WCO Report for Erie and Western Crawford County 04/23/2003: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: April 23, 2003

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on April 23, 2003 at 00:30:23:

WEST ERIE COUNTY, WCO Brook Tolbert / DWCO Randy Leighton

Tributary conditions have generally been clear and flowing. Some rain over the last week has helped to keep levels higher than we have seen in the last few years for this time of year. The Manchester Hole is still producing steelhead, many of them fresh. Lower Elk is still producing as well. Good numbers of steelhead are also to be found on Crooked Creek. All the tribs are loaded with suckers and bass are moving in to spawn. Crooked Creek and Elk Creek were stocked again this week and should be great for trout fishing. The upper gravel pit pond in Fairview is scheduled for restocking on May 3rd. Catches at the Gravel pit pond have been good with shiners floated deep under a bobber being the successful ticket. For a less crowded outing, try the The State Line ponds just south of I-90 near the Ohio border. The State line ponds accommodate a variety of panfish and bass and can be a hidden hot spot this time of year.

Walnut Creek Access:
As of this writing the Walnut Creek Access channel is being dredged for this year's boating season. Combined dredging for the channel and the basin should take a couple of weeks. The Walnut Creek access office is open on weekends and is a certified weight station providing information, fishing licenses, ice, and restroom facilities.

Shoreline Fishing at Night for Walleye:
Walleye season opens on May 3rd and early season anglers will be trying their luck along the shorelines near the Walnut access area and Trout and Godfrey runs. The jettys just east of the Walnut Creek Channel are the most popular spots. Resident walleye often will come in close to shore after sunset in search of smolts and shiners. Patient anglers can cash in with a little skill and finesse. It is arguable how successful anglers are at these early season walleye, but be assured we have observed many successful night time outings. Wading the shoreline or fishing from shore with light line (4 to 6 lb.) using large Rapellas in rainbow, silver, and fire tiger patterns are the ticket. Cast out long and let the lure rest, giving it an occasional twitch. Secrets to success are patience, keeping quiet and not using any light. Successful anglers say even a lit cigarette can scare them away from the shore at night.. Calm moon lit evenings tend to be the most productive.

Boating Season is Just Around the Corner:
Now is the time to ready your vessel, large or small, for the water. If you did a proper job of winterizing your boat, spring maintenance should be minimal. Boats stored outdoors are inviting homes for critters that love to gnaw on wires and make nests out of PFD stuffing. Doing a thorough preseason inspection of your boat can prevent problems and surprises on the water and unnecessary embarrassment at the launch ramp that first time out. Any local boat dealer or repair facility can help you with a preseason check if you are not comfortable doing it yourself. The following suggestions will provide a basic guide however, be sure to refer to your owners manual for your particular vessel.

Do a general cleaning of hull, deck and topsides using a mild detergent
Make sure drains and scuppers are clear
Put on a good coat of wax
Clean and polish metal with a good metal polish
Clean teak and oil
Clean windows and hatches
Clean canvas
Clean interior including bilge
Check spare parts and tools and replace as necessary
Make sure registration is current and onboard and that numbers are legible
Check and replace wiper blades if necessary

Check for hull abrasions, scratches, gouges, etc., and repair
Check and replace zinc's
Check for blisters and refinish is necessary
Check rub rails
Check swim platform and/or ladder - be sure they are secure
Inspect and test trim tabs if applicable
Check shaft, cutlass bearing, strut and prop
Check rudder and fittings
Touch up or replace antifouling paint

Check stanchion, pulpits and lifelines for integrity
Check ground tackle, lines, fenders, etc.
Check chainplates and cleats
Check hull/deck joint
Check deck, windows, and port lights for leaks
Inspect anchor windlass and lubricate
Clean and grease winches
Check and lubricate blocks, pad eyes, etc.
Check dinghy, and life raft

Check, test and lubricate seacocks
Check condition of hoses and clamps
Make sure below waterline hoses are double clamped
Check bilge pumps for automatic and manual operation
Check for oil in bilges
Check limber holes and make sure they are clear of debris

Check battery water level
Check/recharge batteries
Check terminals for corrosion, clean and lubricate
Inspect all wiring for wear and chaffing, replace anything questionable
Test all gauges for operability
Check shore power and charger
Have spare fuses on board
Inspect all lighting fixtures (including navigation lights) and make sure you have spare bulbs on board
Check all electronics for proper operation
Inspect antennas

Check that boat is currently registered if necessary and that insurance is in order
Be sure that sound signaling device is working
Inspect visual distress signals and expiration date (Required on Lake Erie)
Check PFDs, be sure there is one for every potential person on board and that they are out of their wrappers
Inspect life rings and cushions (A throwable device is required on boats over 16' in addition to required PFDs)
Inspect fire extinguishers and recharge or replace if necessary
Check and adjust compass
Check navigation lights for proper operation
Check charts if used, and replace as necessary
Check radar reflector
Inspect and replace first aid supplies as necessary
Check bailer and hand pump or bilge pump operation as applicable
Change batteries in all portable devices such as flashlights, handheld GPS units and marine radios Inspect anchor lines for fraying, fish hooks, and weak spot

Change oil and have spare filter on board
Check and change fuel filters - have spares onboard
Check and change engine zincs (anti corrosion devices)
Check cooling system, change coolant if necessary
Inspect belts for tension and wear
Check power steering and transmission fluids
Inspect and clean backfire flame arrestor (required in Pennsylvania)
Check bilge blower operation

Checked for smooth operation - lubricate and clean as necessary
If equipped with treatment system, have chemicals on hand
Y-valve operation checked, valve labeled & secured

Flush water tank
Check water system and pump for leaks and proper operation
Check hot water tank working on both AC and engines
Check for tank cap keys on board
Check and clean shower sump pump screens

Fill propane tank, check electric & manual valves, check storage box vent to make sure it is clear
Check refrigerator, clean and freshen, operate on AC and DC
Clean stove, check that all burners and oven are working
Check microwave, if fitted

Replace or clean spark plugs as necessary
Check plug wires for wear
Check prop for nicks and bends
Change/fill lower unit gear lube
Inspect fuel lines, primer bulb and tank for leaks
Lubricate and spray moveable parts per manufacturers instructions

Check for current registration
Check rollers and pads
Look for broken springs
Check and lubricate wheel bearings
Clean and lubricate winch
Lubricate tongue jack and wheel
Test lights and electrical connections
Check tire pressure and condition. Tires with excessive dry cracks should be replaced
Check brakes (if equipped)
Check safety chains
Check tongue lock
If you are new to trailering, spend a little time in an open lot learning how to manuever.

Check general condition
Look for wear and chafing
Check battens and batten pockets
Check all sail attachments
Inspect bolt rope

Check mast and spreaders for corrosion or damage
Inspect spreader boots and shrouds Inspect rivets and screw connections for corrosion
Check reefing points and reefing gear
Clean sail track
Check rigging, turnbuckles and clevis pins for wear and corrosion
Inspect stays for fraying and "fish hooks"
Check forestay and backstay connections
Check masthead fitting and pulleys
Check and lubricate roller furling
Check halyards and consider replacing or swapping end for end


Presque Isle Bay:
With the recent weather roller coaster it is really anybody's guess as to when the fish will be hitting. I have seen boats at the stinkhole on the bay and they are taking a good number of crappie in the Erie Yacht Club area and more so just East of it. Limited numbers of Perch are being caught at the Dobbins Landing

Presque Isle State Park:
I actually got to go Crappie fishing last Friday at Long Pond, there was a very good wind and it was one of those days when the temp was falling. Between four of us we only took 20 decent sized crappie but we also caught bluegill, undersized bass and one fisherman next to us hooked into a moderate sized Northern and a Carp. It was a lot of fun with quite of variety of hook ups. Waterworks is still providing a good number of trout for the patient angler.

Central County Tribs:
Cascade Creek recieved its third and final stocking of trout today but the water was high and dark. Conneuatte Creek in Edinboro will receive another stocking the first week of May. 4-mile is just like the other tribs, water levels are high but should be good in another day or so.

Northern Pike Winter Kill:
I have received many calls regarding the recent die off of Northern Pike in the lagoons area. This is a natural event caused by lack of oxygen in the water when the Pike go in the lagoons to spawn. Yes the PFBC has trap nets in these waters, when the Pike are taken to be spawned out they are returned to the Bay via the City of Erie side. This is not the first natural die off of Pike nor will it be the last in post harsh winter melts.

Thought for the Day
Remember it is Earth Day as I type this report. Only 3 percent of the water in the world is fresh and of that 2 percent of it is frozen so that only leaves us 1 percent to fish in and drink let us keep it clean.

Local Weather:
Wednesday night
Clear. Lows near 30. Northwest winds 5 to 15 mph.
Mainly sunny. Highs in the mid 50s.
Thursday night
Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 30s.
Increasing clouds and becoming breezy with a chance of showers late in the day. Highs near 60. Chance of rain 30 percent.
Friday night
Cloudy with a chance of showers. Lows in the lower 40s. Chance of rain 40 percent.
Chance of showers till around noon then becoming partly sunny. Highs in the upper 50s to lower 60s. Chance of rain 30 percent.
Partly sunny and mild. Lows near 40 and highs in the lower or mid 60s.
Partly cloudy and breezy with chance of a shower or thunderstorm late in the day. Lows in the mid 40s and highs in the mid 60s.
Mild with scattered showers or thunderstorms. Lows in the mid or upper 40s and highs in the mid or upper 60s.


Pymatuning lake:
Shore fishermen are doing well in the last week wading. Walleye are being caught in 4 to 5 feet of water by these fishermen using Rappallas and Jigs tipped with minnies. Boat fishermen are not having the same luck and those that are, are bringing there boats in shallow and fishing near the waders. The best time are at evening and usually from 6pm on until dark. We had a special enforcement detail over the weekend with 232 boats checked and only 40 to 50 walleye checked. People just were not catching them during the day. Several officers from around the area as well as Ohio Officers and state park rangers took place in this detail. Out of the 232 boats being boarded very few citations were issued and those that were were usually for multiple violations on the same boat. Safety items comprised most of the violations and almost 3 times the amount of warnings were given as citations issued. These safety details will continue throughout the state during the summer months making sure that fishermen and boaters are in compliance with our laws and safe out on the waters of the Commonwealth.

Conneaut lake:
No activity was noted for this lake over the last week and I have heard no reports from fishermen on any catches.

Conneaut Creek:
The creek got stocked with it's in season allotment of trout and another 2300 fish were put in on friday the 18th. Some anglers were present as we were stocking and I noticed several full stringers as we pulled up to the holes. With the cold weather and snow we are recieving tonight, this stream should stay cold for a while and remain good for fishing for quite some time. With all the overhangs and snag and habitat for them to hide this is an excellent trout stream to try before the weather gets to warm. Several nice breeders were put in off of this last stocking so there are some really big fish in there if you work for them.

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