PA Fish Commission Does Fish Salvage at Kyle Lake

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, Jefferson Co. (EYT) — Jefferson County’s Kyle Lake is virtually empty and the fish that used to live there are getting used to their new homes.

The Pa. Fish & Boat Commission’s fish salvage at Kyle Lake outside of Falls Creek went off Thursday.

Organizers had planned to do the work Wednesday, but it took longer to drain the lake than was first thought after a good amount of rain fell late last week, bringing the water level up by 8 to 12 inches.

Largemouth bass, black crappies, bluegills and other sunfish were the primary fish in Kyle Lake and Thursday’s fish rescue showed that.

PFBC workers said some good-sized bass were captured and weighed up to 4 or 5 pounds. Most were smaller.

There was also a few northern pike netted and released in nearby Sandy Lick Creek near Falls Creek. Sandy Lick has been home to northerns for many years. The pike were mostly around 10-12 inches, but a few were at least two feet long.

Jason Detar, the Chief of Fisheries Management for the Fish & Boat Commission, explained that at the last few acres of water come out of the lake, so do a lot of fish and a catch basin had set up at the lake outflow.

“We net the fish out and place them in the small fish trucks before transferring them to the larger stocking truck and then take them to Cloe Lake,” Detar said.

Cloe Lake is located near Punxsutawney and it now has thousands more fish in it.

Anglers target bass for sport fishing while many prefer crappies and other panfish because they provide better eating.

The fish salvage and draining of the lake was done because of a $4 million project to rebuild the dam, which was originally built in 1910.

The Pa. Department of Environmental Protection declared the dam high-hazard and fortunately, the state released the money to complete the project.

“We were worried because this was a high-hazard dam and if we didn’t have the funds, we’d just have to breach it and it would look just like it is now,” PFBC Commissioner William Sabatose said Thursday.

Pleasure boaters will have to wait until probably at least 2019 to be able to use the lake. The project is expected to be done at the end of 2018.

Detar said fish such as largemouth bass, bluegills, crappies and other panfish will be stocked and it may be five years before anglers can harvest fish so the fishery can recover sooner.

Another part of the project that may help fishing is with a new structure, the lake will be able to be drawn down in the winter, which can help with keeping weed growth under control.

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