According to a 10-year stocking history of the lake, Raystown has been stocked every year except 1995. During that period, the average stocking has been over 91,000 fingerlings.
The average fish is over 10 pounds, with a lot of 30-pound fish in the lake and a few 40- 50 pounders as well.
Stretching nearly 30 miles, Raystown Lake offers a dozen launch facilities. There is no horsepower restriction. The same fee schedule as other Corps lakes applies.
For more information, visit the Raystown Lake Web site at http:// raystown .nab.usace.army.mil/ or call (814) 658-3405.
Raystown best for biggest Keystone stripers
Pennsylvania fishing map feature
By Vic Attardo
Fishing and Hunting News
HUNTINGDON, Pa. — It's the largest self-contained lake in Pennsylvania and currently holds the state record for landlocked striped bass. Can you name it? OK, so Raystown Lake doesn't exactly suffer from a lack of recognition or a dearth of anglers, but because it's in the middle of nowhere, anglers outside the general area often overlook it. The Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau is hoping to change all that with aggressive marketing, and they have a huge ally: the fish. Trophy potential
Troll live bait for stripers
For summer anglers, Raystown has an excellent population of largemouth and smallmouth bass, tackle-busting catfish and plenty of species of panfish. Yet Raystown is not known for these. Instead, it's the striped bass that draws anglers to its shores. Stripers to 50 pounds have been caught in its 8,300 acres, and the state record 53-pound 12-ounce striper was taken here in 1994. While realistically that's not the average-size fish in the lake, 20- and 30-pound bass are commonly caught, and 40-pounders are recorded each season. Now do I have your interest? Guides' go-tos From a recent trip on the lake, I found that catching monster stripers is not out of reach of even the visiting angler. The linesides have a tendency to show themselves on the surface with thundering splashes, and their chase for baitfish often reveals their presence. Traveling with two local guides, Vic John and Denny Clapper, I learned there are two distinct ways to attract these fish to your livewell. The first is with hardware, using surface lures and jigs; the second is with live bait. John's method of tracking down feeding stripers is the more aggressive of the two techniques and often results in spectacular surface strikes. Clapper's live bait and trolling approach brings up bass when the lure bite has grown cold. Both techniques entertain the angler with spectacular runs of strong, determined fish. Fishing at the northern end of the lake, down towards the dam, I was amazed at the water clarity. In this lower end (the lake runs from south to north) light penetrates down to 40 feet. Parts of Raystown are 200 feet deep. At the southern end of the lake, where the Juniata River makes its entrance, you will find dirty water and debris. Since stripers are highly mobile feeders, there is no one spot that will hold fish through the three main seasons. The exception to this is at the dam. Still, the summer pattern on Raystown is to fish the middle lake up to the dam. Raystown is blessed with large mile markers, or location finders, placed on land-based signs, often in prominent places.
When you round a point or approach a distinctive shoreline, you're likely to see one of these signs with large single or double-digit numbers. The summer pattern for bass, according to John, is work from mile marker 15 up to the dam. This is the general area to hunt for stripers when the thermocline develops, John says. The typical thermocline is between 24 and 28 feet deep; water temperature is in the low to mid-80s. The thermocline is easily spotted on a sonar — the break between warm and cool water looks like a shaded block about 4 feet thick. John likes to work just above the thermocline with his favorite summer pattern — trolling jigs. He runs a free-line of some 150 yards behind the boat. Jigs are large bullet-shaped leadheads. Good summer colors include variations of white, silver and perhaps blue to match the stripers favorite summer food, gizzard shad. In case you're planning a fall trip to Raystown — a very wise idea — know that that pattern changes. John says that by the time the water temperature has receded to the low 60s, the stripers are everywhere. Particular hot spots include creeks and the main river channel. Prime techniques are spooning and throwing Spots and Rat-L-Traps. He recommends casting a spoon, letting it fall to the bottom, then rip it up with the rod. When the rod is at the highest point, let the jig descent on a slightly slack line. Watch your line carefully as strikes often occur on the drop. Denny Clapper's method of getting into Raystown stripers is entirely different. Primarily he is a bait troller. Using downriggers, planer boards and all the other accouterments of a troller, Clapper works channels and break lines for the not-so-obvious fish. If you aren't equipped with downriggers on your boat, Clapper recommends using a free line on a planer board. He rigs so there is 30 feet of line behind the planner board. To prevent twists with live bait, he uses a swivel and 4 feet of leader. The bait, either an alewife or gizzard shad, is adorned with a 5/0 hook. Many Raystown veterans use live trout, which can be purchased in local tackle shops at the cost of $1.50 a piece. Stow away for spring The focus of this story is summer and the approaching fall, put I have to tell you about one spring pattern because it seems so brilliant. I was fishing with Stu Tinney, founder of Striper magazine, and the veteran basser was even giving the guides some tips. Tinney recommended that as the spawn approaches, you should look for alcoves along the shoreline and rocky points. At these spots, huge female fish will sit and wait for a pod of male bass to come along and sweep them away for spawning. However, Tinney noted that these trophy bass can be worked with stickbaits and jigs. It's often the case of notching one female only at each good spot, so he recommends covering a lot of water. Another trick that Tinney talked about can be an all-season approach. Seeing how chasing boats often put down a rising school of fish, he recommends that you proceed to the nearest points and cast Red Fins when this occurs. As noisy boat motors scare off the fish, the nearest point is where they generally head. Since there are 31 miles of shoreline around Raystown Lake, Tinney's tip is worth heeding.
Raystown Lake Stripers
Nestled in the mountains of South Central Pennsylvania between Altoona and Harrisburg the lake has 30 miles of navigable water and is fed by the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River. Surrounding the lake are 118 miles of natural wooded shoreline with 21,000 acres of largely undeveloped public land. Owned and operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers the lake was opened in 1975 as a flood control project, the only Army Corps flood control project in the U.S. kept at a permanent recreation level.
Raystown Lake is a 29,000 acre project with 12 public access areas, a 8,000 acre lake, picnic areas, beaches, boat launches, campgrounds, trails, hunting, fishing, marina concession stands and is operated and maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Getting there : The Raystown Lake area is serviced by a number of major state highways, Routes 22, 522, 26. It is also about 30 minutes from I-70, I-80, I-99 and I-76. Just so you don't spin your wheels while looking at a map, the local town is called Huntingdon, not Raystown.
Lake Raystown Resort
Seven Points Marina Rents Houseboats
Lodging/info : For accommodations in the area, talk to Pam Prosser at the Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau
There are extensive camping facilities around the lake.