Hopewell Dam (68 acres), located in French Creek State Park near Birdsboro in Berks County, was included with the original group of lakes managed with Big Bass regulations beginning in 1991. Big Bass regulations increased the minimum length limit from 12 inches to 15 inches and reduced the daily creel limit from 6 to 4. The Big Bass program was designed to improve the overall bass catch rate and to increase the abundance of large bass, particularly those over 15 inches. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission surveyed the largemouth population of Hopewell Dam twice prior to the implementation of Big Bass regulations and twice following the implementation of Big Bass Regulations. The most recent survey occurred in November 2001.
21 inch, 6.75 lb. Largemouth Bass
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 47.9/hr, the catch of bass > 12 inches is 11.4/hr, and the catch of bass > 15 inches is 3.4/hr. In two electrofishing surveys conducted at Hopewell Dam in the 1980's prior to the implementation of Big Bass regulations the average total catch rate, the catch rate of bass > 12 inches, and the catch rate of bass > 15 inches were 50.4 fish/hr, 6.8 fish/hr, and 0.8 fish/hr, respectively.
In two electrofishing surveys conducted following the implementation of Big Bass regulations the average total catch of bass, the catch of bass > 12 inches, and the catch of bass > 15 inches were 50.4 fish/hr, 15.1 fish/hr, and 5.8 fish/hr, respectively. The Big Bass regulations have successfully increased the density of bass > 12 inches and > 15 inches in Hopewell Dam.
|Table 1. Average catch per hour of largemouth bass captured during night electrofishing at Hopewell Dam.|
|Pre Big Bass||Post Big Bass|
|1984||1989||1996||2001||SE PA AVG|
|>= 12 in.||3.8||9.7||15.8||14.4||11.4|
|>= 15 in.||1.6||0.0||5.5||6.0||3.4|
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