West Erie County, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert|
Walleye action on Lake Erie has picked up considerably over the last few weeks with early reports indicating that catches seem to be better overall than last season. Action has been good on the West side in anywhere from 35' to 65' of water depending on the time of day and surface conditions. Early morning anglers have had good success along the south edge of the first trench trolling from Walnut Creek West to the Ohio line. Although a variety of baits abound, the greatest success centers around the tandem willowleaf crawler harnesses tipped with a fresh crawler. Good color choices seem to be watermelon, copper, chartreuse, purple prism, and gold. Michigan Stinger spoons have also been hot and will also trigger the occasional steelhead or salmon strike in deeper water.
Perch fishing still strong with many anglers bringing in their limits at will. Perch have been large with many jumbos weighed in at Walnut. With the State Record Yellow Perch recorded at 2 LB. 9 OZ and a length of 16.25", anglers might consider carrying a small hand scale in the tackle box just in case. It wouldn’t be surprising with the number of large perch caught that a new record has already come and gone to the frying pan to an unsuspecting angler.
To be considered for state record certification, a fish must be caught using legal means, in season, from Pennsylvania waters open to the public without charge or fee. Fish taken from farm ponds, fee-fishing lakes, ponds or streams or in waters restricted to use by club members or their guests do not qualify. Potential record fish must exceed the established benchmark by at least one ounce, as weighed on a certified scale. The fish must be examined by a Commission biologist or Waterways Conservation Officer.
Smallmouth fishing is still good along the Lake shore in 25 to 40 feet of water.
Current Lake Erie water temperature as of this writing is and average 73 degrees as of this writing.
Boating Safety in Pennsylvania Betters the National Average:
The USCG has released their national summary of boating fatalities for 2004. A total of 12,781,486 boats were registered with 676 boating fatalities reported. This equates to 1 fatality for every 18,907 boats registered. Pennsylvania showed 354,079 boats registered with 11 fatalities reported for 2004. This equated to 1 fatality for every 32,181 boats registered, nearly twice as good as the national average. Boater's education courses, strong safety publicity, and strong law enforcement program have all been factors helping Pennsylvania's boaters to have one of the better safety records nationally.
Do You Know All You Should Regarding PFDs?
As we all should know by now, a PFD is required for each person on board on any boat. Now that you have purchased your PFD's and are feeling good that you have done your part to make your self and those on board a little safer, why not take that effort a few steps further. First, remove and properly dispose of the store wrapping. Leaving them in the wrapper is not considered "readily accessible" and will do little to protect your investment. More important, the precious time needed to remove those wrappers in an emergency may mean the difference between life and death. Take the time to assure that it is the proper type and approved for your specific size. Actually put it on, adjust it and test it in the water, so you'll know how it will feel when needed. Do the same for all family members, especially children. Be especially sure that juvenile PFDs fit properly and are size appropriate. Knowing what to expect in the water can help to prevent panic. Have small children get comfortable with their PFD and make a big deal that it was purchased especially for them. Allow them to use a permanent marking pen to personalize it with their name and anything else they may wish to to encourage it's use.
Finally, take time to look for accessible areas of your boat to stow PFDs and make passengers aware of their location. Passengers that can see their PFDs on deck are likely to feel more comfortable on your boat and will realize that you, as the captain, have a genuine concern for their safety. PFDs stowed underneath seats and locked in cabin areas will probably be of little use in a split second emergency. Finally a PFD will work best if you are wearing it and it is naturally recommended that non-swimmers always wear a PFD on any boat.
Boating Safety Tip of the Week:
As the operator of the boat, you are legally responsible for the safety of those on board, any damage your boat or its wake causes to other boats and property, and all others injured by any damage you cause. Just like driving a car, if you don't know and obey the rules, the fact that you didn't know them is NOT a valid defense.
Partly cloudy. Lows around 60. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph.
Saturday through Monday.