Fishing Creek (North Branch Susquehanna River)
Fishing Creek near the Rupert Covered Bridge No. 56 between Montour Township and Bloomsburg
|Counties||Columbia, Luzerne, Lycoming, Montour, and Sullivan|
|- left||East Branch Fishing Creek, Huntington Creek|
|- right||West Branch Fishing Creek, Green Creek,
Little Fishing Creek, Hemlock Creek
|Source||Confluence of the East and West Branches|
|- location||Sugarloaf Township, Columbia County|
|- elevation||920 ft (280 m) |
|Mouth||Confluence with the Susquehanna River|
|- elevation||456 ft (139 m) |
|Length||30.4 mi (49 km) |
|Basin||385 sq mi (997 km2) |
|- average||615 cu ft/s (17 m3/s)|
Fishing Creek is a 30.4-mile-long (48.9 km) tributary of the Susquehanna River in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, United States. It joins the Susquehanna River near the census-designated place of Rupert and the town of Bloomsburg.
In the past few centuries, the Fishing Creek area has been home to many industries, especially mills and dams. It drains parts of five Pennsylvania counties: Columbia, Montour, Sullivan, Luzerne, and Lycoming. The creek's main tributaries include Hemlock Creek, Little Fishing Creek, Green Creek, Huntington Creek, West Branch Fishing Creek, and East Branch Fishing Creek.
Fishing Creek is well known for its trout population and it also contains many other species of fish. The surrounding area is home to northern hardwood trees and ruffed grouse. The creek is one of the highest-quality trout streams in Pennsylvania with brook, brown and rainbow trout. Public recreation activities include canoeing, birdwatching, and fishing. Some areas contain significant amounts of algae due to leaking septic systems in the watershed. The area around its tributary West Creek is the least habitable part of the Fishing Creek area, according to a 2011 study.
Fishing Creek's pH ranges between 4.9 and 8.5. The concentration of dissolved oxygen ranges from 5 to 17.5 mg per liter and the concentration of hydrogen ions ranges from 0.01 to 1.53 μg per liter. Ammonia and phosphate concentrations are typically between 0.01 and 0.1 mg per liter. Aluminum concentration ranges from nearly 0 to over 100 mg per liter. The average calcium and magnesium concentrations are 7.532 and 1.748 mg per liter, respectively. The creek's average discharge is 615 cubic feet per second (17.4 m3/s). The creek's watershed contains gravel, shale and various loams (in particular, the Albrights soil series and the Leck Kill soil).
- 1 Course
- 2 Watershed
- 3 History
- 4 Hydrology
- 5 Geology
- 6 Biology
- 7 Recreation
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Fishing Creek is 30.4 miles (48.9 km) long. It starts at 920 feet (280 m) above sea level in Sugarloaf Township, south of State Game Lands Number 13 and Pennsylvania Route 118, where East Branch and West Branch Fishing Creeks of southern Sullivan County meet in the northern reaches of Columbia County. The creek heads approximately due south with a few bends through Sugarloaf Township for about two miles (three kilometers). In the southern part of this township, it turns east for less than a mile and picks up Coles Creek, its first named tributary after the confluence of the East and West Branches. Coles Creek empties into Fishing Creek from the left. Around this point, Fishing Creek makes a sharp turn south into Benton Township and starts paralleling Pennsylvania Route 487, which it follows for many miles. In Benton Township the creek flows four or five miles, including about a mile in Benton. While in Benton, the tributary West Creek parallels Fishing Creek. Just south of Benton, West Creek empties into Fishing Creek from the right and Fishing Creek crosses under Pennsylvania Route 239. The creek continues moving approximately south, passing through the community of Maple Grove and flowing into Fishing Creek Township and Stillwater. In Stillwater, Raven Creek empties into Fishing Creek from the northeast. In southern Fishing Creek Township, about 1.5 or 2 miles south of Stillwater, Fishing Creek turns and picks up Huntington Creek. The creek also flows past the communities of Zaners, Forks, and Pealertown while in Fishing Creek township.
Upon leaving the township, about one mile after picking up Huntington Creek, Fishing Creek flows southwest past Knob Mountain and into Orange Township. Two miles downstream, in Orange Township, Fishing Creek passes near the northern foot of Knob Mountain and then passes by Orangeville before making a 90° turn to the northwest. Shortly after this turn it picks up Green Creek and turns west. After some distance, it turns south again, passing the Bowman's Bridge and a gauging station. From this point, Fishing Creek flows along the border between Orange and Mount Pleasant Township for close to two miles. While on the border between these two townships, it flows past Kocher Park. The creek stays considerably nearer to the western edge of the river valley than the eastern edge at this point. Near Lighstreet, Fishing Creek turns west into Mount Pleasant Township, passing by several lakes and the Turkey Hill Oxbow. Upon entering Mount Pleasant Township, the creek stops paralleling Pennsylvania Route 487 and flows in the vicinity of Interstate 80 for 2 to 3 miles. Along the border of Mount Pleasant Township and Bloomsburg, Fishing Creek picks up Little Fishing Creek before turning south and paralleling the western border of Bloomsburg. As it flows between Bloomsburg and Fernville, Fishing Creek makes a sharp turn westward, paralleling U.S. Route 11, and picks up Hemlock Creek. Shortly after picking up Hemlock Creek, Fishing Creek turns southeast under U.S. Route 11. Fishing Creek parallels Pennsylvania Route 42 for slightly over a mile, picking up Montour Run from the right, and then emptying into the Susquehanna between Bloomsburg and Rupert. The Rupert Covered Bridge No. 56 crosses the main stem of Fishing Creek. The mouth of the creek is at 456 feet (139 m) above sea level, 464 feet (141 m) lower than the source.
Fishing Creek has several major tributaries and numerous minor ones. The major tributaries are Hemlock Creek, Little Fishing Creek, Green Creek, Huntington Creek, and the East and West Branch Fishing Creeks.
West Branch Fishing Creek starts on North Mountain and flows east to pick up East Branch Fishing Creek and flow into Fishing Creek. East Branch Fishing Creek is a tributary of West Branch Fishing Creek in Sullivan County. It starts in North Mountain and is approximately 4.4 miles (7.1 km) long.
Huntington Creek starts in State Game Lands number 57, and heads southwest through Luzerne County until it reaches the north side of Knob Mountain, which it parallels to Fishing Creek. Huntington Creek drains the eastern and northeastern parts of the Fishing Creek watershed. The three covered bridges that cross Huntington Creek are the Twin Bridges-East Paden Covered Bridge No. 120 and the Twin Bridges-West Paden Covered Bridge No. 121, the Josiah Hess Covered Bridge No. 122, and the Huntington Mills Bridge.
Green Creek starts near Waller and heads roughly due south to Rohrsburg and on to Orangeville, where it joins Fishing Creek. Green Creek drains the central part of the Fishing Creek watershed.
Little Fishing Creek starts just south of the line between Columbia and Sullivan Counties. The creek winds through rural areas for several miles before reaching Pennsylvania Route 42. For the remainder of its length, Little Fishing Creek parallels Pennsylvania Route 42. It drains the western part of the Fishing Creek watershed. The four covered bridges that cross Little Fishing Creek are the Wanich Covered Bridge No. 69, the Sam Eckman Covered Bridge No. 92, the Jud Christie Covered Bridge No. 95, and the Creasyville Covered Bridge.
Other tributaries of the main stem include:
- Coles Creek (Sugarloaf Township)
- West Creek (Benton)
- Raven Creek (Fishing Creek Township)
- Deerlick Run (Orange Township)
- Stony Brook (Orange Township)
- Montour Run (Montour Township)
Fishing Creek drains most of Columbia County north of the Susquehanna River except for a small area in the eastern part of the county, which is drained by Briar Creek. It also drains southern Sullivan County and western Luzerne County. Minor tributaries of Fishing Creek drain small portions of eastern Montour County and southeastern Lycoming County. The watershed is 85 percent forest and 13 percent farmland. In the upper part of the Fishing Creek watershed, the remaining 2 percent is residential, whereas in the lower part of the watershed, the remaining 2 percent is urban.
Fishing Creek's watershed consists of a number of sub-watersheds. The major ones are Lower Fishing Creek, Lower Little Fishing Creek, Upper Little Fishing Creek, Green Creek, Lower Huntington Creek and Upper Huntington Creek. Other sub-watersheds of Fishing Creek include Montour Run, Hemlock Creek, West Creek, West Branch Fishing Creek, East Branch Fishing Creek, Kitchen Creek, Pine Creek, and Stoney Brook.
Northern Bloomsburg and Scott Township are home to a small oxbow lake of Fishing Creek. The area in the general vicinity of this lake is known as the Turkey Hill Oxbow. It is located between the Interstate 80 and the forests on the side of Turkey Hill. This oxbow is located on a flood plain and large amounts of forested wetlands are in it. In addition to wetlands, there are grasses and areas of open water. Most of the area known as the Turkey Hill Oxbow is on steep slopes. There are hemlock and hardwood forests on these slopes, as well as skunk cabbage seeps.
The Turkey Hill Oxbow lake serves as an overflow for the waters of Fishing Creek during wet periods of the year. During dry periods of the year, however, there is only water in a few places there.
The forests around the Turkey Hill Oxbow also contain black birch, yellow birch, white oak, red oak, sugar maple, tulip poplar, and Norway maple. There is also a significant understory in these forests. The understory contains such plants as slippery elm, European privet, Japanese barberry, American elderberry, wild hydrangea, witch hazel, mountain laurel, ironwood, and the rare American Yew. The American yew population was in significant decline by 2004 due to heavy grazing by deer.
There are numerous wildflower species in the uplands and rock outcroppings of the Turkey Hill Oxbow. These species include white baneberry, northern maidenhair fern, spikenard, blue cohosh, foamflower, False Solomon's Seal, purple trillium, and wild columbine.
Animals inhabiting the areas surrounding the pools in the Turkey Hill Oxbow pickerel frogs, green frogs, wood ducks, and snapping turtles. Plants in this location include broadleaf arrowhead, Northern Blueflag, manna grasses, water starwort, and several varieties of sedges.
Native American settlement
Nomadic Native Americans reached the area near the mouth of Fishing Creek by 8000 B.C. By 3000 to 2000 B.C., some of them went up into the Fishing Creek valley during the winter to hunt deer and bears. They returned to the Susquehanna River in the summer. Around this time, trade routes to the Fishing Creek area were created. However the area was not permanently inhabited until 1000 B.C., when some Native American villages were built at the mouth of Fishing Creek. The Native Americans who settled the area at the mouth of Fishing Creek included the Shawnee Indians and the Susquehannock Indians. A Native American path ran along Fishing Creek from Bloomsburg to Orangeville before turning away in the direction of Tunkhannock Creek. Since at least 1769, there has been a path along Fishing Creek between the mouths of Huntington and Green Creeks.
The first lots at the mouth of Fishing Creek were surveyed in 1769, as European settlers began moving into the area. In the same year the Penn family purchased 1,060 acres (430 ha) of land 2 miles (3.2 km) upstream of Benton. In 1778, Moses Van Campen built a fort of logs covered with earth with a small swivel cannon on Fishing Creek to protect settlers on the frontier. There were settlers in on the creek in Orange Township in 1780. The Fishing Creek valley north of Orangeville was first settled in 1783 by Daniel McHenry, in what is now Stillwater. The headwaters of Fishing Creek were settled in late 1780s and early 1790s. A ferry was established on Fishing Creek by Leonard Rupert on in 1786. The first sawmill on the upper portion of Fishing Creek was built in the late 1790s, but was destroyed in a flood in 1848.
The first mill built in Sugarloaf Townhip was built along Fishing Creek in 1802. A mill built on the creek in the same township was noted for its buckwheat flour. A schoolhouse had been built on the creek by 1806. In 1818, John Barton built a flour and gristmill on Fishing Creek. In 1855 and again in 1905, this gristmill burned down, but was rebuilt. It burned down again in 1932 and was not built again. Another gristmill stood on Fishing Creek until 1830, when it was converted into a papermill. Iron ore was discovered in the area of Fishing Creek in 1822. An anthracite-burning furnace was built on the creek near Bloomsburg in 1844. An aqueduct was built across the creek in the 19th century. Another historic industry was the Susquehanna Slate Company, which was built on the creek in the late 19th century. From approximately 1840 to the end of the 1800s, the wagon-making industry was important to upper Fishing Creek. The Fishing Creek Confederacy, which occurred from August to November 1864, during the American Civil War, was a suspected uprising of a high number of deserters and draft evaders. 1000 soldiers occupied and searched the Fishing Creek valley and the mountains at the Fishing Creek headwaters, but were unable to find any deserters. Nevertheless, 100 residents of Columbia County were arrested and imprisoned for desertion and draft evasion, although most were subsequently released. Starting in 1877, the Bloomsburg Water Company used Fishing Creek as its water supply. The Bloomsburg and Sullivan Railroad, which parallels it, was built in 1888.
There were limestone mines at the junction of Fishing Creek and Little Fishing Creek, but they have not been used since at least 1887. During the Great Depression a beach was constructed on Fishing Creek near Fernville by the Works Progress Administration. After Fishing Creek flooded in 1972 as a result of Hurricane Agnes, a flash flood warning system was installed there. In 2002, some land from the Custer/Kocher homestead on Fishing Creek near Lightstreet was converted into a park called the Frank W. Kocher Memorial Park. The park was later expanded to 7 acres (2.8 ha). In the 21st century, the only significant industry in the Fishing Creek watershed is the Benton Foundry. As of 2002, all that remains of the railroads on Fishing Creek are a number of steel bridges.
Approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) downstream of Orangeville, Fishing Creek's discharge averages 615 cubic feet per second (17.4 m3/s) per second and its median discharge is 361 cubic feet per second (10.2 m3/s) second. The lowest recorded discharge was 90 cubic feet per second (2.5 m3/s) in 1962 and its highest was 2,580 cubic feet per second (73 m3/s) in 1981. Further upstream, in Benton, the discharge is almost always less than 720 cubic feet per second (20 m3/s), and is far lower during the summer, usually approaching 0. The typical discharge is around 540 cubic feet per second (15 m3/s). The streambeds of West Branch and East Branch Fishing Creeks commonly run dry in the summer. In dry years, they are dry for 105 days on average, while in wet years they are on average dry for 5 days.
At a stream gauging station near Bloomsburg, Fishing Creek's discharge ranged between 10 cubic feet per second (0.28 m3/s) and 5,350 cubic feet per second (151 m3/s) between 2002 and 2012. The lowest discharge recorded occurred on November 9, 2004. The highest discharge recorded occurred on September 23, 2003.
Near Benton, Fishing Creek's pH ranges from around 5.6 to 7.25. Near Camp Lavigne, it ranges from 5.5 to 7.1. East Branch Fishing Creek is the only stream in the watershed whose pH drops below 5.5 and can be as low as 4.9. West Creek and Coles Creek are the least acidic streams in the watershed, with pH levels usually above 6.3 and often above 7. Typically, the creek and its tributaries are not at risk for being too acidic for the optimal health of fish, but in early spring during snowmelts, the pH levels near the limit that brook trout can tolerate. Fishing Creek's waters are acidic due to acid rain.
Near Bloomsburg, the pH levels ranged from 5.8 to 8.5 between 2002 and 2012. The lowest pH occurred on December 17, 2003 and the highest pH occurred on February 14, 2012. The average pH was 7.242.
The concentration of dissolved oxygen in Fishing Creek has been measured to range from approximately 5 to 17.5 mg/L at Benton. Between May 2010 and July 2011, the dissolved oxygen level for the streams in the watershed was highest in February 2011 and lowest in June, July, and August 2010. A site near Camp Lavigne had slightly less fluctuation, ranging from 8 to 17 mg/L. The concentration near Bloomsburg between 2002 and 2012 ranged between 4.1 and 17.1 mg/L. The lowest concentration occurred on July 25, 2005 and the highest concentration occurred on January 6, 2009. The average concentration was 10.942 mg/L.
The concentration of carbon dioxide near Bloomsburg between 2002 and 2012 ranged from 0.3 to 34 mg/L. The lowest concentration was on April 6, 2006 and February 14, 2012. The highest concentration was on December 17, 2003. The average concentration was 2.04 mg/L.
The total concentration of nitrogen near Bloomsburg between 2002 and 2012 ranged from 0.52 to 2.8 mg/L. The date of the lowest concentration was October 14, 2009. The highest concentration occurred on January 13, 2003. The average concentration was 1.212 mg/L. The concentration of ammonia in the creek ranged from less than 0.02 mg/L to 0.06 mg/L. The highest concentration occurred on May 19, 2009. The total concentration of nitrates near Bloomsburg was always less than 0.04 mg/L.
The total concentration of phosphates at the gauging station near Bloomsburg between 2002 and 2012 ranged from less than 0.031 mg/L to 0.11 mg/L. The highest concentration of phosphates occurred on May 19, 2009. The total concentration of phosphorus in the waters of Fishing Creek at the gauging station near Bloomsburg between 2002 and 2012 ranged from less than 0.01 mg/L to 0.575 mg/L. The highest phosphorus concentration occurred on July 5, 2011.
The total concentration of dissolved solids near Bloomsburg between ranged from less than 2 to 166 mg/L. The lowest concentration during that time occurred several times in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008. The highest concentration occurred on September 23, 2003.
In most places on Fishing Creek, there is not enough dissolved aluminum to be toxic, although some of its tributaries have aluminum concentrations approaching lethal levels for fish. The only tributary of which contains over 100 μg per liter is East Branch Fishing Creek. Fishing Creek itself and all its other tributaries had dissolved aluminum concentrations of less than 70 μg per liter. This concentration is linked to the thawing of soils, as demonstrated by the fact that aluminum levels in the creek peak in March and April and drop to almost zero in the summer.
The concentration of calcium in the at the gauging station near Bloomsburg has ranged from 5.5 mg/L to 26 mg/L. The lowest concentration occurred on February 6, 2008 and the concentration occurred peaked on June 18, 2012. The concentration averaged at 7.532 mg/L. The concentration of magnesium at the gauging station near Bloomsburg has ranged from 1.5 mg/L to 6.7 mg/L. The lowest concentration occurred on November 1, 2006 and the highest was on June 18, 2012. The average concentration is 1.748 mg/L.
There is a lowhead dam referred to by locals as Boone's Dam on Fishing Creek near where the creek flows past Bloomsburg. A dam was built on Fishing Creek in the northern reaches of Bloomsburg to power the nearby Irondale furnaces. Another dam was built on the creek about 2 miles (3 km) north of Bloomsburg in 1818 by John Barton. In the 1800s and early 1900s there were two other dams on Fishing Creek. One was in Orange Township, and the other, a 212-foot (65 m) concrete dam, was in Orangeville. A dam known as the Benton Dam was built on upper Fishing Creek, directly upstream of Benton.
The highest water temperature in the watershed is that of West Creek, which can reach 77 °F (25 °C) in the summer. The water temperature of Fishing Creek in Benton can reach 75 °F (24 °C) in the summer. The temperature of Coles Creek only reaches 66 to 68 °F (19 to 20 °C) in the summer. In the winter, the water temperature of the main stem is around 32 °F (0 °C) and West Branch Fishing Creek's temperature can be as low as 28 °F (−2 °C) in the winter, making it the coldest stream in the watershed.
At a gauging station near Bloomsburg, the water temperature ranged from 32° to 78° Fahrenheit (0.1° to 25.7° Celsius) between November 2002 and November 2012. The lowest water temperature was on January 10, 2011. The highest temperature occurred on August 3, 2006. The average temperature in August was 22.67° Celsius and the average water temperature in January was 1.92° Celsius. The average temperature between 2002 and 2012 was approximately 12.03° Celsius.
The Fishing Creek watershed has been affected by glaciation. The glaciation has left a glacial till near the source and glacial outwash in the lower parts of the watershed. The watershed lies in two major geological regions. One is the Deep Valley section of the Allegheny Plateau. The upper reaches of the watershed are in this region. It is characterized by deep valleys and rounded mountains with elevations of around 2,400 feet (730 m). The other geological region is the Susquehanna Lowlands section. This region is characterized by linear ridges of moderate elevation and valleys less steep than those of the Deep Valley region. There are also flood plains along the creek. Near its mouth, it cuts through Montour Ridge. A basalt-containing section of the Catskill Formation extends to the banks of Fishing Creek in Hemlock Township. Other rock formations along the banks of the creek include the Clinton formation, the Selena formation, the Lower Helderburg formation, and the Hamilton formation. There is a terminal moraine which crosses Fishing Creek near Benton.
The riverbed of the creek contains red and brown shale in some places. Other parts of the watershed lie over gray sandstone or conglomerates. There are numerous deposits of iron ore and limestone in the lower sections of the Fishing Creek valley. There are also some deposits of marble along the creek. Most of the rock in the watershed, Trimmers Rock and Catskill Rock, is from the Devonian Period, such as but some of the northernmost tributaries have watersheds on rock such as Huntley Mountain rock and Burgoon sandstone, which is from the Mississippian Period. Fishing Creek is a freestone stream although its waters are colder than those of most eastern freestone streams.
Areas along Fishing Creek contain pools followed by riffles which are further followed by more pools. This configuration of pools and riffles creates an ideal situation for fly-fishing. The lower part of Fishing Creek forms one leg of a triangle of low-lying land in western Bloomsburg, which floods severely during heavy rains.
The main soil in the area of Fishing Creek is of a type known as the Albrights series. It contains a 7-inch (18 cm) thick layer of sticky, reddish-brown gravelly silt loam. Below this is a layer of gravelly silty clay loam that is yellowish-red in color, which goes down to approximately 30 inches (76 cm) below ground. Below this is a layer that contains equal portions of gravel and silty clay loam. Bedrock occurs at several feet below the ground.
Another type of soil that occurs in the drainage basin of Fishing Creek is the Leck Kill soil. The top 8 inches (20 cm) are dark brown silt loam with small pieces of sandstone and shale. Below this level, there is a subsoil of reddish-brown silt loam that occurs from 8 to 32 inches (20 to 81 cm) below ground. Beneath the subsoil there is a 6-inch (15 cm) layer of sticky clay loam, below which is a bedrock of red shale.
A type of soil known as the Barbour series occurs near the source of the creek. It is topped with a crumbly, 10-inch (25 cm) thick layer of brownish-red silt loam. Below this is a loose subsoil of reddish-brown loam with some gravel. This layer can be penetrated with ease by roots and water. Under this is a layer of reddish-brown gravel and sand, which goes down to 10 feet (3.0 m) or more underground.
The Basher series is another type of soil that occurs along upper Fishing Creek. The top layer is a loose and crumbly reddish-brown sandy loam extending to 9 inches (23 cm) underground. The subsoil is a loose porous reddish-brown sandy loam with some gravel extending to 20 inches (51 cm) underground. Below this is a layer of red sandy loam with some gravel that extends from 15 to 30 inches (38 to 76 cm) underground.
The Pekin series is found along Fishing Creek and its tributary Huntington Creek. The top layer is a dark-brown silt loam that extends to 8 inches (20 cm) underground. Below this is a layer of brown silt loam with 10 percent gravel. This layer goes down to 16 inches (41 cm) underground. The subsoil is mottled brown silty clay loam with cobbles and extends to 40 inches (100 cm) underground. Bedrock occurs at a depth of 6 to 40 feet (1.8 to 12.2 m) underground. The Pekin soils near Fishing Creek contain more cobbles that typical Pekin soils.
Chenango soils have also been observed along Fishing Creek.
In 1914 the soils of Fishing Creek were found to yield high amounts of farm crops. Potatoes yielded 100 to 200 bushels per acre, corn 70 to 90 bushels per acre, oats 40 bushels per acre, wheat 20 to 30 bushels per acre, and hay one to two tons per acre. J.H. Battle's History of Columbia and Montour Counties, Pennsylvania states that the Fishing Creek valley is fertile.
Benthic algae serve as the base of the food chain in Fishing Creek, which they densely cover. There is one place on the main stem where algae coverage exceeds 60 percent: downstream of Grassmere Park. The algae species Cladophora is dominant on West Branch Fishing Creek near the village of Elk Grove. The green algae species Tetraspora dominates Fishing Creek from Grassmere Park to 3 miles (4.8 km) downstream of it. Here, Tetraspora covers 80 percent of the riverbed. South of Pennsylvania Route 239's crossing of the creek, the dominant algae species are the green algae Microspora, Mougeotia, and Spirogyra. In the fall, decomposing algae covers 50 percent of the riverbed. The high concentration of algae in Fishing Creek has been attributed to leaking septic systems.
36 different species of macroinvertebrates live in Fishing Creek. The highest level of macroinvertebrate biodiversity on upper Fishing Creek is near Grassmere Park, while the lowest is in Benton. The number of macroinvertebrates per m2 on Fishing Creek ranges from under 200 in Benton to nearly 400 halfway between Coles Creek and Benton.
Fishing Creek has a large population of brook trout, rainbow trout, and brown trout. The brown trout are especially common near Fishing Creek's mouth. Many of the trout are sizable, with the largest trout caught in Fishing Creek weighing 8 pounds (3.6 kg) and being 28 inches (71 cm) long. An 1887 book described Fishing Creek and its tributaries as being "alive with trout". In addition, sculpin and cutlips minnow have been observed in large numbers on Fishing Creek and its tributaries. Less commonly observed fish in the Fishing Creek watershed include johnny darters, white suckers, and black-nosed dace. However it is difficult for fish to spawn in Fishing Creek due to poor water quality near Benton, a lack of food, and the fact that Fishing Creek's headwaters are dry for part of the year.
In 2011 the habitability of upper Fishing Creek and its tributaries were rated on a scale of 1 to 200. Most of upper Fishing Creek and its tributaries were rated 166 or higher, which was considered optimal. The waters near the mouths of West Branch and East Branch Fishing Creeks, as well as Fishing Creek near Benton were rated 113 to 160, which was considered sub-optimal. A portion of West Creek was rated 60-112, which was considered "marginal".
The highest density of organisms on a in the watershed is on West Creek, where there are 600 to almost 900 per m2. The lowest density of organisms is at one site on East Branch Fishing Creek, where there are approximately 100 organisms per m2. The density of organisms on the main stem of Fishing Creek ranges from slightly over 200 to slightly over 400 organisms per m2.
The highest Shannon Diversity Index, (an index which was originally conceived to measure the entropy of text strings) of any stream in the Fishing Creek watershed is around 2.75 on West Branch Fishing Creek. This value is closely followed by that of West Creek, which has an index of 2.5 to 2.6. The lowest value in the watershed is that of East Branch Fishing Creek, which is around 1.2. The main stem of Fishing Creek has a Shannon Diversity Index of 2.1 to 2.4, depending on the site.
The Fishing Creek Watershed Association plans to open to the public a section of Fishing Creek that spans 6,500-foot (2,000 m) and covers 92 acres (37 ha). There are also other tracts of public property along Fishing Creek. One of these areas is called the Power Dam, located two miles upstream of Benton. It spans 19 acres (7.7 ha) and 2,900-foot (880 m) of Fishing Creek and features the remains of a concrete dam. Another public area is the Benton Overlook, one mile from Benton. It spans 42 acres (17 ha) and 2,600-foot (790 m) of the creek. Another site is at the Zaners Bridge in Zaner, 2.5 miles downstream from Stillwater. This area spans 31 acres (13 ha) and 1,000-foot (300 m) of the creek and features an abandoned railroad grade.
The Grassmere Park Campground is on Fishing Creek. Further downstream, near Lightstreet, is Kocher Park, which spans more than seven acres. Typical activities there include canoeing, dog walking, birdwatching and fishing. Camp Creasy was on the edge of Fishing Creek in Mount Pleasant Township in the 1950s to the 1970s.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fishing Creek (North Branch Susquehanna River).|
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