|Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) today approved several changes to Lake Erie regulations, moved four lakes to the list of approved trout waters open to year-round fishing, and established an agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to collect American shad eggs from the Potomac River. Also, Commissioners elected Robert Bachman, Ph.D., as the new board president and Steve Ketterer as vice president.
At the start of today’s meeting, Executive Director John Arway presented awards to several individuals. Commissioner William Worobec was recognized for his outstanding leadership and dedication while serving as board president from July 13, 2010, to July 12, 2011. Director Arway honored Waterways Conservation Officer Larry Furlong for being named Pennsylvania Boating Officer of the Year by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. Also, Mark Hartle, chief of the PFBC Aquatic Resources Section, was recognized for his work co-authoring a white paper on managing water releases to Delaware River tributaries from N.Y. City water supply reservoirs.
As part of the Lake Erie changes, Commissioners approved a proposal to allow for adaptive creel limits for walleye and yellow perch based on the annual quotas established each spring by the Lake Erie Committee, which consists of fisheries managers from Pa., Ohio, N.Y., Michigan and Ontario, Canada. Under the new rules, the PFBC will set daily limits by April 15 of each year, before the onset of each fishing season. The change will allow the PFBC to apply regulations in a timely manner, synchronized with the condition of fish stocks.
Also, Commissioners approved a recommendation to establish a Lake Erie cast net permit for sport anglers who want to harvest emerald shiners and spottail shiners, which are popular baitfish. The $10 permit allows anglers to take a combined species daily limit of 200. In addition, Commissioners approved a recommendation to increase the number of commercial seine licenses for Lake Erie from 10 to 40. If adopted on final rulemaking, both amendments will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2012, or upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, whichever occurs later.
In other action today, Commissioners voted to approve:
- A recommendation to change the designation of four lakes from approved trout waters to approved trout waters open to year-round fishing. The four lakes include Lake Luxembourg in Bucks County, Laurel Lake in Cumberland County, Muddy Run Recreation Lake in Lancaster County, and Sweet Arrow Lake in Schuylkill County. The change will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2012.
- A five-year agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to collect American shad eggs from the Potomac River during the spring spawning runs of 2012 through 2016. The eggs will be used by the PFBC as part of its effort to restore American shad to the Susquehanna, Lehigh and Schuylkill rivers.
- A recommendation to allow anglers to fish Lehigh County’s Leaser Lake once the dam is rebuilt and the lake refills. PFBC staff had originally recommended closing the lake to all fishing until June 18, 2016, but now believes a catch and release policy will provide recreational angling opportunities while still developing a high quality fishery. The catch and release regulations will apply to all species except trout, which will be stocked in the lake beginning in 2014.
- A final rulemaking order imposing a closed season on river herring in the Delaware River and Delaware Estuary; the Lehigh and Schuylkill rivers and their tributaries; and the Conowingo Reservoir on the Susquehanna River. The changes are being made in cooperation with N.J., N.Y. and Delaware as part of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s interstate management plan for shad and river herring, which states that the river herring population remains at a depressed level.The changes will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2012.
- A change to the section limits on Spring Creek in the Borough of Bellefonte, Centre County, which will open up approximately 350 meters (1/5 mile) to public angling from the High Street Bridge to the Lamb Street Bridge. The change will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2012.
- An amendment to the regulation for the National Saltwater Angler Registry required by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to clarify that an angler is compliant if he meets the registration requirements of another state, such as N.J. NOAA requires the registration from anglers who target shad, striped bass and river herring from the Delaware River below Trenton Falls or in the Delaware Estuary.
A complete copy of the meeting schedule and the full agenda for the meeting can be found on the Commission’s web site at www.fishandboat.com/minutes.htm.
The mission of the Fish and Boat Commission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities. For more information about fishing and boating in Pennsylvania, please visit our website at fishandboat.com.