|Area 4 biologists sampled Harveys Lake, Luzerne County, with gill nets in the fall of 2009. The purpose of our survey was to monitor the lake’s brown trout population, which is managed under special angling regulations (http://www.fish.state.pa.us/fishpub/summaryad/miscwaters.html). These regulations include a three fish daily creel limit on trout, but only one of those trout may exceed 18 inches. The number of large trout in Harveys Lake has approximately doubled since the regulations went into effect in 1998 (Figure 1). Additionally, our catch rate of all sizes of trout in 2009 was the highest it’s ever been (Figure 2). The brown trout we caught this year ranged from 11 to 27 inches long (Figure 3). The heaviest individual trout we sampled was a female that weighed 7.6 pounds.
Most of the large trout we sampled were close to shore. That might seem unusual because Harvey’s Lake is over 100 feet deep, but the large trout come into shallow water every fall. Many anglers were taking advantage of this phenomenon during our work and were catching trout with a variety of techniques. Most anglers were fishing from boats because the Harveys Lake shoreline is almost completely private. However, shore anglers were having good luck at the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s access area at Laketon. Large trout were plentiful at the access area. Additionally, thanks to the good flows we’ve had all year, there were a lot of trout ascending the small stream at the edge of the public parking lot.
In addition to trout, we also captured smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, chain pickerel, and walleye. The largest of these species were a 20 inch smallmouth, a 20 inch largemouth, a 26 inch chain pickerel, and a 24 inch walleye. Smallmouth, largemouth, and chain pickerel catch rates were all very good, but the walleye catch rate was lower than usual.
Figure 1. Catch per unit effort of brown trout > 18 inches sampled during the fall at Harveys Lake.
Figure 2. Catch per unit effort of brown trout of all sizes sampled during the fall at Harveys Lake.
Figure 3. Length-frequency distribution of brown trout captured at Harveys Lake in 2009.
|-- Rob Wnuk, Area 4 Fishereis Manager|
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