Reader's Casts
September 21st, 1998
Low Water Levels in Many Pennsylvania Streams
May Require Changes to Fall Trout Stocking

by Steve Gossage

Long periods of hot dry weather during late summer have caused many northwest Pennsylvania trout stream water levels to drop severely. Even large streams, such as Oil Creek, have dropped to a point where fish are only able to survive by holding in the remaining pools. Some small creeks, such as French Creek, have been reported to be completely dry in places. This dry weather has extended from the Ohio border, east to Potter County. Some areas are reportedly worse than others are but all have been influenced.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will soon be starting their fall stocking of streams and lakes. Without substantial rain in the near future, some, if not many, streams will not receive the scheduled stocking. The fish will be diverted to lakes rather than jeopardize their survival by stocking them in low water streams.

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission biologist, Al Woomer, stated that stream surveys from the last two years have shown Pennsylvania's wild trout population to be flourishing. Without substantial rain in the near future this may be effected. With fall weather rapidly approaching, cool weather should soon lower the water temperature This should help the survival of the fish but rain is badly needed.

Anglers are being encouraged to limit their fishing to areas not effected by the dry weather and to carefully handle and release any fish caught. These conditions can be extremely stressful on the fish and the overall effect of the low water may not be known totally until next year. ~ Steve Gossage

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