§ 61.1. Commonwealth inland waters.
(a) It is unlawful to take, catch, kill or possess fish except during the seasons specified in this section. It is not a violation of this section if a fish caught out of season from water where fishing for other species is lawful is immediately returned unharmed to the waters from which it was taken.
(b) It is unlawful to take, catch, kill or possess fish of less than the minimum size specified in this section. It is not a violation of this section if an undersized fish taken from waters where fishing is otherwise lawful is immediately returned unharmed to the waters from which it was taken.
(c) It is unlawful to take, catch or kill more than 1 days limit of any species of fish as specified in the following chart during 1 calendar day. It is unlawful to possess more than 1 days limit of any species of fish as specified in the following chart except under the following circumstances:
(1) A person may possess any number of lawfully caught fish at the persons residence.
(2) A person who is engaged in a fishing trip away from home for 2 or more consecutive calendar days may, while transporting fish from the place where caught to his residence, possess a number of fish equal to no more than two times the daily creel limit for that species of fish. In prosecution for violation of this section, it shall be a rebuttable presumption that a person transporting fish from a fishing site caught all of the fish during 1 calendar day.
(3) A fish will not be considered to be caught in violation of this section if it is immediately returned unharmed to the waters from which it was taken.
(4) Any fish caught that is not to be counted in the creel limit shall be immediately released unharmed into the water from which taken. Except as otherwise provided in § 53.24 or § 63.40 (relating to tournament and fishing derby permits; and fishing tournaments and fishing derbies), a fish placed on a stringer, or confined by any type of container, structure or device, or not returned immediately to the water, will be considered as part of the daily creel or possession limits. Fish returned to the water shall be handled carefully and be returned unharmed to the water from which taken.
(5) Fish may be given to another person, but the fish shall be counted in the donors creel limit and neither donor nor the recipient may kill or possess (while in the act of fishing) more than the limit allowed.
(d) Except as otherwise provided in this subpart, the following seasons, sizes and daily limits apply to inland waters of this Commonwealth and the Youghiogheny Reservoir:
MINIMUM DAILY SPECIES SEASONS SIZE LIMIT ALL SPECIES OF TROUT AND SALMON (except landlocked Atlantic salmon) Regular Season: 8 a.m. first Saturday in April to midnight Labor Day 7 inches 5 (combined species) except areas with special regulations Extended Season: Stocked trout waters 12:01 a.m. day after Labor Day to midnight the third Monday in February of the following year. 7 inches 3 (combined species), except Class A wild trout streams, where the daily limit is 0, and areas with special regulations (see Chapter 65 (relating to special fishing regulations)) AMERICAN EEL Open year-round 9 inches 25 BASSLargemouth and Smallmouth and Spotted Lakes: January 1 to midnight the day before first Saturday after April 11 and November 1 to midnight December 31** 15 inches 4 (combined species from all habitats) 12:01 a.m. the first Saturday after April 11 to 12:01 a.m. the first Saturday after June 11 NO HARVESTCatch and immediate release only (No Tournaments Permitted) 12:01 a.m. the first Saturday after June 11 to midnight October 31 12 inches 6 (combined species) BASSLargemouth and Smallmouth and Spotted January 1 to midnight the day before the second Saturday in April and October 1 to midnight December 31* 15 inches 4 (combined species) 12:01 a.m. the second Saturday in April to 12:01 a.m. the second Saturday in June NO HARVESTCatch and immediate release only (No Tournaments Permitted) 12:01 a.m. the second Saturday in June to midnight September 30 12 inches 6 (combined species) MUSKELLUNGE and MUSKELLUNGE HYBRIDS Open year-round 40 inches 1 PICKEREL 18 inches 4 NORTHERN PIKE 24 inches 2 WALLEYE and hybrids (Saugeye) January 1March 14; and 12:01 a.m. first Saturday in May to midnight, December 31 15 inches 6 SAUGER 12 inches 6 AMERICAN SHAD** Open year-round No minimum 3 HICKORY SHAD** Closed year-round No minimum 0 GIZZARD SHAD Open year-round No minimum 50 RIVER HERRING (alewife and blueback herring)** Open year-round No minimum 50 STRIPED BASS and STRIPED BASS/WHITE BASS HYBRIDS Open year-round 20 inches 2 (combined species) SUNFISH, YELLOW PERCH, CRAPPIES, CATFISH, ROCK BASS, SUCKERS, CARP, WHITE BASS AND OTHER GAMEFISH NOT OTHERWISE LISTED Open year-round No minimum 50 (combined species) BAIT FISH FISH BAIT except American eel, mud bugs, mussels/clams and crayfish Open year-round No minimum 50 (combined species) MUD BUGS (dragonfly nymphs) Open year-round No minimum Unlimited if taken from lakes, ponds, swamps and adjacent areas; 50 per day if taken from moving waters (rivers and streams) MUSSELS/CLAMS Closed year-round 0 PADDLEFISH Closed year-round 0 CRAYFISH (ALL SPECIES) Open year-round 50. The head must be immediately removed behind the eyes upon capture unless used as bait in the water from which taken.
* Note: Stocked trout waters are closed to all fishing from the third Monday in February to the second Saturday in April.
** Note: Unlawful to take, catch or kill American shad, hickory shad and river herring (alewife and blueback herring) in Susquehanna River and its tributaries. See § 61.4 and 61.7 (relating to Conowingo Reservoir; and Susquehanna River and tributaries).
The provisions of this § 61.1 issued under the Fish and Boat Code, 30 Pa.C.S. § § 741, 928 and 2102; amended under the Fish and Boat Code, 30 Pa.C.S. § § 2102 and 51225124; and section 506 of The Administrative Code of 1929 (71 P.S. § 186).
The provisions of this § 61.1 amended July 18, 1986, effective July 19, 1986, 16 Pa.B. 2644; amended March 13, 1987, effective March 14, 1987, 17 Pa.B. 1084; amended February 8, 1991, effective February 9, 1991, 21 Pa.B. 498; amended February 12, 1993, effective February 13, 1993, 23 Pa.B. 739; amended March 10, 1995, effective March 11, 1995, 25 Pa.B. 834; amended November 22, 1996, effective January 1, 1997, 26 Pa.B. 5701; amended March 7, 1997, effective March 8, 1997, 27 Pa.B. 1155; amended October 31, 1997, effective November 1, 1997, 27 Pa.B. 5605; amended October 9, 1998, effective October 10, 1998, 28 Pa.B. 5103; amended July 9, 1999, effective July 10, 1999, 29 Pa.B. 3626; amended August 27, 1999, effective January 1, 2000, 29 Pa.B. 4561; amended February 18, 2000, effective February 19, 2000, 30 Pa.B. 870; amended September 29, 2000, effective September 30, 2000, 30 Pa.B. 5013; amended April 19, 2002, effective April 20, 2002, 32 Pa.B. 1962; amended November 15, 2002, effective November 16, 2002, 32 Pa.B. 5658; amended November 24, 2004, effective January 1, 2005, 34 Pa.B. 6328; amended September 22, 2006, effective January 1, 2007, 36 Pa.B. 5872; amended September 29, 2006, effective January 1, 2007, 36 Pa.B. 5976; amended July 2, 2010, effective July 3, 2010, 40 Pa.B. 3663; amended December 17, 2010, effective December 18, 2010, 40 Pa.B. 7233; amended October 7, 2011, effective January 1, 2012, 41 Pa.B. 5365; amended July 3, 2014, effective January 1, 2015, 44 Pa.B. 4177; amended August 8, 2014, effective August 9, 2014, 44 Pa.B. 5336; amended September 19, 2014, effective January 1, 2015, 44 Pa.B. 5969; amended September 25, 2015, effective January 1, 2016, 45 Pa.B. 5788; amended December 10, 2021, effective January 1, 2022, 51 Pa.B. 7691 and 7697. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (378373) to (378376) and (404083).
This section cited in 58 Pa. Code § 61.2 (relating to Delaware River, West Branch Delaware River and River Estuary); 58 Pa. Code § 61.7 (relating to Susquehanna River and tributaries); 58 Pa. Code § 61.8 (relating to Lehigh River, Schuylkill River and tributaries); 58 Pa. Code § 63.3 (relating to fishing in stocked trout waters); 58 Pa. Code § 63.48 (relating to permit for the use of cast nets or throw nets); 58 Pa. Code § 65.24 (relating to miscellaneous special regulations); and 58 Pa. Code § 69.12 (relating to seasons, sizes and creel limitsLake Erie, Lake Erie tributaries and Presque Isle Bay including peninsula waters).
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