the site, you will find fun, educational and skill-building videos. There are also numerous, printable activity sheets, coloring pages, newsletters, and publications by topic (e.g. aquatic resources, fish, amphibians, reptiles, fishing, kayak fishing, fly fishing, water safety, and paddle sports). The Portal site can be found at https://www.fishandboat.com/LearningCenter/ActivitiesAndEducationPortal/...