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New Glade Run Lake in Butler County starting to take shape

| Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, 6:57 p.m.

HARRISBURG — It won't always be visible from the surface, but the new Glade Run Lake is going to have a lot more features than the old one.

Located off Route 8 in Middlesex, Butler County, the 52-acre lake was drained in 2011 after a state Department of Environmental Protection inspection determined its dam was unsafe. It has been empty ever since.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is fixing it, however, at a cost of $2.8 million. That work began in October. It will continue throughout the year, Michele Jacoby, chief of the agency's bureau of engineering, told board members at a meeting Wednesday.

If all goes well, the lake will be allowed to refill in 2017, she added.

It will be a different water then. The original lake was built in 1955. It had, over time, become little more than a bowl devoid of structure. That's what lakes do, said Ben Page, chief of the commission's lake habitat section.

That's not best for fish or fishermen. Lakes function best with a variety of rock, timber, brush and other cover, he added.

The commission is adding that to the new lake.

It already has installed vertical post clusters — basically rows of posts — in the lakebed, some connected by boards providing horizontal cover. It also has placed rock rubble reefs that jut out perpendicular to the existing jetty.

In the shallower upper end of the lake, which used to become weed-choked in summer, the commission is digging deeper channels near shore to hold fish within reach of anglers and using that sediment to create an island in the lake, Page added.

Perhaps most notably, the commission is also leaving in place some of the trees that have grown up in the lakebed over the past five years.

“They're for habitat, too, and they hold up for three to five years,” Page said.

If they prove too big of an impediment to boating, the commission can remove them later, he said. But the idea for now is to let them in place to provide cover for bugs, crayfish and minnows and young fish.

All of that work should lead to a better fishery, said commission executive director John Arway. He said lakes naturally become less productive over time.

The commission — whenever it rebuilds a lake — is addressing that, he added.

“We're rejuvenating these fisheries, by starting them all over again,” Arway said.

Bob Frye is Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at bfrye@tribweb.com or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.

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