WCO Report for Erie and Crawford County 10/16/02: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: October 16, 2002

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Posted by WCO John Bowser on October 16, 2002 at 08:48:47:


The tribs remain very low and very clear with the lack of rainfall. Forecasts over the next week are indicating several days of rain which should help. In the mean time, the best fishing remains close to the mouths mainly north of route 5. The Walnut Project holes are full of fish and anglers are doing well off the wall. White Maribou jigs twitched while floated under a bobber has been the hottest fish catching method. Elk Creek north of the access area to the mouth has been very productive with decent water levels. The lake shore at Trout and Godfrey runs is producing fish when the lake is calm. A few Steelhead are being caught in Presque Isle Bay..probably by accident this early in the season. The Bay is a great place to target Steelhead in the winter months, both by boat and on the ice. The Legion Park and the areas by the water treatment plant on Elk creek in Girard are holding some fish, but water levels are very low.

Walnut Creek Access:
Bricks and mortar have been laid for the Sunset Garden Memorial Wall at the Access area. Those still wishing to purchase a memorial brick can contact the office at (814)-833-2464. Boaters will be pulling boats out of the Walnut Marina by October 27th with the docks being pulled shortly thereafter. The basin appears to be holding a good number of Steelhead. Anglers will be informed over the next few weeks when fishing in the basin will be permitted.

Litter Problems:
The litter problems at the Walnut and Elk Creek Access have been awful this year. As usual it is normally a small number of the thousands of anglers that contribute to this problem. Even with all the trash containers, sportsmen's club cleanups, and individual efforts, the litter problem seems to increase. Please take a moment to police your area before you leave. Make sure that coffee cup or soft drink bottle is not laying on the ground by your vehicle. Make yourself feel good by picking up a little trash on your way out. A very small effort by the majority can go a long way. As we all know, much of our tributary access is via private land and nothing will instigate land posting faster than a persistent litter problem. Officers will be on a vigilant lookout for those individuals that insist on spoiling our area by carelessly leaving their trash of any kind on the ground.


As East County tributaries go, TWENTYMILE Creek is the primary producer. All tributaries are quite low and clear; and, just as the remainder of the county goes, rain would certainly be a blessing.
Crocodiles and Cleo's are still the best producers, with Power Bait and egg sacs following close behind. With calmer lake conditions, stream mouths' are producing the most catches. TWENTYMILE has fish dispersed from the mouth to approximately I-90; however, they are widely scattered.

Perch are still being taken, during calm days, on the New York/PA Line in approximately 62 feet of water.

Walleye are occasionally being taken along the North shore, in the cove area about midpoint of the reservoir.

With cooler temperatures arriving, French Creek is starting to produce more walleye catches. That area from French Creek's junction with the South Branch south through the Crawford County Line would be one section worth checking out.


Proper catch and release handling of steelhead:
Do your best ot land the steelhead as quickly as possible once it is hooked. Apply a constant and steady "side pressure" to the fish and avoid keeping the rod tip too high. Long fights with the fish, especially in warm water (which holds less oxygen) will significantly increase the chances that the fish will die. Use of heavy line will also be useful in preventing the fish from being too played out.
If you use a landing net try to avoid using knotted nylon nets as they will remove slime from the scales and can in fact damage the scales themselves. If possible, use a soft, knotless "catch and release" bag and keep the bag in the water once the fish has been netted. Out of the water the effects of gravity begin to damage the internal organs and the gill filaments within seconds. Actually, the gill filaments will begin to collapse upon themselves rapidly and become irreversibly damaged.
If you beach the steelhead (which is much more harmful than netting), try to beach them in an area free of loose sand or sharp rocks. Restrain the fish as quickly as possible to avoid damage to the slime and the scales.
Once the fish is landed, do not touch the fish unless you must. Hemostats or pliers are best to remove hooks so that you don't have to touch the fish. Let the fish swim out of the net, or gently push it into the current if it is beached. Should you decide to take a quick photo of the fish do not pick it up by its gills. Get all of your photo equipment set up before you get the fish out on land (ie still in the net). Hold the fish horizontally and support its belly. Bottom line: get the fish back in the water ASAP!
If the fish is unable to swim under its own power hold the fish in moderate current under the belly and by the tail. Point the head of the fish into the current to let water flow over the gills in order to re-oxygenate the blood and rejuvenate the fish. Release the fish once you begin to feel it swim.
Together we can work to make catch and release an important tool in the conservation of our natural resources.

Wednesday: Periods of rain. Temperatures steady in the low 50s. Winds N at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 80%. Rainfall near a half an inch.
Wednesday night: Cloudy with a few showers. Low 41F. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30%.
Thursday: Cloudy with a few showers. High near 50F. Winds W at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30%.
Thursday (24 hours): Occasional showers. Highs in the low 50s and lows in the upper 30s.
Friday (24 hours): Mix of rain and snow. Highs in the upper 30s with temperatures nearly steady overnight.
Saturday (24 hours): Partial sunshine. Highs in the low 50s and lows in the mid 40s.

May I legally fillet my fish along the stream?
All fish may be field dressed (that is the entrails may be removed but the head and tail remain on the fish) but not all fish may be legally filleted along the stream. Filleting is the removal of the edible meat found along the sides of the fish. Any fish that has a minimum size and/or a closed season may not be filleted until it reaches the place where you intend to eat it (in most cases your residence). Fish that have no closed season or minimum size may be filleted but the skin must remain on the fillet until it reaches the place where you intend to eat it. Anglers may also take fish to an officially recognized fish cleaning station and have them filleted. The operator of the station is required to give the angler a receipt indicating the species and number of fish filleted. 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. Disposing of entrails improperly may result in a littering citation.

Pymatuning Lake-The Lake is still 2 feet low at this time do to lack of any sizable rain and quite a few of the boats moored around the edge of the lake are sitting high and dry on land. Duck hunting pressure after the first day has been really light with only the occasional hunter launching a boat and taking to the islands to test their luck. Remember if you are hunting on the lake all safety equipment has to be present and you have to be on the on the proper side of the lake for where your license is for. Unlike fishing where you are allowed to use a Pa. license to fish from an island, while hunting you have to have the correct state license. Fishing pressure has been extremely light on the lake this week possibly do to all the wind and cold fronts that have come through. The spillway seems to be picking up though with fishermen but I haven't been able to check any fish there yet.

Conneaut Lake- I received an E-mail from Roy this week who told me he thoroughly enjoyed fishing at Conneaut Lake and it was an interesting lake he wanted to find out more about, he also stated he got into some Bluegills around 35' and saw some Crappies taken by other fishermen. This is definitely the time of year to start hitting this lake, do to the decrease in boat traffic. Let me know how you do and I will mention you in future reports.

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