12-07-12-14

Solomon's words for the wise: Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission

S.O.S. Save Our Susquehanna! Campaign Tops $20,000


The PFBC s campaign to save the Susquehanna River has topped $20,000 in donations, including a $1,000 contribution from the Cumberland County Enola Sportsmen s Association and $13,000 in proceeds from the sale of S.O.S.

buttons. The PFBC launched the campaign on June 2 by announcing that a portion of license sales and proceeds from a $10 S.O.S. button would be dedicated to funding water and soil conservation projects along the Susquehanna River, whose young smallmouth bass population has been plagued over the last decade by illness and elevated mortality rates. To kick off the campaign, PFBC Executive Director John Arway pledged $50,000 in matching funds. Click here to learn more about the S.O.S. Save Our Susquehanna! Campaign or to donate.1 WCO Cadets Continue Training


The 20 cadets making up the 21st Waterways Conservation Officers (WCO) class are continuing with their ACT 120 training at the Pennsylvania State Police Northwest Training Center in Meadville, Crawford County. The class is due to complete this stage of training on Dec.

4. The training course covers all phases of police work, from the Vehicle and Crimes codes to use of firearms and conducting criminal investigations. Officers will then complete six months of classroom studies and in-the-field training at the PFBC’s H.R. Stackhouse School in Bellefonte, which includes assisting with investigations, patrolling regions, participating in public outreach events and stocking waterways. PHOTO – WCO candidates practice self-defense skills. Cumberland County Big Spring Creek Survey Finds More Brook Trout


Fisheries staff conducted a follow-up survey of Cumberland County s Big Spring Creek, Sections 01 and 02, on Aug.

24 to evaluate the response of the fishery to large scale habitat enhancement projects constructed during 2010 and 2013. Reach-wide, preliminary results indicate continued increased abundance of Brook Trout, while Rainbow Trout abundance remained steady or continued to decline following an initial proliferation of that species in 2011. Two years following the completion of the 2013 project, Brook Trout now account for greater than 50 percent of the total number of trout estimated to reside in the portion of Big Spring Creek managed with Catch-and-Release Fly-Fishing Only angling regulations. Click here for more information about the Big Spring Creek management plan.2 PHOTO – A Brook Trout from Big Spring Creek. Habitat Work Underway at Lakes in Lancaster and Butler Counties


The restoration of two lakes formerly classified as high-hazard and unsafe continues with PFBC staff recently building and installing habitat structures in Lancaster County s Speedwell Forge Lake and Butler County s Glade Run Lake. At Speedwell, staff worked with the Lancaster County Bassmasters and the Save Speedwell group to place 245 rock and wood habitat structures. More than $20,000 was raised by the partner organizations for materials and machine rental for the project. In Butler County, staff is working with the Glade Run Lake Conservancy to place 250 rock and wood habitat structures in the lake. The conservancy received a $20,000 grant from the Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership for the project. Speedwell Forge and Glade Run were completely drained in 2011 when dams on the lakes were declared unsafe.

Both are in the process of being rebuilt. Speedwell is expected to be completed in early 2016, and Glade Run in late 2016. For more information about the High-Hazard, Unsafe Dam Revitalization Program click here.3 PHOTO – A spider hump is one of the structures placed at Speedwell Forge Lake. State Threatened Species List


With the July 18 publication of a final rulemaking order in the PA Bulletin, the Bluebreast Darter, Tippecanoe Darter, Gilt Darter, and Spotted Darter have been officially removed from the state s list of threatened species. The PFBC first proposed removing the darters at the Sept.

2014 quarterly business meeting. Click here for more information about the darters.4 PHOTO – Bluebreast darter. Wildlife Action Plan Nears Completion


State wildlife action plans are designed to help keep our common native species from becoming more rare, said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. For rare species already listed as threatened or endangered, the plan is a framework to assist with their recovery. This is an important opportunity to demonstrate how we can work together to protect, conserve and enhance not only our diverse fish and wildlife resources but also the habitats that allow them to continue to live and survive on our Commonwealth s lands and in our waters. A completed plan is expected to be submitted to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service by Sept.

30, 2015. Click here to view the draft plan.5 Catfish Survey on North Branch Susquehanna Produces High Catch


During the summer of 2014, PFBC biologists undertook a first-ever census of Catfish populations in the North Branch Susquehanna River.

Hoop nets were set at 32 locations in the river starting at Northumberland and continuing upriver to Whites Ferry, a distance of 87 river miles. Each hoop net was baited with a mixture of cheese, soybeans and molasses, and was allowed to fish for three days. The 32 hoop nets captured an incredible 4,488 Channel Catfish for a catch rate of 152 per net, which was very high. The Channel Catfish ranged from 13 to 33 inches long with the majority (52%) exceeding 20 inches (Figure 1). The heaviest weighed 14.59 pounds and these fish ranged from 2 to 17 years old. The 32 hoop nets also caught 19 Flathead Catfish, which are an invasive species in the Susquehanna River basin. They are well established in the main stem of the Susquehanna River but this was the first time they have been documented in the North Branch. Flathead Catfish were found as far upriver as Kingston (river mile 62.77). All of the Flatheads in the North Branch were young fish, ranging from 19 to 24 inches in length and 2 to 5 years in age. To read the biologist report, click here.6 Biologists plan to continue the North Branch Susquehanna River Catfish survey in coming years. Future work will look at Catfish populations from Whites Ferry to the Pennsylvania/New York Border.

Additionally, future studies will determine the impact of Flathead Catfish invasion on the dense Channel Catfish population of the North Branch. Figure 1. Length-frequency distribution of Channel Catfish captured in the North Branch Susquehanna River during 2014. Public Comments to be Sought on Draft Revision to State Trout Plan


A draft revision of the state trout plan has been prepared by the Trout Work Group and will soon be released on the PFBC website for public comment. The Trout Work Group is comprised of representatives of various sportsmen s groups as well as unaffiliated anglers interested in trout fishing.

To view the current trout plan, click here.7 Additional Waters Proposed for Addition to State Wild Trout List


Based on results from the Unassessed Waters Initiative, 102 waters will be proposed for addition to the wild trout list, and 40 stream sections will be proposed for the Class A wild trout streams list at the Sept.

28-29 Commission meeting in Erie.8

References

  1. ^ here (m1e.net)
  2. ^ here (m1e.net)
  3. ^ here (m1e.net)
  4. ^ here (m1e.net)
  5. ^ here (m1e.net)
  6. ^ here (m1e.net)
  7. ^ here (m1e.net)
  8. ^ Initiative (m1e.net)