WCO Report for Erie and Crawford County 6/25/03: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: June 24, 2003

Brought to you by FishLakeErie.com

[FishLakeErie.com] [ PA Fish Reports ] [ News/Articles ] [ More WCO Reports & Photos ] [ Recent WCO ]

Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on June 24, 2003 at 23:25:19:


Summer is finally starting to show it's face in Erie with temperatures this week hitting 80. The hot weather is actually a welcome relief from the long winter and unseasonably cool spring. The expected warm temperatures should bring lake temperatures up quickly. Walleye catches continue to explode with the number of limits increasing daily. Hot spots have been North of the Condos in 45-47' of water and Northwest of Walnut in anywhere from 35 to 65' of water. Small dipseys or flatlining has been successful in the shallower water. Large dipseys run deep have been producing in the deeper water. Tandem crawler harnesses in copper, watermelon, chartreuse, and purple have been hot.

Perch fishing has also improved dramatically with good catches comming in from North of trout run in 48-55' of water and along the Ohio line in 50' of water. Bass fishing has been good along the Wall along the Walnut Creek Channel. Crawlers are bring them in the lower areas of the tribs.

Walnut Access Update
The Walnut Access parking lot improvement project is near completion. Asphalt work is completed and the lot is waiting for striping and lights. The South lot should be open for boat trailer parking this weekend, although the lines will not be painted until next week. Access should be easier and traffic flow should be greatly improved. Additional lighting for the South lot is planned as well. Overall, the project looks great...a much cleaner look for the area.

Anchoring Made Easy
Although a lowering anchoring is relatively simple operation, many people tend to over look a few simple procedures that are necessary to assure that their vessel is secure. Several things that affect anchoring are water depth, length of the anchor line, wind, type of bottom structure, type and size of the boat, and the type of anchor.

It is generally pretty easy to spot a novice boater attempting to anchor. He will typically be the one standing in the boat swinging the anchor line in an attempt to throw the anchor as far from the boat as he possibly can in a style that could only be bettered by a cowboy roping a calf. Typically this effort is rarely successful in securing the boat and is an unsafe practice as well.

Anchors hold best when the pull of the rode (fancy nautical term for line) on the anchor is as near to horizontal as possible. The holding power of an anchor increases as the scope ratio increases. A ratio of 7:1 is standard; 10:1 is better in rough water. For example, if boating in eight feet of water and the bow is two feet above the waterline, 70 feet of rode is recommended. Boaters should carry at least two anchors (not required, but recommended). A smaller, lighter anchor is good for use in calm weather and for positioning a boat, and a larger anchor is best for bad weather or when anchoring overnight. Boats should never be anchored from the stern (back of the boat), especially in current or high wind.

To anchor properly, the boat should be headed bow into the wind or current. The engine is then reversed or the boat is allowed to back off. When the boat starts to go backward through the water, the anchor is lowered from the bow (front of the boat). As the line goes over the side of the boat, no one should be standing on any part of it. The end of the anchor rode (called the bitter end) must be secured to the boat. When about a third of the rode is out, the rode is tied off to a forward cleat to make the anchor dig into the bottom. Once the anchor digs in, the remaining rode is let out. A sight bearing is then taken on some stationary objects to make certain that the anchor is not dragging on the bottom. Typically, the best sight bearings are stationary points on land if close enough to shore. Do not use other boats for sight bearings.

Arguably, the best anchor, or at least the most popular on Lake Erie is the Danforth anchor. This type of anchor has 2 blades that pivot and when dragged horizontally along the bottom, will do a good job digging in. Danforth anchors come in a variety of sizes for most boats

Erie's Underwater Treasures
Brad Coombes has spent the past month in a boat on Presque Isle Bay and Lake Erie, locating pieces of Erie's nautical past.

So far, the Institute for Nautical Archaeology researcher has found seven potential shipwrecks. He expects to find and document many others in the months ahead as a part of a research project involving seven Mercyhurst College students.

Local officials say the project will help preserve the lake's wrecks for future generations and fill in blanks in Erie's past.Lake Erie is home to more freshwater wrecks than anywhere else in the world, Mercyhurst College officials said.

Until recently, many of those wrecks were concealed by Lake Erie's murky waters. Now, however, the lake is so clear, the once-hidden wrecks can easily be seen from above.

That has led to looting, and each item lost represents an unrecoverable piece of history, officials said.

Kurt Carr, chief of the division of archaeology and protection at the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission Bureau for Historic Preservation, said finding and cataloging the wrecks will protect them from being looted by well-meaning divers.

"The diving community has damaged some things," Carr said. "They don't realize that they have ruined a resource, and we are hoping to reverse that through education."

Once the sites are catalogued, mooring balls will be set up to which divers can connect their boats. This will decrease the potential for damage.

This program is the largest nautical archaeology undertaking in Mercyhurst's history.

Although Mercyhurst is noted for its archaeology program, this is the first time the students have participated in nautical archeology in North America. The school has done some underwater research in Israel.

The idea for project began two years ago when Mercyhurst College trustee James Zurn and INA board member Edward Boshell Jr. started talking about joint projects.

Zurn said the project's timing is perfect because zebra mussels, a new species in the lake, have been clearing the water, but also destroying artifacts by attaching to them.
Coombes and the students, who will rotate in pairs, will go out on a 24-foot Four Winns Vista that local resident Julie Link donated for the duration of the project.

After identifying potential wreck sites, Coombes said, he plans to dive and gather further information about the wrecks. Once the information is collected, it will be compiled in a Lake Erie database and eventually be used to teach area grade-school students about local history.

The project will also represent the foundation of Coombes' doctoral dissertation at Texas A&M University.

Coombes said he will continue to analyze the data at the university at the end of summer and will return to Erie for three more summers.

The group will cover about 5 percent of Lake Erie's waters during the project's 18-month initial phase.
This project is funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Coastal Zone Management program and federal grants.
courtesy of boatersdream.com


Litter again
We have again noticed the increase in litter in the Cascade Creek area, specifically within Frontier Park. One of the chief culprits are "sport drink" bottles left after soccer games. Parents, coaches, and players - please all work together as not to leave empty plastic bottles piled on the ground. As was mentioned over and over again on this site, the WCOs and DWCOs in Erie County have a zero tolerance policy for litter.

US Fish and Wildlife News
In other news, the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced some of the final monies awarded under the Clean Vessel Pumpout Program. Since 1992 this program has released $90 million in grants to promote education and awareness of pumpouts and their importance to clean waterways as well as to install and upgrade marinas. A recent award of $674,000 went to a group of Midwestern states, including Ohio and Michigan. These states will use the grant money to educate as well as to install and upgrade pumpouts along Great Lakes waterways.

Finally, the walleye action was heating up in about 35 feet of water directly off the condos at the entrance to Presque Isle. The boats were trolling slowly (GPS ground speed of 2-3 mph). Good luck to all as the weather looks nice for a while. Get outside and enjoy what Erie has to offer!

Local Weather
Wednesday night
Mostly clear. Lows around 70. Southwest winds around 10 mph.
Partly sunny. Highs in the lower 90s.
Thursday night
Showers and thunderstorms likely. Lows in the mid 60s. Chance of rain 60 percent.
Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 70s. Chance of rain 50 percent.
Friday night
Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers. Lows 50 to 60. Chance of rain 40 percent.
Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 70s.
Mostly cloudy. A chance of showers during the day. Lows 55 to 60 and highs in the upper 70s.
Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 60s and highs in the upper 70s.
Clear. Lows in the lower 60s and highs near 80.


A Very Sad Note
Tragedy struck this last week in Franklin on French Creek. I was called to investigate a canoe accident involving 3 young female boaters. A church group decided to take a float trip down French Creek as part of their summer Choir camp. Fifty people in seventeen canoes were on the water for about an hour and a half before the canoe with three twelve year old girls got turned sideways in the current. The young lady that survived stated that they saw the tree down in the water and were going to “push off of it to get going right again”. Unfortunately anyone with any experience is aware of the dangers of a STRAINER and would know better. Once against the tree the canoe rolled and pinned two of the girls under the water taking their lives. The real tragedy in this whole event was that the only experience the girl that survived had was being in a canoe a couple of times at camp on a pond. With the recent rains and the swift water that was taking place there those three young girls should have never been in the canoe by themselves. As a Fishing and Boating community we really need to band together and educate our young people, and older people who are not aware, as to the hazards that water can pose. The fire service for years has been going into schools and teaching STOP DROP and ROLL, it is time we as sportsmen started teaching the young people of today a safer way to enjoy our natural resources before any further loss of life takes place. Get involved with your local youth field days, contact your clubs and sponsor a boating safety class or become involved in the Women and Outdoors Program. The opportunities to educate our young people are countless and tragedies like this are preventable through education and awareness. Lets do anything we can to get the word out.

With the recent warm weather the Bluegill, Crappy, and Perch have been biting better. They appear to be in the weed beds and hitting on night crawlers floated under a bobber. Unfortunately with the nicer weather the Walleye action has slowed down and fishing deep and drifting worms are catching only a rare one or two. Bass are starting to turn on now as well with the warmer lake temperatures and they are hitting on a multitude of lures and bait. Look for structures to find them any downed trees or anything for cover.

Conneaut Lake
I haven’t seen anyone fishing here this week and was unable to get a chance to talk to any fishermen to see if they are doing any good here. I will check this week and have it for next weeks report.

[FishLakeErie.com] [ PA Fish Reports ] [ News/Articles ] [ More WCO Reports & Photos ] [ Recent WCO ]

ts-1-0040.leol.net (