WCO Report for Erie and Crawford County 10/02/02: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: October 02, 2002

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Posted by WCO John Bowser on October 02, 2002 at 07:30:05:

Western Erie County / WCO John Bowser

The Steelhead runs continue with fresh rainfall urging them farther upstream. Elk has fish present at Legion Park while Walnut has them at least to Rt. 20. East side streams have little angling pressure and smaller amount of fish. Forecasted rains this week should make for a prime weekend.

Yellow Perch catches continue off of the point and northeast of Walnut. Best catches for all species are taking place in the mornings as a rule.


Q: Can an angler keep fishing after having 3 trout on his stringer?
A: Yes, provided he releases any subsequent fish immediately & unharmed. After achieving your limit, you cannot pass off fish, cull the stringer, or hand the rod to a friend to reel a hooked fish in. It is recommended that if you plan to fish for a while that you stringer 2 fish and then catch & release until you are ready to quit. It would be rather tempting if a new state record was caught while you were already at your maximum possession limit. Another bad scenario would be killing one accidentally making it unable to meet the "unharmed" requirement. If planning on releasing a Steelhead ***
... Don't play the fish any more than is necessary to land it.
... Do not remove deeply imbedded hooks ... cut the line.
... Do not take fish out of the water any more than necessary.
... Do not insert fingers in gill area
... Return to the water as quickly a possible.

Q: Why is there a 50 yard no fishing zone at Trout Run & Godfrey Run from 10 PM to 5 AM?
A: The regulation was put in place to protect fish returning to the nursery water areas. In the heyday of the salmon runs, the thousands of returning fish fell victim to anglers with no regard for fair play. It also provided a large amount of temptation to good sportsmen that normally followed the rules. (like the jelly donut to a dieter) It is well known that the spot by the mouth of these tribs is a prime place to be. Currently, officers have observed crowds arriving and wading out from shore at 3 AM to secure their spot & await the 5 AM starting time. Fishing in that time period is a violation but there is no violation for standing there.

Q: I see a lot of people foul hooking fish, isn't that snagging?
A: Unintentional foul hooking does occur and is legal provided the fish is released immediately unharmed. The difference between this and snagging lies in the intent of the angler. While certain fishing methods involve the jerking of particular lures, officers discerning a continued pattern of locating fish visually then ripping the line and hook toward the body of the fish will likely charge an individual with attempting to snag. Historically, we note the number of attempts, time observed, type of lure or hook, etc. Occasionally we do run across "uneducated" anglers that don't realize the spooky nature of the Steelhead in the streams and the proper method to fish for them. We usually advise them that their current tactics are bordering close on attempted snagging and provide some guidance.

… A good lantern with a shield on the streamside will provide all the light
needed and minimize spooking the fish.
… Scented baits are the ticket at night with low visibility. Try
nightcrawlers, minnows, grubs, waxworms, skein, and of course chartreuse
… Baits should be fished on the bottom.
… Lighted floats to detect strikes can be helpful.
… Heavier lines of up to 8 # test can be used at night.
…Glow in the dark Cleos can be deadly when casting from shore into the lake.
…Dress warm, pack a snack and hot drink and your favorite folding chair and
be sure to clean up your area when you leave.

Central Erie County / WCO Tom Edwards
Wednesday: Scattered showers in the morning, then variable clouds during the afternoon with scattered thunderstorms. High 78F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30%.
Wednesday night: Partly cloudy with scattered thunderstorms. Low 63F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%.
Thursday: Variable clouds with a chance of thunderstorms, especially in the morning. High around 70F. Winds NNE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%.
Thursday (24 hours): A few thunderstorms possible. Highs in the low 70s and lows in the low 60s.
Friday (24 hours): Showers possible. Highs in the upper 70s and lows in the low 60s.
Saturday (24 hours): Few showers. Highs in the upper 60s and lows in the low 50s.

CLEANING OF FISH along the stream … is not a violation as long as the head &
tail remain intact. It is a violation if you fail to bag & properly dispose
of the entrails from that fish. We all know how many thousands of fish are
caught on the tribs & lakeshore. Common sense says that a landowner would
not be happy with the odor when the sun hits them or the mess if their family
pet decides to roll in it. Violations of this nature fall under the
littering section. There are official fish cleaning stations licensed by the
PFBC for cleaning & filleting of fish on both the East & west sides of town.

LITTER … is still a problem along our streams. The sad part is that it is
left by such a small percentage of anglers yet the public paints us all as
slobs. Even though we can be proud of ourselves when picking up our own
trash … it is not enough. Because of some litterbug, you are perceived in the
same grouping. I am not saying that everyone should police the entire
stream … just take a little bit extra from the area that you were fishing in
and it will add up. Help keep our lands open for the future, grab that ball
of monofilament laying tangled by your feet or those couple empty bait

Eastern Erie & Western Warren Counties / WCO Mark Kerr
East county waters are beginning to show signs of increased Steelhead presence; however, water conditions continue at levels that are both low and clear. Twelvemile has minimal numbers present around the mouth, Sixteenmile is absent of activity & Twentymile has moderate numbers in that area from the lakeshore south through the iron bridge upstream of State Route 5. Reports indicate that your best opportunity for catches arise from fishing into the lake at the stream mouths’ and using spoons; best color combinations are blue/silver, green/silver and fluorescent orange/silver. Highest activity, at this time, is early morning as well as in the evening just before dusk.

Additional catches have been made using ‘power bait’ and egg sacs are occasionally producing results. One report indicates that a gentleman landed a Steelhead weighing in at 13# +/— while using ‘power bait’; additionally, that same report stated that a pink salmon, weighing 4 lb. 4 oz., was landed on Twentymile—this just misses that state record.

Walleye, Perch, Steelhead & Lake Trout are still being taken in East County waters. Earlier in the week, charters reported catches on the South side of the mountain while trolling with spoons. Perch are still present in the Freeport area, taken at a depth of 49’ through 55’ of water.

Numerous reports were received, during the early part of September, regarding the presence/activity of heavy equipment, and the removal of material, from the mouth of Twentymile. As reported previously, personnel from the PF&BC, Erie County Soil Conservation District and the Department of Environmental Protection have been active in reconciling this situation, as well as averting any compliance problems in the future.

If, in your travels, you notice any activity within or along any of the Eastern-Erie/Western-Warren waterways that you feel may need some attention, please feel free to voice your concerns. Messages may be left, for this office, at (814) 796-1378.

Western Crawford County / WCO Joe Russell

Pymatuning Lake- The good news is the water is starting to cool off, the bad news is it still isn't cool enough for the fish to be biting really well yet. There was some electrofishing done by DEP over the last several days up around the stumps on the North end and some fantastic warm water species were taken including Bass and Crappie. The word they gave me is the only place they were able to find fish was right on the structure and after several days of shocking no Walleye were taken. Best guess is that most of the Walleye are in deeper water, primarily on the South end or in the channel off of Manning were it is cooler. I haven't been able to speak to anyone this week who has any luck here from a boat or land but I don't think it will be long if the cooler nights continue. The lake level remains at approximately 2 feet below normal pool despite the little rain we received at the end of last week.

Conneaut Lake- Northerns continue to plague fishermen here hitting just about anything that moves according to one fisherman I talked to today. Although most of them were sublegal some were in the keeper range however they were just fishing for fun. Panfish continue to do very well here as well with fishermen limiting out in about an hour on average. Check the weed beds and back bays for these guys if you are looking for a lot of action. Bass are also biting well this week primarily on the weed beds but along any structure as well.

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