Lake Arthur prime for bass, Crooked Creek for crappies

Posted on: June 21, 2017 | Bob Frye | Comments

Nick Yaroszewski , at left, and Freeman Johns with some of the nicer largemouth bass collected during a survey of Lake Arthur.
Photo: PA Fish and Boat Commission

Lake Arthur has long been popular with largemouth bass fishermen.

Don’t expect that to change.

The fishery looks to be in pretty good shape, according to the results of a survey done by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

Biologists did nighttime electrofishing at the lake to assess its bass. They collected 301 largemouths – and five smallmouths, interestingly enough – during the effort, conducted in May.

The largemouths ranged in size from 3 inches to 21.9.

“We just couldn’t break the 22-inch mark,” said Freeman Johns, a biologist in the commission’s area 1 office in Linesville.

“But we got some really, really nice bass. In one 20-minute run, we got four fish over 20 inches. That was impressive. Once you get to 20 inches, you start to get into that wow factor.”

Overall, 15 percent of the largemouths measured were longer than 15 inches.

The total catch of bass per hour of survey time, meanwhile, was almost 56 fish. The commission’s standard for a good bass lake is 35 bass per hour.

Arthur produced 20 fish longer than 12 inches per hour, which is nearly three times the commission goal of seven per hour.

A final report on the work has yet to be completed. But all of that suggests just how good the fishery is right now.

“Off the cuff, I’d say it’s the best we’ve done down there in several years,” Johns said.

Catches of largemouth were spread out, too. Crews did well at the lower end of the lake, by the dam, he noted, but also in the upper end of the lake, near the Route 528 bridge.

“It was nice to see that we got fish all over,” Johns said. “We were thrilled, especially with the big fish.”

Some smaller fish of another kind were also encouraging.

The commission stocks the lake with hybrid striped bass. That effort supports a popular fishery.

Johns said crews handled a good number of stripers, including a lot of smaller ones.

“That was an encouraging sign, to see that there will be fish down the road,” he said.

Panfish elsewhere

Another lake anglers might want to try – this time with panfish in mind – is Crooked Creek Lake in Armstrong County.

Biologists from the commission’s area 2 office in Tionesta surveyed it in May to assess panfish numbers, among other things. Their catches were good for one species in particular.

Crews collected 763 white crappies, with most in the 9- to 12-inch range, said biologist Brian Ensign.

“We did have several in the 14- to 16-inch range, too,” he added. “There were some real nice fish.”

Crews saw just 40 black crappies, and they were all small, ranging from 6 to 8 inches.

Bluegills were abundant but also small.

Biologists handled 310. They topped out at 7 to 9 inches, though, with relatively few even at those sizes, Ensign said.

On a better note, the lake supports a “recreational fishery” for brown bullhead catfish, he added. Biologists saw 53 of those fish. They ranged from 8 to 12 inches, with many of “nice size.” Ensign said.

Bob Frye is the editor. Reach him at 412-838-5148 or See other stories, blogs, videos and more at

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