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Shaler fishing hole stocked; hooks youngsters on sport

| Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Submitted | Pine Creek Journal
Rich Simmen, of Shaler Township, helps to stock close to 150 trout in a section of Pine Creek with other volunteers from the Allison Park Sportsmen’s Club and Penn’s Woods West Trout Unlimited where a new children’s fishing area has been created at Fawcett Fields off of McElheny Road.
Submitted | Pine Creek Journal
Rich Simmen, of Shaler Township, helps to stock close to 150 trout in a section of Pine Creek with other volunteers from the Allison Park Sportsmen’s Club and Penn’s Woods West Trout Unlimited where a new children’s fishing area has been created at Fawcett Fields off of McElheny Road.

Shaler Township kicked off trout season with a new fishing hole designed for children.

A section of Pine Creek near Fawcett Field, off of McElheny Road now is a designated children's fishing area and was open to children ages 12 and younger as of Saturday, April 13, the start of trout season.

That area of Pine Creek received significant attention in 2011 when Penn's Woods West Trout Unlimited organized a stream stabilization project.

The local group received $133,000 from the federal Clean Water Act funding source and an additional $5,000 from the Allegheny County Conservation District and contracted with Gleim Environmental Group, based in Carlisle, to install six bank stabilization structures in the creek to divert the water toward the center of the creek and away from the banks, which were eroding.

“After the job was done it was so beautiful and looked like such a nice place to fish, we decided to stock it, but since it was such a small area we … thought it would be a nice place for people to come and bring their kids,” said Tom Walsh, an officer of Penn's Woods West Trout Unlimited.

Volunteers from the Allison Park Sportsmen's Club and Penn's Woods West Trout Unlimited supported Shaler's new fishing area by stocking it with close to 150 trout, including rainbow and palomino trout, on April 8.

Penn's Woods West Trout Unlimited purchased the fish from Laurel Hill Trout Farm in Rockwood with unused money provided by the Allegheny County Conservation District for the stream-stabilization project that was reallocated.

Volunteers from the Allison Park Sportsmen's Club also spent last Saturday on hand at the fishing area to support new fishers similar to the support they provide during the annual Dan Wagner Memorial Kid's Fishing Day in North Park.

“It works out so well,” said Rich Simmen, president of the club. “We have guys walking around helping them.”

Fishing will be permitted in the park from 7 a.m. until dusk. Children do not need a fishing license to use the fishing area, but they must be accompanied by an adult. An adult license is not required to assist children by baiting hooks, removing fish from the line, netting fish, preparing the fishing rod for use or untangling the line, according to the state Fish and Boat Commission laws, which apply to the local fishing hole.

The fishing area will extend from the soccer fields at Fawcett Fields through the woods along the Eagle Canyon Trail to Wetzel Road.

“There's plenty of fish,” township manager Tim Rogers said. “It's like shooting fish in a barrel. There are three little ponds (along the creek), and it's full of trout. Hopefully, the kids will enjoy it.”

Walsh said the site had been tested for water quality and food sources for the trout, and he hopes to continue stocking efforts in the future.

“If we have good results this year, we plan to continue it,” Walsh said. “It's a beautiful habitat.”

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or bhofstetter@tribweb.com.

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