Biologist reports logo Shawnee Lake

Bedford County
March 21-24, 2005

Located in Bedford County, Shawnee Lake is a 450 acre impoundment surrounded by the 3,983 acre Shawnee State Park. This Department of Conservation and Natural Resources lake provides angling opportunities for bass, walleye, northern pike, muskellunge and panfish. Shawnee Lake offers anglers the choice of fishing from shore or by boat. The lake has two boat launches, Colvin and # 2 Picnic Area. Motorized boats used in the lake are authorized to use electric motors only. The lake is also managed under the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) Big Bass Program.

Shawnee Lake at dawn
Shawnee Lake at dawn

Biologists from the PFBC, Fisheries Management Division conducted a trap netting and gill netting survey on Shawnee Lake as the first step in a comprehensive lake survey. Muskellunge, walleye and northern pike were targeted during this phase of the lake survey. The PFBC stocks muskellunge and walleye annually to provide a recreational fishing opportunity for these species in Shawnee Lake. Scales were taken from all the walleye and muskellunge caught in this early survey to give the biologist insight into age, growth and annual stocking success of these fish. Future surveys as part of the comprehensive lake survey will target the panfish and bass populations.

Fisheries Technician John Frederick with a nice walleye from Shawnee Lake
Fisheries Technician John Frederick with a nice walleye from Shawnee Lake

The table below depicts catch during this early survey in Shawnee Lake.

Fish Species Number Caught Size Range (inches)
Northern pike 246 19 - 35
Muskellunge 1 22
Walleye 11 19 - 27
Chain pickerel 4 15 - 23
Bluegill 882 2 - 7
Black crappie 1141 2 - 11
Yellow perch 689 3 - 10
Brown bullhead 377 4 - 12
Yellow bullhead 18 4 - 12
Common carp 14 not measured
Gizzard shad 1769 not measured
Golden shiner 224 not measured
White sucker 27 not measured
Largemouth bass 12 13 - 18
Pumpkinseed 2 4 - 5

Fisheries Technician John Frederick with a northern pike from Shawnee Lake
Fisheries Technician John Frederick with a northern pike from Shawnee Lake

A 1995-1996 draw down of the lake for bridge repair work in the park left more than half of the lake dry during the growing season. When the lake was allowed to refill in 1997 the northern pike that remained in the lake took advantage of the newly inundated vegetation that had grown on the exposed lakebed during the draw down. This resulted in very successful northern pike spawn in 1997.

The March survey documented a dense quality northern pike population with a total of 246 northern pike being collected during the 4 day survey. Northern pike ranged in length from 19 to 35 inches with 61% being of legal length (24 inches) or larger. Although northern pike will most likely always be present in Shawnee Lake this unique opportunity to fish a dense population of quality length northern pike is not expected to last. The vegetation that was flooded when the lake was refilled in 1997 has long since decayed eliminating much of the northern pikes ideal spawning habitat thus reducing the northern pike’s ability to successfully reproduce in the large numbers that occurred in 1997.

Biologist from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commissions will be conducting a public trap netting demonstration at Shawnee Lake. This demonstration is planned for Wednesday, May 18, 2005 beginning at 6:00 p.m. rain or shine. More specific details will be announced in the local media.

-- John Frederick, Area 7 Fisheries Technician

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