Pennsylvania trout streams: protect them faithfully
The Keystone State’s trout waters should be considered a blessed resource for all Pennsylvania inhabitants. Many Pennsylvanians enjoy fishing in the state’s plentiful streams and lakes where trout swim and thrive. Many of that group are already weary of winter, thus dreaming of casting bait, lures and flies to this delightful and beautiful species of fish when the season opens in the beginning of April.
Beyond fishermen, every resident of our state has a stake in the battle to keep all of our waters — not only trout waters — in a clean and healthy condition. After all, without clean water and an abundance of it, life as we know it just does not survive.
Trout waters, however, fall under a special classification. Most trout streams, both big and small, run through areas that support some type of streamside greenery. Many flow through magnificent scenery of thick forests, pleasing grasslands and steep mountain sides. Often, a large number of these areas are accessible only through walking or biking, allowing for an uncommon form of angling solitude in a remote place. Trout lakes, too, have wooded shores and surrounding forests. Just about all our trout fishing destinations provide beauty, plus the enjoyment trout fishing provides.
To be truthful though, we have to admit that many Pennsylvania trout waters are in considerable trouble.
The basic need of trout is clean, cold water. With a warming climate, stream edge flora elimination, drainage area deforestation, and general flow disruptions due to dams and fleecing of water (e.g., need of water for fracking of natural gas), many trout waters are suffering greatly.
Fishing people tend to discard the waters they fish when a season moves along – through the warmer months with trout fishing — and their desire to be fishing diminishes considerably. This in itself is a huge form of neglect. As warm days increase, and become hot days, this is the period trout waters need the protection that helps them remain a home for trout. Without a steady amount of cold-water influx, streamside shade and general overall habitat improvement, these areas are no longer trout waters.
There are many other problems to be considered when protecting trout waters. Some arise by way of people driving vehicles through streams, which disrupts not only the spots where the vehicles move along and through, but downstream from these disturbances, by way of mud and debris that floats away and cause havoc for previously untouched streambeds.
Homes built close to these waters add pollution in the form of yard and other common home chemicals that leach into the water. Heavy rain on hot surfaces such as macadam from parking lots near a trout water often drain directly into the water, quickly raising temperatures. More destructive actions to trout waters attributed to people could be named, but it should be hoped that many already know them.
No matter how one chooses to look at these many problems trout waters face — all water for that matter — it will take many of us to care enough to put forth some sort of strong non-negotiable action to both protect and enhance our precious aquatic resources.
*It has come to my attention that people should contact their elected state congressmen congresswomen to support S.B. 832 and H.B. 1901. to move the needed action for water protection. Call your local elected officials and ask for their support.