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Re: Little Lehigh 1/8/08

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Went back and checked the stream flow data for the last 7 years. The flood I saw was in fall 2006 but there were also large floods in 2004 and 2005. (in fact the 2004 flood was the all time and all three floods in the 2000s were greater than Agnes of 72.) If they had the same overflow I observed in 2006 then the stream probably got a shot of additional fish during that period. That may account for the "good fishing" many of us remember. I know that I was just getting into fly fishing in 2005/6 and the fishing on the LL was easy in late 2006. Served as a nice confidence booster. Now I can hardly buy a fish. Of course Lou is going to teach me how to overcome that.

Posted on: 2008/1/11 8:56


Re: Little Lehigh 1/8/08

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I would like to expand on tobasco_joe's comments. Yes, the series of "100 year" floods we had a couple of years ago dumped a tremendous number of brook trout in the stream from the hatchery overflow. During those periods, the fishing was easy and catching lots of the "dumb" fresh stocked brookies was no real challenge. However, the quality fishing I referred to in my post was not during those periods, but those years encompassing the 1980's and 1990's. During those years, I recall very little brook trout population but rather a population of beautifull colored healthy rainbows and browns, both present in very abundant numbers. Hatches were plentiful and even though the fish were picky, quality angling was to be had. In my opinion, the river has tanked is due to a variety of reasons. The siltation now evident is the result of the uncontrolled development in the upper watershed. This leads to a reduction in the familiar hatches. The stretch is way overfished. There has been a tremendous explosion in the popularity of fly fishing, the result of the movie "A River Runs Through It". There is poaching going on, patrolling by the law enforcement is nil. As I said in my earlier post, they should consider creating more special reg areas like the heritage stretch. Several friends who used to fish the river frequently have since gone elsewhere. I think my comments are pretty accurate, I started fishing the Heritage stretch back in the late 1970's. I think I can attest to the degradation that has taken place over the years. Any comments?

Posted on: 2008/1/11 10:11


Re: Little Lehigh 1/8/08

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I've been following this post since its inception, and now I feel I need to respond...I grew up in Center Valley which is 15 minutes away and the LL is where I first learned to fish back in 1984. Every weekend my dad took me out and we fished all day, both days. Back then, the fish were plentiful and very forgiving of my lousy attempts to try and catch them. I remember donning cheap rubber hip boots and starting at the covered bridge and fishing all of the way up to Fish Hatchery Rd.-stopping somewhere in between to eat a bagged lunch with my father. He and I filled up over three photo albums with all of the mug shots we snapped of fish we caught. For me, the weekend would never arrive soon enough. Once I became more proficient, it was nothing to catch 30-40 fish in a day. In high school, I forged notes with my father's signature so I could skip school and take a personal day. During the 80's and early 90's, there was even natural reproduction of all three species of fish. I noticed some changes in the watershed right around 95-96 before I moved away. Since then, I have fished the LL twice, and like most of you, came away stunned at the amount of pressure and relative low density of fish. On the one outing, there was easily 40 fishermen along its banks with other fishermen patiently waiting along one of the cutouts that leads down to a section on the hatchery side. It's not very enjoyable when you have someone staring at you and waiting for you to pack in it so they can have a go at the spot you are occupying...My second trip since 1996 was not much better, aand I vowed that I would not return. The comments presented here come as no surprise and it is discouraging as to the current state of affairs. The LL holds a special place in my heart as I have many fond memories there as a child. I can only hope that something is done so the next generation can experience the things I did along its banks. Nothing put a bigger smile on my father;s face then the sight of me reeling in a fish. If you are a father then you already know...

Posted on: 2008/1/11 11:15


Re: Little Lehigh 1/8/08

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I'd like to see the Heritage section expanded from the golf course down to the covered bridge. Wonder how much greif the bait fishermen would put up at that thought?

Posted on: 2008/1/11 11:50


Re: Little Lehigh 1/8/08

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Does anyone fish outside the special regs area? I often do and find beautiful wild fish, though no big ones so far.

Posted on: 2008/1/11 18:36


Re: Little Lehigh 1/8/08

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I have been away from the site for a couple weeks, been busy hunting instead of fishing, but it seems that I missed a topic that I have some pretty strong feelings about... I was born and raised in Allentown, and though I'm not old enough to remember the REAL "good old days" of the LL, I did start fly fishing there in the early 90's. The fishing was hard when I started (it was never an easy stream), but I have had many great days on the Heritage strech of the LL since. I didn't fish there much while I was away at college, but when I returned in 2003, it wasn't the same stream. Developments had sprung up practically along the banks and the pressure was even worse than before. I can definitely relate to the fellow who said that there were people waiting for people to leave...it was unbelievable. I think that a lot of the problems that the LL has now are a direct result of both heavy pressure and mass development. Has anyone else noticed how every time it rains, the LL is practically unfishable??? While other streams in the area clear up pretty much the next day or never get bad to begin with, the LL is still a mess. I think that all those developments have created more stormwater runoff than the LL can support while being a prime trout fishery. I think that can explain the siltation problems that were referred to in another post. The other problem is the pressure...never seen anything like it... I'd hate to let the cat out of the bag, but doesn't anyone know that there's about a half a dozen other good streams in the area?? I could go on for a while and it wouldn't make much of a difference, especially in the development and runoff situation, but I can and do give the LL a break with a bit of regret... It's a sad story, but I've moved on to different streams. Now that I think about it, I sound like a lot of deer hunters in the state. Given some time and rest, like humans with a cold, nature usually recovers well. Hopefully with some time the LL will see some relief from pressure and maybe get back to seeing some more fish and hatches along the way.

Posted on: 2008/1/11 22:39


Re: Little Lehigh 1/8/08
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Two points of discussion being suggested have been points I have often got entangled in controversy because of my views. They both have to do with excess fishing pressure:

First: if you go to a stream and encounter excess fishing pressure, your presence there is contributing as much as anyone else to the excess pressure-- go elsewhere to relieve the pressure.

Second: often, but not always, excess pressure exists because the people frequenting the stream do not know of anywhere else to fish or think there are no other streams worthy of their attention. The unwritten policy of never mentioning streams that are not "well-known" contributes to this "problem." Sharing information about lesser known streams can spread the pressure.

Have at me.

Posted on: 2008/1/12 7:26
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Re: Little Lehigh 1/8/08
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I’ve fished the LL since the early 80’s. I often travel the NE extention of the Turnpike visiting family up north, and it’s a short ride off the exit. Since there’s no wading all that’s needed to fish is a rod and a box of flies. In the past, I’ve always enjoyed sight fishing on the stream for wary wild trout. The stream has seen its ups and downs with respect to the fish, hatches and pressure. I, like the other posters, have never seen the fish population and the hatches so low, and the angler population so high.

In the past few years I assumed that the water was stocked by the hatchery on the stream since most of the fish caught are no doubt hatchery raised fish. I was not aware that the fish were there because they had escaped from the hatchery during high water. Recently, I believe that the attraction to anglers has been lots of easy fish to catch.

The stream now seems to rise quickly and become muddy even during a moderate rainstorm. I would also guess that to be due to excessive storm drain runoff from development and lack of proper riparian vegetation. Many sections of the stream are choked with silt. The very worst I have witnessed on the LL is on the Wild Cherry Lane section of the stream off Lower Macungie Road. You’ll find yourself knee deep in muck throughout most of that section.

I believe that the metamorphosis is nearly complete. The LL has evolved from an historic wild trout stream teaming with hatches, to yet another marginal stockie stream ruined by development and neglect. IMHO.

Posted on: 2008/1/12 8:27


Re: Little Lehigh 1/8/08

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Quote:

JackM wrote:
Two points of discussion being suggested have been points I have often got entangled in controversy because of my views. They both have to do with excess fishing pressure:

First: if you go to a stream and encounter excess fishing pressure, your presence there is contributing as much as anyone else to the excess pressure-- go elsewhere to relieve the pressure.

Second: often, but not always, excess pressure exists because the people frequenting the stream do not know of anywhere else to fish or think there are no other streams worthy of their attention. The unwritten policy of never mentioning streams that are not "well-known" contributes to this "problem." Sharing information about lesser known streams can spread the pressure.

Have at me.


Don't disagree but the LL Heritage section has some attractions that will always draw a heavy presence of FFer's. It is on city park land which has a large number of parking lots. So accessability is easy. It has manicured lawns along it's course so fighting streamside vegitation is less of a problem than most streams. IMO this is a big factor in winter where some streams require wading to get some casting room. In the spring and early summer it has interesting scenery. Certainly not solitude but oddly quiet for being in a large city.

Posted on: 2008/1/12 11:37


Re: Little Lehigh 1/8/08

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This thread has lost its muster, but it also made me re-activate my PA Fly Fish password.

It is true that the Little Lehigh is not what it once was. This was made evident by a visual assessment conducted on the stream this past year by The Wildlands Conservancy and LLTU. It showed that 56% of the stream is in poor condition. An overview of this assessment can be found on The Conservancy’s website.

Although the stream needs improvement and help from concerned anglers, there is still a tremendous amount of fish in the Little Lehigh. I do not fish the special reg sections on a regular basis, but I do fish its open water about 70 times a year. I can tell you that I have had numerous days this past year when I have caught over 20 fish in a day. Good and bad times on the stream are not dependent upon floods washing hatchery fish into the stream, midges aren’t the only flies that comprise a good hatch, and all three species of trout continue to reproduce throughout different sections of the stream. To the stream’s credit, I saw more spawning beds this fall than I have seen in the past few years.

I will agree that fishing the stream at this time of year is extremely frustrating. It has been that way for as long as I can remember. It seems once the fish are done spawning and the winter “algae bloom” comes there are no fish in the stream. Believe me - this is not the case.

Yes, the stream needs work, but there are plenty of wild fish still thriving in the Little Lehigh. LLTU, The Little Lehigh Fly Fishers, Wildlands Conservancy and some of the 40 people lining its banks on a given day need to join together to improve this fishery.

Obviously, if 40 people are on the banks of the LL they must believe, or know, that there are trout there to be caught. Considering this, it amazes me that people want to “write off” this stream or “move on to” other streams because they can’t catch numerous fish whenever they show up. How many streams do you “write off” or “move on to” before you have nothing left?

If you enjoy fishing the Little Lehigh check out the LLTU website and contact them. Let them know you’re interested in improving the stream. Call Rod at the Fly Shop and do the same.

Posted on: 2008/1/17 14:39


Re: Little Lehigh 1/8/08

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I believe you are referring to some of my previous comments...I wrote off the stream for three reasons. For one, I no longer live nearby. Two, I do not like fishing with crowds. Three, the last two times that I was there, I found my fellow anglers to be very rude. Unless I miss a guess, these reasons are enough to keep like-minded people such as myself away. Since then, I have found much enjoyment hitting lesser known Class A streams where I do not have people burning holes in my back while they wait for me to leave "their spot." You can apply this reasoning while trying to determine why I do not fish the C&R area of Yellow Breeches which happens to be 15 min. from my current residence...

Just so we are clear, when you say "writing off"-this should not be construed as though I feel the fishery is biologically dead as others may be implying because they have a bad outing. There are plenty of fish in the stream and I have rarely had a bad outing-40 fishermen present or just 5....Even if I lived back at my old house, I still would not fish it for the reasons given though I would most likely still be a member of LLTU and helping any way I could as that is what this sport is about. Truth be told, these days you would be more apt to find me on Trout Creek off of Dixon St. if I were still in the area but that is just me and my preference...

Posted on: 2008/1/17 18:59


Re: Little Lehigh 1/8/08
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JeffS wrote:

"Although the stream needs improvement and help from concerned anglers, there is still a tremendous amount of fish in the Little Lehigh. I do not fish the special reg sections on a regular basis, but I do fish its open water about 70 times a year. I can tell you that I have had numerous days this past year when I have caught over 20 fish in a day. Good and bad times on the stream are not dependent upon floods washing hatchery fish into the stream, midges aren’t the only flies that comprise a good hatch, and all three species of trout continue to reproduce throughout different sections of the stream. To the stream’s credit, I saw more spawning beds this fall than I have seen in the past few years."

"Yes, the stream needs work, but there are plenty of wild fish still thriving in the Little Lehigh. LLTU, The Little Lehigh Fly Fishers, Wildlands Conservancy and some of the 40 people lining its banks on a given day need to join together to improve this fishery."



I may be mistaken, but I believe that the LL used to be listed by the PFBC as a Class A wild trout stream at one time. It is now listed as ATW and stocked. (See Lehigh County FBC map). From what I can tell from the fish I catch in many sections of the stream, it is stocked throughout its length with the exception of the Heritage FF section. (See FBC stocking list). In addition to the FBC stocking, I believe that the Queen City hatchery releases fish in each section and/or the stocked fish into the Heritage section of the stream and comprises most of the fish caught.

I can attest that the stream held a large population of wild fish in the 80’s and part of the 90’s, but wild trout, at least in my experience, and based on the stocking list below are few and few between on the LL. The PFBC and the QC hatchery are stocking over wild fish throughout the stream. I agree that the stream needs some TLC, but stocking it certainly suppresses the wild trout population. Does the LLTU support or oppose stocking the stream?


Lehigh County FBC Map

FBC Stocking list

Posted on: 2008/1/18 8:22


Re: Little Lehigh 1/8/08
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JeffS and others,

I reread my post and apologize for the confrontational tone it took. It appears that you are one of the anglers that care about, and do whatever you can to help the LL. Good for you, good for the LL, and good for all those who enjoy fishing there.

My frustration is with those who claim the LL is currently a wild trout fishery when in reality it is an ATW and one of the most heavily stocked streams in PA. Each section is stocked 3-4 times a year; spring and fall by the FBC, and supplemental stockings are done by the QC hatchery operating on the stream. Nearly all the fish caught on the LL are stocked trout. The Heritage (FFO CR) section is not listed on the FBC stocking list, but it is stocked above and below and it is populated almost entirely by hatchery fish.

I do realize that the stream runs through the city park and is primarily used as a put-and-take fishery, and I do support stocking and also sometimes fish on marginal streams that do not have the ability to support wild trout. In PA there are thousands of miles of streams, and yet there are precious few streams that can support wild trout. I believe that the LL is, or maybe was one of them, but those of us that are aficionados of wild trout are in the minority.

Posted on: 2008/1/18 10:21


Re: Little Lehigh 1/8/08
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Quote:

afishinado wrote:
In PA there are thousands of miles of streams, and yet there are precious few streams that can support wild trout.


I do truly admire your enthusiasm for wild trout, but inaccurate statements and hyperbole do not make a good case for the causes you are trying to advance.

The truth is that there are well over 1,000 miles of Class A wild trout waters alone in the Commonwealth.

Posted on: 2008/1/18 10:53
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Peace, Tony


Re: Little Lehigh 1/8/08
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Jack,

Since you brought it up there are actually 2,763 miles of viable wild trout streams (see attached PFBC report), and as you pointed out 1,000 miles of Class A stream miles out of the 45,000 miles of streams and rivers in PA. Roughly 6% of PA's streams contain wild trout and 2% are class A.........a "precious few" in my book.

We should try to hang on to every mile of wild trout water and work to expand wild trout populations to more streams - IMO.




PFBC report

Posted on: 2008/1/18 11:19



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