WCO Report for Erie County 9/20/2006: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: September 19, 206

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on September 19, 206 at 22:34:04:

September 20th, 2006

West Erie County, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert

Conditions: As of Tuesday afternoon the tribs were high, well stained and flowing hard following a significant amount of rain Monday night. Rainfall around the area has been relatively consistent keeping the tribs at reasonable levels and allowing fish to enter and move upstream at will. All in all, we are off to a good start for this early in the season. Catches have been fair to good along Walnut and at the mouth of Elk Creek. Pocket of fish have been reported up to the Legion Park area in Girard. Anglers trying the shorelines at Trout and Godfrey Runs have met with limited success, although boaters trolling the shorelines have reported good catches. The Trout Run Nursery waters are a good barometer of the number of fish coming in and at present, the nursery waters are holding significant number of fish. Lake temperatures are still quite warm for this time of year. Perch fishing is still great, weather permitting and walleye fishing is still fair to good along the first trench. Current Lake Erie water temperatures as of this writing are 67 degrees off Toledo, 69 degrees off Cleveland, and 66 degrees off of Erie.

Can an angler keep fishing after having 3 trout on his stringer?
Yes, provided he releases any subsequent fish immediately & unharmed. After achieving your limit, you cannot pass off fish, cull the stringer, or hand the rod to a friend to reel a hooked fish in. It is recommended that if you plan to fish for a while that you stringer 2 fish and then catch & release until you are ready to quit. It would be rather tempting if a new state record was caught while you were already at your maximum possession limit. Another bad scenario would be killing one accidentally making it unable to meet the "unharmed" requirement.

If you plan on releasing a Steelhead:
Don't play the fish any more than is necessary to land it.
Do not remove deeply imbedded hooks ... cut the line.
Do not take fish out of the water any more than necessary.
Do not insert fingers in gill area
Return to the water as quickly a possible.

Why is there a 50 yard no fishing zone at Trout Run & Godfrey Run from 10 PM to 5 AM?
The regulation was put in place to protect fish returning to the nursery water areas. In the heyday of the salmon runs, the thousands of returning fish fell victim to anglers with no regard for fair play. It also provided a large amount of temptation to good sportsmen that normally followed the rules. (like the jelly donut to a dieter) It is well known that the spot by the mouth of these tribs is a prime place to be. Currently, officers have observed crowds arriving and wading out from shore at 3 AM to secure their spot & await the 5 AM starting time. Fishing in that time period is a violation but there is no violation for standing there.

I see a lot of people foul hooking fish, isn't that snagging? Unintentional foul hooking does occur and is legal provided the fish is released immediately unharmed. The difference between this and snagging lies in the intent of the angler. While certain fishing methods involve the jerking of particular lures, officers discerning a continued pattern of locating fish visually then ripping the line and hook toward the body of the fish will likely charge an individual with attempting to snag. Historically, we note the number of attempts, time observed, type of lure or hook, etc. Occasionally we do run across "uneducated" anglers that don't realize the spooky nature of the Steelhead in the streams and the proper method to fish for them. We usually advise them that their current tactics are bordering close on attempted snagging and provide some guidance.

Tickets are Going Fast For "Big Run Raffle and Banquet: The Pennsylvania Steelhead Association will be holding their annual Big Run Banquet on Saturday September 30th starting at 2:00 PM at the Shades Beach picnic grounds off Route 5 in Northeast. Only 300 numbered tickets are sold for the event at a cost of 20.00 each. Tickets are now on sale for this event and what a deal it is. The ticket includes a scrumptious pig roast, hot dogs for the kids, all the sides and fixings, snacks, beer and soda. Each ticket number is entered into a drawing for prize money ranging from 20.00 to the grand prize of 1500.00. Each ticket has a 1 in 15 chance of winning. The picnic type event also include additional prizes, a Chinese auction, demonstration events and more!! Tickets may be purchased in person at Poor Richards East and West or at the Fish USA store on West 12th street in Erie. For more information you can contact Poor Richards by telephone at (814) 474-5623, or Glenn Mills by email at glenn@pasteelhead.org. Please use PSA in the subject line when contacting Glenn. The PA Steelhead Association works closely with the PFBC, Trout Unlimited and other area clubs to help promote good landowner relations and to promote public access.

Walnut Creek Access Parking Note: Anglers fishing the North Wall along the channel at Walnut Creek Access area are advised the parking in the north lot immediately adjacent to the Wall is specifically marked and for the use of the Marina tenants and those with handicapped placards only. Anglers with out Marina Parking permits in this are are subject to fines with license numbers being noted as to those in violation.. Parking in this area is open to all upon removal of the docks for the season.

Lets Say It Again: Stream etiquette is important for everyone's enjoyment of the sport, and will help to preserve your privilege and opportunity to fish. Please consider the following suggestions:
Upon arriving at your favorite spot, be sure you have parked in an approved area and make sure your vehicle is off the road. Do not park on anyone's lawn and do not block any roads or driveways. (Parking in undesignated or posted areas, or blocking a landowner's ingress or egress is a violation of the law.) On Commission owned property, park only in designated areas. Watch for posted no parking signs and be mindful of all signs especially those designated for the handicapped. Signs are for safety and education....take a moment and read them.

Most of our streams run through private property. Contrary to popular belief, in Pennsylvania you can own the stream bed, and a landowner can prevent others from walking anywhere on, around or in the creek. If you are fishing on private property, ask permission to fish if you can identify the landowner. Fishing in posted areas without permission is considered trespassing and is subject to fines.

When arriving at the streams, remember many areas run through residential neighborhoods. Remain quiet, especially at dawn and dusk. Be courteous about keeping radios turned down and dimming headlights when not needed and do not use your vehicles horn unless necessary.

Walk in or along stream beds as much as possible; avoid private lawns as much as possible especially if posted.

Keep flashlights pointed at the ground.

Never "relieve yourself" within sight of any person or home. Nothing will make the landowner mad faster and jeopardize fishing privileges. Facilities are provided at the Walnut Creek Access and should be utilized.

Be courteous to those already on the streams. Walk behind other anglers and out of the water if possible. If you must stay in the water, walk with a minimum surface disturbance. Do not walk through the area where others are fishing. If the area is deep, you should probably be fishing it, not walking through it.

When conditions are crowded be aware of your fellow anglers. Watch where you cast to avoid tangles and injury.

Just because you were "there first" does not mean you can continue to fish as large an area as you please regardless of how many other anglers arrive. Fish an area appropriate for the number of people fishing around you.

In crowded conditions, play your catch only as much as necessary to avoid overstressing the fish and to allow others around you to fish.

If your are inexperienced and aren't catching fish, the best education is from watching those who are successful. Crowded stream conditions seem to form a cooperative camaraderie among anglers that can be enjoyed even when it is "elbow to elbow." Fishing with the "crowd" often times can be a lot of fun and quite educational. Many anglers are more than willing to assist you if you ask.

Foul language is unnecessary, especially around younger anglers. Foul language and unruly behavior are not tolerated. Be tolerant of the inexperienced angler, especially the young ones. . . remember we were all beginners once.

If in a crowd, alert others when you have a "fish on" to avoid tangled lines with other anglers.

Leave with everything you bring. Litter can be a real threat to your fishing privileges and can carry a costly fine. Taking a little extra trash home with you can go a long way with local landowners and can make you feel good about your fishing experience.

Do not keep any more fish than you are going to make use of. If you do not think you will eat the fish or do not have good use for it, put it back gently and give someone else the opportunity to enjoy the catch

If you see violations of our fishing regulations or of state or local laws, never try to take matters into your own hands. You can however alert local PFBC officers or personnel at the Walnut Creek Access office of any misbehavior. Such information is always welcome and is very often helpful in finding those violators that ruin the sport. If you elect to report a violation or a problem, try to provide good descriptions, location, vehicle descriptions and license numbers. The more information..the better. Remember, providing law enforcement with such information is only helping to protect everyone's fishing privileges now and in the future.

Being courteous and considerate of the local land owners as well as your fellow anglers will pay big dividends in keeping more areas open to fishing and help to keep fishing the fun and relaxing sport that it should be.

Local Weather: Wednesday Night Mostly cloudy in the evening...Then becoming partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 40s. Northwest winds 10 to 20 mph.

Thursday Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 60s. West winds 5 to 10 mph.

Thursday Night Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 50s. Southeast winds 5 to 10 mph.

Friday Partly cloudy in the morning, then becoming mostly cloudy. A 30 percent chance of showers. Highs in the upper 60s.

Friday Night Mostly cloudy with a 50 percent chance of showers. Lows in the upper 50s.

Saturday Showers likely with a chance of thunderstorms. Highs around 70. Chance of rain 60 percent.

Saturday Night Mostly cloudy with a 50 percent chance of showers. Lows in the mid 50s.

Sunday Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of showers. Highs in the upper 60s.

Sunday Night Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers. Lows in the lower 50s.

Monday Partly cloudy. A chance of showers in the morning. Highs in the mid 60s. Chance of rain 30 percent.

Monday Night Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 50s.

Tuesday Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 60s.

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