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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.

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



PROPOSED RULEMAKING: SPECIAL REGULATION COUNTIES - Shenango River Lake, Mercer County

48A-316

Thermometer - Comment PeriodShenango River Lake is a 3,560-acre flood control project managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) in Mercer County.  58 Pa. Code § 111.43 states that "the use of motors in excess of 10 horsepower are prohibited in the area west of Penn Central Railroad (Levittsburg) causeway to the Ohio line."  The Commission has received a request from the USACOE to amend § 111.43 to adopt a 20 horsepower restriction west of the causeway.  The update to this regulation will allow Waterways Conservation Offices to continue assisting in enforcement. 



NOTICE - Proposed Regulations Designations - Raccoon Creek State Park Upper Bond (Group Camping Area Lake)

Thermometer - Comment PeriodThe Commission designates or re-designates certain water bodies as being subject to special fishing regulations.  The Commission will consider removing Raccoon Creek State Park Upper Bond (Group Campaign Area Lake) from its list of catch and release lakes at the October 25 and 26, 2021 meeting.



NOTICE - Proposed Regulations Designations - Somerset Lake

Thermometer - Comment PeriodThe Commission designates or re-designates certain water bodies as being subject to special fishing regulations.  The Commission will consider removing Somerset Lake from its list of "Big Bass Regulation" waters at the October 25 and 26, 2021 meeting.



NOTICE - Proposed Regulations Designations - Opossum Lake

Thermometer - Comment PeriodThe Commission designates or re-designates certain water bodies as being subject to special fishing regulations.  The Commission will consider adding Opossum Lake to its list of "stocked trout waters open to year-round fishing" waters at the October 25 and 26, 2021 meeting.



NOTICE - Proposed Regulations Designations - Lake Perez

Thermometer - Comment PeriodThe Commission designates or re-designates certain water bodies as being subject to special fishing regulations.  The Commission will consider adding Lake Perez to its list of "stocked trout waters open to year-round fishing" waters at the October 25 and 26, 2021 meeting.



NOTICE - Proposed Regulations Designations - Leaser Lake

Thermometer - Comment PeriodThe Commission designates or re-designates certain water bodies as being subject to special fishing regulations.  The Commission will consider adding Leaser Lake to its lists of "Big Bass," "Panfish Enhancement," and "stocked trout waters open to year-round fishing" waters at the October 25 and 26, 2021 meeting.



PROPOSED RULEMAKING: FISHING - Establish a Single Statewide Opening Day of the Regular Season for Trout

48A-318

Thermometer - Comment PeriodAfter experiencing two consecutive years of a single, statewide opening day, the Commission has identified an opportunity to further consider the efficacy of the current Commission regulations that provide for a regional opening day of trout season.  The published proposed rulemaking outlines amendments to eliminate the regional opening day of trout season and return to the more traditional single statewide opener.  The Commission believe that a single opening day simplifies regulations, reduces confusion among the angling public, lessens landowner issues in border counties, gives statewide anglers at least an extra week of fishing opportunity, and better allows businesses to plan for any sales surge.  



PROPOSED RULEMAKING: SPECIAL REGULATION COUNTIES - Blue Marsh Lake, Berks County

48A-315

Thermometer - Comment PeriodBlue Marsh Lake is a 1,148-acre flood control project managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) in Berks County.  58 Pa. Code § 111.6 states that a boat may not tow more than one water-skier (i.e., person) on Blue Marsh Lake.  The Commission has received a request from the USACOE to amend § 111.6 with the intent to limit the number of devices towed by a boat—rather than the number of persons—to no more than one.  The USACOE stated that with the popularity of inflatable towed devices designed to carry more than one person.  The amendments published in this proposed will eliminate confusion among the boating public and increase recreational boating opportunities.  It is also anticipated that the amendment will result in more effective and efficient law enforcement efforts on the lake.  The number of persons being towed on a device is limited by the boat's persons capacity. 



PROPOSED RULEMAKING: FISHING - Amendments to 58 Pa. Code Relating to Black Bass Angling Regulations

48A-320

Thermometer - Comment PeriodThe Commission has identified an opportunity to simplify regulations pertaining to black bass (i.e., Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, and Spotted Bass) while improving upon black bass management and optimizing the fishery for that species group.  The published proposed rulemaking outlines amendments to Commonwealth Inland Waters regulations specific to black bass.  In doing so, amendments to seasons as defined in Big Bass regulations, Miscellaneous Special Regulations, and Lake Erie basin regulations are also warranted to establish regulatory consistency.  This slight modification to seasons is expected to have minimal impact to both general angling for black bass as well as tournaments.  Additionally, aligning black bass daily creel and minimum size limits for waters managed under Commonwealth inland waters regulations eliminates regulatory complexity, while continuing to provide adequate protection to the resource.   



PROPOSED RULEMAKING: SPORT FISHING AND ANGLING - Seasons, Sizes and Creel Limits - Lake Erie Basin, Erie County

48A-319

Thermometer - Comment PeriodThe Commission has identified an opportunity to simplify regulations pertaining to the Lake Erin basin while improving upon salmonid management and optimizing the fishery for that species group.  The published proposed rulemaking outlines amendments to the Lake Erie basin angling regulations pertaining to salmonids for regulatory consistency and simplicity by aligning the trout and salmon seasons with the proposed amendment to Commonwealth Inland Waters regulations, and modifying the daily creel and minimum size limits for Rainbow Trout and Lake Trout to optimize those fisheries. 



PROPOSED RULEMAKING: SPECIAL FISHING REGULATIONS – Establish Trout Slot Limit Programs: All-Tackle Trout Slot Limit and Artificial Lures Only Trout Slot Limit
48A-317

Thermometer - Comment PeriodGiven the success of the experimental slot limit regulation program implemented on Penns Creek, Section 03, the Commission will move forward with establishing a new special regulation program to be known as Trout Slot Limit.  The Trout Slot Limit will have two subprograms:  All-Tackle Trout Slot Limit and Artificial Lures Only Trout Slot Limit.  The subprograms outlined in this published proposed rulemaking will provide the Commission with the ability to select the most appropriate tackle option to achieve biological and social objectives for each water considered for inclusion in the program and provide an opportunity to evaluate the effects of different terminal tackle types. 



NOTICE - Triploid Grass Carp Permit Application - Saxman

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.



NOTICE - Classification of Wild Trout Streams; Proposed Additions, Amendments and Revisions; October 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 October 25 and 26, 2021. 



NOTICE - Proposed Changes to List of Class A Wild Trout Waters;  October 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 October 25 and 26, 2021. 



NOTICE - Triploid Grass Carp Permit Application - Pitassi

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.




NOTICE - Triploid Grass Carp Permit Application - Hoagland

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.




NOTICE - Temporary Change to Boating Regulations; Conneaut Lake, Crawford County 

Rescinded as of Saturday, July 24 at 11 A.M. 

The Executive Director of the Fish and Boat Commission, acting under the authority of 58 Pa. Code § 103.3(c) (relating to restrictions for special areas), has taken immediate action to modify boating regulations at Conneaut Lake, Crawford County.  Effective with the publication of this notice, boats are limited to slow, no wake speed on the entirety of the lake.  The Executive Director has found that this action is necessary and appropriate as hazardous conditions exist that may threaten the safety of persons or property.

The Executive Director will cause this temporary modification to boating regulations to be posted in the vicinity of the lake, and the modified regulation will be fully effective and enforceable when posted.  This temporary modification will remain in effect until further notice.



NOTICE - Temporary Changes to Fishing Regulations; Raccoon Creek State Park Upper Pond (Group Camping Area Lake), Beaver County

The Executive Director of the Fish and Boat Commission is lifting all seasons, sizes and creel limits for all species, effective July 17, 2021, at Raccoon Creek State Park Upper Pond, in anticipation of a complete and permanent drawdown of the lake.  These temporary modifications will remain in effect until further notice.  



GENERAL FISHING REGULATIONS – Authorized Devices for Game Fish, Baitfish and Fishbait; and Ice Fishing
48A-314

Thermometer - Comment PeriodCommission staff evaluated devices allowed to be used while ice fishing to determine if devices such as JawJackers, Automatic Fisherman, etc. can be used by anglers.  The proposed rulemaking outlines changes to the Code that will allow anglers to utilize devices which automatically set hooks.  



 

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 - 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 - 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.  


 

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; 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 - 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.