MAKING A DIFFERENCE: THE LITTLE JUNIATA RIVER ASSOCIATION

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: THE LITTLE JUNIATA RIVER ASSOCIATION

Central Pennsylvania's Little Juniata River has a long history of pollution and abuse from the many towns along its course and the railroad line that parallels it.  But to me, this river is special.  It begins near my home town, Altoona, and its close proximity made it a great classroom when I was learning to fly fish with my father.    I was born in 1972, the year Hurricane Agnus' great flood scoured the Little Juniata, removing a 100 years of pollution and giving birth to today's trout fishery.   Perhaps our shared birth-year is one of the reasons I feel so connected to this river.

But sadly, destruction from pollution events didn't end in 1972.  Another flood in 1996 washed toxins into the river destroying the aquatic insect population for miles.  The large fish I caught in 1997 looked more like eels than brown trout.  The fish were starving.  When I moved to New York in 1998, it was rare to catch a big fish in the Little Juniata.  Trips to the river usually produced small fingerling browns that the state was stocking by the thousands.

But then Bill Anderson got involved.  Bill and others began to monitor the river's macroinvertebrate population.  They invested their time when they could have been fishing to protect the river, to make the fishing better for everyone.  Bill knew that the river needed someone watching, someone who cared to give voice to a river that didn't have one, so he started the Little Juniata River Association (LJRA).

The LJRA'a Mission is to: "Monitor, Preserve and Improve the Little Juniata River and its tributaries as cold water resources".   And they fulfill their mission better than any organization I know.


Today, the LJRA is one of the most accomplished fisheries conservation organizations in the country.  Through their work, the Little Juniata has been designated a class A wild trout fishery and is no longer stocked.  Redd counts are conducted each year to monitor the wild trout.  Miles of stream access have been procured for the public's use, forever.  Cold, limestone tributaries have been purchased so they can be protected from development.  No-kill regulations have been put in place to stop the removal of large breeder fish.  A stream clean-up is conducted each year.  Stream banks are being restored and protected from erosion.


The Little Juniata River is now one of Pennsylvania's shining gems and one of the best trout streams in the East.  And if you ever fish it, or even if you just care about the existence of wild trout in our modern age, you have one man and one organization to thank.


I'm not much of a "joiner," and I know of too many supposed conservation groups that want my money for dubious reasons.  But I am a life member of the Little Juniata River Association.  Maybe you should be too.

Below is the link to the LJRA's web site:

http://www.littlejuniata.org/


By the way, I often hear the Little Juniata's name butchered by those from outside Central PA.  The proper pronunciation is Ju-nee-a-ta, not Won-ee-ta.  Though Won-ee-ta does make me smile every time I hear it.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You

Modern methods for catching smallmouths on topwater flies. Bass

How to Catch Smallmouth Bass on Topwater Flies

Dave Karczynski and Tim Landwehr

Modern methods for catching smallmouths on topwater flies.

Fly Fisherman's documentary Industry

Fly Fisherman Magazine Documentary Recognized by Outdoor Writers Association of America

Fly Fisherman - June 24, 2019

Fly Fisherman's documentary "One Path" was recognized with two awards.

Here are step-by-step instructions for tying the Strong Arm Merkin fly. Fly Tying

Tying the Strong Arm Merkin

David W. Skok - July 09, 2019

Here are step-by-step instructions for tying the Strong Arm Merkin fly.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Casting Backhand in Tight Quarters

Casting Backhand in Tight Quarters

A backhand cast is when you use your backcast to deliver the fly.

Breaking the Surface

Breaking the Surface

Attack of the Bass continues as Breaking the Surface attacks bass with fly and lure 12:30pm ET Sunday, April 17th.

Black Beauty

Black Beauty

Master fly tier Charlie Craven discuss the tools and materials needed to tie the Black Beauty.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Drift boats help you search through miles of river quickly and effectively. Here's the top models on the market today. Gear

Top Drift Boats of 2019

John Fedorka - April 02, 2019

Drift boats help you search through miles of river quickly and effectively. Here's the top...

The fly fishing communities in the U.S. and Belize are mourning after twin slayings that occurred on what appeared to be a routine guide trip on Sunday, June 23, 2019 in a shallow lagoon near San Pedro, Brazil. Industry

Fly Fishing Community Stunned by Twin Slayings on Belize Saltwater Flat

Fly Fisherman Online Staff - June 27, 2019

The fly fishing communities in the U.S. and Belize are mourning after twin slayings that...

Fly-Fisherman Editor Ross Purnell shares his top five best trout fishing destinations in the world. Worldwide

5 Best Trout Fishing Spots in the World

Ross Purnell, Editor

Fly-Fisherman Editor Ross Purnell shares his top five best trout fishing destinations in the...

See More Stories

More Conservation

Who will be 2019 Conservationist of the Year?

Sandy Moret
 2018 Conservationist of the Year
In 1981 Moret was the first president of the Conservation

Who will be 2019 Conservationist of the Year?

Fly Fisherman - April 17, 2018

Who will be 2019 Conservationist of the Year? Sandy Moret 2018 Conservationist of the...

There are many great conservation organizations out there working to protect our fisheries, and we Conservation

Nominate: Conservationist of the Year

Ross Purnell, Editor - June 05, 2017

There are many great conservation organizations out there working to protect our fisheries,...

Dan Vermillion is doing more than training a new generation of fly-fishing guides. He's training future riverkeepers, mentors, and conservationists. Conservation

Dan Vermillion is Training Future Riverkeepers

Hilary Hutcheson - June 22, 2018

Dan Vermillion is doing more than training a new generation of fly-fishing guides. He's...

See More Conservation

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.