Although the big rush and excitement over trout season is gone the best water conditions, temperatures, insect hatches are occurring right now and the anglers who continue to ply the waters will find plenty of trout that are well into their most aggressive feeding habits of the year.
Just like cold water species, warmwater fish need the right conditions and other attributes to allow them to not only feed, but prosper and survive. The upcoming bass season will find additional opportunities for anglers to pursue warm and cool water species at locations such as the Quemahoning Reservoir, Hinckston Run Reservoir, Wilmore Reservoir and High Point Lake in the region.
At the Quemahoning, the Somerset Conservation District initiated the effort through the PA Fish and Boat Commission's (PFBC) Bureau of Habitat Management Lake Division in cooperation with the Cambria-Somerset Authority (CSA). For nearly 100 years the Quemahoning was private and under no fishery management program. With the public acquisition of it and four other impoundments along with 5,000 acres of land and water in 2000 the opportunities for a much improved public fishery were finally able to be realized.
Over the last several years the CSA and volunteers from conservation and sporting groups have assisted the PFBC in building and placing structures throughout the reservoirs under a management plan designed by PFBC Habitat Division staff. This past winter large habitat structures were built off shore while the reservoir was drawn down. This project added significantly to the numbers and scope of the ongoing structure project that was already well underway.
Those who have fished or boated on the Quemahoning this year have already noticed the use of these structures by bass and other game fish species. The PFBC has and will continue to scientifically survey and monitor the structure placement areas to document their impact. Anglers will have all year to do the same with rod and reel.
Angling success is dictated by things such as the skill and knowledge of the angler and weather conditions and habitat structures do not assure increased catch rates. However, the new habitat created provides cover for small fish to hide from predators, spawning areas and locations for aquatic food organisms to prosper, all of which provide a solid foundation upon which a viable fishery is built in order to be self-sustaining and provide improved recreational opportunities.
Even with the drawdown and infrastructure issues at Somerset Lake there are still plenty of expanding and improving warmwater destination points in the Cambria-Somerset region.
If you want to see these improvements continue consider becoming a volunteer to construct additional habitat structures. Dates for additional habitat structure building for the Quemahoning Reservoir are set for Saturday, Aug. 4, beginning at 9 a.m. and Wednesday, Sept. 12, beginning at 5 p.m. both at the Quemahoning Family Recreation Area Boat Launch.
For more information contact the Somerset Conservation District at 445-4652 Ext. 136. Habitat improvement work days at Wilmore Reservoir will be June 26 and at Hinckston Reservoir June 27. Contact the Cambria County Conservation District for details at 472-2120. No special tools or skills are required in order to assist.