WCO Report for Erie and Western Crawford County 01/15/03: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: January 15, 2003

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on January 15, 2003 at 10:57:50:

WEST ERIE COUNTY, WCO JOHN BOWSER / DWCO RANDY LEIGHTON

THANK YOU...

In my last "official" submission to the WCO report, I would like to thank the many people that have made these last 15 years so enjoyable. From the Law Enforcement staffs in Harrisburg & Meadville that have provided me the latitude to work within my sometimes flamboyant style to my great neighboring officers & deputies without whose support the many successes credited to me would not have occurred, and most of all, to the boating & angling public for their support and friendship over the years.

Law Enforcement on a "customer" base is a difficult balancing act and especially in Erie County. Protecting lives, keeping lands open to fishing, and trying to enforce the regulations so that all anglers had an "equal" chance to catch fish provided meaningful goals that made the work personally rewarding.

The future of the PFBC is looking bleak. Cuts in the law enforcement budget are imminent as well as all other services across the board. It is the time for anglers, clubs and associated businesses to let their elected officials know by writing letters that the public wants the commission to remain independent & with a sustaining outside source of revenue so future generations will be able to enjoy the quality aquatic experiences that we have.
THANKS AGAIN TO ALL !!! ... John B.

Conditions:
Erie County has been pounded with old man winter over the last week. Temperatures have peaked only in the mid 20's resulting in ice over in most areas. The Elk Creek Access area, the Manchester Hole and the Walnut Creek basin are nearly all frozen over with only the fastest moving water remaining open. Anglers can still find some open water along the tribs but fishing is limited. Lake Erie has begun to freeze along the shoreline and Presque Isle bay is frozen over with a few brave individuals starting the hard water season. Anglers are to be advised that the Viking (the large black ferry boat that has been docked on the South side of Presque Isle bay) was being tugboated out of the bay breaking up the ice and resulting in very unstable ice conditions. The stateline ponds south of Interstate 90 near the Ohio boarder are frozen over. Anglers attempting to ice fish the stateline ponds are advised to fish with a buddy and carry mobile communication as this is a somewhat isolated area.

Elk Creek Access Area:
Girard Township has now officially acquired 81 acres of the Elk Creek Access area from Reliant Energy. The land is the West side of Elk Creek from Route 5 to the lake shore. This should be good news for anglers with the anticipated development and improvements announced by the Township. The Elk Creek Access Committee which was formed in 2001 will assist in developing a plan for a proposed park on the property. Girard is seeking grants for the development of the area. The PFBC owns 50 acres on the East side of Elk Creek at near the mouth.

Ice Warnings:
As ice builds along the lake shore, so does the formation of "ice dunes". These beautiful formations occur as the waves pound the shoreline and gradually build up frozen mounds. As spectacular as they are to view, they are equally dangerous to walk on. Many of these dunes are hollow inside with open water underneath. A fall through a dune can leave an individual trapped with little chance of escape.

Ice is building on Presque Isle Bay and it looks like we will have a good ice fishing season. Some anglers are venturing out, but the ice is not fully stable yet. Anglers are advised to use caution. It was only a week ago that an unsuspecting angler fell through the ice on Edinboro Lake. Fortunately he escaped serious injury.

Safe Boating Class, register now:
Local PFBC officers will be conducting a safe boating class on February 11th and 12th from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM at the Stull Interpretive Center on Presque Isle. Successful completion of the course will qualify the individual for a Pennsylvania Safe Boating Certificate, a requirement for all personal watercraft operators. The Pennsylvania Safe Boating Certificate will also be required for anyone born after 1981 to operate a motorized vessel greater than 25 HP. (new for this year) This popular class fills up quickly and early registration is suggested. Pre registration is required To register email DWCO Randy Leighton at rglerie@aol.com or WCO Tom Edwards at Pafishcop13@yahoo.com or if necessary phone Officer Edwards at 814-864-6566

CENTRAL ERIE COUNTY / WCO Tom Edwards

As with all the other streams in the County they are frozen and/or filled with slush.

Ice should be getting decent with the recent cold snap, please be safe while venturing out. Misery Bay, Marina Lake and Horseshoe Pond are the best bets right now with Edinboro probably picking up in the next couple of weeks.

A huge thanks to the gentlemen who rescued the individual who fell through the ice at Edinboro lake.

Short report this week due to the inclement weather. WCO Bowser is retiring and all of the Erie officers wish John the best of luck, you'll be missed.

WESTERN CRAWFORD COUNTY / WCO Joe Russell

Pymatuning Lake:
Even with the cold we have been experiencing here lately the lake is still not completely ice up yet. I still have open water on the south end however all the ramps are iced so you can't get a boat on. The average temperature around here for the last three days has been around 20 degrees but with the cold came the wind so it has been preventing up from forming good ice.

Conneaut Lake:
The ice has formed here however I believe right now it is mostly skim ice and there is no real thickness yet. I would certainly give it a few more days at least before venturing out.

Crystal Lake:
The ice is thick enough here to support fishing and I witnessed 3 fishing huts out there yesterday when I drove by. I am not sure anyone is doing any good yet but this is usually a good lake for panfish through the ice.

The officers of the Western Crawford district and especially myself would like to take this opportunity to bid a fellow officer so long and best wishes. When I first arrived to this district just over 2 years ago John Bowser was one of the officers who made me feel real welcome. He talked me into doing this report shortly there after and I have been doing it every since (usually because he calls and threatens when I didn't have it in on time). I have enjoyed working with John over the last couple of years and I for one will surely miss him after he retires. He has been an asset to the Commonwealth and to the fishing and boating public of Erie. Best wishes in your new endeavors John.

EASTERN ERIE, WESTERN WARREN COUNTIES / WCO Mark Kerr and DWCO McSkimming

HAPPY RETIREMENT, JOHN
Admittedly, as I write this, I�m still in a state of denial (come on, this is Bowser� you never truly know when he�s serious). After more than a decade of �comings and goings�, John has always been the "constant" in a career of "change". To keep this brief, I�ll not tell any �war stories�, although there are volumes from which to choose. Instead, I�ll simply say "Thanks"; for in our time together I�ve gained a wealth of knowledge, watching as you "did what you did". Regardless of the scenario, you showed the ability to quickly and efficiently assess the situation, deal with it and, perhaps most importantly, send the party on their way feeling that they had been dealt a fair hand. I wish you and yours the �happiest of moments� in the days and years to come. We will be thinking of you, especially in those first boating and steelhead season that pass without your presence. Just remember to send the occasional post card; letting us know what tropical locale your sipping umbrella drinks from during that particular month. Good luck, God Bless and, if you ever get that "wrinkle in the Force" feeling� call me; I�ll be sure to check it out for ya!!

EAST COUNTY TRIBUTARY UPDATE:
Before the freezing of the streams, fishing was quite productive. Each of the mile streams had fairly "fresh" runs of Steelhead. In particular, 20-mile near the mouth was producing sizable fish near the mouth area. Best patterns used seemed to be Sucker Spawn in pink, cream, and white. Bait folks were doing fairly well using Fathead minnows. Similarly, 16-mile was yielding nice fish, but the action was primarily from the Rt. 5 Bridge down towards the mouth of the stream (I enjoyed this stream in solitude on New Years Day!). Some fish could be found holding tight in the upper reaches of the stream; however, their numbers would not justify the long treacherous walk up the stream. Insofar as 7-mile is concerned, it is quite evident that this particular water has not "come into its own" yet. Do not get me wrong, there are fish there, but not in the numbers that were seen this time last year. The two popular holes held fish, but they were holding tight to the "waterfalls" and thus were tough to connect with. A quick walk to the mouth of 7-mile yielded no fresh fish in from the lake. Pink sucker spawn did fool a fish or two while examining the stream. For those that fish 7-mile, please park your vehicles along Rt. 5 and not inside the driveway to the Glinodo Center. Violators are subject to prosecution. Additionally, further violations may lead to yet another angling opportunity lost! Lastly, anglers could find fish at 4-mile, but their presence can never be predicted. Steelhead there have a sense of humor in that one day they will be there, while the next day they will be vacationing in Canada. Once again though, when they are present, all the normal baits were successful, including the popular Sucker Spawn in pink, chartreuse, white, and cream. Stay warm and do not forget your lip balm!

2003 PRESEASON STOCKING DATES FOR EAST-ERIE/WEST-WARREN: DATE, WATER AREA, MEETING PLACE & TIME
03-13 FRENCH-SOUTH BRANCH-- CORRY HATCHERY @ 8:30 A.M.
03-20 SPRING CREEK & EAST BRANCH-- SPRING CREEK VOLUNTEER FIRE HALL (SR 426) @ 9:00 A.M.
03-21 BROKENSTRAW CREEK-- SPRING CREEK VOLUNTEER FIRE HALL (SR 0426) @ 9:00 A.M.
03-26 LITTLE BROKENSTRAW CREEK-- LOTTSVILLE (SR 0957) @ 9:00 A.M.
04-01 BLUE EYE RUN & COFFEE CREEK-- COLUMBUS FIRE HALL (SR 0957) @ 8:45 A.M.
04-02 LAKE PLEASANT LAKE PLEASANT (SR 1001) @ 9:00 A.M.
04-11 TWENTYMILE CREEK EXIT 39 OFF I-79 (McKEAN) @ 10:00 AM

CHARTER BOAT/FISHING GUIDE OPERATIONS:
In the last few days, several anglers have asked questions relating to this program. In order to be brief, we have included only the last paragraph of our initial submission from the spring of 2002, dealing with application and request submissions. If questions persist, we will reprint the submission in its entirety at a later date.

APPLICATION REQUEST/SUBMISSION:
Registered owners of charter boats and operators of fishing guide enterprises may request application for �voluntary recognition� by contacting the Commission at PO Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000; or, by calling the Director of Law Enforcement at (717) 705-7861. Applications will be subject to review by the Bureau(s) of Law Enforcement, Fisheries and Boating. The Commission may suspend or revoke the official recognition of a charter boat or fishing guide operator for noncompliance with applicable terms and/or conditions; or, in addition, when the operator is convicted or acknowledges guilt for violation of the Fish and Boat Code. The Commission shall provide and/or approve all forms utilized (i.e.: application, reports, receipts, etc.).





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