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Lake Oneida
Butler County
Spring 2010
Trapnet & Night Electrofishing Survey

Lake Oneida is an approximately 140 acre reservoir located a few miles northeast of the city of Butler on Route 38. Owned by Pennsylvania American Water Company, the lake was closed for security reasons following the attacks of September 11, 2001. The reservoir supplies water to 11 municipalities in the Butler area. After nearly eight years the lake reopened for public use in the spring of 2009. Fishing is only permitted from shore. Walking on the dam, boating, and wading are prohibited. All other PFBC Commonwealth Inland Waters regulations apply.

Fisheries management personnel from the Area 1 office in Linesville surveyed Lake Oneida’s fish population using Pennsylvania style trapnets during the week of May 3rd, 2010. The lake was sampled with 10 trapnet sets encompassing 233.26 hours of effort. A total of 1,594 fish were caught representing 12 species (Table 1).

Table 1. Species, number, and size range of fish caught during trapnet sampling of Lake Oneida by Fisheries Management Area 1 personnel during the week of May 3rd, 2010.

Species Number Size Range (inches)
Bluegill 780 3 - 8
Pumpkinseed 23 4 - 7
Black Crappie 180 5 - 12
White Crappie 205 3 - 16
Yellow Perch 104 5 - 10
Largemouth Bass 9 10 - 22
Yellow Bullhead 2 10
Brown Bullhead 13 10 - 15
Channel Catfish 8 16 - 29
Golden Shiner 238 4 - 10
White Sucker 22 11 - 18
Common Carp 10 16 - 28

The bluegill catch at Lake Oneida was excellent. Of the 780 bluegills sampled in the trapnets, 81.5 % were 7 inches and larger. Decent numbers of black crappie (180) and white crappie (205) were caught. The white crappies were larger (52% ≥10 in.) than the black crappies (22% ≥ 10 in.), and included a very large 16 inch, 2 lbs. fish. The majority of the yellow perch caught (89% ≤ 8 in.) were small. Several quality sized channel catfish were caught early in the week, and average sized bullheads were caught occasionally all week long. A dense population of golden shiners inhabits the lake. In addition to fish, numerous large snapping turtles were caught in our nets, along with a few spiny-soft shell turtles, and one painted turtle.

Matt Gordon and Tim Wilson with some quality-sized channel catfish

The biggest crappie of the week, a 16 inch (2 pound) white crappie

Area 1 fisheries management personnel conducted a night electrofishing survey of Lake Oneida on May 17th, 2010 to assess the largemouth bass population. Four sites were sampled totaling 80 minutes of electrofishing. A total of 193 bass were netted ranging from 4 to 22 inches (Table 2). Rain during the day (and sporadically throughout the night) caused higher turbidity in the water that decreased catch rates slightly. Lake Oneida contains great numbers of largemouth bass with 144.75 fish being sampled per hour (Table 2). However, the majority of the fish were small (93% < 12 inches). Adequate forage and habitat are available for bass growth, indicating angler harvest of legal sized fish might be cropping off bass over 12 inches.

Table 2. Length-frequency table and CPUE of largemouth bass caught during night electrofishing survey of Lake Oneida on May 17th, 2010, by PFBC Area 1 fisheries management personnel.

Size (inches) Number
4 9
5 13
6 1
7 2
8 23
9 13
10 52
11 69
12 9
13 1
22 1
Total 193
CPUE (# / hour) 144.75
CPUE (# ≥ 12" / hour) 8.25

Largemouth bass
Biologist Freeman Johns with a 22 inch Lake Oneida Largemouth Bass

During the Lake Oneida surveys, we noticed bait containers, fishing line, drink bottles and other trash around the lake. The lake was graciously opened for public use by Pennsylvania American Water Company. Anglers are urged to clean up after themselves in order to keep this great source of recreation open to the public.

— Area 1

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