|Keystone Lake is a 78 acre impoundment located within Keystone State Park in Westmoreland County, just north of the town of Latrobe. The lake is an Approved Trout Water. The lake is stocked with catchable rainbow trout Preseason, Inseason, Fall, and Late Winter, creating coldwater fishing opportunities in all seasons except summer. Trophy golden rainbows are also part of the stocking.
Keystone Lake contains not only stocked trout, but also warmwater and coolwater fish populations which are available to anglers year-round. A previous survey conducted in 1992 and 1993 indicated quality populations of bluegill, crappie, yellow perch, and brown bullhead. Largemouth bass were also present, with some individuals achieving trophy size.
Fisheries Management personnel surveyed Keystone Lake in April 2009 using Night Flatbottom Boat Electrofishing and Pennsylvania Style Trap Nets. The purpose of the survey was to assess the lake’s warmwater and coolwater fish populations as well as to update management strategies for the lake.
Night electrofishing for 1.55 hours yielded a total of 277 largemouth bass ranging in length from 2 to 17 inches. The majority of the fish were in the 8 to 10 inch range; however 6% of the fish were larger than 12 inches. We collected more bass over 12 inches in 2009 than in surveys conducted in 1980 and 1993. A few bass were also captured in trap nets including some trophy sized fish. Similar results were seen after the 1980 and 1993 surveys in which there was an abundance of small fish and a lack of fish over 12 inches in length.
This was the first time gizzard shad were documented at Keystone Lake. Gizzard shad can sometimes serve as an important component of the diet of largemouth bass where they both occur, however they also have potential to have negative ecological consequences on other species (see below). Bluegill, golden shiners and other species can also be very important diet components.
Crappies were abundant at Keystone Lake and good numbers of quality size fish (> 9 in.) were available to anglers. A total of 173 crappie were captured in trap nets with 56% of those fish longer than 9 inches. Statewide Panfish Guidelines suggest that capture of crappie over nine inches at a rate of 0.25 per trapnet hour indicates an acceptable crappie population. The 2009 survey at Keystone Lake yielded a catch rate of crappie over 9 inches at 0.38 per hour.
Good numbers of bluegill were captured during our survey; however the size structure of the bluegill population has declined since the previous survey. More fish were captured but most had not attained quality size. This may be due to the recent introduction of gizzard shad into Keystone Lake. Gizzard shad compete with bluegills for food resources which often lead to reduced growth in the bluegill population.
Yellow perch showed a similar trend as bluegill at Keystone Lake in 2009. Overall numbers were similar to 1993, but fewer quality size fish were captured. Competition with gizzard shad is likely reducing the growth of yellow perch.
Other species captured during the survey included pumpkinseed, brown bullhead, yellow bullhead, white sucker, rainbow trout, gizzard shad, green sunfish, common carp, golden shiner, bluntnose minnow, and tiger muskellunge. Stocking of tiger muskellunge was discontinued in 2004, although a few remain.
Overall, Keystone Lake provides a good fishery for stocked rainbow trout and both black and white crappie. Bluegill are abundant although sizes are generally small. Largemouth bass are plentiful with the occasional fish reaching trophy size.
|-- Prepared by Area 8 Fisheries Biologist Mike Depew|
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