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Requirements & Law
UNLAWFUL ACTS
 
IT IS UNLAWFUL...
  • To possess, to introduce or import, transport, sell, purchase, offer for sale or barter the following live species in the Commonwealth: snakehead (all species), black carp, bighead carp, silver carp, zebra mussel, quagga mussel, European rudd, rusty crayfish, ruffe, round goby and tubenose goby. (More information about Aquatic Invasive Species)
  • To fish with more than three fishing lines at any time when fishing for gamefish, baitfish or both.
  • To fish (includes taking baitfish and fishbait) from March 1 to 8:00 a.m. on the opening day of trout season in any approved trout water. Excepted are certain specially regulated waters and "in-season only" stocked waters.
  • To take or attempt to take fish, or keep fish accidentally caught, by snatch-fishing, foul hooking or snag fishing. Handfishing is not permitted.
  • To catch, kill, or possess more than one day’s limit of any fish, except:
    (a) at your residence, and
    (b) you may possess two days’ limit while traveling to your residence from an overnight fishing trip of two or more consecutive days.
  • To have on a stringer or in a container or otherwise in possession, while in or along waters of the Commonwealth or immediately returning therefrom, more than the daily creel limit of any fish for one person.
  • To fail to immediately return unharmed to the waters from which it was taken, any fish caught out of season, or undersize, or over the daily creel limit. Any fish placed on a stringer, in any container or given away, counts toward the possession limit of the person having caught it, and the person to whom it was given.
  • To kill any fish and fail to make a reasonable effort to lawfully dispose of it.
  • To fish in, or within 100 feet of, the entrance or exit points of any fishway, including fish ladders and other fish passage facilities.
  • To use gamefish as bait except when taken by rod and reel or handline in conformance with seasons, sizes and creel limits or when purchased from an authorized bait dealer.
  • To sell baitfish or fishbait taken from waters of the Commonwealth, except that licensed and authorized commercial fishermen may take and sell baitfish from Lake Erie and Presque Isle Bay.
  • To sell baitfish or fishbait within the Commonwealth, or transport same out of the state, except by authorized and licensed commercial bait dealers.
  • To sell any species of fish, reptile (with the exception of snapping turtles) or amphibian taken from the Commonwealth.
  • To sell, offer for sale, purchase or barter any fish parts or fish eggs obtained from fish taken from waters of this Commonwealth including boundary waters. This prohibition does not apply to fish parts or fish eggs:
    (1) lawfully taken or sold or offered for sale by holders of Lake Erie commercial fishing licenses if the particular species of fish is authorized for taking by commercial licensees, or
    (2) those obtained from fish taken lawfully from waters outside of this Commonwealth.
  • To release any species of fish, except those listed as approved by the Fish & Boat Commission, in Commonwealth waters without written permission from the executive director of the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission.
  • To place an obstruction in any waterway that blocks the free movement of fish.
  • To use or have in possession while on or along Commonwealth waters, nets larger than 4 feet square or in diameter except with a special permit issued by the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission.
  • To conduct an organized fishing tournament in which there are 10 or more participants without a permit issued by the Commission. Applications must be submitted 60 days before the date of the proposed tournament. Fishing tournaments may not be conducted for a species of fish during the closed season for that species. Unless a special exemption is granted, fishing tournaments may not be conducted on the opening day of the season for any species of game fish. Contact the nearest regional headquarters for further information and permit applications.
  • To conduct an organized fishing tournament and fail to submit an accurate fishing tournament catch report when required.
  • To conduct a tagged fishing tournament in boundary waters without a permit issued by the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission.
  • To throw, leave, discard or deposit litter, debris or trash of any kind in or along waters or lands adjacent to or contiguous to waters of the Commonwealth.
  • To obstruct the ingress, egress or regress to a person’s property, cattleways or fields.
  • To dig in or drive upon any lands.
  • To cut or damage trees or shrubs.
  • To build or tend open fires without permission.
  • To run any vehicle, except fording in the most direct manner, in any stream.
  • To interfere with officers authorized to enforce the Fish and Boat Code in the performance of their duties or to refuse to accompany any officer after having been arrested for a violation of the Fish and Boat Code.
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IF A VIOLATION OCCURS...

Persons accused of violating the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Code or rules and regulations may be issued a citation and have a right to a hearing before a district justice. Law enforcement personnel have the authority to confiscate or seize as evidence fish and fishing equipment that are illegal or used to violate fishing laws or regulations. The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission may, upon proper notice, suspend or revoke the fishing privileges, boating privileges or other permits of any person convicted (or acknowledging guilt) of a violation of the Fish and Boat Code or Fish & Boat Commission regulations.

If you have been convicted of or plead guilty to a second or subsequent violation within a 12-month period, you may be assessed an additional fine of $200 for those offenses classified as summary offenses.

 
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