According to Lehigh County Executive, Don Cunningham, Leaser Lake, located northwest of Allentown, should be re-filled to its capacity starting in late summer or early fall, and, open to trout fishing by 2017.
As bulldozers and pay loaders put the finishing touches on the spillway at Leaser Lake today, Cunningham stood lakeside and gave the gathered media an update on the progress of the work being done to the leaking dam at the lake.
The lake, which was opened in 1971, was recently closed as water was leaking out of the dam. Contractors have since updated the spillway and will re-construct the underground portion of the lake that was leaking.
Cunningham reiterated that dam repairs were estimated at $3.31 million and through a concerted effort by the state and its $2.81 million contribution, another $1.25 million from Growing Greener II initiative, $1.56 million from the state capital budget and $500,000 from the county, the work has progressed and is nearing completion by the end of this summer or early fall.
In attendance was Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission Executive Director John Arway, who said the lake should be open to trout fishing by 2017, as it will be stocked in 2016.
Arway said his agency will initially stock fingerling largemouth bass, catfish, crappie, sunfish and shiners and that the lake will be treated as a Big Bass Lake with a 15-inch creel size limit.
Subsequent stockings will be with pickerel, walleye, trout and yes, musky.
I expressed to Arway the consensus among local anglers that musky’s were believed to be the reason fishing was never really good at the lake because they ate everything that swam with their voracious appetites. Arway smiled and admitted that as a predator fish, musky will eat some trout but there should be ample amounts of forage fish for them to consume instead.
It was subsequently pointed out by Cunningham that peripheral work is also being done on fish habitat as evidenced by the arrays of wooden stakes embedded in the lakes’ bottom and side walls. And not far from the dam itself, is the beginning of a rock and stone-structured fishing pier that will enable shore anglers to reach deep, fish-holding water.
Until the lake is open to fishing, Cunningham said the area is available to hikers, bikers, picnikers and soon, boaters.
Additional updates can be had by attending Leaser Lake Heritage Foundation meetings that are held monthly in New Tripoli. For information on them check www.leaserlakeheritage.org.
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