Outdoors Notebook: New Fish and Boat Commission president to focus on safety and Susquehanna

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Boating safety and Susquehanna clean-up will rank high on the agenda following last week's election of Steven Ketterer as president of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

A Harrisburg resident, owner of a rescue-products company and current chief of the Harrisburg River Rescue team, Ketterer was appointed the agency's boating-at-large commissioner in 2007. He will serve a one-year term as commission president.

"In the last four years we've come a long way in boating safety, especially getting mandatory education for personal watercraft, and voting to approve mandatory life jackets in cold water," he said. "We have mandatory education for boat owners born after 1982 -- personally I would like to see mandatory education for all boat operators. That would be up to the legislature [but] we could get the ball rolling -- I don't see that happening in the near future."

A Harrisburg boater who still docks on the Susquehanna, Ketterer said he'll continue Fish and Boat's call for state Department of Environmental Protection to list the river as "high priority impaired water," a status that would warrant federal Environmental Protection Agency involvement. Mitigating the agricultural runoff largely responsible for the Susquehanna River's sorry state would likely be costly to farmers.

"But I honestly believe if we can get that river cleaned up in five years, anglers would be very happy with us and recreational tourist dollars would come in," he said.

During his term as president, said Ketterer, he'd like the agency to continue enforcing Marcellus Shale regulations and be creative in offering new licensing packages.

Doe tag update

As of Thursday, 30,744 out of 33,000 doe tags allocated to Wildlife Management Unit 1 B had been sold, leaving 2,256 available to archers. In other WMUs: 1A quota 42,000 (sold 18,335) available 23,665. 2A 59,000 (6,930) 52,070. 2B 67,000 (1,386) 65,614. 2C 50,000 (2,8537) 21,463. 2D 62,000 (34,198) 27,802. 2E 21,000 (16,027) 4,973. 2F 27,000 (22,744) 4,256. 2G 33,000 (27,762) 5,238. Find a complete listing at http://www.pgc.state.pa.us.

Family fishing

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette will host a free Family Fishing Tent at Moraine State Park during the Lake Arthur Regatta Aug. 4-5. Rods, tackle, bait and fishing information provided. Fishing license not required.

Launch closing

The public boat launch on East Branch Clarion River Lake in Elk County will remain closed by the U.S. Army Corps of engineers to accommodate ongoing road construction. The launch will be open today and close again Friday through Monday.

Mentored hunting

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin recently signed a law that increases opportunities for apprentice hunters. The law permits newbies of any age to hunt under the guidance of a licensed mentor at least 18 years old for up to three years before taking a hunter education class.

Bonus catch

Joe O'Connell, 11, and Dan O'Connell, 14, of West Mifflin (photo, left) were reeling in a panfish July 13 on the Shenango River below Pymatuning Dam when a 32-inch muskellunge attacked the hooked fish. The boys horsed the muskie to shore.

Email your hi-resolution digital fish photos for posting at the PG Rod & Gun Club blog and possible publication in print. Include name, phone number (not for publication), age (for minors), town, species, size, date of catch, body of water and optional details, and send to fishingreport@post-gazette.com.



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