Just two percent of Pennsylvania’s 83,000 river miles receive the state’s Class A Wild Trout designation. Two percent. Wild trout are rare. They are rare enough to be special, to be highly valued and protected. In short, we must be careful with the resource.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission recently shock surveyed the lower reaches of Penns Creek, well below the special regs area. To the surprise of none who fish Penns regularly, the commission found a Class A wild trout population. So approximately 4 miles of Class A wild trout water has now been added to that list of two percent. Excellent!
Importantly, the Class A designation defines these areas as “Exceptional Value,” and they are afforded the highest protection by the EPA. The commission is now shifting its trout stocking from this section of Penns Creek to a longer section downstream, letting wild trout be wild without stocking over top of them. More good stuff.
If we’re objective about the meaning of “Exceptional Value,” if we stand back and decide what’s best for the stream, separating ourselves from tradition and ingrained culture, it’s clear that Catch and Release regulations are the next step for this section of Penns Creek.
Remember, two percent. Let’s protect what we have.
Now, the PFBC is accepting public comment on the proposed Catch and Release regulations for this area of Penns Creek. The comment period ends on September 1st, 2018. The motion will be voted on in October.
I strongly urge you to comment to the PFBC about this section. Ask them for the C&R All Tackle regulations.
This form will take you five minutes to fill out, and your opinion will be considered. For public comment on such things, the commission doesn’t get thousands of responses. They get hundreds. Usually much less. So your five minutes will have an effect. Please leave a comment on this page. (The title of the rule is already filled out for you.)
For more information regarding these changes to Penns Creek, read the article by my friend, Rob Shane, on the national Trout Unlimited page, titled, Voices from the River: Penns Creek gets even better.
And for more specific information regarding this proposal, for the included miles and designations, read the minutes and agendas from the PFBC July meeting. The section in question is addressed on page 38. (**Update** PFBC removed the link in 2018)
Here are a few excerpts from the commentary in that agenda:
. . . Penns Creek is one of the most popular wild trout streams in Pennsylvania and the eastern United States. The scenery and ability to catch large, wild trout in a wilderness-type setting makes it unique and motivates anglers to travel long distances to fish this stream.
. . . Only about 2% of Pennsylvania streams qualify for Class A designation and it is truly something special, especially for a stream the size of Penns Creek, to support a high quality wild trout fishery.
. . . Penns Creek, Section 05, is managed to protect, conserve, and enhance the high-quality wild Brown Trout fishery while meeting landowner and angler preferences to the greatest extent possible. Based on the desires of riparian landowners and public meeting attendees, coupled with updated biological data, application of Catch-and-Release Artificial Lures Only angling regulations to this stream section is appropriate.
Two percent. Remember that.
And please share this with someone else who loves Penns Creek.
Enjoy the day.
T R O U T B I T T E N