Trout Unlimited Restores Native Brook Trout to Aquetong Creek in Solebury, New Hope

(Photo: Gary Gibson)

Brook trout have returned to Aquetong Creek after disappearing more than a century ago.

On Saturday, members of the Bucks County Chapter of Trout Unlimited, with assistance from the Aquetong Watershed Association and Solebury Township, released 50 wild Pennsylvania brook trout into Aquetong Creek.

Bucks County Trout Unlimited (BCTU) received permission from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to capture and transport 50 brook trout from a Lehigh River tributary to Aquetong Creek. The fish were caught by traditional fly fishing methods, say organizers, and Trout Unlimited members, Aquetong Watershed Association (AWA) members and Solebury Township officials all joined in.

Aquetong Creek is part of the brook trout’s historic range in Pennsylvania, say organizers, but deforestation of the watershed and construction of numerous mill dams in the 19th century resulted in warming water and heavy siltation. The removal of the Aquetong Lake dam by Solebury Township in 2015 allowed the cold water of the Aquetong Spring to once again flow downstream without being warmed, which suits the brook trout better.

“We have a unique opportunity to return Aquetong Creek to its natural heritage,” noted Trout Unlimited, whose members Kevin Randall and Jeff Neamand led the effort.

“The Aquetong Watershed Association wants to thank Bucks County Trout Unlimited for its efforts to return brook trout to the Aquetong Creek,” said AWA President Les Isbrandt. “This would not have been possible without Solebury Township’s decision in 2014 to remove the 1870’s earthen dam, eliminating Aquetong Lake.”

“I would like to thank Trout Unlimited for taking the lead on this project, as well as Solebury’s Aquetong Spring Committee and the Solebury Township Administration for their contributions,” said Solebury Township Supervisor Kevin Morrissey. “Additionally, I appreciate Aquetong Spring Committee Supervisor Liaison Jim Searing spending the day with Trout Unlimited as they were transferring these fish to Aquetong Creek.”

“BCTU was instrumental in building public support for our efforts to acquire the property, take down the dam and restore the creek,” explained Solebury Township Supervisor Jim Searing.

“Reintroducing native brook trout to Aquetong Creek after a 150 year absence is a powerful tribute to Solebury’s focus on preservation and conservation,” he added.

In 1996, Bucks County Trout Unlimited began its advocacy for the removal of the Aquetong Lake dam and restoration of brook trout to Aquetong Creek.

“The reintroduction of wild brook trout to Aquetong Creek is the essence of the mission of Trout Unlimited,” said Bucks County Trout Unlimited President Dan Weaver. “I can’t be more proud of our chapter members conceiving this plan and making it happen. Successfully capturing 50 brook trout in rugged terrain and keeping them alive and healthy on the 70 mile journey from the Lehigh River to their release in Aquetong Creek is a tremendous example our members’ dedication to restoring the ecological integrity of our local streams.”

Hats off to all involved for bringing the our native brook trout back to Aquetong Creek (and yes, it is also referred to as “Ingham Creek”).


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