Fishermen are awaiting the creation of the main lake with great hopes. They have held discussions with members of the Power Authority on whether it would be better to stock the lake or let nature take its course. The fishing history of other large man-made lakes has been that the fish increase rapidly from the beginning, and by the third year the fishing becomes terrific. This superabundance continues for four years or so, and then the fish population drops back to a normal level.
Mr. Moses explained that along the lake there would be boat-launching places for fishermen who come hauling their boats on trailers. One ardent St. Lawrence fisherman listened to the plans but still shook his head.
"I just don't know what we're going to do when this thing is built," he said.
"What do you mean?" he was asked.
"We're used to fishing swift water," he said. "Don't know anything else. There'll be still water in this big lake."
William H. Latham, the project's resident engineer, brought out plans for the 2,000-acre wildlife management area along the southern shore of the lake near Wilson Hill, N.Y. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the New York State Conservation Department have been cooperating with the Power Authority in planning this particular phase of the project, which came about as a happy solution to an engineering problem.
When the power reservoir is filled, much of the low-lying land in this vicinity will be inundated to a depth of only a few feet. If the water in the lake dropped as much as seven feet it would leave this area exposed as a vast expanse of mud flats, unsightly, offensive and unsuitable for wildlife.
To eliminate these mud flats and to maintain a controlled water level in this area, the plans call for a series of low earth dikes. Pipe culverts equipped with counter-weighted flap-gates will permit the water to flow into the wildlife marsh when the lake rises and keep it there when the lake recedes. This will result in a permanent shallow lake with depths to 15 feet. There will be large expanses of marsh suitable for migrating and nesting waterfowl. The deeper parts would remain as open water and provide good fishing, especially for black bass and pan fish.
Conservationists in general are interested in this phase of the project because it comes at a time when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other conservation organizations are concerned over the draining of marshes. To have a power project result in the creation of such a wildlife habitat is something of a novelty.
Another 2,000 acres dedicated to sport, recreation and beauty will be included in the new state park to be created in the vicinity of the power dam and near Massena, N.Y. There will be a large bathing beach and facilities for boating, picnicking and camping. It will be called the St. Lawrence State Park, and along one edge of it will run the Long Sault Canal, a link in the St. Lawrence Seaway. Picnicking groups will be able to lounge in the shade while watching the ships go by.