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Cross Creek Lake - Washington County
May 5 - May 9, 2003
Sampling Gear: 20 trap net sets


Cross Creek Lake is a productive 244-acre impoundment located in western Washington County near Avella, PA. It is in the Washington County Parks system and receives heavy angler use. Conservation Lake regulations were used to manage Cross Creek Lake since it was opened for fishing in 1985 through 1998. Starting in 2000 Big Bass Regulations and Panfish Enhancement Regulations for sunfish and crappie were applied at the impoundment. We surveyed Cross Creek Lake as part of a statewide study of the Panfish Enhancement Regulations that have been implemented on a number of waters across the state. The PFBC stocks saugeye (a walleye/sauger hybrid) and channel catfish fingerlings annually, and redear sunfish fingerlings on even years at Cross Creek Lake.

Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle - click for larger image
Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle

Twenty saugeyes were collected during the 2003 trap net survey with 85% greater than 15 inches (legal size). The longest saugeye collected was 25.4 inches long. The heaviest saugeye collected weighed 5.3 pounds. We believe more saugeyes would be collected if sampling occurred in March rather than May as in March saugeyes would still be hanging out in shallower waters and would be more vulnerable to our gear. Walleye were stocked in the lake from 1983 to 1996. Five fish sampling surveys from 1986 to 1994 at Cross Creek Lake failed to document what we considered an adequate number of walleye to produce good fishing. We conducted research at Cross Creek Lake to determine if saugeyes would work better than walleyes at the lake. Saugeyes tend to have higher survival and faster growth in some situations where the water is more turbid like at Cross Creek Lake. We stocked similar numbers of walleye in 1988, 1990, and 1992 and saugeye in 1989, 1991, and 1993. Fish sampling in 1994 yielded twice as many saugeyes and bigger saugeyes than walleyes on average. Therefore, walleye stocking was discontinued and the lake was stocked with saugeye fingerling on an annual basis.

Saugeye
Saugeye

Bluegills were the most abundant fish species collected in Cross Creek Lake in 2003 with 977 collected. The majority (51%) of the bluegills were 7 inches or greater, which are legal length bluegills under the Panfish Enhancement Regulations. The total number of bluegills and the number of bluegills that were 7 inches or greater was higher in 2003 than in any other of the seven survey years at Cross Creek Lake. Redear sunfish were collected in low numbers.

Redear Sunfish
Redear Sunfish

Black crappies were also abundant at Cross Creek Lake with 928 fish collected in the trap nets in 2003. Twelve percent of the black crappies were 9 inches or greater, which are legal crappies under the Panfish Enhancement Regulations. The total number of crappies collected from trap nets at Cross Creek Lake was highest in 2003. The number of crappies that were 9 inches or greater was highest in the 1985 survey, followed by the 2003 survey. Interestingly, the 1985 survey was conducted prior to the lake opening to angling.

Cross Creek Lake provides angling opportunities for bass, saugeye, crappie, bluegill, and other panfish. We were unable to assess the bass population during the 2003 trap net survey. Night electrofishing is the primary gear we use to assess bass populations in lakes. Previous night electrofishing surveys at Cross Creek Lake indicated that Cross Creek Lake had one of the highest densities of largemouth bass in the state.

Fish Species Number
Collected
Size Range
(Inches)
Additional Comments
Saugeye 20 10 - 25 85% greater than 15 in.
Bluegill 977 2 - 9 51% greater than 7 in.
Black crappie 928 2 - 12 12% greater than 9 in.
Redear sunfish 23 4 - 9  
Sunfish hybrid 10 5 - 9  
Green sunfish 3 4 - 7  
Yellow perch 1 8  
Largemouth bass 2 4 - 9  
Brown bullhead 16 10 - 16  
Channel catfish 2 16 - 26  
Common carp 32 Not measured  
White sucker 23 Not measured  
Golden shiner 44 Not measured  

-- Area 8


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