Pennsylvania Code & Bulletin

• No statutes or acts will be found at this website.

The Pennsylvania Bulletin website includes the following: Rulemakings by State agencies; Proposed Rulemakings by State agencies; State agency notices; the Governor’s Proclamations and Executive Orders; Actions by the General Assembly; and Statewide and local court rules.

PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 99-1869



[58 PA. CODE CH. 65]

Panfish Enhancement Special Regulation

[29 Pa.B. 5720]

   The Fish and Boat Commission (Commission) by this order amends Chapter 65 (relating to special fishing regulations). The Commission is publishing these amendments under the authority of 30 Pa.C.S. (relating to Fish and Boat Code) (code). The amendments relate to fishing.

A.  Effective Date

   The amendments will go into effect on January 1, 2000.

B.  Contact Person

   For further information on the amendments, contact Delano R. Graff, Director, Bureau of Fisheries, (814) 359-5154, 450 Robinson Lane, Bellefonte, PA 16823, or Laurie E. Shepler, Assistant Counsel, (717) 657-4546, P. O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000. This final rulemaking is available electronically through the Commission's Web site (

C.  Statutory Authority

   The amendments are published under the statutory authority of sections 2102 and 2307 of the code (relating to rules and regulations; and waters limited to specific purposes).

D.  Purpose and Background

   The amendments are designed to update, modify and improve Commission regulations relating to fishing. The specific purpose of each amendment is described in more detail under the summary of changes.

E.  Summary of Changes

   (1)  Section 65.11 (relating to panfish enhancement special regulation). When the Commission adopted this regulation last year, it opted to apply harvest restrictions to all species or species groups (sunfish, crappie and yellow perch) found in waters managed under the program. While this approach was straightforward, further reflection revealed that this approach was not the best fisheries management approach to the issue. Subsequently, the Commission substantially reduced the number of waters to which the regulation applies.

   The Commission has now amended this regulation to allow the Commission to apply the designation to only those species groups where angling has been observed to negatively affect panfish density and size structure, not all species groups. Application of the panfish enhancement special regulation to selected species groups within a water will yield several important benefits. First, differences in biological characteristics among species groups inhabiting a particular water will be able to be accounted for in a management program. For example, in a lake, one particular panfish population may be comprised of small individuals for reasons not associated with angling (exhibited stunting) and in the same lake a different species may be comprised of small individuals due to angler removal of larger panfish. Improvements in size structure would be expected in association with greater harvest restrictions in one case but not the other. Indeed, there may be benefits to the less protected panfish species groups (without the panfish enhancement special regulation) if harvest shifted away from the protected species group (with panfish enhancement special regulation) to the less protected group. Here, thinning the population associated with harvest may improve growth and consequently improve the size structure of the less protected species, thereby enhancing the overall number of desirable size panfish available to anglers.

   The second benefit is associated with maintaining appealing panfish fishing opportunities for anglers on a particular water. Application of harvest restrictions will constrain angler harvest of panfish that provide the basis for extremely popular fishing opportunities foranglers in this Commonwealth. In 1991, anglers spent at least 8,023,000 days fishing for panfish in this Commonwealth, by comparison 11,125,000 angler days were directed to trout, and 7,186,000 angler days were directed to black bass. (United States Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service and United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census. 1991 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife Associated Recreation, Pennsylvania. United States Government Printing Office, Washington D.C. 1993). The Commission does not want to constrain panfish harvest opportunities on a particular water so that angler participation is reduced if harvest regulations for a particular species is not expected to yield any improvement in number of desirable size fish in an angler's catch. In some cases, harvest of some panfish species is simply not great enough to substantially affect the species size structure. The principal intent of special panfish regulations is to enhance fishing opportunities. Constricting harvest of species groups affected by intense angling and maintaining harvest of species groups not affected by angling will maximize fishing opportunities. Simply stated, it is the Commission's goal to improve size structure when possible and not restrict angling opportunities unnecessarily for species groups where no benefit is expected. Therefore, the Commission has amended § 65.11 so that harvest restrictions on a particular water may apply to one, two or all three panfish species groups as approved by the Commission.

   (2)  Section 65.24 (relating to miscellaneous special regulations). Spring Creek, Centre County, supports an excellent Class A wild brown trout population and provides a very popular year round trout fishery for anglers in central Pennsylvania. Currently, no harvest is permitted on this water from SR 3010 in Oak Hall downstream to the mouth due to a fish consumption advisory. In recognition of the outstanding wild trout fishery provided by this water, the Commission believed that it was necessary to adopt special trout angling regulations for Spring Creek. The Commission therefore has adopted special trout management regulations for the 16.6 miles of Spring Creek extending from the SR 3010 bridge in Oak Hall downstream to the mouth (excluding the established Heritage Trout Angling project at Fisherman's Paradise and the exhibition area in Bellefonte). The regulations will involve no change from the current management, as angling will be permitted year round (no closed season) under no-harvest regulations with no tackle restrictions.

F.  Paperwork

   The amendments will not increase paperwork and will create no new paperwork requirements.

G.  Fiscal Impact

   The amendments will have no adverse fiscal impact on the Commonwealth or its political subdivisions. The amendments will impose no new costs on the private sector or the general public.

H.  Public Involvement

   A notice of proposed rulemaking was published at 29 Pa.B. 3631 (July 10, 1999). The Commission did not receive any public comments regarding the changes to either section during the formal public comment period. After the public comment period, the Commission received four comments regarding the special trout management regulations for Spring Creek. Three commentators supported the change; one opposed it but mistakenly believed that the Commission intended to make this section of Spring Creek open to harvest. Copies of all public comments have been provided to the Commissioners.


   The Commission finds that:

   (1)  Public notice of intention to adopt the amendments adopted by this order has been given under sections 201 and 202 of the act of July 31, 1968 (P. L. 769, No. 240) (45 P. S. §§ 1201 and 1202) and the regulations promulgated thereunder at 1 Pa. Code §§ 7.1 and 7.2.

   (2)  A public comment period was provided and the comments that were received were considered.

   (3)  The adoption of the amendments of the Commission in the manner provided in this order is necessary and appropriate for administration and enforcement of the authorizing statutes.


   The Commission, acting under the authorizing statutes, orders that:

   (a)  The regulations of the Commission, 58 Pa. Code Chapter 65, are amended by amending §§ 65.11 and 65.24 to read as set forth at 29 Pa.B. 3631.

   (b)  The Executive Director will submit this order and 29 Pa.B. 3631 to the Office of Attorney General for approval as to legality as required by law.

   (c)  The Executive Director shall certify this order and 29 Pa.B. 3631 and deposit them with the Legislative Reference Bureau as required by law.

   (d)  This order shall take effect immediately upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

Executive Director

   Fiscal Note:  Fiscal Note 48A-99 remains valid for the final adoption of the subject regulations.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 99-1869. Filed for public inspection November 5, 1999, 9:00 a.m.]

No part of the information on this site may be reproduced for profit or sold for profit.

This material has been drawn directly from the official Pennsylvania Bulletin full text database. Due to the limitations of HTML or differences in display capabilities of different browsers, this version may differ slightly from the official printed version.