WCO Report for Erie and Crawford County 05/29/02: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: May 29, 2002

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Posted by WCO John Bowser on May 29, 2002 at 05:29:47:

Western Erie County / WCO John Bowser & DWCO Randy G. Leighton

Smallmouth fishing in Presque Isle Bay and along the shoreline east of the Erie Channel has been spectacular. Anglers targeting bass have been doing well close to shore off of International Paper in 12 to 15' of water. Caution should be used in shallow water anywhere along the lakeshore due to large submerged rocks and scattered wreckage. Fish in the 4-5 LB. range have been caught with 2 and 3 LB. fish being the norm. Salted tubes on weighted jigs are the bait of choice with pumpkin seed, chartreuse, purple, and the brown shades being most popular. Carolina rigs fished off the bottom will work well too. When the fish are finicky, try changing to your crank baits in chartreuse and silver. Rattle Traps (The weighted type) are a good all around crank bait and can be found in a variety of colors. (Patrols this Monday & Tuesday found anglers with 100+ Bass hookups in 15' of water close to the Ohio Line around 80:30.9 on the GPS.

Pike angling has been great. Not many fish put up a better fight pound for pound. Presque Isle Bay offers some of the best Pike fishing in the country with plenty of trophies waiting to be caught. Pike generally aren't too fussy...generally anything shiny will attract their attention. Silver flatfish lures and chrome rattle traps are great choices. Pike also love live shiners (the larger, the better) suspended under a float. Strong line or a steel leader is a good idea to keep their razor sharp teeth from snapping your line.
The area in front of the Chestnut Street launch and outside the Cherry Street Marina have been hot Pike spots.

Law Enforcement:
Officers have found many early season safety violations on the water. Lack of, or non serviceable PFDs have been a common problem along with discharged fire extinguishers. Check your equipment carefully. Just because your gear was in great shape last year doesn't mean it is safe this season. Fire extinguishers can leak pressure and PFDs put away wet can become mildewed and unserviceable. Winter critters love the stuffing as well. Compressed air horns can leak and visual distress signals (flares) have expiration dates on them. Trailer lights put away full of water will unlikely work the following season. Be sure all required navigational lights are working and displayed between sunset and sunrise. Sunset and sunrise times can be found in the PFBC Boaters Handbook available at any boating store, most bait and tackle shops as well as on the PFBC website. A quick double check of on board safety gear may save your life.

Marker buoys are now in through out Presque Isle Bay to assist boaters in identifying minimum wake areas and swimming areas. These markers are the traffic signs on the water and citations can be issued if they are ignored. Boaters are advised that specific minimum wake areas in the area include the Erie channel to the lake, Marina Bay and its entrance channel, Misery Bay and Horseshoe Pond, and areas with in the marker buoys around Dobbins Landing and Beach 11 outside the Erie Channel.

Ohio Line...
Patrols are steadily running the Ohio Line for encroachment by unlicensed anglers. If you have doubts as to the location of the line, it is strongly suggested that you buy both licenses & have a familiarization with the size & creel limits.

Tragic Loss:
Dave Small AKA: "Blue Light Special", a Walnut Creek regular, passed away while fishing in the Adirondacks. The Walnut Creek slipholder representative to the PFBC, he was a vocal supporter of improvements to the access area and a great friend to so many. He & wife Lois were always one of the first to volunteer help on any project or event. He will be missed by us all... jb

1990 - 27' Sportcraft -. 340 HP inboard Mercruiser - tri axle, Quickload trailer. The PA Department of General Services accepting written bids on the PFBC Patrol Boat until 6/15/02. Mail bids to: Pa. Fish and Boat Commission, 11528 Rt. 98, Meadville, Pa. 16335. Maintenance records available for inspection at that location. Boat available for inspection at Walnut Creek Access, foot of Manchester Road, Fairview, Pa. Bidder's point of contact must accompany bid.

Fish for Free Day - Saturday, June 1, 2002
Take a child fishing... the thrill of their first fish will have you remembered for the child's lifetime.

Central Erie County / WCO Tom Edwards
Smallmouth Bass are being targeted north of Hammermill and east to Shades Beach with some good success. One fisherman that I spoke with the other day stated that he had caught a couple in the 5 pound class.
Edinboro Lake was producing excellent catches of Smallmouth during the midmorning hours on Saturday. One person indicated catching over 40 during that time frame and all of decent size.

The Perch packs are forming again off of the point of Presque Isle. A recent check of several boats indicated that the fishing is quite good with perch in the 14 inch area.

Largemouth Bass are still being caught in the lagoons on Presque Isle State Park by those bold enough to electric motor back to the Lilly pads.

A new sighting for the year is the number of Carp bowfisherman seen not only on the Bayfront but also in Horseshoe Pond and Misery Bay. These boats were equipped with raised platforms attached to the bow for an elevated shooting platform.

Northern Pike are still being picked-up in the bay and in horseshoe pond and lagoons.

Remember to check the expiration date on your Visual Distress Signals, ie.. flares, before going out on Lake Erie. They are a required piece of safety equipment.

And now for the weather.
Wednesday: Variable clouds with a chance of thunderstorms. High around 74F. Winds SSW 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.
Wednesday night: Variable clouds with a chance of thunderstorms. Low around 62F. Light SSW winds. Chance of rain 60%. Rainfall near a quarter of an inch.
Thursday: Variable clouds with a chance of thunderstorms. High near 75F. Winds SW 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%. Rainfall near a quarter of an inch.
Thursday (24 hours): A few thunderstorms possible. Highs in the mid 70s and lows in the upper 50s.
Friday (24 hours): Partly cloudy, chance of a thunderstorm. Highs in the mid 70s and lows in the low 50s.
Saturday (24 hours): Mostly sunny. Highs in the upper 60s and lows in the mid 40s.

Eastern Erie County / WCO Mark Kerr
Anglers need to be made aware of recent thefts of personal belongings, from locked vehicles, at Eaton Reservoir. No description of suspect/vehicle is known at present. It is advised that while out and about you make periodic inspections of the condition of your vehicle.
Currently, we are only aware of this type of activity occurring at Eaton; however, in year's past, theft's have occurred at other locations as well. Suspect appears very adept at entering locked vehicles, primarily pickup trucks and vans, quickly taking wanted items then relocking vehicle and departing without any noticeable sign of entry.
Facility users who experience loss of property, or who may have any information regarding this subject, are encouraged to file a report with the Pennsylvania State Police (Lawrence Park) at (814)898-1641; additionally, please contact my office at (814)796-1378. All information received by this office will be held in strict confidence.

Catch reports, through the Eastern Basin, indicate that the bass are continuing to move closer to shore. Most catches are now being reported in 22'(+/-) of water; differing from two weeks ago when 27'-31' was reported.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, contacts with anglers at Lake Leboeuf have shown an increase in the harvest of walleye; with one angler, fishing in the vicinity of the PFBC launch ramp, landing one measuring 23".

Anglers wishing to spend a day fishing for trout are encouraged to not overlook the Brokenstraw Creek and Blue Eye Run, both are approved trout waters(stocked).
Blue Eye Run [accessed off of SR27, just east of the junction of SR(s) 426/27 (Garland, Warren County)]maintains cooler water temperatures due to the heavy forest canopy afforded by SGL #143. This stream is stocked, by the PFBC, with Brook Trout and offers ample opportunity for harvest of holdovers.
Brokenstraw Creek, with its varied stream topography, offers several sections of nice trout water; which only begin to reach their peak after mid-May. Those areas around Horn-Siding [walk-in-only](SR 426), Garland and Pittsfield (SR 27)are excellent choices at this time of year.

Recent contacts have shown both Benson Swamp(SGL #309)and Kidder Pond(s)[off Kidder Road], adjacent SR 6 in Columbus Township, Warren County, to be producing nice catches. Additionally, Brokenstraw Creek along Scrambling Road, north of the village of Columbus, has traditionally produced nice harvests of Northern Pike.

Anglers are reminded that June 1st (this Saturday)is a scheduled Fish For Free Day. No license is required for those wishing to enjoy a day of recreational angling on Pennsylvania's waters. Seasons, sizes and creel limits still apply; those with questions on these areas are encouraged to retrieve a 2002 Summary Regulation brochure from any Commonwealth Issuing Agent.

Pennsylvania Basic Boating Course:
The Boat Store - Northeast - 6/1/02 - 9:00 AM - ask for Ron

Western Crawford County / WCO Joe Russell
Pymatuning Lake- The lake was overflowing this weekend with campers, boaters and shore fishermen and fisherwomen and even though every ramp was packed and there was not a parking space to be had, we had no major incidents. I witnessed at least 4 fishermen towing boats who had broke down and on separate occasions and the friendliness between everyone was unbelievable. I am not sure if it is due to the good weather on Sunday and Monday or a renewed sense of patriotism or what, but whatever it was this was an enjoyable holiday weekend for this officer. Even people that we pulled over for violations out on the lake thanked us for being out there. Whatever it was I know myself and my fellow Western Crawford County officers would like to thank the angling and boating public for making our job easier. The biggest violation (most occurring) this weekend seemed to be a toss up between unserviceable fire extinguishers and bow riding on pontoon boats. Please check your safety equipment before you go out and if you have your pontoon in motion no one can go beyond the hand rails (that doesn't include the little 3" ones on the very front or bow). Perch and crappie are picking up now that the water is warming with a lot of activity being seen along the North end and anywhere there is structure along the shore and you have shallower water that is warmer. The walleye catch is remaining about the same with some boats coming in with several nice fish and others not catching any. The fish that are being caught are bigger but there are fewer of them. Worms on the bottom seem to still be the biggest producers for walleye and jigs or minnies under a bobber seem to be working for perch and crappie. The muskies seem to have slowed down or at least I haven't had any reports of catches in the last week. I have included the pictures I mentioned last week in my report of the habitat project in action. A special thanks to Dave Houser, Dave Keller (both P.F.B.C.), The Pymatuning Lake Association, Ohio Department Of Wildlife, and Pa. State Parks for all the work that has gone into making this a better fishery. The boat that is shown is the one of a kind for the nation that will dump a ton of rocks at a time to make gravel piles. The operators shown in the picture are our own Dave Houser and Dave Keller in action. The other photo is several people in action on manning boat ramp making the 50 porcupine cribs to be placed.

Conneaut Lake- The channel at the North end is seeing a lot of action with crappies and panfish providing a lot of action. The preferred bait of choice appears to be jigs and meal worms under a bobber. Boat traffic has started to pick up this weekend but is still relatively light so fishing should not be a problem on the main part of the lake yet until the weather and the water start warming up more. Best fishing for the lake is still early in the morning or late in the evening though.

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