Mail

Coop Nursery Sponsor Grant Program

On behalf of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and Commissioner Donald Anderson, I want to take this opportunity to thank the Somerset County Sportsmen's League, Inc., for its generous donation of $1,000 to the Commission's Cooperative Nursery Sponsor Grant Program. 

Be assured that this donation will be used by one of the many cooperative nurseries to upgrade their nurseries, purchase needed equipment, and make general improvements of their nursery operations. 

We certainly value your keen interest in public aquaculture ventures both large and small and your sincere desire to help the nurseries that make up these operations. 

Again, thank you for your generosity. Please accept my sincere gratitude for your contribution to a worthwhile program. It is because of you that Pennsylvania has the best fishing that there is to offer. 

Sincerely,  
Peter A. Colangelo Executive Director

Green Weenie

Charles R. Meck's article in the November/December 1998 issue, "My Five Favorite Wet Flies," was excellent, even though the specifications for the flies were missing. Four of the flies were standards, so the missing tying instructions were no problem. 

What are the tying instructions for the Green Weenie? I have never seen this one before and would like to tie some.--Colton P. Wagner, East Norwich, NY. 

Green weenie 

This effective pattern is easy to tie. Start with a 3X or 4X size 10 or 12 long-shank hook. Use chartreuse, green, or yellow thread. Just wind fine chartreuse chenille on the hook. Build a head of thread. 

To weight the fly, place 15, 20, or 25 wraps of .015 lead on the hook shank. For even more weight, add a beadhead. You can use the differently colored threads to color-code the flies according to how they're weighted.--Ed.

9 Button License

I've been a Pennsylvania angler for more than 60 years. I have never had any complaints with the Fish & Boat Commission or any other state agency about fishing, but one change over the years I do not agree with. Why were license buttons canceled for paper licenses? 

Save money, I agree, but keep the buttons at least. You could issue a button license for a lifetime license. How about it? My last license button was for the year 1975.--William E. Chapin II, Philadelphia. 

 

You hit the nail right on the head­it's mostly a matter of cost. The information that appears on the paper license serves our Waterways Conservation Officers as an enforcement tool. Unfortunately, the information cannot be displayed on a button license. Thus, we would have to issue a paper license and a button license when only a paper license will do.--Wasyl Polischuk, Director, Bureau of Administration.

"Writing Readers" comment

I phoned your office today relative to the "Writing Readers" column in the May/June 1998 issue ("Pennsylvania's Wild Brown Trout," by Richard Brett). I found the article interesting and quite informative. 

I have been away from small-stream trout fishing for several years. Mr. Brett rekindled my interest in this endeavor. He mentioned using a small ultralight fly rod, but he doesn't define the terms. I would like to discuss the purchase of a new rod for this type of fishing. I haven't bought a fly rod for small streams and small flies since I bought a 7-foot, 5-weight glass rod some 20 years ago. So I figure Mr. Brett, having recently made such a purchase, might be willing to provide some practical insight and recommendations in this regard.--George A. Lubert, Patton, PA. 

I may sound prejudiced here, but my only recommendation is a 1-ounce, 7-foot, 4-weight fly rod. The 1-ounce is a full-flex-action rod. With this rod I can cast tight loops under tree limbs or cast very gently to trout in pools and flats. Its 7-foot length is short enough to work canopied mountain streams, but it is also long enough for line control. The 4-weight double-taper line I use is easy to control. With lighter lines the wind is a big factor, and heavier lines spook the trout, so this is a comfortable medium. 

I also tie my own leaders with the help of the man I respect the most in fly fishing, Mr. Joe Humphreys. He recommends a butt section of no more than .017, then .015, and so on to a tippet of 5x or 6x; so my leaders are 7 1/2 to 9 feet. I use my system on every fly project I hit. I've even taken this system on the Yough River a few times, fishing over depressions full of wild rainbows 12 to 14 inches long. 

I'm a nymph fisherman, and I also own a 9-foot rod I never use except on large waters. Even on windy spring days, nymphing without strike indicators, I use the 7-footer. 

To be fair, there are several companies out there that have fine ultralight systems. If you want the most excitement out of fly fishing, purchase an ultralight system.--Richard Brett.

Purple loosestrife

First, as a transplanted Wilkes-Barreian, I can't tell you how much I enjoy your magazine, the only magazine I read cover to cover, and it's getting better with each issue. 

The purpose of this letter is to talk about that "flower" you featured in your July/August 1998 issue (after I read the issue I gave it to my teenagers, and then, well, it's gone with the wind). I was very disturbed and concerned about its spreading, but living in Brooklyn gives one few visual reminders. Last week I went to upstate New York to visit my kids in camp. When I saw my first bunch of those "flowers," I told the car passengers all about them and how these plants choke our wetlands. While traveling all over upstate New York, we saw literally valleys of them, starting by the drainage ditch by the roadside, along every roadside, and stretching as far as the eye could see! Every mile got me madder and madder as I pointed them out to the kids. "Look­more and more!" I kept yelling. If you think Pennsylvania has a problem, New York is unbelievable! I still can't get over it­my kids wanted us to get out and pull some out, but I explained to them that the plants need to be totally uprooted. Those hours of driving kept the image so vivid in my head about all the wetland life being pushed out or destroyed. I am not an ultra-ecologist, but something must be done about these plant leeches. 

Your article (as far as I remember) did not mention any action that will be taken by you, the state, or some coordinated action with other states like New York.--Marc L. Minkoff, New York City. 

Purple loosestrife

The article "Purple Loosestrife" that appeared in the July/August 1998 issue was reprinted from a pamphlet of the same name. The pamphlet was produced in cooperation with federal, state, and local government agencies, and private concerns. For more information on purple loosestrife, contact: PA Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Plant Industry, 2301 N. Cameron Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110; 717-772-5209.--Ed. 

Satisfied customer

You are to be congratulated on the beautiful job you have done with this magazine. I look forward to receiving it for the rest of my days! It's wonderful!--Kenneth G. Davis, Dallas, PA.

Whitefish?

I recently read an article on whitefish. Could your please tell me if this species was stocked in Pennsylvania? I would also appreciate any additional information you may have available. What does it eat? Is it migratory? Which game fish does it compete with, and how large does it get (growth rate)? Is the whitefish stocked in any areas of the state? I frequently fish the Youghiogheny River upstream from McKeesport and would like to know if there is any chance of my catching one.--Fred Mains, Somerset. 

 

Several species of whitefish occur throughout North America. The two species living in (Lake Erie only) or near Pennsylvania waters are the lake whitefish and the round whitefish. 

Lake whitefish occur throughout Alaska and most of Canada south into New England, the Great Lakes basin (including Lake Erie), and central Minnesota. They have been introduced in northwestern United States (Montana, Idaho, and Washington). The Fish and Boat Commission does not stock lake whitefish in Pennsylvania. Therefore, there would be no chance of catching a lake whitefish in the Youghiogheny River. Lake whitefish are limited to lakes and large rivers. They are bottom feeders, and their primary foods are amphipods ("freshwater shrimp"), mollusks, and insect larvae. They sometimes feed on fish eggs and small fish. Lake whitefish commonly reach lengths from 18 to 31 inches and weights of 2 to 7 pounds. 

Round whitefish occur in Alaska, parts of Canada, New England, and the Great Lakes basin (absent from Lake Erie). The Fish and Boat Commission does not stock round whitefish. Round whitefish can be found in the same habitat as lake whitefish, and they feed on the same items as the lake whitefish. They can reach a length of about 22 inches.--Gary A. Smith, Commission Area 8 Fisheries Technician. 

 

Falling Spring Branch

I read with interest WCO Jan Caveney's "Notes from the Streams" item in the September/October 1998 issue. Having seen (but not fished) the storied chalk streams of England and having fished the beautiful Falling Spring Branch outside Chambersburg, I can say that Falling Spring does very closely resemble England's famous trout streams. 

During a trip my brother and I took to Falling Spring Branch early one crisp October morning a few years ago, the trout were especially wary and the Spring Branch was magical, as always. 

The Commission, private property owners and the trout clubs should be commended for maintaining and preserving such a wonderful stream.--Ron Caimi, Waterloo, IL. 

Stocked trout size

Regarding the drop in the number of fishing licenses sold, I believe the main reason is the size of trout that are stocked. I love trout fishing, yet I gave it up for 5 years because of the size of the trout. My proposal is to create a $5.00 trophy trout stamp for anyone at least 16 years old. Also, 12- to 15-year-olds should have to purchase a $4.00 license. With this added money, build a new trout hatchery where you raise nothing but trophy trout (which I define as 18 inches or longer). I suggest raising about 100,000 trophy trout a year to be released. I think the majority of fishermen would favor this proposal, because just about all fishermen love big trout.--Douglas Borzak, Frackville. 

 

Each year, the Fish and Boat Commission stocks approximately 5.3 million adult brook, brown, and rainbow trout in Commonwealth streams and lakes open to public fishing. Of this total, about 5.2 million are approximately 1.5 years in age and average 10.1 inches in length. Some 53,000 are approximately 2.5 years in age with a length of 12 inches to 15 inches, and 25,000 are "trophy" in the size range of 16 inches to 24 inches. In addition, during the preseason stocking period (March 1 to opening day), the Commission stocks some 10,000 golden rainbow trout in the 14-inch to 20-inch size range. We believe this mixture of species and sizes provides anglers with a wide variety of opportunities for angling in stocked trout waters. 

In 1991, when the Commission obtained support from Pennsylvania anglers for a $5.00 trout and salmon stamp, and again when the resident adult license fee was increased in 1996, we also solicited responses for a proposal for a "junior" (ages 12 through 15) resident license. Some 60 percent of anglers did not support that proposal. 

Thank you for your interest in our program.--Dennis C. Ricker, Chief, Commission Division of Trout Production.

Electrofishing question

I would like to know if you publish any results of your electrofishing surveys? If so, I would like copies of these results. I do most of my fishing for native trout and I'm always looking for new streams to fish. The results of your surveys would be a big help in finding new wild trout streams. Also, do you have a report on water quality or maps of Class A streams? Thank you very much and keep up the great work!--Ronald S. Stahl, Pottstown. 

 

Following each stream survey, a narrative or report is prepared summarizing the results of the survey. As you can imagine, this amounts to a large number of reports, even during one field season. Therefore, because of the large volume of reports, we cannot practically provide all of the copies to an individual. Some of the more recent reports are available electronically at the Commission's web site, www.fish.state.pa.us. However, for a more comprehensive review of the information available, it may be worthwhile for you to visit our office, located in Pleasant Gap, PA. Our files are open to public review Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and when you visit, staff could assist you with locating information from our files. 

As I understand, you have been provided with a copy of the Commission's publication Let's Go Fishing for Wild Trout in Pennsylvania. This is an excellent source of general information regarding where many of our best wild trout fisheries are located. Although we do not have maps available pertaining to Class A streams, a good source for locating these waters is a commercially available gazetteer. This includes topographic maps of the entire state and can be found in a variety of shops, including some sporting goods stores. By cross-referencing the wild trout publication with the topographic maps, you will have a good idea of the location of many of these waters.--R. Thomas Greene, Commission Coldwater Unit Leader.

Wild tiger trout

While reading the "Mail" column in the January/February 1998 issue, I was intrigued by a letter from Bill Bohonek, from Pittsburgh, who caught a tiger trout from Meadow Run in Fayette County. He asked the Commission how this hybrid might have been introduced to the stream. Mr. Bohonek's question was answered by Thomas Greene, the Commission Coldwater Unit Leader, who replied that this trout, a hybrid between a brown and brook trout, was probably released into the stream from a commercial hatchery. 

Tiger trout

I am a biologist for a consulting firm, and I have been participating in fisheries investigations similar to those conducted by the Commission for 19 years. I took particular note of the timing of my reading Mr. Bohonek's letter and seeing the tiger trout photograph because, in what might best be described as "deja vu all over again," I had just seen my first "wild" tiger trout. It was captured by electrofishing and subsequently released back to a small coldwater stream in Monroe County. It was undoubtedly spawned in the stream (as opposed to a hatchery) because of its small size (5 inches) and bright coloration. Mr. Greene mentioned in his reply that the Commission on rare occasions encounters tiger trout in streams that hold both brown and brook trout populations. My study stream contains a naturally reproducing population of brown trout (about 90 percent of the trout community there) and subordinate populations of native brook and wild rainbow trout. 

We reported our fish to Mike Kaufmann, Commission Area 6 Fisheries Manager, who told us that he had seen tiger trout in the wild only on three occasions. Although I have seen the hatchery version before, I never expected to find a wild one. Mr. Bohonek caught something truly unique in the wild.--George M. Christian, Oley, PA. 
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May/June 1999 Angler & Boater


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