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Kahle Lake

Clarion/Venango Counties
Spring 2007

Biologists from Fisheries Management Areas 1 and 2 returned to set trapnets in Kahle Lake for the third time in 5 years as part of the statewide assessment of Panfish Enhancement Regulations. Kahle Lake is not included in that program, but was used as a “control lake” in this study. Our 2007 effort was similar to 2003 (no web report) and 2005 with 10 trapnets set for 4 nights for a total of 40 sets. While the primary targets of our trapnets were panfish, we also wanted to keep an eye on the walleye and tiger muskellunge to judge the success of our stocking efforts for these two species. All fish captured were immediately returned to Kahle Lake.

The ‘average’ size crappie from Kahle Lake in 2007

Our total catch of all fish in 2007 surpassed the total catches of both 2003 and 2005 by large margins (Table 1). We saw a large increase in the number of quality size black crappies and sunfish (bluegills and pumpkinseeds combined) over both 2003 and 2005 (Table 2). The number of quality size yellow perch has improved since 2005 but was below 2003 levels. There is currently a tremendous year class of yellow perch in the 6 – 8 inch range that should eventually improve yellow perch fishing in the years to come. Panfish fishing should be excellent for crappies, sunfish and perch right now with the perch fishing improving through the next couple years.

‘Average’ bluegill from Kahle in 2007

Table 1. Total catch from 40 trapnets set in Kahle Lake during the week of April 23, 2007.

Table 1

Table 2. Number of Panfish larger than Quality Size caught in trapnets in Kahle Lake during the past three surveys.

Table 2

Yellow perch
A couple of nice perch from Kahle Lake in 2007

Kahle Lake also contains good numbers of brown bullheads up to 18 inches long and this appears to be an under-utilized fishery.

Since our trapnets target panfish, they are generally set too late in the year to catch large numbers of walleye and tiger musky but we still manage to catch respectable numbers of both species in Kahle Lake, especially large walleye. The largest walleye this year was almost 28 inches and 9 pounds. The largest tiger musky was 44 inches and 18¼ pounds.

Tiger musky
Fisheries Biologist Aide Paul Bloom with a 43 inch tiger musky

One of the 26 inch walleyes from Kahle Lake

We also discovered another incidence of the illegal introduction of a fish species into a body of water in northwest Pennsylvania. We captured 3 flathead catfish that were most likely brought to Kahle Lake by an angler. Flathead catfish are voracious predators, especially on panfish and have been credited with large declines in sunfish in some southern rivers. Hopefully, Kahle Lake doesn’t contain the proper spawning habitat and these fish will not reproduce.

Kahle Lake also boasts an excellent bass population that is managed under the Big Bass Program. We will return to Kahle Lake in October to night electrofish for bass with assistance from the students from Clarion University.

-- Tim Wilson, Area 2 Fisheries Biologist

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