A state transportation funding bill signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett on Nov. 25 benefits the PFBC by directing the portion of the oil company franchise tax attributable to motorboat fuel to the agency.
For the first five fiscal years, the PFBC must use the funding on high-hazard dam projects. Beginning in fiscal year 2018-19, the money can be used for general boating purposes.
Based on the gallons of fuel reported as being used by boaters in 2012 and the various formulas in the bill, the PFBC estimates that it will receive the following amounts:
2013-14 — $3.8 million
2014-15 — $4.5 million
2015-16 — $5.1 million
2016-17 — $5.8 million
2017-18 and thereafter — $6.4 million.
Comments sought on stocking policy
The PFBC is seeking comments from anglers on a proposed change to the agency’s policy on stocking Class A wild trout streams, which represent the best of the naturally reproducing trout fisheries. Currently, the policy prohibits any stocking on Class A waters.
The PFBC has identified 10 waters which meet Class A standards, but are currently stocked and receive heavy angler use. If they were to be designated as Class A, stocking would be prohibited under current policy.
The proposed policy amendment would allow stream sections which are designated as Class A after 2013 to remain eligible for fingerling stocking or preseason-only stocking of adult trout by the PFBC or cooperative nurseries, as long as certain conditions are met.
The stream section must have been stocked during the year immediately prior to its Class A designation, and angler use in the stream section must equal or exceed the 75th percentile, statewide, of angler use for the opening weekend of trout season as documented by PFBC staff.
The PFBC first outlined the proposed amendment at its Oct. 1 quarterly business meeting in Erie. The public comment period started on Dec. 7 and extends for 90 days through March 7.
Comments can be submitted online at http://fishandboat.com/reg398.htm. Scroll down to “Submit a Comment.”
Mentored youth waters set
The PFBC has released the names of the waters which will be included in the 2014 statewide expansion of the popular Mentored Youth Fishing Day program.
“Think of this as a holiday gift for kids,” PFBC executive director John Arway said. “The pilot program this year was such a huge hit with anglers and their friends and family, that we decided to expand the program statewide in 2014.”
The pilot program was launched in 2013 on the Saturday preceding the regional opening day of trout season. More than 3,700 adult anglers registered 5,110 kids for the fishing opportunity.
For the 2014 fishing season, the first Mentored Youth Fishing Day will be held on 11 waters on March 22, the Saturday before the regional opening day of trout season in 18 southcentral and southeast counties. The second Mentored Youth Fishing Day will be held on 29 waters on April 5, the weekend before the traditional opening day of trout season.
Locally, Lake Frances in Nescopeck State Park will be open on the second Mentored Youth Fishing Day on April 5.
Single-year permits available
In response to customer demands, the PFBC has added new permit options for customers who buy multi-year licenses. Beginning with the 2014 fishing license year, anglers can add a single-year Trout-Salmon Permit, Lake Erie Permit, or Combination Trout Salmon/Lake Erie Permits to a multi-year license. Previously, anglers were required to buy a multi-year permit which matched the expiration date of the license.
“Based on customer suggestions, we are improving the multiyear fishing license experience,” said Bernie Matscavage, director of the Bureau of Administration, which oversees sales. “Some anglers said they felt limited in their fishing options because they plan only an occasional trip to Lake Erie and its tributaries or fish for trout periodically. This new option gives anglers flexibility with their purchasing decisions.”
Single-year permits will not affect the base multi-year fishing license, but rather, it will print as a single individual permit. Anglers must fold the printed permit and place it in front of their multi-year base license.
Online angler survey offered
Last year, more than 20 percent of anglers had to change or cancel plans to fish because certain waters or access points were no longer open to them, according to survey results compiled by Southwick Associates, which specializes in helping the outdoor equipment industry, government fisheries and wildlife officials and conservation organizations track consumer activities and expenditure trends.
To make your voice heard by the people and agencies that make decisions about natural resources, spend a few minutes answering questions at AnglerSurvey.com. It’s an easy and fast way for anglers and boaters to provide feedback to make sure leaders have the information they need to support wise policies and programs.
PFBC has booth at Farm Show
Plan to visit the PFBC booth at the 96th annual PA Farm Show, scheduled from Jan. 4-11 at the Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg.
PFBC staff will be on hand to answer questions and to provide various publications. The show is billed as the largest indoor agricultural exposition in the country, with nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibits.
PFBC meeting set
The PFBC will hold its quarterly business meeting on Jan. 22-23 at its Harrisburg headquarters. The meeting is open to the public and interested individuals are encouraged to attend.
Committee meetings typically begin at approximately 10 a.m. on the first day and conclude the morning of the second day, at which time the formal business meeting starts. A formal agenda will be posted to the PFBC website in mid-January.