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Fishing & boating montage
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County Guide - click for index
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Regional Reports - click for index
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Biologist Reports/Fisheries Management - click for index
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Fishing
A great resource for general fishing information is our Summary Book
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1. What kind of fish and fishing will I find in Pennsylvania?
2. What do I need to know before I go?
3. Where can I fish for trout?
4. Where can I fish for smallmouth bass and other river fish?
5. Where can I fish for largemouth bass and other lake fish?
6. Where can I get a map?
7. Where can I find information on specific waters and their conditions?
8. Are stocking lists available online?
 
9. Where can I find bait and other fishing gear?
10. Where can I find information on where to stay in Pennsylvania?
11. Where can I find a campground?
12. Where can I launch my boat?
13. Where can I locate a fishing guide or charter boat?
14. What are "Class A" & "Class B" regulated fishing lakes?
15. How big are the state record fish?
16. I want to join an organized sportsmen's group, can you help?
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Don't see your question?
FAQ INDEX
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1. What kind of fish and fishing will I find in Pennsylvania?
  Pennsylvania is a diverse state with a wide variety of fishing opportunities. There are over 85,000 miles of streams and rivers, along with 4,000 inland lakes and ponds covering 160,000 acres, plus 470,000 acres of Lake Erie. As you can imagine, this diversification translates into many different types of fishing and different types of fish.

For a comprehensive overview of the most common fishes of Pennsylvania, check out the web version of the Commission publication Pennsylvania Fishes, which contains pictures and information about 90+ fish found in PA....go to PA Fishes.

Our Fishing page contains links to a wealth of PA fishing information....go to the Fishing index.

To find the fishing spot for you, let's narrow things down a bit. Choose from 3 fishing categories:

  1. Streams - home to trout, steelhead, and salmon....see question 3.
  2. Rivers - home to bass, walleye, pike, muskie, catfish, carp, etc....see question 4.
  3. Lakes - home to bass, panfish, pike, trout, etc....see question 5.

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2. What do I need to know before I go?
  You should have a basic knowledge of Pennsylvania's fishing regulations. The best resource for this is the Pennsylvania Summary of Fishing Regulations and Laws, or Summary Book as it is known. As its name implies, the summary book contains an overview of fishing regulations. It also provides many fishing tips and other valuable information....view the Summary Book.

If you need to know more about how to fish, try our Fishing Fundmanetals page, which provides information about fish, how to fish and where to go fishing.....go to Fishing Fundamentals.

And don't forget, a Pennsylvania fishing license is required to fish in PA. We have a separate FAQ specific to fishing licenses. More information about costs and types of licenses, trout/salmon stamps, and fishing regulations and laws is available....go to the fishing license FAQ.

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3. Where can I fish for trout?
  Pennsylvania has countless creeks and smaller rivers that hold brook, brown and rainbow trout, plus steelhead and salmon in Lake Erie tributaries.

Some places to find trout fishing spots on our web site:

  • Regional Reports - statewide index of Commission fishing reports and information about PA fishing. Includes links to regional Fishing Hot Spots for trout - a list of where to find stocked and wild trout for each of the Commission's 6 regions....go to the PA Region Guide.
  • Stocking Lists provide a comprehensive list of streams stocked with trout by the Commission....go to index of stocking lists.
  • Biologist Reports - creel surveys conducted on lakes and streams by our Fisheries Managers include fish counts and a summary of their findings....go to the Index of reports.
  • Many streams have Special Regulation Areas that promote programs like catch & release fishing....go to special regulation areas.
  • Class A Trout Streams are managed as naturally reproducing, wild populations with no stocked trout....go to Class A trout streams.
  • Wilderness Trout Streams are managed to provide a wild trout fishing experience in a remote, natural and unspoiled environment, and to protect and promote native (brook trout) fisheries. All stream sections included in this program qualify for the Exceptional Value (EV) special protected water use classification, which represents the highest protection status provided by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)....go to wilderness trout streams.

COUNTY GUIDES
Another excellent resource is our county guides and maps. In addition to county maps, they list Approved Trout Waters, Class A Wild Trout Streams, Special Regulation Areas, and much more....go to the statewide index.

Visit our Trout page for more trout information....view Trout page.

Important note to anglers -- Many waters in Pennsylvania are privately owned, the listing or mapping of waters by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission does not guarantee public access. Respect the privacy and rights of landowners - always obtain permission before entering any privately owned land.

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4. Where can I fish for smallmouth bass and other river fish?
  You can fish for bass, pike, walleye, muskie, catfish, carp, etc. by boat or by foot on rivers such as the Allegheny, Delaware, Susquehanna, Juniata, and many others.
  • Regional Reports - statewide index of Commission fishing reports and information about PA fishing. Includes links to regional Fishing Hot Spots for muskellunge, walleye, pike, largemouth and smallmouth bass, panfish and places for family fishing fun - a list for each of the Commission's 6 regions....go to Regional Reports.
  • Biologist Reports - creel surveys conducted on lakes by our Fisheries Managers include fish counts and a summary of their findings....go to the Index of reports.
  • Access to hundreds of river destinations is available by using one of our Boat Access Areas....go to the list.
  • Three of PA's four largest rivers have sections regulated under PA's Big Bass Program, regulations and waters are listed online....go to the Big Bass Program page.

COUNTY GUIDES
Another excellent resource is our county guides and maps. In addition to county maps, they list Approved Trout Waters, Class A Wild Trout Streams, Special Regulation Areas, and much more....go to the statewide index.

Visit our Bass page for more bass information....view Bass page.

Important note to anglers -- Many waters in Pennsylvania are privately owned, the listing or mapping of waters by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission does not guarantee public access. Respect the privacy and rights of landowners - always obtain permission before entering any privately owned land.

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5. Where can I fish for largemouth bass and other lake fish?
  Fish for bass, pike, walleye, panfish, trout, etc. in lakes such as Erie, Raystown, Wallenpaupack, Pinchot, and countless others.
  • Regional Reports - statewide index of Commission fishing reports and information about PA fishing. Includes links to regional Fishing Hot Spots for muskellunge, walleye, pike, largemouth and smallmouth bass, panfish and places for family fishing fun - a list for each of the Commission's 6 regions....go to Regional Reports.
  • Biologist Reports - creel surveys conducted on lakes by our Fisheries Managers include fish counts and a summary of their findings....go to the Index of reports.
  • Access to hundreds of lakes is available by using one of our Boat Access Areas....go to the list.
  • Many lakes are included in PA's Big Bass Program, regulations and waters are listed online....view the regulations and waters.
  • Find big panfish by trying lakes with special regulations for Panfish Enhancement....view the regulations and waters.
  • Pennsylvania has many lakes that are privately owned and are operated commercially as fee fishing lakes. These lakes may or may not be within campgrounds. The Commission calls these Class A Regulated Fishing Lakes....go to our online list of Class A regulated fishing lakes. Class A regulated fishing lakes are further defined in question 14 on this page.....go to question 14.

COUNTY GUIDES
Another excellent resource is our county guides and maps. In addition to county maps, they list Approved Trout Waters, Class A Wild Trout Streams, Special Regulation Areas, and much more....go to the statewide index.

Visit our Bass page for more bass information....view Bass page.

Important note to anglers -- Many waters in Pennsylvania are privately owned, the listing or mapping of waters by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission does not guarantee public access. Respect the privacy and rights of landowners - always obtain permission before entering any privately owned land.

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6. Where can I get a map?
 

Start with our county guide pages, which include interactive maps. In addition to county maps, they list Approved Trout Waters, Class A Wild Trout Streams, Special Regulation Areas, and much more....go to the statewide index.

We have a number of other pages that have interactive maps to locate topic-specific information, such as Pennsylvania Lakes, Biologist Reports and Fishing Hot Spots....go to interactive map (GIS) page.

We also list more Commission maps and guides and other Resources of Maps that are helpful in locating places to fish and boat....go to the Map page.

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7. Where can I find information on specific waters and their conditions?
  A great place to start is our Region Reports pages, which have fishing reports and information for all of PA....go to Region Reports.

Our best resource for local stream information and regulations specific to those streams is our six Regional Offices. To find contact information and which region you are in, visit our online directory....go to the directory.

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8. Are stocking lists available online?
  Yes. Trout stocking lists are provided for pre-season, in-season, fall, and winter stockings....go to index of stocking lists.

The Commission also stocks fingerling of of warm/coolwater species (muskellunge, pike, etc.)....go to the listing.

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9. Where can I find bait and other fishing gear?
  A good place to start is our list of Fishing License Issuing Agents.  Most are commercial businesses that sell some type of fishing gear, many also sell bait....go to our agent list.

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10. Where can I find information on where to stay in Pennsylvania?
  A great resource is Pennsylvania’s official travel & tourism site, visitPA.com. The “Places to Stay” section offers up travel deals and a variety of places to sleep in every region of the state. You can even make an online reservation directly from the site. In addition, you can plan your route, find out about upcoming events, and discover interesting things to do in Pennsylvania. Check out visitPA.com today or make a call to 1-800-VISIT-PA to reserve a room and start planning your trip.

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11. Where can I find a campground?
  Pennsylvania has 112 state parks boasting 7,000 campsites and 286 rustic and modern cabins available for rental. To reserve a campsite or cabin, call 1-888-PA-PARKS or visit the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources State Parks page for more information and list of campgrounds....go to DCNR State Parks.

There are hundreds of commercial campgrounds and RV parks throughout the state as well. The Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association offers an on-line campsite directory and an order form for a printed copy of a 52-page guidebook....go to the campground directory.

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12. Where can I launch my boat?
  Our database of Boat Access Areas includes over 1,000 areas which provide launch sites at rivers and lakes throughout the state....go to a list of boat access areas.

More boating information can be found in our Boating FAQ....go to the FAQ.

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13. Where can I locate a fishing guide or charter boat?
  The Commission maintains a list of commercial charter boats and fishing guides. Since registering with the Commission is voluntary, the list may not include all guides, however, we believe it is a good place to start....go to the list of guides.

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14. What are "Class A" and "Class B" regulated fishing lakes?
  "Class A" regulated fishing lakes fall into 3 categories:
  1. Lakes wholly opened to the general public for fishing and operated solely as commercial ventures. This would be the typical fee-fishing lake where the owner usually purchases and stocks fish such as trout or carp and patrons pay to fish on a daily basis. 
  2. Lakes situated wholly within the grounds of a privately owned campground provided that the campground is open to the general public and operated as a commercial venture regardless of whether the campground operator sells admissions to fish at the lake to members of the public who are not camping at the campground. 
  3. Lakes with a total water area of less than 20 acres situated wholly within the grounds of a private fishing and boating, rod and gun or sportsmen's club or organization when fishing in the lake is limited to members of the club or organization and the sponsoring club or organization operates a cooperative nursery recognized by the Commission, provided that fish raised by the cooperative nursery shall be stocked in waters of Pennsylvania open for free public fishing and not in the regulated fishing lake.

Person patronizing a Class A regulated fishing lake may catch, kill and possess fish without regard to any size, season or possession limit and need not possess a Pennsylvania fishing license.

The Commission maintains a list of these lakes online....go to our online list of Class A regulated fishing lakes.

"Class B" regulated fishing lakes:

  • Lakes that meet all other requirements of a Class A lake, but are not open to the general public or operated as a commercial venture, may be issued a Class B regulated fishing lake license. Persons patronizing a Class B lake may catch, kill and possess fish taken there-from without regard to size, season or possession limitation. A Pennsylvania fishing license is required to fish in a Class B lake.

The same application is used for both Class A and Class B lakes, it is available online in print-friendly PDF....Regulated Fishing Lake Application (PFBC-109).

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15. How big are the state record fish?
  State records of PA's most popular sport fish are listed online....go to list in html (standard web page), or PDF file (includes application form).

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16. I want to join an organized sportsmen's group, can you help?
  While it is not a comprehensive list and is not maintained to provide this information, our list of Cooperative Nurseries will give you a good place to start. These nurseries partner with the Commission to stock fish in PA's streams and lakes.  Most of them are sportsmen's organizations....go to the list of Cooperative Nurseries.

Another good place to look is our Links Page, which provides links related to fishing and boating. Among them are some of the more well known sportsmen's clubs along with many smaller, local organizations....go to the links.

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