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Raccoon Lake
Main Lake
Beaver County

Raccoon Lake (Main Lake) is a 101 acre lake contained within Raccoon Creek State Park. The park is located in southern Beaver County and can be accessed via U.S. Route 22 and U.S. Route 30. The lake has a number of distinct habitat zones including those characterized by: near shore vegetation, near shore submerged stumps, and steep ledges. The park provides a scenic woodland view that many anglers can enjoy while relaxing and fishing. The lake has moderate turbidity and moderate productivity (alkalinity 49 parts per million in 2008). Raccoon Lake is managed with statewide regulations. In recent years the Fish and Boat Commission has stocked walleye, saugeye, tiger musky and channel catfish to increase angling opportunities. The Fish and Boat Commission also stocks rainbow trout annually during the spring, fall, and late winter.

The purpose of our 2008 surveys was to measure the size and quality of the lake’s resident gamefish and panfish populations relative to previous management targets. The majority of the fish we collected during trap net surveys were white crappie and bluegill. During the spring sampling period water temperature of the lake dropped several degrees and may have played a role in fish activity and influenced net catch. Table 1 below summarizes catch data from our 2008 trap net and gill net surveys.

Table 1. 2008 Survey Gear: 9 Trap Net Sets
Species Length Range Total Notes
Walleye 7-26 inches 19 62% of fish caught over 15 inches
Saugeye 18-20 inches 2  
Largemouth Bass 20 inches apx. 1  
Rainbow Trout not measured 4 all stocked fish
Tiger Musky 31 inches apx. 1  
Bluegill 3-10 inches 341  
Pumpkinseed 3-5 inches 7  
White Crappie 4-14 inches 312  
Black Crappie 7-13inches 70  
Brown Bullhead 4-14 inches 43 95% over 9 inches
White Sucker not measured 9 All quality size fish
Gizzard Shad not measured 288  
Common Carp not measured 10 All quality size fish

Total walleye collected have increased since the last sampling period in 1995. The number of quality fish (those over 15 inches are characterized as quality/legal size) doubled to 0.11 fish per hour and the number of fish over 15 inches collected per hour was 0.07.

Figure 1

Fisheries Biologist Robert Ventorini with a large walleye caught during 2008 trap netting survey
Fisheries Biologist Robert Ventorini with a large walleye caught during 2008 trap netting survey

Sunfish were a very abundant fish based upon our net catch. The sunfish population has increased since the last survey. Quality sunfish (those greater than 7 inches) were caught at a rate of 0.15 fish per hour.

Figure 2

Crappies were also an abundant species in net catch, however quality size specimens (over 9 inches) decreased since the last survey in 1995. The number of quality fish collected per hour was 0.21.

Figure 3

Fisheries Biologist Aide Joe Cocco holding a white crappie (left) and a black crappie (right), both are nice sized fish
Fisheries Biologist Aide Joe Cocco holding a white crappie (left) and a black crappie (right), both are nice sized fish

During the nighttime electrofishing survey we found that the number and size structure of largemouth bass changed since 1995. Both the 1995 and 2008 surveys yielded similar numbers of fish, but in 2008 we caught far more bass less than 12 inches. Table 2 below summarizes the catch data from our 2008 electrofishing survey.

Table 2. 2008 Survey Gear: 6 Nighttime Boat Electrofishing Runs
Species Length Range Total Notes
Walleye 7-17 inches 8  
Saugeye 20 inches apx. 1  
Largemouth Bass 3-21 inches 99 17% of fish > 12 inches

The abundance of quality largemouth bass from 1995 to 2008 declined; however, all Big Bass Program guidelines were exceeded at Raccoon Lake in 2008. Largemouth bass over 12 inches were caught at a rate of 16 per hour (state guideline=7 per hour) and bass over 15 inches at 11 per hour (state guideline=2 per hour).

Figure 4

Area 8 Fisheries Manager Rick Lorson and Fisheries Biologist Robert Ventorini holding largemouth bass caught during nighttime electrofishing
Area 8 Fisheries Manager Rick Lorson and Fisheries Biologist Robert Ventorini holding largemouth bass caught during nighttime electrofishing

We learned that Raccoon Lake continues to be a worthwhile lake to target largemouth bass, crappie, sunfish, and walleye. Spring, fall, and winter catchable trout stocking make for year round fishing excitement.

 
-- Joe Cocco, Fisheries Biologist Aide, and Rick Lorson, Area 8 Fisheries Manager

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