WCO Report for Erie County 07/11/2007: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: July 10, 2007

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on July 10, 2007 at 22:14:19:

July 11th, 2007

West Erie County, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert:

Conditions: Perch and Walleye fishing are really picking up. Many limits of nice perch have been reported in 42 to 45 feet of water between the point and the lighthouse along Presque Isle. Perch are being caught north and just east of Walnut creek in 45 to 52 feet of water although limits are not quite as consistent. Although there are still walleye to be caught in the shallower waters, as is typical for this time of year, the best walleye fishing has moved to the trenches northwest of the Walnut Creek Access in 65 to 70 feet of water. A good number of "hawgs" have been brought in for weighing. Crawler harnesses, as usual, reportedly are producing the most strikes. Anglers using crank and stick baits are also picking up the occasional steelhead. Current Lake Erie Water temperatures as of this writing are 74 degrees off Toledo, 71 degrees off Cleveland, and 73 degrees off the Port of Erie.

Landowner Liability: House Bill 13 (Readshaw-D-Allegheny) relating to landowner liability and opening land to recreation was signed into law and has now become Act 11.

House Bill 13 amends the Recreational Use of Land and Water Act, which for more than four decades, has provided liability protection for actions that occur on a landowner's property as a result of recreational activity -- such as hunting, fishing, swimming and hiking -- as long as the landowner does not charge a fee.

The need to amend RULWA was sparked by a 2006 court case in which the owner of a Lehigh County orchard was found partially liable for injuries caused by a hunter's stray bullet, which struck a woman a half-mile away.

House Bill 13 had widespread support, as the House and Senate unanimously passed the measure. The Farm Bureau specifically recognized Rep. Readshaw (D-Allegheny), who was the prime sponsor of the legislation, and Sen.Wonderling (R-Montgomery), who sponsored legislation in the Senate.

Northeast Perch Tournament: The 4th annual Yellow Perch Tournament will be held July 28th and 29th hosted by the Northeast Marina at 11950 East Lake Road, North East, PA. 16428. This "open to all" tournament is directed by Captain David Jelley and the net proceeds benefit the Northeast School district's "Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs" program. For more information call 814-725-8244

Boating Under the Influence, You Can't Afford It: With hot weather settling in on the Erie area and boating season in full swing, alcohol and boating often are synonymous when in fact they can, and often are, a deadly combination.

The penalties for operation of a watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance could lead to a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $7,500, or imprisonment not exceeding two years, or both, plus the loss of boating privileges for a period of 12 months. Homicide by watercraft while under the influence carries a fine of not less than $2,500 nor exceeding $15,000, or imprisonment of no less than three and no more than seven years, or both. In addition to the offenses described above, operating a watercraft under the influence may also violate other laws. These may include prohibitions against reckless or negligent operation of boats, public drunkenness, disorderly conduct and under-age drinking.

Safe boating operation requires a clear head, steady hand and observant eye. Alcohol diminishes these necessary ingredients for a safe and pleasurable day on the water. If you think enough of friends and loved ones' lives to stop them from driving a car after having too much to drink, why not do the same when you're on the water? Impaired skippers not only endanger their lives and their passengers' lives, but they can also ruin the lives of other boaters.

Boat Registration:
Questions come in all summer long regarding boat registration requirements and when and where does a boat have to be registered. The following offers the guidelines for registration:

Boats propelled by machinery, including electric motors, must be registered, and they must properly display numbers and a boat registration validation decal. This includes all motorboats regardless of the boat's length and type of motor.

No other number may be displayed on either side of the bow. These numbers may not be removed, altered, tampered with, or defaced except by the owner or representative. Documented vessels, as well as kayaks, sculls, sailboards, and other low-volume boats of similar design, are exempt from the display of numbers but they must display the validation decal. Inflatable boats may carry their numbers and validation decal on boards lashed to each side of the bow. Canoes are not exempt and must display the numbers and the decal.

Often, boaters tell us that they "just sent in their renewal" or "I have my canceled check" and is it okay to boat. The response to this is the boat is considered to be legally registered when the validation sticker is on the boat and the registration card is received and signed. A boat without a current validation sticker and numbers affixed to both sides the bow and a signed registration card are no more legal than an automobile without a current license plate sticker and signed registration card.

Unpowered boats using Commission lakes and access areas must be registered OR display a Commission use permit OR display a State Parks launch or mooring permit.

Boat titles are issued when a boat is sold or when ownership is conveyed. Titles are required for motorboats with a model year of 1997 and newer, except for those that are powered by an outboard motor that are less than 14 feet in length. All 1997 or newer personal watercraft, are also subject to the titling requirement. Voluntary titling is available for any other boat.

Important Boating Phone Numbers:
Fish & Boat Commission Boating Course Hotline: 1-888-PAFISH-1 (1-888-723-4741)
Bureau of Boating and Education: 717-705-7833
Boat Registration Office: TOLL-FREE 1-866-BOATREG (1-866-262-8734)

Boating Safety Tip of the Week: Be aware of weather advisories and monitor your marine radio for weather changes. If your marine radio does not have weather channels (most do), consider keeping a VHF weather radio on board. A "Small Craft Advisory" is defined as "Observed or forecast winds of 18 to 33 knots". Small Craft Advisories may also be issued for hazardous sea conditions or lower wind speeds that may affect small craft operations. They can be issued up to 12 hours ahead of conditions. (There is no legal definition of the term "small craft.")

Local Weather:

Wednesday Night Mostly cloudy in the evening...then becoming partly cloudy. Cooler with lows in the upper 50s. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph.

Thursday Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 70s. West winds 10 to 15 mph.

Thursday Night Mostly cloudy. Lows in the upper 50s.

Friday Mostly cloudy. Highs in the mid 70s.

Friday Night Mostly cloudy. Lows around 60.

Saturday Partly sunny. Highs in the upper 70s.

Saturday Night Partly cloudy in the evening...then becoming mostly cloudy. Lows in the lower 60s.

Sunday Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 70s.

Sunday Night Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 60s.

Monday Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 70s.

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