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Proposed changes to Susky SMB regs.
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2006/9/11 8:26
From Chester County
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PROPOSED REGULATION CHANGE
SMALLMOUTH BASS – SUSQUEHANNA RIVER

The following proposal is an attempt to improve smallmouth bass recruitment on the Susquehanna River. The Susquehanna River is a large river with distinct differences from one section to another. However the one common denominator for all sections of the river is the need to protect the larger female smallmouth (all) bass especially during the period from Oct. 1 through mid June, (post spawn). We already have a closed season from mid April through mid-June. That should remain closed.

Currently there are different regulations for different sections of the river. Most of the river is a 12” – 6 fish limit from mid June until Oct. 1. Then go to a 15” min./4 fish limit Oct. 1 till mid April. The special regulation sections are a 15” min. 4 fish limit from mid June till Oct. 1. They go to an 18” min/2 fish limit from Oct. 1 till mid April.

As has been noted by many these regulations not only encourage, but mandate that the larger fish, (which are females), be harvested. Further, these larger females are being harvested during the period when they are most susceptible to being caught, when they are actively feeding up for the winter.

In order to better protect these females we need to change these regulations. What is being proposed is a slot limit for the entire river system for smallmouth/all bass. For example; all smallmouth/bass between 16” & 19’ must be catch and release, no harvest. Bass under 16” can be taken with a limit of 5 per angler per day. One (1) bass over 19’ can be taken per angler per day. (total 6 per day). These regulations would apply for the entire river for the all periods except the closed period from mid April till mid June.

An exception to these regulations would be made for special use permits such as tournaments. Since fishing tournaments already are conducted with special use permits which allow for “special uses” such as culling, and since all fish caught during a tournament MUST be returned to the water from which they were caught, those participating in a PFBC permitted tournament on the Susquehanna River would be allowed to have bass in their possession only during the hours noted on the issued permit. Harvest fishing tournaments are already unlawful in PA.

These proposed regulations would protect and preserve larger bass all year long. Keeping more of these larger fish in the river will help to continually improve recruitment for the entire Susquehanna River.

Feel free to contact me with your comments, suggestions, and questions.

Norman Gavlick MBA, CPRW
Commissioner
PA Fish & Boat Commission
140 S. Wyoming Ave.
Kingston, PA 18704
Phone 570-283-9675
Fax 570-283-3077
email norm@gavlick.biz
www.fish.state.pa.us

Posted on: 2009/9/29 7:56


Re: Proposed changes to Susky SMB regs.

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2006/10/25 12:30
From York
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That is fine and dandy, but it doesn't address the problem of why the lower river is devoid of smallmouth. Unless they are saying overharvest is the reason for the loss of fish.

Posted on: 2009/9/29 8:20
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Re: Proposed changes to Susky SMB regs.
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While this doesn't go as far as I'd ideally like to see things changed - it's a step in the right direction and I support it.

Posted on: 2009/9/29 12:06


Re: Proposed changes to Susky SMB regs.

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From Bozeman
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I agree that it's a step in the right direction, but I also agree that there is no way (IMO) that harvest caused the collapse.

Posted on: 2009/9/29 12:31


Re: Proposed changes to Susky SMB regs.
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Jay,
I agree.

Afish,
Thanks for posting this news - email sent to Norm.

Posted on: 2009/9/29 12:36


Re: Proposed changes to Susky SMB regs.

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2008/8/2 14:42
From Hershey, PA
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JayL your right over harvest did not cause the collapse.

It has been a lethal combination of bad weather and bad fisheries management.

The lower Susquehanna River, below sunbury, has not been an above average recruitment class for 9 years (including 2009). This is the result of a persistent drought/flood cycle which has caused complete wipe out young of the year smallmouth through either floods or through bacteria outbreaks in extreme low water years...think columnaris bacteria in 2005.

The PFBC failed to adjust the management of the river to meet the failing conditions and allowed the fishery to be used as if all was well, even though many were calling for changes as far back as 2004. Another iss has been the PFBC failed policy of manager the entire Susquehanna river as one piece of water, which it is not. The North branch, West Branch and lower main stem are three complete systems and need to be managed as such.

Excessive tournament pressure particularly during warm water periods, excessive pressure during the spring spawn (out of state guides raiding the beds), and unrealistic harvest quotas have left us where we are.

Without boring you anymore here is just an example of some Young of the Year collection date, which by the way is the PFBC own data.

Here is a graph from New Market (New Cumberland area) 2007 and 2008 measured 0 recruitment also.

Resized Image


Here is the data for the turnpike bridge area. Again there has been no positive class through 2008 and the 09 numbers have not been released.

Resized Image


The data has been hard to get so the charts are hard to make but you can clearly see the issue.

Posted on: 2009/9/30 6:09


Re: Proposed changes to Susky SMB regs.

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2008/8/2 14:42
From Hershey, PA
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I should have noted that my indictment of the PFBC is not as an agency but rather the senior management and policy makers. Obviously the field staff has been doing they're jobs with diligence or we wouldn't have the data and knowledge of the issue which we have.

Also, it is extremely important to note that the above proposed amendment was authored by Commissioner Gavlick. He is an avid tournament angler and President of the Suskie Bassmasters based out of the Wilke-Barre Scranton area. Notice the little exemption he placed in there that gives "Special Use Permitted Events" IE TOURNAMENTS an exemption from the changed regulations???????

matt

Posted on: 2009/9/30 6:44


Re: Proposed changes to Susky SMB regs.
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From Chester County
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Quote:

CPR wrote:
I should have noted that my indictment of the PFBC is not as an agency but rather the senior management and policy makers. Obviously the field staff has been doing they're jobs with diligence or we wouldn't have the data and knowledge of the issue which we have.

Also, it is extremely important to note that the above proposed amendment was authored by Commissioner Gavlick. He is an avid tournament angler and President of the Suskie Bassmasters based out of the Wilke-Barre Scranton area. Notice the little exemption he placed in there that gives "Special Use Permitted Events" IE TOURNAMENTS an exemption from the changed regulations???????

matt


CPR,

Agreed about blaming only the policy makers / management of the PFBC.

The "tournament paragraph" struck me as a little odd / suspect. Your post expalins it. Thanks.

Hopefully the YOY survey of the Susky will be released soon. I fear it's going to be a "read um and weep" report given the high water conditions during this year's spawn.

Posted on: 2009/9/30 7:09


Re: Proposed changes to Susky SMB regs.

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2006/9/9 22:43
From Delaware Co.
Posts: 3511
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I surprised that the PFBC hasn't done what they do best when trying to improve a fishery . Which is stock fish
This is a step in the right direction but thier so far behind already that it will be a long time before the fishery improves . When will the commision learn its better to be proactive than reactive and thier reaction time is horrible .

Posted on: 2009/10/1 2:07
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Re: Proposed changes to Susky SMB regs.

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With a river the size of the hanna, and stocking. Not sure how effective that would be. Plus aren't they pretty much maxed out on hatchery space? Or is that just for trout??

Yeah, Gavlick is a tourny guy.

Posted on: 2009/10/1 9:37


Re: Proposed changes to Susky SMB regs.

Joined:
2009/9/9 13:21
From North Central PA
Posts: 779
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The proposed changes affect the NB Suskie or the entire river and NB and West Branch??? Where the fishing is still good.

Posted on: 2009/10/1 9:38






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