Allen Lake (2006)
Fisheries Survey Summary
Allen Lake, a 58 acre artificial impoundment located in north-central Allegany County, was sampled by DEC fisheries staff in May and October 2006. The lake has a maximum depth of 19 ft and an average depth of 8 ft. It was built on private property in 1958. New York State purchased the lake in 1963 along with 700 upland acres and added it to state forest land now totaling 2,421 acres.
Allen Lake, as well as the surrounding state forest, is a high use area. There is an unimproved hand boat launch ramp, an accessible floating T-dock for fishing, a 25-car parking lot and a seasonal-use sanitary facility. The lake is restricted to the use of non-gasoline powered boats. Although boats and canoes are common on the lake, the majority of the fishing takes place from the 1,600 ft earthen dike. Allen Lake has a population of largemouth bass, assorted panfish (mainly brown bullhead, sunfish and yellow perch), and is stocked annually with 5,600 yearling brook trout and 350 two-year-old brown trout.
Largemouth bass were introduced in 1996 to provide a predator to control the abundant, stunted panfish population. The introduction was successful with year classes produced from 1996 through 2002. By October 2002, the daytime electrofishing catch for bass was 117/hr (age 1+ and older). An electrofishing survey in late May 2006, however, found a catch rate of 5 bass/hr. Although not documented by DEC, a major fish kill was reported by the public in early April 2003, presumably due to classic winter kill (low dissolved oxygen under heavy ice and snow). The largemouth bass population has not yet recovered from this event.
Panfish collected during the 2006 survey showed average to slower than average growth rates. In addition to Allen Lake being low in fertility, the loss of a majority of the largemouth bass population, which acted as a control on panfish numbers, has caused growth rates of panfish to decrease. When the largemouth population was increasing, panfish growth rates were improving. Since the winter kill die-off of many largemouth bass in 2003, panfish numbers have increased while growth has decreased.
Species diversity continues to change in Allen Lake. Yellow perch were not collected in a 1995 survey, a few were collected in a 2002 survey, and by 2006 they were the most commonly collected panfish. Green sunfish, which were common in 1995, now appear to be extirpated, as none were collected in 2006. Pumpkinseed, which were very abundant in 2002, decreased dramatically in numbers in 2006, while brown bullhead increased greatly between 2002 and 2006.