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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 04-1238



[58 PA. CODE CH. 65]

Special Conservation Waters; Crawford County

[34 Pa.B. 3599]

   The Fish and Boat Commission (Commission) amends Chapter 65 (relating to special fishing regulations). The Commission is publishing this final-form rulemaking under the authority of 30 Pa.C.S. (relating to the Fish and Boat Code) (code). The amendments relate to terminating the Commission's Warmwater/Coolwater Species Special Conservation Waters Program (program) and imposing a new miscellaneous special regulation for muskellunge on Sugar Lake, Crawford County.

A.  Effective Date

   The final-form rulemaking will go into effect on January 1, 2005.

B.  Contact Person

   For further information on the final-form rulemaking, contact Laurie E. Shepler, Assistant Counsel, P. O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000, (717) 705-7815. This final-form rulemaking is available on the Commission's website:

C.  Statutory Authority

   The deletion of § 65.8 is published under the statutory authority of section 2102 of the code (relating to rules and regulations). The amendment to § 65.24 (relating to miscellaneous special regulations) is published under the statutory authority of section 2307 of the code (relating to waters limited to specific purposes).

D.  Purpose and Background

   This final-form rulemaking is designed to update, modify and improve the Commission's special fishing regulations. The specific purpose of the amendments is described in more detail under the summary of changes.

E.  Summary of Changes

   (1)  Section 65.8. At its April 1986 meeting, the Commission adopted regulations for its new program. The program began a major Commission initiative to provide enhanced management for warmwater/coolwater fisheries. Rationale for the more restrictive length and creel limits included the need for additional protection of new or reclaimed lake fisheries, rehabilitating fisheries significantly impacted by angling pressure and restructuring of fish populations where the sport fish communities are not of the composition desired to provide recreational angling closer to the capability of the individual water. Since implementation of the program, use has been expanded to major riverine habitat and to select reservoirs during major drawdowns.

   Considerable evaluation work, both biologically and angler demand wise, occurred on a number of waters involved in the program during the years following implementation. At the same time, development of other special regulation programs for managing warmwater/coolwater fisheries gave fisheries managers alternatives to the more inclusive and sometimes unnecessary regulations in the Conservation Waters Program. Results of biological and angler sampling provided the means for the Commission to shift waters in this program to other programs, including the big bass and, more recently, the panfish enhancement programs.

   To consolidate the number of special regulations used in managing warmwater/coolwater fisheries, the Commission has redesignated the remaining three conservation lakes to other programs, effective January 1, 2005. Thus, there is no need to retain the regulations for warmwater/coolwater species special conservation waters. Accordingly, the Commission has deleted this section as set forth in the notice of proposed rulemaking.

   (2)  Section 65.24. Sugar Lake, a 90-acre productive natural lake in Crawford County, was added to the program in 1987. The new set of regulations involved increased minimum length limits and reduced possession limits as part of a major initiative for enhanced management of warmwater/coolwater species. Since program inception, management of warmwater/coolwater species has evolved considerably with the establishment of §§ 65.9 and 65.11 (relating to big bass special regulations; and panfish enhancement special regulation) and considerable study on response of fish populations to more restrictive regulations. Thus, the Commission has moved several conservation waters to other programs.

   Sugar Lake contains an abundant bass population, a rather dense panfish population characterized by slow growing individuals (bluegill, black crappie and yellow perch) and a robust muskellunge population for the size of the lake. Sugar Lake serves as a brood lake in muskellunge propagation activities. To maintain and enhance fishing opportunities there, the Commission already has added Sugar Lake to the list of waters managed and regulated under § 65.9, effective January 1, 2005. The Commission also proposed that a miscellaneous special regulation for muskellunge be adopted that imposes a 36-inch minimum size limit and a one fish daily creel limit. Although Commission staff has not sampled intensively the muskellunge in Sugar Lake, the higher minimum size limit has led to improvements in size structure. For all other species, Commonwealth inland regulations will apply. The Commission has amended § 65.24 to read as set forth in the notice of proposed rulemaking.

F.  Paperwork

   The final-form rulemaking will not increase paperwork and will create no new paperwork requirements.

G.  Fiscal Impact

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

H.  Public Involvement

   A notice of proposed rulemaking was published at 34 Pa.B. 1458 (March 13, 2004). The Commission did not receive any public comments concerning the proposed rulemaking.


   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, 1 Pa. Code §§ 7.1 and 7.2.

   (2)  A public comment period was provided and no comments were received.

   (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 § 65.24 and by deleting § 65.8 to read as set forth at 34 Pa.B. 1458.

   (b)  The Executive Director will submit this order and 34 Pa.B. 1458 to the Office of Attorney General for approval as to legality as required by law.

   (c)  The Executive Director shall certify this order and 34 Pa.B. 1458 and deposit them with the Legislative Reference Bureau as required by law.

   (d)  This order shall take effect on January 1, 2005.

Executive Director

   Fiscal Note:  Fiscal Note 48A-152 remains valid for the final adoption of the subject regulations.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 04-1238. Filed for public inspection July 9, 2004, 9:00 a.m.]

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