Crew members load a porcupine junior onto a boat before taking it out to sink in Pymatuning Lake.
It’s a tall – almost impossible – order.
Pymatuning Lake is big, spanning nearly 17,100 acres, so the thought of creating enough artificial habitat beneath its surface to impact fish populations is unrealistic.
Such structures, sent to the bottom, do concentrate the fish already there, however. Those places become fish magnets.
Anglers should take note of that.
“This structure is critical to fish populations across the lake and they are also critical to anglers since fish can be located on these hot spots,” said Matt Wolfe, the Jeannette native who now works as a fisheries biologist with the Ohio Division of Wildlife. “Anglers who fish around them normally have great success throughout the year.”
There are more “hot spots” in the lake now than before.
This past week, staff from the Division of Wildlife, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and state parks departments from both states, along with volunteers from the Pymatuning Lake Association and other sportsmen’s groups, put wooden structures called “porcupine juniors,” in the lake. They’re meant to replace the woody structure that has been slowly degrading away since the reservoir was formed back in the 1930s, Wolfe said.
Putting the structure in the lake is just step one, though, Wolfe said. Step two is making sure anglers know where to find it, otherwise, “it will go unused.”
“The more fish that anglers catch off these structures, the happier we are,” Wolfe said.
To assist fishermen, the agencies are telling them just where to go.
Structures were placed across two sites. Forty structures in about five to seven feet of water at N 41o 39’ 29.6” / W 80o 30’ 19.6” to N 41o 39’ 26.2” / W 80o 30’ 19.1.” Eighty-five more were placed in about six to seven feet of water at N 41o 39’ 42.1” / W 80o 29’ 42.5” to N 41o 39’ 40.1” / W 80o 29’ 43.3.”
“The map datum on your GPS unit should be set at NAD 83 to find the structures,” Wolfe said.
Coordinates are provided in degrees, minutes, and seconds.
These are a few of the many porcupine juniors now sitting on the bottom of Pymatuning Lake.