|Fisheries Management Area Two traveled to Straight Run Lake (also known as Hemlock Lake) during the week of May 5th, 2008 to sample fish populations and assess our saugeye stocking program. Historically, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has referred to this impoundment as Hemlock Lake but in 2007 the PFBC official name was changed to Straight Run Lake in order to match the name used by the National Map or the National Hydrography Dataset. The National Map is the reference the United States Geological Service is compiling in an attempt to get uniformity of names for geologic features among various federal, state and local authorities for maps.
Straight Run Lake is a small 60 acre lake located off the beaten path about 4 miles southeast of the town of Rossiter in scenic northern Indiana County (See Penn DOT map insert below). There are two boat launches (east and west shores) with ample parking. Both access areas are maintained by the Indiana County Parks Department and contain picnic facilities, ample boat mooring capacity and hiking trails.
We set trapnets in the shallow upper end of the lake and gillnets in the deeper areas down near the dam. Fish populations reflect the small size and infertile nature of Straight Run Lake. Large gamefish include largemouth bass, northern pike and saugeye. The panfish fishery consists primarily of black crappies, bluegills, pumpkinseeds and brown bullheads plus a few rock bass and yellow perch. Other species captured consisted of golden shiners and white suckers.
We captured a total of 9 northern pike between 16 and 23 inches, none reached the legal length of 24 inches. We captured 10 largemouth bass ranging from 4 to 19 inches. Night electrofishing targeting largemouth bass was postponed for future assessment.
We captured 2 saugeye at 18 and 19 inches in length. This low capture rate suggests we need to switch to stocking more readily available walleye fingerling to build a more reliable/dense walleye population that anglers will target.
The panfish were typical of a small infertile reservoir, with moderate numbers present including some quality size fish. We captured 58 black crappies of which 20 were over 9 inches. We captured 342 sunfish (bluegills and pumpkinseeds) of which 30 were over 7 inches and 30 brown bullheads between 12 and 16 inches.
Table 1. Size distribution of fish captured in Hemlock Lake during the week of May 5, 2008.
Straight Run Lake is set in beautiful surroundings and provides the opportunity to harvest a few panfish and catch some largemouth bass and northern pike. Anglers wanting to avoid crowds and willing to get off the main roads should enjoy fishing this lake.
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