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Peters Lake - Reservoir Number 2
Washington County
May 2010
Survey Gear: Night Boat Electrofishing and Pennsylvania Style Trap Nets

Peters Lake - Reservoir Number 2 is a fertile 40 acre impoundment located 4 miles east of Canonsburg, PA. In 1996 the lake was opened to public fishing when Peters Township purchased it and the surrounding property and developed Peters Lake Park. The majority of the lake is accessible by trail; however, there is a small 5 acre section on the east side of the lake that is designated as a wildlife sanctuary and is off-limits to fishing. Boating is permitted with unpowered boats only and there is an undeveloped boat launch available. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) manages Peters Lake for fishing.

Biologists from the PFBC Area 8 Fisheries Management Office in Somerset, PA conducted a fish survey of the lake in April 2010 using Pennsylvania style trap nets and night flat bottom boat electrofishing. The purpose of the survey was to document fish population status in the lake and update fish management strategies. A number of warmwater and coolwater fish species were collected during our survey (Table 1).

Table 1. 2010 Survey Gear: 6 Trap Net Sets
Fish Species Number Size Range (inches) Comments
Bluegill 236 2 - 8 24% Quality Fish
Yellow Perch 4 7 - 8 -
Black Crappie 54 6 - 9 11% Quality Fish
White Crappie 76 6 - 11 13% Quality Fish
Brown Bullhead 4 15 - 19 All Quality Fish
Yellow Bullhead 1 7 -
Carp 9 Not Measured -
Gizzard Shad 30 Not Measured -
White Sucker 7 Not Measured -
Golden Shiners 1 Not Measured -
Gizzard shad were captured for the first time in 2010. Gizzard shad can serve as an important component of the diet of largemouth bass where both occur; however, they also have potential to have negative ecological consequences on other species (see below). Gizzard shad can out-compete panfish species for food resources, which can lead to reduced growth in the panfish species. Gizzard shad were likely introduced to the lake through a fisherman’s release of live bait into the lake. The PFBC strongly encourages anglers not to release live bait into a lake when done fishing to prevent the spread of undesirable or Aquatic Invasive Species. The PFBC also discourages transfer of any fishes from one public water body to another as serious negative fish population impacts could occur.

With respect to fish survey results, bluegill trap net catch rates were very similar to the previous survey in 1999. The catch rate of quality size fish dropped slightly but is still comparable to 1999 (Figure 1). However, bluegills were in poor condition (low weight for their length). This is likely due to competition with gizzard shad for food resources.

Figure 1

Crappie trap net catch rates decreased since the last survey in 1999. Total catch per hour for crappie in 2010 was half the rate of 1999 and catch of quality sized fish (>9 inches) also decreased by about half (Figure 2). The crappie, much like the bluegill, also showed evidence of being in poor condition. Gizzard shad are likely impacting the growth of the crappie population.

Figure 2

Results from our night electrofishing survey indicate that Peters Lake Reservoir Number 2 contains a dense largemouth bass population. However, most of the bass were between 8 and 10 inches and only a few fish captured were over 12 inches (Table 2). The majority of the bass appeared to be in poor condition, with low weight relative to length. This could be due to competition among a dense population of small bass for food resources leading to reduced growth.

Table 2. 2010 Survey Gear: 3 Nighttime Boat Electrofishing Runs
Fish Species Number Size Range (Inches) Comments
Largemouth Bass 154 3 – 21 4% greater than 12 inches
Largemouth bass
Area 8 Fisheries Biologist Mike Depew with a 21 inch largemouth bass
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission stocks Peters Lake with fingerling channel catfish yearly. No channel catfish where collected during the survey; however, we get reports of anglers catching channel catfish at the lake. It could be that the water temperatures were too cold for catfish to be fully active and available for capture with our gear or that densities are very low.

Peters Lake Reservoir Number 2 provides good fishing for largemouth bass and decent fishing for crappie and bluegills. Its’ boating and shoreline accessibility make it an ideal destination for all anglers. After we fully examine age, growth, and abundance data from these fish populations, later this year, we will consider fish management strategies that seek to improve fishing opportunities at Peters Lake.

— Joseph Cocco and Mike Depew, Fisheries Management Area 8

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