HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is alerting anglers that it has temporarily lifted all seasons, sizes and creel limits on Lake Williams, York County, in anticipation of the York Water Company’s plans to drain the lake and repair the dam.
“We have temporarily lifted the regulations in order to reduce the number of fish in the lake in advance of a complete drawdown of the lake and a fish salvage,” said Kris Kuhn, 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.”
York Water plans to slowly lower the lake beginning just after July 10 with a goal of being empty by Labor Day. The bridge over Lake Williams will be closed starting September 4 and will remain closed until the project is completed, which is expected to take up to one year. Detour signs will be posted, and most vehicles will likely use the Susquehanna Trail as a detour.
A private consulting firm, Normandeau Associates, will conduct the fish salvage operation starting July 14. Salvaged fish will be released into the South Branch of Codorus Creek and selected larger ones will, if possible based on operational conditions at the time, be released into Lake Redman. Some fish will also pass downstream into the East Branch of Codorus Creek with the discharged water from Lake Williams.
The 252-acre warmwater lake holds largemouth bass, striped bass, walleye, channel catfish, crappies, sunfish and perch.
The lake also contains gizzard shad, an undesirable species introduced by anglers. Kuhn notes that given gizzard shad’s natural sensitivity to handling, many of them will likely perish during the drawdown and salvage operations.
After construction is complete, the PFBC will stock the lake to begin rebuilding the fishery, a process that typically takes 3-5 years. The fishery will also develop from adult and juvenile fish that escape from Lake Redman, which discharges directly into Lake Williams.
The temporary regulations will remain in place until further notice by the PFBC.