WCO Report for Erie and Crawford County 04/24/02: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: April 23, 2002

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on April 23, 2002 at 22:49:14:

Western Erie County / DWCO Randy Leighton

Slab crappie are the hot target in and around Presque Isle Bay. Action has been hot on the West end of the bay along Presque Isle. Anglers have been doing great wading from shore as well as by boat. Other good areas include the lagoons, the West end of Marina bay, and Horseshoe pond. Hot baits have been twisters in chartreuse and white jigged under a float as well as live shiners. Limits have been common with many fish in the 1 to 2 LB range.

Action is still good for stocked trout at the Gravel Pit and in the Struechen flats and Legion Park areas of Elk Creek. Suckers have moved into the tribs in large numbers and can provide easy action for the youngsters. Angling has been fair to good along the North and South Piers for Perch and Rock Bass using shiners.

For the angler that likes to get away from the crowds, the Stateline Ponds along Interstate 90 in East Springfield have been producing nice crappie and panfish.

Walnut Creek Access
Dredging continues in the Walnut Creek Access channel in preparation for this year's boating season. Docks and launch ramps should be up and ready no later than May 11th and most likely will be in earlier ...weather permitting. The Walnut Creek access office is a certified weigh station and is currently open on weekends providing information, fishing licenses, ice, and restroom facilities. The office will be open 7 days a week beginning on May 10th.

* Officer Award *
Officer John Bowser is in Portland, Maine this week at the Northeast Law Enforcement Chiefs conference. John is being honored as the Waterways Conservation Officer of the year from Pennsylvania for his outstanding performance and dedication this past year. This is out of a field of over 100 officers throughout the state. His commitment on and off the clock in law enforcement and public relations along with a genuine love of his work have paid off in the receipt of this prestigious award. John is always the first to credit his success to the team effort of the officers and management staff of the Northwest Region. Manager Gary Deiger and Assistant Manager Bob Nestor have often allowed John to "think outside the box" helping to contribute to the successful management and promotion of our unique area. John also credits neighboring WCO's Mark Kerr, Joe Russell, Tom Edwards and especially his dedicated deputy staff with giving him the well balanced support that has been the key to his success. Strong area law enforcement, countless hours of angler communication via the Internet and land line, key improvements and promotion of the Walnut Creek Access Area, along with a 24 / 7 availability to the public are only a few of the issues that have put John on top. On a personal note, it was John that drafted me as a deputy and I consider it a privilege to serve the PFBC and the Commonwealth along side him. We all wish John the very best for the future and continued success for years to come. RGL

Eastern Erie County / WCO Mark Kerr

Eastern-Erie/Western-Warren Stream Conditions:
Mother Nature still can't seem to settle on a predictable pattern... first it's sun then it's rain (lots of rain-- marble plus size hail too!!); for a while it's warm (very warm) then it's cold (could be snow-- might be rain, we'll call it "snain"). Anyhow,
water conditions have been quite variable over the last week or so; however, as of Sunday night, most seemed to be
evening out in color and flow. As long as we don't get any good rains in the next day or so, conditions should be optimal in the next day or two.

Regulation tip:
When fishing Approved Trout Waters (streams/rivers) please keep the following tid bit of info in mind...
>From the opening day of trout season until the first Saturday in May, the Trout/Salmon Permit is REQUIRED even if you do not intend to take and/or harvest trout/salmon from these waters. From the first Saturday in May through the end of the extended season, the Trout/Salmon Permit is only required when one takes, kills and/or possesses these species.

Opening Week Summary:
Were you one of the hardy souls who braved the weather and stuck it out to the end on the opening day this last weekend? If so, more power to ya...and, oh yeah, just like most WCO's, there's a really good chance you're a little bit
off keel (know what I mean?). Wow, could you believe that weather. Rain would seem to stop for just long enough to tease you into believing it was going to quit... then BAM!! Now you're soaked. Regardless, streams across
the district were the color of chocolate milk and, by late afternoon, most had rapids like the Youghiogheny. Even so, more than a handful of anglers reported that they had done "better than average". Throughout much of the first half
of the opening week, Lake Pleasant was the spot of choice. We estimated that just over 500 people were there on opening day and 50 + boats were on the water. By Friday (04-19-02), the South Branch of French Creek seemed to be
receiving the most pressure. Many anglers were doing well on (1) live minnows, (2) meal worms and (3) green power bait. All total, it appeared that the average catch for district waters (+/- 90% are 'inland' regulated) was 3 per

Union City Reservoir:
Good news for the panfish angler, Union City Reservoir (located on SR 6 just east of Union City) has started to produce nice yields of both blue gill and crappies, with some crappies topping off in the 11" plus range. Ok, now for
the less than perfect news... the Reservoir doesn't officially open until 05-02; that means that until then the gate is closed and locked. However, you are allowed to park outside the gate (don't block road access) and walk in... I
figure it to be about a +/- 1 mile stroll. Good fishing and exercise-- no excuses permitted on this one!

Union City Dam:
Often confused with the Reservoir, the dam (situated on French Creek, upstream of its junction with the South Branch) is located just north of SR 97 between Middleton and Hare roads, and is maintained/operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Under normal conditions, no pool exists; however, given the recent rains, a pool is currently present, extending north and east to quite a distance beyond the Old Waterford-Wattsburg Road (Juva area). Several local
anglers have been present trying their luck. Some have reported catching bass, others walleye and several are harvesting panfish (not nearly the size of those in the Reservoir); the panfish are being taken in that area just to the East
(left side looking downstream) of the outflow. All reported catches, other than bluegill, have been sporadic.
Additionally, once again, we just wanted to put the word out that the operation of motorized vehicles on USACE property, other than that main access road and parking area(s) located off Middleton Road, is prohibited. ATV's and/or motor
vehicles are NOT AUTHORIZED to operate upstream and/or downstream of the dam breast or in that area adjacent the old visitor's center and its surrounding fields.

Twenty Mile Creek and Steelhead:
Although Twentymile Creek has recently been stocked with over 1500 Brown Trout, anglers can still try their luck at Steelhead; which are sporadically present along its course. One hole, located between SR 20 & I-90, was observed to have several of each-- trout/steelhead. Twentymile will receive one more in-season stocking; which is set to occur during the week of 05-04-02. Keep in mind that the regulations here are different from 'Inland'-- 8 per day w/ minimum size of 9".

Northeast Minor Pollution:
Anglers frequenting Hirtzel's Pond, and that section of Twentymile Creek just north of I-90, owe a degree of gratitude to the quick response of local property owners who, last Sunday (04-14-02), reported both a sheen as well as strong odor of diesel fuel entering the pond from a tributary. Follow-up investigation revealed that a relatively minor quantity of diesel fuel appeared to have escaped during refueling procedures; slipping into the stormwater sewer system, only to be deposited into the tributary/Pond/Twentymile/Lake Erie... and so on and so on and so on... Enforcement actions were taken against the responsible party and, furthermore, discussions centering on long-tern solutions for minimizing this type of
discharge are currently underway. High water volume helped to swiftly flush the product and no 'fish kill' occurred as a result of this discharge.

Eastern Erie / Western Warren Trout Stockings Week of 4/20/02
* Brokenstraw Creek
* French Creek--South Branch

Any Questions, Comments or Concerns or to Report a Violation
Call the office (814) 796-1378 or the cell phone (814) 673-4650. Leave your name, number and message and I will return your call as soon as my schedule permits. MK

Central Erie County / WCO Tom Edwards
Action has been good along the North and South Piers for Perch; especially at day brake. Crappie, Perch, and other Panfish have been hitting well off of Perry's and Dobbins Landing along the Bayfront. A few Burbot have been caught off the North Pier using large live shiners. Boaters putting in on Presque Isle Bay are reminded to check that all safety equipment is on board, serviceable and up to date.

Weather Conditions
Wednesday: A few clouds from time to time. High near 63F. Winds S 10 to 15 mph.
Wednesday (24 hours): Times of sun and clouds. Highs in the low 60s and lows in the low 40s.
Thursday (24 hours): Occasional showers. Highs in the low 50s and lows in the low 40s.
Friday (24 hours): Times of sun and clouds. Highs in the mid 50s and lows in the low 40s.

Crawford County / WCO Joe Russell

Pymatuning Lake
The “Thin Green Line” got a little wider this weekend as I am sure you are aware, if you were on the lake on Sunday. In a Joint effort between Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Pennsylvania Game Commission (deputies), Ohio Division of Wildlife, and Ohio Division of Watercraft, nearly 20 officers were on the lake utilizing 3 patrol boats and numerous vehicles to watch each ramp and due boat safety checks. Even with all these officers only a couple of fishermen reported being checked more than once. A few citations were written and numerous warnings were given (probably 5 or 6 warnings to each citation). This was the first such detail this year in this area but I am sure it will not be the last, if you see us out there in great numbers just remember we are only trying to keep you safe. Fishing this week slowed down with the recent cold front that came through last Saturday but the seasoned die hard anglers were still catching some fish. Most of the success seems to be in deeper water, 7-15 feet, for both Crappie and walleye. Night Crawlers and minnies seem to be the bait of choice. Successful anglers are telling me that they are not getting the number of fish they did last year but the fish they are getting are large 17-23 inch range. Fishermen and boaters should also remember that the road across the dam is now closed and will remain closed until the beginning of July.

Conneaut Lake
Crappies are still hitting in the channels but they have slowed down as well with the cold front that is here. Fishermen are also telling me they are picking up quite a few smaller Northerns in the shallows and back bays on minnies. Boat traffic is still real light due to the bad weather so anyplace you go on the lake is halfway decent right now.

Conneaut Creek
There is still a good number of trout in this stream due to the high water on opening day and the lack of pressure since then. The few anglers I have spoke to here have reported having very good luck. The bait of choice seems to be whatever you throw at them because they are hitting on just about anything. And should you be looking for a good place to take the kids fishing this weekend I would highly recommend bringing them here especially this weekend as it is being stocked again this week.

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