FISH AND BOAT COMMISSION
[58 PA. CODE CH. 65]
Fishing; Special Fishing Regulations
[52 Pa.B. 7388]
[Saturday, December 3, 2022]
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 amendment would allow for the harvest of trout under Commonwealth inland waters regulations, but allow only catch-and-release fishing for all other species within Sheppard-Meyers Reservoir.
A. Effective Date
This proposed rulemaking, if approved on final-form rulemaking, will go into effect upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
B. Contact Person
For further information on this proposed rulemaking, contact Vienna Vasquez, 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 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 proposed amendment is described in more detail under the summary of proposal.
E. Summary of Proposal
Sheppard-Meyers Reservoir, a 47-acre impoundment owned by the Borough of Hanover, is located in West Manheim Township, York County, approximately 4 miles south from the Borough of Hanover. This reservoir was completely dewatered during spring 2020 to upgrade the dam and spillway structures per Department of Environmental Protection dam safety standards. The earth-fill dam, constructed in 1932, impounds the South Branch Conewago Creek at river mile (RM) 19.6 upstream from its confluence with Conewago Creek at RM 51.6. Prior to the drawdown in 2020, the lake offered angling opportunities for multiple warm-water and cool-water fish species, as well as adult trout stocked by the Commission. Repairs are expected to be completed by spring 2023 with refilling initiated soon after.
The Commission plans to initiate stocking the lake beginning in summer 2023 with fingerling plants of select fish species to establish a high-quality, warm-water and cool-water fishery. Immediately upon refilling the lake, staff propose to open the lake to fishing under a miscellaneous special regulation that will allow for the harvest of trout under Commonwealth Inland Waters regulations at § 61.1 (relating to Commonwealth inland waters) but allow only catch-and-release fishing for all other species. Commission staff believe that this approach will allow for the most rapid development of a balanced warm-water and cool-water fish community, while offering acceptable levels of recreational angling opportunities. Fisheries Management Division staff will monitor the fish populations as needed while they develop and make necessary modifications to the species stocked and recommend adjustments to the regulations governing fish harvest to the Board of Commissioners to continually provide high-quality recreational opportunities at Sheppard-Meyers Reservoir. Once the warm-water fishery is re-established, the lake will be recommended for removal from the miscellaneous special regulation and inclusion in one of the Commission's existing warm-water regulation programs.
The Commission proposes that § 65.24 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-340. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.
TITLE 58. RECREATION
PART II. FISH AND BOAT COMMISSION
Subpart B. FISHING
CHAPTER 65. SPECIAL FISHING REGULATIONS
§ 65.24. Miscellaneous special regulations.
The following waters are subject to the following miscellaneous special regulations:
County Name of Water Special Regulations * * * * * Westmoreland Donegal Lake All species except trout—catch and release/no harvest; it is unlawful to take, kill or possess any fish except trout. All fish caught other than trout must be immediately returned unharmed. Trout—inland regulations apply. See § 61.1. This miscellaneous special regulation will remain in effect until further notice. York Sheppard-Meyers Reservoir All species except trout—catch and release/no harvest; it is unlawful to take, kill or possess any fish except trout. All fish caught other than trout must be immediately returned unharmed. Trout—inland regulations apply. See § 61.1 (relating to Commonwealth inland waters). This miscellaneous special regulation will remain in effect until further notice.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 22-1866. Filed for public inspection December 2, 2022, 9:00 a.m.]
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