To evaluate Loyalhanna Lake, Westmoreland County, Commission biologists set 12 Pennsylvania trap nets in April 1999 and electrofished at 6 different locations along the shoreline in May 1998 to evaluate fish populations in the lake. The following is a summary of results.
Crappie: Crappies were the most abundant gamefish captured in the trap nets with 967 white crappie and 630 black crappie collected. They ranged in size from 2 to 16 inches with 96% between 4 - 8 inches. The crappies in Loyalhanna Lake are abundant but few were quality-size fish. The strong year class (5 - 7 inches) should provide some good crappie fishing in several years.
Bluegill: Bluegills were available in good numbers (429) with fish ranging in size from 2 - 10 inches. Only 27% of the bluegills were 6 inches or greater. Loyalhanna Lake would not be a good lake to fish for quality-size bluegills, but they will provide some recreational fishing.
Muskellunge and Tiger Muskellunge: Six muskies from 26 - 40 inches and 14 tiger muskies from 13 - 41 inches were captured in the trap nets. Four of the 6 muskies and 9 of the 14 tiger muskies were greater than 30 inches (legal length). The musky and tiger musky populations, which are stocked every other year, appear to be doing well. We will consider stocking tiger musky on an annual basis. Loyalhanna Lake provides anglers with a good opportunity to catch a trophy-size musky or tiger musky.
Saugeye: Five saugeyes from 7 to 9 inches were collected in the trap nets. The lack of saugeyes was disappointing and it is possible that saugeye stocking will be discontinued. The introduction of sauger as a replacement will be considered.
Brown Bullheads and Channel Catfish: The 147 brown bullheads ranged from 7 - 18 inches with 73% greater than 12 inches. Thirty-three channel catfish that ranged in size from 8 to 18 inches were collected in the trap nets. Loyalhanna Lake would be a good place to target catfish.
Largemouth Bass: Largemouth bass were the main focus of our electrofishing efforts at Loyalhanna Lake in May 1998. We captured a total of 120 largemouth bass that ranged from 3-23 inches. Nearly half (44%) of the total number were 12 inches (legal size) or larger. The population seems well balanced with a good number of quality-size fish. The majority of the bass sampled were captured in the areas between the boat launch and the dam.
Other Species collected: Yellow perch, pumpkinseed, hatchery brown trout, common carp, grass carp, yellow bullhead, gizzard shad, golden shiner, and white sucker.
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