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Requirements & Law
PERMITS
 
TROUT / SALMON PERMIT
A current Pennsylvania trout/salmon permit is required to fish for trout or salmon in Pennsylvania waters. An angler “fishes for trout or salmon” when he or she:
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. See Lake Erie and tributary regulations for a list of main tributaries that require a permit.
COMBINATION TROUT / SALMON / LAKE ERIE PERMIT
In many cases an angler may need both a trout/salmon permit and a Lake Erie permit to fish in waters in the Erie area. Rather than purchasing these individually, a Combination Trout-Salmon/Lake Erie permit may be purchased.
EXEMPTIONS

The following persons are NOT required to possess a trout/salmon permit or Lake Erie permit:

  • Persons under 16 years of age.
  • Disabled persons and other individuals who are exempt from fishing license requirements, or who are authorized to fish using an institutional license.
  • Persons who possess a 1-day tourist license.

RESIDENT SENIOR LIFETIME license holders are required to purchase only one permit for a lifetime.

 
 
CHARTER BOAT / FISHING GUIDE PERMITS
Charter boat operators and fishing guides are required to obtain a permit when conducting business on the waters of the Commonwealth, including the boundary waters. The annual fee for the permit is $100 for residents and $400 for non-residents. Permit applications are available from the Harrisburg office, regional headquarters, or an application can be downloaded and printed. For additional information about Charter Boat/Fishing Guide permits contact the Bureau of Law Enforcement at 717-705-7861.

ANGLERS:To find a charter boat operator or fishing guide for a fish species or location you wish to fish, go to our Charter Boat/Fishing Guide page.

CAST AND THROW NET PERMIT
The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission issues permits for use of cast nets or throw nets for taking gizzard shad 8 inches or less in length and alewife only in waters determined by the executive director. The executive director has determined that the Commission will issue cast net or throw net permits only for the waterways listed below. A separate permit is required for each area.
County Water Area
Berks Blue Marsh Lake
Bucks Nockamixon Lake
Carbon Beltsville Lake
Huntingdon Raystown Lake
Wayne / Pike Lake Wallenpaupack
Butler Lake Arthur
Mercer Shenango River Lake
The use of a cast net or throw net in any other Commonwealth waters is a violation of the Fish and Boat Code and is punishable by a fine and may result in the loss of fishing privileges. Cast nets or throw nets shall not exceed 10 feet in radius or 20 feet in diameter and possess a mesh size of at least 3/8-inch. The holder of the cast net or throw net permit may take, catch, kill or possess a daily creel limit of 100 gizzard shad and alewife (combined species). The holder of the permit shall carry the permit on his/her person while using the net or while possessing more than 50 gizzard shad or alewife (combined species). The permit shall be available for inspection by a waterways conservation officer.

It is unlawful to:

  • use a cast net or throw net in the waterways listed above without the required permit;
  • use a cast net or throw net in any other Commonwealth waters except those listed above;
  • use a cast net or throw net to take, catch, kill or possess any fish species except gizzard shad 8 inches or less in length and alewife;
  • use gizzard shad or alewife taken under the required permit as live bait in any water other than the water from which it was taken;
  • use a cast net or throw net without possessing a valid fishing license.

Cast net and throw net permits are available online at The Outdoor Shop. A printable net permit application is also available.

LAKE ERIE NET PERMIT: EMERALD AND SPOTTAIL SHINERS
The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission issues permits for the use of cast nets, throw nets or dip nets for the taking of emerald shiners or spottail shiners from Lake Erie, including Presque Isle Bay. Cast nets or throw nets may be no greater than 10 feet in radius (20 feet in diameter), and the dip nets may be no greater than 10 feet in diameter.

In addition to existing seasons, sizes and creel limits for Lake Erie, Lake Erie tributaries and Presque Isle Bay including peninsula waters, holders of this permit may take, catch, kill or possess a daily creel limit of 200 emerald shiners and spottail shiners (combined species). This permit shall be carried so that it is available for inspection by a waterways conservation officer. The permit holder is the only person authorized to use the cast net, throw net or dip net.

Under this permit, with the use of a cast net, throw net or dip net, it is unlawful to:

  • Use emerald shiners or spottail shiners as bait in any water other than Lake Erie and Lake Erie tributaries including Presque Isle Bay.
  • Sell, offer for sale, trade or barter live, dead or preserved emerald shiners or spottail shiners.
  • Transport or export live, dead or preserved emerald shiners or spottail shiners taken out of the Lake Erie watershed.
  • Use any of these nets within 100 yards of a holder of a commercial seine license.
  • Use any of these nets within an area 300 feet from the mouth of any stream or within the confines of a tributary stream to Lake Erie.
  • Use any of these nets in a way that it interferes with sport anglers or boaters.

The holder of a permit for the use of cast nets, throw nets or dip nets may possess an unlimited number of preserved emerald shiners or spottail shiners at his residence provided the residence is located within the Lake Erie watershed.

Lake Erie net permits are available at the PFBC Northwest Region Office and at Walnut Creek Marina Office. Applications, which can be brought to both locations, or mailed to the region office are also available online.

 
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