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Q & A
Schuylkill River - Pottsville to Middleport
Question
The East Branch of the Schuylkill River from the Brockton area to Pottsville has been a Godsend to me. After 60 years of nothing there is a stream full of fish and no pressure. Due to the sewerage from the towns in the Schuylkill Valley I find myself wearing latex gloves, etc., but the fish are healthy and many. Brookies are the majority with an occasional catch of browns and rainbows, fish from fingerlings to 18 inches have been caught, with some smallies, chubs, whitefish, and the sighting of many schools of minnows in the spring. These fish have been caught by myself and a friend, who often fish the stream.

Presently they are constructing a wastewater plant in Cumbola which should give me honor and privilege to take my grandson over the bank to do some trout fishing. We both wait for that anxiously. I want to commend the Commission, you have saved me many hours of traveling to trout fish by your actions here on the "crick" as it is known in Cumbola. Thanks again.

Answer
Thank you so much for your kind note regarding the development of the Schuylkill River trout fishery between Pottsville and Middleport. To suddenly have good fishing, and trout at that, in a river that has been viewed as being dead for the past 125 years or so, including your entire life, must take some getting used to.

In truth, we found a few wild brook trout along with various "minnows" and suckers in the river during our 2000 fish population survey. We also found some aquatic insects and noted water chemistry that would likely support a trout population year around. As a result of this and as a result of having unallocated trout fingerlings in our hatchery system, we decided to conduct a somewhat experimental stocking above Pottsville using brook trout fingerlings. The stocking below Pottsville using brown and rainbow trout fingerlings was much less experimental. I was unsure that it would work above Pottsville, but below Pottsville I was much more certain. Survival is not as good as we would like above Pottsville, but it is good enough to continue the program, especially since a fishery is developing, water quality improvements are continuing, and because we frequently have large numbers of unallocated brook trout fingerlings in our hatchery system. At present, we plan to continue the annual fingerling trout stockings and we expect better survival as water quality improves stemming from mine discharge treatment projects and the construction of a municipal wastewater treatment plant.

In the future I would certainly enjoy receiving an update from you about the size of the fish that you are catching and your thoughts on their abundance in the river. I was already surprised to learn from you that a few of the browns and rainbows have apparently worked their way up from below Pottsville. As always, we appreciate your bringing along anther generation of anglers through your grandchild.

Sincerely,
Michael Kaufmann
Area Fisheries Manager

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