Chapman trout stocking delayed

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry While work on the concrete spillway is “just about done”, at least two scheduled trout stockings are suspended due to ongoing work.

Construction on the dam at Chapman State Park will shelve not one – but at least two – trout stockings in 2019.

The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission schedules last week stated that an April 4 stocking of rainbow and brown trout has been canceled “due to the ongoing drawdown and dam repairs…”

Two additional stockings were scheduled – May 20 and Dec. 10.

But Tyson Martin, park manager, told the Times Observer that the “PFBC has suspended the May 20 stocking for Chapman Lake as well.”

Though the May stocking has been canceled, a Memorial Day opening of the beach and lake is still on the table.

“Memorial Day is still a hopeful opening,” Martin said, “but each day that passes brings us closer to that date without a completed project.”

While Martin said the “concrete spillway is just about done” and that “work, in general, has been ongoing.”

“But the a (roller-compacted concrete) to army the dam has still not begun and I’m hopeful it will begin soon. By April 1 if not before.”

The Times Observer previously reported that the park – with the exception of one parking lot – could be opened before the contract is complete if the contractors conclude they will not need to further draw down the level of the lake.

“The contractors have not indicated when they won’t need to draw down the lake anymore,” Martin said. “A lot depends on weather and instrumentation sub contractors, as well as others.”

According to Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Fisheries Biologist Brian Ensign, it is likely that trout stocking will take place in the winter of 2019.

The lake is considered a “stock trout fishery,” he said. “We heavily stock that. We want to allow that to happen for our anglers.”

But, the lake also had a variety of other species.

“It’s always been a really good bass lake,” Ensign said. In a 2004 survey, bass as long as 17 inches were found in the lake.

“We have a plan to stock warm water species in there,” he said. “We put some forage species in first — golden shiners and fathead minnows. That’s immediate food source so when we start stocking the game species they’ll have something to eat.”

With the exception of trout — which are put in specifically to be caught — the lake will be strictly catch-and-release fishing for a few years.