WCO Report for Erie and Crawford County 02/18/2003: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: February 18, 2003

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on February 18, 2003 at 22:39:23:

WEST ERIE COUNTY / DWCO Randy Leighton

Conditions:
In spite of sometimes blizzard conditions, more akin to the Arctic, anglers are still managing to get out and get their fair share of steelhead. This past weekend we had frigid temperatures and high winds, yet a good number of hardy anglers were pulling steelhead through the ice just off shore at Trout Run. No problem keeping the fish cold once they were caught. In fact, most of the caught fish lying on the ice were frozen solid. Could have nailed them to a board a put them on the game room wall as is. Success rate was good with micro jigs tipped with grubs or waxworms and skein being the bait of choice. Anglers were fishing within 25 or 30 yards of shore between the ice dunes in 3 to 5 feet of water. Remember that climbing or walking on the dunes can be dangerous and extreme caution should be used when ice fishing the lake shore. Any rise in ambient temperatures can make this area unstable.

A few ice huts were observed on the Walnut Creek basin. Success rates there were questionable. A number of anglers were observed ice fishing the Gravel Pit Pond in Fairview with a few trout being taken The Basin and the Gravel Pit are a good safe haven from the bitter winds of Lake Erie and the Bay.

Anglers are still having better than average success on the Pennisula side of the Bay in 8 to 10 feet of water. Although I did not see limits of fish, the catches were worth the effort according to most anglers. (It's not always about the fish) Shiners are the choicest baits, although keeping them from freezing can be a challenge forcing many anglers to switch to tipped jigs.

Boating Class:
Last week's boating class was highly successful with 21 folks of all ages and skill levels successfully completing the course and qualifying for their Boating Safety Certificate. Our youngest graduate was 12 years old and the oldest was....well, suffice it to say he was older than the rest. For those of you that missed or were unable to attend this class,
a safe boating class will be sponsored by the Jamestown Lions and the Fish and Boat Commission at the Jamestown fire hall behind the high school in Jamestown, PA. This course is now required by law for anyone under 21 to operate a motorboat in excess of 25 horsepower. The course will be held March 15th from 8 am to 4 PM with a lunch provided by the Jamestown fire departments ladies auxiliary. There is a $10.00 processing fee to be mailed in with your completed test and a $3.00 donation for lunch. Preregistration is required so we can determine the meal size. You can email WCO Joe Russell at fishcop@alltell.net and let him know or stop in West Bay Boat sales (on rt. 322 just west of Jamestown) and sign up in person. There are only a few openings left for this class. Now is the time to take this course before the boating season starts.

Cabin Fever:
Lately temperatures have been so cold that only the toughest anglers are venturing out in the frigid weather. Consider spending a cold weekend afternoon getting that gear in shape for the Spring season. It really isn't all that far away and its always nice to be prepared for that unexpected Spring thaw. Now is the time to thaw out the reels, lubricate and respool with fresh line. When was the last time you cleaned and waxed that $150.00 rod and checked for loose guides and damage. Updating that fly or tackle box is always fun. Do a little spring cleaning by discarding some of those unused items and especially those items that are unrecognizable. Make your wife happy by ridding your refrigerator of all those little plastic bottles of spoiled fish eggs, maggots, and waxworms. One of my favorite pastimes is going through all the pockets of my vest and wading jacket. It's amazing what you will find and how many lost items you will recover. Hooks can be finely honed and leaky waders can be repaired. I found a disposable camera that was 4 or 5 years old in the back of my wading jacket and am hopeful that the pictures will still turn out. Browsing the local sport and bait shops as well as the upcoming sports shows to see the latest in "must have" items is can be fun however, all too often a little expensive. Of course, those long winter afternoons are a great time to tie new flies and share what you learn with friends.

CENTRAL ERIE COUNTY / WCO Tom Edwards and DWCO Bryan Brendley

Presque Isle Bay:
With the frigid temps this past week the number of active anglers were down and the catch continues to be modest. Anglers who ventured out to the cribs stated that they had one really good day and then everything just shut down. One angler reported taking a decent walleye in the bay. East Ave Launch continues to produce good numbers of steelhead through the ice.

Correction to last weeks report:
It was incorrectly stated that anyone born before Jan 1, 1982 would be required to posses a boating safety education certificate to operate a motorboat with a 26 horsepower engine or greater. What should have been stated was that anyone born AFTER Jan 1, 1982 would be required to posses this certificate. Sorry for the near heart attack of one individual.

New Laws for Lake Erie Trout and Salmon:
8 A.M. April 12th Through Sept 1. Size 9 inches, 5 combined species only two of which may be Lake Trout. This is a change from 8.

Sept, 2 through April 16, size 15 inches, 3 combined species only two of which may be lake trout.

Closed season for trout/salmon in or along Erie Tribs and Waterworks Ponds on
Presque Isle State Park From 12:01 AM on April 11th until 8:00 AM on April 12th.

Bass:
Although it is only mid Feb here is a bass reminder: Bass April 12th Through June 13th, size 20 inches, 1 limit. It is unlawful to conduct / participate in a tournament for bass during the period from opening day of trout season until midnight the first Saturday after June 11th.

The following is a small portion taken from the Lake Erie Fisheries Management Report for Yellow Perch:
It may be early for this info but it is positive reading. TAC being the Total Allowable Catch." Although a portion of the Lake Erie perch TAC is still taken by the one active commercial fishermen, the total annual perch harvest is dominated by the angling fishery (Table 2). Under usual circumstances and past practice, the annual perch TAC can be accommodated with existing controls of the fishery." The open lake yellow perch fishery has demonstrated excellent recovery from what was seen in the early 1990ís . Harvest in 2001 had increased 352% over the previous five-year (1996-2000) average. The 20 perch daily creel limit has been the primary measure in controlling excessive harvest in one of the best perch fishing seasons in nearly 2 decades. Many of the anglers targeting yellow perch attained the creel limit of 20 fish. A comparatively short trip duration (3.7 hours) during the 2001 shows that anglers were catching their limit of perch in a relatively small amount of time and headed back to shore." The primary reason for the excellent perch fishing over the last three years can be attributed to good to moderate year-class production in 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1998. More conservative harvest regulations on both the sport and commercial fisheries have restrained the harvest and should provide a more sustainable fishery over an extended period of time."


Fallen Officer:
The officers of the Erie County Bureau of Law Enforcement along with all the PFBC officers in our area would like to pay their respects to the family and friends of Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Brian A. Patterson. Trooper Patterson died in the line of duty while investigating a traffic accident in Venango County on the morning of Friday, February 14, 2003. Trooper Patterson came in contact with a downed power line and was electrocuted at the scene of the accident. It is a true testament to the fact that law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day for all of us. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Trooper Patterson's wife, his two children, and his countless brothers in gray who keep our state a safer place

WESTERN CRAWFORD COUNTY / WCO Joe Russell

Pymatuning Lake:
Fishing has slowed down a bit in the last week. Ice isn't the problem now it is all these low pressure systems pushing through the area. Even still I am spotting guys usually every day trying their hand at it and not giving up. The most successful to date seem to be down around the pines on the South end where the gravel beds were put in. Live bait continues to be the primary attractant however some jigging of Sonar's has been productive.

Conneaut Lake:
The ice seems to be good here as well and the northern end is starting to pop up with more and more ice shanties. My best suggestion for here would definitely be out from our launch ramp and just slightly to the left. There is a drop off here and in the summer months a significant weed bed. String your tip ups out along this edge at varying depths and you should do real well. This is probably one of the best spots in this lake for Northerns through the ice. I haven't heard of any large catches here this last week either however the sign of fishermen is encouraging.

Crystal Lake:
This lake continues to be hit hard and still continues to produce an ever abundant supply of Panfish. The key to this seems to be mobility, if they are not biting after a half an hour or so move and punch a new hole. Jigging with maggots or meal worms continues to produce here as well.

Pymatuning News:
Do you like to fish Pymatuning? Are you successful? Well that doesn't happen by accident, and the Pymatuning Lake Association as well as our own habitat management group and Ohio Division of Wildlife is largely to thank. They have set dates for the upcoming habitat improvement project for the upcoming season. On June 24,25,26 they will be placing another 50 tons of gravel (to make artificial reefs) and another 50 porcupine cribs. Leave these dates open and come out and help if you are available or just come out and see what is involved and thank these guys for such a great fishery and the work they have done thus far.

NORTHWEST REGION OFFICE / Assistant Region Manager Robert Nestor

New publication for our area:
The PFBC has produced a NEW NORTHWEST REGION GUIDE. This brochure highlights the fishing and boating opportunities in Northwest PA. It is similar to our statewide map but only half the size with larger print and graphics. Additionally it indicates special waters such as: approved trout waters, Class A wild trout and other special regulation waters along with showing the upper and lower limits of stocking, wild populations and regulated areas of streams and lakes. These brochures are full color and printed on gloss paper. We will be receiving our initial shipment next week so they can make their debut at the Erie Outdoor Show. There is no charge for this publication.

Go fishing, win a million:
Anheuser-Busch is holding a statewide tagged fish contest with the grand prize of $1,000,000. "Catch Big Jake" is an angler sweepstakes whereby "BIG JAKE" is the grand prize fish. If caught BIG JAKE is worth $1,000,000. Anheuser-Busch under the Busch Brand will "tag" individual fish of appropriate game fish species. These fish will be placed into different bodies of water across the United States. The tag will contain information that the angler has won either the grand prize of $1 million or a second prize of $1000. A prize fish will be placed in every body of water participating in the program. The grand prize, BIG JAKE will be randomly seeded in one of the bodies of water participating. To participate anglers must be 21 years of age or older and comply with all state fishing regulations. Program runs through May 2003. Anglers should contact Winston & Strawn at 312-558-6149 in order to claim their prize for catching a tagged fish. Unfortunately, PFBC employees are exempt from claiming the $1 million grand prize after catching BIG JAKE, obviously they have seen us fish or at least heard our fish tales.

EAST ERIE COUNTY / WARREN COUNTY / WCO Mark Kerr

Anglers are doing fair to good on Lake Pleasant.

Thursday:
Mostly sunny. Highs near 40
Thursday night:
Increasing cloudiness with a chance of rain. Lows in the lower 30s.
Chance of rain 50 percent.
Friday:
Rain likely. Highs in the mid 40s. Chance of rain 60 percent.
Friday night:
Rain likely. Lows in the mid 30s. Chance of rain 70 percent.
Saturday:
Snow or rain likely. Breezy. Daytime temperatures steady in the mid 30s.
Sunday:
Snow likely. Lows in the upper teens and highs in the mid 20s.
Monday:
Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid teens and highs in the upper 20s.
Tuesday:
Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid teens and highs 20 to 25.





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