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Potential consequences for the private stocking

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Sunday, January 30, 2011
By John Hayes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Public water. Then it was restricted private water. Then it was public again and ground zero in a landmark Pennsylvania decision codifying, for practical purposes, a key legal definition used in granting public assess to waterways.

Now that same stretch of the Little Juniata River in Huntingdon County, at the juncture of Spruce Creek in the town that bears its name, is making news again after the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission voted last week to change its designation to "wild trout stream." Such a rating will end the state stocking of trout fingerlings and could have potential consequences for the private stocking of Spruce Creek, which empties into the newly designated stream section.

In 2003, the Fish and Boat Commission, state Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and a Spruce Creek fishing guide sued the upscale Spring Ridge Club and its owner Donny Beaver for advertising a 1.3-mile section of the Little J starting at the mouth of Spruce Creek as a private reserve, and denying non-club members recreational access to the water.

The state won its case in 2006, proving the river was "navigable," which is legally defined as having been used historically as a public highway. In 2008, Beaver dropped his appeal against the state agencies, and the river has since been open to the public to the high water mark near the club's campus of log cabin lodges, storage facilities and administrative buildings.

The club's trout hatchery is several miles upstream on Spruce Creek, a trout stream that winds through Central Pennsylvania farm country and was famously fished by Presidents Carter and Eisenhower. Spruce Creek is almost entirely private, stocked by private clubs and landowners with lunker trout.

Following extensive research on the Little J, including electro-shock surveys in 2010, the PFBC voted to extend the river's upstream "wild trout stream" designation by an additional 19.7 miles downstream, from the Bellwood Sewage Treatment Plant to the Barree Road Bridge.

Kris Kuhn, a biologist and PFBC area fisheries manager, performed the sampling after concerns developed about mortality rates among fingerling trout planted by the agency in the Little J since 1978. Starting in 2007, the agency has monitored Little J stream temperatures at 15-minute intervals, and increased stocking to 30,000 fingerlings annually.

"What we found were low returns of our stocked fingerlings and a high abundance of wild [trout] in that area," said Kuhn. "For years, we believed we were supporting the fishery with the stocking of fingerlings. It's hard to say at this time where [the fingerlings] are going, but likely there is some predation by the wild trout, which are quite voracious."

Kuhn said the privately stocked Spruce Creek lunkers "could be having an impact," on the stocked fingerlings. Migration of the small fish is also possible. "It's a big river with a lot of suitable areas for fish to go," he said.

Prior to last year, the Little Juniata did not rate "wild trout stream" status. The discovery of the large numbers of wild trout in adjacent stream sections led to the commissioners' redesignation of the water.

Kuhn said the PFBC board will propose in April to extend the "wild trout stream" designation to the mouth of the Little J at the Frankstown Branch of the Juniata River.

John Hayes: jhayes@post-gazette.com


Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11030/1121474-358.stm#ixzz1CiXylqQG

Posted on: 2011/2/1 9:30
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Re: Potential consequences for the private stocking

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Awesome. Run the bastards out of town on a pike.

Posted on: 2011/2/1 9:42


Re: Potential consequences for the private stocking
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I suspect those of us happy with this development have the Commonwealth agencies and the Little J River Association to thank. Thanks Bill!

Posted on: 2011/2/1 10:44
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Re: Potential consequences for the private stocking

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Awesome, finally. I love to see stuff like this. One step at a time.

Posted on: 2011/2/1 11:01
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Re: Potential consequences for the private stocking

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Quote:


Sunday, January 30, 2011
By John Hayes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Now that same stretch of the Little Juniata River in Huntingdon County, at the juncture of Spruce Creek in the town that bears its name, is making news again after the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission voted last week to change its designation to "wild trout stream." Such a rating will end the state stocking of trout fingerlings and could have potential consequences for the private stocking of Spruce Creek, which empties into the newly designated stream section.


The article is accurate, overall.

But he is just completely speculating about:

"could have potential consequences for the private stocking of Spruce Creek, which empties into the newly designated stream section."

He doesn't provide any reason to believe that that will happen.

Posted on: 2011/2/1 11:18


Re: Potential consequences for the private stocking
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Yes troutbert is right...Spruce is Class A already and was long, long before the F&BC finally admitted to the Little J truth.....if the F&BC was serious about stocking over class A pops it could shut it down like a steel mill in Pittsburgh....but alas.....ho hum.

Posted on: 2011/2/1 11:21
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Re: Potential consequences for the private stocking

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I've spoken to local WCO's about the stocking of Class A streams, and always get the same response. It is not permitted, but aside from the WCO's being there in person while the stocking is going on, there is no real way to enforce it. All the landowner or in DB's case, the person leasing the land, has to do is say that they did not put the fish in. I guess its really hard to enforce, but most places, once told to quit stocking, do quit stocking. Its a shame that some places/people still feel the need to stock Class A streams. Oh well.

Posted on: 2011/2/1 11:34
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And as far as I'm concerned, it's like I say, drugs are not the problem. Other stuff is the problem.
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Re: Potential consequences for the private stocking

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Wouldn't advertising that the section is stocked be an admission of guilt?

Posted on: 2011/2/1 12:25


Re: Potential consequences for the private stocking

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I thought that too, jay, but no one has been able to do anything with it. I think its because the time involved in issuing citations and courtroom visits and such is just too much. Blair County could use a few more WCO's, I'm guessing if that would happen it may offer them a better chance at ending the stocking activities the private club does on the Little J, and other Class A streams.

Posted on: 2011/2/1 12:37
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And as far as I'm concerned, it's like I say, drugs are not the problem. Other stuff is the problem.
Jerry Garcia


Re: Potential consequences for the private stocking

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The article mentions that the club, presumable SRC, has a hatchery on Spruce. I guess it just has a lot of "escapees"?

Posted on: 2011/2/1 12:37


Re: Potential consequences for the private stocking
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I posted something like this some time ago and I don't think the regulations have changed:

These two regulations, taken together, may prohibit the stocking of fish privately into Class A waters, but it isn't crystal clear:

58 Pa. Code Recreation

§ 57.8a. Class A wild trout streams.
It is the policy of the Commission to manage self-sustaining Class A wild trout populations as a renewable natural resource to conserve that resource and the angling it provides. Class A wild trout populations represent the best of this Commonwealth’s naturally reproducing trout fisheries. These stream sections are managed solely for the perpetuation of the wild trout fishery with no stocking.


§ 71.4. Stocking of designated waters.
It is unlawful to place fish in waters that have been designated by the Commission as catch and release, wilderness trout or wild trout management waters except with the express written consent of the Executive Director or his designee. This section does not prohibit a person from returning fish unharmed to the waters from which they were caught or taken.


If Class A waters constitute waters "designated by the Commission" as "wild trout management waters" and there was not express written permission granted, then private stocking could be prohibited by the PFBC. But I am unaware of anything that suggests that Class A designation is the equivalent of "wild trout management" waters.

Posted on: 2011/2/1 12:39
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Re: Potential consequences for the private stocking

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I was basically told the same thing, too Jack. A person or group can have charges brought against them, if there is enough substantial evidence to warrant doing so. It almost happend with one club here, in Blair County. The WCO stopped several times and spoke to the club Pres., telling him he could no longer stock the stream, since it was considered a Class A Wild Trout Stream. The club Pres. did not listen, at first, but after several more visits from the WCO, and a few letters from concerned citizens he changed his mind. Now, for the past 5-6 years this club has not stocked any fish into the Class A stream. I know that there is no way to stop all stocking on every single Class A stream, but I can dream, and write letters and make phone calls.

Posted on: 2011/2/1 12:51
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And as far as I'm concerned, it's like I say, drugs are not the problem. Other stuff is the problem.
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Re: Potential consequences for the private stocking

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I talked to a WCO about the stocking of Cold Run and the answer I got was it will always be stocked, it's a polical decision.

Posted on: 2011/2/9 20:05
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Re: Potential consequences for the private stocking

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I presume that was taken from the trout management plan? If so that is only policy it is not law. However, if they have a permit they are within their right providing that the permit allows them to stock the LJ.
Many of the Clubs that have hatcheries stock Class A Waters, it's a major issue. Many of the hatcheries are on Class A water.

Posted on: 2011/2/9 20:16
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Re: Potential consequences for the private stocking

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Says its from the Pa Code which is law, no?

Posted on: 2011/2/9 21:43



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