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PFBC ENCOURAGES ANGLERS AND BOATERS TO ENJOY PLENTIFUL OPPORTUNITIES DURING SPRING AND SUMMER, AWARDS BOATING FACILITY AND ERIE ACCESS IMPROVEMENT GRANTS, AND MOVES TO FURTHER PROTECT WILD TROUT POPULATIONS

04/24/2023

​HARRISBURG, Pa. (April 24) – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) began its quarterly business meeting by thanking anglers, agency staff, and volunteers for a safe and successful start to the 2023 trout season, setting the stage for plentiful fishing and boating adventures throughout the spring and summer months.

"The excitement that surrounds our spring fishing opportunities, especially the Opening Day of trout season earlier this month, can still be felt all across Pennsylvania," said Tim Schaeffer, PFBC Executive Director.  "The quality of the trout raised at our state fish hatcheries this year has been incredible, and anglers have flocked to the water to test their skills, relax, and make lasting memories with friends and family.”

Schaeffer noted that world-class stocked trout fishing opportunities will continue statewide with in-season stockings through the end of May, and also encouraged anglers to explore new waters and seek out different types of fishing experiences.

“When you take advantage of the plentiful stocked trout, our phenomenal wild trout streams, panfish and catfish action that is starting to pick up as the water warms, and the opening of Walleye season on May 6, there truly is no better time than right now to hit the water.  If you fish from a boat, please remember to always wear your lifejacket."

Anglers and boaters are reminded that the PFBC’s cold weather life jacket requirement remains in effect from November 1 through April 30.  During this time, anyone aboard a boat less than 16 feet in length, including all canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards, is required to wear a lifejacket.  In addition, the PFBC and many other organizations throughout the Commonwealth will partner with the National Safe Boating Council to celebrate National Safe Boating Week from May 20-26, 2023.

 

Boating Facility Grants Awarded

The PFBC awarded several grants through the Boating Facility Grant Program.  Funds for this program are derived primarily from boat registration fees, state motorboat fuels tax, and restricted revenue accounts, if applicable.  In certain instances, federal aid is also used, if appropriate. 

 

Delaware River Watershed

  • Schuylkill River Greenways Association; River Access Design and Construction, Schuylkill River, Schuylkill County
  • North Coventry Township; Riverside Park Boat Launch Improvements, Schuylkill River, Chester County
  • Northampton County; Improvements to Existing Amenities and Construction of Canoe/Kayak Access, Minsi Lake, Northampton County
  • Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department; West Fairmont Park Dragon Boat Dock Expansion, Schuylkill River, Philadelphia County

 
Ohio River Watershed

  • City of Connellsville; Yough Park Boat Launch Rehabilitation, Youghiogheny River, Fayette County
  • South Fayette Township, Morgan Park Public Fishing and Unpowered Boat Dock, Millers Run Creek, Allegheny County
  • West Wheatfield Township; Robinson Community Center Canoe/Kayak Access, Conemaugh River, Indiana County
  • Masontown Borough; Riverside Recreation Project Phase II, Monongahela River, Fayette County
  • Rivers of Steel Heritage Corporation; Carrie Blast Furnaces Boat Dock Master Plan Design and Engineering, Monongahela River, Allegheny County

 

Potomac River Watershed

  • Borough of Chambersburg; Design and Construction of Adaptive Kayak Launch, Conococheague Creek, Franklin County  

 

Susquehanna River Watershed

  • Borough of Hanover; Development of Non-Motorized Boat Access, Sheppard Myers Reservoir, York County
  • Friends of Historic Heishman’s Mill; Design and Construction of Portage, Conodoguinet Creek, Cumberland County
  • Strasburg Township; Design and Construction of Canoe/Kayak Access Area, Pequea Creek, Lancaster County
  • Snyder County Board of Commissioners; West Side Boat Launch, Faylor Lake, Snyder County
  • Susquehanna Greenway Partnership; Planning and Wayfinding Signage Design Phase II, Susquehanna River, multiple counties
  • Borough of Dickson City; Bernard Siminski Park Canoe/Kayak Launch, Lackawanna River, Lackawanna County
  • Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority; Mayfield Recreation Park Fishing and Boating Access, Lackawanna River, Lackawanna County
  • Town of Bloomsburg; Design and Construction of Boat Launch, Fishing Creek and Susquehanna River, Columbia County

 

Statewide:

  • Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers; Mini Grant Program for Improved River and Stream Access

 

Erie Access Improvement Grant Awarded

The PFBC awarded one grant through the Erie Access Improvement Program.  This program is funded through proceeds from the sale of Lake Erie permits to be used towards programs that benefit public fishing, including enhanced access and habitat projects on or at Lake Erie and the watersheds of Lake Erie.  The project awarded through the 2022 round of grant is described below:

  • S.O.N.S. of Lake Erie; Walnut Creek Marina Web Camera, Lake Erie and Walnut Creek, Erie County

 


Boating

The Board approved the publication of a notice of proposed rulemaking pertaining to boating regulations at Halfway Lake, located within R.B. Winter State Park, Union County.  Historically, boating has been prohibited at Halfway Lake, due to its small size of approximately six acres.  However, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has agreed to allow unpowered boats to operate on the lake, which requires a change in PFBC regulations.  Under this proposal, 58 Pa. Code § 111.60 would be amended to permit the operation of unpowered boats, while still prohibiting the operation of boats powered by a motor.  If adopted on final rulemaking at a future meeting, this amendment will go into effect upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

 

Commissioners approved the publication of a notice of proposed rulemaking pertaining to boating regulations at Allegheny River Reservoir, also known as Kinzua Dam, in McKean and Warren counties.  Many of the controlled areas on the lake are indicated in PFBC regulations and are marked with aids to navigation (i.e., buoys) by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).  The area near Elijah Run, in the southeastern portion of the reservoir in McKean County, is currently marked by USACE as a slow, no wake zone to protect the boat launch area; however, it is not part of the PFBC’s regulations.  Under this proposal, the area near Elijah Run would be added to existing McKean County (58 Pa. Code § 111.42) regulations for Allegheny River Reservoir so that these speed restrictions may be enforced by PFBC Waterways Conservation Officers.  Additionally, a generic subsection referring to other coves, bays, inlets, arms, and areas marked with slow, no-wake buoys, would be added to the PFBC’s McKean and Warren County (58 Pa. Code § 111.62) regulations to allow the USACE to respond quickly to areas that become problematic by marking them accordingly.  If adopted on final rulemaking at a future meeting, this amendment will go into effect upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

 

The Board approved the publication of a notice of proposed rulemaking intended to simplify boating regulations.  Upon review of 58 Pa. Code § 107.5, which regulates boating activity on streams less than 200 feet across, it was determined that the section contained redundancies with other boating regulations and is unnecessary.  Under this proposal, the portion of 58 Pa. Code § 107.5 which limits boat operators to slow, no wake speed on streams less than 200 feet across would be eliminated, because this activity is already covered in 58 Pa. Code § 103.3(a).  If adopted on final rulemaking at a future meeting, this amendment will go into effect upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

 

 

Fisheries

The Board voted to approve the addition of 18 stream sections to the list of Class A wild trout streams and the addition of 32 new waters to the PFBC's list of wild trout streams.  A list of waters proposed for wild trout stream and Class A wild trout stream designation can be found on the PFBC website.  All of these additions will go into effect upon publication of a second notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.


The Board voted to approve the addition of 20 stream sections to the list of wilderness trout streams.  A list of waters proposed for wilderness trout stream designation can be found on the PFBC website.  All of these additions will go into effect upon publication of a second notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.


 

Public Access and Real Estate

The Board authorized the acquisition of an easement along Conneaut Creek in Summerhill Township, Crawford County.  Under the agreement, the PFBC will pay $50,000 for the easement which will allow for public fishing, boating, and riparian and fishery management along approximately 4,710 linear feet of stream.  Funding for this easement will be provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP).  Conneaut Creek provides significant steelhead and stocked trout fishing opportunities in the area, and Pennsylvania's Fishing and Boating Access Strategy indicates a need for more access on this stream section.

 

Commissioners authorized the acquisition of an easement along the First Fork of Sinnemahoning Creek in Sylvania Township, Potter County.  Under the agreement, the PFBC will pay $90,000 for the easement which will allow for public fishing, boating, and riparian and fishery management along approximately 8,820 linear feet of stream.  Funding for this easement will be provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP).  The First Fork or Sinnemahoning Creek provides significant stocked trout fishing opportunities in the area, and Pennsylvania's Fishing and Boating Access Strategy indicates a need for more access on this stream section.

 

The Board authorized the acquisition of an easement along the Allegheny River in Roulette Township, Potter County.  Under the agreement, the PFBC will pay $50,000 for the easement which will allow for public fishing, boating, and riparian and fishery management along approximately 4,010 linear feet of stream.  Funding for this easement will be provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP).  The Allegheny River provides significant stocked trout fishing opportunities in the area, and Pennsylvania's Fishing and Boating Access Strategy indicates a need for more access on this stream section.

 

Commissioners authorized the acquisition of an easement along Freeman Run in Keating Township, Potter County.  Under the agreement, the PFBC will pay $105,000 for the easement which will allow for public fishing, boating, and riparian and fishery management along approximately 12,340 linear feet of stream.  Funding for this easement will be provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP).  Freeman Run provides significant wild trout fishing opportunities in the area, and Pennsylvania's Fishing and Boating Access Strategy indicates a need for more access on this stream section.


Special Announcements

The PFBC's remaining quarterly business meetings in 2023 are scheduled for the following dates at the PFBC headquarters located at 1601 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110:

  • July 24-25, 2023
  • October 23-24, 2023

 

Meeting times will be announced at a later date.

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Media Contact:
Mike Parker
Communications Director
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
(717) 585-3076
michparker@pa.gov


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