WCO Report for Erie County 10/19/2011: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: October 19, 2011

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on October 19, 2011 at 08:20:10:

October 19th, 2011

West Erie County, DWCO Randy Leighton


Well, everyone's been asking for it and boy did we get it. The rain started off and on this past weekend and by Sunday afternoon the Erie Lake shore was experiencing gale force winds up to 40 knots, 8 to 10 foot waves and plenty of rain. The tribs had begun to subside by late Tuesday, however, additional rain is predicted with possible clearing towards the end of the week possibly setting the stage for a spectacular weekend of steelhead fishing. Water levels have been high enough to bring in additional steelhead and allow them to move upstream at will. Anglers attempting to fish the tribs in these treacherous conditions are advised to stay on the banks. In the high fast flowing conditions we have had, the steelhead will often hug the shoreline in an attempt to avoid the fast moving water. In these conditions, it's a great time for live bait and bright easily visible baits. Minnows, skein, egg sacks, and the bright colored Powerbaits work great. Glow ball sizes 10 to 12 in orange, red, chartreuse, and even yellow can work in muddy water. Plenty of split shot will be needed to keep your bait on the bottom. 1/32 to 1/8 oz. marabou jigs in black, white, chartreuse, pink, and orange can trigger a strike and do not require as much added weight. Muddy conditions also will often allow the use of heavier line to land that big one. Current West County trib conditions are stained and good flow. Current Lake Erie water temperature is

Great Lakes Steelhead Expo: The Great Lakes Steelhead Expo will be taking place on Saturday, November 5th, 2011 at the Rainbow Gardens Convention Center in Erie, Pa. The expo will run from 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. This event will be centered on the steelhead fishing experience in the Great Lakes region. Top vendors and companies will be on hand to show the latest and greatest fishing products, guides will speak on their fisheries and there will be local clubs doing fly tying and casting demonstrations. Folks from various fish and wildlife services that represent the Great Lakes region will also be on hand. This is a well sponsored event and should be a wealth of information for the novice and expert alike. For more information please go to Great Lakes Steelhead Expo or call 814-440-4725

Law Enforcement:
With the low and clear trib conditions we've had at times, the temptation to keep foul hooked fish increases along with snagging violations and other poaching problems. Area officers along with additional officers from around the Commonwealth have been busy with a good number of these cases. Litter has been a problem, especially around the crowded access areas. Officers typically will use a zero tolerance policy with regards to any of these types of problems. Anglers are again reminded that sleeping over night at the Walnut Creek access is considered camping and can be subject to fines. Anglers and boaters are advised to adhere to the traffic patterns and posted traffic signs at the Walnut Creek Access Area.

Trout Run:
The steelhead breeding stock is backed up heavily at the Trout Run Nursery waters where Route 98 ends at Lake Erie. With the opening of significant additional parking, this can be a great shallow water viewing area to take the youngsters for an up close and personal look at these great game fish. The Nursery waters at Trout Run are controlled by the PFBC and although fishing this area is not permitted, sightseers of all ages are welcome.

Steelhead are to Easy Smoke:
Even the poorest of chefs can produce fine smoked fish that will rival or better anything that can be bought. Don't be afraid to experiment with spices to give your treat the personal touch....have fun!!

Whether it's salmon, Steelhead or trout, this 'smoking' brine recipe and flavor tips are sure to bring your neighbors running. Hopefully they've brought along a nicely a nice loaf of homemade bread, a chilled bottle of "Chardonnay" or a good rich dark ale, both of which are great to have with smoked fish.

Fillet the fish as usual. Then cut into 2 or 3 inch chunks. If you want to smoke the fish in larger portions be sure to increase your brining time. Make sure to cut off the belly fat. The tail section should be 4 to 5 inches in length and that is reserved for the cook!

Basic Brine
For every one quart of water dissolve:
1 Cup of White Sugar
1/2 Cup of non-iodized Salt
1 Cup of Brown Sugar

If you want a smoky bolder taste add:
1 T of Liquid Smoke
1 T of Worcestershire Sauce

Soak the fish skin side up in a non metallic bowl with a tight fitting lid in the refrigerator overnight. Shake the container every few hours if possible.

Gourmet Herb Brine
This must be added to the basic brine prior to curing overnight.

To the basic brine above add:
1/2 Cup finely diced Onion or 1/4 of Dried Minced Onion
2 T of Coarse ground Black Pepper
3 T of Dried Parsley
1 T of Dried Oregano
1 Bay Leave
2 T of Minced Garlic or 1 T of Garlic Juice 3 T of dried Cilantro

Maple Flavored Brine
This must be added to the basic brine prior to curing overnight.

To the basic brine above add:
1 ounce of Maple Flavoring or 1 Cup of Maple Syrup
1 Cinnamon Stick


Plug in your smoker and let it preheat. (a charcoal smoker will work fine too) Pull the fish from the brine solution and rinse under cold water.

If you used the Herb Recipe above do not rinse the fish. You may want to roll the fish over and pull it from the Herb mixture meat side up which will allow all the wonderful spices to stick to the meat.

Place the chunks of fish on racks that are on paper towels. Dab of any excess moisture and allow the fish to air dry for 45 minutes to an hour.

If you are using a wet smoke, save the brine for the moisture pan and fill to 1/2 to 3/4 capacity and place in the smoker while it preheats.

If your using the plain or Herb brine, try using Alder chunks and chips for the flavor.

If you used the Maple brine or used any other sweet brine, use Hickory! You may want to try and sprinkle some Brown Sugar on the meat while it's drying. It will give the fish a Teriyaki flavor when it comes out of the smoker.

Smoke for 1-1/2 to 3 hours.

Add chips or chunks at the beginning and at the 1 hour time frame.

Check often and when the fish flakes, it's done!

Local Weather:
Wednesday Night...Occasional showers. Breezy with lows in the upper 40s. East winds 20 to 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph...becoming southeast 15 to 20 mph after midnight. Chance of rain near 100 percent.

Thursday...Cloudy. Showers likely...mainly in the afternoon. Cooler with highs in the lower 50s. South winds 15 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 70 percent.

Thursday Night...Showers likely. Lows in the lower 40s. Southwest winds 15 to 20 mph with gusts up to 35 mph. Chance of rain 70 percent.

Friday...Showers likely. Breezy with highs around 50. Chance of rain 60 percent.

Friday Night...Showers likely. Lows in the lower 40s. Chance of rain 60 percent.

Saturday...Mostly cloudy in the morning...then clearing. Highs in the lower 50s.

Saturday Night...Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 40s.

Sunday...Partly sunny. Highs in the mid 50s.

Sunday Night...Mostly cloudy. A chance of showers after midnight. Lows in the upper 40s. Chance of rain 30 percent.

Monday...Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers. Highs in the upper 50s.

Monday Night...Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 40s.

Tuesday...Partly sunny. Highs in the upper 50s.

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