Local Lake Drain to Start Tuesday

By Mallory Lane

Published 09/01 2014 05:28PM

Updated 09/01 2014 07:20PM

POTTER TOWNSHIP, CENTRE COUNTY - A sad day for some Centre County fisherman as their local lake is open for the last time Monday.

Starting Tuesday, Colyer Lake will be closed to the public as crews work to drain it and rebuild the dam and spillway.

The lake's dam was deemed hazardous last year by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

While a lot of fisherman said they aren't happy to lose their fishing spot, they know it's a project that needs to be done.

"It's sad because they took the restrictions off of it and now, you aren't going to be able to fish in it," Richard Barraclough, of Lewistown, said.

Barraclough ventures out to Colyer Lake from Lewistown once or twice a week to fish for crappies.

Now, he'll have to go somewhere else.

"It's going to be an inconvenience for people that fish," he said. "There are people that canoe this, come and kayak, so that's going to hurt. I'm glad they're doing it, but then how long is it going to take to get it back?"

The state's Fish and Boat Commission estimates about a year. That's a timeline lake resident Tom Kistler can live with.

"They told us when they started that the funding process and getting everything in place would take about four or five years," Kistler said. "We've done it in about a year and a half, so we're very excited to be here."

The overall cost to restore the lake is about $6.8 million. The local community has raised about $140,000 through the "Save Colyer Lake" campaign, an effort Kistler said has helped move this necessary project forward.

"They're going to take the topsoil off the top of the dam and put what they call roller-compacted concrete, in other words, a shield, on top of the dam, put the dirt back on so it looks like dirt and they'll be done," he said. "We're very much going to miss having Colyer Lake here for a year, but this fix should last for about 50 years, so the lake should be healthy and restored and full."

The Fish and Boat Commission will conduct a fish salvage to remove and relocate the fish at Colyer Lake. They will likely bring them to Poe Valley Lake or the Howard Dam.

The commission expects the project to be complete and the lake fully restored by spring 2016.

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