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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 22-377



[ 58 PA. CODE CH. 63 ]

Fishing; General Fishing Regulations

[52 Pa.B. 1494]
[Saturday, March 12, 2022]

 The Fish and Boat Commission (Commission) proposes to amend Chapter 63 (relating to general fishing regulations). The Commission is publishing this proposed rulemaking under the authority of 30 Pa.C.S. (relating to Fish and Boat Code) (code). The proposed amendment updates the Commission's regulations pertaining to bowfishing.

A. Effective Date

 This proposed rulemaking, if approved on final-form rulemaking, will go into effect upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

B. Contact Person

 For further information on this proposed rulemaking, contact Wayne Melnick, Esq., P.O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000, (717) 705-7810. This proposed rulemaking is available on the Commission's web site at

C. Statutory Authority

 This proposed amendment to § 63.8 (relating to long bows, crossbows, spears and gigs) is published under the statutory authority of section 2102(b) of the code (relating to rules and regulations).

D. Purpose and Background

 The specific purpose and background of the proposed amendment is described in more detail under the summary of proposal.

E. Summary of Proposal

 The Commission, specifically the Bureau of Law Enforcement (Bureau), has received an increasing number of complaints regarding bowfishing. Most of these complaints revolve around the intense bright lighting used to locate fish along the shoreline. In addition to the lighting, the noise created by the internal combustion, gas-powered generators used by some to operate the lighting has also generated complaints to the Bureau and created conflicts with property owners along Commonwealth waterways.

 After receiving feedback from agency staff, property owners, anglers, fishing guides and legislators, Commission staff have conferred and support a clarification of the regulation listed as follows.

 The Law Enforcement Committee considered this proposal on December 15, 2021, and recommended the Commission approve the publication of a notice of proposed rulemaking containing the amendment.

 The Commission proposes that § 63.8 be amended to read as set forth in Annex A.

F. Paperwork

 This proposed rulemaking will not increase paperwork and will not create new paperwork requirements.

G. Fiscal Impact

 This proposed rulemaking will have no adverse fiscal impact on the Commonwealth or its political subdivisions.

H. Public Comments

 Interested persons are invited to submit written comments, objections or suggestions about this proposed rulemaking to the Executive Director, Fish and Boat Commission, P.O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000, within 30 days after publication of this notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Comments submitted by facsimile will not be accepted.

 Comments also may be submitted electronically by completing the form at If an acknowledgment of electronic comments is not received by the sender within 2 working days, the comments should be retransmitted to ensure receipt. Electronic comments submitted in any other manner will not be accepted.

Executive Director

Fiscal Note: 48A-321. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.

Annex A



Subpart B. FISHING


§ 63.8. Long bows, crossbows, spears and gigs.

*  *  *  *  *

 (c) Restrictions. Spears or gigs may not be mechanically propelled, may not have more than five barbed points, and may not be used in stocked trout waters.

(d) Exceptions:

(1) It is unlawful to use bow and arrow (including compound bows and crossbows), spears and gigs in any special regulation trout waters.

(2) It is unlawful to cast direct rays of a spotlight, mounted headlight or any other artificial light of any kind from any watercraft upon any occupied building or another watercraft.

(3) It is unlawful to use generators on board a watercraft engaged in bowfishing with a noise level that exceeds 90 dB(a). The noise emission test measurement will be made with the sound level meter at a distance of at least 4 feet above the water at a point where the transom gunwale and the port or starboard gunwale intersects.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 22-377. Filed for public inspection March 11, 2022, 9:00 a.m.]

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