Pollution May Be Causing Lesions on Fish in Susquehanna River

By Jayne Ann Bugda | jbugda@pahomepage.com, Valerie Tysanner | vtysanner@pahomepage.com

Published 08/07 2014 08:05PM

Updated 08/07 2014 08:15PM

Williamsport, Lycoming County- The first time Craig Gittens unexpectedly caught a spotted small mouth bass from the Susquehanna River... he was surprised.


"I caught maybe around a 3 lb small mouth bass and on it I saw a black spot at first I thought maybe it was a leaf or something but when I looked closely, it wasn't. It was a defect."

The second and third time... He knew something was wrong with the fish living near Williamsport.

He's right.

A new study says chemicals like nitrogen and phosphorus are polluting the susquehanna river  down to the Chesapeake Bay...  Leading to skin lesions on its  small mouth bass.
Some scientists worry those lesions may lead to cancer.

Some fishermen like Bill Satkowski of Wilkes-Barre say they haven't seen the lesions before.


"I've never seen any bass with the disease on it or heard of anyone catching any in that area."

But worry about the effects of eating or drinking polluted river water.
"Since we're not 100% sure what goes in, I would not recommend eating."
warned Gittens
The dirty water is no surprise to a lot of fisherman but others say until now they've never really thought twice about eating what they catch."

"It kind of shocked us because like I say we go fishing and we don't think nothing of it - we just think someone hooked it, didn't want it, and threw it back in." noted Teresa Michael of Cogan Station

Teresa Michael enjoys catching and eating fish from the Susquehanna.
Until now.

"We just take stuff home, filet it or give it away but now we'll be a little bit leery on it."

The EPA will investigate the area on Thursday.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.