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Lower Woods Pond
Wayne County
 
June 9, 2009 Night electrofishing survey to assess largemouth bass and walleye populations

Lower Woods Pond is a 91-acre Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Lake located in Lebanon Township, Wayne County. Big Bass Regulations were implemented in 2000 when the lake was included as special regulation water in the commission’s statewide Big Bass Program. The water is stocked annually with walleye fingerlings and supports a diverse sportfish community consisting of bluegill, black crappie, brown bullhead, yellow perch, and chain pickerel; which are all managed under Commonwealth Inland Waters regulations. Periodic night electrofishing surveys targeting bass have been conducted to assess population abundance and size structure under special bass regulation management. In addition, walleye are captured while sampling for bass in an effort to gauge stocked fish survival.

On June 9, 2009 Fisheries Management Area 5 personnel caught 77 largemouth bass and 10 walleye in 2.48 hour of boat electrofishing (Tables 1 and 2).  The lake’s entire perimeter of 2.4 miles was electrofished. Largemouth bass sizes ranged from 2 to 20 inches in length and 48 percent of the catch was greater than or equal to 12 inches (Table 1). Legal length bass (greater than or equal to 15 inches) accounted for 12 percent of the catch. Catch rates for bass over 12 inches (14.92 fish/hour) and 15 inches (2.02 fish/hour) exceeded the established catch guidelines for big bass lakes of 7 and 2 fish per electrofishing hour for the two respective sizes. However, the total catch rate of 31.05 fish per hour was the lowest overall catch rate to date and suggests that the density of bass has declined. Reduced spawning success and/or recruitment of recent bass year classes are two probable factors influencing the population's size.  

Lower Woods Pond provides anglers with a diverse warm/cool water fishing experience. Bass anglers continue to angle over a good bass population supported by bass greater than or equal to 300 mm (12 inches) in total length (Figures 1 and 2). Although the abundance of bass declined in 2009 as compared to catch rates in prior years, such variations in natural populations are expected and are not anticipated to dramatically affect the fishery. The walleye fishery is supported through annual PFBC stockings. In 2009, the walleye sizes ranged from 13 to 16 inches in length and legal length fish (greater than or equal to 15 inches) accounted for 30 percent of the catch (Table 2). The dominance of walleye from 13 to 16 inches long suggests that the 2006 stocking was successful because fingerlings on average have grown to legal size (15 inches) by Age 3 in Lower Woods Pond. Other worthwhile sportfish included the catch of 4 black crappie from 10 to 15 inches in length and numerous brown bullheads in the 10 to 12 inch size range. 

Table 1. Length frequency distributions and catch statistics for largemouth bass captured during night electrofishing surveys at Lower Wood Pond in Wayne County.

  Survey Date
Size Range (in) 9/25/97 10/05/99 6/17/03 7/11/06* 6/9/09
2     2   1
3     2   1
4   1 2    
5 5 4 9   3
6 3 11 9   3
7 6 12 2 2 2
8 11 16 2 2 9
9 24 21 10 2 11
10 18 17 50 4 8
11 12 30 47 2 2
12 6 30 21 3 9
13 14 11 12 6 14
14 11 6 7 1 5
15 9 2 2 2 4
16 3 7 2   4
17 4 5   2  
18 3 2   1  
19 1 1      
20   1 2   1
Total Catch 130 177 181 27 77
Hours Electrofished 2.14 2.09 3.02 1.83 2.48
CPH 60.75 84.69 59.93 14.75 31.05
CPH >= 12 in 23.83 31.10 15.23 8.20 14.92
CPH >= 15 in 4.21 1.44 1.32 1.09 2.02
% >= 12 in 39 37 25 56 48
% >= 15 in 15 10 3 19 12

* 2006 partial sampling of Lake’s perimeter, survey was conducted to investigate angler reports of diseased bass, it was determined problems were associated with stress from spawning.

Table 2.  Length frequency distributions and catch statistics for walleye captured during night electrofishing surveys at Lower Wood Pond in Wayne County.

  Survey date
Size Range (in) 9/25/97 10/05/99 6/17/03 06/09/09
9 2      
10 4      
11 1      
12     1  
13   1 2 3
14   4 7 4
15   3 1 3
16   2    
17   2    
18   2 2  
19   3 5  
20 4 3 2  
21   3 2  
22        
23   1 1  
24        
25   1    
26        
27 1      
Total catch 12 25 23 10
Hours Electrofished 2.14 2.09 3.02 2.48
CPH 5.61 11.96 7.62 4.03
CPH >= 15 in 2 10 4 1
% >= 15 in 42 80 57 30

Figure 1. Bar chart depicting the catch per hour of largemouth bass for the 5 years surveyed.

Figure 1

Figure 2.  Chart depicting the catch per hour of walleye for the 4 years surveyed.

Figure 2

Largemouth bass
Fisheries biologist Bryan Chikotas (left) and East Stroudsburg University student intern Brett Gardy  
holding largemouth bass ranging from 15 to 20 inches in length

 
-- Area 5, Bryan Chikotas, Fisheries Biologist

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