Muhlenberg Township in Berks County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Recreation on the River
Schuylkill River National & State Heritage Area
Boating and Swimming
The pool behind the Felix Dam was about four miles long, creating a 132 acre lake holding 480 million gallons of water. While popular for motor boating and water skiing from the 1960s to the 1990s, in the early 1900s canoeists and many young couples preferred the pools behind Shepp's and Leisz's Dams just downstream. They were popular Sunday outing destinations for fashionable ladies and gentlemen who came in their Sunday finery.
Swimming near the dams, while dangerous, was popular then as it is today. Kayakers now work river rapids downstream near Kelly's Lock.
The Schuylkill River Water Trail was recognized by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission in 1999. Access is available at many publicly owned and maintained landings. Boaters must still portage around a half-dozen dams. Annual recreational events such as river flotillas and festivals can be found throughout the year along the River.
Fishing in the Schuylkill River provides both a variety of landscape and water types as well as over 20 species of fish. Smallmouth Bass are probably the most targeted
Recently there has been a resurgence in anglers focusing on the Schuylkill's catfish population. Both Channel Catfish and Flathead Catfish can be caught in the river. Flathead Catfish are considered an invasive species by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission so they recommend that anglers not return them to the river. Other fish that can be targeted include Musky, Carp and even Trout in the headwaters of both the Schuylkill and Little Schuylkill Rivers. Shad is also a favorite of fishermen, but is generally not found in this area.
A shad's life begins in fresh water streams before migrating to the Atlantic Ocean. After four to six years the shad return to spawn the next generation of fish. However, the canal dams built across the Schuylkill River made it impossible for shad and other fish to travel upriver to spawn. Removal of the dams, coupled with installation of fish ladders, is helping the shad to once again run the river.
To bring shad back to the Schuylkill River, the PA Fish and Boat Commission began stocking in 1999 in the Reading and Tulpehocken Creek area, and four other locations. As a result, fish were found trying to re-enter the river at the first Fairmount Dam in Philadelphia. Between new fish ladder installations and the removal of some of the canal dams such as the Felix Dam, 100 miles of accessible waterway will be obstruction free.
The Schuylkill River Trail, on which you are now standing, will eventually stretch 120 miles from Philadelphia to Pottsville. Many multipurpose sections are built and available for bicycling, walking and hiking. Some sections are open to horse riding.
Erected by Schuylkill River National & State Heritage Area; Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; Muhlenberg Township.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Animals • Parks & Recreational Areas • Waterways & Vessels.
Location. 40° 23.463′ N, 75° 58.074′ W. Marker is in Muhlenberg Township, Pennsylvania, in Berks County. Marker can be reached from River Road 0.1 miles north of Whitner Road, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4016 River Rd, Reading PA 19605, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Schuylkill Navigation (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Removal of the Dams (about 500 feet away); Reclaiming the River (about 700 feet away); Damming the River (approx. 0.2 miles away); Living with the River (approx. ¼ mile away); Joseph Hiester (approx. 1.3 miles away); Union Canal (approx. 2 miles away); In Recognition of Warren Haggerty (approx. 2½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Muhlenberg Township.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 29, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 29, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 30 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on November 29, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.