Biologist reports logo Conemaugh River Lake

Westmoreland and Indiana Counties
May 18 - 19, 2004

Sampling Gear
Main Lake: 2 night electrofishing runs, 3 trap net sets, and 5 gill net sets
Bays: 2 night electrofishing runs, 1 trap net set, and 1 gill net set


Conemaugh River Lake is an 800-acre impoundment that is located about 7 miles east of Saltsburg, Pennsylvania on the boundary between Westmoreland and Indiana Counties. The dam is owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) and was constructed for flood control purposes on the Conemaugh River.

Boating is permitted on the lake with electric or manually operated boats only. However, Conemaugh River Lake has no launch ramps, so boating is limited to mostly canoes and car-top boats.

Conemaugh River Lake has historically been polluted by acid mine drainage, sewage, and industrial waste. However, in recent years this pollution load has been reduced and anglers are catching more fish from the lake. This has occurred due to the water quality improvements in the watershed over the past twenty years.

The fish populations in the lake are managed under statewide regulations. It has not been stocked with any fish species except for sauger fingerlings in 1998 and 1999. Saugers were stocked in the lake with the intent of establishing in the lake and moving upriver to become established in suitable habitat in the Conemaugh River.

Our survey was a joint effort with ACOE. The survey of Conemaugh River Lake was divided into two areas: the main lake and the bays. The bays consisted of Spruce Run Bay and Aultmans Run Bay. This division was made based on water quality differences between the two areas. Both Aultmans Run and Spruce Run have better water quality than the main lake which is still severely impacted by acid mine drainage. Aultmans Run Bay is accessible from Clarksburg Road (State Route 3007) off of State Route 286 on the north side of the lake, is open to shore anglers, and has a car-top launch site. Spruce Run Bay is located on the south side and can be accessed from Livermore Road (Township Road 982).

Main Lake

Generally, there were lower numbers of fish in the main lake as compared to that found in the bays. Eleven largemouth bass were captured in the main lake in 2004 with two being larger than 12 inches and one larger than 15 inches. In 1993, only two largemouth bass were found around 2 inches, and in 1996, 10 were found with three over 12 inches and 1 over 15 inches. In 2004, 17 yellow perch were collected with five being greater than 9 inches compared to 6 perch in 1993 and 13 in 1996 with three being larger than 9 inches. Eighty-five bluegills were captured in 2004 with nine being greater than 7 inches. In 1993, 112 bluegills were found with seven larger than 7 inches. In 1996, 77 bluegills were collected with two being over 7 inches.

Aultmans Run and Spruce Run Bays

As expected, the bays produced more fish than in the main lake. Thirty-six largemouth bass were captured in 2004 with 20 of them larger than 12 inches, and five larger than 15 inches. In 1993, 34 largemouth bass were found with twelve larger than 12 inches and five larger than 15 inches. In 1996, a total of 33 bass were captured with 15 larger than 12 inches and 5 greater than 15 inches. In 2004 62 yellow perch were collected with nine greater than 9 inches. In 1993, only four were seen, and in 1996 only eleven were found with two being larger than 9 inches. Fifty-one bluegills were captured this year with seven greater than 7 inches. In 1993, 70 bluegills were found with only six greater than 7 inches. In 1996, 64 bluegills were found with three larger than 7 inches.

Summary

Overall, the numbers and quality of fish in both the main lake and the bays have increased since 1993 and have maintained or improved population levels since 1996. Fish populations in Conemaugh River Lake should continue to get better with water quality improvements in the watershed. The best fishing today would be available in the bays, Aultmans Run in particular because of the easy access. Conemaugh River Lake provides anglers with fishing opportunities for largemouth bass, northern pike, bluegill, brown bullhead, and yellow perch. (Note: Pictures from this survey were not available due to heavy rain, rain, or the threat of rain throughout the survey.)

Main Lake
Sampling Gear: 2 night electrofishing runs, 3 trap net sets, and 5 gill net sets
Fish Species Number Collected Size Range
(inches)
Additional Comments
Largemouth Bass 11 3 - 18 18% greater than 12 inches
9% greater than 15 inches
Yellow Perch 17 4 - 11 29% greater than 9 inches
Bluegill 85 1 - 8 11% greater than 7 inches
Green Sunfish 8 3 - 6  
Black Crappie 3 5 - 10  
Pumpkinseed 3 6 - 7  
Channel Catfish 1 16  
Brown Bullhead 10 9 - 15  
Yellow Bullhead 4 10 - 12  
White Sucker 2 16 - 17  
Bluntnose Minnow 1 3  

 

Aultmans Run Bay and Spruce Run Bay
Sampling Gear: 2 night electrofishing runs, 1 trap net set, and 1 gill net set
Fish Species Number Collected Size Range
(inches)
Additional Comments
Largemouth Bass 36 3 - 18 56% greater than 12 inches
14% greater than 15 inches
Yellow Perch 62 3 - 13 15% greater than 9 inches
Bluegill 51 3 - 8 14% greater than 7 inches
Northern Pike 4 20 - 24  
Pumpkinseed 13 2 - 7  
Brown Bullhead 1 14  
White Sucker 10 5 - 18  
Carp 3 26 - 31  
Golden Shiner 5 4 - 10  
Bluntnose Minnow 2 Not Measured  
Banded Killifish 2 Not Measured  
Logperch 1 Not Measured  

 

 
-- Jeremy Marron, Fisheries Biologist Aide, and Area 8

Biologist Reports -- PFBC Home


Copyright Notice
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Web Privacy and Security Policies