Based out of Ridgway, Pennsylvania, we are an all-volunteer organization of men and women committed to enhancing the East Branch Dam Lake and other valuable waterways. Projects include habitat restoration of the lake, lime-dosing of tributaries, and building partnerships for other water quality improvements.


In October 1999 the Elk County Fishermen completed their first watershed project. This project consisted of lining 180 feet of streambed with various sizes of high grade limestone. Twenty-eight volunteers constructed small dams in the stream with basketball size limestone. The entire stream bed was then lined with fist sized lime stone, and the entire stretch of stream was covered with lime sand. The pH reading was in the 4's when we started, then jumped into the 6's, where it still remains.Without the help of the DEP, USAGE & DCNR, this project could not have been completed. The stream was an unnamed tributary of Yonkers Run draining from a deep mine on a nearby hill. Our group unofficially named the stream the West Branch of Yonkers Run.

The Elk County Fishermen have completed another project on the East Branch Lake watershed. Gum Boot Run, a small Mckean County stream flowing into The East Branch Lake, was being greatly effected by an abandoned deep mine. This was the focus for the most current watershed project. A DEP grant for approximately \$48,000.00 was used to construct a vertical flow pond along Gum Boot Run. Alan Groves Excavating Inc. of Falls Creek, Pa., a local contractor, was awarded the contract. They completed the vertical flow pond in November 2000. A pond is dug in the stream, a fiber liner was placed in the bottom, a series of 6 inch perforated plastic pipe was placed in the pond in a grid pattern, similar to a septic leach bed. The pipe was surrounded and covered with high grade lime stone, approximately the size of an orange. The stream enters into the pond, passes through the 6 inch pipe and the lime stone and out through the dam. The water entering the pond has a pH of about 4 and is raised to about 6 when exiting the pond. The DEP is very pleased with the operation of this system at this time. Many more projects are to follow to improve our watershed.  



The Elk County Fishermen have signed up with the Pennsylvania Fish Commission to participate in their ADOPT-A-LAKE program. This is a five year obligation to build and place fish habitat structures in East Branch Lake. An example of the type of structure placed is a bass spawning platform, consisting of eight foot boards atop a pyramid style structure made of four foot by two inch by two inch boards. Green hemlock is used because of its resistance to water. It has eight concrete blocks inside for weight. They are built on shore and taken to pre-located sites by a Pennsylvania Fish Commission boat, where they are dumped into the water. Aided by Pennsylvania Dive & Recovery, a local scuba diving club, they settle into place without damage. Porcupine cribs are also built using the same materials. They are twice as tall and lack the overhanging platform. The porcupine cribs are for fish cover, while the bass spawning platforms provide a sheltered area for fish to spawn. The first bass spawning platforms were placed in East Branch Lake in May of 1998. Pennsylvania Dive & Recovery observed bass inspecting the structures shortly after they were in place.


The Elk County Fishermen is one of many conservation minded groups assisting Robert Dippold of the Elk County Conservation District and the Army Corps of Engineers in a twice a year lime sand application of the streams entering East Branch Lake. Twice a year, spring and fall, lime sand is applied to Borgardy Run, Gum Boot Run, Straight Creek, and Martin Run by the Elk County Fishermen. The lime sand is transported to the sites by volunteers, deposited into the streams, and spread uniformly. The streams are then monitored for pH by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)and the US Army Corps Biologists.


Meetings are held bi-monthly at North Centeral Planning and Development. For more information contact us at