WCO Report for Erie County 12/03/2008: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: December 02, 2008

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on December 02, 2008 at 20:02:26:

December 3rd, 2008

West Erie County, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert

This past weekend brought big numbers of anglers to the area tribs with many anglers enjoying a little fishing on the way to hunting camp. Traditionally, angling pressure will ease with the Thanksgiving holiday and the threats of snow and bitter cold weather. This past week brought additional rain and snow keeping trib levels prime for the big catches. More and more anglers are learning that winter can often bring some of the best steelhead action of the season along with a more quiet angling experience especially along the upper stretches of the tribs. As the water temperature drops steelhead will typically become less active holding in the slower moving pools. Presentation is everything and natural drifts are most important in inducing strikes. The access areas at both Walnut and Elk Creeks are still drawing the crowds for those in a hurry to find fish but plenty of room can be found upstream. The Walnut Creek Marina basin is still giving up a fair number fish. The mouths of Trout and Godfrey runs are still productive, wind and waves permitting.

Support Your Local Sportsmen's Clubs: The next Pennsylvania Steelhead Association meeting is Wednesday December 10th at 7 PM. Meetings are held in the main banquet room on the ground floor the American Legion Post 773 at 4109 West 12th Street, Erie, PA. 16505. This is on the south side of West 12th street (route 5), just east of the Erie Airport. Food and legal beverages are offered at very reasonable prices. The public is welcome.

Winter Fishing Tips: Fish feed less aggressively as the water temperatures drop and will often wait for the food source to come to them, so you need to get your fly or bait close to feeding fish. This means reading the water and presenting your fly or other bait where the fish are holding. During the winter, fish typically hold in areas with less current than during warmer periods of the year. Look for places that offer fish haven from the faster currents but still near faster water that will carry food. The heads of pools, areas with drop offs and rocks, side channels and eddies are all good target areas during the winter months.

Tips Before Heading to the Taxidermist?
Having that trophy fish mounted will verify your bragging rights for years to come. Proper field care of your catch will go a long way in helping your local taxidermist give you a quality, natural looking mount. The following points of field care may be helpful:

1) Carefully examine the fish for damage and determine the best or "show" side. Netting the fish will cause the least damage.

2) Take a several good color photos with good sharp close ups. Avoid bright sun and flash photos (too much glare).

3) Keep the fish alive or get it on ice as soon as possible and do not place it on a stringer. If putting the fish in a cooler, keep the "show" side up and do not put anything on the fish that could distort or discolor it. The longer the fish is exposed to light the quicker the natural colors will distort. Carry a small plastic bag of borax (yes the 20 Mule Team type is fine) to spread on the fish immediately after dies to help "set the color". Then bag the fish or put it in a closed cooler.

4) If you cannot bring the fish in to the taxidermist right away, then you must freeze the fish. Wrap the fish in clean, wet rags or paper towels, then place in a dark plastic bag (garbage bags work well).

5) Do not gut the fish.

6) Do not wrap the fish in newspaper. News print can be absorbed by the fish skin and may be hard to cover. Newspaper also dries out the skin leaving the fins very fragile.

7) If you practice catch & release, you may want to have a reproduction of your fish done, instead of a skin mount.

8) Many taxidermists do not do fish, especially trout and sometimes will sub this work out. Trout can be difficult to mount and take time due to assuring that the skins are dry and oil free. Most trout mounts will be a combination of an artificial head and the actual skin and fins stretched over a foam or plastic mold. Get references and ask to see examples of previous work.

If you wish to have a reproduction mount made observe the following:

1) Measure the length from the nose to tip of the tail. Fan, or spread, the tail when measuring.

2) Measure the girth (circumference) of the fish around the belly.

3) Weigh the fish, if possible.

4) Note the sex of the fish (when possible) and whether or not it is spawning. This is most important for members of the
trout & salmon family. Other notes as to coloration or any unusual markings may be helpful for accuracy.

5) Take several good quality color photos of the fish. Do not use the flash if possible and avoid bright sunlight (too much

6) Release the fish (or fillet it).

Local Weather:

Wednesday Night...Snow showers developing after midnight...may start as a period of rain. Snow accumulation around an inch. Breezy with lows in the mid 30s. South winds 15 to 25 mph. Chance of precipitation 80 percent.

Thursday...Snow showers in the morning...becoming scattered in the afternoon. Additional light snow accumulation. Highs in the mid 30s. West winds 15 to 20 mph. Chance of snow 90 percent.

Thursday Night...Snow showers. Lows in the mid 20s. West winds 15 to 20 mph. Chance of snow 90 percent.

Friday...Snow showers likely. Highs in the upper 20s. Chance of snow 70 percent.

Friday Night...Mostly cloudy with scattered snow showers. Lows in the lower 20s. Chance of snow 40 percent.

Saturday...Mostly cloudy. A chance of snow showers in the afternoon. Highs in the lower 30s. Chance of snow 50 percent.

Saturday Night...Snow showers likely. Breezy with lows in the lower 20s. Chance of snow 70 percent.

Sunday...Cloudy with a 50 percent chance of snow showers. Breezy with highs in the upper 20s.

Sunday Night...Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow showers. Lows around 20.

Monday...Partly sunny. Highs in the lower 30s.

Monday Night...Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow. Lows in the upper 20s.

Tuesday...Cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow showers. Breezy with highs in the upper 30s.

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