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Upper Ice Dam
Luzerne County

Upper Ice Dam is a 40 acre impoundment located about 1.5 miles east of the Nuangola exit off Interstate 81. Most of the lake’s 1.3 miles of shoreline are closed to the public. However, Rice Township owns a parcel of land along the north side and has developed a boat launch along with restroom, parking, and picnicking facilities. These facilities are open to the public during daylight hours.

Rice Township opened its facilities in 2006. Shortly after, several groups became concerned that increased angling pressure had removed all of the large panfish from the lake. We surveyed Upper Ice Dam with trap nets and electrofishing gear during the week of May 16, 2011, to determine if that was the case.

Upper Ice Dam supported seven fish species. Panfish included black crappie, yellow perch, pumpkinseed, bluegill, and yellow bullhead. Panfish weren’t numerous, which was expected given that this lake is very infertile. The size distributions of the panfish (Table 1) were very good, however, and the number of large panfish available to anglers compared favorably with the better panfish lakes in our management region.

Predator species included chain pickerel and largemouth bass. Chain pickerel weren’t numerous; we only caught 10 with trap nets and electrofishing gear combined. The largemouth bass population was in the exact opposite condition of the panfish populations. Largemouth bass were abundant but didn’t reach large sizes. Our electrofishing catch rates for largemouths were as follows: Total Catch 70.4/hour; Catch > 12 inches 14.9/hour; and Catch > 15 inches 0/hour. The total catch rate was above average and the catch rate of 12 inch and larger bass was average, but we didn’t catch any bass over 15 inches. Most likely, largemouth bass at Upper Ice Dam were growing slowly because they were overly abundant in this infertile lake. However, we’ll have to confirm or disprove these hypotheses this fall through more rigorous analysis.

Given the large sizes of the panfish we caught during this work, there didn’t appear to be a problem with angler harvest at Upper Ice Dam.

Table 1. Number and size of fish caught during the 2011 Upper Ice Dam survey.

Species Number Caught Length Range (inches)
Largemouth bass 61 6 - 14.9
Chain pickerel 10 8 - 18.9
Black crappie 67 6 - 12.9
Yellow perch 49 6 - 13.9
Bluegill 75 2 - 9.9
Pumpkinseed 37 6 - 8.9
Yellow bullhead 12 8 - 15.9

Yellow perch caught at Upper Ice Dam
Yellow perch caught at Upper Ice Dam

View of Upper Ice Dam from the Rice Township facility
View of Upper Ice Dam from the Rice Township facility

— Rob Wnuk, Area 4 Fisheries Manager

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