WRIGHT TWP. – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission hopes to talk to Luzerne County officials about possible options to keep Moon Lake Park open for the upcoming trout season.
This week it was learned that the county will be closing the park during the week, effective this weekend, due to a lack of county security workers. The park will be open on Saturday and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
That may not be enough to justify stocking the lake with trout. The commission has three trout stockings scheduled for Moon Lake this season – a preseason release on April 5 followed by two in-season stockings – April 28 and May 5.
During a public meeting with commission officials on Thursday at Crestwood High School, Executive Director John Arway said that when a waterway is removed from the stocking schedule, the agency tries to find another location nearby to release the trout that is open to public fishing.
With trout season a little more than a month away, such a move might be difficult, Arway said.
"This is going to be a tough one to adjust," he said. "We just found out about it today, and we'd like to work with the county to discuss some options to keep Moon Lake open for fishing."
State Rep. Gerald Mullery, who organized Thursday's meeting, said if the lake can't be stocked he'd like to see the trout that were allocated for Moon Lake be released somewhere else in the county.
The ultimate solution, Mullery said, would be to have a private entity take over the park and keep it open with all of the services it used to provide.
Kingston resident Norm Gavlick, who is a fish and boat commissioner representing the northeast region, suggested the county turn the lake over to the commission and let them the agency manage it.
If the agency isn't able to stock Moon Lake this year, Arway said it will result in a financial loss to the area.
"The anglers that use the lake bring a lot of money to the local communities," he said. "I'm sure the county doesn't want to lose that economic value the lake has as a stocked trout water."
Approximately 50 people attended the meeting and questioned Mullery and the commission officials on a variety of topics, including the impacts last September's flood had on the river and streams, Marcellus shale drilling, fishing license sales, invasive weeds in area lakes and access for boaters on the river.
Mullery held a similar public forum with the Pennsylvania Game Commission last October and he hopes to continue to hold two meetings in the area each year to give hunters, anglers and boaters an opportunity to pose questions and concerns directly to agency officials.
"I serve on four committees, including the House Game and Fisheries Committee, and my staff receives more inquiries on game and fish issues than the other three committees combined," Mullery said. "We found these meetings to be an overwhelming success and something that will grow every year."