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Schedule announced for new round of Leaser Lake repairs

Once again Leaser Lake will be lowered so leaking problems on the dam can be repaired.
Once again Leaser Lake will be lowered so leaking problems on the dam can be repaired.
Duane Sedlock

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) announced today that construction at Leaser Lake in northwestern Lehigh County will begin September 16 to repair a seep in the lake’s dam. The lake which was built in 1971 has had a long history of leaking problems.

Shortly after the dam was originally built back in 1971 it began to leak. It took until 1991, for the PFBC to drain the lake for repairs. Unfortunately, those repairs were insufficient and in 1999 the lake’s water level was lowered by 20 feet to minimize the risk of a dam failure. Then after the lake had just reopened last spring after being drained in 2008-09 in order to rebuild the dam and spillway, another small seep in the earthen dam was discovered. After the discovery by PFBC engineers the lake was kept from being completely refilled. The area of the seepage was not part of the $3.5 million, 2012 construction project.

This new construction project is expected to be completed by late November and will cost approximately $180,000. When it’s done, the PFBC will start to refill the lake at a rate of approximately two to three feet per week. The lake is expected to be nearly refilled by the spring of 2015. When completely filled, water depth at the 117-acre lake will be at 52-feet. The lake will be stocked by the PFBC for the 2015 trout season.

Also, today the PFBC started to slowly lower the water level by 7-8 feet, which will take several weeks to complete. The water level has been at about 13 feet below normal since early this summer. When construction begins, the lake’s elevation will be approximately 20 feet below full pool.

During this most recent repair project the lake will remain open for public use. Trailered boats still won’t be able to launch at either boat launch, but conditions remain suitable for using canoes and kayaks. Also, shoreline fishing is available, though the lake is only open to trout fishing. All species, except trout, are catch and release. It is unlawful to take, kill or possess any fish, except trout. All fish caught, other than trout, must immediately be returned unharmed. This regulation will remain in effect until June 18, 2016.

Since reopening the lake in 2013, PFBC biologists have been implementing a multi-year plan to restore the lake’s fishery. The lake has received fingerling stockings of largemouth bass, chain pickerel, tiger muskellunge, channel catfish, brown bullhead, white crappie, yellow perch, golden shiners, and spotfin shiners. Bass, pickerel, and tiger muskellunge growth rates have been excellent as a result of the lake’s large forage fish population.