WCO Report for Erie and Crawford County 07/03/02: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: July 03, 2002

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Posted by WCO John Bowser on July 03, 2002 at 08:34:38:

West Erie County / DWCO Randy G. Leighton
Action has been picking up. Anglers have been having success off the point in 45 to 50 feet of water using crawler harnesses and small dipsey divers. Action has been fair to good along the south edge of the first trench from Walnut Creek to the Ohio line. Crawler harnesses in chartreuse, purple and black, and watermelon with red separator beads have been popular choices. Perch action continues to be spectacular off of Walnut Creek west to Elk Creek in 40 to 45 feet of water (just look for the boat packs). Limits are being brought in daily with good numbers of fish in the pound to pound and a half range. Many anglers have been successfully perching at night when the lake is calm to avoid the hot days we have been having.

Keeping Minnows lively:
Most will agree that live minnows are far more appealing to a hungry predator than dead ones. Keeping those minnows alive in hot weather in a bucket or live well can be a tricky ordeal, but not impossible. Here are some facts and tips that can keep your bait lively:

1) Rapid temperature changes will shock minnows and will quickly kill them.
Whenever possible keep them at the same temperature they were kept or
caught in. Add lake water slowly to your bucket to minimize temperature shock
especially if you are going to keep your bucket over the side of the boat.

2) When transporting minnows from the bait shop to the boat, try placing the them
in a plastic bag full of water and then in your bucket full of water. This will provide
a cushion between the minnows and the bucket and help to keep them from
being banged around during transport.

3) Oxygen, Oxygen, Oxygen...If they can't breath they wont live. A small battery
powered aerator in you bucket can dramatically extend minnow life. The smaller
the bubbles, the more oxygen is being put into the water. Also, the warmer the
water, the less oxygen it will hold. An insulated minnow bucket can be helpful.

4) Ice in a sealed container can help keep your minnow water cool. Loose ice is not
a good idea nor is tap water since it may contain chlorine.

5) Hooking your minnows through the lip or tail (not the body) will keep them alive on
the hook longer.

6) If you are keeping your bucket in the boat or are on shore, changing the water
frequently will help if you do not have an aerator.

Keeping worms Lively:
Cool moisture is the key in keeping Crawlers lively. Worm bedding can be purchased at any bait or tackle shop and does an excellent job of retaining the right amount of moisture. Several layers of newspaper or a small cloth on top of the bedding will allow you to place a few ice cubes in your worm box and will allow cool water to seep into the bedding without over saturating. Commercial fish attractants also can be sprayed onto the bedding if desired. Much to the wife's dismay, I have kept crawlers alive in the fridge for months at a time.

Law Enforcement:
This past weekend, local law enforcement agencies working together conducted a BUI (Boating Under the Influence) detail on Presque Isle Bay and along the area lake shore. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission in cooperation with the U.S. Coast Guard, the Erie County Sheriffs office, Erie County Detectives and the Pennsylvania Game Commission worked in a team approach to educate and target boater safety violations and specifically under the influence boat operators. Teams working the water by boat and teams stations at all the popular launch ramps checked more than 100 boats June 29. The results were three BUI arrests, more than 30 safety violation citations, and more than 75 safety violation warnings. Erie boaters are to be commended for their cooperation and patience in this important operation. Common violations were lack of required PFD's, operating at greater than minimum swell height (wake) in restricted areas, and lack of or unserviceable fire extinguishers.

Local Erie Forecast:
Wednesday: A few isolated thunderstorms developing during the afternoon. High around 88F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%.
Wednesday night: Isolated thunderstorms during the evening, then skies turning partly cloudy overnight. Low near 67F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph.
Thursday (24 hours): Partly cloudy. Highs in the low 80s and lows in the low 60s.
Friday (24 hours): Times of sun and clouds. Highs in the upper 70s and lows in the low 60s.
Saturday (24 hours): Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 70s and lows in the low 60s.

Central Erie County / WCO Tom Edwards
Fishing for perch is still fair to good from East Avenue to 6 Mile Creek with daily limits being taken. The South Pier is producing fair numbers of perch for the patient angler.

Walleye fishing east of Presque Isle seems to be running a little deeper than the western portion of the shore. Depth is ranging from 60 feet due north of the lighthouse to 110 feet north of North East.

Bass fishing is still very productive in the bay, mainly toward the entrance to Presque Isle State Park.

The July 4th weekend should be very busy on Presque Isle Bay and, of course, Lake Erie itself. Temperatures are supposed to be in the low 80's. Remember drinking and boating do not mix.

Gill Net Monies Released...
Governor Mark Schweiker has signed into law Act 101 of 2002. This law
authorizes the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) to spend some
$268,000 from a special account to acquire property and to provide public
fishing access on or at Lake Erie, its tributaries and Presque Isle Bay.
The money in the special account was raised through the sale of Lake Erie
fishing permits during the mid-1990s.
Among the projects the Commission has identified for funding is the state
share ($100,000) of an important property acquisition along Twenty-Mile
Creek in Erie County. The Commission has approved a grant of $100,000 to
North East Township by a notational vote.
According to Commission Executive Director Peter A. Colangelo, "The
remaining funds in the restricted account will be used for similar projects.
There is no shortage of worthy projects that would benefit Lake Erie, its
tributaries and their fisheries. The Commission is committed to working with
legislators, local governments and the sportsmen and women who fish Lake
Erie and the tributaries in determining the best way to distribute the
remaining funds."
Commissioner Samuel M. Concilla, who represents the PFBC's First District,
which includes Erie County, stated that "Enactment of House Bill 1482 is a
tribute to the hard work of many in the General Assembly. Representative
John Evans was the prime sponsor of this bill, and others in the state House
and Senate made major contributions to its enactment. I want to personally
thank Representative Evans, the members and staffs of the House and Senate
Game and Fisheries Committees and Senators Jane Earll and Bob Robbins for
their efforts on behalf of this legislation," Concilla concluded.
The money was being held in what was sometimes referred to as the "gill net"
account and its release was long sought by anglers. In 1994, the General
Assembly passed, and then-Governor Casey signed into law, Act 1994-79, which
amended to Fish and Boat Code to ban the use of gill nets on the
Pennsylvania waters of Lake Erie. This law established a temporary $3 Lake
Erie permit to raise funds to pay recompense to gill net licensees and
administrative costs. Persons fishing in Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay and
its tributaries were required to purchase a stamp to engage in recreational
angling in these waters.
Lake Erie permits, which were issued in the form of a self-sticking stamp,
were sold for four years, from 1995 until 1998. A total of 313,577 stamps
were sold and $940,731 was deposited in a restricted receipt account within
the Fish Fund.
The law specified that proceeds in the restricted receipt account could be
paid only for administrative costs and recompense to gill net licensees,
paid according to a formula set forth in the statute. The statutory formula
provided that the payments to the eight gill net licensees would be
calculated based on their two highest years of catch in the five years
before the law took effect. The gill net licensees were paid about $606,000
as recompense calculated in accordance with Act 1994-79. Administrative
costs of about $67,000 have been paid from restricted receipt account. Most
of the administrative costs related to printing and shipping of the stamps.
House Bill 1482 became Act 101 of 2002 when signed by Governor Schweiker.
The prime sponsor of the bill was Representative John Evans.

WCO Mark Kerr / East Erie County
Perch are being taken in 45 to 55 feet of water from Archer's Field to McCord's Point. Shiners are in short supply although most reports indicate that fish are hungry enough to take fat heads.

Walleye are being caught in 75 feet of water from McCord's Point east through due north of North East Marina. The walleye are being taken in the upper 30 feet of water. Anglers are also doing well for Steelhead in the same areas at a depth of 50 feet.

Bass... Best bet is in the Freeport area in 12 to 30 feet of water. Tube jigs in chartreuse, pumpkinseed and silver bounced off the bottom are working. Hot n' Tot crank baits are doing well in the shallower depths with spinners working in areas where the fish have cover available.

North East Marina
The Cray-Z Parrot Lounge and Restaurant is now open within the confines of the North East Marina. Beautiful sunsets and pristine views of Lake Erie can now be enjoyed along with fine dining and your favorite legal beverages. The Cray-Z Parrot is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

New PFBC Commissioner
The State Senate has confirmed Richard Czop of Collegeville, Montgomery
County, as the newest member of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
Czop replaces Donald Lacy of Reading, Berks County, whose term has expired.

Czop will serve an eight-year term representing District 8 of the
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. District 8 covers Berks, Bucks,
Chester, Delaware, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia and
Schuylkill counties.

Czop, who has been a fishing and boating enthusiast for most of his life,
has previously served on the Boating Advisory Board of the Fish and Boat
Commission. He also served on the Upper Providence Township Planning
Commission for 16 years.

Graduating in 1969 with an associate's degree from York College, Czop, 53,
is chairman of the Board of Directors for Czop/Specter Inc., an engineering
and land-surveying firm.

He and wife, Barbara, have two children, Christopher and Melissa.

One of the oldest governmental conservation agencies in the nation, dating
back to 1866, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission sets rules and
regulations governing fishing and boating in and on all inland and boundary
waters of the Commonwealth. Supported by fishing licenses and boat
registration fees, the Commission is comprised of 10 members serving
eight-year terms. Eight members represent specific geographical districts,
and the remaining two are members-at-large.

Western Crawford County / WCO Joe Russell
Pymatuning Lake: The water is warming up and the fishing has slowed down somewhat, at least for walleye anglers. The warmwater species, however, have gone mad with Bluegill, Bass and Crappie hitting well. I've been having good luck fishing a night crawler under a bobber just about sundown. That's managed to keep a 5- and a 9-year-old entertained,. (For those of you who have kids, you know what I am talking about -- if they aren't hitting, they are not interested.) If you want to have fun, just use lighter tackle and an ultralight, pound for pound the Bluegill has to be the best fighting fish there is. Perch have been hitting along with nice size Crappies near the mouth to the new marina in Jamestown. The dam is now open as well and construction has been completed. However, the bad news is the Manning boat ramp will be closed starting July 8 so alternate ramp choices should be made.

Conneaut Lake: It appears that the dead carp have slowed down and things are returning to normal. Bass have been doing exceptionally well here with one angler telling me he caught the biggest bass he had ever caught in his life this last week on a tube jig. The edges of the weed beds and any available structures are the place you are going to have luck and just keep throwing lures at them till you find what works that day. Bluegill also are being caught in large numbers on the edges of the weed beds and especially around Heudikuper Bay. Small jigs under a bobber that are tipped with a piece of worm or maggot are what seem to be producing. Accidents also have gone through the roof in the last two weeks with three serious boat accidents. The most recent was a jet ski running over the head of another jetskier after he had fallen in the water. Luckily, he only recieved minor lacerations and refused treatment, but it could have been worse. There seems to be quite a bit of confusion as to what a reportable boat accident is. Guideline may be obtained by contacting any WCO, regional office or on our Fish and Boat web site at www.fish.pa.us

Boating Accidents:
Each operator of a boat involved in a boating accident must stop, render assistance and offer identification. If the accident results in a death or disappearance, the Fish & Boat Commission must be notified immediately, followed by a written boating accident report within 48 hours. If the accident results in an injury that requires treatment beyond first aid, a written boating accident report must be submitted within 48 hours. If the accident results in damage to the vessel or other property exceeding $500, a written boating accidentreport must be submitted within 10 days.
Five common types of boating accidents:
1) Collisions - most common accident, causes most personal injuries
2) Capsizing - most common fatal accident
3) Falls overboard - another common fatal accident
4) Fires and explosions - often due to improper fueling
5) Swamping and flooding - usually caused by improper loadingor overloading.

New way to contact me: Due to a lack of cellular reception in some of my district and along alot of the streams in Erie, I have a pager for anglers and boaters to be able to contact me. The numbers are:
Cellular (814) 720-1246
Pager (814) 332-1965
Office (724) 932-5661

Fireworks schedule for western Crawford County:
Conneaut Lake: July 4 at 10 p.m.
Pymatuning Lake: July 5 at 10 p.m. on the north end (Linesville beach)
Pymatuning Lake: July 6 at 10 p.m. on the south end (from the dam)

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