WCO Report for Erie and Crawford County 8/20/03: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: August 19, 2003

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on August 19, 2003 at 22:33:56:


Perch are still hitting strong north and slightly west of Walnut Creek. Anglers are finding the large clusters or packs of boats are not always the best place to limit out. All those boats and anchor lines can't help but spook the fish. Try moving away from the packs of boats if you are not having success. Limits of perch are common now with the best times being right after sunrise and right before sunset. Shiners are still in good supply at local bait shops. Walleye are still being brought in good numbers with occasional limits being reported. All this and Steelhead season is just around the corner. Current Lake Erie water temperature as of this writing was 76 degrees.

Some steelhead are being picked up off shore and evidence of "staging" is apparent in 40 to 50 feet of water. There have been a few unconfirmed reports of steelhead being caught off the wall at Walnut Creek and a few Browns caught along the shoreline at Trout Run. Air and water temperatures are a too warm at this time so support any real activity. How ever, with a few cool nights and a little rain (that shouldn't be a problem this year) it won't be long.

Project Waters:
The PFBC has been busy this week cleaning and dredging the Walnut Creek Project Waters in preparation for the busy fall steelhead run. As of this writing, the work was nearly complete and the area looks great. Parking should be plentiful with the newly paved lot and freshly painted parking spaces.

Trout and Salmon Regulations for Lake Erie, the Tributaries, and Presque Isle Bay:
On September 2nd, the limit for all species of trout and salmon goes to a combined limit of 3 fish (Only 2 of which can be lake trout) with a minimum size limit of 15"

Handling a Boat in Stormy Waters and High Wave Conditions:

1) Maneuver so the boat takes the initial and heaviest winds on the bow, not abeam. (The smaller the boat, the more
important it is to head into the wind.)

2) Waves should be approached at a 45-degree angle. This will help keep the propeller underwater and reduce pounding.

3) In moderate waves, slow your speed so you can ride atop and over a wave. Avoid driving the bow into a wave or riding
to the top of the wave and falling off the back, which could bury the bow.

4) Remember ... the heavier the seas, the slower your boat speed to minimize strain on the vessel and maximize
steering control.

5) Continue to keep the bilge free of water to prevent the rolling effects of sloshing water below.

Local Weather:

Wednesday night
Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 60s. South winds 5 to 10 mph.
Partly cloudy and very warm. Highs near 90.
Thursday night
Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the upper 60s. Chance of rain 40 percent.
Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs 75 to 85. Chance of rain 30 percent.
Friday night
Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 50s.
Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 70s.
Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 50s and highs in the mid 70s.
Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 50s and highs in the upper 70s.
Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 50s and highs in the upper 70s


Pymatuning Lake:
Lake levels are starting to return too normal but temperatures are nowhere close to what they normally should be for this time of year. The good news is though that people are catching fish with the water temps being cooler. Every time we start getting above the seventies for a temp we get a rain or a cold night and it cools it back off. Crappies are reportedly biting on minnies in the shallows, Muskies are being picked up trolling, and Walleyes are being caught in the deeper water trolling Hot-n–Tots. All in all not everyone is unhappy about all the rain we have been receiving I spoke to the Duck and Drake bait shop in Ohio this afternoon and they are very happy as bait sales are way up with all the fish being caught.

Conneaut Lake:
Bowfin are still biting and angler are asked to release these fish immediately unharmed back to the water as this is one of the few watersheds in the Commonwealth that these fish actually do well. They are supposedly from the prehistoric era and one of the older fish in the Commonwealth and are a CANDIDATE species for the threatened and endangered species list. They don’t need to be killed just because they have a mouth full of teeth and you think they are killing everything else.

Boating Under the Influence:
The following is a report from our annual report last year (2002) on Boating Under the Influence (BUI). Seventy individuals were charged with operating a watercraft while under the influence of alcohol. This is the highest number of BUI arrests made since the passage of this law in 1985. Officers issued 151 Notices of Violation to personal watercraft operators for failing to have the required boating safety training or boat operators for failing to have their certificate of registration on board. Thirty-six citations were issued to PWC operators who indicated to an officer that they had received the boating safety training or boat operators who failed to provide proof of registration of their boat. PWC operators continue to provide enforcement problems during 2002. Three hundred, forty-eight citations were issued to PWC operators for violations of boating laws and regulations.

Waterways Conservation Officers and their deputies did an outstanding job this year detecting, apprehending and prosecuting Boating-Under-the-Influence cases. Seventy BUI arrests were made - a considerable increase over the past few years. Areas from which the most BUI arrests came were Lake Raystown, various pools of the Susquehanna River, the Three Rivers, Youghiogheny Reservoir, Presque Isle Bay, Conneaut Lake, Kinzua Lake, Lake Wallenpaupack, Beltsville Lake and the Delaware River. Defendants’ blood alcohol concentrations ranged from a low of .085 to a high of .255. One case involved controlled substances. The first BUI arrest of the year was made on March 7 on the Swatara Creek in Dauphin County.The Bureau of Law Enforcement purchased 36 pre-arrest breath testing devices and 12 hand-held video cameras to enhance the officers’ ability to enforce BUI and other Fish and Boat Code laws. These purchases were made possible by a $20,000 grant obtained via PennDOT as the result of our Bureau’s Joint BUI/DUI Task Force pilot project on and along the Lower Susquehanna River in 2000. Mothers Against Drunk Driving also donated two pre-arrest breath testing devices, and the PA DUI Association donated three of these devices. One Waterways Conservation Officer secured a pre-arrest breath testing device from his county’s DUI Task Force, and another officer secured one from an insurance company. While only a few years ago very few Waterways Conservation Officers had access to this very important enforcement tool, more than two-thirds of them now are so equipped. At their annual conference this year, the PA DUI Association again honored one of our Waterways Conservation Officers, Thomas J. Burrell, for his outstanding efforts toward safer boating by not only proactively enforcing BUI as a WCO but also for his efforts in instructing and assisting officers in the Southcentral Region after he was promoted to Assistant Regional Supervisor mid-year. In addition to attending the DUI Association’s annual conference and being awarded a ‘Top Gun’ plaque for his efforts, ARS Burrell also was awarded a pre-arrest breath testing device.

Boating-Under-the-Influence enforcement is one of the most important responsibilities of our officers because impaired boat operators are a serious public safety concern. Also, case law and other legal aspects of these cases are ever changing. Accordingly, the Bureau of Law Enforcement continues to provide its officers with the best training available. This year’s contributors to such training were a District Justice, Defense Attorney, Chief Assistant District Attorney, US Assistant District Attorney and a Chief of Police instructor from the Traffic Institute for Police Services. As a result, our officers are continually improving their efforts toward detecting, apprehending and prosecuting BUI cases, which enhances their professionalism with both the public and the law enforcement community. Unfortunately this continues to be a major concern and problem state wide and boaters are reminded that the penalties are quite steep for this offense. Up to $7500.00 and or 2 years in Jail, plus any additional charges that you may incur. It is not worth the risk and care should be used. If you are going to drink and Boat have a DESIGNATED DRIVER just as you would on the road, the life you save may be your own!


Do Fish Really Feel Pain?:
New research by Professor James Rose, of the University of Wyoming, has shown that fish cannot feel pain. This is of note to the anti-fishing groups that consider fishing to be a brutal sport. Dr. Rose's article, published in Reviews of Fisheries Science, concludes that pain awareness comes from a specific region of the cortex that fish do not possess. He goes on to says that, for example, when a bass jumps or shakes, it is reacting to that perceived threat, not a pain response. Rose dismisses earlier research as confusing "nociception" (a response to a perceived threat) with feeling pain. Rose also went on to say that those who are most concerned with fish welfare should direct their efforts towards clean waterways and clean fisheries.

Might Want to Check Your Tackle Box:
On a lighter note, an antique fishing lure sold for over $31,000 on eBay. The Heddon 150 was sold to an anonymous collector in Wisconsin.

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