Thanks to Tim Anderson, Princeton High School science teacher, who sent me these photos of his May 25 visit to Mountain Lakes with his students to study the lakes before they get drained this July as part of the upcoming dam restoration.
Tim has often used Mountain Lakes as a study area for his classes. This year, they sampled "fish, plankton, etc." In two seines of 80 feet of shoreline, they caught "a 22" large mouth bass (see below), hundreds of bluegill and pumpkinseed sunfish, one green sunfish, white suckers, golden shiners, and one 14" bullhead catfish."
22 inch largemouth bass. This may be the big one fishermen have told me they've seen in the lower lake.
Determining fish age
My understanding is that the fish will be rescued from the lakes during draining, and transported to Carnegie Lake. Though the lakes will be restocked after the restoration is complete, I've been told that it will take some years for fish populations to recover.
I had wondered whether there might be something genetically special about the fish in the lake, since the dams have effectively isolated them from the rest of the watershed for the past 110 years. But I was unable to find anyone who thought it worth looking into.
In any case, it's good to have some information about what lives in the lakes, before they get remade.