WCO Report for Erie County 12/15/2004: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: December 14, 2004

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on December 14, 2004 at 20:08:11:

WEST ERIE COUNTY / DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert

Winter hit Erie earlier this week with over a foot of snow blanketing much of the area and swelling the tributary streams. Tributary levels have been high with often near perfect fishing waters. The deep rich green winter color has tinted the slower moving pools enhancing the beauty of the waters. The high levels may postpone ice over for a while although night time temperatures have been consistently below the freezing mark. Fish will be holding deep in the slower moving pools. A little extra weight to keep presentations near the bottom should trigger more strikes.

Angler pressure has diminished with plenty of elbow room available and plenty of good fishing remaining until ice over. Winter brings a spectacular visual setting to the area tribs for those hardy anglers willing to brave the elements.

Minnows (shiners) both live and salted along with eggsacs and single eggs are great winter choices along with the sucker spawn patterns in white, chartreuse, peach, and pink. Wooly buggers in olive, black and brown are good drifting choices as well. Slow reacting fish will often turn on to a skillfully worked micro jig tipped with a single maggot or a plastic worm drifted or bounced off the bottom.

Anglers should continue to find good shoreline fishing at Trout and Godrey runs throughout the winter months when Lake conditions cooperate.

Current Lake Erie Water temperature as of this writing is 42 degrees. Current West County trib conditions as of this writing are high with good color and flow.

Support Your Local Sportsmen's Clubs:
The SONs of Lake Erie will have their regular monthly meeting on Monday, December 27, 2004 at 7:30 p.m. at the East Erie Turners, 9th and Parade Streets in Erie. The public is welcome to attend.

Walnut Creek Access Information:
The Walnut Creek Access Office will be open Friday December 17th from 7:00 AM - 5:30 PM. The office will then close for the winter and reopen April 15th, 2005. This will be the last opportunity to purchase a lifetime license for those that qualify before the 2005 increase. Senior licenses may still be available at the Courthouse till the end of the year as well. The Walnut Creek office can be reached on Friday the 17th at 814-833-2464 for more information.

Going To Have That Trophy Fish Mounted?
Having that trophy fish mounted will verify your bragging rights for years to come. Proper field care of your catch will go a long way in helping your local taxidermist give you a quality, natural looking mount. The following points of field care may be helpful:

1) Carefully examine the fish for damage and determine the best or "show" side. Netting the fish will cause the least

2) Take a several good color photos. Avoid bright sun and flash photos (too much glare).

3) Keep the fish alive or get it on ice as soon as possible and do not place it on a stringer. If putting the fish in a cooler,
keep the "show" side up and do not put anything on the fish that could distort or discolor it. The longer the fish is
exposed to light the quicker the natural colors will distort. Carry a small plastic bag of borax (yes the 20 Mule Team
type is fine) to spread on the fish immediately after dies to help "set the color".

4) If you cannot bring the fish in to the taxidermist right away, then you must freeze the fish. Wrap the fish in clean, wet
rags or paper towels, then place in a dark plastic bag (garbage bags work well).

5) Do not gut the fish.

6) Do not wrap the fish in newspaper. News print can be absorbed by the fish skin and may be hard to cover. News
paper also dries out the skin leaving the fins very fragile.

7) If you practice catch & release, you may want to have a reproduction of your fish done, instead of a skin mount.

If you wish to have a reproduction mount made observe the following:

1) Measure the length from the nose to tip of the tail. Fan, or spread, the tail when measuring.

2) Measure the girth (circumference) of the fish around the belly.

3) Weigh the fish, if possible.

4) Note the sex of the fish (when possible) and whether or not it is spawning. This is most important for members of the
trout & salmon family. Other notes as to coloration or any unusual markings may be helpful for accuracy.

5) Take several good quality color photos of the fish. Do not use the flash if possible and avoid bright sunlight (too much

6) Release the fish (or fillet it).

Local Weather:
Wednesday night
Mostly clear and brisk. Lows in the lower 20s. Southwest winds 10 to 20 mph in the evening, increasing to 15 to 25 mph after midnight.
Partly cloudy and brisk. Highs in the lower 30s. Southwest winds 15 to 25 mph.
Thursday night
Mostly cloudy with a 50 percent chance of snow showers. Brisk with lows in the mid 20s. West winds 15 to 25 mph.
Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow showers. Highs in the lower 30s.
Friday night
Mostly cloudy. Lows in the mid 20s.
Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of snow showers. Highs in the lower 30s.
Saturday night
Mostly cloudy with a 50 percent chance of snow showers. Lows in the mid 20s.
Mostly cloudy with snow showers likely. Highs in the lower 30s. Chance of snow 60 percent.
Sunday night
Mostly cloudy with snow showers likely. Lows around 15. Chance of snow 60 percent.
Mostly cloudy with snow showers likely. Highs in the mid 20s. Chance of snow 60 percent.
Monday night
Mostly cloudy with a 50 percent chance of snow showers. Lows around 15.
Mostly cloudy. Highs in the upper 20s.

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