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Leaser Lake dam reconstruction to begin Sept. 16

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The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission has announced that on Sept. 16 it will begin construction at Leaser to repair a seep in the dam. But the agency says that the entire lake will remain open for fishing and boating during this project period.

To prepare for this construction, the lake will once again be drawn down another 7-8 feet, which, says the PF&BC, will take several weeks to complete. When this construction begins, the lake’s elevation will be approximately 20 feet below the pool.

According to Jon Arway, PF&BC Executive Director, “We want anglers and boaters to know that the lake remains open for public use. And once the area dries out, people will be able to fish and use their canoes and kayaks.”

During a recent visit to Leaser, it appears canoes and kayaks and inflatable’s had no problem launching. But a 12-foot or larger aluminum or fiberglass two-man boat would have a problem unless they’re outfitted with a set of attachable wheels that would allow anglers/boaters to walk and roll it into the water.

The PF&BC says the project is expected to be completed by late November and will cost approximately $180,000. Upon completion, the lake will begin to refill at a rate of approximately two to three feet per week, depending on the amount of rain Leaser gets.

The lake is expected to be refilled by the spring of 2015 and will be stocked and open for trout season.

The reconstruction project began in 2012 and the lake was opened to fishing in 2013. It was then the engineers discovered a small seep in the earthen dam that kept the lake from being completely filled. And the seepage, says the PF&BC, was not part of the 2012 construction project.

Since it re-opened in 2013, PF&BC biologists have begun a multi-year plan to restore the fishery and the county’s only large body of water.

Mike Kauffman, Area Fisheries Manager, says the long-term plan is to stock the lake with fingerlings from various warm-water species and allow them to grow over several years to begin a sustainable fishery through natural reproduction.

“To date, the lake has received fingerling stockings of largemouth bass, chain pickerel, musky, channel catfish, brown bulhead catfish, white crappie, yellow perch, golden shiners, and spotfin shiners,” said Kaufman.
“Bass, pickerel and tiger musky growth rate has been excellent as a result of the lake’s large forage fish population, which is comprised of creek chub suckers, spotfin shiners, golden shiners, banded killifish and green sunfish,” Kaufmann added in a press release.

And of those stocked fish, there has been one reported sizeable musky caught but it’s not known whether it was a holdover from when the lake was drawn-down for the 2012 re-construction, or from the newly stocked batch.

For those new to the Lehigh Valley area, Leaser Lake located on Route 143 in the village of Jacksonville, was built by the PF&BC in 1971 and was named after Fred Leaser who owned a farm on the land that was flooded to create the lake. Some concrete foundations exist that once was a bridge over a creek on his property and another was what appears to be a concrete storage bunker. A portion of the lake floor is the farm road that ran along his property.
The lake and surrounding state and county land covers approximately 536 acres with public access leased and operated by the County of Lehigh. The lake has two separate boat ramps, restrooms and free parking.

If you’re avid angler, you may want to visit Leaser once the lake is lowered again. At that time you can photograph any protruding man-made fish cover that was built and farm remnants that serve as fish holding structure so you know where to fish once the lake is completely filled. That and purchase a lake map from the Leaser Lake Heritage Foundation at www.leaserlakeheritage.org/fishing.map.html.

CABELA’S HOSTS NRA WEEKEND

Cabela’s in Hamburg is hosting an in-store NRA Weekend Sept. 13 and 14 with a series of firearm safety courses, educational workshops, in-store product demonstrations and more.

Plus, any current or new NRA member who signs up or renews their membership in the store, will receive a $25 Cabela’s gift card.

The free workshops and in-store demonstrations will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day. The topics include firearms safety, selection, fitting and concealment, ammunition selection and firearms and ammo storage.
Starting at 10 a.m., Berks County Sheriff Eric Weaknecht will talk on Carrying Concealed in PA followed at 11 a.m. with a Personal Protection Introduction to Self-Defense and Concealed Carry seminar, then at 1 p.m., A Women’s Guide to Shooting and Self Defense will be discussed.

Check www.cabelas.com/stores or call 610-929-7000 for a full schedule and additional information.

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