KS_raftEvery spring Keystone Job Corps Center students assist the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) to stock area waterways with brown, brook, and rainbow trout.

During the pre- and early season stockings, students work in the nearby Nescopeck Creek and Lake Francis. As the season moves forward, the stockings become more challenging with the focus moving to the Lehigh River. These stockings require students to dress in wet suits, don life jackets and float down the river in rafts, releasing the fish as they go. This process provides fishing opportunities to areas that are not accessible by PFBC vehicles or ATV’s. The areas are great habitats for the fish and provide them with an ability to thrive, while allowing those who enjoy the sport access to areas where the fishing pressure is more reasonable. The process starts at White Haven and continues down river to Sandy Run and takes approximately four hours to complete.

Angel Cotto, a Security student from Philadelphia, PA, was among those who assisted in the stocking. He said of the event, “Floating down the river with the water being so high after the rain was a new experience for me and one I will never forget. Also the things you see in the nature are unbelievable. It is a view that most people will never experience.” He added, “The people fishing were so spread out over the river and thankful for our efforts. It was like we made their day but really this trip was making ours.”

The stocking is coordinated by Pennsylvania Waterways Conservation Officer Aaron Lupacchini, with cooperation from the US Army Corps of Engineers, which controls the flow of the Lehigh at the Francis E. Walter Dam. The rafts, life jackets, and wet suits, along with the river guides are provided by Whitewater Challenges.

KS_raft2 KS_raft3