Kahle Lake Will Remain Open to Anglers, Boaters

| March 30, 2018

KNOX, Pa. (EYT) – Those who love Kahle Lake for its top-notch fishing and serene setting heard generally good news at Thursday night’s meeting at the Knox Fire Hall.

The meeting, organized by members of Pa. Fish & Boat Commission at the request of State Representative Donna Oberlander, was well-attended with more than 50 sportsmen who have fished, boated, and enjoyed Kahle Lake for more than 40 years.

Paul Urbanik, an engineer with the Fish & Boat Commission, spoke about why Kahle Lake had been in a drawdown state for the last several years.

“The standards from the Department of Environmental Protection have changed since the dam was completed in 1975, and there are some deficiencies with the spillway and seepage concerns, so that’s why the lake was drawn down – to try and alleviate it.”

But, after an outcry over the lake being six feet below its normal pool of 39 feet made it hard for many to launch their boats and an increased amount of weeds during the height of summer, Rep. Oberlander, who puts her kayak on Kahle from time to time, got involved.

After a public meeting last fall at the Salem Township Community Center, the Fish Commission agreed to raise the water level three feet.

They announced on Thursday that the water levels would remain where they were last fall.

“The spillway has remained stable, so we will keep it at a drawdown stage of 3 1/2 feet,” Urbanik said.

That declaration brought cheers from Oberlander and many in the crowd.

The Fish Commission also plans to install boat ramp extension planks later this spring or early summer. They are designed to make launching boats easier.

They were paid for with money raised by the Alliance For Wetlands For Wildlife, which is a local group that works on habitat projects benefitting fish and wildlife.

Jack Bish-Kahle Lake

Jack Bish Jr., of Friends of Kahle Lake, gave a brief history on the lake and spoke about some of the things that have been considered to improve the area, including a handicapped-accessible fishing pier, paths around the lake, and adding man-made fish habitat.

Some at the meeting were concerned about the possible reconstruction of the dam due to its deficiencies, but a lack of money seems it will be years before anything would be done, which was good news for anglers and boaters.

Urbanik indicated Kahle Lake was near the bottom of the priority list for any construction because it is s low-hazard dam, meaning there is little imminent threat to people if the dam were to fail in a catastrophic weather event.

“We still need to do a study before any work could be done, and that would cost about $125,000.00 and right now, there isn’t the money for that,” Urbanik said.

So, for the near – and even distant future – it seems Kahle Lake won’t be under the threat of being drained for construction work.

And, that’s good news for those who love to fish and boat there.

“Kahle Lake is a great place for seniors, like me, to go and fish and enjoy ourselves,” Bill Barton said. “Take that away from us, and there isn’t a whole lot to do.”

"Kahle Lake, November clouds, November 19, 2015."  Photo courtesy of John McCullough Photography.

(Photo courtesy of John McCullough Photography)

Kahle Lake History

In the early 1970s, the Pa. Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) decided a dam in the Millcreek Watershed was a good idea.

After the earthen dam was built and water began to fill it, the dam was dedicated in 1975. It took the name of Alvin Kahle, who was a businessman, community leader, and politician who served five years as a state representative.

Kahle served on many committees while serving the district, including the one who wrote the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Act.

The lake is considered a warm-water fishery that features bass, panfish, catfish, walleye, and event tiger muskies.

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