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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 21-1568




[ 58 PA. CODE CH. 63 ]

Fishing; General Fishing Regulations

[51 Pa.B. 6028]
[Saturday, September 18, 2021]

 The Fish and Boat Commission (Commission) amends Chapter 63 (relating to general fishing regulations). The Commission is publishing this final-form rulemaking under the authority of 30 Pa.C.S. (relating to Fish and Boat Code) (code). The amendments update the Commission's regulations pertaining to authorized devices for ice fishing use.

A. Effective Date

 This final-form rulemaking will go into effect upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

B. Contact Person

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

C. Statutory Authority

 The amendments to §§ 63.6 and 63.10 (relating to authorized devices for game fish, baitfish and fishbait; and ice fishing) are 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 amendments are described in more detail under the summary of changes.

E. Summary of Changes

 Over the past two ice fishing seasons, anglers have asked the Commission whether devices such as the JawJacker, Automatic Fisherman, Easy Set Hooksetter, Sure Shot Hooksetter and Bro Craft Ice Fishing Tip-up are legal devices for use upon Commonwealth waters. These devices consist of a rod holder which allows anglers to put a bend in the fishing rod and pre-load it with the aid of a triggering device. When a fish takes the lure or bait, tension on the fishing line causes the trigger mechanism to release the rod which, being pre-loaded, automatically sets the hook without additional assistance by the angler. The angler is then free to fight the fish with a normal fishing rod and reel. In addition to commercially made devices, there are many do-it-yourself versions of these devices which can be found online and fabricated at home. As the hookset is rapid, fish are typically hooked in the lip or jaw and not deeply, thereby improving fish survival if intended for release.

 Current interpretation of ''immediate control'' under § 63.6 suggests that the angler must set the hook and that no mechanical device could be substituted. This interpretation has carried over to other regulations, unless specifically mentioned in those regulations. Thus, the regulations found in § 63.10 also make it unlawful to utilize such mechanical devices to set the hook.

 Staff from the Bureaus of Law Enforcement and Fisheries have conferred and support a clarification of regulations which would permit these ice fishing hook setting devices to be legally used.

 The Commission therefore amends §§ 63.6 and 63.10 to read as set forth in the proposed rulemaking published at 51 Pa.B. 3470 (June 26, 2021).

F. Paperwork

 This final-form rulemaking will not increase paperwork and will not create new paperwork requirements.

G. Fiscal Impact

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

H. Public Comments

 A notice of proposed rulemaking was published at 51 Pa.B. 3470. The Commission received one public comment in support of the proposal.


 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), known as the Commonwealth Documents Law, and the regulations promulgated thereunder, 1 Pa. Code §§ 7.1 and 7.2 (relating to notice of proposed rulemaking required; and adoption of regulations).

 (2) A public comment period was provided, and one public comment was received in support of the proposal.

 (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 63, are amended in §§ 63.6 and 63.10 to read as set forth at 51 Pa.B. 3470.

 (B) The Executive Director will submit this order and 51 Pa.B. 3470 to the Office of Attorney General for approval as to legality and form as required by law.

 (C) The Executive Director shall certify this order and 51 Pa.B. 3470 and deposit them with the Legislative Reference Bureau as required by law.

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

Executive Director

Fiscal Note: Fiscal Note 48A-314 remains valid for the final adoption of the subject regulations.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 21-1568. Filed for public inspection September 17, 2021, 9:00 a.m.]

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