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Notices from the outdoors

Bob Frye
| Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011

Around the Fish & Boat Commission

The Fish and Boat Commission has received national recognition for one of its programs that exists in large part in Western Pennsylvania.

The American Fisheries Society selected the commission's division of fisheries management for an outstanding project award in the research and surveys category of its 2010 Sport Fish Restoration Project Award Program. It recognizes excellence in fisheries management, research and education.

The commission was singled out for its decade-long panfish enhancement program. In place on 19 lakes statewide -- nine of them in the southwest region -- it limits anglers to keeping fewer panfish, all of which must meet minimum size requirements.

The program has made it possible to "increase panfish populations while creating a positive fishing experience for anglers targeting these popular fish," according to the commission.

For example, catch rates of legal-size crappie in trapnets tripled in the treatment lakes over the 10-year period following implementation of the regulations. Catch rates remained unchanged in control lakes, which had remained under statewide regulations, "providing strong evidence that the experimental regulations and not natural variation worked to increase the population."

As for the anglers looking to catch the panfish, on-the-water surveys showed anglers at treatment lakes were more satisfied with the number of fish they caught compared to anglers at control lakes.

The final report of the research project is being reviewed by commission staff with an eye toward applying the project to other waters where it might work. Those reviews are expected to be available by summer.

Around the Game Commission

The Game Commission officially became the 36th member state of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact as of Jan. 1.

Under the compact, anyone who loses his hunting license privileges in Pennsylvania for certain poaching offenses will also lose those privileges in all of the other states that are members of the compact. By the same token, anyone losing their hunting privileges in one of those others states will also forfeit the right to hunt here.

About 1,000 people are added to Pennsylvania's revocation list for hunting and trapping license privileges each year. Of those, roughly 25 percent likelywill make the compact list, too, commission officials said.

The Game Commission is encouraging hunters and trappers to check road conditions at PennDOT's travel information service before heading afield this winter.

The service can be accessed by calling 511 or visiting here . It offers traffic and weather information.

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