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Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission  Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
Update from the PFBC Big Spring Meeting

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Published by David Weaver [Fishidiot] on 11/07/2012 (2059 reads)
The meeting was well attended and the attendees included John Arway and many of the PFBC staff including the Area Fisheries Managers involved with this project. Also present were many prominent names in the Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Community who you would recognize as well as local folks and some Big Spring old timers. The meeting presented the plan for a new restoration section in 2013 and proposed some changes for the future. Among the audience, the main source of disagreement, not surprisingly, dealt with the issue of what (if anything) should be done about the rainbows. Here's the short version of the meeting:

Big Spring Creek-PFBC biologists presented a ppt show describing the flow, cover, and depth changes in the section restored in 2010. The stream is now narrower, deeper, and slower, and has more non-vegetation cover and thus more "optimal" habitat for both brook and rainbow trout. The gravel used to block in the logs in this section is being used by rainbows for spawning and, in the future, smaller gravel should be used as this might reduce rainbow spawning success. Also, dissolved oxygen levels at the lower end of the FFO section and downstream into the ATW section are lower than optimal for wild trout.

-PFBC ppt show describing the electrofishing results of the section that was restored in 2010 and the sections used as control. After the 2010 restoration, brook trout numbers increased (roughly doubled) and rainbow numbers increased in the restored section by a greater margin (roughly four fold). These were the results revealed in the 2011 fish survey. The recent 2012 survey of these same sections revealed that rainbows, although still more numerous in the restored section, had declined a bit in 2011-2012. Brook trout numbers continued to rise in this section and in the upstream control section from 2011 to 2012.

-Over the entire course of the FFO section of Big Spring, as of autumn 2012, the trout population looks roughly like this: In the upper reaches - essentially the ditch down into the upper part of the restored section - now is about 60% brook trout. From the lower section of the restored area down to the bottom at Nealy Rd, rainbows are about 94% of the population.

-For the future, the PFBC management goal with respect to trout population.....is to get to a ratio of 70% brook/30% rainbow in the entire FFO section within five years (I believe this is numbers, not biomass). There are currently no plans to build a barrier and remove rainbows by electrofishing (these will be reconsidered in five years if necessary). To reduce rainbows in the next few years, it has been proposed to allow harvest in the FFO section. I wish to emphasize that this is a proposal still subject to approval by the commissioners. There is currently no change in the fishing regulations on BS. However, in the future, the FFO section may allow the harvest of several rainbows over 7 inches. This section will continue to be managed as FFO without bait or spin fishing.
This was the basic content and thrust of the meeting.

After the PFBC presentation there was considerable discussion and disagreement among the audience, mostly regarding the 'bows vs. brookies debate. I'd guess that the comments were about evenly divided between those wanting to leave the rainbows alone and those who feel they're a threat to brookies and should be removed or reduced. The meeting concluded with Arway's comments thanking the attendees and reminding us that the PFBC is still receiving comments and eager to hear your opinion on Big Spring.

Here is a PDF of the PFBC slide deck from the meeting. - Thanks just_jon
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 10/22/2012 (999 reads)
PFBC to Host Informational Meeting on Big Spring Creek Habitat Project
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is inviting anglers and the general public to an informational meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 30, at Big Spring High School in Cumberland County to learn more about the agency’s habitat and fisheries management plan for Big Spring Creek.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and end at 7:30 p.m. The meeting is free and plenty of parking is available at the school, located at 45 Mount Rock Road, Newville, PA 17241.

“The purpose of the meeting is to present the agency’s habitat management plan for Big Spring Creek using funds provided by the PA Turnpike Commission as mitigation for environmental impacts associated with one of their planned construction projects in Cumberland County,” said Charlie McGarrell, the PFBC biologist leading the project. “We will describe the overall habitat project and will discuss how it will improve the overall fishery of the creek. After the presentation, the public will have the opportunity to ask questions.”

The Turnpike Commission has provided $586,000 for the habitat project, which will be located downstream of a large habitat project completed in 2010 on the creek. The project is currently in the design phase. Construction of the project is expected to begin by next summer and be completed by fall 2013.

For me details and information please visit the PFBC website.

Thanks to troubert for the notice
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 11/29/2011 (2939 reads)
green drake Photography is a great passion for many anglers. Everything from fish porn to some really exceptional stream photos show up on Paflyfish. I spend a third of my time fly fishing with a DSLR hanging around my neck..

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s (PFBC) once again is holding their annual photo contest. There are three judged categories with prizes to boot. The category “Anglers and Boaters” invites photographers to participate with submissions showing themselves and family members on the water. “Waterway Scenics” invites inspiring environmental images of your favorite Pennsylvania stream or lake. The category “Reptiles and Amphibians” encourages photographers to capture a moment when they might see a frog, toad, snake, turtle, or salamander in their native habitat.

The PFBC annual photography contest has recently extended its deadline for entries to December 31. Past winners have seen their works featured in Commission publications such as Pennsylvania Angler & Boater magazine and enlarged as visuals for PFBC sportshow exhibits.

To obtain an entry form, complete with contest rules and past winning entries, visit http://fishandboat.com/anglerboater/photocontest/00photo.htm
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 10/17/2011 (3004 reads)
On September 30, 2011 Spring the Creek Canyon Cooperative Management Coalition unveiled a jointly managed environmental area of 1,800 acres in Benner Springs, Pennsylvania. The canyon is now jointly managed by Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, the state Department of Corrections, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Pennsylvania State University and Benner Township. Originally closed to the pubic as a part of the Department of Corrections' Rockview State Correctional Institution is now open to hikers, hunters and anglers.

For anglers this provides access to a stretch of water from the Benner Springs Hatchery downstream to the Fly Fishermen's Paradise. The new parking lot and extended trails provide easy access to these new waters for some. Actually many would sneak in although technically off limits in the past.

The new waters on Spring Creek are a great addition to some of the finest trout waters in Pennsylvania. I really enjoyed the new stretch as I felt I was a little more removed from the population of Happy Valley. Red squirrels, hawks and the canyon take you off the road and connect you a little closer to nature.

More pictures, videos and a canyon map can be found on the PFBC dedication page here. More photographs from Dave Kile have been posted on the Paflyfish Facebook fan page here.


New parking lot



Ron Kohlman of Indiana, Pennsylvania in the Spring Creek Canyon.








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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 02/10/2011 (2062 reads)
Public Meetings Scheduled to Receive
Comments on Draft River Management Plans

susky"The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has scheduled seven public meetings to receive comments about the agency’s draft river management plans for the Susquehanna River, the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh and the Delaware River.

At each meeting, PFBC biologists will describe the history of fish management on the particular river, identify the factors affecting the biological health of the river, prioritize the future needs relative to fisheries management, and discuss the proposed future plans. The public will then have the opportunity to provide brief comments.

The meetings are free and the public is encouraged to attend and share their comments with PFBC staff.

An executive summary of each draft river management plan will be available on the PFBC website several days in advance of the meetings. The public can view the executive summary and also submit comments online by following the links below next to each plan.

Dates, Times and Locations:

Susquehanna River - www.fishandboat.com/SusquehannaRiverPlan.htm
• Feb. 12 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., PFBC headquarters, Harrisburg.
• Feb. 16 from 6:30 – 9 p.m., Langone Center, Forum Room, Bucknell University, Lewisburg.
Three Rivers - http://www.fishandboat.com/ThreeRiversPlan.htm
• Feb. 19 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Doubletree Hotel, Monroeville.
• Feb. 22 from 6 – 8 p.m., Franklin Public Library, Franklin.
• Feb. 24 from 6 – 8 p.m., Conference Rooms 301 and 302, Stover Campus Center, Waynesburg University, Waynesburg.
Delaware River - www.fishandboat.com/DelawareRiverPlan.htm
• March 2 from 6 – 8 p.m., Northampton Community College, Room 220, Center Building, 3835 Green Pond Road, Bethlehem.
• March 3 from 6 – 8 p.m., Hampton Inn at Matamoras, Main Conference Room, 122 Westfall Town Drive, Matamoras.
The mission of the Fish and Boat Commission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities. For more information about fishing and boating in Pennsylvania, please visit our website at www.fishandboat.com.

photo by jakesleakywaders
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Published by David Weaver [Fishidiot] on 10/07/2010 (4953 reads)
By Dave Weaver (“Fishidiot”)
October 6, 2010

For many of us in the Pennsylvania smallmouth bass fly fishing community, the decline of the bass fishery in the lower Susquehanna River, and to a lesser degree, the lower Juniata River, has been a source of sadness, concern, and hoped for recovery. While the cause of this decline has been intensely studied by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) and other agencies - and these studies smallmouthcontinue, no clear cause can yet be identified. The current studies suggest low dissolved oxygen and low, warm water may be at least partially the culprit in the failure of young bass to survive. Many frustrated anglers continue to debate different theories and possible causes among themselves (quite evident on the forums here on PaFlyFish). Another topic for debate revolves around what measures to implement to limit the decline and perhaps expedite the recovery of bass in these sections of river. Among the most common suggestions has long been implementation of catch and release regulations.

This week the PFBC led by their new Executive Director, John Arway, has announced this new catch and release policy will be put into effect at the beginning of 2011. At that point, all smallmouth bass in the Juniata River downstream of Port Royal, and in the Susquehanna downriver from Sunbury, will have to be released. Undoubtedly, this will be welcome news to many in the angling community. These sections of river have been managed under Big Bass regulations for a decade or so. Although these regulations have been embraced by many, in my opinion they may do greater damage by requiring anglers to release smaller bass and kill bigger fish. In particular, the 18” minimum size limit on smallmouths in effect during the colder months of the year is particularly worrisome to me. It’s not uncommon, especially during the pre-spawn, to see a boat at a ramp with a pair of 18” bass on a stringer.

More after the break
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 08/19/2010 (1616 reads)
Executive Director Arway to speak on Marcellus Shale drilling
Are you concerned about about the environmental impacts Marcellus Shale drilling is having on Pennsylvania's aquatic resources?

Join Fish and Boat Commission Executive Director John Arway on Monday, August 23 where he will appear on the live radio call-in program Radio Smart Talk from 9 - 10 a.m.

The program will air on Harrisburg’s WITF 89.5 FM and may also be viewed and heard statewide at www.witf.org/news/smart-talk. Listeners may submit questions via e-mail at smarttalk@witf.org or telephone at 800-729-7532.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 04/03/2010 (1477 reads)
flyfishingApril 3 marks the opening of trout season for fifteen counties in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

All waters in Adams, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry, Philadelphia, Schuylkill and York counties are open for regular trout fishing season.

All streams in this region are now open for fishing 24 hours a day, creel limits of 5 combined species and a minimum of seven inches. Different rules and regulations apply for other Special Regulation Areas. Please consult with the Summary of PA Fishing Laws and Regulations, distributed by the PFBC for details about regulations on Pennsylvania.

The regular season for the remaining counties is April 17.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 03/19/2010 (2097 reads)
Pennsylvania’s Hatchery Trout Receive Good Report Card
As the 2010 trout season opens next month, Pennsylvanians are reminded that fishing is a fantastic way to enjoy the state’s great outdoors and get some exercise with friends and family. It is also important to remember that fresh trout and other fish can be an important part of a healthy, balanced diet.

“Fish are high in protein and are a valuable source of vitamins, minerals and beneficial oils that are low in saturated fat,” notes John Arway, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC). “Trout are especially high in vitamin B-12 and omega-3 fatty acids, which improve cardiovascular health and brain development in children.”
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 02/01/2010 (1227 reads)
Stripped BassCalling the Susquehanna River “increasingly impaired,” the board of commissioners of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) today called on state and federal environmental agencies to expand efforts to determine the sources of pollution which are contributing to the demise of the river’s smallmouth bass fishery.

The board’s resolution, passed at its quarterly meeting, urges the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to step up their investigations, saying recent data confirms a serious problem exists. Commissioners cited evidence from a two-year water quality study coordinated by the U.S. Geological Survey and partially funded by the PFBC which found stress factors such as elevated water temperature and low dissolved oxygen concentrations during the critical May through July development period for smallmouth bass. The Commission contributed $400,000 to the study in an effort to discover the causes behind the fishery’s decline.

Problems were first detected in the middle reaches of the river in 2005, when PFBC biologists found unusually high numbers of dead or distressed smallmouth bass. They later determined that the affected fish were suffering from infections related to a common soil and water bacteria Flavobacterium columnare, or Columnaris. The disease is considered a secondary infection brought on by environmental or nutritional factors that stress fish, weakening their ability to cope with the bacterial agent. The same bacterium was discovered again in 2007 and 2008.
In other action, Commissioners:

• Approved a long-term lease agreement with Erie County’s Lawrence Park Golf Club to install fish passage structures at two impediments in Fourmile Creek to facilitate the movement of steelhead upstream. The structures will be funded with grants from DEP’s Coastal Zone Management Program and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Community Conservation Partnership Program.

• Authorized staff to pursue the acquisition of a public fishing access and conservation easement on the Little Juniata River that includes approximately 1,020 linear feet on one side of the river. The site is located along Barree Road in Porter Township, Huntingdon County, and the Commission stocks this portion of the river at a location on an adjoining property.

A complete copy of the meeting schedule and the full agenda for the meeting can be found on the Commission’s web site at www.fishandboat.com/minutes.htm. The mission of the Fish and Boat Commission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities.
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