Biologist reports logo


Joseph Foster Sayers Lake


Joseph Foster Sayers Lake is a 1,730 acre Army Corps of Engineers (COE) impoundment located in Bald Eagle State Park about 15 miles northeast of State College in Centre County. As a COE impoundment the primary function of the reservoir is flood control. Sayers Lake experiences a draw down each fall and winter to provide additional storage capacity for possible spring high water events.

The lake is a popular fishing destination for panfish and bass anglers. Sayers Lake is currently managed with Panfish Enhancement Special Regulations on black crappie and sunfish (bluegill and pumpkinseed), all other species are managed with conventional statewide regulations.

Sayers Lake is perennially in the top five of Pennsylvania waters hosting permitted bass tournaments. Presently, the PFBC is conducting a creel survey at the lake (April through October) and also conducting a bass tournament post-release survival study.

Fisheries Management Division personnel from across the state sampled the largemouth and smallmouth bass populations in late May of this year and panfish populations were monitored with Pennsylvania style trapnets set at 20 locations during the week of June 17th. The sampling was performed by night electrofishing the entire shoreline of the reservoir (~ 40 km or 24.9 miles in length). All bass captured were given an identifying clip on the upper lobe of the tail to facilitate calculating angler exploitation from our concurrent creel survey.

Night Electrofishing Sayers Lake
Night Electrofishing Sayers Lake

Table 1. Length frequency distribution of largemouth and smallmouth bass captured by night electrofishing Sayers Lake during the week of May 27, 2002.

Inches   Largemouth Bass   Smallmouth Bass

6   38   8
7   31   14
8   17   33
9   2   31
10   17   23
11   33   24
12   42   12
13   165   9
14   100   7
15   48   3
16   26   3
17   21    
18   22   1
19   9    
20   1    
21   1    

Total   573   168

Sayers Lake Bass
Sayers Lake Bass

Of the 20 trapnet sets, three had to be excluded from the analysis. Two nets had been tampered with and fish allowed to escape and one net was set too deep to be effective and captured no fish. The size distribution of panfish captured is presented below in Table 2.

While boating around the lake to set and pull trapnets, large numbers of dead fish were observed and upon inspection most had died from hooking injuries (or secondary infections that originated in a hooking wound). Excessive hooking mortality may reduce or delay the benefits of a minimum length limit by substantially reducing the number of fish that eventually reach the legal length.

Table 2. Length frequency distribution, catch per hour (CPH) and catch per hour ≥ desirable size of panfish captured by 17 trapnets fished for 402.75 hours in Sayers Lake during the week of June 17, 2002.

Inches   Black Crappie   Bluegill   Pumpkinseed   Yellow Perch   Brown Bullhead   Channel Catfish

2       5   3            
3   32   19   37       1    
4   253   11   14   36        
5   78   9   22   25        
6   5   15   43   31        
7   33   42   16   60        
8   437   20       34        
9   110   2       20   1   2
10   1           5   7   20
11                   30   15
12                   37   4
13                   15   3
14                   1   1
15                       2
16                       3
17                       1
18                       1
19                       1

Totals   949   123   135   211   91   53

Catch per Hour (CPH)   2.36   0.31   0.34   0.52   0.23   0.13

Desirable Size (in.)   9*   7*   7*   8   10   12

CPH Des   0.28   0.16   0.04   0.15   0.22   0.04

* - Desirable size set to equal minimum harvest length.

Staff battled severe thunderstorms, cold fronts and turbid water to perform this survey. Sampling was originally planned for the middle of May but thunderstorms and heavy rainfall raised the lake level 6 feet and increased turbidity (pictures below are the Howard Launch and the Lower Greens Run Launch under 6 feet of water). These fluctuating water levels and unsettled weather likely reduced the catch of black bass.

Sayers Lake
Sayers Lake - Howard Launch

Sayers Lake
Sayers Lake - Lower Greens Run Launch

-- Area 3


Biologist Reports -- PFBC Home


Copyright Notice

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Web Privacy and Security Policies