BIOLOGIST REPORT

Chambers Lake: A Hidden Gem


The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission recently completed their annual fall fish population survey of Chambers Lake, a 90 acre impoundment in Hybernia County Park, Chester County. Chambers Lake is a new lake constructed in 1994 and first opened to fishing in 1999. Although the lake was built as a secondary water supply reservoir structures and habitat important to waterfowl and fish populations were incorporated into the lake's design from the beginning. A dike was constructed to maintain a 18.2 acre artificial wetland and shallow area even during drawdowns. When the lake isn't drawn down the dike creates a fish attracting shoal. Most timber was cut off 3 feet from the base and allowed to sprout before the lake was impounded, creating an underwater maze of stumps and branches and, finally, boulder piles were placed along sections of the lake's shoreline to provide habitat for smallmouth bass. Based upon the most recent Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Survey (completed October 2001) the warmwater fish populations that have been developing since the lake was first filled and stocked in 1995 are beginning to provide excellent angling opportunities. In particular, the bass fishery (largemouth and smallmouth) was documented as one of the best in southeast Pennsylvania with two 19 inch and one 20 inch, 5.75 pound largemouth bass collected during the survey. The largest smallmouth bass captured was 16 inches long. 

Chambers Lake from boat launch   Dike creating artificial wetland/waterfowl area

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission biologists typically compare bass populations between impoundments based upon the total catch of bass, the catch of bass > 12 inches, and the catch of bass > 15 inches per hour of electrofishing. In southeast Pennsylvania the average total catch of bass is 49/hr, the catch of bass > 12 inches is 12/hr, and the catch of bass > 15 inches is 3.5/hr. The electrofishing results at Chambers Lake following the 2001 sampling are as follows: total catch of bass = 119/hr, catch of bass > 12 inches = 46 bass/hr, and the catch of bass > 15 inches = 19/hr. Chambers Lake also supports good populations of chain pickerel and catfish. 

Chain pickerel and channel catfish up to 25 inches long were collected during the 2001 survey. Additionally, a substantial population of brown bullheads up to 15 inches and a healthy white sucker population exist in the lake. 

25" chain pickerel   25" channel catfish

Panfish including black crappie, bluegill, and yellow perch are available at Chambers Lake and although the abundance of larger individuals is somewhat limited the population trends clearly indicate that the size distributions of the bluegill and yellow perch populations are improving. Aquatic insect populations associated with vascular aquatic plant beds, which have been present for two years, and spotfin shiner stockings directed specifically toward improving panfish growth have been beneficial.

It is anticipated that tiger musky stockings, which first took place in 2000, will soon provide an additional opportunity to catch a large trophy fish.

Trout anglers can also pursue their favorite game fish at Chambers Lake. In October 2001 Chambers Lake was stocked with 1,100 adult rainbow trout to provide additional fall angling opportunities.

-- Area 6

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