Shad Proliferate Keystone
Inside the Outdoors, January 27
, 2012

Recently, I had a call from Rick Lorson, biologist for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, concerning the stocking of musky in Keystone State Park Lake, New Alexandria.

He said, “We are having trouble with the gizzard shad population and have to cut down the population. We have introduced catfish and walleye into the lake to get rid of them, but they didn’t fare well, so we had to try another fish.”

This may be of interest to readers. “Gizzard shad are preferred food of the largemouth bass and reproduce rapidly. They grow faster than bluegill and are easier for bass to swallow, so large bass benefit from shad introduction.”

I asked Lorson how these fish got into the lake. He said an unknown angler introduced the fish to the waters. It can only be assumed that this may have been a bass fisherman hoping to benefit the bass population. In any case, the PFBC would like to have the population of these fish thinned out. Since the cats and the walleye failed the mission, it is hoped that the introduction of 250 fingerling musky will do the job.

The question was raised whether or not the musky would disturb the trout stockings. He said, “The musky will not bother the trout in the lake.”

On another note, this may also be of interest to the reader. Some PFBC changes have been made for 2012. An angler may use a maximum of three lines fished either by rod or hand when fishing for gamefish, baitfish or both. No more than three hooks can be attached to a line. One fellow contacted me this week and asked if he could make a rig with five hooks. I told him that the quantity of hooks used on a rig attached to one line would be illegal in the state of Pennsylvania.

One of the new regulations that goes into effect beginning Nov. 1 is that boaters are going to be required to wear life jackets on boats less than 16 feet in length or any canoe or kayak from the beginning of that date until April 30, 2012. As a previous boat owner, the idea is good, but the hassle of wearing them has presented problems for anglers, in particular. They were uncomfortable, restricted movement and was perceived as not really the “in” thing to do.

Thank goodness to modern technology, a number of companies have come up with automatic inflating personal flotation devices that goes into action when it senses that its occupant is in the drink. It works this way. The unit contains a CO2 cartridge causing the vest to fill with gas. Immediately, 35 pounds of lift thrusts the individual to the surface. In the process of inflation, the person’s head will be projected above the water’s surface enabling him to breathe at all times.

According to www.boatsafe.com, “Of the 815 people who died in U.S. boating accidents in 1998 (the most recent statistics available), most were not wearing life jackets. To address this problem, at least within the marine enforcement community, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in 1993, adopted a resolution recommending that officers wear PFDs while on patrol boats.”

It becomes somewhat unbelievable that those whom patrol our waters had to have stipulations entered into documents for occupants manning patrol boats.

But the website revealed that even though these laws were on the books, still over 50% of these code enforcement persons working on these watercrafts did not wear their gear. My question is, “Why not?”

These new PDS units are so small and a fraction of the size the older protective wear used to be. All one need to do is see pictures of people wearing them and presto, another question would arise, “Why not wear them?” They are comfortable, do not restrict movement as their older counter-part and are definitely smart attire for anyone boating whether one is working or on a pleasure trip.

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Six area lakes will receive trout in February. Keystone State Park Lake and Northmoreland Lake will be stocked Feb. 1, Donegal and Mammoth Lakes, Feb. 13, and both of Twin Lakes, Feb. 14. This is part of the Early Season Trout-Stocked Waters Program.

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One final note, I don’t normally do this, but I want to extend my condolences to the family and friends of E. Kay Myers on his passing. He was very fond of the outdoors and will definitely be sadly missed by all who knew him. Thank you, my friend, for all the help you gave me.


- Paul J. Volkmann
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