Muddy Creek Trout Unlimited
It drains one hundred and thirty seven square miles into the Lower Susquehanna River just 23 nautical miles upstream of the Chesapeake Bay. That is the Muddy Creek Watershed, according to the “Muddy Creek Watershed Conservation Plan”.
“To conserve, protect and restore coldwater resources in the Muddy Creek Watershed”. That is the mission statement of Muddy Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited.
So how does our volunteer TU Chapter go about the business of conserving, protecting and restoring all those miles of streams in our watershed? Well, realistically it’s not ALL going to get restored in our lifetimes. It’s done the best we can one small piece with on large grant (money) at a time. It’s also done one small piece at a time with volunter hours and little money. Volunteers spending hours surveying sections of streams, rolling rocks, cutting live stakes, planting trees, shrubs and maintaining a native plant nursery.
I’ve been shown areas along our small tributaries that have been planted with shrubs by our chapter maybe ten years ago. Stream banks that were once subject to erosion and water once exposed to direct sunlight that raises temperatures to intolerable levels forcoldwater species. Now the shrubs are mature providing shade and s toerving as a“riparian buffer” which is so essential in providing a filter for nutrients and pollutants. The Pine Run Project will be an excellent opportunity for you to help serve our mission statement. Our Chapter is committed to provide man hours to plant trees and shrubs along the stream. As of this writing the contractor is nearing completion of stream structures. Details of the project are elsewhere in this newsletter. So when the call come for your help please consider volunteering whatever hours you can. This is your chance to help restore that one small piece in our watershed. It’s for our future generations.
For anyone that has been fishing during the fall and winter, Muddy Creek has been fishing well. The PAF&BC stocking of rainbows in the FFO area last October provided decent fishing all winter. The FFO was stocked on February 19 with trout from PAF&BC with a mix of browns and bows. I saw a few little black stoneflies on the water on a warm day in early February so hopefully the fish will get turned on to these bugs soon. Look elsewhere in this newsletter for stream stocking information from our nursery.
A full slate of activities are slated for our Chapter this spring. As mentioned previously there will be streamside plantings along the Pine Run Project. Also, opening day food stands, a fishing day for the visually impaired from ForSight Vision and our Spring Fling outing at Allegro Vineyards. Please consider volunteering for these events. We need your help.
Since our last newsletter Chapter Members have been very active in the following: Opening day of trout food stands, Tee shirt sales, A fishing day for children and
their families from "For Sight and Vision", Spring Fling event, potting 500 plants for our native plant nursery, building an additional native plant nursery, two new
stream projects have been planned and permitted, attended the Red Lion Street fair. There are also numerous activities that members, directors and officers
do behind the scenes, so to speak. In this newsletter you can read the details of some of our past and planned events. This is what we do and have been doing for, from what I know, a long time Which is why I was surprised two years ago when we were referred to as a "struggling chapter" at the Annual State Council membership meeting.
However, their definition of "struggling" is a number rather than in terms of what we accomplish. Recalling what Maurice wrote in his last Chapter newsletter as President. His quote was "Last year at the Annual State Council membership meeting our chapter was ranked at 47 of 51 in the state for membership retention. Considered a “struggling chapter”, we are asking you to offer ideas and support to help change that status."
I am very pleased to report that since then many of you have worked to reverse this trend. Our Chapter membership has grown from 95 to 137 over the last two years. Membership meeting attendance has increased. These are positive trends. This is very important as new members bring new ideas and we welcome that. We need that. If you are willing, help to keep us moving in this direction by inviting a friend to a meeting or workday, pick up a TU application at a meeting to give someone streamside, hand out a copy of our newsletter or direct a prospective member to our website. There are many ways to get more people involved in what we do.
Reading the newspaper last week a report stated that our weather for York County was very close to normal. Following what Maurice did during a hot spell a couple years ago I sampled water temperatures in the watershed during a hot spell in July. Water temperatures were taken in the North and South Branches and some of their tributaries. Temperatures in the Branches were running 78F. Their tribs were at 70F. About 100 yds below those tribs I measured 76F. Then back up to 78F until the next trib would lower another 2 degrees and so on. Which brings us to the "how did the trout hold up" question. Here we are at the end of September and the water temperatures are down in the high 50s, low 60s all depending what time of day and where you are fishing. Reports are that there have been catches of wild trout showing up in the main stem as well as the branches. This seems to be a trend since I have been back fishing this watershed. We are very encouraged by this and our hopes are that the wild trout are being conserved for fishing enjoyment and any natural reproduction that may be taking place. If you have been fishing and have a report you would like to share, we'd like to hear from you.
Make sure to make note of our winter meeting schedule elsewhere in this newsletter. Also please take note of past and planned activities. There is a bit of something in this chapter that should be of interest to all of you who believe in enjoying, conserving and preserving the Muddy Creek watershed.
All the best,
ChaChter members have been busy the first arter of this year. Activities and accomplishments include: A walk thru of the North Branch Phase 1 Growing Greener Project at Felton with concernd agencies to discuss project repairs; attended a preapplication meeting at the Pine Run Project;float boxes for stocking trout were rebuilt; preseason stocking of trout; re-hanging the cable that marks the upper boundary of the FFO area; attendance at the Keystone Coldwater Conference.
Future activities being planned are:
Riparian buffer plantings of trees and shrubs on the Pine Run Project.
A stream restoration project along Owad Road.
Contact Maurice Chioda, Scott Runkle or Ron Heuston to offer your help for all our conservation efforts.
T shirts will be available at the March Meeting. There are various sizes to choose from. Cost is $12. There is a small logo on the front and a larger one on the back. These are very nicely designed and very well priced.
Opening day of trout food stands on March 31. We will have two stands, one at Woodbine and the other at High Rock. Contact is Bob Shaffer.
A Spring Outing will be held on the Nursery Grounds on Saturday May 19. We will be selling tickets for $15 for a meal and a chance at a door prize. The menu is pulled pork, filling, gravy, baked beans, baked potato and a beverage. Hamburgers and Hot Dogs will also be grilled. The meal will be served from Noon to 2:00P. We need your help to sell tickets which will be available at the March 21 membership meeting. A flyer has been produced to hand out describing some of our Chapter goals as an aid in selling tickets. There are numerous people out there that do not realize all the work that Muddy Creek TU has been doing for a long time and may be interested in attending this event. Call any of the Officers or Directors for tickets. Phone numbers are listed in the Chapter Newsletter. If you would like more details call Brita Runkle at 586-4271.
We will hold a fishing day for sight impaired children from “Sight for Vision” at the Handicap Area on either May 5 or May 12. Keep posted for a follow-up email for this event.
Nursery and Trout Stocking
Stocking days are in progress and will continue
thru mid-May. Call Jan Pickel at 870-3540 or
Fred Wilt at 309-8098 to offer your help.
We hope to see you at meetings and projects soon.
My name is Fred Hess and I was elected as your new Chapter President this past October. When relocating back to York County four plus years ago a check of the Muddy Creek Trout Unlimited Website was confirmation that this was a Chapter that is busy. One that has multiple opportunities for involvement. One that proved to be the right decision for me to transfer to. It wasn’t much of a gamble. Everything that was read on the website and in the newsletters was right on the money. No glitz and glitter here. It’s grassroots members doing the right thing. Doing a lot of hard work for a very long time. Your welcoming friendliness and open, honest dialog is very much appreciated. Members have openly and without hesitation shown me around the watershed, explained to me the business end of the chapter and guided me through the Coop nursery operations. And without hesitation they also put me to work!
It is very pleasing for me to go out into the Muddy Creek Watershed. The feeling of “remoteness”, the beauty of the landscape and of course the great fishing opportunities is a testament to all of those who have been involved with this Chapter since its inception. And to you I say “thank you, it is very much appreciated”.
Speaking of fishing, as of this writing the watershed has been fishing well. Water temperatures on the main stem have been in the 40 degree range. Consecutive warm days have been bringing some trout to the surface in the afternoons. Approximately 650 holdover brown trout from our nursery have been stocked this past fall. Fish were stocked in the main stem from the Muddy Creek Forks, through the fly fishing area to well below Woodbine. (The above photo is an example.) In addition Chapter members floated 300 rainbows supplied by the PA Fish & Boat Commission in the FFO section in October.
Meeting more of you would be a good thing. Check our Winter/Spring Meeting Schedule on the right sidebar and please consider trying to attend one or more and bring a guest if you can. Our own Maurice will be making an interesting presentation at the March Membership Meeting. Also in this newsletter is information on upcoming Chapter projects. We need your help.
The Board of Directors met twice since the October election of officers. We made a budget for 2012 which was presented at the December membership meeting. The chapter will work from this budget framework each year. This month the BOD met to establish a plan for the Chapter looking ahead three to five years. Suggestions for committees were made and a draft established. The committees are posted in this newsletter. We are looking for volunteers to serve so please consider helping on one or more committees with whatever time you can offer.
Is it hot enough for you? As we enter our third heat wave for 2011 (a heat wave is considered when three consecutive days reach 90 degrees or higher), our minds wander from trout and toward vacations, the beach, pool or better yet air conditioning. Well, so to do the trout. They are searching the watershed for a thermal refuge. While I have not had the time to monitor temperatures in the watershed this summer I would imagine they are higher than last year. This is a tough time for trout. But it does give me time to reflect on the past season of fishing and our members volunteer efforts.
Over the last spring our volunteers cared for and stocked over 6,000 trout, harvested willow live stakes for the native plant nursery, planted live stakes, operated food stands on opening day, held a public forum discussing the impacts of the Marcellus Shale play in Pennsylvania, renovated the Handicapped Area, put on a Handicapped fishing event, and planned for the Open House coming up in September. We have a small yet dedicated group who seem to be at every meeting. But for some reason our attendance never seems to eclipse 10 people total. We hope to improve that over the coming months. We would appreciate your help by attending and perhaps adding to our small group of go-getters.
One of the immediate tasks of this group involved the revision of our Chapter by-laws. As mandated by TU National every chapter in the country has to become compliant with the general framework provided in a “model by-laws”. As it turns out, our original by-laws are not far from this model and one evening in July a committee of four (Ron, Fred and Bob and myself) sat down and hammered out the differences, line by line. So we are now able to comply and keep MCTU chartered with TU National once we file the document in September. It is policy that the Chapter membership at large be given notice to review and comment on these changes. So if you have an interest in reviewing the new MCTU by-laws, check our website or contact one of our leaders for a copy
As you try to stay cool for the balance of the summer, consider the opportunities that lie ahead for MCTU. We have the Red Lion Street Fair in August, The Open House in September, and the incubator program that will begin to ramp up in September. These are all important efforts for our Chapter. All of these efforts require volunteer support. But more importantly in the coming months we have Chapter leadership nominations and elections. We certainly could use a few more hands to spread out the burdens of running this chapter. My tenure as President is expiring soon. Our interest is to add some new life and ideas to the annual business the chapter does. We cannot do that with the same seven or eight folks trading titles. We need you to help make this happen.
In September we will have nominations for the Executive staff and up to four Directors; for Three, Two and One year terms. Leadership roles must be held by Trout Unlimited members in good standing. Directors are required by the by-laws to participate in at least six (6) meetings per year. These can be round table or email votes. Its not a tremendous responsibility but one that is vital toward our success and diversity. Often times an organization becomes stagnant and loses potency when the leadership remains the same for a number of years. We are looking for that new blood to revitalize our chapter.
Last year at the Annual State Council membership meeting our chapter was ranked at 47 of 51 in the state for membership retention. Considered a “struggling chapter”, we are asking you to offer ideas and support to help change that status.
Yours in Conservation,
Prior blog entries.
Winter is winding down (I hope) and Spring is around the corner. It was evident after a 50 degree day and the fi rst stocking of the C&RFFO area. In high and stained water seven dedicated volunteers floated 800 brown and rainbow trout the length of the fly area. These fish provided by the PF&BC ranged from 10”-14” and should provide some fine fi shing this spring. Thanks to Fred Wilt for organizing the float stocking that we all appreciate. Being my fi rst time in chest waders this season I realized I had a leak in them...the big one at the top where the suspenders are. That’s right, I fell in!
Not much happened with the chapter over the winter beyond the typical business of raising trout at the nursery. They are coming along nicely, See the article by Fred Hess inside about our “lighthouse browns”. And lets not forget the fantastic volunteer effort each year of the streamside incubator program.
With bigger fish in the nursery we have a greater expense toward their rearing them, prices for feed went up and well, they eat more. So we have been scrambling for alternative ways to raise money and along comes our Lancaster Connection (Glenn Grimes, Jere Saxinger, John Kuhrman, Ric Horst and Barry Reinhart) with the donation of 7 Hand Crafted Fly Tying Storage boxes, they will make great auction items. Glenn Grimes also made us a couple more Shadow Boxes with hand tied fl ys in them. These items are real works of art. Consider purchasing them this spring to help with our fundraising efforts.
We are ramping up our spring time docket with some exciting events. Beginning with a clean up of the Handicapped Fishing Area, a North Branch tree tube removal and live stake harvest, and the Opening Day Food Stand sales. All of these will require your help to be successful. Consider volunteering for any or all of these events.
A Special Meeting event on Sunday March 13th at Gander Mountain at 2:00 pm where we will have David Sewak from TU National talking about the impacts of the Marcellus Shale Gas Extraction Industry in Pennsylvania we have all heard so much about lately. This is a presentation you don’t want to miss. The SCPA region although not directly impacted will have downstream concerns over water quality. And of course we all know how important the Pennsylvania Wilds are to our recreational fi shing interests. At the meeting we will have a special door prize drawing for a small donation.
Also around the corner either this spring or late summer we should be starting construction on the Pine Run stream restoration project. This 1,700 foot project will involve channel reconstruction, cross stream structures to provide some grade control, bank grading and rock toe, toe wood and many other fi sh habitat structures. It is an exciting design that in conjunction with the livestock fencing and riparian buffers will provide all the right qualities to improve downstream temperatures and habitat necessary to promote a wild fishery. MCTU has committed nearly $10,000.00 worth of plant material and volunteer labor for the riparian buffers. We are extremely grateful to the Watershed Alliance of York whose generousity to sponsor this grant for MCTU has made this restoration possible. But make no mistake, this IS MCTU’s project and our committment to the watershed through a dedicated volunteer effort will be necessary again soon.
That should be enough variety for anyone interested in helping MCTU to fi nd an event or project that peeks your interest and volunteer.
Yours in Conservation,
Can you believe it, Summer is over already. Seems like just yesterday we were shoveling 2 feet of snow to stock fish over the winter. So far this summer we have had a record number of dates with temperatures in the 90’s. Wow, that may be thrilling for the beach combers but not for raising trout. The good news is that the 500 trout we held over this summer are doing fine although we did have a relatively small die off due to a power outtage at the Nursery. In short order, we were notified by our friend in the neighborhood but by the time we had someone on the scene the power returned. We lost about 15 fish over the next week. It gave us pause and an opportunity to explore our emergency response plan. Gary Wolford, who notified us of the outtage, continues to be a concerned and engaged neighbor. Thanks Gary!
As I said this was a hot summer, after a period of five consecutive days in the 90’s and night-time temps in the 70’s I decided to check on the watershed and its trout. It was not a pretty picture. I took temperatures at 22 locations and found that even the best locations like Rambo Run were 70 degrees or above. While I only saw one dead trout, I did find over 100 resting in the cool flows of Spencer Run at the Fly area. Spencer was 70 degrees. The main creek was 80 degrees. Far too warm for trout. In fact this gave me some contrast to ponder the reports I had heard and experienced for myself earlier in the spring. As several members and guests of the website communicated, the catch rates of wild trout vs stocked trout in the watershed was tremendous this spring. This after a winter that seemed to not give up many trout at all with wild characteristics. However, once the season started the catch rates of wild trout soared into the 30-60% range. That’s right, up to 6 in ten trout caught were streambred. I can remember just ten years ago if you caught a handful of wild trout over the season you were fortunate. These reports left us very excited and encouraged about the future. Then the heat wave came. It will be very interesting to see what the fall catch rates will be for the Muddy Creek Watershed. I cannot wait for the temps to cool so I can begin campling the streams.
Since the last time we talked so much has happened, I will try to highlight it here. We raised and stocked over 7,000 trout, Planted over 1,300 plants in Felton contributing 200+ hours to the stream project there, updated our plant nursery by planting over 450 white oak acorns, installed a cross-rock vane at the Nursery to replace the deteriorating jackdam. This project was a partnership including the PF&BC who donated the stone and helped us get the permits, Ecostruction, LLC who provided the heavy equipment and expertise to build the structure properly and Gary Wolford who donated his back-hoe services that helped us with the clean up and grass planting after the project was finished. In addition MCTU volunteers got a chance to roll rocks, get dirty and come away with a real sense of accomplishment.
After a year like this we earned a break. So with the property cleaned up we decided to have an Open House as our venue for the WAY Watershed Weekend on September 25 th. The primary goal is to thank the landowners who graciously open their land to fishing and help us with our conservation mission. This event will also give us an opportunity to display our accomplishments and our appreciation to the volunteers by sharing a day of camaraderie. So mark your calendar and don’t miss the Open House on September 25th. We hope to see you there.
Yours in Conservation,
President - MCTU