Problems with Susquehanna River bass extend into the North Branch, too

Tom VeneskyA couple of weeks ago and friend was fishing the North Branch of the Susquehanna River near Meshoppen. He came back with an interesting find.

One of the bass he caught — a nice, chunky smallmouth, had the sickening black blotches on its tail. Just like those in the lower stem, it’s obvious that the problem is present above.

And it’s a problem that could get much worse, even as the state Department of Environmental Protection continues to drag its feet in admitting that it’s a problem worth looking into.

The friend who caught the bass regularly fishes the Susquehanna. He feels that higher water temperatures could be to blame. Others have said it has to do with pH, bacteria, contaminants, pollution – you name it.

Whatever the cause, we can all agree that there is a problem. Well, almost all of us.

DEP officials have yet to jump on board. Let’s hope they do so soon.

If DEP declares the river as impaired, it may get the help it needs. Additional funding would become available to conduct a much-needed search for the sources of pollutants and contaminants. More protections could be added to safeguard and/or improve water quality.

And at the very least we may get to the bottom of just what is wiping out the smallmouth fishery in the lower stem of the river. And maybe we can stop it before it does the same up north. 

Categories: Pennsylvania – Tom Venesky

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