WCO Report for Erie and Crawford County 04/03/02: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: April 03, 2002

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Posted by WCO John Bowser on April 03, 2002 at 07:15:35:

Western Erie County / WCO John Bowser & DWCO Randy Leighton

Conneaut Creek...
The West Branch was stocked on Tuesday & Wednesday this week at the Griffey Road Bridge) with 50,000 Steelhead smolts. The Main Branch will be stocked (at Ackerly Road) on Thursday with 25,000 smolts. This will match the 75,000 that Ohio DNR is putting in & make for some great fishing for those trying to shake the crowds.

Conditions
Although temperatures are indicative of winter, the occasional sunny days and temperatures reaching the high forties and low fifties we have actually produced some indication of spring on the Erie tribs. Moss has appeared on the rocky trib beds making footing very slippery at times. Felt bottom wader boots will solve this problem. Suckers have begun to move into the tribs and can make for easy action for the younger anglers. 6 lb line, a number 10 or 12 hook, some split shot and a night crawler are all that is needed. Let the crawler drift along the bottom. The suckers will take care of the rest and they can put up a pretty good fight.

Steelhead fishing is still good with some fresh fish being caught in the 24" range. One lone angler was observed this past weekend on the lake shore at Trout Run with a calm lake all to himself catching fish after fish. Single eggs, sucker spawn patterns, egg sacs, and minnows are all popular spring baits. Time will only tell if we are going to enjoy a strong spring Steelhead run. Now is the time to check that tackle for opening day. Reels should be spooled with fresh line, and hooks should be checked for sharpness.

Smolts are all through out the tribs now and should not be confused with the stocked trout. Smolts are normally in the 6 to 7 inch length and are the future of our Steelhead fishing. Hooked smolts should be handled carefully and gently released unharmed as quickly as possible.

How to clean that opening day catch
Cleaning trout is relatively simple process and is easiest while the fish are fresh. (cleaning fish streamside is discouraged and carelessly discarded entrails are considered littering) Trout do not need to be scaled and most folks prefer to leave the skin on, however, trout are easily skinned if you prefer.

1) Hold the trout around the middle with the belly facing towards you

2) Insert a SHARP knife into the anal orifice and moving the knife upward, slit the
trout to the gill cavity. (insert the knife just deep enough to pierce the skin and
not rupture the entrails

3) Looking at the bottom jaw of the trout you will see an upside horseshoe like tab.
Slide your knife under the tab to loosen it.

4) Put your thumb under the horseshoe shaped tab and push it into the gill cavity.

5) Gripping the head with the other hand, remove the gill cavity and the entrails all
together in one downward motion.

6) You should now be left with the head, skin and the blood vein. At this point you can
remove the blood vein and prepare the fish for cooking or freezing.

7) If desired, skinning the fish is easy, as long as it is fresh. Grab the head, bending
it back breaking the back bone while leaving the skin in tact.

8) Gripping the bottom half of the trout, pull the head and skin downward, stripping
the skin inside out.

9) Along the inside of the body cavity along the back bone is a blood vein which
must be removed. Slice the thin membrane that runs along the vein.

10) Using your thumb, scrape the blood away from the fish.

11) The fish is now cleaned and skinned and ready for cooking of freezing.

Some simple cooking Tips for that opening day catch
The fresher the fish...the better the taste. Always save a few fresh fish for that "special" meal then freeze the rest. Trout flesh is delicate and should not be overcooked. Marinated the fish in lemon juice, or adding lemon juice or lemon pepper to the recipe will help soften the "fishy" taste that some dislike.

Simple Fried Trout (For 2 pounds trout fillets, skin on or off)
1 t. salt or to taste
1/8 t. lemon pepper
1 egg
1 t. milk
1 c. flour (or 1/2 c. flour & 1/2 c. cornmeal or all flour)

Sprinkle fillets or whole trout inside and out with salt and pepper. Beat egg and blend in milk. Dip fish in egg/milk mixture and roll in flour or flour/cormeal mix. Place fish in frying pan with 1/8 inch cooking oil. Cook on moderate heat until golden brown on both sides. Cooking time: 10 minutes depending on thickness of fish. Serve with lemon slices.

Grilled Trout
Preheat grill on high heat. Spray or brush fillet side of the trout fillets lightly with oil. I prefer a good olive oil. Salt, pepper, and season to taste. ( I like to put a little fresh dill and thyme in the cavity. ) Place directly on the grill. Grilling works best with the skin left in tact. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Spray or brush skin lightly with oil. Turn fillets over for 3-5 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork. Serve with lemon slices.........Enjoy

ERIE MARINA LIST (It's getting near the season)
ERIE AVONIA BEACH BOAT CLUB 200 AVONIA RD FAIRVIEW PA 16415 814-474-3900
ERIE BAY HARBOR MARINA 726 WEST BAYFRONT PARKWAY ERIE PA 16509 814-456-9415
ERIE BAYSHORE MARINE 133 E DOBBINS LANDING ERIE PA 16507 814-455-1588
ERIE CHERRY STREET MARINA 1501 PENINSULA DRIVE ERIE PA 16505 814-454-9853
ERIE COMMODORE PERRY YACHT CLUB PO BOX 3455 ERIE PA 16508 814-454-9106
ERIE PORT AUTHORITY 17 DOBBINS LANDING ERIE PA 16507 814-455-7557
ERIE ERIE YACHT CLUB PO BOX 648 ERIE PA 16512 814-453-4931
ERIE GEM CITY MARINA 26 W FRONT ST ERIE PA 16507 814-459-8184
ERIE LUND BOAT WORKS EAST BAY FRONT ERIE PA 16507 814-452-3201
ERIE JOLLY ROGER MARINA ERIE PA 16507 814-868-9997
ERIE LAMPE MARINA ERIE PA 16507 814-952-2371
ERIE McALLISTER'S MARINA STATE STREET ERIE PA 16507 814-452-1717
ERIE NORTHEAST MARINA 11950 EAST LAKE ROAD NORTH EAST PA 16428 814-725-8244
ERIE PERRY'S LANDING MARINA ONE LAWRENCE PIER ERIE PA 16507 814-455-1313
ERIE PRESQUE ISLE ST PARK MARINA PO BOX 8510 ERIE PA 16505 814-871-4251
ERIE PRESQUE ISLE YACHT CLUB PO BOX 1075 ERIE PA 16512 814-454-9164
ERIE SURF AND TURF MARINA 2240 POWELL AVENUE ERIE PA 16507 814-838-8639
ERIE WALNUT CREEK MARINA 241 MANCHESTER ROAD FAIRVIEW PA 16415 814-833-2464
ERIE WOLVERINE PARK, 17 WEST DOBBINS LANDING ERIE PA 16507-1424 814-455-8070

Central Erie County / WCO Tom Edwards

Easter Sunday was a lot busier than I had anticipated but I got around to many different spots, here we go.
The public dock continues to produce very good catches of perch in the morning. One gentleman had a perch that measured roughly 15 inches and went better than a pound and a half.
Pier 1 across from Cascade Condos showed a small catch of Crappie. So all of the regular haunts of the Bayfront are producing in the morning.

Presque Isle State Park.
Perch fishing at marina bay was fast and furious while I was there but a large number of the catch were undersize perch, not that there were not keepers in between. Same for the west pier in the park.
Crappie fishing at the boat livery was very productive with some limits being taken.
All of this info regarding catches does not apply after about 1:00 p.m. I got a chance to go and patrol the park later on in the afternoon on Easter and the fishing had remarkably dropped off.

Two recent bass tournaments at PISP have shown poor results. Last weekend there was a catch of 1 Bass which landed the fisherman first, second and third place. This weekend while I was present there were no reported catches. I should say that I did not stay until all of the boats were in but it didn't look good.

Edinboro Lake.
The fingers in Peninsula Park continue to be hit and miss for panfish but it is always a good place to try.

ERIE FORECAST
Tuesday night: Cloudy with rain likely. A thundershower is possible as well, especially early. Low near 35F. Winds WSW 10 to 15 mph. Rainfall around a half an inch.
Wednesday: A steady light rain in the morning tapering to showers and becoming mixed with snow in the afternoon. High near 39F. Winds WNW 15 to 20 mph. Chance of precip 70%.
Wednesday night: Rain and snow showers in the evening tapering to snow showers late. Low near 25F. Winds WNW 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precip 40%.
Thursday: A few clouds from time to time. High around 37F. Winds NW 10 to 15 mph.
Thursday (24 hours): Partial sunshine. Highs in the upper 30s and lows in the mid 20s.
Friday (24 hours): Chance of a few snow showers. Highs in the low 40s and lows in the mid 20s.
Saturday (24 hours): Chance of a few snow showers. Highs in the low 40s and lows in the mid 20s.


EASTERN-ERIE COUNTY FISHING REPORT / WCO Mark Kerr

Stocking duties in Northwestern-Warren County continue to take a big bite out of the weeks routine. However, here's a bit of information regarding the East-side tributaries´┐Ż
Given the amount of rain that fell on Friday (03-29-02), all the tributaries were running swift, high and very muddy. As of today (04-02-02) there appears to be some improvement in the conditions of the streams. Information I have received from local anglers seems to point to a slackening of Steelhead activity. Many anglers report that their recent catches have long been in the streams and evidence of fresh runs are diminishing. Also, many anglers have begun catching suckers, in addition to the smolts that were recently placed in many of the streams.

Lake Pleasant:
Lake Pleasant is governed under 'Select Trout Stocked Lake Program' regulations, and as of 04-01-02 is closed to fishing until 8:00 AM on 04-13-02.

Hirtzel's Pond:
Due to the cooperative effort of the Wesleyville Conservation Club, as in years past, Hirtzel's Pond has been stocked with trout. This event took place on 03-23-02, and was followed by the club conducting a litter cleanup of the surrounding area. Thanks to the club for all your help.

Warm/cool waters stocking schedule for Eastern-Erie County in 2002:
Eaton Reservoir will be receiving adult fathead minnows, golden shiners and white suckers.
French Creek (proper) will be receiving fingerling muskellunge, walleye fry.
French Creek-West Branch will receive fingerling muskellunge.
LeBoeuf Lake will receive fingerling muskellunge and walleye.
Union City Reservoir will receive fingerling muskellunge
Sorry gals and gals, wasn't able to locate any numbers or amounts for these stockings.

NORTH EAST MARINA
Open April 15 - October 31, year round public access is available. The North East Marina opened in 1991 and is operated by North East Marine Services, Inc. It is owned by the PA Fish and Boat Commission. The marina has 220 dock slips, a tackle shop, full marine service, used boat sales, rental boats, inside and outside winter storage, gas dock, picnic area and four launch ramps.
Boat Rentals - 14' and 16' Mirro Craft - 9.9 Mercury 4 stroke engine
Price: $12 per hour - 4 hour minimum (gas included) - RESERVATIONS REQUESTED

Western Crawford County / WCO Joe Russell

Pymatuning Lake- Fishing has returned to the lake this week with crappies and walleye being caught. The water still isn't warm enough for a major spring run, it was 42 degrees as of today (4/2/2002) but some lucky anglers have reported limiting out. The place to be right now seems to be the spillway for walleyes and anywhere around structure or warmer water for the crappies. Walleye are hitting on minnies and sonars being jigged at the spillway and the crappies seem to be finding minnies and jigs tipped with bait under a bobber appealing. Fishermen are reminded that Linesville creek from the mouth to the railroad bridge north of route 6 and Findley/Paden creek from the mouth to route 6 are designated as nursery waters and you are not even allowed to possess fishing gear on the banks. Boaters should also remember that the registrations for 2002 are now expired and you should have the new 2004 displayed. If the weather stays good I would look for this weekend to be very productive for fishing all around the lake, also don't forget to stop and see me and say HI at the open house at the hatchery on Saturday.

Conneaut Lake- No activity to report from hear as I was gone over the weekend for the holiday and when I checked it tonight there was no one there. The canal at the North end should start picking up for crappie as long as the weather keeps getting warmer.

Q: Do I have to register my canoe or other un-powered boat?
A: Unpowered boats, including canoes, kayaks, sailboards, inflatables, etc., are not required to be registered in Pennsylvania, UNLESS:
You intend to use the watercraft at Commission lakes or access areas.*
You intend to use the watercraft at a state park lake.*
You put a motor (electric, gasoline or other) on your boat.
* You can also use your boat at Commission lakes and access areas, and state park lakes, if you purchase either a DCNR State Parks Launch Permit or a Fish & Boat Commission Use Permit....go to the online list of Use Permit issuing agents.

Dick Snyder, Chief / Division of Fisheries Management
Q: I would like to know why trout season isn't delayed for a month, because it seems like every year right after the Fish and Boat Commission begins stocking trout it starts raining and all the streams flood. So why not delay the beginning of the stocking and the season by a couple weeks?
A: You have a very good question. In fact, the Commission staff have been wrestling with the idea of maybe two opening days for trout season in Pennsylvania. If you consider the interesting diversity in topography and weather across the state you can see the problems perhaps associated with having one opening day. If we delay stocking and the first day too much, areas of the state particularly the Southeast, southwest and portions of the Northwest will have numerous waters that will not be suitable for trout stocking due to increased water temperature and reduced flows. On the other hand if we open the season earlier to take advantage of milder conditions (air temperature) in the Southeast and southwest, etc., many areas of the state will still be under the harsh conditions of late winter. Picking one date is subject to all these conditions, and even then, whether it be with an earlier opener or a late one, conditions immediately before that date could change fishing conditions. But, as we attempt to provide more recreational trout fishing opportunity even with the same or reduced production, we are taking a hard look at the idea of a different approach for opening days for the state. This is another reason we have added more delayed harvest areas across the Commonwealth. These waters provide opportunity for stream trout anglers to get out early but fish on a no-kill basis until mid-June with limited harvest is permitted. Also, we have several dozen trout-stocked lakes and two tailwater sections open for trout angling in March when most others are closed. Early angling can occur with harvest limited to 3 trout per day. Then these waters are closed 1 April so the rest of the preseason allotment can be stocked for the mid-April opener. Part of our deliberations on these and other issues will be more formalized this summer as we enter into a "rethinking" of our approaches in trout production and management. If you have access to the PFBC web page you might have noted reference to the TROUT SUMMIT. This will provide the basis for considering where we have been with the trout program and where we might head. Public participation will be a key item in the Trout Summit. Keep checking the web page www.fish.state.pa.us
Dick Snyder,
Chief / Division of Fisheries Management




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