Boating on the West Branch | News, Sports, Jobs

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Summer fun on the west branch of the Susquehanna River can take many forms, and nautical life is the only activity with so many possibilities. Want to fish, swim, water ski, kayak, barbecue or sleep along the banks of a river? You are in the right place !

How lucky to live along the western branch of the Susquehanna River, which runs 243 miles across our region. It begins its journey in upstate New York by traveling 441 miles before flowing into Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, the largest contributor to that bay.

The Susquehanna, the longest river on the east coast, is a godsend and a blessing for our region. If your idea of ​​having a good time on the river is parting the waters or skiing the wake, motorboats are probably your speed. “It’s an exciting experience, flying in the water, feeling the wind teasing your hair and the river showering you with welcome.” an avid boater once proclaimed.

The West Branch Motorboat Association (WBMA), which has been in existence for almost 72 years, was incorporated in 1949 “Serve the interests of motor boat owners, defend against discriminatory legislation and taxation, prevent pollution, stimulate interest in boating locally and provide information on navigation, boat mooring and for repair installations “ according to Mark Glossner, president of the association.

Of the 150 members, 51 have a hold (parking space in the water) where they can moor boats for the summer, “Those who do not have a leaflet”, Glossner said, “Have a membership on the ground where they can park their boat and trailer in the lighted field and use the launch pad. Picnic tables, garbage disposals and larger docks are also available. Glossner added, “This field membership is also available to owners of canoeing and other small craft.” The popular Lumberjack Triathlon and Boat Regatta are annual events sponsored by the club. The WBMA office is located on Summer Street in Duboistown.

Fishing on the river and all its tributaries is another satisfying way to enjoy the riches of the Susquehanna. Whether catching and releasing or catching and eating, anglers find a myriad of fish living in these waters: bass, muskellunge, catfish, carp, suckers, crappies, perch, blue gills. , mesh pike and trout.

Some of these fish are the result of stocking, an activity carried on by the Lycoming Creek Anglers’ Club. “We breed 11,000 trout per year for stocking and storage until April and May”, said Sam Caldwell, director and secretary-treasurer of the 600-member club. “Trout fishing continues until February 2022. Walleye can be legally caught from May, bass in June. Everything else, all year round. he said. An annual derby is organized for children aged 3 to 13. When asked about bait, Caldwell listed lures, plugs, hand-tied flies, worms, minnows, crayfish, and artificial bait.

Another viable club, the Susquehanna Boat Club, is located on the banks of the Montgomery River in Lycoming County. The club’s first land was purchased in 1976 from the Susquehanna Cove Association, a campground organization that began selling land.

The Susquehanna Boat Club, which has 80 members, is located on several lots with a building and a boat launch. The launch can be used by the public through the honor system, but annual passes are also available for a reasonable fee. Treasurer Karen Berger reports that the club has many activities open to the public each year, including roast pork as well as cornhole and horseshoe tournaments, all of which are very busy. “And the camping pitches can be rented for the season, although there is always a waiting list” said Berger.

Owning or renting river land is a popular way to enjoy the Susquehanna. Camping, barbecues, picnics, singing and cooking around campfires, backyard sports, and cards are all popular on the riverbanks. Jenn and Joey Minella, along with eight other families, have rented four lots near the old Antler’s Club over the past 16 years. “There are always lots of kids playing, including ours, and lots of food, but what I love most is how relaxing it is to be there. “ said Minella. “We built two bridges, which we all love, and a pavilion. Some families have boats and also spend time on the river ” she added.

Yes, the Susquehanna River is great for boating, swimming, fishing, sunbathing, sleeping and playing. And spot the wildlife and just watch, especially at sunset. But Glossner recalled how the Susquehanna River is an economic boon. “If everyone thought of everything you buy to practice activities on the river, that’s a lot! For example, fishing rods, lures, bait; fishing boats, motor boats, canoes, kayaks, motors, trailers, skis and wakeboards, tarpaulins for boats; fire extinguishers, upholstery, anchors, ropes; memberships and leases, picnic tables, motor homes, tents, timber for the construction of docks, pavilions, cabins; barrels for the flotation, cables and clamps to secure the docks ”, Glossner said.

Also, gas and electricity to waterfront lots, generators, refrigerators, coolers, sunscreen, towels, canoes, kayaks, roof racks, labor and equipment for equipment maintenance and storage rental in winter. . “It’s an incredible amount of income that is being generated” Glossner remarked.

While the income generated is certainly substantial, some boaters will tell you that they measure the value of the river by the memories it generates. Boaters, along with their families and friends, see it as a blessing to be numbered when numbered in the Valley of the West Branch of Susquehanna.

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Tommy Dodd

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