Keystone To Draw-Down Lake
Inside the Outdoors, January 13
, 2012

In the coming months of 2012, one can look forward to a lot of activities that have been planned.

Keystone State Park, in New Alexandria, will take on a whole new look during the latter part of 2012, said Kristian Baker, park manager. “The lake will be drawn down seven feet to put in structure to protect the younger bass and other smaller fish that are living in the lake” he said.

He went on to state that, “We are waiting for some grants to come through and then we will proceed once conditions are favorable.”

If all goes as planned, the draw-down will take place the first week of October.

One may remember five years ago when the lake was drawn down to build the new bridge that divided the small portion of the basin from the larger body of water. It was a sight to behold as the lake was drawn down quite a bit more so the geographical patterns could be viewed as the surfaces sloped toward the depths of the channel.

The area around the bridge itself on the side where the swimming area is located was dry. Once the water made its way back to the rocks and under the bridge, one could picture the drawn down area and note the differences.

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The local Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited will hold its 39th Annual Banquet on Saturday, March 3, 2012, at the American Legion Post 515, Ligonier Street, Latrobe. The banquet is the chapter’s annual fundraising event. The public is welcome; its success depends on people’s support.

Tickets are $25, the same as last year. It will be a family-friendly banquet. Kids under 16 get $20 worth of raffle tickets with the purchase of a banquet ticket. The grand prize is a top-of-the-line Orvis rod and reel. There will be over 100 prizes, including fishing rods most anglers’ only dream of owning, and lots of collector quality-framed trout and wildlife prints.

Available from the following retailers, tickets may be obtained at Ligonier Outfitters in Ligonier (724) 238-4900, The Angler’s Room (724) 537-0683 on Route 217, Latrobe, one mile from Kingston Dam, or by mailing the reservation form on the chapter website.

2012 begins the 8th year giving boys and girls an opportunity to develop fly fishing skills while learning about coldwater conservation. It is the 5th year presenting the Trout in the Classroom program, now helping more than 500 local 7th graders learn science and conservation by raising Brook trout from eggs and releasing into the wild. Last year, a new program was introduced to teach women the fun and fitness benefits of fly fishing. In 2011, Pennsylvania Council named the education programs “Best in the State”.

Forbes Trail Chapter is one of TU’s most recognized. It’s won the highest national honor, the Golden Trout Award for conservation work on Loyalhanna and Mill Creek. It’s also been selected Pennsylvania’s Trout Unlimited Chapter of the Year for the success improving trout fishing in Linn Run State Park. Its award-winning newsletter and Website provide Westmoreland County with much needed public information on the status of coldwater conservation and trout angling otherwise not available.

Please support these local Trout Unlimited programs by attending the banquet and following them on their website.

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In having a nice talk with Baker, amidst the conversation, he informed me that 2400 fingerling musky were stocked recently in Loyalhanna Dam. An additional 200 were dumped into Keystone State Park Lake as well. He advised me that there is an abundance of shad in the lake which means that possibly in the future more fish will be added to cut down the population of these fish.

I once caught a shad a good many years ago and showed it to a park ranger. He had no idea what I had caught. Neither did I. Since it was a good-sized fish, I took it home and fried it up and ate it. Tasted just as good as the other fish I have hauled out of that lake. If I was to compare it to another species, I would probably say that of a large bass, for its meat tastes more bland than a smaller bass.

I plan to keep in touch with Baker so I can inform you, my readers, when the additional fish will be added. If you happen to be out fishing the lake and catch a sizeable shad, keep and eat it. You may find it just as tasty as the other fish that were kept. You also will be doing Baker a favor!


- Paul J. Volkmann
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