FISH AND BOAT COMMISSION
[ 58 PA. CODE CH. 65 ]
Fishing; Special Fishing Regulations
[51 Pa.B. 3140]
[Saturday, June 5, 2021]
The Fish and Boat Commission (Commission) proposes to amend Chapter 65 (relating to special 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 amendments will improve trout stream angling opportunities and experiences for anglers while providing additional protection to wild trout during the extended season.
A. Effective Date
This proposed rulemaking, if approved on final-form rulemaking, will go into effect on January 1, 2022.
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 www.fishandboat.com.
C. Statutory Authority
The proposed amendments to § 65.26 (relating to extended trout season) are published under the statutoryauthority of sections 2102(b) and 2307(a) of the code (relating to rules and regulations; and waters limited to specific purposes).
D. Purpose and Background
The specific purpose and background of the proposed amendments is described in more detail under the summary of proposal.
E. Summary of Proposal
In the Commission's Strategic Plan for the Management of Trout Fisheries in Pennsylvania 2020—2024, staff identified the stocked trout waters (STW) program as one of the Commission's most popular programs. The Commission must work to improve stocked trout stream angling opportunities and experiences to best meet the preferences of anglers. Most stocked trout streams are not stocked throughout their entire length and many of these streams also have sections that are managed for wild trout. Adding the section limits for stocked trout streams to the Commission's Fishing Summary/Boating Handbook (Handbook) will: 1) clearly identify where stocking occurs to increase angler participation, especially for anglers unfamiliar with a stream; 2) provide increased protection to the stream sections managed for wild trout during the extended season; 3) increase angling opportunities for wild trout in sections that are open to year-round fishing; 4) increase angling opportunities downstream of STW sections; and 5) simplify regulations.
Section 63.3 (relating to fishing in stocked trout waters) states that waters stocked with adult trout by the Commission must be published in the Handbook. However, most STWs listed in the Handbook do not detail the specific stream section that is stocked, but rather list only the stream name. This lack of detail provides inadequate information to anglers fishing these waters. Additionally, STW limits are defined on the Commission's web site and the FishBoatPA mobile application. Defining the limits in the Handbook would provide consistent STW information for anglers who use various sources to identify where to fish for stocked trout.
In addition to defining the stocked stream section limits in the Handbook, an amendment § 65.26 is necessary to improve trout stream angling opportunities and experiences to best meet the preferences of anglers while providing additional protection to wild trout during the extended season. An amendment to the extended trout season regulation would provide increased protection and additional angling opportunities in stream sections managed for wild trout that are downstream from STWs. Currently, STWs and all waters downstream from STWs have a creel limit of three trout per day from the day after Labor Day until the last day of February, and are closed to fishing from March 1st until 8 a.m. on the opening day of trout season. By amending the extended trout season regulation to exclude all waters downstream of a STW, thousands of additional stream miles would be opened to fishing on a year-round basis during the current closed season and harvest of trout would be prohibited during the extended season downstream from STWs.
The Commission proposes that § 65.26 be amended to read as set forth in Annex A.
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 www.fishandboat.com/regcomments. 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.
TIMOTHY D. SCHAEFFER,
Fiscal Note: 48A-313. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.
TITLE 58. RECREATION
PART II. FISH AND BOAT COMMISSION
Subpart B. FISHING
CHAPTER 65. SPECIAL FISHING REGULATIONS
§ 65.26. Extended trout season.
(a) General rule.—The extended trout season is in effect from the day after Labor Day until the last day of February of the following year on stocked trout waters [and all waters downstream of stocked trout waters]. A creel limit of three trout per day and a minimum size limit of 7 inches apply during this season[, except Class A wild trout streams where the creel limit is 0 and areas with special regulations].
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[Pa.B. Doc. No. 21-892. Filed for public inspection June 4, 2021, 9:00 a.m.]
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