Public meetings scheduled to discuss Susquehanna River bass proposal

HARRISBURG, Pa. (March 10) – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has scheduled three public meetings to collect comments on a proposal to remove the closed season on Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass at the middle and lower Susquehanna and lower Juniata rivers.
The proposal – outlined at the January quarterly business meeting – would allow anglers to practice catch-and-release fishing for bass from May 1 through mid-June. However, tournaments would remain banned during the bass spawning period from mid-April to mid-June period, like all other waters of the Commonwealth. Catch-and-release regulations for bass would remain in place throughout the rest of the year.
The meetings will be held from 6-8 p.m. at these locations:

April 17 – PFBC Headquarters
Susquehanna Room
1601 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg PA 17110

April 18 – Columbia Crossing River Trails Center
Columbia River Park
41 Walnut Street
Columbia, PA 17512

April 19 – Susquehanna University
Charles B. Degenstein Campus Center
Benjamin Apple Meeting Rooms 2-5
514 University Avenue
Selinsgrove, PA 17870

Interested individuals may also submit comments online from March 11 through May 10.

The May 1 to mid-June closed season for all bass has been in place since 2012 on approximately 98 miles of the Susquehanna River from Sunbury downstream to the Holtwood Dam and on 31.7 miles of the Juniata River from Port Royal downstream to the mouth. It followed action in 2011 which imposed catch-and-immediate-release regulations on the same sections. Surveys conducted from 2013-2016 revealed increasing numbers of adult Smallmouth Bass compared to severely reduced numbers collected from 2005-2012.

If approved by the Board of Commissioners on final rulemaking, the proposed changes would take effect in 2018.

More information about the health of the Susquehanna River can be found here.

Source: PA Fish and Boat Commission