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Local streams may lose inseason trout stockings

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Avid trout anglers may or may not know of proposed rule #255 that will eliminate inseason trout stockings in 10 streams, three of which are within the Lehigh Valley and one in the Pocono’s.

The famed Little Lehigh Creek, Monocacy Creek and Martins will be affected. And if you’re a Pocono area angler, the Pohopoco Creek is included.

The issue is that after meeting with various sportsmen’s organizations and independent trout anglers not affiliated with an organized group, the PF&BC was striving to develop their Strategic Plan for Management of Trout Fisheries in Pennsylvania.

Within the plan was protection of Class A wild trout waters. Another key is that there are a number of streams that may hold Class A wild trout populations biomass trout populations that have not been officially designated as Class A streams by the Commission. This leads, says the PF&BC, to inadequate water quality protection for these waters and inconsistent application of fisheries management strategies.

According to the PF&BC’s Preamble of Title 58, the PF&BC has identified 10 potential high biomass waters per the plan. The agency has completed new inventories on these waters and each has been sampled once since 2010. Another is planned. Those that were confirmed to support Class A populations will be proposed for designation as Class A wild trout streams as consistent with the plan.

The PF&BC broke down these 10 streams into “efficiency classes.” One is where highest efficiency class (Class 3) where there’s high human population density and/or high accessibility (Little Lehigh/Monocacy).
Others were classified as “so called” destination waters that are more rural in nature but which supported high angler use (Pohopoco).

Of the 10 streams (Fishing Creek, Little Lehigh, Martins Creek, Monocacy Creek, Penn’s Creek, Pohopoco Creek, Yellow Creek) identified, nine fall into the top 75 percentile of angler use for all the stocked stream sections that were evaluated by the Commission.

The proposal goes on to say that due to high angler use on these waters, the PF&BC will permit stocking to continue on these new Class A water that meet certain conditions. However, waters designated as Class A wild brook trout, Class A mixed wild brook and brown trout or Class A mixed wild brook and rainbow trout streams will not be considered.

As previously indicated, the PF&BC states that: Stream sections that the Commission designates as Class A wild trout streams after 2013 may remain eligible for fingerling stocking of trout or PRESEASON-ONLY stocking of adult trout by the Commission or Commission approved pre-season only stocking of adult trout by Commission cooperative nurseries to provide additional early season angling opportunities provided all of the following conditions are met.

1. That the stream section was stocked with adult trout during the year immediately prior to its designation of Class A wild trout stream.

2. Angler use in the stream section equals or exceeds the 75th percentile, statewide, or angler use for the opening weekend of trout season.

3. The trout species to be stocked are not the same species as the primary component of the wild trout population.

4. A stream section designated as Class A wild brook trout, Class A mixed wild brook and brown trout or Class A mixed wild brook and rainbow trout stream will not be considered for stocking.

5. Prior to implementing a decision to stock a Class A wild trout stream, the Executive Director will obtain the approval of the Board.

Trout anglers, who are opposed to this plan, should waste no time contacting the PF&BC by emailing them at www.fishandboat.com/regcomments. Your timing is important because final approval is imminent.

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