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Entries in Pennsylvania (13)

Monday
May222017

Family Friendly Places to Fish and Boat

Whether they're professional anglers or professional athletes, plenty of people love to fish and boat with their families. So we asked around, and added their family favorites to our list of best places to fish and boat in the country--- Take Me Fishing


LUKE BRYAN -J. PERCY PRIEST RESERVOIR, TENNESSEE

"It’s the first place I ever caught a smallmouth bass. Me and my boys love the bass fishing there."


AL VILLANUEVA -PRESQUE ISLE BAY, PENNSYLVANIA

"Nothing better than fishing the lagoons in the summer. I spend a lot of my free time fishing and really cherish any time on the water."


JUSTIN MOORE -DE GRAY LAKE, ARKANSAS

"It’s where I always went as a kid, and now I take my children there. My favorite memory has to be watching my oldest daughter catch her first fish all by herself."

To find out more family friendly locations by region, go here.

Monday
Feb062017

Christmas Trees Bolster Fish Habitat Across Country

From coast to coast and border to border, Christmas trees are the holiday gifts that keep on giving for fish and fishermen. Bass clubs, municipalities, and power companies participate in this giant, annual attractor/habitat enhancement project, along with state and federal agencies, including the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Forest Service.

“A lot of lakes we work with are manmade and there’s not much fish cover in them, so we have to figure out how to put fish habitat in those lakes,” said Kevin Meneau, a fisheries biologist for the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC).  “Christmas trees are one of the best ways to do that in winter.”

In the St. Louis area alone, trees are submerged in 60 lakes, with each fishery receiving them every three years. Shenango River Lake, meanwhile, is but one of many lakes targeted in Pennsylvania, as the Corps teams with local communities. To the South, the Lake Wedowee Property Owners Association has worked with Alabama Power for six years to anchor trees in more than 70 locations.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife collects hundreds of trees each January for placement in Three Springs, Shanty Hollow, Barren River, and Green River Lakes, among others. And in California, the Corps sinks trees in Pine Flat Lake.

"We put them in the water here until they basically disintegrate and it gets a full life cycle out of the tree,"  said Adam Thompson, Corps senior park ranger, adding that discarded Christmas trees are the most cost effective way to sustain fish habitat annually.

"These trees create a perfect safe haven for the fingerling bass to hide from the larger predator bass," he said.

Additionally, the trees provide woody cover that makes excellent habitat for invertebrates, ideal forage for these smaller bass, along with panfish, added Missouri's Meneau. Of course, larger fish follow, as the entire food chain gets a boost.

Ideally, the trees are anchored with cement blocks and submerged in at 4 to 7 feet. This typically gives newly spawned bass in shallow water quick access to cover.

Of course, predatory bass and other species also are attracted to the brush piles, which provide cover for ambush, as well as a source of food. In turn, that makes them magnets for anglers.

Eventually, the trees become water logged and sink completely. But Meneau said that the tops usually are visible for five to six weeks after placement. This gives anglers time to mark them with GPS.

Friday
Feb262016

Herbicides, Parasites Likely Causes for Susquehanna Decline

Endocrine-disrupting compounds and herbicides, as well as pathogens and parasites, are the most likely causes for the decline of the Susquehanna River's world-class smallmouth fishery, according to results of a multi-year study by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and other agencies.

"We appreciate the assistance of the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and our other partners in the evaluation of many possible stressors to the smallmouth bass population . . . ," said John Arway, executive director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (FBC).

"The health of the smallmouth bass in the Susquehanna River continues to be compromised and this analysis rules out certain causes, prioritizes other uncertain causes for further study, and, most importantly, identifies likely causes which can be targeted for action."

TO FBC's credit, it has been sounding the alarm about fish with lesions and sores, as well as declining numbers, for years, as well as lobbied DEP to categorize the lower portion of the river as "impaired."  That designation would allow for a comprehensive plan to be developed to address the problem.

Until the release of this study, though, DEP countered that it makes recommendations based on water quality, not species health, and refused to recommend that the Susquehanna be placed on the EPA's impaired waters list. Anglers and groups such as the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) hope that these findings will help the river get the help it needs.

"The time to start to remedy the sick Susquehanna River and save a world-class smallmouth fishery is now," said CBF's Harry Campbell. "An impairment declaration will start the healing process so that the waterway that millions of Pennsylvanians depend upon, and provides half of the freshwater to the Chesapeake Bay, can benefit from an unwavering level of restoration, resource investment, and pollution study."

Scientists now view temperature, dissolved oxygen, algal and bacterial toxins, and young-of-the-year food quality and habitat as "uncertain causes."  Meanwhile, "unlikely causes" include high flows, ammonia, and toxic chemicals such as pesticides, PCBs, and metals.

Monday
Sep212015

Hydrilla Creeps Closer to Great Lakes

Hydrilla is creeping ever closer to Lake Erie, the warmest and shallowest of the Great Lakes. Most recently, it has been found about 20 miles away in Lake Pymatuning, a 17,000 -acre impoundment on the Ohio/Pennsylvania border.

"It is a serious situation," said Brian Pilarcik of the Crawford County Conservation District. "It can grow very fast, almost an inch a day and forms large, dense masses that can and will impact water sports and will have a negative impact on tourism in the county.

"We are very concerned that the plant could eventually reach Lake Erie."

An environmental educator at Pymatuning, Linda Armstrong added, "The lakes here get quite a bit of use and people will go from one to another, so it is critical to clean all equipment as well as boats."

Already Pennsylvania resource managers have talked with their counterparts in Florida about the discovery, with the latter promising assistance in containing the invasive plant.

Long a problem for many fisheries in the South, hydrilla was first reported in Pennsylvania during the mid 1990s, according to Pennsylvania Sea Grant (PSG).  It's also now established in Bucks County and the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. The next closest infestation to Pymatuning is Lake Arthur, about 60 miles to the south.

"Hydrilla is a federal noxious weed that continues to spread to new regions in the United States," PSG said. "It is unknown exactly where hydrilla originated, but Asia, Africa, and Australia are all mentioned in the literature as native ranges.

"Currently, Antarctica is the only continent without records of hydrilla."

Thursday
Mar192015

Still No Plan to Address Susquehanna's Sick Smallmouth Bass

Despite evidence that smallmouth bass in the Susquehanna River are ill, state and federal officials refuse to categorize the waterway as “impaired.” And until it receives that designation, a plan can’t be developed to address the problem, which probably is pollution.

"We are absolutely certain that the smallmouth bass population of the middle Susquehanna River is sick, based upon the continuing presence of lesions and tumors in young and adult bass," said John Arway, executive director of the Pennsylvania Fishing and Boating Commission (PFBC).

"We've been collecting data since 2005, and believe that these fish health issues are causing a decline in the population, which means the river is sick. It is not necessary to know the exact source or cause of the sickness before the Commonwealth declares the river as impaired."

Yet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency supported the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in its decision to exclude nearly 100 miles of the Susquehanna in its 2014 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report.

In 2012, PFBC asked DEP to declare that section of the river from Sunbury to Holtwood Dam, near the Maryland border, as impaired. Both then and in 2014, DEP asserted that it lacked sufficient data to make that determination.

Now the earliest that the river could be declared impaired is 2016.

Update

Arway recently spoke to the game and fisheries committee of the state House of Representatives about this issue. According to Triblive.com, here's what happened:

He also continued his call to have the Susquehanna River officially declared “impaired.” Once the premier flowing smallmouth bass fishery on the East Coast, it's been in decline in recent years, with smallmouth bass populations shrinking and more and more fish showing up sick, he said.

The commission, state Department of Environmental Protection and federal Environmental Protection Agency are doing a study to determine what's causing the problems, he said. A report is due by September.

After that, action needs to be taken, he said. Sick bass have been showing up since 2005, but no one's done anything but collect data since, Arway said.

An impaired designation would set the stage for a corrective plan, he added.

“We know the fish are sick. The (Department of Environmental Protection) admits the fish are sick. The question is, why are they sick and what are we going to do about it? And we haven't started down that road yet,” Arway said.