a few thoughts on fishing the lackawanna with TUCKER HOTTES
Anglers should work together to help clean up the river
Last spring, I posted a quick pair of videos to YouTube of a friend of mine landing a brown trout on the Lackawanna River, not far from my house. Combined, to date, they’ve received shy of 300 views — certainly nothing spectacular, but it’s less than a minute’s worth of footage of a fish. No big deal. I barely even remembered posting them. Until this week, that is, when I received a message on YouTube from a concerned angler worrying about river pollution and overfishing. He was concerned that my not-so-popular videos would draw people to the Lackawanna and contribute to the problems he was seeing, and requested that I remove the name of the river from them.
Here’s the thing, and all due respect to the concerned angler: my videos are not even on the radar for things that threaten the river. First of all, there’s publicity. There’s a myriad of publications about fishing on all stretches of the Lackawanna. The reclassification of sections (particularly near Scranton) as Class A trout water was also not a secret. I frequently write here about fishing on the river. A friend of mine from New York City moved to Scranton, went to the library, and brought home a stack of books with detailed information about where to fish on the Lackawanna. The fourth Google result for “fishing Lackawanna River” is a PDF guide to fishing the river from the Lackawanna River Corridor Association. Trout Unlimited, the largest trout conservation organization, encourages anglers of all levels to visit the river, learn about the river, and participate in cleanups.
If people are concerned with overfishing or pollution, they should contact local wildlife officers who should be enforcing the regulations on the books. People should be concerned with the environmental risks of hydraulic fracturing and drilling occurring just to the north of Lackawanna County. People should keep an eye on the fight to stop American Rock Salt from being given a blank check to pollute the river (Salt Stockpile Stirs Lackawanna River Fears, Scranton Times-Tribune, May 10). The DEP regularly fines sewer authorities when they exceed waste-water dumping requirements, yet it still happens (that would explain the condoms and diapers I saw floating down the river recently) and they get little more than a slap on the wrist.
As anglers, we can see lots of issues on the river — but raising awareness through education and participating in conservation organizations will certainly do more to help than telling people “I was there first” (as this particular individual did). I don’t think that my two videos are contributing to problems with a river that’s actually considered to be on an upswing. For the record, both of those videos were shot in the middle of residential areas, not “secret” holes anywhere (behind Giant supermarket in Green Ridge, to be specific).
As anglers we should be working together to fight the real problems, not asking people to change the titles of their videos. In particular, people should attend local Trout Unlimited meetings to let the chapter know about any particular sections of river that are in poor shape. That way, other anglers who might be heading to that area can help clean up when they see pollution or damage. Certainly don’t keep it a secret!