Monday, November 14, 2011

Closed Boat Ramps Anger Anglers (11/13/11)

Hello Folks,

Last evening, I received an email from our local outdoor staff writer, Ad Crable, regarding the closing of Lake Aldred, Susquehanna River, accesses by PPL. Ad follows the "Fishing With Dad" blog and understands that I have a vested interest in Lake Aldred since it is so very close to my home and I consider it my "Home Waters". He also has sen me write about this situation several times over the past year.

I called Ad and we openly discussed the length of time this 7 mile stretch of river (Lake Aldred) has been closed (65 Days) and how I feel about the reasoning reported this past week by PPL, owners of the Holtwood Dam.

Printed in the Intelligencer Journal and The Lancaster New Era

Originally Published Nov 13, 2011 20:51
Staff Writer

Sportsmen are unhappy with PPL because the only two public boat launches between the Safe Harbor and Holtwood dams have been closed since Hurricane Irene hit in September.

PPL already has raised the ire of anglers who have been unable to get to their favorite spots during the peak of walleye season.

And PPL now says the Pequea and York Furnace boat launches on opposite sides of the Susquehanna River will remain closed for the opening of duck season this week.

Duck hunters will be unable to reach their blinds unless they can find private places to launch.

"For the ramps to be closed to the people of Lancaster and York counties for 65 days, it's just a shame," said Thomas E. Boyd, of Willow Street, a frequent smallmouth bass angler on the 7-mile stretch of Lake Aldred.

"We've lost the best of the walleye season the last two months," Curt Nicholson, 60, a psychologist from Manheim, said Sunday evening from a fishing boat on the Susquehanna in Conoy Township.

PPL issued a news release Thursday, saying the recent severe flooding and continued higher-than- normal river flows will keep the boat launches locked to the public.

"As much as PPL supports and encourages public recreation at the Holtwood hydroelectric project, we have made the decision to keep the boat ramps closed because river conditions have not allowed our workers to safely make repairs to strobe warning lights and other equipment in place for public safety," said PPL, which owns the Holtwood Dam.

"We know this is an inconvenience to duck hunters who use Lake Aldred. We hope to reopen the boat ramps at some point before the season ends in January, depending on river conditions and our ability to repair or replace what has been damaged."

Some sportsmen complain that it should not have taken the utility this long to fix the safety devices.

They also say river access was not affected when the devices have been damaged in the past.

"We've hunted the river like that for years, and now, all of a sudden, it's off limits?" said Dale Sirbak, a duck hunter from Conestoga.

"I can understand why everybody is angry. It's one thing to be liability-conscious. It's another to stop sportsmen who have been going for how many years."

Said Boyd, who recently wrote his local legislator about the matter, "We're not being given any answers that satisfy us. Everybody wants the river to be safe. Yet there are people who are on the river to recreate a lot, and it doesn't seem to be unsafe."

Boyd, who has been boating and fishing on Lake Aldred for more than 30 years, said the river is not high.

"Yet they are using that as an excuse not to get the work done," he said. "We know they close sometimes to do repair work, but it's been closed now since September, and that's an extremely long time."

Boyd said a frustrated fellow bass angler recently paid $100 to a private marina in York County so he could fish Lake Aldred.

He also pointed out that PPL closed the same two ramps to boaters over the Memorial Day weekend, citing high water.

In its press release, PPL encouraged duck hunters to use boat launches above the Safe Harbor dam on Lake Clarke or below the Holtwood Dam on the Conowingo Pond.

Updates on the status of the Pequea and York Furnace boat ramps will be available at or from the Lower Susquehanna River Hotline at 1-800-692-6328.

Read more:

Thank you for taking the time to read Ad's article. I am hoping that those who have the power to make changes step up and help the recreational boaters, anglers, and hunters re-open our natural resource, Lake Aldred.

Take Care and Be Safe!