Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Lyme Lake may see new bass regs

Secluded and little known, New Lyme Lake in Ashtabula County may be in store for some fish regulation changes.

Being proposed by the Ohio Division of Wildlife is a “two-fer” for New Lyme, a tree-line gem in Ashtabula County’s New Lyme Township.

Under a proposal advanced by the state, anglers here could keep two largemouth bass under 15 inches and two fish in excess of 15 inches. Presently the daily bag limit for New Lyme is five bass, each of which must be at least 15 inches long.

Based on survey work conducted by the Wildlife Division, New Lyme has many more of the shorter-size fish and much fewer numbers of the longer bass.

“The idea behind this is to allow some harvesting of smaller fish,” says Phil Hillman, fish management supervisor for the agency’s District Three (Northeast Ohio) office in Akron.

“New Lyme does have a lot of small bass, and bass can be just like bluegills where they can become over-abundant and then the size structure suffers and you don’t get any big hawgs.”

New Lyme is 43 acres in size and was created in 1989-1990 when fill was removed to build a cap of clay for an adjacent hazardous waste site.

A problem with New Lyme, however, is thatits waters are largely infertile, without many nutrients being fed into its small watershed, Hillman says also.

“We see this with West Branch Reservoir, too, and which makes fish growth more difficult,” Hillman said.

Hillman did say that anglers should not have difficulty catching small bass at New Lyme with a reasonable population of this species being present along with a respectable community of bluegill-sunfish of “decent-size.”

The lake also has a good channel catfish population as the Wildlife Division stocks New Lyme every two years with this species, Hillman said.

“There are plenty of them,” Hillman said.

New Lyme Lake is an odd-shaped body of water that includes three islands and has a maximum depth of 12 feet. There are two access points: One off Brownville Road and the other off Dodgeville Road. Each can be approached from Rt. 46 and south of Rt. 6.

The Lake is part of the 693-acre New Lyme Wildlife Area which offers seasonal opportunities for deer, wild turkey and waterfowl on the lake.

Fishing pressure is generally light, particularly from a boat. Electric motors only are permitted and there is a gravel boat launch from the Dodgeville Road access portal.

Besides New Lyme a number of other Ohio lakes likewise are being considered for length- and bag-limit changes, each incorporating some form of slot size limitations, Hillman said.

A set of public hearings and a decision on adopting proposals is scheduled for this autumn.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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