Mention fishing at Raccoon Creek State Park in Beaver County, and most people probably think of its 101-acre lake or perhaps Traverse Creek.
The former is home to largemouth bass, bluegills and crappies, not to mention the occasional walleye. Both get stocked with trout.
The park's “upper lake” or “upper pond” is comparatively as anonymous as its nondescript name would suggest. That's not to say it's not worth fishing, though.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission biologists from the Area 8 office in Somerset earlier this summer surveyed the pond for the first time since 2002. They found largemouth bass, bluegills, pumpkinseeds, crappies and carp — “all of your typical small-pond species,” biologist Mike Depew said.
The panfish were abundant but small. One-third of the 110 bluegills handled, for example, were less than 6 inches long, Depew said.
The bass are another story.
Biologists collected 34 in less than 30 minutes. That extrapolates out to 75 bass per hour, about double the benchmark for a good bass lake, Depew said.
Of the 34, 20 were longer than 12 inches and seven were longer than 15.
“We had one of 21 inches that we landed. And we saw another, bigger one that we missed. I guess it would have gone 22 or 23 inches,” Depew said.
“So there were some nice bass in there. For someone looking for a small-pond experience, it's pretty good.”
Park manager Al Wasilewski could not be reached for comment. But fishing at the pond is catch-and-release only, according to state park rules.
The pond — 8 acres now, though perhaps half of it is very shallow and being reclaimed by nature as a wetlands, Depew said — is accessible by walking a gated road near the intersection of Cabin and Nichol Road.
Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.
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