Wednesday, January 20, 2016

New Glade Run Lake in Butler County, PA starting to take shape

By Bob Frye 
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.
One more thing
The new Glade Run Lake will be different in one other way: When it is refilled to meet new Department of Environmental Protection standards, the pool level will be 5.3 feet higher than in years past.
To handle that, the Fish and Boat Commission needs to acquire “flowage easements” totaling about 12 acres on nine privately owned parcels around the lake, said Brian Barner, deputy executive director for administration.
The commission is hoping landowners will donate those easements, he said. That's what those surrounding Colyer Lake in Centre County agreed to do, he added. That lake, too, is being rebuilt.
If the commission can't secure donations, it will have appraisals done and offer “fair market value,” Barner said, turning to eminent domain only as a last resort.
Bob Frye is Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

PA Doe License Application Schedule Under Review

By Bob Frye
Is this a solution in search of a problem?
Pennsylvania Game Commissioners might change the antlerless deer license application system to allow out-of-staters to seek doe tags at the same time as state residents.
Currently, residents get a two-week head start. In the 2015-16 license year, for example, residents could apply for a doe tag by mail starting July 13. Nonresidents had to wait until July 27.
That led to complaints.
Commissioners said they heard from non-residents — usually former Pennsylvanians who moved away for work but want to return to hunt — who couldn't get a tag. Their wildlife management unit of choice sold out too quickly.
That's nothing new, commission president Dave Putnam said. Commissioners hear that all the time, particularly last year, when they reduced the number of doe tags available.
Even then, it wasn't a huge problem, according to the numbers.
Dot Derr, director of the commission's bureau of administrative services, said only five of 23 wildlife management units sold out of doe tags before non-residents could apply last year. The number was three in 2014, one in '13, zero in '12 and one in '11.
The 18 units that did have tags available for nonresidents last year generally had a lot — anywhere from nearly 2,300 to more than 63,000.
The commission never has sold more than 21,292 nonresident doe tags in a year since 2011, Derr's numbers showed, so everyone who wanted to hunt could have done so somewhere.
“The point would be we're pretty close to where everybody could get one license,” commissioner Tim Layton of Windber said.
People like to hunt specific places, though — such as from family camps — and allowing everyone to apply simultaneously likely wouldn't be a big deal, commissioner Brian Hoover of Delaware County said.
The board might consider such a change at its next voting session Feb. 2.
Derr warned, though, it could bring challenges.
County treasurers alone have the authority to sell doe licenses, but there's no standard operating procedure for how they do it, she said.
Licenses are supposed to be sold on a strict first-come, first-served basis. Some treasurers do that, opening each application and fulfilling that request before going to the next, Derr said. Others have multiple people opening applications, putting them all in a box, then fulfilling them from there.
That possibly could leave resident hunters without a doe tag, as already was the case last year in places.
Bob Frye is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or @bobfryeoutdoors