PA Summary Book text graphic
Requirements & Law
RODS, LINES, AND HOOKS – An angler may use a maximum of three lines fished either by rod or hand when fishing for gamefish, baitfish or both. An exception to this rule exists for those fishing through ice in winter (see Ice Fishing Equipment below). On open water (not covered by ice), it is unlawful for a person to fish with more than three fishing rods at a time. There is no restriction on the number of hooks used on each fishing line. All rods, lines and hooks shall be under the immediate control of the person using them.

SNAGGING HOOKS may not be used or possessed while in the act of fishing. A snagging hook is a device designed or modified to facilitate the snagging of fish and may be a hook with a single barb, weighted on a shank below the eye and above the barbs; or a hook otherwise designed or modified to make the snagging of fish more likely than it would be with a normal hook.

ICE FISHING EQUIPMENT – It is unlawful while ice fishing to use more than five fishing devices, which may consist of rods, hand lines, tip-ups or any combination. Each device shall contain a single fishing line with no restriction on the number of hooks used for fishing, except when fishing in the Pymatuning Reservoir where no more than three hooks shall be attached to each line. Holes cut in ice may not exceed 10 inches between the farthest points as measured in any direction. All lines, rods or tip-ups shall be under the immediate control of the person using them. On Fish & Boat Commission lakes, shelters or shanties must be removed when through fishing for the day.

GAFF OR LANDING NET – A gaff or landing net is permitted to assist in landing fish caught using a lawful device. Nets of all types can be no larger (excluding the handle) than 4 feet square or 4 feet in diameter. The use of a cast net or throw net in any Commonwealth waters except waters listed at are a violation of the Fish and Boat Code. These waterways require permits. Cast net and throw net permits are available online at or at any license-issuing agent. It is unlawful to use any type of net or seine to catch or take gamefish.

SPEARS OR GIGS – Spears or gigs may be used to take ONLY carp, suckers and catfish. Spears or gigs may not be mechanically propelled, may not have more than five barbed points and may not be used in stocked trout waters.

BOW AND ARROW (including compound bows and crossbows) may be used for taking ONLY carp, suckers and catfish on all Commonwealth waters, day or night, with the following exceptions:

  1. bow fishing is strictly prohibited in stocked trout waters during the closed season and
  2. bowfishing is strictly prohibited in special regulation trout waters.
Summary Book Index