LACKAWAXEN – For many trout anglers seeking the ultimate fall get away without having to go that far away, their destination is the Lackawaxen River for the ultimate one-day, weekend or weeklong adventure.
Earlier this year, the "Lacky" was named the Commonwealth's River of the Year for 2010 by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources – a designation that has been awarded since 1983. DCNR officials said the selection was based on the waterway's value, community involvement and its natural bounties and historical significance in shaping northeast Pennsylvania's ecology and communities for centuries.
And, yes, also noted was it being an outstanding trout fishery.
Trout anglers using bait, lures and flies target the Lackawaxen during the entire season, but, for many, the fall is their favorite time of the year. By then – even on weekends – gone are the crowds, which can make for a feeling of fishing on remote Western rivers.
Depending on the method of choice, anglers are advised to use salted minnows, worms, shiners, grubs, helgramites, spoons, spinners, small plugs, dry flies, streamers and nymphs to target trout. Most fly anglers have success with presentations in black, olive, blue and brown and combinations of orange and brown, brown and yellow and black and yellow.
In praising the Lackawaxen, DCNR officials called the river a recreational treasure renowned for its fly fishing and canoeing that supports a variety of bird and animal species. Its importance to the environment was noted as the waterway that drains the forests of the Pocono Plateau and its vital connection for local residents and visitors.
Flowing for approximately 25 miles before joining the Delaware River at this Pike County site, anglers often are unable to resist putting down their rods – no matter how good the bite – to view and photograph a variety of bird and wildlife species – including bald eagles, deer and the occasional black bear. Tourists are also attracted to the historic Zane Grey Museum, which is where the noted author of novels dealing with outlaws and lawmen of the American West lived in the early 1900s.
Encompassing 600 square miles across 26 municipalities, the Lackawaxen River Watershed is fed by Wallenpaupack Creek and Lake Wallenpaupack Reservoir, which join the river near Hawley.
In addition, the Delaware and Lehigh Canal runs parallel to sections of the Lackawaxen, and the region – along with Monroe, Luzerne and Carbon counties has been designated the Pocono Forest and Waters Conservation Landscape.
This is one of seven geographical areas targeted by DCNR and conservation organizations for wide-ranging attempts to conserve natural resources and enhance the quality of life they so often support.
By selecting the Lackawaxen River its "River of the Year," the DCNR is better able to stress the value of healthy forests and greenways and encourage stream-side plantings under its TreeVitalize program.
Working with its partners, the Lackawaxen River Conservancy organizes several events throughout the year, including a paddling trip and a river cleanup in partnership with the Wayne County Historical Society.
Amid mounting development pressures in the Pocono Plateau region, the TLRC joins with local organizations and agencies to show preservation and growth can happen together.
Current partners with the TLRC are the National Canoe Safety Patrol, National Park Service, Delaware Highland Conservancy, Delaware Riverkeeper, Pike County Conservation District, Wayne Chamber of Commerce, Sturbridge Railroad, Greater Honesdale Partnership, Pennsylvania Environmental Council and Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers. POWR is the DCNR's lead waterways-project partner and statewide group for more than 400 watershed associations.
POWR helps train and organize local groups to lead a dozen sojourns on rivers throughout the state each year. These water-based journies for canoeists, kayakers and others raise awareness of the environmental, recreational, tourism and heritage values of rivers.
Information on the Lackawaxen River Conservancy and a schedule of events are available on the Web at www.lackawaxenriver. org. Information on the DCNR Rivers Program is available at www.dcnr.state. pa.us/brc/rivers/.