This year (2017), there is an increased enforcement on the Susquehanna Flats catch and release fishery. The DNR has officers on shore with spotting scopes watching anglers fishing in the river. Many tickets for 250 dollars each were written to anglers for “Failure to immediately release the fish”… In general any fish taken out of the water for a picture was ticketed. So, with that in mind this is what I suggest to anyone fishing the area.

  • Do not take the fish out of the water, un-hook at boat side
  • If you must take a picture, do it fast and return the fish quickly
  • If your device has video, take a short video of the landing and release of the fish, it may save you if you have to go to court
  • The fish should not be out of the water for more than a minute
  • All hooks on trolling gear must be barbless, and if you are casting plugs they should be barbless also, just to be safe
  • Bait fishermen must use circle hooks on any hook with a gap of ½” or more.
  • Obey all applicable fishery regulations as printed.

This enforcement is necessary because officers have been seeing people keeping the fish out of the water for long periods and handling the fish in a rough manner. There are also fishermen targeting Rockfish above the line. This is not good. Last year a DNR officer was concerned about snagging fish and gave me a hard time for only having the barbs on my plugs mashed down not filed off completely. This is splitting hairs in my opinion. I was given a warning.  Bait fishing without using circle hooks kills a bunch of fish by deep hooking… follow the regulations and treat the fish gently.

Maybe Recreational anglers have got sloppy in the way we handle fish. Maybe guys are fishing too close to the boundary and drawing attention to them. Maybe some guys are fishing over the line and keeping fish out of season.  Maybe guys are snagging fish instead of catching them properly. These are the reasons for the enforcement. The Susky is a wonderful fishery and I plan to fish it often this spring. I hope following these suggestions will keep me from getting fined!


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Timothy Gravely says:

    There are lots of people out there that put these papers out there to benefit there selves. More fish for them. If it’s in the rule book than its real. If notices are on the computer it must be under MDNR. It’s real. Bait shops are not the MDNR. They also go along with this crap to make there shop look important. To get more sales. Only thing happening is they are ruining your fun time. That’s what they want. Do your home work and have a great fishing season. This is just my thoughts. Thank you


  2. JOE YACK says:

    Tackle Shops are important! This is a perfect example of a tackle shop putting out good information to help all anglers in the area stay out of trouble with DNR. This is a change in the way the laws are enforced if you go out there and do what we have done for years it will cost you 250 Bucks! How that transfers to more fish for me I don’t know. I’m not trying to ruin anyone’s fun. On the other hand if one of my customers gets a 250 dollar ticket it will surely ruin his day. The only thing I agree with is that each angler should do his homework and have fun on the water!


  3. David Wallace says:

    Thanks for the reminder . I always like your reports . Hope to get out soon . Ran into alot of dnr on the public game lands . We got checked by the same dnr officer
    3 weeks in a row . He checked our license
    Every time the same hunters everytime.
    and several dnr officer were add . I stay legal . But trying to keep up with the laws
    And changes can be hard . So thanks again and Im looking foward to your fishing reports .


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