Tragic doesn’t even begin to express the enormous loss of resource many of us feel toward the dead brown trout on the LeTort as a result of last week’s pollution incident. These wild LeTort brown trout were conceived on the stream’s spawning beds and hatched into its hostile flowing environment. The genes in these fry helped them to avoid getting eaten by larger trout, birds of prey, and hungry mammals. They have grown and survived eating macroinvertebrates, scuds, terrestrials, and other smaller fish. LeTort wild brown trout are truly special and whatever financial penalty is levied on the polluter cannot fully compensate their loss.
The LeTort is a Class A wild trout stream. This means the stream isn’t stocked and the big white fish commission trucks will not be coming to replenish the 200+ fish that died. You see, people cannot raise wild trout in a concrete banked stream where trout get their daily fill of food pellets. Yes, they may be brown trout, but that’s where the similarity ends.
For those of us who have cast a fly on the LeTort hoping to hook and release a wary brown we recognize and appreciate their value. Our Cumberland Valley Trout Unlimited chapter protects and restores the LeTort and its resources. Our work includes filling sinkholes, removing objects and stream clogging weeds, and raking spawning beds in the fall.
Yes, Mother Nature will eventually replace the trout that died this week, but everyone needs to recognize the value of the clean, cold LeTort waters and protect the beautiful wild brown trout it holds.
President of Cumberland Valley Trout Unlimited