Good Ol’ Family Fun

Good Ol’ Family Fun

LIL’-LE-HI TROUT NURSERY

Warmer weather reminds us to get outside and there’s nothing better than a little fresh spring air for the body, mind, and soul. If you haven’t been to the Lil’-Le-Hi Trout Nursery, you’ll find that you’re never too old to enjoy it. And if you have been there, well, you likely already know what a local gem this natural park and wildlife area truly is.

Our own Allentown fish hatchery is typically home to more than 40,000 fish—brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, and golden trout from fingerling size through adult trout measuring 20+ inches. However, this year the trout nursery suffered quite a few challenges and casualties that may impact plans for the Annual Lehigh County Fishing Derby slated for Saturday, May 11.

“This year, we took a real big beating,” says Herbert Gottschall, Jr., president of the Lehigh County Fish and Game Protective Association. “We had to euthanize over 7,500 fish, and we had to stock 10,000 so they wouldn’t get gill lice disease, which the others had. It only affected the rainbows and the goldens. We also had three floods, so right now, in adult size, I think we only have 2,100. Everything else is around 20,000 instead of the usual 40,000.”

Gottschall, Jr. is very involved at the hatchery and adds that only browns and brookies remain, as the gill lice fortunately didn’t affect them. He says new rainbow and golden trout will be reintroduced by the PA Fish Commission once waters test safe and free from gill lice. This could take as long as three years or could occur much sooner, depending on the test results and the need for further sanitization. And, although overall numbers are down, the younger fish will eventually mature and make their way through the nursery.

“After they reach adult size, we rotate ponds and things like that, but they have to be stocked within city limits,” says Gottschall, Jr. “We stock from the Little Lehigh to the Big Lehigh, in the Jordan from Rt. 22 down to the Big Lehigh, and the Cedar from the east end of Lake Muhlenberg to the Little Lehigh.”

Three volunteer clubs help to maintain operations at the nursery—the Lehigh County Fish and Game Protective Association,
Pioneer Fish and Game Protective Association, and Trout Creek Fish and Game Club. On any given day, you can see fish in various stages of growth swimming in one of 17 waterways at the trout nursery—in a dozen different ponds, three raceway sections, by a head spring, or in the show pond. And for as little as 50 cents, $1, or $2, you can feed the fish for hours to your heart’s content. Simply pick up your food at the Hatch House or from the vending machine on the premises.

Visiting the Lil’-Le-Hi Trout Nursery becomes a special memory for everyone, from the youngest children who love tossing fish food to the trout to their parents, grandparents, and other adults who are out to breathe in the fresh air and experience life in slow motion for a change. No matter what your age, the fish hatchery and park create a lovely landscape to enjoy nature at its finest along with a vigorous walk or a little quiet time to reflect.

DERBIES FOR KIDS (AND ADULTS!)

March 30 kicks off trout season as the regional opening day of trout beginning at 8am in Pennsylvania’s 18 southeastern counties. Many local fishing opportunities await fishers of all ages, with plenty of fishing fun for youth in the Lehigh Valley and beyond. Mark your calendar for these local fishing derbies and contests.

COVERED BRIDGE PARK FREE KIDS FISHING
DERBY PRESENTED BY SOUTH WHITEHALL TOWNSHIP PARKS AND RECREATION
WHEN: April 20, 2019 from 8:45 – 11:45am; Registration begins at 8am
WHERE: Jordan Creek at Covered Bridge Park, 2466 Wehr Mill Road, Allentown
ELIGIBILITY: Kids 15 and under
MORE INFO: Contact Page Durflinger at [email protected] or at 610.398.0401 ext. 211.
On the Web: southwhitehall.com/calendar/youth-fishing-derby/

JIM THORPE SPORTSMEN’S CLUB 67TH ANNUAL CHILDREN’S FISHING CONTEST
WHEN: May 19, 2019 from 12 – 4pm
WHERE: Along the Mauch Chunk Creek parallel to Flagstaff Road on the Jim Thorpe side.
COST: Ground tags are $5 for a chance to win a fishing pole. (Four ground tags are pulled for winners and multiple prizes are available across different categories, age groups, and genders.)
ELIGIBILITY: Ages 1 – 16
MORE INFO: Visit Jim Thorpe Sportsmen’s Club on Facebook at facebook.com/Jim-Thorpe-Sportsmens-Club-121604737959374/

FISHING & FUN IN THE PARK
Presented by Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living, City of Allentown Parks and Recreation Department, and Lehigh County Fish & Game Protective Association
WHEN: September 21, 2019 from 9am – 3pm
WHERE: Lehigh Parkway at 1600 Park Drive, Allentown
COST: Free
ELIGIBILITY: All ages and abilities, not just kids
MORE INFO: lvcil.org/fishing

VISIT THE LIL’-LE-HI TROUT NURSERY
2901 FISH HATCHERY RD
ALLENTOWN
610.437.7656
OPEN FROM 7 A.M. UNTIL DUSK

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