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REGULATORY CHANGES

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The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (Commission) is the Commonwealth agency with the authority to enforce Title 30 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes (The Fish and Boat Code). In addition, the Commission may promulgate such rules and regulations consistent with the provisions of the Fish and Boat Code. Before a regulation becomes final, the Commission must first publish a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Pennsylvania Bulletin seeking comments, objections, or suggestions from the public. Comments are accepted for at least 30 days.  After the public comment period, the Commission considers the proposed amendment on final rulemaking. If adopted on final rulemaking, the amendment becomes effective on the date of publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin or other date specified by the Commission.

The information provided on this webpage is a summary of regulatory proposals that are being considered by the Commission, as well as final regulations. The purpose of posting this information is to make the public aware of the issues and to elicit public feedback on proposals. Comments on the proposals provide the Commission with valuable information and perspectives that will be considered and possibly incorporated into content or editorial changes. We appreciate your time and your commitment to Pennsylvania’s natural resources. The graphic within each topic will help you follow the change through the regulatory process.

View more information about the rulemaking process


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Send comments electronically on proposed rulemakings by completing the Rulemakings and Notices email form HERE.


Click on a title below to be taken to a regulation change.


 

NOTICE - Removal of Waters from the Refuge Areas Program; July 2021

The Commission designates or re-designates certain waterbodies as refuge areas.  The Commission will consider removing 17 streams from the refuge area designation at the July 26 and 27, 2021 Commission meeting.  

 

NOTICE - Proposed Special Regulations Designations - Lake Nessmuk

The Commission designates or re-designates certain waterbodies as being subject to special fishing regulations.  The Commission will consider removing Lake Nessmuk from its list of catch and release lakes and adding it to its list of "Big Bass" and "Panfish Enhancement" waters at the July 26 and 27, 2021 Commission meeting.  

 

NOTICE - Proposed Special Regulations Designations - Colyer Lake

The Commission designates or re-designates certain waterbodies as being subject to special fishing regulations.  The Commission will consider removing Colyer Lake from its list of catch and release lakes and adding it to its list of "Big Bass" and "Panfish Enhancement" waters at the July 26 and 27, 2021 Commission meeting.  

 

PROPOSED SPECIAL FISHING REGULATIONS – Extended Trout Season
48A-313

Thermometer - Comment PeriodIn the Commission's Strategic Plan for Management of Trout Fisheries in Pennsylvania for 2020-2024, staff identified the stocked trout waters program as one of the Commission's most popular.  As a result, the Commission has proposed changes to improve stocked trout stream angling opportunities and experiences.


PROPOSED SPECIAL FISHING REGULATIONS – Leaser Lake
48A-312

Thermometer - Comment PeriodThe black bass and panfish populations in Leaser Lake have improved to levels where populations can now sustain limited harvest. The proposed amendments remove Leaser Lake from the Commission’s list of waters under miscellaneous special regulation, in favor of management with select Commission warm-water regulation programs that allow for limited harvest of warm-water and cool-water fish.



NOTICE - Classification of Wild Trout Streams; Proposed Additions; July 2021

The listing of a stream section as a wild trout stream is a biological designation that does not determine how it is managed.  The Commission relies upon many factors in determining the appropriate management of streams.  This Notice outlines the proposed addition of streams or portions of streams, and the amendment of the several stream sections currently listed, to the Commission's list of wild trout streams which will be considered during the Commission meeting on July 26 and 27, 2021. 



NOTICE - Proposed Changes to List of Class A Wild Trout Waters; July 2021

It is the Commission's policy to manage self-sustaining Class A wild trout populations as a renewable natural resource to conserve that resource and the angling it provides.  Criteria has been developed for Class A wild trout fisheries that are species specific.  The Notice outlines wild trout biomass classification criteria by species and proposes the addition of new stream sections to the list of Class A wild trout streams, which will be considered during the Commission meeting on July 26 and 27, 2021. 



NOTICE - Approved Courses of Instruction in Boating Safety Education

Annually, the Commission publishes a list of approved boating safety education courses, which establish proof of competency through the successful completion of a course.  This list can be updated throughout the year.



NOTICE - Triploid Grass Carp Permit Application

Thermometer - Comment PeriodTriploid grass carp are sterile fish that may, in appropriate circumstances, help control aquatic vegetation.  The Commission has received the application published in the Notice, requesting a permit to stock triploid grass carp in Commonwealth waters.



SPECIAL FISHING REGULATIONS – All-Tackle Trophy Trout & Trophy Trout Artificial Lures Only Regulations
48A-311

Thermometer - Comment PeriodCommission staff evaluated the all-tackle trophy trout and trophy trout artificial lures only programs to determine if refinements were needed to ensure protection to the largest trout in the population.  Based on this evaluation, the Commission is proposing an adjustment to the minimum size and daily creel limit to allow anglers to harvest large trout, but also provide increased protection to a majority of the larger trout in streams managed with trophy trout regulations.




NOTICE - Boat and Marine Forfeiture; Maximum Amount

Annually, the Commission sets the fixed maximum amounts pertaining to boats and related equipment with a resale value based on established industry standards.  The Commission previously fixed the maximum amount for 2020 at $6,495.  The proposed Notice outlines the 2021 fixed maximum amount.




NOTICE - Special Regulations Designations - Somerset Lake

The Commission designates or re-designates certain waterbodies as being subject to special fishing regulations.  The Commission considered adding Somerset Lake to its list of catch and release lakes at the April 12 and 13, 2021 meeting.  



NOTICE - Special Regulations Designations - Meadow Grounds Lake

The Commission designates or re-designates certain waterbodies as being subject to special fishing regulations.  The Commission considered  adding Meadow Grounds Lake to its list of catch and release lakes at the April 12 and 13, 2021 meeting.   



NOTICE - Proposed Temporary Change to Fishing Regulations: Fishing in Stocked Trout Waters and Regional Opening Day of Trout Season

Due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission seeks to increase angler safety while fishing on waters throughout the Commonwealth.  The proposed Notice outlines the amendments to sections managed under the temporary changes related to fishing in stocked trout waters and opening day of Trout season.  




NOTICE - Classification of Wild Trout Streams:  Additions and Revisions - April 2021

The listing of a stream section as a wild trout stream is a biological designation that does not determine how it is managed.  The Commission relies upon many factors in determining the appropriate management of streams.  This Notice outlines the proposed addition of streams or portions of streams, and the amendment of the several stream sections currently listed, to the Commission's list of wild trout streams which will be considered during the Commission meeting on April 12 and 13, 2021.  




NOTICE - Changes to List of Class A Wild Trout Streams - April 2021


It is the Commission's policy to manage self-sustaining Class A wild trout populations as a renewable natural resource to conserve that resource and the angling it provides.  Criteria has been developed for Class A wild trout fisheries that are species specific.  The Notice outlines wild trout biomass classification criteria by species and proposes the addition of new stream sections to the list of Class A wild trout streams.



NOTICE - Exemptions to Allow for the Continued Stocking of Class A Stream Sections

Thermometer - Comment PeriodHistorically, there have been very few streams where stocking of trout following Class A designation was considered and warranted.  However, to account for these rare circumstances, staff developed additional decision-making criteria to consider internal and external requests for continued stocking of newly designated Class A wild trout streams. Most of the proposed potential exemptions are associated with youth fishing derbies that occur on a small portion of the stream section and all are event-specific, non-Commission stockings. Should an exemption be granted, the Commission will determine the species of trout, number of trout, and frequency of stocking to minimize impacts to the Class A wild trout population. The proposed notice outlines the criteria to guide the decision-making process and identifies potential exemptions.


Statement of Policy - Class A Wild Trout Stream Stocking Criteria
48A-307

Thermometer - Comment PeriodA Class A designation is an important mechanism to properly protect, conserve, and enhance wild trout populations and the quality of their habitats.  After a stream section has been designated as a Class A wild trout stream, stocking of the water is discontinued with very rare exceptions. The proposed amendment updates the internal policy for the Commission to consider the stocking of Class A wild trout streams throughout the Commonwealth.


NOTICE - Classification of Wild Trout Streams - Additions, Amendments, and Revisions January 2021

Thermometer - Comment Period

The listing of a stream section as a wild trout stream is a biological designation that does not determine how it is managed. The Commission relies upon many factors in determining the appropriate management of streams. This Notice outlines the proposed addition of streams or portions of streams, and the amendment of the name of a stream currently listed, to the Commission’s list of wild trout streams which were considered and approved during the Commission meeting on January 25 and 26, 2021.

 

NOTICE - Changes to List of Class A Wild Trout Waters - January 2021

Thermometer - Comment PeriodIt is the Commission’s policy to manage self-sustaining Class A wild trout populations as a renewable natural resource to conserve that resource and the angling it provides. Criteria has been developed for Class A wild trout fisheries that are species specific. The Notice outlines wild trout biomass classification criteria by species and proposes the addition of new stream sections to the list of Class A wild trout streams.

 

NOTICE - Special Regulation Designations - Big Bass, Panfish Enhancement

Thermometer - Comment PeriodThe Commission designates or re-designates certain waterbodies as being subject to special fishing regulations. At the Commission meeting held on January 25 and 26, 2021, the Commission considered and approved adding the waters outlined in the Notice to its list of Big Bass Regulation waters, and its list of Panfish Enhancement waters.

 

NOTICE - Triploid Grass Carp Permit Application

Thermometer - Comment PeriodTriploid grass carp are sterile fish that may, in appropriate circumstances, help control aquatic vegetation. The Commission has received the applications published in the Notice, requesting a permit to stock triploid grass carp in Commonwealth waters.

 

SPECIAL FISHING REGULATIONS – Lake Perez
48A-306

Thermometer - Comment PeriodThe black bass and panfish populations in Lake Perez have improved to levels where populations can now sustain limited harvest. The proposed amendments remove Lake Perez from the Commission’s list of waters under miscellaneous special regulation, in favor of management with select Commission warm-water regulation programs that allow for limited harvest of warm-water and cool-water fish

 

SPECIAL FISHING REGULATIONS – Opossum Lake
48A-305

Thermometer - Comment PeriodThe black bass and panfish populations in Opossum Lake have improved to levels where populations can now sustain limited harvest. The proposed amendments remove Opossum Lake from the Commission’s list of waters under miscellaneous special regulation, in favor of management with select Commission warm-water regulation programs that allow for limited harvest of warm-water and cool-water fish.

 

SPECIAL FISHING REGULATIONS – Whipple Lake
48A-304

Thermometer - Comment PeriodIn October 2019, Whipple Lake was dewatered to remove sediment and complete structural improvements to the dam. As a result, the Commission plans to initiate stocking the lake beginning in spring 2021. The proposed amendments add Whipple Lake to the Commission’s list of waters managed under miscellaneous special regulations.

 

CHARTER BOAT/FISHING GUIDE – Permit Application Process
48A-302

Thermometer - Comment PeriodThe proposed amendment will allow application for, and issuance of, the Charter Boat/Fishing Guide permits online, exclusively through the Outdoor Shop. Waterways Conservation Officers will verify application-provided information during standard field checks.


FISHING REGULATIONS - Fish Cleaning Stations

Thermometer - Comment PeriodOfficial cleaning stations also assist anglers in complying with regulations which prevent disposing of fish parts into Commonwealth waters.  The proposed amendments update the Commission's regulations to facilitate better use of fish cleaning byproducts.

 

NOTICE - Special Regulation Designations -Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only Areas

Final Rulemaking ThermometerThe Commission has considered reducing the limits of two stream sections managed under the delayed harvest artificial lures only angling regulations, as published in the Notice.


SPECIAL FISHING REGULATIONS - Bald Eagle Creek

Final Rulemaking ThermometerTo provide new and diverse angling opportunities for stocked trout, an experimental miscellaneous special regulation will be implemented on a portion of Bald Eagle Creek that will enhance stocked trout management. The proposed amendment adds Bald Eagle Creek to the Commission’s list of waters under miscellaneous special regulations and will allow for the use of all tackle types in a delayed harvest regulatory environment.

 

SPECIAL FISHING REGULATIONS - Penns Creek

Final Rulemaking ThermometerAn experimental harvest slot limit regulation program was implemented on Penns Creek, Section 03, in 2014 and was set to expire on December 31, 2020. An evaluation of the effectiveness of this regulation during that time revealed that very few anglers were harvesting trout, but there was high angler support for continuing the slot limit regulation to allow those who chose to harvest intermediate-sized trout an opportunity to do so. The proposed amendments update the Commission’s angling regulations on Penns Creek, Section 03, to continue the slot limit regulations, which have been outlined in the regulation.