PFBC Reverses Policies
Inside the Outdoors, April 10
, 2015

It’s nothing new. Each year someone approaches me and asks questions concerning a certain regulation that is spelled out in the Pennsylvania Fishing Summary booklet, something that is available to each angler. Lifetime members can go to any issuing agent and get a yearly publication annually just for the asking. However, with that said, many anglers tend to question others rather than reading the manual.

Recently, a gent came to me at the Latrobe Indoor Vendor Market at the American Legion and asked if he needs to buy a trout stamp in as much as he had already purchased his lifetime license.

If one were to go to page 4 in the Summary booklet, there, in the middle of the page, with a little red dot highlighting it is the ruling in black letters, “Resident Senior Lifetime license holders who purchase their license as of Jan 1, 2015, are required to purchase a trout/salmon permit each year that the license holder desires to fish for trout.”

For those who purchased lifetime licenses prior to that date, the grandfather law goes into effect. One, consequently, does not need to buy additional trout stamps. Only those anglers who are buying licenses after the first of this year will have to buy trout stamps annually. Hope this question was answered to one’s satisfaction.

The nice thing about the 2015 Summary booklet is that everything new is either highlighted in red with white letters or there are red dots next to the paragraphs that alert readers to pay particular attention to this revised ruling.

Other red-dotted statements include:

A. ‘Bait,’ “For all crayfish species, the head must immediately be removed behind the eyes upon capture unless used as bait in the water from which taken.” This refers to Lake Erie, as well.

B. ‘How to Release Fish, Catch and Release,’ “Fish that are bleeding from the mouth or gills due to hook removal do not survive after being released back into the water. Anglers may be charged with violating the Fish and Boat Code by failing to immediately release the fish unharmed. If regulations permit, the angler should keep the fish and count it towards his or her daily limit.”

Three questions may pop into one’s mind after reading this legality. First, “What if the fish that was caught is smaller than the size allowed for one to keep the fish? Is one still allowed to keep the fish? And third, won’t one get fined if he keeps a fish that is too small?”

According to Captain Tom Crist of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Somerset Office, “One should make the best attempt to return a caught fish back to the water if is unwanted or too small. If it means cutting the line, do so. The hook will dissolve in due time.” In addition, he concluded, “We usually can tell by talking to individuals that the fish that were kept were done so whereby a decision was made concerning an honest effort to release the fish or keep it due to its condition.”

C. ‘Special Regulation Areas,’ “Fishing is permitted on a 24-hour basis.”

D. Same as above, “An angler in a boat may possess bait and fish caught in compliance with the seasons, sizes and creel limits in effect for a water from which it was taken, provided that the boat angler floats through the Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only area without stopping or engaging in the act of fishing or the boat angler puts in or takes out his boat at an access point within the Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only area.”

E. ‘Public Health Advisory,’ ‘ “Trout stocked from Fish and Boat Commission state fish hatcheries are subject to the blanket one-meal-per-week consumption advisory that applies to recreationally caught sport fish in Pennsylvania.”

F. ‘Licenses, Pricing…, Update’ –“A durable plastic card version of the Senior Resident Lifetime license is available. This upgrade is available for $11.70. Complete from PFBC-L-166S and send to the address indicated. Forms are available from the Commission’s website at Upgrades can also be purchased through issuing agents.”

G. Same as above, “The annual buttons are available to all current, adult and youth Pennsylvania fishing license customers who possess a valid Pennsylvania fishing license that enables them to fish for the entire year. Lifetime Senior License and Multi-Year License holders can also purchase the buttons. For all eligible customers, the buttons are NOT required by law, and they are an optional purchase. The fee is $5.00 per button. Use of a valid Alternate Display Annual Fishing License Button meets the fishing license display requirement as long as the angler has a license certificate in their possession.”

It is recommended that all anglers familiarize themselves with the Summary rules and regulations!

- Paul J. Volkmann
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