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Optimism on the rise with reopening of Leaser Lake

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 22 2013 04:34:41 PM CDT

Leaser Lake in Lehigh County has a new lease on aquatic habitation and recreation.

LYNN TWP., Pa. -

Leaser Lake in Lehigh County has a new lease on aquatic habitation and recreation.

After being dry for years, this was the first season the lake was full, but is Leaser Lake living up to expectations?

It's a question Moon Nam Pry has. For her family, Leaser Lake is a break from the daily grind.

"We have a lot of fun here with family and friends. Have picnics, go fishing," said Pry, of Allentown.

But for years, Lehigh County's only lake was dry. To repair the dam, Leaser was drained in 2009.

In March, the 117 acre park in Lynn Township was gearing up for its first trout fishing season in years, offering an economic lifeline for the Wannamakers General Store.

The store's owners admitted in March that the nearby business had struggled while the lake sat empty. Nearly six months later, the owners said it's still too early to tell if the lake's return was a boost for business.

"I think it will take a little more time. I'm actually surprised at the number of people who come into the store and haven't heard that it reopened," co-owner Kyra Henricks said.

But Leaser Lake Boats, Bikes and Bait reports its first season was a success.

For Lee Cryer, of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, the natural success of the lake his top priority. His team of biologists were electro-fishing to gauge the growth rate of fish stocked over the summer.

"People out fishing catching bass say they are 6-8 inches long. Considering they were two inches when put in in June, that is good." Cryer said.

He also said the lake was packed all summer with boaters, bikers and hikers.

The health of the lake, however, depends on the dam. Water levels are 5-and-a-half feet below normal. Park officials want to see if the dam holds over the winter. Then they will raise the lake to full capacity in spring.

Hopes are the rising tides will continue to lift business and the environment at the same time.