PBFC Announce Drawdowns
Inside the Outdoors, September 10, 2010

I just received word from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission that the organization will start drawing down three lakes in the southwestern region of Pennsylvania, so announced Rick Lorson, area fisheries manager.

As the release stated, personnel from the PFBC Division of Fisheries Management and the Bureau of Property and Engineering Services have begun drawing down three lakes in the southwestern portion of the Commonwealth.

The three lakes are High Point Lake, located in Elk Lick Township in southern Somerset County, Lake Somerset, located in Somerset Township in central Somerset County; and Virgin Run Dam, located in Perry and Franklin Townships in north central Fayette County.

The procedures begun Tuesday, Sept. 7, and will continue until about March 1, 2011.

“The purpose of the drawdowns is for fish population management and aquatic plant management,” said Lorson. “Aquatic plants provide very good habitat for both young and adult fish. However too much vegetation, defined coarsely by the PFBC as surface area coverage exceeding 30 per cent of a lake impact fish and have potential to disrupt the balance of fish populations in a lake.”

Fishing in all three lakes is still in the cards. Just because the lakes are in a drawdown process, there is no reason one can’t try his luck to nail one of the lunkers that swims below the surfaces.

I am told that waters will be muddy if one is fishing from the shore. Those conditions always spell out one thing to me. Use dark bait, such as black rubber worms or something the fish may possible see.

I was amazed when I went fishing recently with a friend, and he used a white Mr. Twister in muddy water and it produced. I would have never thought of that.

Another thing that comes to mind is fishing with nightcrawlers. You may want to use the flick of the wrist motion every once in a while to attract suspended fish lurking in those so-called unnatural conditions.

I think both the fish and the fisherman both have to adapt here. The fish may find it a bit more challenging to find its food in the murky waters particularly since it is used to clear conditions. Anglers are going to have to adjust to conditions as well and figure out what works the best. Remember that fish are attracted by smell, so that may be a clue to helping the die-hard get his limit if at all possible.

Remember that fish have to eat just like us, so they will want to feed. So, it is up to the angler to entice them to want to go for that bait, whether artificial or live.

I have never fished High Point, but I have heard there are a ton of pike in those waters. It may be a ways to drive, but some pike fisherman may be enticed.

As for Lake Somerset, I have fished is maybe a dozen times. I like that lake. It has produced a cross section of fish including some nice crappies. I’ll never forget I lost something big that took my bait and broke my line faster than I can say “three bottles in a bucket of ice.” The lake has a nice layout and there are endless possibilities to catch fish.

I know nothing about Virgin Run Dam, I’m sorry to say.

Boating will be limited to light craft and carry-in boats. Trailer boat access will be very limited during the drawdown period.

“Drawdowns have been previously used at all three lakes and have been effective at reducing aquatic plant surface coverage at each lake. Average reductions in aquatic plant surface coverage were 94 percent 71 percent and 25 percent at High Point Lake, Lake Somerset and Virgin Run Dam, respectively. “The PFBC will examine the aquatic plant levels in the lakes in August 2011 to determine if the drawdowns were successful at reducing the aquatic plants in the lakes,” the PFBC stated.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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