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Schuykill River SMBs
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Here is a link to a just published survey of the Schuykill River. It's a survey for shad, but the table listing the species of fish surveyed and the last paragraph mentions that two of the three surveys showed zero SMBs found (Black Rock and the Old Plymouth dam areas).

Same results, actually only 1 SMB found with a survey in the Pawlings Road bridge area in the last year or two.

While the Skuke was never a great river for smallies, it was at least decent not that long ago. SMBs are extinct in large areas of the River in the lower sections.

Comments? Theories? Stories?

Posted on: 2012/7/14 8:04


Re: Schuykill River SMBs
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Yep - I saw that too and just shook my head.

I'm not a Skuke regular so really don't know what I'm talking about. If I had to hazard a guess.... I'd imagine that sewage from Reading and predation from the now numerous flathead catties may have something to do with it(?).

Posted on: 2012/7/14 8:09


Re: Schuykill River SMBs

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It has plenty of habitat crayfish and bugs . I believe its probably another perfect storm scenario. With polution flatheads and the loss of wintering areas since the dams where removed .

All the catfish are thrieving I was fishing it this week at night fall and the caties were patrolling the shallows like a bass would picking off sunies and crayfish . It was almost like a movie the way you could see the wake of there bodies speeding threw the water .

Posted on: 2012/7/14 8:23
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Re: Schuykill River SMBs

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There are so many giant crawdads in the Perkiomen that I find it hard to believe there is that great a lack of food. I didn't see but one nice fish the last time I floated the lower Perk. I see no reason to return.

Posted on: 2012/7/14 10:42


Re: Schuykill River SMBs

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I can't believe that a warm water fishery like the Skuke has such a low SMB population. I do know from friends, that above Reading is an ok fishery. Water is really low right now up that way though.

Posted on: 2012/7/14 13:46
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Re: Schuykill River SMBs

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We were in the process of surveying the Schuylkill R SMB YOY last week. Have three of 10 sampling sites remaining. Preliminarily, reproduction once again appeared to be much better from Kenilworth area upstream to Port Clinton than in downstream areas (Royersford/Spring City, Valley Forge, and Bridgeport). Sedimentation appears to be the problem in the lower river, and the reappearance of that problem and its impact on a smallmouth populaiton in a river segment was noticed by my crew and I as early as the mid-1980's on the Norristown Dam pool. The problem has just progressed over time. When you sample 10 sites over a period of a few days over much of the river's length the changes in habitat (lack of habitat/sedimentation effects) in the lower river are obvious. It's not easy to find much rock or rubble anymore; the bottom is largely barren stretches of sand and fine gravel, with only a small amount of rubble or an occasional small boulder.

Posted on: 2012/7/14 22:25


Re: Schuykill River SMBs
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Quote:

Mike wrote:
We were in the process of surveying the Schuylkill R SMB YOY last week. Have three of 10 sampling sites remaining. Preliminarily, reproduction once again appeared to be much better from Kenilworth area upstream to Port Clinton than in downstream areas (Royersford/Spring City, Valley Forge, and Bridgeport). Sedimentation appears to be the problem in the lower river, and the reappearance of that problem and its impact on a smallmouth populaiton in a river segment was noticed by my crew and I as early as the mid-1980's on the Norristown Dam pool. The problem has just progressed over time. When you sample 10 sites over a period of a few days over much of the river's length the changes in habitat (lack of habitat/sedimentation effects) in the lower river are obvious. It's not easy to find much rock or rubble anymore; the bottom is largely barren stretches of sand and fine gravel, with only a small amount of rubble or an occasional small boulder.


Thanks Mike. You've been saying that for a long time. I've taken note of this (sedimentation) when fishing the River and it IS obvious, as you stateabove. There is very little prime or even marginal habitat (rocks, rubble with a decent flow) left in the River for SMBs to spawn and live.

Second, IMO, I believe water quality is an issue. The Schuykill's (as well as many other rivers and streams in PA) sewage treatment plants are overtaxed with all the development in recent decades. Nitrogen content from effluent??

Third, I don't think the appearance of flatheads has helped boost the population of any species of fish in the River.

Quite frankly, the overriding issue IS habitat; even if there were no flatheads or poop in the river. No easy solution.

Posted on: 2012/7/15 7:54


Re: Schuykill River SMBs

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could always add boulders in sections...plus the skuke was never a smb river historically...I might be wrong but always felt that a good place for old concret slabs was to build habitat...its limestone for one..

Posted on: 2012/7/15 8:31
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Re: Schuykill River SMBs

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I fish areas in the lower river that have plenty of structure but no smallies and plenty of cats . What kind of habitat do the cats needs top spawn ?

Posted on: 2012/7/15 9:55
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Re: Schuykill River SMBs

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Don't worry about flatheads, or as we down South call them, mudcats. They aren't big on eating smallies. Too much effort to catch one. To wit, the best mudcat rivers in VA are also the best smallie rivers, the New and the James.

Posted on: 2012/7/16 8:08


Re: Schuykill River SMBs

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IMO the SMB are not in dire need of habitat on the Skuke. There are areas that have decent structures and habit to sustain SMB populations. The larger problem IMO is habitat for forage. The crawfish, darters and other rock dwelling creatures have a hard time surviving/reproducing with sediment over taking, hydrilla (sp?) and other oxygen depriving elements.

Put on top of that raw sewage leaks/dumps and chemical leaks into the river, you have the downward turn for the SMB cycle.

Posted on: 2012/7/17 10:57


Re: Schuykill River SMBs

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There is no shortage of forage in the Schuylkill, as our surveys once again revealed in the past week. As for crayfish, they are abundant, although the native crayfish will gradually be replaced in large part by introduced rusty crayfish, which are now fairly widely spread in the Schuylkill. Additionally, there is no shortage of tessellated darters, which thrive in sandy environments. If anything, the portion of the sedimentation comprised of sand is increasing tesselated darter habitat. Additionally, we are seeing more shield darters in the Bridgeport area. As for sewage treatment, it largely appears to be better now in the Schuylkill drainage basin than it was in the 1980's. And, with respect to aquatic plants, the river has had its choked sections going back to at least the early 1980's.

Posted on: 2012/7/17 22:07


Re: Schuykill River SMBs

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If you talk to the guys at TCO Fly shop, there on the rise again. They have pics on their blog of some of their float trips down the skuke.

Posted on: 2012/7/17 22:08
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Re: Schuykill River SMBs

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TU, most of if not all the trips he takes are on the upper section above Reading.

Posted on: 2012/7/17 23:56
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Re: Schuykill River SMBs

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oh so they don't float past Reading? Nothing down past that way??? I live right near that spot and wont to hear some good news?

Posted on: 2012/7/18 15:15



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