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Merli-Sarnoski Park Lake
Lackawanna County
Spring 2009

Merli-Sarnoski Park Lake sits on a hilltop overlooking the city of Carbondale. The lake and surrounding property are part of the Lackawanna County Park System and are open to the public. The easiest way to access the park is via State Routes 106 or 107 to Fall Brook Road. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission annually stocks Merli-Sarnoski Park Lake with adult trout and manages it under statewide angling regulations.

Area 4 biologists conducted a general inventory of Merli-Sarnoski Park Lake in the spring of 2009. We found healthy populations of largemouth bass, chain pickerel, and bluegill (Table 1). Additionally, some large yellow perch (Figure 1) were available, and plenty of hatchery trout remained from the early spring stockings. The trout were still concentrated at their stocking points. Anglers targeting trout in the mornings and evenings had their best luck using flies when the fish were rising. Natural baits seemed to work better at other times of the day.

Catch per unit effort (CPUE) values for largemouth bass during the night electrofishing effort were as follows: Total Catch-26/hour; Catch > 12 inches-7/hour; Catch > 15 inches-2/hour. All three of these values were somewhat low, possibly due to competition with chain pickerel (Figure 2). Total CPUE for chain pickerel during the night electrofishing effort was 29/hour. Merli-Sarnoski Park Lake may be the only lake we’ve ever surveyed where chain pickerel outnumbered largemouth bass.

Table 1. Number and size of fish caught during the 2009 survey of Merli-Sarnoski Park Lake.

Species Number Caught Length Range (inches)

Largemouth bass 28 7.0 – 17.9
Chain pickerel 40 4.0 – 25.9
Hatchery trout 14 Not Measured
Bluegill 213 4.0 – 9.9
Pumpkinseed 54 4.0 – 8.9
Yellow perch 11 7.0 – 14.9
Black crappie 14 9.0 – 12.9
Brown bullhead 29 11.0 – 14.9
Yellow bullhead 6 9.0 – 11.9
Golden shiner 16 8.0 – 9.9
Common carp 2 11.0 – 11.9

Figure 1. Fisheries biologist aide Jake Precone with a large yellow perch from Merli-Sarnoski Park Lake.

Yellow perch

Figure 2. Fisheries biologist Aaron Frey with a large chain pickerel from Merli-Sarnoski Park Lake.

Chain pickerel

-- Rob Wnuk, Area 4 Fishereis Manager

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