WCO Report for Erie County 01/20/2009: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: January 20, 2009

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on January 20, 2009 at 21:07:49:

January 20th, 2009

West Erie County, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert


Erie is no stranger to snow and bitterly cold weather with over 100 inches of snow so far this year and temperatures dropping into the single digits at times. Erie has already reached the top ten heaviest snowfalls on record and could break the record for the season. In spite of these conditions, anglers are on the go around the area. Ice has covered the tribs in all but the fastest moving areas however, anglers have been ice fishing the Walnut Creek Project waters, the Manchester Hole and the Walnut Creek Marina basin. With ice thickness varied and air pockets where the tribs have dropped below the ice, Anglers ice fishing the tribs should use extreme caution. Patient anglers have been pulling a few steelhead through the ice.

Lake Erie is about 90 percent frozen over with solid and broken drift ice. Ice build up along the shoreline around Godfrey and Trout run is very rough and fishing has been difficult in those areas.

Ice fishing on Presque Isle Bay is well underway with reports of 7to 10 inches of snow covered ice. Ice fishing reports always are varied depending on location and luck. A fair number of gills, on the small side, have been reported with perch catch rates a bit low. This past weekend both Presque Isle Bay and Marina Bay were heavily dotted with huts. Winds were high and temperatures were frigid with nearly all anglers hunkered down in huts. This weekend should be a good one for the hard water fanatics.

Ice Fishing Regulations:
It is unlawful while ice fishing to use more than five fishing devices, which may consist of rods, hand lines, tip-ups, or any combination. Each device shall contain a single fishing line with no more than three hooks attached to each line. Holes cut in ice may not exceed 10 inches between the farthest points as measured in any direction. All lines, rods, or tip-ups shall be under the immediate control of the person using them. On Fish & Boat Commission lakes, shelters, or shanties must be removed when through fishing for the day.

General Ice Safety:
Thick blue/black ice is stronger than milky white ice. Much of the ice around the area is still the white softer ice.

Four inches of solid ice is the minimum recommended level for a small group of skaters or several anglers. Use an auger or spud bar to test the thickness of ice before you go out on it.

Perimeter ice is weaker due to shifting, expansion and sunlight reflecting off the bottom. Avoid areas with protruding logs, brush, plants and docks. These structures can absorb heat from the sun, thus weakening the surrounding ice. Be especially cautious along the shorelines

Changing air temperatures and standing water on ice can weaken and crack it. Single, unbroken pressure cracks in the ice are probably safe to cross, but stay away from areas where cracks meet or intersect.

Venturing out alone is not advisable. Take a friend along for fun - and for safety's sake.

Carry Ice pics at all times.

Wear a PFD.

If there is doubt, don't go out!

Additional safety tips can be viewed on the Commission Website at Ice Fishing and Safety

Local Weather:

Wednesday Night...Cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow showers. Not as cold with lows around 19. Southwest winds 5 to 10 mph.

Thursday...Mostly cloudy. Not as cold with highs in the lower 30s. Southwest winds 10 to 15 mph.

Thursday Night...Mostly cloudy. Lows in the mid 20s. Southwest winds 10 to 15 mph.

Friday...Mostly cloudy with a 50 percent chance of snow showers. Highs in the lower 30s.

Friday Night...Cloudy with a 50 percent chance of snow showers. Colder with lows 10 to 15.

Saturday...Cloudy with a 50 percent chance of snow showers. Much colder with highs 15 to 20.

Saturday Night...Cloudy. Colder with lows zero to 5 above zero.

Sunday...Cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow showers. Highs around 20.

Sunday Night...Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow showers. Cold with lows 5 to 10 above.

Monday...Partly sunny with a 30 percent chance of snow. Highs in the lower 20s.

Monday Night...Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of snow. Cold with lows around 10 above.

Tuesday...Partly sunny with a 30 percent chance of snow. Highs in the mid 20s.

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