BIOLOGIST REPORT

Hopewell Dam

2002 Spring Trap Net Sampling


The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission completed the spring trap netting survey of Hopewell Dam, located in French Creek State Park, on April 18, 2002. The trap netting effort was part of a comprehensive lake survey, which began with largemouth bass electrofishing in the fall of 2001 (see Hopewell Dam 2001 report). Nine Pennsylvania style trap nets were fished in the late winter (March 13 – 15) to evaluate the northern pike and chain pickerel populations while eight Pennsylvania style trap nets were fished during the early spring (April 16 – 18) to evaluate the panfish populations.

Hopewell Dam - click for larger image
Anglers Pursuing Crappie During the Late Winter Season

Only four northern pike between 24 and 30 inches long were collected during the late winter trap netting survey. In Pennsylvania northern pike are native to the Lake Erie and Ohio River drainages. The introduction of northern pike into Hopewell Dam in the mid 1970’s led to a low density, self-sustaining population.

Northern Pike Collected in Late Winter Trap Net
Northern Pike Collected in Late Winter Trap Net

Chain pickerel were captured in fair numbers during the late winter survey. Fifteen chain pickerel ranging between 15 and 20 inches long were collected.

Crappie and bluegill were the primary species of interest during the early spring trap netting effort. A total of 277 crappie (black and white) were collected during the survey with fish ranging in lengths from 2 to 15.5 inches long. Nearly one-quarter of the crappie collected were 9 inches long or longer.

Large Black Crappie Collected in Early Spring Trap Net
Large Black Crappie Collected in Early Spring Trap Net

Bluegill were also present in good numbers with a total of 555 collected. Bluegill generally ranged in length from 2 to 8.75 inches long, although one 10 inch bluegill was collected. Thirty-five percent of the bluegill collected were 7 inches long or longer.

Black Crappie and Bluegill Collected from Late Winter Trap Net
Black Crappie and Bluegill Collected from Late Winter Trap Net

Hopewell Dam supported a modest yellow perch population with some quality individuals available. Overall, yellow perch were collected in fair numbers during both the late winter and early spring trap netting efforts. Seven percent of the yellow perch collected during the late winter sampling were at least ten inches long compared to 31 percent during the early spring sampling. The largest yellow perch collected was 13 inches long.

Yellow Perch Collected During Late Winter Trap Net
Yellow Perch Collected During Late Winter Trap Net

Brown and yellow bullheads were also collected in good numbers. Bullheads ranged from 8 to 16 inches long.

A good largemouth bass population combined with attractive panfish populations and the unique opportunity to catch northern pike in southeast Pennsylvania should put Hopewell Dam on any angler’s list of lakes to fish.

-- Area 6


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