State moves to expand lists of trout streams with special protections

John Hayes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in Outdoors

Stocked trout are paid for by the anglers who use them, but Pennsylvania's wild trout are a natural resource owned by every state resident. The Fish and Boat Commission has proposed to expand its lists of Wild Trout Waters and Class A Wild Trout Streams, separate designations that have different impacts on waterways.

Wild Trout Waters are streams or stream sections with naturally reproducing trout. The designation is a biological distinction that does not determine how the stream is managed. Waters categorized as Class A Wild Trout Streams are given special protections.

"It is the commission's policy to manage self-sustaining Class A wild trout populations as a renewable natural resource [and] to conserve that resource and the angling it provides," says the commission's proposal. "Class A wild trout populations represent the best of this commonwealth's naturally reproducing trout fisheries.

With rare exceptions, the commission manages these stream sections solely "for the perpetuation of the wild trout fishery with no stocking."

The Pennsylvania council of Trout Unlimited, a nationwide nonprofit group that works to protect and expand coldwater resources, is encouraging conservationists to support the state's 16,000 miles of wild trout waters by endorsing the Fish and Boat's proposal. Following the public comment period, commissioners are expected to vote on the proposal at its next board meeting in October.

"Upgrading streams offers improved protections from development impacts and mandates specific streamside buffer requirements, temperature and chemical restrictions on wastewater discharge, and time-of-year limitations for construction within the stream," Trout Unlimited said in a statement. "Left unprotected, these streams, which provide clean drinking water to millions of Pennsylvanians, are at risk of pollution and sedimentation from storm water runoff, high temperatures as a result of the destruction of streamside buffers, and reduced flows because of water withdrawals."

Comments on the proposal can be made through the VoterVoice portal at


Brook trout

Pennsylvania's state fish, the indigenous brook trout, is the topic of a presentation Monday at an in-person membership meeting of Penn's Woods West Trout Unlimited. Sara Mueller, a fisheries researcher from Penn State, will discuss brook trout genetics as well as common and uncommon behaviors. Open to nonmembers, the program starts at 7 p.m. at Christ Church at Grove Farm in Sewickley. Masks are required. Contact the group for details at

Continuing education for brookie fans will be available when the Chesapeake Research Consortium hosts a brook trout genetics workshop Sept. 28-29 in Thurmont, Md. Registration is free for in-person and Zoom attendance.

Conservation funding

Equitrans, a Canonsburg-based pipeline company, has donated $25,000 in community action funding to the Pittsburgh-area Trout Unlimited chapter. The group's board released a statement saying there are "no strings attached" to the grant, which will be used to fund its conservation and education programs.

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