WCO Report for Erie and Crawford County 07/10/02: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: July 10, 2002

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Posted by WCO John Bowser on July 10, 2002 at 07:25:43:

Central Erie County / WCO Tom Edwards
Recent checks of boats from East Avenue to the Sunoco Cribs have shown good catches of smallmouth bass in the last couple days. The interior of Presque Isle Bay also remains very productive.

Perch fishing has slowed up lately, but there are still limits being taken east of Presque Isle in about 55 feet of water and due north at about the same depth.

The pack still seems to be due north of the lighthouse off of Presque Isle in about 60 feet of water and not too far away off of the condos.

The Fourth of July weekend was beautiful in terms of weather for all of those who got out on the boats. Unfortunately, we did encounter a fatal accident and one that could have been much worse. All of the officers in Erie County wish to remind you to please wear your lifejackets while boating Lake Erie and Presque Isle Bay. Though it is not required for adults, unless on personal watercraft, it is just a good idea.

Gill Net Stamp Monies:
On June 29, Gov. Mark Schweiker signed House Bill 1482 into law as Act 101 of 2002. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives concurred in Senate amendments to House Bill 1482 by a unanimous vote on June 27, 2002. The Pennsylvania Senate passed House Bill 1482, with amendments, by a unanimous vote on June 26, 2002. The Senate Game and Fisheries Committee reported out House Bill 1482, with amendments, on June 24, 2002. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed House Bill 1482 by a unanimous vote on June 3, 2002.
Purpose of Legislation:
House Bill 1482 addresses the disposition of the remainder of the funds in the restricted receipt account raised from the sale of Lake Erie stamps. This totals about $268,000. Why do we need legislation on this subject? Act 1994-79 specified only two purposes for which the monies deposited in the restricted account could be spent: payments to licensees, calculated under the statutory formula, and administrative costs. There is no authority to spend monies in the restricted receipt account for anything else.How does the PFBC plan to approach expenditure of the $268,000? Under the amended bill, the money will be used to acquire property and to provide public fishing access on or at Lake Erie, its tributaries and Presque Isle Bay. Among the projects identified for funding is the state share ($100,000) of an important acquisition at and upstream of the mouth of 20-Mile Creek. The remaining funds in the restricted account could 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 the General Assembly, local governments and the sportsmen and women who fish Lake Erie and the tributaries in determining the best way to distribute the remaining money after funding the 20-Mile Creek project. The Fish and Boat Commission is very interested in pursuing partnerships. We are interested in working with local and statewide groups and organizations, local governments and other agencies to leverage these monies to have maximum impact. Background:
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 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. Eight 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. As of today, the balance in restricted receipt account is about $268,000.
PFBC Position:
The Fish and Boat Commission supported House Bill 1482. We want to thank Representative Evans for sponsoring this bill and to thank the House and Senate Game and Fisheries Committees for considering it. The Commission also wants to thank Rep. Gary Haluska for his interest in this subject and for introducing legislation related to it. The Commission also wants to express sincere appreciation to Senators Jane Earll and Bob Robbins for their work on this issue.

Western Erie County / DWCO Randy Leighton
Perch action continues to dominate the area fishing news. Four and one-half miles due north of Trout Run in 48 feet of water is the most recent hot spot. Area bait shops have been doing their best to keep up with the demand for shiners. Most of the shops have been running out by mid-morning on the weekends. Fathead minnows are readily available and will work nearly as well. Large shiners can be cut in half or even thirds to increase your bait supply. The eyes from the perch you have caught also make great bait. Many anglers from out of town are bringing their own shiners.

Walleye action has been increasing daily with more fish being brought in from the trenches. Willowleafs and stinger spoons are hooking them. Lake Erie water temperatures have finally reached the high 70's. This should continue to activate the eastern Walleye migration to our area.

Several nice catches of Rock Bass and Catfish have been noted off "the wall" at the Walnut Creek Access Area.

Law Enforcement:
Local boaters are asked to keep a sharp look out for a missing boater in the area between 4 and 6 Mile Creeks near the Cribs on Lake Erie as well as any near shore area from Lawrence Park to the North East Marina. Any information on this matter should be reported to WCO John Bowser at (814) 774-0928 or the United States Coast Guard at (814) 838-2097.

Indivduals are reminded that swimming is prohibited on Fish and Boat Commission property. With the recent hot weather, folks have been spotted swimming in the Walnut Project Water holes and along the lakeshore off the Walnut Creek Access Area parking lots. Although this may be tempting, it is a violation of regulations and can be dangerous due to hooks and other terminal tackle that may be strewn along the bottoms of these areas.

Several citations were written this past weekend for "overloading." All boats less than 20 feet that are propelled by machinery or oars must have a capacity plate which states the legal load capacity for the vessel. It will state the maximum horsepower, the maximum number of persons allowed on board, and the maximum weight of the passengers and gear. Some boats are exempt from capacity plates including pontoon boats, canoes, kayaks, inflatables, hydroplanes and personal watercraft.

A Patriotic Fish Story:
Valley Forge, Pa. The Winter of 1777-1778. The Continental Army of the newly formed United States of America encamped at Valley Forge, along Valley Creek, not too far from the Schuylkill River. The six-month encampment at Valley Forge was a constant struggle against the brutal winter, starvation and low morale. The Army's Commander, Gen. George Washington wrote: "Naked and starving as they are, we cannot enough admire the incomparable patience and fidelity of the soldiery." And then, an early and huge run of American Shad rushes out of the Atlantic, up Delaware Bay and into the Schuylkill River and its tributaries. The starving soldiers cast their nets and lines and gather a bountiful harvest of fresh fish. The famine was broken. The Army was saved to fight on; the Revolution prevailed. There is a longstanding tradition that the early arrival of American Shad in the spring of 1778 was a major element in feeding the Continental Army and ending the winter famine. Historians today note that, although there are many sources that mention use of fish, including Shad, to feed the Army, the timing and size of the Shad Run of 1778 are undocumented. Still, many believe that the American shad is truly America's fish and that it played a part in winning our Nation's independence.
(Reprinted from the PFBC Website)

Erie Forecast:
Wednesday night. Mostly clear. Lows in the lower 50s. North winds 5 to 10 mph.
Thursday. Mostly sunny. Highs in the lower 70s.
Thursday night. Mostly clear. Lows near 50.
Friday. Mostly sunny. Highs in the upper 70s.
Friday night. Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 50s.
Saturday. Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 70s.
Sunday. A chance of showers and thunderstorms during the day. Otherwise partly cloudy. Lows near 60 and highs near 80.
Monday. Mostly clear. Lows near 60 and highs in the lower 80s.
Tuesday. Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 60s and highs in the mid 80s.

PHONE: [OFFICE -- (814) 796-1378/ CELL -- (814) 673-4650]

Eastern-Erie County offers some excellent inland Bass fishing opportunities for anglers wishing to ply their luck. Many of these areas have been reported in the past, however, it never hurts to refresh your memories from time to time.

SEIGEL MARSH (SGL 218)- Those impoundments located in the southwestern portion of the Game Lands [East of Barton and North of Turner Road(s); Greene Township] offer excellent habitat in the form of aquatic vegetation and flooded timber.
These impoundments are located on Game Lands. Therefore, access is walk-in-only and regulations prohibit the use of motors (including electric). Additional regulations regarding the use of watercraft on SGL impoundments may be acquired by calling the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Regional Law Enforcement Headquarters at (814) 432-3187.
Top water lures, tube jigs and live bait appear to produce the best results.

UNION CITY RESERVOIR (PFBC ACCESS AREA)- This reservoir is located off SR 6 (Union Township), approximately two miles East of the junction of SR(s) 6/8 (borough of Union City).
Recent angler contacts have shown the best areas of attack to be along the eastern shoreline and within the East Cove. The majority of harvests are occurring in less than eight feet of water. Additionally, most catches are within the 14- to 16-inch range (Large-mouth).
Rubber worms are still producing catches, however, I wouldn't hesitate in using your favorite lure or live bait of choice.
This access is governed under PFBC property regulations; additionally, as this impoundment is a domestic water supply reservoir, the use of motorized watercraft (including electric motors) is prohibited.

EATON RESERVOIR (BULL DAM) [PFBC ACCESS AREA]- This reservoir is located adjacent to Black Road and straddles both North East & Greenfield townships. Easy access may be obtained by traveling SR 89 until reaching the recently built race track (South of I-90/North of I-86), then travel east on Rich Hill Road until reaching the 'T' intersection (approximately two miles). At this intersection turn left, onto Black Road, and head north for approximately ¾ mile; the reservoir will be immediately to your right.
Recent angler contacts have shown harvests to be light. Don't be fooled, however, this impoundment holds good numbers of bass- many in the four and one-half to five pound range.
This access is governed under PFBC property regulations. Electric motors ARE PERMITTED.

LEBOEUF CREEK- This waterway, from its headwaters at the Lake LeBoeuf outlet until its junction with French Creek, over three miles to the south, holds respectable numbers of Small-mouth Bass.
Access is best gained by use of a canoe with the prime launching point being at the SR 19 bridge (South of the SR(s) 19/97 split, located just outside the southern limits of Waterford borough). Retrieval is best accomplished at the SR 6 bridge, which is located along French Creek approximately two miles south of its junction with LeBoeuf Creek. All totaled, this canoe excursion is approximately six miles in length. Rapids, in general, are not a problem; however, this area holds numerous deep pools and 'strainers' are to be expected.

Reviews of the 'Fisherie' discussion board (Northwestern PA) have shown angler requests for both Trout and Walleye information regarding the South Branch of French Creek. Hopefully this snipit will help address those requests.
Having its source northeast of Spartansburg, approximately two miles inside the Erie County line, the South Branch of French Creek has an overall westerly course which meanders just outside the Corry limits and through Union City before joining with French Creek (proper) a little over three miles west of the latter's location.
His stream is listed by the PFBC as 'Approved Trout Waters' and is stocked with PFBC trout for over 12 miles [Washington Street (west of Corry) through the Union-LeBoeuf Road bridge (west of Union City)].
Numerous choice spots exist for the trout enthusiast, even into the 'dog days' of Summer. Those sections of stream adjacent to Riley-Siding and O'Neil Road(s)- extending downstream through Blystone Road [Eastern limit of Union City], generally, keep cooler temperatures and contain good numbers of hold-over trout.
As for Walleye… well, there are a few still around-primarily in that area extending West from the Union-LeBoeuf Road bridge through the junction with French Creek and then upstream along the latter's course. My local sources, all who have been fishing that area since before I was around and some even before my father came to be, say that both Walleye and Muskellunge were much more prevalent (in the area of the South Branch/French Creek junction) a generation ago. Additionally, if you're looking for Walleye and the like, you may want to try along French Creek (both upstream/downstream of the Flatt Road) through it's junction with LeBoeuf creek and then downstream along the former through SR6. Good luck!!

Walleye are being taken in all areas surrounding North East Marina. Hook-ups are occurring in 105 feet of water, with the upper 30 feet being the target zone. Planer boards and big dipsies are working well.

Harvests are occurring NNW of North East Marina in 105-110 feet of water and approximately 52 feet down. NK's and Stinger Spoons (black/purple & chrome/blue in color) are producing well.
Bass are being taken from Freeport (Sixteenmile) and the "W's" in approximately 18 feet of water. Tube jigs and live bait are choice at this time.
Lake trout are being taken in East County in 110 feet of water at 55-60 feet down. Chrome colored spoons appear to be producing the best results.

Western Crawford County / WCO Joe Russell

Pymatuning Lake- The lake has gotten very warm with 81 to 85 degrees being about the normal surface temperature, so most of the fishing that is productive is for warm water species. Bass, Bluegill and Carp fishing are doing real well though around the lake. Try structures around the shore line to have the best results, and the lighter the tackle the better. Worms on a jig under a bobber seem to be the best producer for the Bluegills, and doughballs are working great for the Carp.
Conneaut Lake- Bass fishing has really picked up here with some nice smallmouths taken over the week. The edges of the weed beds at the north end of the lake seem to be producing the most with structures like docks coming in a close second. No particular baits of choice guys seem to be having luck with just about everything, but throw a variety at them to see what will draw them out. Boating season is once again here so early mornings and weekdays before the boats pick up will be you best bets. Bluegill fishermen have been doing well here as well by using a small jig under a bobber and tipping it with a piece of worm or maggot. Fish the weed beds or edges of the lake for the best results.

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