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Outdoors

Bridgeport Dam offers decent option for fishing

Bob Frye
| Wednesday, May 23, 2012, 12:30 a.m.
A group of anglers fish from the spillway area of Bridgeport Dam near Mt. Pleasant.
Submitted
A group of anglers fish from the spillway area of Bridgeport Dam near Mt. Pleasant. Submitted

Bridgeport Dam is the tag-along, the kid brother, the yipping dog to the pack leader when it comes to lakes on the Westmoreland-Fayette county border.

At 70 acres, it's not quite as big as its 101-acre neighbor to the immediate south, Green Lick Lake. It doesn't have walleyes, like Green Lick. And it doesn't draw nearly the fishermen.

Yet it is a decent fishery on its own.

Biologists with the Pennsylvania Fish and boat Commission's area 8 office in Somerset surveyed the lake earlier this spring, using trap nets to assess its panfish populations and nighttime electrofishing to check on its bass.

It found some pretty decent, if not spectacular, concentrations of both.

“We saw a good number of bass, and some nice ones, stretching to the high teens, lengthwise,” said Mike Depew, a fisheries biologist in area 8. “All in all, it was a pretty good population.”

It supports the handful of fishermen who target the species there at least, said Tom Crist, the commission's waterways conservation officer in that part of Westmoreland County.

“I wouldn't say it's a real hot spot for bass fishermen. But those that do fish it always seem to do pretty well on bass,” he said.

The lake is managed under Big Bass regulations, limiting anglers to keeping fish at least 15 inches long. It's open to boating, with a launch, and has numerous “fingers” that jut out into the lake to provide anglers with additional shore access.

As for the lake's panfish, populations are “real dense” even if the typical fish is average in size, especially when it comes to crappies, Depew said.

“There were a lot of 6- to 8-inch crappies, some in the 9- to 10-inch range, and a few pushing 13. So anglers have the chance to catch some pretty big fish in there, but most are going to be smaller,” he said.

Anglers also report taking some nice yellow perch out of the lake on occasion, Crist added.

Most of the action for all species seems to come from the upper end of the lake, where Jacobs Creek flows in, he said.

“There's some standing timber up there, so the guys with boats, that's where they tend to migrate to. From where the old road bridge was up the lake, that's where they seem to go,” Crist said.

The time to hit the lake is now, though, or again in fall, he added.

“A lot of guys say the lake gets pretty weed-choked in summer, so they fish it most early and late in the season,” Crist said.

Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total media. He can be reached at bfrye@tribweb.com or 724-838-5148.

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