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Why stock the Lackawaxen River?

July 30, 2014

My family and I have been trout fishing the Lackawaxen River for three generations. The problem I and many other fishermen have is the opening of the tubes [that carry water from Lake Wallenpaupack to the hydro-powered generating facility at Kimbles]. In the last two years, PP&L has been operating the turbines all week long and many weekends. When they are open, fishing in the Lackawaxen is not only impossible but dangerous. They close the turbines for a few weekends in the springtime for trout fishing. However, starting in July, they operate all weekend whether or not there is heavy rain. Again, this means no fishing is allowed. Those who work weekends and shifts, i.e. law enforcement, medical professionals, etc., would have never been able to fish this year. I realize that due to heavy rain or snow, the water must be released, but not in June or July when there is no rain. I am sure fishermen, sport shops and surrounding delis are disappointed as well. This fisherman and his family feel we should stop wasting our time and money on a Pennsylvania fishing license. Why not give the fishermen a long weekend to fish? If any other readers agree, please notify the PA Fish Commission and PP&L. Let’s take back our beautiful river!

John and George Westenberger
Boonton, NJ (representing three generations that have spent summers in Shohola, PA)

[Editor’s note: The River Reporter’s fishing columnist, Andy Boyar, who loves to fish the Lackawaxen points out that PP&L manages the river for energy production, not for the fishery, and he offers this comment: Mr. Westenberger has a very good point. Releases this year have made for the worst fishing conditions in a decade. I check the Lackawaxen flows six times a day from April 12 to October. I will head to that river the moment it becomes fishable. Lately, that has rarely happened. The pattern has been to generate until after dark. The river has low flows (fishable) from 10 p.m. or so until about 9 or 10 in the morning. Then the river is quite unfishable through evening.

For example, on July 25, the flow was over 1,400 cfs (cubic feet/second) in the evening (absolutely unfishable), Then they dropped it to 160 in the early hours of July 27, also unfishable (too low), and by noon, bounced it back to 670. This “yoyo” effect is not good for the fishery, and it ruins the river as a recreational resource.]