On October 3, Ken Pavol, a river guide and former Maryland fisheries biologist, wrote this letter to fellow members of the Trout Unlimited Youghiogheny chapter in western Maryland with regard to the debate over cold-water releases from Deep Creek Lake:

Alan Klotz, DNR Fisheries Service Regional Manager, addressed our chapter meeting last evening with an urgent request. The water temperature enhancement releases (TERs), which are required by the current Deep Creek Lake Power Plant operating permit, are in jeopardy. The TERs have been critically important in maintaining the catch-and-release trout fishery in the Yough River between Hoyes and Sang Run for 25 years. Lake property owners assert that the Yough C-and-R area sees little fishing activity and that the TERs that sustain the fishery should be eliminated from the power plants licensing agreement. 

The Maryland Department of Environment will hold a public informational meeting in the Auditorium of Garrett College in McHenry at 3:00 pm on October 15. It’s vitally important that chapter members attend the meeting and voice support for DNR Fisheries trout management in our chapter namesake river. Last night Alan described three changes that DNR has proposed to improve the current TER protocols:

1) Continue TERs to September 15. This will protect trout during very hot weather as we saw this past September. It will only require between 1/3″ and 1″ of lake level to protect trout during September. 

2) Increase the flow level that triggers a TER. The current trigger is 150 cfs but Alan reported that water temperature exceedances have occurred at flows above 150 cfs. 

3) Change the release time for TERs predicted at 11:00 am to 11:00 am. Currently the releases don’t occur until 12:30 pm.

It’s sufficient to simply state your support for the TERs and DNR Fisheries proposals to improve them. If you are unable to attend the meeting at Garrett College you can voice your support by emailing comments to Mr John Grace of MDE at john.grace@maryland.gov. Be sure and include the permit application number GA1992S009/09 with your comments. Your comments can address the more technical aspects of the TER permit requirements but that is not required. Simply stating your support for the current TER permit requirements and DNRs proposed improvements is most important at this time.

We as Yough TU members need to let MDE hear our opinions and support for trout management in the Yough River and that we value the trout fishery. Please take a few minutes to email your comments to Mr Grace or join me and other Yough TU members at the Oct 15 meeting at Garrett College.

Thank you — Ken Pavol

Click this link for remarks of another fly angler, Neil Jacobs.

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