WCO Report for Erie and Crawford County 04/10/02: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: April 10, 2002

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Posted by WCO John Bowser on April 10, 2002 at 11:00:12:

Western Erie County / D W C O - Randy G. Leighton

Recent rains have kept the tributaries at nice levels however, the Steelhead have become very scattered. Some fish remain in the Manchester hole and only a few stray fish remain in the Walnut Project waters. Remaining fish are either in the far upstream areas or have returned to the lake for now. The Struechen flats area, Folly's end, the McKean hole along I-79 and the areas behind the Millcreek Mall may still be worth a try for the big ones. We don't mean to be redundant, but anglers should be careful when hooking smolts. These infant Steelhead are fragile and extra care should be taken to release them unharmed. They are easy to distinguish from the stocked trout. Stockies typically are of legal size to keep (nine inches). Smolts are generally in the 6 to 7 inch range. Early weather reports are predicting dry conditions with a possibility of some rain for the opener. Trib conditions should remain clear and will dictate a variety of bait possibilities. Shiners, singles, grubs, waxworms and very small jig and fly presentations will be good bets combined with 2 to 4 LB test line. Crawlers or red worms may be the ticket if rain clouds up the tribs.

Alternative Fishing
Spring crappie fishing is in full swing around Presque Isle. Good numbers of boats crowded Marina bay, Misery bay, and Horseshoe pond this past weekend. Action has been great from both shore and by boat. Shiners on crappie rigs and micro tube jigs have been hot. Good shore fishing can be found near the canoe livery on Presque Isle and along the lagoon shores. Boats were crowding the "stink hole" just past the second parking lot on Presque Isle . Boaters were jockeying for position all weekend to find that "hot spot" in Misery bay. Bass action is picking up in the Bay and should be prime in another couple of weeks.

Stateline Ponds
A nice alternative to get away from the crowds with lots of exploring for kids to do. Bluegills are always available and Crappies are starting to appear. Small Bass are being hooked regularly but the waters also hold some lunkers. Musky have been reported in a few of the ponds and offer a big surprise to the dozing angler.

Early season boaters should be aware that lake and bay temperatures are still in the low 40's and are an invitation to hypothermia should a mishap occur. Most boaters were observed this past weekend wearing their PFD's exceeding the requirement of having them on board. Heavy clothing will keep you warm in the boat but can be trouble in the water. PFDs should always be worn this time of year.

Kids Derby
The Elk Valley Sportsmen's Association will be holding their annual kids derby on May 4th from 1:00 to 3:00 PM. at the Girard Boro Park kids pond. This is a great event for kids and parents alike. Club members will be there to help the beginners and prizes are awarded for the best catches. Local PFBC officers will also be in attendance to answer questions and offer assistance. This is a wonderful way to introduce a youngster to fishing and a good time can be guaranteed for all. Pack a lunch, a bucket of minnows, some night crawlers, your tackle and join in the fun.

Anglers who field dress their fish should also consider the landowner before field dressing their catch. A large amount of entrails can create an unsightly, smelly mess on someone's property causing poor angler/landowner relations. Anglers should ensure that the property owner has no objection to field dressing their catch or should ensure that the entrails are disposed of in a sanitary fashion.

What is a Trout/Salmon Stamp and do I need one?
The Trout/Salmon Stamp is a permit required when anglers fish for trout and salmon in Pennsylvania waters. One is needed any time a person:
takes, kills or possesses a trout or salmon while in the act of fishing on or in waters of Pennsylvania or boundary waters.
fishes in waters managed under special trout regulations, wilderness trout streams or their tributaries, or Class A wild trout waters or their tributaries....go to special regulation areas, wilderness trout streams, or Class A wild trout waters.
fishes in streams or rivers designated as approved trout waters or their tributaries during the period from 8 a.m. on the opening day of trout season until 12:01 a.m. on the first Saturday in May, approved trout water are listed in our Summary of PA Fishing Regulations and Laws....go to the online copy of the summary book.


Fishing on the Bayfront in the morning continues to produce decent catches of perch and the Public Dock. Pressure on the South Pier has picked up some but there is still plenty of room for everyone, take advantage of this before the weather warms up.
Crappie across from Cascade condos is the same as it has been in recent weeks.
Presque Isle State Park boat livery and horseshoe pond continue to produce crappie in decent numbers and size.
Steelhead fishing has dropped off considerably. Two recent anglers down from north of Toronto were frustrated by the number of smolts in the stream. Of course they realize that they are the future. They also commented on what an excellent fishery we have here in Erie County compared to the Georgian bay. They want more Steelhead up there and less salmon.
Trout season is upon us. Wednesday the 10th I will be stocking waterworks ponds on PISP with roughly 1000 trout for each. Meeting place will be the Niagara Boat Launch at 1000. Friday the 12th will be the big stocking day for the Erie WCO's with Cascade, 20-mile, Elk and Crooked Creek being stocked. Meeting Place is the McKean Exit of I-79 @ 10 AM.
There has been an increase in the number of boats being spotted on our local waterways. Please remember that the temperature of the water is still prone to make you experience hypothermia in the unfortunate event that you would end up in it. PLEASE WEAR YOUR PFD.

These wading safety tips from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission can help you enjoy your time on the water and keep you from becoming a statistic:

Select the appropriate wading shoes. Pennsylvania’s trout streams often have rocky bottoms. Wading shoes with felt soles can help improve your traction. Don't worry if you can't find boots with felt soles in your size. Most tackle shops carry felt sole kits you can use to customize your gear.

Take a wading stick or staff. While you can buy specialty wading sticks from most fishing outfitters, an old ski pole or stout wooden staff can work just as well.

Wear a life jacket. They're not just for boats. Many models offer compartments that can hold your fishing gear. Alternatively, some models of fishing vests offer built-in inflatable lifejackets. They cost a little more than plain vests, but it’s a relatively inexpensive life insurance policy.

Carry a whistle. You can use the whistle to call for help. You can also use the whistle to tell your fishing buddy where you are.

Don’t fish completely alone. In an emergency, having someone around who can help is always a good idea.

Enter the water slowly. Flowing water can be surprisingly powerful, so don’t plunge in and get caught off guard. In addition, a slow, steady entry cuts down on streambed disturbance.

If you are wading with a staff, cross the current facing upstream. Lean on the staff as if it were a third leg.

Shuffle your feet. When in water over the top of your feet, don't pick up your feet. Lift them up just a little and shuffle along the bottom. Take one step at a time. It isn't a race, so go slowly. You will spook fewer fish that way, too.

If you do fall, immediately bend your knees to trap air in your waders. Don't panic; chest waders and hip boots will not "pull you down," as some people think. Stay on your back with your feet downstream and your knees bent until you can safety stand up.

Lastly, have some extra dry clothes. A dry shirt and pants feel good after you have taken a cold “swim.” Besides, if you have clothes to change in to, you can keep fishing!

Do I need a fishing license to take my young child fishing?
As long as the child is performing the primary acts of angling - including cast, handling the line and retrieving - unassisted, then no. However, if a child needs assistance with these basic fishing functions and you will be handling the line, a valid fishing license is required.

And now for the weather.
Wednesday: Mostly sunny. High near 52F. Winds NW 5 to 10 mph.
Wednesday night: Mostly clear skies early, then becoming partly cloudy later at night. Low around 39F. Light ESE winds.
Thursday: A few clouds from time to time. High near 63F. Winds SSE 10 to 15 mph.
Thursday (24 hours): Mix of sun and clouds. Highs in the low 60s and lows in the upper 30s.
Friday (24 hours): Partly cloudy. Highs in the low 60s and lows in the mid 40s.
Saturday (24 hours): Few showers. Highs in the low 60s and lows in the mid 40s.


Excerpted from PFBC 'Press Release' [03-22-02]
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has announced the opening of Browns Pond, Warren County for community fishing.
The pond, located near the village of Lander, is a 30-acre impoundment owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for use by the PFBC. The Commission originally used the pond for warmwater fish propagation, but recently determined that it no longer has need of the impoundment for hatchery uses. As a result, and with the encouragement of State Representative Jim Lynch, the Commission has now opened the pond for public use.
Fishing opportunities exist for panfish and bullhead catfish. The waterway is relatively shallow, approximately 10 feet at the deepest point. The surrounding wetlands are home to many amphibians and birds.
PFBC property regulations apply to the use of the pond. Specifically, open fires are prohibited, no swimming is allowed, vehicles are restricted to the public roadways, dogs must be leashed or under the immediate control of their owners and no trees or vegetation can be cut or picked. Parking at the property is limited to that which is available along adjacent roadways. Likewise, there is no developed boat launch at the site, but small car-top boats, canoes and kayaks may be used to explore the pond.
From the village of Lander (Farmington Twp., Warren County), which is located on SR 957 mid-way between Sugar Grove and Russell, travel south on SR 1005 for almost one (1) mile. At this point Cemetery Road will intersect SR 1005 on your right. Follow Cemetery Road for approximately 1¼ miles and Brown's Pond will then be immediately on your right.

Although not as widely touted as the ritual return of swallows to Capistrano, many local anglers will be pleased to learn that scores of smaller tributaries within the Southeastern-Erie/Northwestern-Warren area are now teeming with baitfish activity.
Make a mental note of the following items when heading afield:
1. For those 16 YOA and older, a valid fishing license (and possibly a Trout/Salmon
Stamp, depending on destination and time of year) is required.
2. All traps MUST be tagged with the name, address and phone number of the owner.
3. Any one person may legally harvest no more than fifty (50) baitfish, per day.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you're looking for a place to get away from the "crowds" on the opening day of trout season and you're willing to do some walking to get there, then I would suggest Blue Eye Run. Located, primarily, in Pittsfield Twp./Warren County, this stream is surrounded by SGL #143 (+/-8,177 acres) and is stocked with over one thousand trout (preseason). Access, beyond the parking area, is limited, primarily, to either 'walk in' or mountain bike, as vehicular operation is prohibited at this time on this section of Game Land. Just in case you were wondering, we stock this stream for just a little over three (3) miles into SGL #143, from SR 27 (starting approximately ½ mile east of its junction with SR 426).
A true story, just to illustrate my point:
Three years ago on the opening day of trout season, PGC WCO Daugherty and I walked almost the entire course of the Blue Eye-- starting at the headwaters on Eldred Hill Road (Miracle Mountain) and continuing for just under six (6) miles until reaching SR 27. We walked for almost 2 ½ hours; through some of the most picturesque country/trout water you'll ever see, before running into our first angler, who was only just over ½ mile from the parking area off SR 27. That left miles and miles of open, stocked water with absolutely no fishing pressure. I've been giving this location to everybody who asks; however, I would bet that if you decide to give it a try, you would still be able, if only you keep walking, to find a place where there's no one else to be seen. Good luck and good fishin'!! Maybe I'll see you there?!

Do I have to register my canoe or other un-powered boat?
Unpowered boats, including canoes, kayaks, sailboards, inflatables, etc., are not required to be registered in Pennsylvania, UNLESS:
You intend to use the watercraft at Commission lakes or access areas.*
You intend to use the watercraft at a state park lake.*
You put a motor (electric, gasoline or other) on your boat. * You can also use your boat at Commission lakes and access areas, and state park lakes, if you purchase either a DCNR State Parks Launch Permit or a Fish & Boat Commission Use Permit

Pymatuning Lake- The water is getting warmer and so is the fishing here at the lake. Walleye were few in numbers this weekend with only 8 being checked by me on Sunday but they were all very nice fish ranging from 17-22 inches. I have talked to some waders though since then and they tell me they are picking more up now than they have been and if the weather stays warm it should be excellent for walleye this weekend. Fishermen are also having luck with nice crappies and perch both on the North end near Wilson boat launch and down south by Ackerman Island. Fishermen have been telling me they are doing real well on the spillway also however you have to get there early or wait forever to get a spot. The open house was a success this last weekend with over 2500 people coming threw to see the different exhibits and sample the fresh fish that was filleted right there.

Conneaut Lake- fishing has started to pick up here again, crappies are hitting in the canal and along the weed beds nears the North end of the lake. Several boats that I have checked over here have had some nice catches in their live wells. If you plan on fishing here this is the time of year to do it before the boating season gets underway

For waters managed under statewide regulations, chumming with corn or other bait to attract fish would be considered a legal practice, providing that anglers don't get carried away and liberally coat the bottom of the stream with corn. If this were the case, then it could be considered littering.

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