ROULETTE — The PA Fish and Boat Commission (FBC) continued its efforts of accelerated trout stocking in Pennsylvania and brought its efforts over the past week to Potter County with stocking the East Branch River in Roulette.

With concerns still circling around the coronavirus (COVID-19) the Fish and Boat Commission have taken steps in order to secure the safety of fishermen during this trout season.

The FBC will not change its projected total of 3.2 million trout over the stocking period, with the efforts of the commission pushing stocking to seven days a week until stocking in Pennsylvania is complete.

With changes made in order to limit contact, the FBC is allowing the purchasing of fishing and boating licenses online and also for those licenses to be able to be provided from digital means, such as cell phones for display.

The accelerated trout stocking was conducted this year without volunteers, putting a lot more pressure on the regular employees to move at a much faster pace with a larger volume of trout to stock.

The idea behind the accelerated stocking is to make sure all of the areas receive its stocking, but to cut down on pre-season and during the season stockings.

Many employees of the FBC are being reassigned to stocking duties in order to aid in the effort to get the rivers and lakes of the area stocked in time before the fishing season begins on April 18.

“We realize that many of our stocking volunteers look forward to helping us, but we must take these necessary precautions to ensure public safety during this vital period,” Tim Schaeffer, PFBC executive director said in a press release.

“Just as we’ve counted on our volunteers for decades to help us stock trout, we’re counting on them now to play it safe and stay home. We appreciate their service throughout the years, and we hope that we can invite them back to join us again very soon,” Schaeffer said.

The main purpose of the accelerated trout stocking is to make sure areas where the COVID-19 virus has impacted are taken care of first and then other areas are taken care of later in order to have areas that may receive travel bans the ability to participate in fishing this trout season.

The FBC is working to make sure there are as many fish as possible make it into the water before fishing season and to make sure the opportunity for anglers to get outside and fish during these uncertain times.