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JOHNWMay 9th, 2008, 7:31 pm
Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
OK so it looks like I will have a chance to hit the Lehigh River in the Palmerton/Lehighton PA area. Is anyone familiar with this stretch. Most important to me is what gauges and levels I should be looking for in terms of safe wading. Although all info will be greatly appreciated.
JW
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
MartinlfMay 10th, 2008, 5:54 am
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3157
John, these folks may be able to give you some tips:

http://www.wildernesstrekker.com/

http://www.riversflyfishing.com/leh.php
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
JOHNWMay 11th, 2008, 8:10 am
Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
Gonzo,
I was pretty certain it was still dependent on stocking although I do understand they use a lot of fingerling so I will take that trade off for the short trip I'm looking at.
I also understand that there is a very good mix of insects for me to try the match the hatch game.

JW
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
LehighguideMay 22nd, 2008, 8:27 am
Posts: 6"it should be obvious that the "grip-and-grin" shots are of stocked fish"

The rainbows for sure but the browns not really. Many of the browns in the pictures would require a biologist to make the determination as we always catch these browns within a short distance of high quality tribs and it's really impossible to tell whether they were fingerling stocked or wild without some tests. Remember, legal sized browns are no longer stocked south of Sandy Run in the Gorge, in fact more legal sized browns are stocked in the Pohopoco.

"The Pohopoco above or below Beltzville is a better bet for wild fish."

Above sure, but below is a madhouse with about as many wild trout as my swimming pool.
LehighguideMay 22nd, 2008, 4:10 pm
Posts: 6It drew a negative reaction because that's what you were aiming for with your unfounded remarks. Everybody who fishes it with some regualrity knows that here are both wild and stocked trout in it. We've all caught fingerling trout before anyone chose to stock them.

"Hickory Run, Mud Run, and a few of the other wild trout feeders..."

Since when are both of those streams unstocked? Do you have any idea of what you're talking about or did you just stay at a Holiday Inn last night?

PS - Just to be fair. How do you know whether some of those browns pictured weren't actually caught in the Lehigh Gorge where you have conceded that there are wild trout?
LehighguideMay 23rd, 2008, 3:49 pm
Posts: 6Over my head? Not even close.

I think it's ludicrous to say that an angler has a better chance of catching a wild trout in the lower Po than in the Lehigh below Palmerton where the Shic flows in. Personally I have seen many more wild trout in that area than I have within a reasonable vicinity of Mud or Hickory Run on the Lehigh.

You haven't stepped on my or any other guide's toes because we're pretty much all booked solid, and will be again next year, despite your opinion of the river.

We don't need to discuss this via PM.
JOHNWMay 23rd, 2008, 7:24 pm
Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
Lehighguide,
I'll wade into this since you couldn't seem to pony up any info when my initial request was made but are willing to jump down the throat of a very knowledgeable angler who atleast was willing to share what he knew/believed. Was Gonzo's report biased and slanted? Yes, but he pretty much made that clear.

As for determining if the pictured fish were stocked you can't argue for the trout being of wild origin any better than Gonzo can argue to the contrary, since the stocked fish are not fin clipped (the gold standard for such differentiation).

Finally if you are involved with the organization Louis listed I'll again say thanks for nothing as attempts to contact Rivers (aka wildernesstrekker or Old Lehigh Outfitters) didn't even yield a return call. And actually thanks for nothing any way as your response was well after the trip and as such not going to influence my decision. Of course maybe since I was doing it DYI and not ponying any cash to a guide/outfitter my query didn't matter.
John
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
LehighguideMay 24th, 2008, 12:29 am
Posts: 6John,
Those guys guide every day starting about the last week in April. I'm sure their silence was attributed to that. Hell, they close their fly shop in May because of the amount of trips they run. I know all of them well and they are happy to share info when they can. As for not being able to back up my claims of wild trout that's not true but I have no "documented" evidence. But how I, and many others, know without a shade of a doubt that there are wild trout in the lower river is because before fingerling stocking was widely practiced by either the PFBC or the LRSA fingerling trout would be caught at times of the year that coincided with spawning cycles of brown and rainbow trout and when both parties were contacted they both confirmed that they had not stocked fingerlings. These fish do not appear from thin air.

Gonzo,
I'm not sure which section you are talking about because you're description is not very specific, I can guarantee that I have fished it where ever it is and obviously I was not as enamored by it as you are. Exploited? I think utilizing is a better word. LCFA members have sat through countless meetings with DCNR, PFBC, and USACE peoples in the interest of better management of the dam for everyone. Spending a lot of time and energy to help improve a fishery I would not call exploitation. I think there is a false belief that guides involved in the LCFA are trying to raise the dam to levels that would guarantee floatability of the river on a year round basis and that is not true or even possible with the current configuration. The study underway right now will shed more light on the capabilities of FEW based on modifications to the dam. If you truly cared as much as the people you're shaking your stick at then maybe you could get involved with the LCFA and make your voice as an angler heard.
JOHNWMay 24th, 2008, 7:30 am
Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
"As for not being able to back up my claims of wild trout that's not true but I have no "documented" evidence."

I do not debate that there is a presence of "some" wild trout and that wild recruitment may be on the rise; however in my line of work annectdotal information is useful as a stepping off point. Hard data; IE doucmented, consistently reproduceable information, is the only way to show proof. So forgive me for being a little jaded on the extent of wildly reared trout as scientifically/statistically speaking you can NOT back up your claims.

As for the merits of fishing over fingerling planted fish, I don't really differentiate between the two as fingerling planted fish come to behave as wild fish in short order. Hence my comment on making such a "trade off".

Finally I'm still interested in what recommended wading levels are for the river section in question. From my adventure I can report that 700cfs on the Lehighton gauge made for some pretty hairy wading.
John
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
LehighguideMay 24th, 2008, 8:26 am
Posts: 6John,
Safe wading flows are not a solid thing, it would depend really on what section you're wading. In the Middle/Lower river 500 cfs(Lehighton guage) would be about the highest I would bother wade fishing except the Turnpike Pool near Parryville where 700 cfs is still wadeable. At 250(FEW guage) the river is very wadeable in most spots but the fish will start to feel it quickly when it warms up. The new park/boat ramp area near Bowmanstown would probably be a good place to get started. Their is quality water above and below the parking area that isn't going to give you too many problems at 300-500 cfs. The Gorge is tough wading to begin with so I can't advise fishing that over 300 cfs(FEW guage) until you can find your comfortable spots like where Hayes Creek flows in where the flow doesn't matter so much until it starts going over 500 cfs. Studs are good anytime to deal with the rock snot and boulders.
JOHNWMay 24th, 2008, 10:29 am
Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
Lehighguide,
Thanks for that info.
I was able to navigate the flats above the 248 cantilever fairly easily and the water just above that series of islands was a little daunting but managable with studs and wading staff. The riffles near the Bowmanstown boat launch (well probably a half mile upstream where the trib enters on river right) was downright scarry, and that is coming from a guy who is used to wading some pretty nasty stuff.

I will say if you look up my report for that day it was very frustrating as there were tons of bugs about and very few fish responding even in the slower pools.
JW
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
LehighguideMay 24th, 2008, 10:52 am
Posts: 6It doesn't surprise me that you didn't see a lot of fishing rising to hatching insects. The rising fish in the lower river are predominantly Browns, I think we can skip discussion of their origin. They won't get on the bugs until the water temp is in the 60s and then all hell will break loose though that doesn't mean that they'll be within easy casting distance. Word on the street is that the USACE will be cutting the flow to 200 cfs soon which couple with rising air temps should make for some solid surface activity. Again, it's all about water temp on the lower river and don't expect too much on top until we get a bump in water temp. The river fishes better with dry flies in June than it does in May anymore and the rises that you do see in may are likely to be fish intercepting emergers near the surface rather than rises to hatched bugs. A small pair of binocs works wonders.

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