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Schuylkill River: Continues to return from the dead: wild ST

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Near the headwaters of the Schuylkill River last week where we could find woody cover, we found wild ST. We have found a few here and there over the past decade, perhaps 10-15 at the most in 300 meters , but this was the first time that 50 were captured in 300 meters of electrofishing. What has changed since then? 1. No more raw sewage from the towns...now there is a sewage treatment plant. 2. Acid mine/metals abatement via a 2 yr old treatment system on Silver Creek. In substantial stretch the limiting factor no longer seems to be water quality. Now it is a lack of overhead cover in some areas, which is particularly problematic when combined with low summer flow, and excessive past mining related sediment in other areas.

As for the stretch from Schuylkill Haven to Pottsville, there is a fishable population comprised of fingerling stocked rainbow trout and brown trout, as well as wild browns and wild brooks. Fish are scattered with stretches of nearly trout-free water followed by better stretches with good numbers of fish.

Posted on: 2013/9/19 23:19


Re: Schuylkill River: Continues to return from the dead: wild ST

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Out of curiosity, what is the some what obsessive desire of PFBC in having a trout fishery in Schuylkill?

Posted on: 2013/9/20 2:08


Re: Schuylkill River: Continues to return from the dead: wild ST
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Great news to hear.....and some interesting results with respect to woody cover.

Watching a stream recover through abatement of systemic problems of effluent and acid mine effects and transition to a stream where habitat becomes more important is exciting. In this case, survey results indicate (or seem to indicate) that population growth of brook trout (ST) may now depend largely on holding water and cover.
If it is practicable to do so, I'd think this section would be an excellent candidate for a TU habitat improvement project followed by before and after population surveys.

Posted on: 2013/9/20 8:46


Re: Schuylkill River: Continues to return from the dead: wild ST

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Like Fishidiot, I am glad they were able to find fish. It was my understanding that there times where the river was heavily stocked and more often than not the fish disappeared.

Posted on: 2013/9/20 8:55


Re: Schuylkill River: Continues to return from the dead: wild ST

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Really it's not great news, we need the brookies in the river to be able to survive without the PFBC intervening and stocking over the wild population. If left alone the brookieswill recover.

Posted on: 2013/9/20 9:46
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Re: Schuylkill River: Continues to return from the dead: wild ST

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As a result of the survey I already terminated future stockings of fingerlings from Pottsville upstream to Middleport. They will continue from Pottsville downstream to Schuylkill Haven.

Why would we not want to demonstrate that a river is recovering and that a fish population is being restored, regardless of the species, especially in a river that many believe is still in much worse condition than it really is? And this goes for individuals in key positions in some state agencies who make decisions that could be based on the continuing belief that water quality has not improved and that few if any fish of any species are present. In fact, that just came up last week and will result in the possible design modifications to a project that had the potential to discharge warm mine water into the river. These individuals are impressed that there are wild trout in the river, that there is a fishery, and that we have enough faith in river water quality to stock fish that need to survive multiple years in order to provide a fishery. You see,we are already planning ahead by attempting to make sure that new discharges are cold enough and metals reduced enough to meet the requirements of wild trout populations that with more river improvement may expand in the future ( and provide a fishery without supplementation with stocked fingerlings) .

Additionally, I absolutely want to provide a fishery in a stream that has year around cold water and in one that flows through numerous small towns where many of the citizens have grown up with no local fishery and with the belief that the river is irretrievably polluted. Believe me, people in those towns do a double-take when they see an angler fishing there. Not only is the river providing recreation, but when locals see other locals fishing in the river and learn what they are catching, the fishery becomes an educational tool.

Furthermore, why would we not want to create a fishery ASAP in a river where many man hours and much money has been spent, and continues to be spent, in restoring water quality through various mine acid abatement projects and through recent construction of a sewage treatment plant for towns that had none?

And, if you care only about fishing and not any of the rest, then just the size of some of the brown trout being caught from the river would impress you.

One question I would have for you to ponder is why would anglers want agencies to create a trout fishery in a warm river and not in a nearby one that is cold?

Posted on: 2013/9/20 10:40

Edited by Mike on 2013/9/20 10:57:00
Edited by Mike on 2013/9/20 10:59:05
Edited by Mike on 2013/9/20 11:02:34


Re: Schuylkill River: Continues to return from the dead: wild ST

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2008/8/24 20:26
From Mount Joy, PA
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Quote:

Mike wrote:
One question I would have for you to ponder is why would anglers want agencies to create a trout fishery in a warm river and not in a nearby one that is cold?


That's definitely a rhetorical question!

I lived in Pottsville for a few years and with the lengthy history of mining in that area, it's nice to see that a stream could support wild trout.

On a side note, until I read Dave's reply, I was unsure exactly what "ST" referred to. Salvelinus Trout?

Posted on: 2013/9/20 10:51


Re: Schuylkill River: Continues to return from the dead: wild ST

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Mike, thanks for the good news and info. I wholeheartedly agree that creating a wild trout fishery in any water is a good thing. After spending almost 2 years on this forum, I have simply come to the conclusion that no matter what the PFBC does, some people will be critical of it. I think it is safe to say though that most PAFF members appreciate what people like yourself and your team are doing to make PA fishing even better.

Posted on: 2013/9/20 10:54

Edited by Foxgap239 on 2013/9/20 11:17:03


Re: Schuylkill River: Continues to return from the dead: wild ST

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ST = "speckled trout," another name for a brook trout. That designator for brook trout then allows us to use BT for brown trout.

Posted on: 2013/9/20 10:54


Re: Schuylkill River: Continues to return from the dead: wild ST

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Quote:

wgmiller wrote:
Quote:

Mike wrote:
One question I would have for you to ponder is why would anglers want agencies to create a trout fishery in a warm river and not in a nearby one that is cold?


That's definitely a rhetorical question!

I lived in Pottsville for a few years and with the lengthy history of mining in that area, it's nice to see that a stream could support wild trout.

On a side note, until I read Dave's reply, I was unsure exactly what "ST" referred to. Salvelinus Trout?


Yeah brook trout. I had this conclusion too. BT is brown trout, so obviously referring to brookies as BT doesn't work!

Posted on: 2013/9/20 11:01


Re: Schuylkill River: Continues to return from the dead: wild ST

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Mike,

BT are always more impressive than ST.

Posted on: 2013/9/20 11:21
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Re: Schuylkill River: Continues to return from the dead: wild ST

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Mike, its funny you say people think its in worse than it is, because about 3 weeks ago I asked a friend in Tamaqua about fishing in Middleport. His response was strong enough to completely erase the idea from my head, instead of going and having a look for myself.

Posted on: 2013/9/20 11:46


Re: Schuylkill River: Continues to return from the dead: wild ST

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Most people in the towns have no idea there are trout in the headwaters. I mention it in casual conversation and they had no idea.

I live right at the headwaters and have been seeing wild brook trout for many years. I live above where any stocking took place. I've even spotted a few that I've seen time and time again in the same lies, quickly heading to cover once I'm discovered.

Because of the sewage upgrades and the new water treatment it can only get better.

John

Posted on: 2013/9/20 13:18
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Re: Schuylkill River: Continues to return from the dead: wild ST

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2009/4/21 16:39
From G-side AKA GLENSIDE
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That awesome news. I can honestly say it's probably my favorite body of water to fish in pa. Shad in the spring bass and flatties in the summer. I'll have to try to get up there to fish the headwaters. I've fished the little skuke but never the river for trout. I was really impressed with the holdover population in the little skuke.

Posted on: 2013/9/20 16:08


Re: Schuylkill River: Continues to return from the dead: wild ST

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thanks for the info mike! always informative, and great to have someone with your experience giving new info on pa waterways!

Posted on: 2013/9/20 18:44



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