Over 200 trout were found dead in the Letort Spring Run near Carlisle, Pennsylvania on July 31st, 2019, killed in a suspected pollution event. The spring run is regarded as a world-renowned and historic piece of water, credited with being the birthplace of terrestrial style dry fly patters. The creek is primarily cared for and stewarded by one of the largest Trout Unlimited chapters in the nation, Cumberland Valley TU (CVTU) and for over 5 decades the group has worked to restore the stream to its original state and foster growth in the previously healthy trout population.
Neil Sunday, a CVTU Board Member and a guide for Relentless Fly Fishing, was working on a Letort stream-restoration project just 3-miles upstream from where the fish kill occurred, reinforcing stream banks and restoring trout habitat. As soon as the kill was reported by a resident of Carlisle Army Barracks, the volunteers went to see how bad the damage was. White bodies of dead trout could be seen scattered in the deadly stretch of water. As soon as this happened, PA Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) was notified and came to investigate the event.
“The response from Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Fish and Boat Commission was incredible,” remarked Neil Sunday, “The resources they allocated to investigating what happened was immediate and thorough – I hope there is conclusive evidence to hold up the responsible party accountable.”
Neil went on, “Even if a monetary fine or restitution money is ordered – what is the value of 250 wild trout? To replace 250 wild trout is an immeasurable task. We worked tirelessly to restore habitat to ensure the future of the species.”
Luckily, the kill was contained in a small stretch of water, but the loss of such a healthy population is heartbreaking. If you would like to help prevent fish kills like this from happening in your local waters, consider supporting your local Trout Unlimited chapter.
Featured image courtesy of Neil Sunday.