Troubled trout

By on May 20, 2015

5=17-15 Fish Kill 001Low water levels coupled with a storm Saturday night proved fatal for about 2,700 fish in a Lititz co-op trout nursery .

Lititz Sportsmen’s Association’s all-volunteer nursery typically raises about 14,000 trout per year — for stocking all the northern streams in the county for the Pennsylvania Fish Commission — in water fed from Lititz Run.

“But Lititz Run stream was low to begin with and that’s what supplies the nursery with water for the fish,” said Dick Fridinger, president of Lititz Sportsmen’s Association.

“When a stream is too low it does not create dissolved oxygen upstream that comes toward the park and down to the nursery,” he said.

Fridinger said the dissolved oxygen “dropped 40 to 50 percent of normal levels after the storm. All of the dead fish were 12 inches long and ready to be stocked, he said.

“We had about 2,500 (trout) left after I cleaned out the 2,700 that we lost,” Fridinger said.

The nursery raises fish for one year after receiving an annual supply each July from the Pennsylvania Fish Commission.

The dead fish at the nursery would have been stocked in local streams in the next two months.

Fridinger said it is unusual for fish to die at this time of year “in one of the best nurseries in state thanks to the spring water quality of Lititz Run.

The hatchery typically has more problems with the small fingerlings on hot summer days, he said.

“When a storm comes through, it washes in the street and then goes in the stream,” he said. “Then it hits the nursery and the temperature goes up and shocks the fish and kills them.”

When that happens the Pennsylvania Fish Commission replaces the fingerlings but that’s not the case with the lost grown fish.

Fridinger said the co-op is one of 48 in the state operated by other sportsmen’s clubs, each raising between 3,000 and 6,000 fish.

The Lititz Sportsmen’s Association pays for the feed which is offset somewhat by kids’ fishing derbies.

The club pre-stocks streams about two weeks before the opening of trout season in mid-April, then continues to stock a stream or two every week throughout the season.

Patrick Burns is a staff writer for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at pburns.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4455.

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