Here’s a look at a 21-inch largemouth bass collected during a survey of Peters Lake.
Photo: PA Fish and boat Commission
It’s a case of quantity over quality when it comes to largemouth bass in Peters Lake.
For now, anyway.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission biologists surveyed the 40-acre lake in Peters Township, Washington County, in April. They went back and electroshocked it in May.
“It was just loaded with bass,” said commission area 8 fisheries manager Rick Lorson.
Indeed, crews handled 295.
There’s the occasional whopper, too. Biologists caught one fat 21-incher, for example.
But only 12 percent of the bass exceeded 12 inches and only 2 percent exceeded 15. Most fell in the 9- to 12-inch range. Those numbers are down from 1999, but higher than in 2010, the last time the lake was surveyed.
“It’s a good place to fish for bass. But the quality of the overall population is not there yet,” Lorson said.
He’s hoping that will change.
Big bass regulations have been put in place on the lake. That limits anglers to keeping four fish per day, all of them at least 15 inches.
Gizzard shad may help the bass, too.
There’s an abundance of the baitfish in the lake. They aren’t supposed to be there, Lorson said, and there’s no telling how they were introduced.
But perhaps the bass at least can grow on them, he said.
“The fishery should, really, continue to improve,” Lorson said.
Catfish and sauger
Three other species of fish in the lake are also potential predators of shad.
Two are supposed to be there. One isn’t.
Biologists didn’t get a real good look at any of them.
The commission stocks the lake with adult flathead catfish pulled from the sanctuary area of Pymatuning Lake in Crawford County. That’s unusual.
“That’s the only lake where we’ve stocked flatheads,” Lorson said.
Biologists didn’t find any, though. It did get two channel cats, both 15 inches. They’re stocked, too.
Lorson said both species are likely present, but didn’t turn up in surveys.
What they did find was two sauger. One was 17 inches, the other 20.
They’re not supposed to be there.
“Somebody must have hauled them there from the river, which we don’t want. Because we’re not managing for them, the can cause disruptions in the populations we are managing for,” Lorson said.
The lake is managed under panfish enhancement regulations for crappies, meaning they must be 9 inches to harvest. The daily limit is 20.
Biologists looked at two panfish populations in Peters Lake. Neither was overly impressive.
There may be hope for one, though.
A quality bluegill is one that stretches at least 7 inches, Lorson said. Peters Lake has few of them.
Trap nets turned up 148 bluegills going 4 to 8 inches. Just 10 percent, though, hit the 7-inch mark.
“There are a lot of them there, but the quality could stand to be better. A lot of those that were 7 inches just barely hit 7 inches,” Lorson said.
A total of 177 black and white crappies were collected. They, too, were smallish. They measured 2 to 12 inches, but just 13 percent were at least 9.
Crappies, though, can and do prey on gizzard shad, so the presence of those baitfish might mean better days ahead for the crappies, Lorson added.
If you go
Details on Peters Lake can be found here.