Notes from the outdoors
A notebook of goings on around the Game Commission and Fish & Boat Commission:
Around the Game Commission
The Game Commission has tapped a familiar face - to Western Pennsylvania anyway - to fill one of its top spots in Harrisburg.
Matt Hough, director of the commission's southwest region office in Bolivar, has been named as the commission's newest deputy executive director for field operations. He takes the place of Mike Schmit, who recently retired.
Hough began his career with the commission in 1981 as a cadet. Upon graduation in 1982, he was assigned to serve as a wildlife conservation officer in Westmoreland County. He transferred to his native Washington County - he's a graduate of Trinity High School -- in 1986.
He was promoted to the regional office staff in 1992 and became regional director in 2003.
Hough currently lives in Johnstown. In his new job, which he is expected to begin the first week of July, Hough will oversee the day-to-day operations of the commission's six regions.
The Game Commission has accepted a donation of 46 acres of land in Somerset County.
The property - located near state game land 93 in Shade Township - was offered by Waste Management Inc. That company will retain the oil and gas rights to the property. It agreed not to disturb the surface of the property to pursue those minerals, however.
Instead, if Waste Management goes after that oil or gas, it will drill under the property sideways from adjoining sites.
The deed transfer stipulates that the Game Commission is not responsible for the acid mine drainage discharge on the site. That discharge is being treated currently.
The land otherwise includes 18 acres of wetlands, 14 acres of conifer plantations and mixed northern hardwoods and 14 acres of grassland and agricultural fields.
Around the Fish & Boat Commission
The website protectyourwaters.com, developed to help anglers and boaters stop the spread of invasive species, is reminding fishermen that they should not dump leftover bait into the waters they fish at the end of the day.
Instead, it suggests killing minnows by dumping them on land far from the water's edge. Crawfish should be crushed and nightcrawlers dumped into deep water.
The fishermen who target Peters Township Reservoir #2 in Washington County didn't do that, it seems. When biologists surveyed the lake's fish populations a few weeks ago, they found, for the first time, gizzard shad.
Native to some waters in the state, gizzard shad can now be found statewide because of being transported from lake to lake by bait fishermen. That can be bad.
Those in the Fish and Boat Commission's area 8 office said that, in Peters Township Reservoir #2 in particular, the shad are competing with the panfish for food and depressing their numbers.
"The PFBC strongly encourages anglers not to release live bait into a lake when done fishing to prevent the spread of undesirable or Aquatic Invasive Species. The PFBC also discourages transfer of any fishes from one public water body to another as serious negative fish population impacts could occur," reads a commission report on the survey.
The first brown trout eggs hatched in a Pennsylvania hatchery were those acquired from Germany and raised at Corry in 1886. Rainbow trout were first stocked in Pennsylvania in the Susquehanna River in the late 1880s. The commission finally had the capability to produce its own rainbow and brown trout eggs in 1938.
Want to know facts like that and more?
If so, check out the "History of the Management of Trout Fisheries in Pennsylvania" on the Fish and Boat Commission's website . Available as a PDF file, the publication was just updated this month.
It details everything from the start of trout stocking in the state to management of wild and stocked populations today. There's lots of information on current regulations, too.