Biologist reports logo Virgin Run Dam

Fayette County
May 25-27, 2004

Sampling Gear: Night electrofishing & 6 trap net sets

Virgin Run Dam is a 33–acre impoundment located in Perry and Franklin townships, Fayette County. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is responsible for the management of the Commonwealth-owned lake. The fish populations in Virgin Run Dam are managed under statewide regulations. The lake is heavily fished for trout, which are stocked in the lake. Rainbow trout and brown trout are stocked in Preseason, Inseason, Fall, and Late Winter. In addition to trout, channel catfish fingerlings are also stocked by the PFBC to supplement the warmwater species found in the lake. The purpose of the survey was to monitor the status of the lake since the previous survey of 1990 and adjust fish management strategies where needed.

A total of 173 largemouth bass were collected during night electrofishing in 2004. The same number of bass was collected per hour of electrofishing in each year (168 bass per hour in 2004; 169 bass per hour in 1990). The majority of the bass collected this year were sub-legal with only 18 measuring 12 inches or greater (10%). Similarly in 1990, few fish were processed greater than 12 inches (4%). One large bass, which was 20.2 inches, 4.0 pounds, was processed this year. Virgin Run Dam has a dense largemouth bass population but quality size bass are lacking. We will consider recommending Big Bass Regulations at Virgin Run Dam when we examine the survey data later this year.

Virgin Run Dam largemouth
Virgin Run Dam largemouth

Bluegills were the most abundant panfish species found in the trap nets. A total of 182 bluegills were collected with 105 being 7 inches or greater (58%). Both higher numbers and larger bluegills were found this year as opposed to the 1990 survey. Virgin Run Dam would be a good water to fish for bluegills. Pumpkinseeds were present with 18 total and 9 greater than 7 inches (50%). Ten yellow perch were also seen with 70% being 9 inches or greater. Finally, 28 black crappies were processed with 5 being 9 inches or greater.


Only two channel catfish were captured during trap netting. The two fish were 17.8 inches, 1.8 pounds and 19.0 inches, 2.2 pounds. Stocked rainbow trout and brown trout were also collected in the trap nets.

Excessive aquatic plants continue to be a problem at Virgin Run Dam. Three over-winter draw downs were conducted in the past five years to control aquatic plants. Over-winter draw downs at the lake consisted of lowering the water in the lake by 7.5 feet in September and filling it back up in March. PFBC Southwest Region Maintenance staff performed the draw downs at the lake. The freezing of the exposed soil can kill the aquatic plants. The over-winter draw downs at Virgin Run Dam did not control the aquatic plants to our targeted aquatic vegetation coverage of 20% of the lake area. We will investigate alternative methods such as grass carp for controlling the aquatic plants at Virgin Run Dam.

Fish Species Number Collected Size Range (Inches) Additional Comments
Largemouth bass 173 4 - 20 10% greater than 12 in.
Bluegill 182 2 - 9 58% greater than 7 in.
Pumpkinseed 18 3 - 8  
Yellow perch 10 4 - 12  
Black crappie 28 2 - 11  
Channel catfish 2 17 - 19  
Brown bullhead 2 12 - 13  
Rainbow trout 8 Not measured  
Brown trout 9 Not measured  
White sucker 2 Not measured  
Common carp 2 Not measured  

Yellow perch
Yellow perch

-- Area 8

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