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Protecting Northeast Ohio's Wetlands

KENT, OH – Ohio State Nature Preserves are beautiful natural areas where many of the state’s endangered species are thriving and rare geologic features are protected, thanks to the generosity of Ohioans who have donated a portion of their state tax refunds to the State Nature Preserves Fund.

Donations to this fund protect the best of Ohio’s natural areas, including bogs and fens, prairies, old growth forests and rare geologic formations. The fund supports new land purchases, educational opportunities and scientific research. Tax refund donations are also critical for enabling preserve managers to battle invasive plant species threatening native habitats.

Across the state, 136 state nature preserves, totaling 30,000 acres, are open year-round for the enjoyment and benefit of all Ohioans. In northeast Ohio, donations help preserve Ohio’s remaining bogs and fens, which are rare and unique wetlands. The Cooperrider-Kent Bog State Nature Preserve, located outside of Kent in Portage County, is an excellent example of how tax refund donations can benefit Ohio’s natural areas.

In 1985, Cooperrider-Kent Bog was the first state nature preserve to be purchased with funds donated by the citizens of Ohio through the State Nature Preserves tax refund donation program. Since then, tax refund donations have helped to fund the installation of a half-mile boardwalk trail, parking area, interpretive signage and a new entrance sign for the preserve.

The preserve is a living relict formed during the most recent glacial period ending some 12,000 to 16,000 years ago. During the glacier’s retreat northward, a huge block of ice likely broke free from the main glacier and came to rest at the preserve site. The ice block eventually melted, forming a deep kettle-hole lake about 50 acres in size.

As the climate warmed, plants more common to northern Canada colonized the lake shoreline, encroaching upon the open waters, and a lush carpet of sphagnum moss blanketed the lake, forming a lovely bog meadow.

Cooperrider-Kent Bog supports one of the largest southernmost stands of tamarack (Larix laricina) in the continental United States. This tree was important to Native Americans who used the roots to make both cordage, which was used to sew plates of birch bark to canoes, and medicinal tea. It is also unusual in that, unlike most conifers, it is deciduous; its needles turn bright yellow before dropping in mid-November.

In addition, Cooperrider-Kent Bog protects many other important boreal species, including the state-threatened small cranberry, tawny cotton-grass and few-seeded sedge.

Visiting the Cooperrider-Kent Bog State Nature Preserve is easier to access and enjoy because of Ohioans’ donations to the State Nature Preserve Fund. It’s easy to become a partner in future preservation projects at Ohio’s state nature preserves.

Ohioans can donate all or a part of their state income tax refund by making a contribution on line 26c of the 2015 Universal IT 1040 Income Tax Return. To learn more about becoming a partner in preservation or visiting any of Ohio’s 136 state nature preserves, visit naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.


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Protecting Northwest Ohio's Unique Wetlands

MONCLOVA, OH – Ohio State Nature Preserves are beautiful natural areas where many of the state’s endangered species are thriving and rare geologic features are protected, thanks to the generosity of Ohioans who have donated a portion of their state tax refunds to the State Nature Preserves Fund.

Donations to this fund protect the best of Ohio’s natural areas, including bogs and fens, prairies, old growth forests and rare geologic formations. The fund supports new land purchases, educational opportunities and scientific research. Tax refund donations are also critical for enabling preserve managers to battle invasive plant species threatening native habitats.

Across the state, 136 state nature preserves, totaling 30,000 acres, are open year-round for the enjoyment and benefit of all Ohioans. In northwest Ohio, donations help preserve one of the rarest and most significant natural areas in the Midwest—the Oak Openings Region, which is a 130-square-mile region featuring a landscape of wet prairies, oak savannas and sand barrens that developed on sand and clay deposited by glacial Lake Warren, the ancient predecessor of present day Lake Erie.

Louis W. Campbell State Nature Preserve, a rare and beautiful example of this region, preserves a variety of rare habitats including wet prairie and sedge meadows, swamp forest, sand barrens and oak savannas. The site protects more than 40 state-listed rare species. Located 10 miles west of Toledo in Lucas County, it is an excellent example of how tax refund donations can benefit Ohio’s natural areas.

A newly constructed observation deck overlooking the marsh offers visitors a chance to glimpse native waterfowl and the vibrant wetland sedge meadow. This and other amenities including the parking area, interpretive signage and 2.3 miles of trail were made possible by donations to the State Nature Preserves Fund.

In recent years, donations have also supported ongoing restoration and invasive species management at the preserve. Removing non-native plants and using prescribed burns allow the native plant community to thrive, while re-establishing the globally rare habitats. This, in turn, benefits endangered wildlife, including the frosted elfin and silver-bordered fritillary butterflies, which thrive at Louis W. Campbell State Nature Preserve.

Lovely in any season, the preserve is especially beautiful in late-spring. Rare plant communities thrive, providing a parade of colors for visitors, including the blaze of purples from wild lupine as well as the pinks, purples and yellows from plains puccoon, grass-pink orchid, spathulate-leaved sundew, Canada frostweed, blue flag iris and lance-leaved violet.

Visiting the Louis W. Campbell State Nature Preserve is easier to access and enjoy because of Ohioans’ donations to the State Nature Preserve Fund. It’s easy to become a partner in future preservation projects at Ohio’s state nature preserves.

Ohioans can donate all or a part of their state income tax refund by making a contribution on line 26c of the 2015 Universal IT 1040 Income Tax Return. To learn more about becoming a partner in preservation or visiting any of Ohio’s 136 state nature preserves, visit naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.


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Ohio Spring Turkey Season Begins April 22

English: Eastern Wild Turkey

English: Eastern Wild Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

COLUMBUS, OH – The start of spring ushers in Ohio’s annual wild turkey hunt, and hunters can enjoy the warmer weather in pursuit of this popular game bird. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), the 2013 Ohio spring hunting season opens Monday, April 22, with the youth wild turkey season opening Saturday and Sunday, April 20-21.

“Ohio has a good population of wild turkeys and offers some great opportunities for a spring hunt,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “The wild turkey is a true conservation success story in Ohio, and we hope to continue to build on our turkey hunting tradition.”

The 2012 hatch should produce more jakes (1-year-old male turkeys) this year and will help offset the poor 2011 hatch. However, the woods may be quieter with fewer 2-year-old toms (male turkeys). These turkeys are generally the most vocal gobblers and readily located by hunters.

Hunters harvested 17,657 wild turkeys during the 2012 youth and spring turkey seasons. The total checked in 2011 was 18,162 wild turkeys.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife anticipates as many as 70,000 licensed hunters, not counting exempt landowners hunting on their own property, will enjoy Ohio’s popular spring wild turkey season before it comes to a close on Sunday, May 19. The spring and youth turkey seasons are open statewide with the exception of Lake La Su An Wildlife Area in Williams County, which requires a special hunting permit.

In a new tagging procedure implemented this year, hunters will need to make their own game tag to attach to a wild turkey. Game tags can be made of any material (cardboard, plastic, paper, etc.) as long as it contains the hunter’s name, date, time and county of the kill. Go to the Turkey Hunting Resources page at wildohio.com for more information on changes to the game check process.

All hunters must report their turkey harvest using the automated game check system. Hunters have three options to complete the game check:

Game-check transactions are available online and by telephone seven days a week and during holidays. Landowners exempt from purchasing a turkey permit, and any other person not required to purchase a turkey permit, cannot use the phone-in option.

Hunters are required to have a hunting license and a spring turkey-hunting permit. The spring season bag limit is two bearded turkeys. Hunters can harvest one bearded turkey per day, and a second spring turkey permit can be purchased at any time throughout the spring turkey season. Turkeys must be checked by 11:30 p.m. the day of harvest.

The youth-only turkey hunt is April 20-21 for those possessing a valid youth hunting license and youth turkey permit. Youth hunters must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult, 18 years of age or older.

Legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until noon from April 22-May 5. Hunting hours from May 6-19 will be a half-hour before sunrise to sunset. Legal hunting hours are one half-hour before sunrise to sunset during the two-day youth season.

Hunters may use shotguns, longbows and crossbows to hunt wild turkeys. It is unlawful to hunt turkeys using bait, live decoys or electronic calling devices, or to shoot a wild turkey while it is in a tree. The ODNR Division of Wildlife advises turkey hunters to wear hunter orange clothing when entering, leaving or moving through hunting areas in order to remain visible to others.

Wild turkey breeding activity is primarily controlled by the increasing amount of daylight. Hens typically start incubating eggs around May 1 in Ohio. Ohio’s current wild turkey population is approximately 180,000.

Ohio’s first modern day wild turkey season opened in 1966 in nine counties, and hunters checked 12 birds. The total number of checked turkeys topped 1,000 for the first time in 1984. Turkey hunting was opened statewide in 2000.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.

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Ohio State Oarks Free Camping April 18th

English: Turtlehead Cave in Strouds Run State Park

English: Turtlehead Cave in Strouds Run State Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

COLUMBUS, OH – Pull out the camping gear, grab the makings for s’mores and leave the wallet at home for a night of free camping with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The night of free camping will be available at 54 campgrounds within Ohio State Parks on Thursday, April 18.

“I want to encourage Ohioans to start their weekend early by camping at one of our Ohio State Parks campgrounds for free,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “This is an excellent opportunity for families to explore new parts of Ohio and find out what is available within our state parks system.”

For this promotion, campers can make a free reservation for a stay that includes the Free Camping Day. To make the reservation, people must call the Ohio State Parks Reservation Call Center at866-644-6727. Customers can also reserve online but will pay the standard reservation fee. Walk-ins are also welcome on April 18, but space is limited.

For more information about Ohio State Parks campground availability, reservations and amenities, go to: http://bit.ly/freecamping.

This promotion will not be available at Jackson Lake State Park or Strouds Run State Park, as these are concession-operated campgrounds.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.com.

 

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2013 Walleye Migration Underway on Maumee and Sandusky Rivers

 

Daily bag limit is four walleye until April 30

COLUMBUS, OH – The annual appearance of migrating walleye in the Maumee and Sandusky rivers brings fantastic spring fishing opportunities,

according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

An annual phenomenon in northwest Ohio occurs each spring when a portion of Lake Erie’s walleye population moves up the Maumee and Sandusky rivers to spawn. Although the fish caught represent a small portion of all Lake Erie walleye, the run brings hundreds of thousands of fish within casting distance of eager shore anglers.

Sunset on Lake Erie seen through a fishing net.

Walleye spawning normally occurs in these rivers anytime from mid-March through mid-April, but the peak activity usually occurs the first week of April when the water temperatures range from 40 to 50 degrees. Moderately-high water also increases the number of walleye in the rivers, especially if river temperatures are warmer than lake temperatures.

The best fishing areas in the Maumee River are from Orleans Park in Perrysburg upstream to the end of Jerome Road in Lucas County. Sandusky River anglers will find better success from Brady’s Island to Rodger Young Park in the city of Fremont. Fishing is prohibited upstream from Rodger Young Park to the Ballville Dam.

Anglers are reminded the bag limit for Lake Erie and its tributaries is four walleye until April 30. Anglers are also reminded that there is a year-round 15-inch length limit for walleye on Lake Erie and its tributaries to the first dam or designated landmark. Anglers can see the latest on the walleye biteor review the 2013-2014 Ohio Fishing Regulations at wildohio.com.

Fishermen who are wading also need to ensure they are prepared to experience an unexpected cold water immersion and should consider wearing a flotation device as well as fish with a partner. Though most anglers wade in the rivers while walleye fishing, some choose to fish from boats. ODNR advises boat anglers to always properly wear life jackets, take precautions against overloading their boats and capsizing, be well dressed to avoid the onset of hypothermia and be prepared to handle any emergency. Boats should never be anchored off the stern.

Special regulations are in effect for Maumee and Sandusky river walleye fisheries during March and April. Fishing is only allowed between sunrise and sunset in specified areas, and treble hooks are prohibited. Anglers may only use a single hook that is no larger than 1 inch from shank to point. Only fish that are hooked inside the mouth may legally be taken, and any snagged fish must be immediately released.

The sales of fishing licenses, along with the Sport Fish Restoration (SFR) program, continue to fund ODNR Division of Wildlife fish management operations. No state tax dollars are used for these activities. These are user-pay, user-benefit programs.

The SFR is a partnership between federal and state government, industry and anglers/boaters. When anglers purchase rods, reels, fishing tackle, fish finders and motor boat fuel, they pay an excise tax. The federal government collects these taxes, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers and disburses these funds to state fish and wildlife agencies. These funds are used to acquire habitat, produce and stock fish, conduct research and surveys, provide aquatic education and acquire and develop boat accesses.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.com.

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March 30th: Trout Season Begins in 18 Counties in Southeastern Pennsylvania

English: Man holding a rainbow trout (Oncorhyn...

English: Man holding a rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (March 19)Anglers from 18 southeastern counties are gearing up for the March 30 opening of trout, which marks the unofficial start of the 2013 fishing season.
“The buildup to opening day is just as exciting as the day itself,” said John Arway, executive director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC). “Anglers are busy cleaning their gear, stocking up on supplies and hopefully buying a few new rods and reels. And stocking schedules are posted to the Commission’s website, so the last step for anglers is to pick the spots they want to fish that day.”
“I’ll be at Opossum Lake in Cumberland County to celebrate the reopening of the lake, and encourage the public to join us and try their hand at catching some of the rainbow trout we’re stocking there,” he added.
The 18 counties open March 30 include: Adams, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, and York.
April 13 is the traditional opening day for the rest of the state.
Visit the PFBC’s website to see detailed stocking schedules, which can be easily sorted by county. The schedule shows what waters will be stocked, the date and time, and a meeting place where volunteers can gather to help with the stocking.
“While opening day is one of the biggest fishing days of the year, it’s also one of the biggest social events,” Arway added. “Research shows that when it comes to fishing, anglers like being together with friends and family just as much as they like catching fish.”
The PFBC’s “great white fleet” of stocking trucks has been busy since mid-February replenishing Pennsylvania’s waterways with a fresh supply of brook, brown and rainbow trout. Every year the PFBC stocks about 3.2 million trout in waterways across the state.
More than 850,000 anglers buy a fishing license each year.
For the first time this year, anglers can purchase multi-year fishing licenses, including a resident three-year license for $64.70 or a resident five-year license for $106.70. Resident three-year and five-year trout permits cost $25.70 and $41.70.
A one-year resident fishing license costs $22.70 and a trout-salmon permit is $9.70. A license is required for anyone 16 and older. Licenses can be purchased at sporting goods stores and online at www.fishandboat.com.
Also, a media resources page contains web banners, high resolution photos and radio public service announcements for graphic artists and reporters to use.
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Mentored Youth Trout Day Begins March 23 in Southeastern Pennsylvania

English: Rainbow trout

English: Rainbow trout (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (March 18) — Young anglers and their adult mentors can get an early start to trout season by fishing one of 12 waters on March 23, the weekend before the regional opening day.
The 12 waters identified by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) are part of the Mentored Youth Trout Day, a new pilot project being launched within the 18-county southeast area that makes up the regional opening day.
During the day on these waters, kids under the age of 16 must register with the PFBC before joining a mentor angler, who must have a current fishing license and trout permit. They will then be able to fish on the Saturday before the southeast opener on the select waters from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Each person will be permitted to keep a combined species total of two fish, and the fish must be at least 7 inches in length. Other Commonwealth inland regulations apply on this day. It is unlawful to fish in waters designated under the Mentored Youth Trout Day without a valid fishing license or without being accompanied by a registered youth.
In partnership with Cabela’s, the PFBC is hosting a tagged-fish contest at all 12 waters during the Mentored Youth Day on March 23. Each tagged fish caught represents a prize package of a $20 Cabela’s gift card with a Zebco rod and reel special-edition set. All tags obtained during the day will need to be redeemed by mail using the PFBC’s tag redemption form. Only qualified individuals in the Mentored Youth Trout Day are eligible to participate. All tags to be redeemed must be mailed and postmarked by March 27.
The 12 Mentored Youth Trout Day waters include (by county):
Adams – Waynesboro Reservoir
Berks – Antietam Lake
Berks – Scotts Run Lake
Bucks – Levittown Lake
Cumberland – Children’s Lake
Cumberland – Doubling Gap Lake
Dauphin – Middletown Reservoir
Lancaster – Muddy Run Recreational Lake
Lebanon – Lions Lake
Lehigh – Lehigh Canal, Section 8
Montgomery – Deep Creek Dam/Green Lake
Schuylkill – Locust Lake
Registration will be accepted during March 23 at all sites, and on-line registration is available at: http://fishandboat.com/MentoredYouth.htm.
For Mentored Youth Trout Day contest rules, tag redemption forms and details, visithttp://fishandboat.com/MentoredYouthContest.htm.
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Lake Erie Birding Trail Comes Alive in Spring

COLUMBUS, OH – Spring migration will bring millions of birds to Ohio in the coming months, and the Lake Erie Birding Trail offers a great opportunity to view many rare and exciting species, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

The Lake Erie Birding Trail encompasses the Ohio shoreline and inland areas from Conneaut in the east to Toledo in the west. More than 80 primary birding sites are highlighted along the trail, which is divided into seven loops: Ashtabula, Cleveland, Huron and Lorain, Sandusky Bay, the Lake Erie Islands, the western Lake Erie marshes and the Oak Openings. The sites within each loop are similar in habitat and landscape. People can visit the entire trail in one trip or explore the trail loop by loop.

Many birds migrate north in the spring to reach their breeding grounds. Nearly 400 different species of birds have been spotted in these areas, and these sightings typically occur in spectacular numbers. A diverse group of migrant songbirds fill lakeside woodlands. Waterbirds pack marshes and the open lake waters, and secretive marsh birds breed in coastal wetlands.

Help protect wildlife and habitat when visiting the Lake Erie Birding Trail by following designated trails and respecting private property. Use binoculars or zoom lenses to get close to birds, and avoid chasing or flushing them.

Visit the Lake Erie Birding Trail website at lakeerieohiobirding.info for bird identification tips, checklists, events and facts on the Great Lakes. More birding resources are available atwildohio.com.

Birders and others who enjoy nature and want to help fund conservation in Ohio can now purchase the 2013 Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp. This year’s collectible stamp features a black-capped chickadee photographed by Sheffield Village resident Bruce DiVaccaro. The sale of the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp benefits the Wildlife Diversity Fund, which is used to protect and manage wild animals and their habitats.

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New Fishing Regulations for AEP Ponds in Ohio

English: Largemouth Bass Fishing

English: Largemouth Bass Fishing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

COLUMBUS, OH – New fishing regulations are now in place at American Electric Power (AEP) ponds and reservoirs, including AEP ReCreation Lands, Conesville Coal Lands and Avondale Wildlife Area for the 2013-2014 license year, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

Daily bag limits are enforced at all AEP ponds and reservoirs. The regulations apply to black bass and sunfishes in more than 350 ponds and lakes among more than 80,000 acres of AEP lands available for public fishing, hunting, hiking and camping in Ohio. New regulations are intended to help sustain the high-quality largemouth bass and bluegill fishing known in these waters.

The new black bass regulation is a 14-20-inch slot length limit developed by the ODNR Division of Wildlife that increases anglers’ chances of catching trophy bass. Anglers may keep two fish under 14 inches and one fish 20 inches or larger, for three fish per day (largemouth, smallmouth, or spotted bass, singly or in combination). However, anglers will not be allowed to keep any fish in the protected slot. This regulation applies to all AEP waters, and an angler’s daily limit will apply to all AEP lands collectively, and not just a particular pond or lake.

The new sunfish regulation is a 20-fish daily limit to ensure opportunities for a greater number of anglers to catch quality fish. This regulation will also apply to all AEP waters so an angler’s daily limit will apply to all AEP lands collectively, not just a particular pond or lake.

A permit is required to use AEP ponds and reservoirs. The permit is free and can be obtained from the AEP office in McConnelsville, AEP corporate offices, ODNR Division of Wildlife district offices, or any sporting goods and bait stores near the ReCreation areas.

New regulations were developed by the ODNR Division of Wildlife through review of data from fish surveys, creel surveys, consideration of management options, and extensive public input. More information can be found at wildohio.com in the 2013-2014 fishing regulations. Additional information about AEP lands is also available. An Ohio fishing license is required at all AEP ponds and reservoirs.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.com.

 

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Fishing Regulations Lifted on Meadow Grounds Lake in PA.

Fishing Pond in Fulton County, PA

Fishing Pond in Fulton County, PA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (March 5) – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) announced today that it has temporarily lifted all seasons, sizes and creel limits on Fulton County’s Meadow Grounds Lake in anticipation of the lake being fully drained within the next several months.
“We have chosen to temporarily lift the regulations in order to reduce the number of fish in the lake in anticipation of a fish salvage prior to a complete drawdown of the lake,” said Dave Miko, chief of the PFBC Division of Fisheries Management. “We want anglers to fish the water and make good use of as many fish as they can.”
The temporary regulations take effect immediately and will remain in place until further notice by the PFBC.
The PFBC announced on Feb. 25 that it would drain the lake because of deficiencies in the lake’s dam. During an inspection in December, the PFBC and the state Department of Environmental Protection found that existing seepage in the dam had become more severe.
“The condition of the dam’s structural integrity necessitates that a complete drawdown of the lake be performed so that further testing and analyses can be conducted,” said Andy Shiels, PFBC Deputy Director of Operations.
The drawdown began yesterday and is expected to take up to three months to complete. The lake will be drained at a rate of about two feet per week, depending on weather.
The lake will be drawn down indefinitely until funding can be identified and secured to make the necessary repairs. At this point, the PFBC does not have the money to make the repairs at this facility.
PFBC biologists are currently developing a fish salvage plan to remove and relocate as many fish as possible. Although fish salvages generally save a large number of fish, a significant amount will also perish.
“We will collect as many fish as we can through netting and electro-fishing, but it is impossible to capture all of them,” Miko said. “Fish die during any drawdown and salvage effort. Many hide around structures where we simply can’t reach them, and others become buried in the mud when they are slow to exit the lake with the remaining water. Anglers and the general public should expect to see this.”
The lake will remain open to public use until the water level reaches a point where it may be unsafe for anglers. At that point the lake will be closed and signs will be posting alerting anglers of the closing.
The 204-acre lake is located on State Game Lands 53 in Ayr Township, Fulton County. The dam and lake areas are leased to the PFBC by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
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