RULES AND REGULATIONS
FISH AND BOAT COMMISSION
[ 58 PA. CODE CH. 65 ]
Fishing; Special Fishing Regulations
[51 Pa.B. 430]
[Saturday, January 23, 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 amendment adds Bald Eagle Creek to the Commission's list of waters under miscellaneous special regulations.
A. Effective Date
This final-form rulemaking will go into effect January 1, 2021.
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 amendment to § 65.24 (relating to miscellaneous special regulations) is published under the statutory authority of section 2307(a) of the code (relating to waters limited to specific purposes).
D. Purpose and Background
The specific purpose and background of the amendment is described in more detail under the summary of changes.
E. Summary of Changes
Bald Eagle Creek is a 52.25-mile long stream that originates near the Borough of Port Matilda and flows northeast to its confluence with the West Branch Susquehanna River near the City of Lock Haven. The stream is currently managed as six stream sections for fisheries management purposes. Sections 02, 03 and 04, which total 28.5 miles in length, are currently included in the Stocked Trout Waters Program.
To provide new and diverse angling opportunities for stocked trout, Commission staff identified a portion of Bald Eagle Creek, Section 03, to implement an experimental miscellaneous special regulation designed to enhance stocked trout management. This regulation will be identical to § 65.6 (relating to delayed harvest artificial lures only areas); however, all tackle types will be permitted. As such, the regulation allows for year-round angling with all tackle types and harvest of up to three trout per day at least 9 inches in length from June 15 through Labor Day, with no harvest permitted the remainder of the year. The regulation is designed to provide an extended period of catch and release angling with all tackle types for stocked trout; then, as stream conditions become less favorable for trout survival due to decreased flow and elevated water temperatures, harvest is permitted under a reduced creel limit. The objectives are to reduce fishing mortality during the catch and release period, maintain high trout population densities to provide for high angler catch rates, recycle stocked trout to optimize their recreational benefit, provide high-quality angling opportunity for stocked trout in the absence of tackle restrictions and evaluate the use of bait in a delayed harvest regulatory setting.
An 0.86-mile long section of stream located in the vicinity of Julian at the Soaring Eagle Wetland, which is owned and maintained by the Wildlife for Everyone Foundation (Foundation), provides the ideal location to implement an experimental regulation as the Foundation plans to construct an ADA-compliant boardwalk, fishing platform and other amenities that make this reach of stream accessible to all anglers. Additionally, the recent habitat improvement projects enhanced instream habitat to provide suitable conditions to retain stocked trout in this reach throughout the spring and early summer.
The experimental regulation section will also be included in the Keystone Select Stocked Trout Waters Program (Program). In 2016, the Commission launched the Program with eight stream sections. Due to its extreme popularity among trout anglers, the Program was expanded to include 23 stream sections. Under the Program, large trout, 14 inches to 20 inches in length, are stocked at a rate up to 250 trout per mile, which is comparable to the abundance of similar-sized fish residing in this Commonwealth's best wild trout waters. By including this section of Bald Eagle Creek in the Program, it will allow Commission staff to compare angler use, catch and preferences to other waters in the Program that are managed with the traditional artificial lures only restrictions.
The Commission therefore amends § 65.24 to read as set forth in the proposed rulemaking published at 50 Pa.B. 4648 (September 12, 2020).
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 50 Pa.B. 4648. The Commission received a total of two public comments regarding the proposal and both comments support 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 two comments were received: both supporting 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 by amending § 65.24 to read as set forth at 50 Pa.B. 4648.
(B) The Executive Director will submit this order and 50 Pa.B. 4648 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 50 Pa.B. 4648 and deposit them with the Legislative Reference Bureau as required by law.
(D) This order shall take effect on January 1, 2021.
TIMOTHY D. SCHAEFFER,
Fiscal Note: Fiscal Note 48A-303 remains valid for the final adoption of the subject regulation.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 21-111. Filed for public inspection January 22, 2021, 9:00 a.m.]
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