WCO Report for Erie County 03/02/2005: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: March 01, 2005

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on March 01, 2005 at 19:34:07:

WEST ERIE COUNTY, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert

Erie missed the worst of the snowstorms that hit the Eastern parts of Pennsylvania, although we did get enough snow to keep area tribs at good levels. Night time temperatures in the teens have caused ice and slush to start forming again although there is still considerable open water on the tribs. Water conditions have actually been on the clear side. Fish are very scattered and finding them now is difficult. Many steelhead are battle scared from flowing ice and winter conditions. Steelhead in the Trout Run nursery waters have thinned out considerable although anglers fishing on the ice just off shore have been doing very well possibly indicating good staging for the spring.

Anglers have had fair to good success at the access area on Elk Creek with a number of fresh fish being hooked. Best success as of late has been with egg sacs both natural and the colored sacs, skein, and single eggs when clear enough.

Trout are being caught at the Waterworks ponds on Presque Isle as well as the Upper Gravel Pit pond on Fairview. Small live emerald shiners have been working the best although salted minnows have been working well also.

Anglers wanting to fill the frying pan should have no trouble pulling in gills and small crappie from Presque Isle Bay. Bay conditions vary with reports of 5 to 8" snow covered ice.

Current Lake Erie Water temperature as of this writing is 33 degrees with considerable drift ice along the shoreline. West County tributary conditions are clear and flowing well as of Tuesday afternoon.

The Rise and Fall of Lake Erie:
About 80% of the water flowing into Lake Erie comes through the Detroit River from the Upper Great Lakes. As a result,
the level of Lake Erie is determined primarily by precipitation in the watersheds of 5 states and 2 Canadian provinces that
drain into the Upper Great Lakes and by evaporation from the surface of the Upper Great Lakes. The volume of water in
the Upper Great Lakes and inflow to Lake Erie increases during periods of higher precipitation and lower evaporation
causing the level of Lake Erie to rise. Conversely, the volume of water in the Upper Great Lakes and inflow to Lake Erie
decrease during periods of lower precipitation and higher evaporation causing the level of Lake Erie to decline. Present lower levels in Lake Erie are the result of reduced precipitation and increased evaporation in the Upper Great Lakes
since the winter of 1997-1998. Long-term changes in lake level occur when changes in precipitation and evaporation
last several years to decades. For example, from 1973 to 1997 normal to above-normal precipitation in the Upper Great
Lakes increased the inflow of water to Lake Erie, and the lake was above normal for most of this period. Long-term
changes range from 5 to 6 feet. Superimposed on the long-term changes in lake level are annual changes that occur
as water from melting snow and spring rains enter the Great Lakes drainage system causing lake levels to rise. Lake
level normally peaks by early summer, and then declines during the summer and fall in response to decreased
precipitation and increased evaporation. The difference between mid-summer high and mid-winter low is typically about
1.5 feet.

A common urban legend is that there are water-level-control structures located on the Niagara River designed to control Lake Erie water levels; however, no such controls exist. Only Lake Superior and Lake Ontario have water-level-control structures, and regulation of these lakes is governed by treaty with Canada. Source, ODNR

A Very Successful Ice Clinic at Presque Isle:
Last weekend area residents and ice angling hopefuls were treated to a day of hardwater fun at the Waterworks Ponds at Presque Isle State Park. The PFBC in cooperation with the S.O.N.s. of Lake Erie conducted a day of instruction and demonstration of various ice fishing techniques and gear. WCO Tom Edwards and other area officers along with expert anglers from the SONS provided all the ins and outs anyone needed to get started. A strong turnout spent the day learning how to catch fish through the ice and discovered that ice fishing can be a great sport for the whole family. As always, the SONS graciously provided hotdogs and hot beverages to make the day a real treat for all, especially the kids.

Hours and Admission to the Erie Outdoor Sport and Travel Expo This Weekend:
Hours for the for the annual Erie Outdoor Sport and Travel Expo are Friday, March 4th from Noon to 9:00 PM, Saturday, March 5th from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM and Sunday, March 6th from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. at the Family First Sports Park, 8155 Oliver Road in Erie (I-90 at Peach Street, Exit 24). General Admission is $6.00 with children 10 and under admitted free. A 2 day wrist band is $10.00. See you there!

Support Your Local Sportsmen's Clubs:
The PA Steelhead Association will have its monthly meeting beginning at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 9, 2005 at the Elk Creek Inn. Officer elections will be held. The public is welcome.

Local Weather:
Wednesday night
Cloudy with a 50 percent chance of snow showers. Lows around 13. West winds 10 to 15 mph.
Mostly cloudy. Highs in the mid 20s. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph.
Thursday night
Mostly cloudy. Lows around 20. West winds 10 to 15 mph.
Mostly cloudy. Highs around 30.
Friday night and Saturday
Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of snow. Lows 17 to 22. Highs in the lower 30s.
Saturday night
Mostly cloudy. Lows in the lower 20s.
Sunday and Sunday night
Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of snow. Highs in the lower 30s. Lows in the mid 20s.
Monday and Monday night
Mostly cloudy. Highs in the mid 30s. Lows in the mid 20s.
Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of snow. Highs around 30.

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