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Local Anglers Tackle Restoration Of Urban Fishery In Highland Park

Updated: Apr 26, 2020

This article was one of the first attempts by media to cover the activity at Highland Park. We are trying to avoid the tragedy of forty years of urban youth not having safe and productive fishing facilities.

Urban fishing returns to Pittsburgh’s East End this summer. Carnegie Lake in Highland Park has been stocked with catfish, bluegill and largemouth bass for the first time in more than 20 years.

Local anglers are planning events for the city’s youth around the water, including a fishing derby and training sessions.

Let’s Go Fishing Club member Edward Caldwell said the pond’s restoration included the installation of a dozen aerators and use of a microfiltration plant from the nearby reservoir.

The lake was built in the 1870s, according to the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, predates the surrounding park. It was bigger back then, and used as a middle holding area for water pumped from the Allegheny River to the 130 million gallon reservoir. Residents used to swim and boat in the lake, but it fell into disrepair until its restoration was included in the city’s Regional Parks Master Plan.

Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission conducted a fish inventory using a method called electrofishing. The technique temporarily stuns fish, while officials count the number and species in a body of water. After a few minutes, the fish return to swimming, unharmed by the shock.

Along with several local partners, Caldwell and Let’s Go Fishing members have been working to make the entire area more friendly for families and children by regularly stocking the lake with fish and fixing crumbling steps.

“It’s all about bringing kids back to the lakes, back outside, back in the community,” Caldwell said.

An equipment loaner program is expected to provide more than 30 rods, bait and tackle to young fishers. On June 23, Let's Go Fishing will hold their first annual inner-city youth fishing derby for children age 5-15.

City officials hope Carnegie Lake won’t be the only urban fishery for long, saying Panther Hollow Lake is Oakland is slated for future restoration.

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