RULES AND REGULATIONS
FISH AND BOAT COMMISSION
[ 58 PA. CODE CH. 65 ]
Fishing; Special Fishing Regulations
[51 Pa.B. 6030]
[Saturday, September 18, 2021]
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 Fish and Boat Code) (code). The 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 final-form rulemaking will go into effect on January 1, 2022.
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 www.fishandboat.com.
C. Statutory Authority
The amendments to § 65.26 (relating to extended trout season) are published under the statutory authority 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 amendments are described in more detail under the summary of changes.
E. Summary of Changes
In the Commission's Strategic Plan for the Management of Trout Fisheries in Pennsylvania 2020—2024, Commission staff identified the stocked trout waters (STW) program as one of the Commission's most popular programs. As such, 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 to § 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 therefore amends § 65.26 to read as set forth in the proposed rulemaking published at 51 Pa.B. 3140 (June 5, 2021).
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. 3140. The Commission received a total of three public comments regarding the proposal: two support the proposal and one opposes 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 a total of three comments were received: two supported the proposal and one opposed 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 65, are amended in § 65.26 to read as set forth at 51 Pa.B. 3140.
(B) The Executive Director will submit this order and 51 Pa.B. 3140 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. 3140 and deposit them with the Legislative Reference Bureau as required by law.
(D) This order shall take effect on January 1, 2022.
TIMOTHY D. SCHAEFFER,
Fiscal Note: Fiscal Note 48A-313 remains valid for the final adoption of the subject regulation.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 21-1570. Filed for public inspection September 17, 2021, 9:00 a.m.]
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