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Fish and Boat commission talks fishing concerns

“Stock and wild trout … Pennsylvania has it all.”

That’s what Timothy Schaeffer, executive director of the state Fish and Boat Commission, told Trout Unlimited Wednesday night on a visit to the group’s meeting at Covenant Central Presbyterian Church.

Schaffer wanted to allow members and anglers in the region to be aware they can provide public comment this spring on the state Trout Plan, which is due out on July 1.

Schaeffer touched on a variety of

concerns for area fishing enthusiasts.

Among the most pressing, is the climate change impact on fish species.

Such issues can impact not only aquatic life, but also how boat ramps are designed in the future, he said.

Aquatic invasive species were another concern, he noted.

For example, the commission is working in tandem with the state Department of Agriculture on this, he said.

In some instances, hatchery-raised fish can bring invasive species such as gill lice, he said.

“The department and commission are working wherever fish are stocked,” Schaeffer said.

Another issue brought up was stream restoration access to public waterways and discussions on access to private places such as ponds loaded with bluegills and other fish.

He discussed waterways enforcement, and urged individuals not to drink alcohol while operating boats. He spoke about how he’d like to see more safety equipment, such as life vests, near the same location as canoes and kayaks sold in stores.

There is a strategic plan in place with a vision, and one main goal of getting more anglers out into the great outdoors.

Trout Unlimited next meeting is March 11, with special guest Geoffrey Smith, a biologist with the commission, said Walt Nicholson, an organization spokesman.

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