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Community comes together
to restore Lykens fish hatchery
Story & Photos By Jim and Pat Leaman

The raceway before restoration work began.

The true spirit of America is exemplified when a community comes together for a common cause.  On Aug. 30, the community came out in force to restore the Rattling Creek Fish Hatchery in Lykens.

The Short Mountain Conservation Club put together a work day to restore the hatchery that had been destroyed by the rains of Hurricane Sandy that hit the area in late October 2012.

The effort was led by Harry Deitrich, who was the previous trout hatchery manager for 35 years. Deitrich credited Jim Umberger for the great turnout of more than 30 volunteers from the Short Mountain Conservation Club, as well as residents from the communities of Loyalton, Lykens, Wiconisco, Tower City, and beyond. Even the Lykens Liberty Hose Co. was involved in this total community effort.

The Rattling Creek Hatchery is on Glen Park Road between Lykens Borough and the borough’s reservoir. It was totally devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Now, thanks to the restoration, it soon will be able to support fingerling trout and contribute to the fine fishing of our area. Deitrich has targeted September 2015 as the date to to start raising the fingerlings for the 2016 trout season.

Sandy’s rains engorged Rattling Creek and brought silt and debris over the banks, completely filling up the 125-foot raceway where the trout are raised. On top of that, the large pipe that provides fresh water from Rattling Creek was totally dislodged and washed away.

In addition, debris, rocks, and silt covered the area around the raceway and the small outbuilding that held the pumps and all the trout food and supplies. The building is still there, but plans are in effect to replace it with a brand-new structure in the future.

The Short Mountain Conservation Club began as the Upper Dauphin County Conservation Club, and the first trout raceway opened in 1968. The group joined forces with the Short Mountain Gun Club in the mid-1970s to form the organization that now exists.

The hatchery has withstood both bad weather and vandalism in the past, but each time, it has beeen revived by club members to produce great trout for fishing.

In 1968, the hatchery had a 50-foot raceway and was stocked with 1,000 fingerlings. Vandals poisoned these fish. Then the club was given another 1,000 fingerlings from a nursery in Potter County. The club had its first stocking from the hatchery in 1969.

Harry Deitrich, the club’s hatchery manager for more than 30 years, and the raceway after work was completed.

In 1972, Hurricane Agnes destroyed the hatchery and, within two years, the club and community  teamed up restored the hatchery and got it back up and running. Now, once again, the club and community are in the process of returning the hatchery to normal operations after a setback.

 The main item that is still needed is the long run of pipe that brings fresh water into the hatchery’s fish run from Rattling Creek. If you know of anyone who happens to have about 150 feet of eight-inch pipe in their back pocket, this would be put to good use.

The Short Mountain Conservation Club wants to thank everyone who was involved with this project.

Specifically, the club wants to thank Larry Hoke, who came in with his backhoe; and Ryan Bateman who helped with his tractor and front loader. Both of these gentlemen worked throughout the day and donated their time, fuel, and equipment use.

Additional thanks go out to the 35  volunteers and the Liberty Hose Co.  for making this day a great success.

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