|Harrisburg, PA – Anglers visiting Cumberland County’s Opossum
Lake will have one last weekend to harvest fish from the popular spot before the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
(PFBC) concludes salvage efforts next week.
All seasons, sizes and creel limits at the lake were temporarily suspended on May 24.
Enhancing opportunities for anglers to harvest fish prior to salvage efforts provides both additional recreational
opportunities and can help reduce the number of fish that will either be captured and transported or potentially stranded
when the water level drops.
The PFBC has been slowly drawing down the lake through summer and fall and staff have
already salvaged more than 1,600 fish. The lake will be completely drained during the week of October 20. PFBC biologists
will salvage as many fish as possible, but some mortalities are inevitable. Salvaged fish are being stocked at two
nearby locations in the Conodoguinet Creek, at North Middletown Park and upstream from the Heishman’s Mill Dam
off Creek Road near the village of Grieder.
The lake is being drained as the first step in rebuilding the leaking spillway. A routine
assessment of the earthen embankment by the PFBC in September 2005 revealed small seeps in the dam’s spillway.
The seeps were eroding a clayish material, which is an early indication that the dam could weaken if not addressed.
The lake bed will be allowed to thoroughly dry throughout the winter and following year
to allow heavy equipment to have safe access to the dried lake bed. Construction is scheduled to begin in November
2009 and be completed by October 2010. The spillway structure, built in 1961 to the standards of the day, cannot be
repaired, but must be rebuilt in its entirety to meet current regulations.
The cost for rebuilding Opossum Lake is estimated to be at least $3 million. This cost
is being shared by the PFBC, Friends of Opossum Lake Conservancy, Lower Frankford Township, Cumberland County and
the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The mission of the Fish and Boat Commission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the
Commonwealth’s aquatic resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities. For more information about fishing
and boating in Pennsylvania, please visit our website at www.fishandboat.com.