Sunday, December 2, 2012

December 2012 Has Arrived With 50 Degree Weather (12/02/12)

Hello Folks,

... and we can't access Lake Aldred once again despite the ramps being reopened on November 30th!

Welcome to the Christmas Season at "Fishing With Dad". My wife and I just spent the entire day shopping at the Park City Mall, Lancaster, Pa. We were holding onto a few Dunkin' Donut coupons for breakfast sandwiches and hot coffee. So, we took advantage of those this morning before heading out to the mall for some joyous Christmas shopping. It was definitely a great way to relax, read the Sunday Newspaper, and browse the coupons before jumping to task.

We have just gotten home around 3:30 p.m. and ate a quick lunch. Now, it's time to catch up on our "Fishing With Dad" blog.

Julie and I took a drive to the PPL Pequea Boat Launch and my home waters yesterday. After three months of closure, the two ramps were finally opened on November 30th to the general public. There were three tow vehicles and trailers in the parking lot, but there was absolutely no way they were getting their boats back onto those trailers at such low creek levels like we witnessed.

As I was taking pics for the our blog, I got to talk with a local fellow who had driven to the launch to see how low the water was. He said that the river was actually up in the morning when those boaters launched. But over the past few hours, he said that the river's bottom dropped out!

Take a good hard look and see why we are always complaining about how the power companies have total control over our 7 miles of the Susquehanna River between the Safe Harbor and Holtwood Dams.

In the first pic below you will see the only mud-cleared ramp of the two available. Check how far down the ramp one has to go in order to launch into the Pequea Creek.

Keep in mind that PPL had this entire launched closed for over three months in order to dredge the Pequea Creek for low water events. I would consider this a low-water event.


This pic shows the second ramp on the right side facing the creek and nearest the RR tracks. There is no way a boater could ever launch their rig from this muddy ramp at this level. All that time they took for dredging and we still can't launch our rigs. In my honest opinion...It's simply horrible!


Look how shallow the creek is at the bottom of the ramp. You can definitely see a gravel bar where the "nervous water" is running over it.



This shot was taken while I was standing on the downstream ramp side looking towards the RR bridge. There is a very narrow channel running under the right underpass of the RR bridge. The majority of dredging appeared to have been performed up towards the courtesy docks (?). Sad to say that after three months of being refused entrance onto our natural resource at Lake Aldred, we still cannot enter due to low water conditions.

This last picture was taken from outside the RR bridge and facing into the Pequea Creek. One would have to drag their boat back through the underpass in order to reach the ramp. I'm not sure if my 18' G3 would even float in such a low flow.

There's a mud deposit immediately behind the one bridge pylon. If you look just below that, you will see a mud bar with a full-sized picnic table buried in it. Why would they not have removed this during their work to make things safer?

One must not mistaken my displeasure of what has taken place over the past several year at the PPL Pequea Launch for me being unappreciative that a ramp exists here. I definitely respect PPL for the work that they have done in improving this a launch. But one must always keep in mind that the power companies are given federal permits to run their private, for profit, businesses on public resources. And that permit requires these power companies to provide recreational opportunities for the general public. That is why this ramp and the York Furnace ramp even exist.

What bothers me is that we have no federal watchdog telling these power companies that they are in violation of their federal permits. They seem to lower the water levels at will so that the general public cannot access the river due to low flows. Thus not being able to recreate!

PPL has a website where they have predicted water levels for boaters to heed. Well, even these levels have been wrong and we have been left high-and-dry in the middle of the river on some fall and winter days.

The last time the Lancaster and York Newspapers wrote articles explaining that the power companies had shut down the ramps on Labor Day 2011 weekend and kept them closed for two months, the power companies responded almost immediately by reopening the ramps. The pressure exerted by the media was threatening enough for them to respond in a positive manner.

There is a PFBC (Pa. Fish and Boat Commission) representative that is a liaison to the federal government during the re-permit periods which the Holtwood Dam is currently in process of doing.

Take Care and Be Safe!