Bob Marzen of Jim Thorpe is wondering why so many fish are dying at the Germantown Grove Club trout hatchery in the borough.

He's also concerned that the death of the fish could have a major impact with an annual fishing derby he helps to coordinate; possibly even canceling it.

Marzen is 2nd vice commander of the Jim Thorpe American Legion Post. Every year the Legion, along with the Germantown Grove Club, hosts the fishing derby for special education children. An estimated 200 youngsters take part in the event.

He is concerned that unless the problem with the dying fish is resolved, there might not be enough fish to hold the fishing derby.

It was noted that the club has been in contact with state officials regarding the problem.

Yesterday club members were putting tubes containing soda ash into the pond which feeds the hatchery, hoping it increases the pH level.

Club members said they were informed the hatchery is fed by streams. Because there has been a lot of snow, underground springs are possibly dumping water in the pond which could be reducing the pH level.

"The state was here about a month ago checking things out and everything was fine," said Marzen.

The fish deaths began abruptly. The club had also placed solar salt into the hatchery water, hoping to raise the oxygen level.

According to Marzen, the fish are obtained from the Pa. Game Commission. He said there was never a problem like this before this year, and estimates more than 500 fish have died.

"The pond has been here over 50 years," he said. "There have always been cycles with the seasons and we never had problems."

The Legion fishing derby began in the mid 1950s. Youngsters from as far away as Monroe County take part in the event, which is held in May.

Marzen said unless the problem of the dying fish is quickly resolved, the Legion might need help to run the derby this year – either more fish or financial help.

"We use about 1,500 fish for the derby," said Marzen.

For moore information about the derby or to help with it call Marzen at (570) 325-2161, Legion Commander Cliff Glendhill at (215) 982-1309, or finance officer Frank Sebelin at (570) 325-2219.

The phone number of the Legion Post is (570) 325-4756.