Anglers are getting more places to fish thanks to agreements in several parts of Pennsylvania, and bow anglers may soon have a new species to pursue.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s Board of Commissioners voted on Tuesday to authorize several agreements with private landowners to allow public fishing.
The agency has approved a property easement along the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in Susquehanna Township, Cambria County. With funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program, the commission will pay $71,000 to the landowner for public fishing and boating access and riparian management rights and fishing on two properties totaling 5,925 linear feet. The West Branch Susquehanna River offers Class A Wild Brown Trout fishing opportunities.
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In northwestern Pennsylvania, two new access zones are being finalized.
Council approved a property easement along Crooked Creek in Springfield Township, Erie County. The agency will use funds from the Erie Access Improvement Program to pay $85,000 to the YMCA in Youngstown, Ohio, for public fishing and boating access and rights to riparian and fishing management on 4,990 linear feet. Crooked Creek is known to be a good rainbow trout fishing area.
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Commissioners also approved a property easement on the Hedstrom property along Elk Creek in Erie County. Using funds from the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program, and pending due diligence, the commission will pay $14,000 to the landowner to obtain public access to fishing and boating and riparian management and fishing rights to 860 linear feet of popular rainbow trout stream.
Scott Bollinger, manager of the statewide public access program, said the three locations are “new access areas for anglers. They may have been open before, but they don’t were not officially open to the public. This ensures that it will be now and in the future because these easements are permanent.”
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Additional funding has been approved to complete a fish cleaning station at Lampe Marina. The Erie Access Improvement Grant to the Erie-Western PA Port Authority Project was awarded $150,000 in 2021, but with the rising cost of supplies, the project will actually cost $250. $000. Council approved an additional $100,000 which includes a concrete slab for a second fish cleaning table, water service, sewage drains, addition of a building roof and an enclosure with side walls to the refrigeration building and a chain link fence.
For those who love bowfishing, the commission has taken the first step to add snakehead to the list of fish that bowfishers can shoot, including carp, suckers and snapperfish. cat. The snakehead is an invasive species found primarily in southeastern Pennsylvania, in places like the lower Delaware basin. They were first found in Pennsylvania in 2002 at Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park near Philadelphia.
The commission recommends that all captured snakeheads be disposed of properly and not released. The measure to include bow fishermen will be studied at a future meeting.
The council also voted on changes to further regulate bow fishing across the state. The amendments will prohibit bow fishing in all special regulated trout waters; make it illegal to shine direct rays of a searchlight from any watercraft onto any occupied building or onto any other watercraft; and limit the noise of generators used on board a boat while bowfishing to a maximum of 90 A-weighted decibels, which is in line with regulations on noise produced by motorboats.
The changes were made in an effort to address lighting and general noise complaints made to agency law enforcement personnel about fishing boats out front.
Brian Whipkey is the outdoor columnist for USA TODAY Network sites in Pennsylvania. Contact him at [email protected] and sign up for our weekly Go Outdoors PA newsletter via email on your website homepage under your login name. Follow him on social media @whipkeyoutdoors.