Fish removed from lake in preparation for cleanup

September 29, 1998

Red Run Lake drainingBy RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Every year, the Rouzerville Fish and Game Club stocks 2,000 rainbow, brook and brown trout in Red Run Park Lake in Washington Township, Pa., for public fishing.

They don't stay long. "This lake is fished hard," said James Sourbier, president of the Conococheague Fish and Game Club.

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But even Sourbier seemed surprised that fewer than six trout were among the dozens of bass, carp and panfish pulled out of the lake Tuesday by club members and public works employees.

The one-acre lake at the north edge of Red Run Park on Pa. 16 east of Waynesboro was being drained for its 10-year cleaning, said Jerry Zeigler, code enforcement officer for the township.


The plug was pulled around 8 a.m. and club members stood around until the water level dropped low enough for them to wade in with hip boots and nets and begin collecting the fish.

The fish were put into tanks on trucks for transfer to the club's fish hatchery on Amsterdam Road. They will be held there until the lake is cleaned and refilled, then returned, Sourbier said.

Several good-size bass were hauled in -some weighing three pounds or more -along with a few catfish.

Many of the fish were carp, including a few lunkers and countless smaller fish, many of which slipped through the nets and back into the muddy water.

Small fish could be seen around the lake flopping in the mud. Most were rescued.

"We're trying to get everything we can," Sourbier said.

Two turtles were also brought out of the mud.

Sourbier said that while the fish and game club stocks only trout in the lake, the bass, carp and other fish are dumped in by residents and then multiply, he said.

A large piece of earth-moving equipment was brought in to start piling up the oozing sludge that filled the lake since its last cleaning in 1986.

"We're two years behind this time," Zeigler said.

The lake, which averages three to four feet deep in most places except near the spillway, where it's twice that, gets lined with silt. Some of it washes in as dirt and debris from Red Run, the stream that feeds the lake, and some comes from falling leaves. They mix in the bottom of the lake and form a thick compost, Zeigler said.

"It's a shallow lake so it silts up," he said.

The sludge will be hauled to the township's Pine Hill Recreation Area, where it will be mixed into a compost heap there, he said.

About six club members and township workers and one teenage volunteer slid around in mud at times knee-high to scoop fish into their nets.

Other club members stood on the shore to take the fish and dump them into aerated tanks.

The work was hard, sweaty and smelly. Zeigler said the sun will dry the mud and eliminate the odor in a day or two.

The lake was built in the 1930s by Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps workers at the same time their crews were building Pa. 16 up the mountain to Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., Zeigler said.

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