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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Clearfield and Elk County Streams to See Increased Stocking after Water Quality Improves

Clearfield and Elk County Streams to See
Increased Stocking after Water Quality Improves

HARRISBURG, Pa. (Nov. 15) – The health of three streams in northcentral Pennsylvania has improved to the point that the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) will increase stocking of adult trout in two of them and has upgraded a third to Class A Wild Trout status.

Beginning with the 2014 season, the PFBC will stock adult trout in the West Branch Susquehanna River from the confluence with Anderson Creek in Curwensville downstream to the SR 2024 crossing at Porters Bridge in Clearfield County. The 2.8 mile section will receive trout during a preseason stocking in late March or early April. The stocking will be in addition to the reach between Hyde and Clearfield that is already stocked.

The PFBC will also stock adult trout in the Bennett Branch of Sinnemahoning Creek from the Jay/Benezette Township line downstream to approximately 985 feet downstream of the T-434 (Station Road) Bridge in Benezette, Elk County. This will be a preseason stocking and will be in addition to the reach between the confluence with South Branch Bennett Branch and the confluence with Wilson Run in Penfield that is already stocked.

“This is great news for anglers in this area,” said PFBC Commissioner Bill Sabatose, who represents Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Jefferson, McKean, and Potter counties. “Both of these waters had been affected historically by acid mine drainage, but through remediation efforts and habitat improvements, the water quality has improved to the point that they can be stocked with trout.”

“We couldn’t have reached this point without the help of all of our partners, including the Bennett Branch Watershed Association and the Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation,” he added. “This will definitely add more excitement and opportunities to the opening day of trout season.”

PFBC cooperative nurseries and local groups will also stock the West Branch and Bennett Branch after trout season opens.

A third stream, Rattlesnake Creek, has two popular sections which run through Elk and Jefferson counties. During surveys this year, PFBC biologists documented that a Class A wild brook trout population exists in Section 01, which stretches approximately 4.28 miles from the headwaters downstream to approximately one-third mile upstream of the T-574 Bridge. The downstream section which extends for a distance of 3.97 miles from approximately one-third mile upstream of the T-574 Bridge downstream to the mouth will continue to be stocked with adult brook and brown trout.

“Class A streams represent the best of the Commonwealth’s naturally reproducing wild trout populations,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “This means that the water quality and stream conditions are optimal for supporting a long-term and rewarding sport fishery.”

The Fish and Boat Board of Commissioners approved the Class A designation for Section 01 of Rattlesnake Creek at its Oct. 1 quarterly business meeting in Erie and the change became effective Oct. 26. Because Class A streams support a self-sustaining trout population, the PFBC does not stock these waters.

“This is the only stream in Jefferson County to obtain a Class A designation,” added Commissioner Sabatose. “It’s a remarkable achievement for a waterway in our county.”

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