Biologist reports logo Yellow Creek Lake

Indiana County
April 26-30, 2004
Sampling Gear: 20 trap net sets

Yellow Creek Lake is a 720-acre impoundment in Indiana County that is operated by the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) as part of Yellow Creek State Park. Big Bass Regulations were implemented at the lake in 1991. All the other fish species at Yellow Creek Lake are managed under statewide regulations. We surveyed Yellow 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. Yellow Creek Lake will be used as a control lake for the statewide Panfish Enhancement study. The PFBC stocks walleye fingerlings annually, muskellunge fingerlings on even years, and tiger muskellunge fingerlings on odd years. Yellow Creek Lake is a moderately productive impoundment that had a pH of 6.9 and alkalinity of 16 mg/l during our survey.

A total of 48 walleyes were collected in 2004 for a catch rate of 0.1 fish per hour of trap netting. Thirty-five walleyes (0.1 fish/hr) were collected during the 2002 trap net survey, 7 walleyes (0.02 fish/hr) during the 1996 trap net survey, and 14 walleyes (0.04 fish/hr) during the 1989 trap net survey. The walleye catch rate in 2004 was equal to the 2002 catch rate and greater than the 1989 and 1996 catch rates. All of the 48 walleyes in 2004 were 15 inches or greater. The two largest walleyes captured in 2004 were 27 inches, 8.6 pounds and 29 inches, 8.4 pounds.

Fisheries Technician Gary Smith with 26.5 inch, 8.6 lb. walleye
Fisheries Technician Gary Smith with 26.5 inch, 8.6 lb. walleye

The northern pike trap net catch of 73 fish in 2004 was lower than the trap net catch in 2002 (100 pike). Eight of the 73 pike in 2004 were legal fish (24 inches or greater). Although muskies and tiger muskies are stocked by the PFBC in Yellow Creek Lake, only one of each was collected during our survey. Previous surveys at the lake have also yielded low catch rates of these fish. We will consider eliminating the stocking of musky and tiger musky after our next survey.

Fisheries Biologist Aide Dave Nihart with 2 black crappie
Fisheries Biologist Aide Dave Nihart with 2 black crappie

Bluegills were the most abundant panfish species collected in Yellow Creek Lake, although the majority of the bluegills were between 2 and 5 inches long. The black crappie catch of 125 fish in 2004 was higher than 30 fish in 2002. Most of the crappies were quality-sized fish and should provide good crappie fishing this year. Bullheads were available in good numbers and sizes. Yellow Creek Lake would be a good lake for anglers to target nice bullheads. We did not measure carp except for one behemoth. The large carp was 37 inches and 21 pounds.

Fisheries Biologist Aide Dave Nihart with 37 inch, 21 lb. carp
Fisheries Biologist Aide Dave Nihart with 37 inch, 21 lb. carp

Fisheries Technician Gary Smith with 2 brown bullheads
Fisheries Technician Gary Smith with 2 brown bullheads

Yellow Creek Lake provides angling opportunities for bass, walleye, northern pike, and panfish. We will return to Yellow Creek Lake in 2006 to conduct trap netting and night electrofishing.

Table showing number and sizes of fish collected

 
-- Gary Smith, Area 8 Fisheries Technician

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