WCO Report for Erie and Crawford County 03/18/2003: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: March 19, 2003

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on March 19, 2003 at 07:46:51:

WEST ERIE COUNTY, WCO Brook Tolbert / DWCO Randy Leighton

Warm temperatures continue to melt down nearly all the ice along the West County tribs. Large walls of broken ice are scattered along the mouths with water flowing high and stained. Run off will keep the tribs high for a few days as the snow in the southern parts of the county continues to burn off. Steelhead are being caught with varying degrees of success with anglers exploring all the popular areas in search of fresh fish. Successful catches this past weekend were observed on Elk Creek south of sewage plant to the railroad trestle. Brightly colored jigs and egg patterns along with shiners and egg sacs are popular baits in the stained conditions. The Legion Park holes were high and open and should be a good spot to try this weekend. Walnut Creek is open and anglers were scattered along the Project waters. Small groups of anglers have been gathering at the Manchester Hole and the big crowds should be returning as the high water levels subside and fresh fish move in.

Anglers had great success off of Trout Run on Lake Erie through the ice. Many of the fish caught off the mouth were fresh and may be an indication of staging activity for a good Spring run. Only time will tell. A reminder that at this time, anglers should be 50 yards from the mouth of Trout Run between the hours of 10:00 PM and 5:00 AM. Although the ice remains thick on the Lake, it is thinning out fast along the shoreline and should be considered unstable in all areas. There is a good amount of open water at the mouth of Trout Run and several nice catches were observed this past weekend. Water at the mouth was stained but very fishable with shiners and egg sacs doing the job.

Ice at the Gravel Pit Pond and the Stateline Ponds just south of I-90 is getting very thin and should now be considered unsafe.

Upper Gravel Pit Pond reminder:
The Fairview Gravel Pit Pond and Lake Pleasant are open at this time to fishing under the Select Trout Stocked Lake Program until March 31, 2003. These areas are closed to fishing from April 1st, 2003 until April 12th, 2003 at 8:00 AM. (The opening day of Trout Season)

Walleye Reminder:
Walleye season is currently closed on on Lake Erie until May 3, 2003. This regulation was instituted last year to curtail walleye fishing on the Lake during the spring spawning period.


Central Erie County Tribs:
Finally some nice weather has broken the ice which has jammed up the Lake Erie Tribs. On a recent visit to Cascade Creek there were Steelhead up to the old visitor center with one gentleman taking a nice 30 inch plus trophy. Four-mile is or was as of Sunday still packed with ice to the golf course but wide open and running fast on the downstream side.

Presque Isle Bay:
This was probably the last foray out onto the ice for most anglers this past week. The U.S. Coast Guard, Erie Branch has deemed Presque Isle Bay and Lake Erie unsafe. One individual and two friends spent over four hours on the ice on Saturday and managed only 4 keepers for Perch. The Erie Channel is now completely open and with the warmer weather, there were a number of people fishing the piers this past weekend.

Presque Isle State Park:
A reminder to those visiting the park to stay off of the Ice Dunes which form on the Lake Erie side of Presque Isle State Park. Rangers have been busy removing persons from the Ice Dunes, with the increased temperatures these Dunes become less stable by the day. Ice Dunes have sand mixed in with the ice and become very dangerous for those who venture out onto them, this is also a violation of State Park regulations.

Basic Boating Class:
Here we go again with another boating class being offered in Edinboro on May 14th and 15th. The class will be at the Edinboro Fire Hall and preregistration can be accomplished by calling Matt Segran at (814) 881-8715. Classes will run from 6 P.M. until 10 P.M. on both nights.

Stocking News:
The waterworks ponds on Presque Isle State Park (also known as East and West Basin) will be stocked on April 10th, 2003. Meeting place will be at the Niagra boat launch approximately 1/2 mile past the park office.

Early Boating Season Reminder:
While on the bayfront this past weekend I saw some of the marinas checking over the stored vessels and moving some around. Although boating is still a little while a way it may be a good time to check all of your equipment for the upcoming season. Personal Flotation Devices should be in good shape with no rips or tears evident. Flares which have expired should be replaced and fire extinguishers should be checked and assured to be in serviceable condition. Also one thing to remember is that registration of motorboats expires on March 31st, so if you have a 2003 registration on your motorboat it will only be good until the end of March.


Pymatuning Lake:
Crappie and perch were being caught over the weekend and plenty of them. The Crappie averaged about 13" and the perch were in the 10" range. The best place for success was off of Tuttle point campground in about 15' of water in the old river bed just west of the boat ramp. The most success was on minnies, either jigging or tip-ups. The spillway has been producing fish as well with Carp, Crappie, Perch and Walleye being caught here. I spoke to one fisherman that said he had limited out there the day before but hadn't been able to hook into any Walleyes the day I checked him. Minnies under a bobber about 2 feet down seem to be what will produce here or tip a jig with a minnie under a bobber and it should produce. Space here is very limited though and you may have a time finding someplace good as it is the only open water in the lake right now. As of Sunday there was about 12 inches of ice near red cross at the north end of the lake but with the days in the 70's there is no telling how long that will last.

Conneaut Lake:
I haven't seen much action out on the lake this last week possibly do to the warming weather. I am not sure how the ice is here but the South end has a good amount of open water.

I am getting questions from fishermen that are worried now that they have closed the Linesville open house. The concern is because of all the ice they won't be able to set the nets in time to get the Walleye before they spawn under the ice. I spoke to the hatchery yesterday and they assured me that it would not be a problem. Yes, some of the Walleye may spawn under the ice but not all of them will and they will still be able to meet their goals with eggs. It will just make for a more hectic work week for the hatchery employees once the ice finally does decide to go off.


FISHING Derbies on 7 Mile:
Anglers are asked to take notice that the Wesleyville Conservation Club has submitted requests for PFBC Special Activities Permits regarding 7-mile Creek (SR 5 through Lake Erie; Glinodo Center), for the dates of May 03, 07 & 10 of 2003. These derbies are to be held in conjunction with Big Brothers / Big Sisters, Harborcreek Youth Services & "Get Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs" (sponsored by the North East School District); respectively. Hours of operation will vary; however, they will generally run during daylight hours, roughly, 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. Species of fish targeted will be trout. These trout will not be stocked by the PFBC. Direct inquiries regarding participation should be made through Ron Dombrowiak, President of the Wesleyville Conservation Club, at (814) 725-1304. As these derbies are for the involvement of youth into the fishing ranks, it is strongly requested that anglers who anticipate being in this area, on those referenced dates, adhere to the ‘Anglers Code of Ethics’ by giving this stream section a wide berth. Thanks for your cooperation.

Trout Stockings for the weeks of 03-17-03 and 03-24-03:

03-20-03 Spring Creek & Spring Creek-East Branch
Spring Creek Volunteer Fire Department (SR 426) at 9:00 a.m.

03-21-03 Brokenstraw Creek
Spring Creek Volunteer Fire department (SR 426) at 9:00 a.m.

03-26-03 Little Brokenstraw Creek
SR 957 in the village of Lottsville at 9:00 a.m.

03-28-03 Blue Eye Run & Coffee Creek
Columbus Volunteer Fire Department (SR 957) at 8:45 a.m.

French Creek South Branch Stocking (of 03-13-03):
As anticipated in last week’s report, that section of the South Branch from downstream of Elgin and continuing through O’Neil Road could not be stocked due to ice & impassable road conditions. Therefore, we will make up for this omission during the in-season planting. However, in the mean time, please take notice that the upper section’s load was redistributed as follows:
Washington Street received +/- 675 fish
SR 89 Bridge area received +/- 450 fishPF&BC Access Area received +/- 900 fish
Elgin Village area received +/- 340 fish
O’Neil Road Bridge area received +/- 340 fish

All totaled, the upper-section received +/- 2700 fish; the remainder (2200 +/-) were distributed, almost as usual, throughout that section from Blystone Road (Union City) through the Union LeBoeuf Road bridge. Thanks for your cooperation and patience, it looks as though Mother Nature is beginning to respond to our pleas for sun & warmth. Hope it lasts.

East County Tributary Conditions:
Due to this weekend's warming trend, the tributaries are running high and muddy.
4-mile is high, swift and muddy w/ no fresh fish observed as of Monday (03-17-03) We have received no reports of fresh fish on 7 mile
12 mile was quite swollen, with a pleasant mixture of fresh/old fish from the lake through the falls at SR5.
16 mile, as of Monday (03-17-03) was greenish in color, with a fresh run of fish throughout
20 mile has opened up considerably, however, there are still exceptionally high walls of ice. Anglers are reminded to use common sense, as this area should still be avoided for the time being.

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