WCO Report for Erie County 05/21/2008: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: May 20, 2008

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on May 20, 2008 at 22:53:56:

May 21st, 2008

West Erie County, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert

Bass are still the word right now and perhaps at the peak of the spring spawning season. Fish over 20" are not uncommon and large girths are the norm. (Current season limits Bass to one fish with a minimum length of 20" on Lake Erie and its tribs through June 13th, 2008) Hot spots are off of Godfrey Run and Crooked Creek in 20-25' of water. Generally, anywhere along the Lake Erie shoreline that shows any structure is a good choice to try. Rattle traps, tube jigs and other plastic baits, Hot n Tots, Carolina Rigs and live shiners are all good choices for bait. Generally, baits should be fished deep with jigs being bounced off the bottom. Hits are generally hard and easy to detect. Many anglers troll until they find a school and then settle in to the still fishing. Some perch are being caught but not in any big numbers yet. Anglers are still searching for the large schools that form off of Walnut Creek and the point at Presque Isle. No large catches of Walleye have been reported and those that have been caught have generally been resident fish near shore. Another 10 degrees in water temperature should get the Eastern migration moving. Current Lake Erie Water temperature off Toledo is, 56 degrees, off Cleveland, 54 degrees and off the Port of Erie, 53 degrees.

Free Fishing This Saturday:
This Saturday is the first of two days (May 24th and Sunday June 1st) that fishing licenses are not required to fish. If you have never fished before and would like to start, there is a wealth of information at your fingertips, from local bait shops, PFBC Waterways Conservation Officers, other anglers you may encounter not to mention the Internet. A wealth of general angling information as well as the regulations governing fishing and boating can be found at our website Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commisssion Most anglers on the water are generally very helpful and are more than willing to assist a new angler. Simply observing those around you (especially those that are catching fish) can be most helpful.

Arguably, most anglers start out the sport by targeting pan fish either by choice or by accident and frankly there are many seasoned anglers that fish for nothing else simply for the mouthwatering taste and the great action. Bluegill, Sunfish, Pumpkin seeds, or Bream as they are collectively called are the easiest fish to catch, are plentiful, and make darn good table fare. Crickets, worms, small jigs and spinners, grubs, micro crank baits, and small spider imitations are all great baits. Ounce for ounce, these fish will provide great action and are always plentiful enough to keep the even the most impatient angler busy. Try areas near shore where there is cover such as down trees or rocks and especially around docks and ramps where fishing is permitted. A rod, reel, small hooks, some split shot, small bobbers, a stringer or bucket to keep your catch, a small knife and a small pair of pliers should be enough to get you started. Pan fish are eager biters and with a little patience you can have a great day of fun. Good areas to target are shallow water along the shore line around the Bay, around docks and piers, and through out the Bay if you have access to boat.

Cooking That Catch: 1) Fresh fish is best. If you are able to enjoy at least part of your catch before freezing, it will taste better. If you are freezing your fish, pat it dry and double wrap it. I personally do not believe in freezing whole fish in ice. Fish frozen in ice may become water logged as it thaws which will adversely affect cooking and taste. (Freezing fillets in ice will however, keep fish fresh longer in the freezer.)

2) Be extremely careful not to overcook the fish. Fish are delicate. Do not cook your fillets too long or at too high a temperature. This will make the fish tough and rubbery. Cook the fish only until it flakes easily at the touch of a fork. Fish cooks much faster than most people realize.

3) If you are going to batter fry the fish, always make sure the batter is cold and the fish are patted dry. Cold batter will prevent the fish from absorbing too much oil. Also, make sure the oil is hot. This can be done by dropping in a small piece of bread or batter in. It should brown within a minute.

4) To keep fried fish crispier while cooking, put the cooked fish in a warm oven on a wire rack over a paper towel-lined plate.

5) Never be afraid to experiment with different recipes. Try changing the seasonings to the liking of your personal taste.

6) Spend the extra time making sure no bones remain in your fillets. Nothing puts off the appetite more quickly than finding bones in your fish. (Just ask my wife and kids)

7) Leftover fish? Cut it into bite sized pieces and add it to a salad or have it cold with cocktail sauce.

8) Try the microwave if you're dieting. Fish cooks quickly and tastes great with just lemon juice and seasoning. Watch the fish carefully, the micro cooks it quick.

9) Basting lean fish such as walleye and bass when broiling will help keep them from drying out.

Have a Safe Holiday Weekend:
Memorial Day weekend traditionally kicks off the boating season throughout the Commonwealth and Erie is no exception....its just a little cooler here. Although the Lake temperature is still in the low 50's and a bit cold for most swimmers, forecasts for the holiday weekend are calling for relatively mild temperatures and a good number of boaters should be taking to the water. Hypothermia could be very real in the event of an unfortunate accident on the water. Understand that alcohol and boating can be a bad combination. Fines and penalties can be stiff for those boating under the influence, not to mention the danger to yourself and the lives of those around you. 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 underage drinking. It simply is not worth the risk.

Local Weather: Wednesday Night...Showers likely. Lows in the lower 40s. West winds around 15 mph. Chance of rain 70 percent.

Thursday...Mostly cloudy. Highs in the mid 50s. Northwest winds around 15 mph.

Thursday Night...Becoming partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 40s. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph.

Friday...Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 50s.

Friday Night...Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 40s.

Saturday...Becoming mostly sunny. Highs in the lower 60s.

Saturday Night...Mostly clear. Lows in the upper 40s.

Sunday...Mostly sunny. Highs in the lower 70s.

Sunday Night...Mostly clear. Lows in the lower 50s.

Memorial Day...Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 70s.

Monday Night...Becoming mostly cloudy. A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the upper 50s. Chance of rain 30 percent.

Tuesday...Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the lower 70s. Chance of rain 40 percent.

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