Regulations for Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay and the Lake Erie Tributary Streams


Presque Isle Bay

The following is believed to be accurate, but no guarantee is made. For official regulations, consult the Pennsylvania Code and/or Pennsylvania Bulletin. For further information, see the Complete Summary of Regulations provided online by the PFBC.

Starting in 2005 and continuing through 2014, anglers need a Lake Erie Permit to fish for any species in the Lake Erie watershed (including Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay and all Lake Erie Tributaries). Remember that to fish for steelhead, salmon or trout in Lake Erie or the Lake Erie tributaries you will need either a combination Salmon-Trout/Lake Erie Permit, or both a Salmon-Trout Permit and a Lake Erie Permit. Holders of a one day tourist license do not need either permit.

Regulations for Lake Erie, Lake Erie Tributaries, Presque Isle Bay
and Peninsula Waters

Species Seasons Minimum Size Daily Limit
Muskellunge and
Muskellunge Hybrids
Open year-round 40" 1
Northern Pike Open year-round 24" 2
Walleye Jan. 1 through March 15
and May 4 through Dec. 31
15" 6
Largemouth and Smallmouth
Jan. 1 through April 12
and June 15 through Dec. 31
15" 4 (combined)
April 13 through June 14 20" 1
Yellow Perch Dec.1 through March 31 7" 30
April 1 through Nov. 30 None 30
Sunfish, Crappies, Catfish,
Rock Bass, Suckers, Eels,
Carp, White Bass
Open year-round No minimum 50 (combined)
(when taken by hook and line)
Open year-round No minimum 5
(when taken by scuba divers
by use of non-mechanical spears
or gigs at a depth of at least 60 feet)
June 1 through Sept. 30 No Minimum 5
(taken by hook and line)
Open year-round No Minimum None
Trout and Salmon Jan.1 through April 11 15" 3 - (combined), only two (2) of which may be lake trout
April 13 at 8 a.m. through Sept. 2 9" 5 - (combined), only two (2) of which may be lake trout
Sept. 3 through April 10, 2014 15" 3 - (combined), only two (2) of which may be lake trout
Baitfish/Fishbait Open year-round No minimum 50 (combined)
Mussels/Clams Closed Year-Round N/A N/A
Sturgeon Closed Year-Round N/A N/A
Spotted Gar Closed Year-Round N/A N/A
All other species Inland regulations apply Inland regulations apply Inland regulations apply

Lake Erie Tributary Stream Regulations

  • All anglers fishing in the waters of Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay and their tributaries, including waters that flow into those tributaries are required to possess a valid Lake Erie permit or Combination Trout/Salmon/Lake Erie permit.
  • Designated as Nursery Waters are Trout Run and its tributaries, Godfrey Run, Orchard Beach Run, and Crooked Creek (where posted). It is unlawful to fish, wade or possess fishing equipment while in or along Lake Erie tributary streams designated as Nursery Waters.
  • Archery fishing or spear fishing is prohibited in or along Lake Erie tributary streams.
  • From September 3 until the opening day of trout season in April, all Lake Erie tributary streams are closed to fishing from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. on the following day except for Walnut Creek north of Manchester Bridge Road and Elk Creek north of Route 5.
  • It is unlawful to fish from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. on the following day within 50 yards of the mouth of both Trout Run and Godfrey Run while fishing the Lake Erie shoreline.
  • It is unlawful to fish or possess trout or salmon in or along any Lake Erie tributary stream from 12:01 a.m. on April 12 until 8 a.m. on April 13 (32 hours total).
  • Anglers fishing the East and West Basin ponds (Waterworks Ponds, Presque Isle State Park) are not required to possess a Lake Erie Permit.
  • Anglers fishing inland ponds, lakes and reservoirs in Erie County are not required to possess a Lake Erie Permit.

Fishing License Fees

2013 License and Permits are valid from December 1, 2012 through December 31, 2013

Type of License Age Cost
16-64 $22.70 $64.70 $106.70
Senior Resident
65-up $11.70 $31.70 $51.70
Senior Resident
65-up $51.70 N/A N/A
One-Day Resident
(Not valid Mar.15 - Apr. 30)
16-up $11.70 N/A N/A
16-up $52.70 $154.70 $256.70
One-Day Tourist
(Includes all priveledges,
not valid Mar. 15 - Apr. 30)
16-up $26.70 N/A N/A
Three-Day Tourist 16-up $26.70 N/A N/A
Seven-Day Tourist 16-up $34.70 N/A N/A
Trout/Salmon Permit
16-up $9.70 $25.70 $41.70
Lake Erie Permit
16-up $9.70 $25.70 $41.70
Combo Trout-Salmon/
Lake Erie Permit

16-up $15.70 $43.70 $71.70
National Guard &
Armed Forces Reserve

16-up $2.70 N/A N/A

Additional Regulations

Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Virus (VHS) - An infectious fish disease, caused by a variant of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Virus (VHS), has caused fish mortalities in the Great Lakes. The initial list of fish species that are susceptible to VHS includes black crappie, bluegill, bluntnose minnow, brown bullhead, brown trout, burbot, channel catfish, chinook salmon, coho salmon, emerald shiner, freshwater drum, gizzard shad, herring, largemouth bass, muskellunge, northern pike, pink salmon, pumpkinseed, rainbow trout, redhorse sucker, rock bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, white bass, white perch, whitefish and yellow perch.

It is unlawful to transport or cause the transportation of VHS-susceptible species of fish out of the portion of the Lake Erie Watershed in this Commonwealth into other watersheds of this Commonwealth except when certain conditions are met. It is illegal to use VHS-susceptible fish species, fish parts and eggs taken from the Lake Erie Watershed as fishbait in Commonwealth waters outside the Lake Erie Watershed except when the fish are certified as VHS-negative. It is legal to transport dead recreationally caught fish out of the Lake Erie Watershed solely for the purpose of human consumption.

Because of diseases and invasive species, the Commission recommends as a good conservation practice that anglers not transport any live fish out of the Lake Erie Watershed and introduce those fish into other watersheds. For more information on invasive species, please see “Stop Aquatic Nuisance Species.” For more information on VHS, please contact the Commission’s Northwest Regional Office.

Bass Tournaments - It is unlawful to conduct or participate in a fishing tournament for bass on Lake Erie or Presque Isle Bay during the period from opening day of the trout season in April until midnight the first Saturday after June 11.

Walnut Creek Access, Channel and Basin - Boats have the right of way over shore fishermen. Fishing from boats is prohibited in channel and basin. Shore fishing is allowed in the basin ONLY at places and times designated.

Fish Eggs - It is unlawful for a person to sell, offer for sale, purchase or barter any fish parts or fish eggs obtained from fish taken from Lake Erie and its tributaries (or any other Commonwealth waters including boundary waters). This prohibition does not apply to fish parts or fish eggs (1) lawfully taken and sold or offered for sale by holders of a Lake Erie commercial fishing license if the particular species of fish is authorized for taking by commercial licensees, or (2) those obtained from fish taken lawfully from waters outside of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.