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Acme Dam
Westmoreland County
April 2010
Sample Gear: Night Boat Electrofishing and
Pennsylvania Style Trap Nets

Acme Dam is a 24 acre impoundment located 3.5 miles west of Donegal, PA. The dam is located in Chestnut Ridge Park and is owned by the Westmoreland County Parks and Recreation Office. Acme Dam is fed by the headwaters of Jacob’s Creek and has an average depth 11.5 feet. The entire lake is easily accessible for shore fishing. Boating is permitted with unpowered or electric motors only. Statewide regulations are used to manage all fish populations at Acme Dam.

Largemouth bass
Fisheries Biologist Mike Depew with a nice largemouth bass

Biologists from the Area 8 Fisheries Management Office in Somerset, PA conducted a fish population survey of the lake in April 2010 using Pennsylvania style trap nets and night flat bottom boat electrofishing. Table 1 summarizes the catch data from our 2010 trap net surveys.

Table 1. 2010 Survey Gear: 6 Trap Net Sets
Fish Species Number Size Range (inches) Comments
Bluegill 1741 5 - 8 few quality size fish
Pumpkinseed 160 5 - 7 few quality size fish
Yellow Perch 43 7 - 10 -
Crappie 112 4 -10 -
Brown Bullhead 154 7 - 17 Majority over 15 inches
Yellow Bullhead 41 7 - 13 Majority over 10 inches
White Sucker 82 Not Measured -
Golden Shiner 27 Not Measured -

The majority of the fish collected during the trap net surveys were bluegill and pumpkinseed, with most of the fish in the 6 to 7 inch range. Bluegill catch per hour showed improvement from both the 1980 and 1998 surveys in total catch. In Figure 1 one can see that 2010 total catch per hour for bluegill has more than doubled. However, catch of quality fish (over 7 inches) has declined. This could be the result of an extremely strong year class of bluegill in the 6 to 7 inch range that may provide excellent fishing in the near future. We will have more information about the bluegill population when scale samples are aged later this fall.

Figure 1

Fisheries Biologist Mike Depew with typical bluegill found in Acme Lake

The number of brown bullheads collected was relatively the same as the last survey in 1998. Quality size brown bullheads (10 inches or greater) accounted for almost the entire catch. Figure 2 shows the number of brown bullheads collected per hour at Acme Dam

Figure 2

Fisheries Biologist Aide Joseph Cocco with two brown bullheads over 15 inches

Other panfish sampled at Acme Dam were few in number and the majority were small in size. However, we collected a few nice sized black crappie and yellow perch in the 9 to 10 inch range.

Black crappie
Fisheries Biologist Aide Joseph Cocco with two black crappie

Table 2 shows total number of largemouth bass collected during our nighttime electrofishing runs. Quality largemouth bass abundance has increased dramatically since 1998. Fish and Boat Commission guidelines for a quality black bass population are exceeded at Acme Dam with bass over 12 inches collected at a rate of 26 per hour (state guideline 7 per hour) and bass over 15 inches collected at a rate of 20 per hour (state guideline 2 per hour) (Figure 3) .

Table 2. 2010 Survey Gear: 3 Nighttime Boat Electrofishing Runs
Fish Species Number Size Range (Inches) Comments
Largemouth Bass 63 4"-  21' 41% Are 12" or larger 33% are 15"or larger

Figure 3

Largemouth bass
Fisheries Biologist Aide Joseph Cocco with two very nice bass collected at Acme Dam

Largemouth bass
Area Fisheries Manager Rick Lorson holding a 22 inch bass collected during the survey

The PFBC stocks channel catfish fingerlings annually at Acme Dam. However, we did not encounter any during the survey. Water temperatures may have been too cold during the time of the survey. We will be returning in June to determine if sample timing has a bearing on trap net channel catfish catch.

In conclusion, Acme Dam provides anglers with excellent fishing opportunities for largemouth bass and brown bullheads. There are also opportunities to catch nice size crappies and perch. Bluegills are very plentiful, even if small, and will provide children and adults with high catch rates through the summer months.

— Prepared by Joseph Cocco and Mike Depew, Fisheries Management Area 8

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