Biology Bits with Joe McMullen
How many fishing clubs do you know that have a full-time biologist on staff? Not just a caretaker, but an expert in trout and trout fisheries. The answer, of course, is very few, if any. The Spring Ridge Club not only has its own biologist on staff, but one who also has lived literally a stone¹s throw from Spruce Creek for nearly 30 years.
Joe McMullen taught biology at Juniata Valley High School for 31 1/2 years, and from 1970 to 1996, he lived at what is now our Six Springs facility, where he owned and operated the Spruce Creek Trout Hatchery. In 1973, Joe began to manage his section of Spruce Creek for high-quality fishing, and several years later, he had achieved a world-class trout fishery.
Joe's many decades of experience raising trout and other species of fish earned him national recognition as an expert in aquaculture. He served as an associate with the Penn State Aquaculture Extension Service for six years. The U.S. Department of Agriculture employed him to travel throughout the country, presenting programs to others engaged in the business of aquaculture. That endeavor took him to all types of fish-rearing facilities, such as salmon in Washington, catfish in Mississippi, and tilapia in Arizona.
After retiring from teaching, consulting, and operating a trout hatchery, Joe was able to again devote his full attention to fishery management on Spruce Creek < and all the other waters of the Spring Ridge Club. "My job is to maintain the fish populations at a level that is consistent with the club's expectations", Joe says.
Creating and maintaining a superior trout fishery is a complex undertaking, but it is a process that Joe has refined remarkably. That responsibility also requires a great deal of hands-on attention, and he spends a considerable amount of time on the stream most days, monitoring all aspects of the resource.
An expert trout fisherman, Joe is also one of the club¹s most experienced guides, affording him a perfect opportunity to combine fishery science with the art of angling. In future issues of our newsletter, Joe will reprise his role as a teacher by providing insight on the biology of trout and trout streams.