April 2nd, 2008|
West Erie County, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert
Rain and mild temperatures have melted the remaining snow throughout the county and have raised trib levels. Tuesday afternoon the West county tribs were high side and flowing well. There are still plenty of steelhead remaining in the tribs and the suckers have arrived. There is still drifting ice on Lake Erie, but it seems the final meltdown is underway. Presque Isle Bay is ice free and the Crappie action has been kicking up. A good number of boats were huddled over the "stink hole" on the Bay chasing the monster "slabs" that Presque Isle has to offer. Current Lake Erie water temperature off Toledo is 39 degrees, off Toledo, 33 degrees and off the Port of Erie, 36 degrees. Although much of the Lake ice has melted, Lake Erie remains partially covered with a considerable amount of drift ice.
The Big Day is Just Around the Corner:
The big Trout opener for Northwest Pennsylvania is April 12th at 8:00 am. The Erie Tribs can be a spectacular place for the opener. With the "stockies" mixed in with a potential run of fresh Steelhead, lots of suckers and the occasional early small mouth, angling in our area can be exciting. Popular areas in West County for the opener are the Streuchen Flats area on Elk Creek, Crooked Creek, Fairview Gravel Pit pond, the Mckean Hole at the Mckean exit on I-79, the Whitemen's bridge area in Girard, and the Legion Park Holes on Elk Creek. (For a nominal fee, you can enjoy a great breakfast at sunrise at the Legion Park picnic pavilion.) Newly developed parking at Whitemen's bridge in Girard should be a hot area this year. A good rule of thumb is to look for the areas where there is a lot of parking....the number of parking spaces is often in direct correlation to the number of fish stocked in those waters.
Anglers fishing the Fairview Gravel pit pond are reminded that this is Fish and Boat Commission property. Open fires, camping and cooking are prohibited, as are erecting any permanent structures. Officers will be on the lookout for litter problems in these busy areas. Boats on the Gravel Pit Pond, as well as all PFBC owned waters, require PFBC or DCNR State Parks registration. Internal combustion engines are not permitted. Water temperatures will still be bone chilling on opening day and the reality of hypothermia in the event of a spill will be reality...make sure your safety equipment is in order. A PFD is required for all persons on board . They must be U.S. Coast Guard approved, in good serviceable condition and be easily accessible.
A Few Reminders for Opening Day in the Erie Area : It is unlawful to fish or possess trout or salmon in or along any Lake Erie tributary stream from 12:01 a.m. on April 11 until 8 a.m. on April 12 (32 hours total). Anglers fishing the Lake Erie Tributaries on opening day are reminded that a Lake Erie Permit is required along with the Trout stamp.
Select Trout Stocked Lake Program for the Erie Area:
Some opening day suggestions:
VHS Reminder: It is unlawful to transport or cause the transportation of VHS-susceptible species of fish out of the portion of the Lake Erie Watershed in this Commonwealth into other watersheds of this Commonwealth except when certain conditions are met. It is illegal to use VHS-susceptible fish species, fish parts and eggs taken from the Lake Erie Watershed as fishbait in Commonwealth waters outside the Lake Erie Watershed except when the fish are certified as VHS-negative. It is legal to transport dead recreationally caught fish out of the Lake Erie Watershed solely for the purpose of human consumption.
Regarding trout fishing in our area, this includes Lake Erie Emerald Shiners, a popular bait in this area for trout. Many bait shops are now selling certified VHS free shiners for bait and a few are not. Non certified VHS free shiners can not used on inland waters such as the Fairview Gravel Pit Pond or Lake Pleasant nor should they be transported to any other inland body of water.
The Gravel Pit Pond in Fairview is literally a mined out gravel pit and as such is quite deep and pending weather, very clear. Small baits with very light line should be fished deep under a float or without any float at all. With a little patience, you may be rewarded with a tough fight from a beautiful brown trout!
Local Campgrounds in Our Area: The following is a list of a number of local camping areas. There may be others and there may be a few of these that are not open yet. Call ahead to be sure. Many people combine an early season camping trip with the opening day of regular Trout season. Open fires and camping typically are not permitted with out land owner permission and overnight camping on PFBC controlled property is not permitted. This list may be helpful in fulfilling your camping needs
Uncle Johns Elk Creek Campground 575 Elk Creek Road., Lake City, PA. 16423 (814) 774-8672 (bear right at the Elk Creek Sports Store to the bottom of the hill)
Cassidys Presque Isle Trailer Park & Campground
Erie KOA Kampground
Family Affair Camp Ground
Follys End Campground
Hemlock Lakes Park
Higbys 3-M Campgrounds
Hill's Family Campground
Lampe Marina Campground
Liana's Lake Park
Moon Meadows Campground
Pine Lane Campground
R & K Campground
Sara's Beachcomber Campground
Virginia's Beach Campground On The Lake
Boating Class Information: Last week, we conducted the first Basic Boating class of the season for our area. We were overwhelmed at the response with over 40 people successfully completing the class. Many were new to boating, some were looking for a refresher, and a good number of students were there due to the age requirements put into place a few years ago. In addition to a Boaters Safety card being required by all PWC operators, the Boaters Safety card requirement now applies to anyone born on or after January 1st, 1982 operating a boat powered with an engine 25 horsepower or greater. For example, if your son or daughter is home from college for the summer and will be operating mom and dad's large powerboat, they likely will now require the card to operate. Additional instructor led courses for the year can be found at Pennsylvania Basic Boating Courses Any additional local Basic Boating courses coming up will be posted in this forum.
Wednesday Night...Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 20s. Northwest winds around 5 mph...becoming southeast after midnight.
Thursday...Partly cloudy in the morning...then becoming mostly cloudy. Highs in the lower 50s. Southeast winds 5 to 10 mph.
Thursday Night...Showers likely. Lows in the mid 30s. Southeast winds around 10 mph. Chance of rain 70 percent.
Friday...Occasional rain showers. Highs around 50. Chance of rain 90 percent.
Friday Night...Rain showers likely in the evening...then a chance of rain showers after midnight. Lows in the mid 30s. Chance of rain 70 percent.
Saturday...Partly sunny. Highs in the lower 50s.
Saturday Night...Partly cloudy in the evening...then becoming mostly cloudy. Lows in the lower 30s.
Sunday...Partly sunny. Highs in the lower 50s.
Sunday Night...Mostly cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s.
Monday...Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of rain showers. Highs in the mid 50s.
Monday Night...Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers. Lows in the mid 30s.
Tuesday...Partly sunny with a 40 percent chance of rain showers. Highs in the upper 50s.