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Leaser Lake still leaking; walleye season opens May 3

These chunky walleye came from Blue Marsh Lake in Berks County
These chunky walleye came from Blue Marsh Lake in Berks County
by Nick Hromiak

Here we go again. Poor Leaser Lake just can’t get a break.

The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission has issued an announcement that they will be lowering Leaser’s water level because of another leak (seepage) in the earthen dam.

The current water level at the lake is approximately 6.5 feet below full pool and will be lowered another 6.5 feet over the next two weeks.

The spillway at the lake’s dam was completely rebuilt in 2012 however, during the refill process, PFBC engineers discovered a small seep in the earthen dam, which has kept the lake from being completely filled, says the agency.

According to their press release, the Commission plans to repair the leak between August and October and believes it can start refilling the lake by November. The lake, they say, can be raised approximately one to two feet per week depending on precipitation. To bad it’s not now when we’re getting all this continuous rain.

The lake, they predict, is expected to be fully refilled (barring any leakage) by the spring of 2015. The price of the construction is estimated at $100,000.

Multiple partners contributed $115,000 towards habitat improvement at the lake whereupon a variety of structures were built on the lakes’ floor. Partners for this included the national Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership, PA Lake Management Society, Leaser Lake Heritage Foundation and the PF&BC.

John Arway, PF&BC Executive Director said in a prepared release that although the lake is not at full level, it remains open for public use including the use of canoes and kayaks but not trailered boats because there’s no water at the launch ramps.

Leaser Lake was built in 1971 and is surrounded by 536 acres that is county owned but the lake itself is owned by the state. It is Lehigh County’s largest body of water and the only sizable recreation area in the county.


The walleye season in Pennsylvania opens May 3 with less fanfare than trout or bass season. And as far as popularity is concerned, the PF&BC claims that walleye fishing ranks fourth behind trout, black bass and panfish in popularity.

While that may be true, walleye in my humble opinion ranks second only to crappie insofar as table fare is concerned. And some anglers may even rank walleye as number one taste wise.

Fried in peanut oil, Walleye’s snow-white flaky meat offers superb eating.

Now that we’ve extolled about their tastiness, you’re probably wondering where’s the best bet in catching some. On the local scene there’s good walleye populations in Blue Marsh Lake in Berks County and Lake Nockamixon in Bucks County. The Delaware River particularly at Walpack bend area has always been a good walleye spot but because of heavy rains, the river may not be fishable for a few days and until the water level drops. You may also pick up a shad or two in the same area.

The Lehigh River holds a small population but fishing for them here can be tough as most walleye are caught by accident when anglers are fishing for stocked trout or smallmouth bass.

Best baits during the spring spawn are ?-3/8 ounce jigs in chartreuse-orange, chartreuse-green and pure chartreuse tipped with a 3-inch fatheads or shiners.

Later on when waters warm, “eye” anglers switch to small crankbaits like Rapalas and other minnow replicas. Casting to shoreline timber or downed trees be it in rivers or lakes is often productive.

In lakes walleye like areas below dams or backwaters and in rivers holes, breaklines, wing dams and eddies adjacent to bridge abutments, say the walleye experts. They add that walleye bites in spring are often very light and sometimes you won’t even know you’ve been bit.


Because of cold, wet weather the Youth Fishing Days that was originally set for March 22 and April 5 was cancelled. But the PF&BC has reset it for May 10 on 41 Commonwealth waters across the state.

So far, the PF&BC said that nearly 1,800 kids have obtained a free fishing permit to fish on that day and another 1,300 have purchased a voluntary youth fishing license.

To keep the young anglers interest, the PF&BC will stock trout at each designated water on May 9. Those waters will then be closed to fishing from noon on May 9 until 8 a.m. on May 10.

To participate, adult anglers (16 and older) must have a valid fishing license and trout stamp and be accompanied by a youth angler. Youth anglers must get a free permit by going online to or from any licensing agent across the state. For a list of waters in the program check the aforementioned website.

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