|Pymatuning Reservoir (view location
on Google Maps) is
located in western Crawford County and has a surface area of approximately 14,000 acres. Located within Pymatuning
State Park, Pennsylvania’s largest park, this lake shares a border with Ohio and is utilized by over 3 million visitors
each year. In addition to the boating and fishing, the Pymatuning area offers excellent bird watching and camping.
When fishing from a boat an Ohio or Pennsylvania fishing license is acceptable, however, when fishing from shore
an angler must possess the respective state license. Please refer to page 10 of the 2008
Summary Handbook for further
details regarding the regulations on this unique lake.
Area One Fisheries Management personnel performed an annual spring trapnet survey of Pymatuning Reservoir immediately following ice-out, from March 31 to April 11. The nets were set to sample sportfish relative density and species composition in the lake with a focus on the walleye population. Trapnets were set and checked daily, encompassing 17 sites, 42 sets and 960 hours of effort. In the two weeks of trapnet effort a total of 5,939 fish were sampled representing 21 different species (Tables 1 and 2).
Table 1. Trapnet catch totals and size ranges for selected species for Pymatuning Lake, spring 2008.
Table 2. Trapnet catch totals for selected species for Pymatuning Lake, spring 2008.
A total of 798 walleye were sampled in trapnets this spring. Males comprised 71% of the catch with sizes ranging from 14 to 24.5 inches with the majority of fish falling between 19 and 21 inches. Females made up 26% of the catch with sizes ranging from 17 to 28 inches with the majority falling within the 23 to 25 inch size range. Walleye 15 inches and larger made up 99% of the total catch, 88% were 18 inches and larger, and 49% were 20 inches and larger. Although the total catch was down from 2007, the abundance of large walleye, 20 inches and above has increased (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Size distribution of walleye captured from Pymatuning Lake in 2007 and 2008.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has stocked walleye fry into Pymatuning Reservoir annually for over 20 years. For the last two years the Ohio Division of Wildlife has aided the PFBC’s stocking efforts. Between the two agencies in 2007 over 16,000,000 fry (2-3 days old) and 78,699 advanced fry (21 days old) were stocked into the lake. The young-of-year walleye population is assessed each fall by means of boat electrofishing. Historically, fry stocking has proven to be more than adequate to effectively support the walleye fishery of Pymatuning. Angler reports along with biological surveys have shown a decrease in the success of walleye recruitment in the last several years. To address this deficiency, for the first time the PFBC along with the Ohio Division of Wildlife supplemented the annual fry stockings with fingerling walleye (Spring 2008). Pymatuning received over 550,000 fingerling walleye to complement the stocking of 4 million fry from the PFBC. Area biologists are hopeful that recruitment success will increase due to the additional stocking of the fingerling walleye. The difference in size and development is illustrated in the following pictures.
This year’s trapnet season set a record for the highest number of muskellunge ever caught on Pymatuning in the least amount of nets. A total 117 musky were netted in 42 sets. Muskellunge sampled ranged in size from 26.6 to 47.5 inches. The graph below illustrates the size distribution of the musky caught this year in comparison to 2007 (Figure 2). The PFBC annually stocks approximately 5,000 muskellunge fingerlings into Pymatuning.
Figure 2. Comparison of 2007 to 2008 muskellunge spring trapnet catch.
In addition to an impressive number of muskellunge, abundant panfish of nice size were sampled as well (Tables 1 and 2, Figure 3).
Figure 3. Size distribution and abundance of black and white crappie captured in Pymatuning Lake, spring 2008.
Anglers have reported numerous walleye, musky and crappie catches of good size thus far this season, with a few trophy musky and walleye already documented. Area One is confident that 2008 will provide anglers with an exciting season.
|-- Devin DeMario, Area 1Fisheries Biologist Aide|
|Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Web Privacy and Security Policies|