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2012 Schuylkill Sojourn Journals: The Sammy Shad Prioject
Wed Jul 18, 2012 / Tom Davidock
About the Sojourn: The Schuylkill River Sojourn is a 7-day, 112 mile guided canoe and kayak trip on the Schuylkill River beginning in Schuylkill Haven and ending in Philadelphia.
About of the Project: Throughout the Sojourn, four ‘Stanley Shad’ cut-outs travelled the length of the Schuylkill taped to kayakers’ boats. Following are the journals following Sammy’s diverse experience on the river.
Read the Journals:
(click links below to open/download as pdf)
American Shad on the Schuylkill
The American Shad was once a valued sport fish on Pennsylvania’s waterways and coastal waters. An anadromous fish, shad migrate thousands of miles up river to spawn in fresh water. While native to the Schuylkill River and its tributaries, American Shad have not ascended the Schuylkill since 1820, when the Fairmount Dam was constructed (Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission). In recent years efforts have been made to remove the dams and restore shad populations on the Schuylkill. Ten dams once blocked shad migration on the river. Four of the dams now have fishways or fish ‘ladders’ in place.
Since 1999, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission have stocked juvenile shad to the Schuylkill. A long term goal is to eliminate the need to stock shad and create a self-sustaining fishery. Spring runs averaging between 300,000 to 850,000 returning American shad will be considered a restored fishery. PA Fish and Boat Commission tags shad before stocking to rivers. Since 2003, a large number of tagged shad have returned to the Schuylkill, indicating the success of stocking efforts.
What can you do to conserve the Shad? Support strong conservation measures for river and commercial fish by contacting your state representative. Be aware of recreational fishing limitations- for recreational fishers, the current limit on shad established by PFBC is one shad per day on the Lehigh and Schuylkill Rivers, to be changed to catch and release only in January 2013.
For more information about the Schuylkill River Sojourn, see www.schuylkillriver.org/sojourn.aspx.