enhancing northerN pike, pickerel and muskellungE Fishing ON DOCKET
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will hold its winter quarterly meeting January 23-24 at agency headquarters, 1601 Elmerton Avenue in Harrisburg. Commission committees will meet beginning at approximately 10:15 a.m. on Monday, January 23. The full Commission will meet for formal consideration of the agenda beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 24. All committee meetings and the review of the agenda are open to the public and attendance is encouraged.
Among the items to be considered at the meeting are options for enhancing fishing opportunities for muskellunge and hybrids. The Commission will discuss the potential for a year-round musky fishing season, with a one-fish, 36-inch minimum size limit for inland waters. The Commission will also consider the creation of a special regulations program aimed at maximizing musky fishing at select waters. Waters designated into the proposed Musky Enhancement Program would have a year-round musky season, with a one-fish daily creel limit and 45-inch minimum size limit.
Examples of waters to which the program may be applied include Lake Arthur (Butler County), Rose Valley Lake (Lycoming County), Cowanesque Reservoir (Tioga County), Marsh Creek Lake (Chester County), Susquehanna River (Fabridam to 1.3 miles downstream) and Loyalhanna Lake (Westmoreland County).
Additionally, the Commission will discuss an alternative approach: eschewing a special regulation program and setting the statewide limit for muskellunge and muskellunge hybrids at 40 inches for all inland waters.
Other items on the agenda focus on related species, northern pike and pickerel. The Commission will discuss opening northern pike season on a year-round basis, with a daily creel limit of two fish 24 inches or larger. Likewise, a year-round season for pickerel is also proposed. Pickerel limits would be set at no more than four fish daily that are 18 inches in size or longer.
If the Commission opts to move forward with all or parts of these proposals, a public comment period would run through the spring and early summer, with vote on final alternatives to occur later in the year. No changes would take place prior to 2007.
Among other items to be considered at the meeting is a package of regulations related to the management of reptiles and amphibians. At its April 2005 meeting, the Commission approved the publication of a notice of proposed rulemaking containing proposed amendments relating to reptiles and amphibians. The Commission also directed staff to solicit public comments for a period of at least 90 days and to assemble a workgroup of interested parties and stakeholders. As directed by the Commission, staff assembled a diverse workgroup comprised of captive breeders, hobbyists, snake hunters, snake hunt sponsors, conservationists and academics. As a result of the workgroupâ€™s discussions, staff has made numerous revisions and additions to the original proposal. Also incorporated are a number of changes suggested by the public comments received thus far in response to the original notice of proposed rulemaking.
Given the number and scope of the changes, the staff will recommend that an additional public comment period be held to solicit input on the revised proposal.
Theses changes, as well as the rest of the complete agenda for the meeting, can be found on the Commissionâ€™s web site at http://www.fish.state.pa.us.
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PA Fish & Boat Commission
OUR MISSION: To provide fishing and boating opportunities through the protection and management of aquatic resources.