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Dr_BlueDunFebruary 5th, 2009, 2:01 pm
Long Island NY

Posts: 10
Each and every time I come to these pages---years as a lurker, more recently a poster---I have a rather simple question. As a NYS resident and a Pennsylvania stream frequenter---what are the laws concerning harvesting or collecting insects for study? I seem to remember that this was a plain and simple no-no with legal & financial consequences. I suppose the question should go to Jason directly, but I would like to know. It's similar to the quandary that deals with feathers collected by fly-tyers---the Federal Laws are quite specific regarding of certain feathers---I get lot's of feathers from wild turkeys and other wildfowl i.e. Peacocks, partridge, pheasant, Wood Duck---most of these are game birds that I or a friend have shot--but I remember an Bald Eagle feather I found alongside a stream in Alaska which my guide warned me about even picking it up , what with the Native police patrolling the area.
"Doc"
WbranchFebruary 5th, 2009, 2:29 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2502
I'd bet if you perused the Fish & Game web sites of those two states you could locate an answer to your questions.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
RleePFebruary 5th, 2009, 2:38 pm
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 380
This is from memory, so don't hold me to it.

I think it is illegal to collect invertebrates in any special regulated fishery in the Commonwealth. Otherwise, it is permissible to take up to 50 individuals in aggregate of species (32 cased caddis larvae, 17 hellgrammites and a partridge in a pear tree) in a day.

I think..

But like Matt said, check the web sites.

One thing I don't think likely is that Federal law would apply in these settings unless there was an endangered/threatened species at issue or in a waterway with multi-state mileage or shoreline. And even then, the Feds have bowed way out of these matters and left it to the states. Usually Federal law on these sorts of things only becomes primary or applicable when there is interstate travel, like with waterfowl or coastal waters species and issues.

WbranchFebruary 5th, 2009, 2:50 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2502
I Googled "collecting insects in PA waterways" and got many hits. Here is one that is particularly appropriate. It clearly stated that you need a valid fishing license to do any collecting. I didn't read the article but I'd bet it provides much detail.

http://www.fishandboat.com/education/collinfo.htm

Here is an excerpt of a NYS law -

"License to Possess and SellStatutory Authority: ECL 11-0515 and 6 NYCRR Part 175 A License to Possess and/or Sell is issued to qualified individuals to possess fish, wildlife, shellfish, crustaceans or aquatic insects and allow sale. This license will be issued only for the following purposes: Scientific, Exhibition, or Propagation."
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
SofthackleFebruary 5th, 2009, 6:21 pm
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Hi,
I think you need a collectors permit in NY as well. Check with your local DEC office on how to get one. Years ago, the cost was about $10. Who knows what it is, now.

Mark
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
TroutnutFebruary 5th, 2009, 6:37 pm
Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2541
Hi Doc,

Softhackle is right. NYS requires a collector's permit. I had one for my work there.

Some states have really confusing regulations. Wisconsin, for example, seems to prohibit bug collecting in their public regulations book, but the actual statutes allow it. My question had to go up to a pretty high level in the WDNR to find somebody who knew the answer. It's just not something many people ask about.

All of these prohibitions are extremely stupid. They're written for a good purpose -- to prevent people from disturbing streams by collecting large numbers of insects to sell commercially as bait -- but they're written in a sloppy way that prohibits scientifically curious anglers from studying their hatches. That's either because the broad wording makes the law easier to enforce for real violations, or because the legislators were idiots. Probably both.

There is absolutely no reasonable ecological justification for preventing anglers from collecting a few bugs here and there.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
KonchuFebruary 5th, 2009, 7:19 pm
Site Editor
Indiana

Posts: 496
This is an interesting and tricky issue. I've been to a place where "a few bugs here and there" would have been a problem because of the disturbance to extremely sensitive freshwater mussel habitat that would have been underfoot. Needless to say, I moved on. Sometimes, these regulations do have reasons. As Jason mentions, though, I think that much of the time they were not put into place with the scientific or even casual collector in mind, but instead those who might dredge a stream for bait for sale.

There is one place that I was permitted to collect, but the permission was contingent on my not collecting within sight of others.
FalsiflyFebruary 5th, 2009, 8:12 pm
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 656
From the 2008-2009 Wisconsin Trout Fishing Regulations and Guide:

And I quote:
“It is illegal to remove insect larvae from any trout stream or spring hole tributary to a trout stream for use or sale as bait except that a licensed angler may take insect larvae or nymphs from trout streams by hand during the open trout season for their immediate personal use as bait in the stream from which taken and all such larvae or nymphs must be returned to the stream prior to leaving the stream from which taken. By hand means no use of small seines or nets or other devices.

So let’s pick this apart.

“It is illegal to remove insect larvae from any trout stream or spring hole tributary to a trout stream for use or sale as bait”

So, I am prohibited from removing any insect larvae up to this point for the use of sale or bait.

No mention of pupa or adults.

Ok, I can collect specimens for personal use as long as they are not used for sale or bait.

“except that a licensed angler may take insect larvae or nymphs from trout streams by hand during the open trout season for their immediate personal use as bait in the stream from which taken”

So, for use as bait, I may only capture them by hand, during the open trout season, for my immediate personal use as bait, but only in the stream from which taken.

But, for use as any other means, I may capture them by any means, and I don’t have to be a licensed angler nor do they have to be returned to the stream thus taken.

“By hand means no use of small seines or nets or other devices.”

This only pertains to an angler using larvae or nymphs as bait.


Am I correct, or do I need a lawyer?

Falsifly
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
MartinlfFebruary 6th, 2009, 10:52 am
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2907
Thousands of school children throughout the U.S. are sent out to capture specimins for science class, and I don't imagine the bug police go after them with any regularity. Am I correct in assuming that in most circumstances someone collecting a few bugs for their personal analysis is most unlikely to run afoul of the law in terms of actually being noticed, apprehended, and fined?
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
KonchuFebruary 6th, 2009, 2:55 pm
Site Editor
Indiana

Posts: 496
I've been noticed many times and questioned. usually after explaining what I'm doing the kind officers just wish me luck. I've only had one time when someone got a little hot with me about collecting, but that was in a national park. I had a permit, so I'm not sure what the problem was.
MartinlfFebruary 6th, 2009, 9:13 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2907
Interesting. I suppose it varies state by state. I've only had my fishing license checked once in about forty years of fishing, much less had an officer interested in what bugs I might be catching.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Shawnny3February 7th, 2009, 5:50 am
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
My guess is that you'd be much more suspicious-looking if you weren't carrying a rod but were out there with only professional bug-sampling equipment. I, too, have only had my license checked once (though in considerably fewer years than Louis - sorry, buddy). I was fishing standing with a friend next to a marina in a lake, and an officer floated up to us in a boat and asked to see our licenses - it felt a bit odd. It's never happened to me in Pennsylvania, even though I fish some very heavily trafficked areas. I've been guilty a few times of fishing with an expired license just after New Year's, but I doubt I'll ever be apprehended for it, because I'm usually the only one stupid enough to get out of his car and into the water. Besides, the fishing itself in January is probably punishment enough for my sins.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
SandflyFebruary 10th, 2009, 5:36 pm
tioga co. pa.

Posts: 33
it is illegal to collect invertebrates in any special regulated fishery in the Commonwealth. Otherwise, it is permissible to take up to 50 individuals in aggregate of species (32 cased caddis larvae, 17 hellgrammites and a partridge in a pear tree) in a day.

This is correct for Pa. I stopped collecting and just take pics on the stream any more. I might bring a few home to take better pics, sometimes.
sandfly
shop owner
N.J.B.B.A. #2215
Tiadaughton T.U. 688
I didn't Escape------They gave me a day pass !
FlagsFebruary 13th, 2009, 8:26 am
Northwestern Pennsylvania

Posts: 14
Here is a link to a Penn State entymologist who collects all of the time. Maybe he could answere some of your specific questions. His name is Dr. Masteller. ( a very pleasant and affable fellow )

http://paaquaticfliesrus.bd.psu.edu/webroot/index.asp
Regards:

Flags
Stay focused on what is important in life...........
TroutnutFebruary 13th, 2009, 10:36 am
Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2541
Wisconsin: “It is illegal to remove insect larvae from any trout stream or spring hole tributary to a trout stream for use or sale as bait except that a licensed angler may take insect larvae or nymphs from trout streams by hand during the open trout season for their immediate personal use as bait in the stream from which taken and all such larvae or nymphs must be returned to the stream prior to leaving the stream from which taken. By hand means no use of small seines or nets or other devices."


Falsify, the Wisconsin regulations pamphlet is very poorly written, and it's not actually the law. The law is obscure statutes somewhere. I haven't actually seen it, but Steve Ave'Lallemant (the relevant expert higher-up in the WI DNR) looked into it for me and determined that personal scientific collection is perfectly legal. That was after one or two low-level DNR people got curious about what I was doing and reported me, based on the regs booklet, and there was a bit of confusion around it. From then on I carried a copy of my email from Steve when I was collecting nymphs, though I never ended up having to show it to anyone.

Am I correct in assuming that in most circumstances someone collecting a few bugs for their personal analysis is most unlikely to run afoul of the law in terms of actually being noticed, apprehended, and fined?


I've never heard of somebody actually being prosecuted for small-scale bug collecting.

I, too, have only had my license checked once (though in considerably fewer years than Louis - sorry, buddy).


Wow, PA must be really lax on that. I've been checked many times in Missouri, Wisconsin, and New York. Never had somebody check my bug license, though.

it is illegal to collect invertebrates in any special regulated fishery in the Commonwealth. Otherwise, it is permissible to take up to 50 individuals in aggregate of species (32 cased caddis larvae, 17 hellgrammites and a partridge in a pear tree) in a day.


Boy, that could lead to an exciting day in court:

Defense: "Your honor, the defense calls Konchu to testify that these 54 Drunella nymphs are in fact comprised of 2 separate species. Nymphs #16-22, 19, 48-49, and 51 are plainly D. lata."

Prosecution: "Your honor, those two species were classified as synonyms in Somebody et al 2001, meaning there are in fact more than 50 of a species."

Konchu: "The status of D. whatever as a separate species was restored in 2008 by Somebody else et al."

Judge: "I instruct the jurors to disregard the conclusions of Somebody et al 2001."

Konchu: "However, I have a paper coming out in 2009 that suggests they are in fact synonyms..."

Defense: "Bastard!"

Konchu: "Oops."

Defense: "In that case, your honor, we contend that 17 of the nymphs are of a premature instar, and their abdominal tubercles are not developed well enough to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they belong to D. whatever."

Judge: "Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz........."

Defense: "Now, about those chironomids..."
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
CrenoFebruary 13th, 2009, 4:31 pm
Grants Pass, OR

Posts: 295
Jason - I love it! But I will point out that collecting in a national park can indeed result in a fine if not prosecution - at least $45 - and the two, thoroughly stunned if not dead, critters had to be placed back on the ground. At least they were adults.
creno
KonchuFebruary 13th, 2009, 5:28 pm
Site Editor
Indiana

Posts: 496
I plead the Fifth.

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