It wouldn’t be fair to call it impressive.
Interesting, perhaps. But not impressive.
Biologists from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s area 8 office in Somerset recently sampled Loyalhanna Lake in Westmoreland County in an attempt to assess its bass population. The catch was not overwhelming.
Biologist Mike Depew said no one’s had time yet to sit down and tally the actual number of fish handled. But his impression is that while the lake offered up “some decent numbers” of bass, with a few up to 20 inches, the catch wasn’t great.
That wasn’t totally surprising, though, he said. The lake is impacted by mine drainage, resulting in “marginal” habitat in its supper end.
The fishery reflects that. The number of fish handled increased as biologists got closer to the dam, he said.
One thing that was unexpected was all of the bass seen were largemouths. Loyalhanna Creek holds smallmouth bass upstream of where the mine drainage enters the watershed, but none were found below that.
“That may be proving to be a barrier,” Depew said.
The most unusual thing biologists found in their survey of the lake was a koi. Someone had obviously released it, Depew said.
Such “introductions” aren’t uncommon, he noted. A survey of Dunlap Creek Lake in Fayette County this spring revealed a flathead catfish, which aren’t native to the lake.
More than just being odd, such fish could potentially cause problems, introducing diseases or upsetting existing fisheries, he said.
“That’s why we don’t encourage people to release anything into a new water,” Depew said.