Reborn Pennsylvania trout streams - Fly Fishing Forum
Our Environment We are stewards of wild places

 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Prev Previous Post   Next Post Next
  #1  
Old 08-27-2005, 02:17 AM
flytyer flytyer is offline
Pullin' Thread
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: NW Washington
Posts: 3,346
Reborn Pennsylvania trout streams

The last week of July/first week of August I visited my father and siblings in Northeastern Pennsylvania and was very pleasantly surprised to find the Little Schuylkill River and the middle and lower Lehigh River were supporting rather large and healthy populations of trout. The reason I was so surprised is these were biologically dead from acid mine water (Little Schuylkill) or acid mine water, zinc mining pollution, and zinc smelting pollution (middle and lower Lehigh) since the middle 1800's. Obviously something changed for the better.

Dad and my brother Dave told me that a small group of local fishermen from the area around Tamaqua, PA (it is a mere 7 miles from where I grew up in the small village of Delano, PA) began looking into how to bring the Little Schuylkill back to life after 150 years of being polluted by the coal mining. They found adding liming stations on the river would neutralize the sulfuric acid from the coal mines and began a campaign to get other fishermen and sportsmens groups and the legislature to put a single liming station on it right below where the 4 small streams (only one of them was polluted, the others supported trout) that form it came together and formed the river. This single liming station proved to be so successfull that insects, minnows, and trout began to repopulate the first 4 miles of this small river.

This allowed them to get more liming stations downstream and now the Little Schuylkill River in the area from New Ringgold to Origsburg is considered class 1 trout water. Remarkable considering it was biologically dead as recently as 1985. Now there are several fly shops and many people fishing this 30 mile long small river. And because liming was so successful on it, it was tried on its sister river the North Branch Schuylkill downstream of Pottsville, PA. The result is not only do both the Little Schuylkill and North Branch Schuylkill now support trout, the mainstem Schuylkill supports trout to an area downstream of Reading, PA, or another 30 miles of river. To put this into historic reference, during Colonial times, the Schuylkill River had brook trout and shad in it all the way to its mouth in Philadelphia, where it joined the Delaware; but by the time of the Civil War, it was biologically dead to well below Reading from the acid mine water.

The middle Lehigh was badly hurt by acid mine water from stream that joined it from near the town of Weatherly, PA to below Mauch Chunk, PA (which is now known as Jim Thorpe) some 20 miles of river. These steams are now cleaned up and no longer dump acid mine water in the river. Weatherly is 15 miles from the village of Delano and Mauch Chunk is 20 miles from Delano. The Lehigh below Mauch Chunk beginning near the town of Lehighton, PA (which is 25 miles from Delano) all the way down stream to Palmerton had zinc mines and zinc smelters along it and both the mines and the smelters dumped lots of toxic crap into the river; thus, it was biologically dead as well.

The Lehigh now supports trout all the way to its confluence with the Delaware at Easton, PA. This means that over 50 miles of river have been reclaimed since the mid-'80's. There are now fly shops, rafting companies, kyac outfitters, general tackle shops, and even fishing guides in the towns along the Lehigh River. My brother told me Pennsylvania Fish Commission is beginning to try and reintroduce shad to the Lehigh.

The reason I posted these success is that the movement to restore them was started by sportsfishers and they show that it can be done if fishermen get themselves informed, get other interested user groups involved (like rafters), inform the public, and work on local legislators (or get new ones elected, possibly from among the ranks of the concerned sportsfishers).

I honestly never thought I'd see in my lifetime the rebirth of these rivers, and yet they have been reborn. Next time I visit Pennsylvania, I will be taking a rod with me so I can fish them because they are rather pretty rivers that now hold good populations of trout, instead of sulfuric acid from the coal.
Reply With Quote
 

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Fly Fishing Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Maryland trout streams? mayflyman The Quintessential Trout 5 12-01-2006 07:52 PM
Catskill Trout Streams pmflyfisher The Quintessential Trout 12 11-23-2002 10:00 AM
Ecuador, trout streams... Mylo The Quintessential Trout 2 03-24-2000 05:12 AM
Ecuador, trout streams... Mylo Worldwide Flyfishing Discussion 0 03-23-2000 10:42 AM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:36 PM.



Copyright Flyfishingforum.com (All Rights Reserved)