The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) announced this bit of news, and I wanted to share it here on the blog. A major problem with many Erie tributaries is lack of access. These easements will certainly help the cause and open up new opportunities for steelheaders. Here is the press release sent by the PFBC today:
HARRISBURG, Pa. (January 13) – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) announced today the acquisition of an easement that will provide nearly 9,000 linear feet of public fishing access along Twentymile Creek, a renowned steelhead fishery, in North East Township, Erie County.
This easement on Twentymile Creek is the PFBC’s largest public fishing easement acquisition to date and includes three contiguous parcels of land that were formerly leased to a private fishing club and have been closed to public access for over ten years. The public fishing easement extends 35 feet back from the top of the creek bank on these parcels of land, except for areas immediately adjacent to private residences which remain closed to public access. Located south of Route 5, anglers will find convenient parking and access to the easement area at nearby North East Township Community Conservation Park.
Twentymile Creek receives annual stockings of juvenile steelhead and adult trout from PFBC hatcheries and is expected to be a popular destination for anglers.
“This is a fantastic acquisition for the anglers of Pennsylvania,” said Mark Haffley, PFBC Fisheries Biologist. “The addition of 8,960 linear feet of public access opens up most of Twentymile Creek from Lake Erie to Route 20, giving anglers access to incredible numbers of fish throughout the stream, and greatly enhances our east-side steelhead fishery.”
Anglers should obey signage that has been placed at the easement site to guide them to accessible areas and direct them away from restricted areas. While this easement allows for public fishing access on private property, anglers are asked to be mindful of their actions while accessing the properties and carry out all trash.
This public fishing easement was funded by anglers through their purchase of special Lake Erie fishing permits and combination trout/Lake Erie fishing permits. Act 159 of 2004 specifies that the proceeds from the sale of these permits be used to provide public fishing access or to protect or improve fish habitat on or at Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay and their tributaries, including waters that flow into those tributaries. The funds may also be used for other projects that support public fishing on or at Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay, and their tributaries. The funds generated through this program are deposited into the Lake Erie restricted account, where they are restricted now and into the future for their legislatively intended purposes. To date, the Lake Erie restricted account has funded the acquisition of 147,994 linear feet of public fishing easements which can be viewed in the interactive Erie Fishing Easements Map on the PFBC website (Fishandboat.com).