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Regulations by Location
LAKE ERIE AND TRIBUTARY STREAMS
The following seasons, sizes and daily limits apply to Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay and peninsular waters, all Lake Erie tributaries in their entirety which include Cascade Creek, Conneaut Creek, Crazy Run, Crooked Creek, East Branch Conneaut Creek, Eightmile Creek, Elk Creek, Fourmile Creek, Middle Branch Conneaut Creek, Marsh Run, Mill Creek, Mud Run, Raccoon Creek, Sevenmile Creek, Sixmile Creek, Sixteenmile Creek, Stone Run, Temple Run, Turkey Creek, Twelvemile Creek, Twentymile Creek, Walnut Creek, West Branch Conneaut Creek and all waters that flow into these tributaries.
Species Seasons Minimum Size Daily Limit
Muskellunge and Tiger Muskellunge (Hybrids) Open year-round 40 inches 1
Northern Pike Open year-round 24 inches 2
Walleye Jan. 1 through March 14 and May 1 through Dec. 31 15 inches -
Established annually by April 15****

Bass*
Largemouth
Smallmouth

Jan. 1 through April 17 and June 13 through Dec. 31 15 inches 4 (combined species)
April 18 through June 12* 20 inches 1
Yellow Perch Dec. 1 April 30 7 inches -
Established annually by April 15****
May 1 through Nov. 30 None
Sunfish, Crappies, Catfish, Rock Bass, Suckers, Eels, Carp, White Bass Open year-round No minimum 50 (combined species)
Burbot (when taken by scuba divers by use of non-mechanical spears or gigs at a depth of at least 60 feet) June 1 through Sept. 30 No minimum 5
Burbot (when taken by hook and line) Open year-round No minimum 5
Smelt (when taken by hook and line) Open year-round No minimum None
Trout and Salmon** Jan. 1 through April 16 15 inches 3 (combined species), only two (2) of which may be lake trout
8 a.m. April 18 through Sept. 7 9 inches 5 (combined species), only two (2) of which may be lake trout

Sept. 8 through April 14, 2016

15 inches 3 (combined species), only two (2) of which may be lake trout
Baitfish / Fishbait*** (see Bait page for definitions) Open year-round No minimum 50 (combined species)
American Eel Open year-round 9 inchesNew 25New
Mussels / Clams CLOSED YEAR-ROUND
Sturgeon, Spotted Gar and other threatened and endangered species (see Endangered & Threatened page for species listing) CLOSED YEAR-ROUND

* It is unlawful to conduct or participate in a fishing tournament for bass on Lake Erie or Presque Isle Bay during the period from opening day of the trout season in April until midnight the first Saturday after June 11.
** It is unlawful to fish or possess trout or salmon in or along any Lake Erie tributary stream from 12:01 a.m. on April 17 until 8 a.m. on April 18 (32 hours total).
***For all crayfish species, the head must be immediately removed behind the eyes upon capture unless used as bait in the water from which taken.
**** Adaptive management for daily limits: After the PFBC Executive Director establishes the daily limit for the year, the information will be available from any PFBC office and is posted on our website.

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Special Regulations—Lake Erie Tributary Streams
  • Designated as Nursery Waters are Trout Run and its tributaries, Godfrey Run, Orchard Beach Run, and Crooked Creek (where posted). It is unlawful to fish, wade or possess fishing equipment while in or along Lake Erie tributary streams designated as Nursery Waters.
  • Archery fishing or spear fishing is prohibited in or along Lake Erie tributary streams.
  • From September 8 until the opening day of trout season in April, all Lake Erie tributary streams are closed to fishing from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. on the following day except for Walnut Creek north of Manchester Bridge Road and Elk Creek north of Route 5.
  • It is unlawful to fish from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. on the following day within 50 yards of the mouth of both Trout Run and Godfrey Run while fishing the Lake Erie shoreline.
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Lake Erie Permit

All anglers fishing Pennsylvania waters of Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay and their tributaries, including waters that flow into those tributaries are required to possess a valid Lake Erie permit or Combination Trout/Salmon/Lake Erie permit.

The main tributaries where a permit is required are: Cascade Creek, Conneaut Creek, Crooked Creek, Eightmile Creek, Elk Creek, Fourmile Creek, Mill Creek, Raccoon Creek, Sevenmile Creek, Sixmile Creek, Sixteenmile Creek, Turkey Creek, Twelvemile Creek, Twentymile Creek and Walnut Creek. A permit is also required for all of those waters that flow into these main tributaries.

Anglers fishing the East and West Basin ponds (Waterworks Ponds, Presque Isle State Park) are not required to possess a Lake Erie Permit.

Anglers fishing inland ponds, lakes, and reservoirs in Erie County are not required to possess a Lake Erie Permit.

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Lake Erie Cast Net Permit: Emerald and Spottail Shiners
Transportation of VHS-Susceptible Fish
Out of the Lake Erie Watershed

An infectious fish disease, caused by a variant of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Virus (VHS), has caused fish mortalities in the Great Lakes. The initial list of fish species that are susceptible to VHS includes black crappie, bluegill, bluntnose minnow, brown bullhead, brown trout, burbot, channel catfish, chinook salmon, coho salmon, emerald shiner, freshwater drum, gizzard shad, herring, largemouth bass, muskellunge, northern pike, pink salmon, pumpkinseed, rainbow trout, redhorse sucker, rock bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, white bass, white perch, whitefish and yellow perch.

It is unlawful to transport or cause the transportation of VHS-susceptible species of fish out of the portion of the Lake Erie Watershed in this Commonwealth into other watersheds of this Commonwealth except when certain conditions are met. It is illegal to use VHS-susceptible fish species, fish parts and eggs taken from the Lake Erie Watershed as fishbait in Commonwealth waters outside the Lake Erie Watershed except when the fish are certified as VHS-negative. It is legal to transport dead recreationally caught fish out of the Lake Erie Watershed solely for the purpose of human consumption.

Because of diseases and invasive species, the Commission recommends as a good conservation practice that anglers not transport any live fish out of the Lake Erie Watershed and introduce those fish into other watersheds. For more information on invasive species, please see “Aquatic Nuisance Species.” For more information on VHS, please contact the Commission’s Northwest Regional Office or visit our VHS information page.

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