A year to wait at Crooked Creek Lake
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Every fisherman who's ever gone to a "hot" lake and been "skunked" has heard it: You should have been here last week.
You won't hear that about Crooked Creek Lake. But you might be told to come back next year.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission biologists recently surveyed the 350-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers impoundment near Ford City and came away impressed with the crappie population. Most were white crappies, with a few blacks mixed in.
"There are some real nice crappies in there," said Al Woomer, the commission's Area 2 fisheries manager, based in Tionesta. "We got a good number over 10 inches and quite a few in the 11- to 12-inch range. We even got a few up to 14 or 15 inches, though they were much more rare, of course."
Actually catching those fish can be tough. The lake's water levels can rise and fall often and in a hurry, making it difficult for boaters to just get on the water.
Anglers do catch crappies, but it's been mostly smaller ones — especially lately — said Bruce Gundlach, the commission's waterways conservation officer in Armstrong County.
But better days could be coming, he said.
"Next year, I expect we'll see fishermen catching a lot of crappies that are 12 inches and bigger," he said. "Two years ago, guys were catching lots of fish, but they were mostly in the 4- to 6-inch class. Last year, they were 6 to 8 inches, and the guys I've talked to this year said they've been getting loads of fish, but most are 9 inches or so.
"Next year, with another season of growth, those fish should be a real nice size for keeping."
There are a couple of other species that make the lake worth fishing, Woomer said. Biologists have not specifically electrofished Crooked Creek for bass yet — that may happen this week, weather permitting — but they recently have netted the fish. Most were largemouths and some were big, up to 7 pounds.
"There were some really nice fish, boy," Woomer said.
Crooked Creek long has had a reputation as a good bass lake, though it's gotten less pressure — at least in the form of tournaments — lately, Gundlach said.
Channel cats also are doing well. The commission has been stocking fingerling channel cats in the lake for years, and that seems to be working. They found fish ranging from 5 to 22 inches, a good sign of survival, Woomer said.
"It was a bit if a surprise, I thought, for things to be that nice," he said.
But it was the crappies that really impressed him, a guy who sees plenty of fish in many places.
"I thought it was really good," Woomer said. "If I didn't live so far away, I wouldn't mind going down there myself."
Walleyes not taking hold at Crooked Creek Lake
The Fish and Boat Commission has been trying for years to establish a walleye fishery at Crooked Creek Lake.
Their efforts are failing. Biologists have been stocking walleyes in the lake annually since 2006 — save for one year, when it got saugeyes, instead. But last week's survey gave a dismal snapshot of the water's walleye population.
That's not necessarily unusual, said Al Woomer, the commission's Area 2 fisheries manager. Army Corps lakes, in particular, are tough to grow walleyes in, he said.
And, since the stocking schedule already is set, the lake will get stocked with walleyes again this year.
But the lack of fish may mean the end of the program after that.
"I can't say for sure yet, but we're really going to have to look at it to see if we want to continue it," Woomer said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Millions needed to replace at-risk natural gas pipes in Pennsylvania
- West Penn to test ‘balloon pill’ in weight-loss trial
- Starkey: Vanilla Mike too polite on officiating
- NFL Draft preview: Thin crop of offensive tackles available
- Rossi: Rutherford falling apart, too
- Cubs’ 3-run, 9th-inning rally upends Pirates
- Steelers bring in 2 more cornerbacks for visits
- Greensburg Tribune-Review athletes of the week: California’s Aaron Previnsky, Norwin’s Christiana Skrabak
- Penguins Insider: Series has enough gamesmanship
- Fleury’s performances have Penguins still believing vs. Rangers
- Pittsburgh union serving TV, film production looking for lots of help