WCO Report for Erie and Western Crawford County 11/20/02: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: November 20, 2002

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Posted by WCO John Bowser on November 20, 2002 at 07:42:21:

Steady precipitation has kept the tribs at prime fishing levels with ideal coloration. The high levels have triggered additional runs and large numbers of Steelhead are to be found in all the popular areas. Good water flow in most all the tribs allows for very natural drift presentations. The Walnut Project waters and the basin have been very productive. Fish have moved well into the upper areas of Elk Creek with the Legion Park holes, Girard park area, Follys End and the Streuchen flats all very hot areas. Crooked Creek now has good flow and color and is often less crowded. With the fall runs at their peak, now is a good time to experiment with a variety of bait presentations. Sucker spawn patterns, minnows, micro jigs, skein, and single eggs are still the most popular. Don't be afraid to try what the guy next to is using...it just might work better. Anglers fishing at night have found the new glow in the dark mini jigs to be a very hot bait.

Freezing temperatures at night can make day break fishing tough, but with a little preparation all can go smoothly. The most common problem is rod eyes freezing up. There are many tricks and products to prevent this, however I have found that a small amount of Blistex or a similar petroleum jelly product (found in small tubes, usually at the check out counter in any drugstore) applied sparingly to each eyelet does a good job of repelling water on the eyelets and hence stopping ice build up. A few dry heat packs in the pockets can help keep the hands warm however, they are useless if they get wet. I carry a good old John E hand warmer in my pocket and have yet to find anything better. Fingerless gloves and most of all a good warm hat to prevent heat loss should be worn. Waders that fit like spandex often do not provide the desired warmth (and for the fashion conscious really don't look all that good). Some air space in the legs and boots will normally keep you warmer than an overly tight fit. Keeping your hands, face, and equipment as dry as possible will prevent ice build up and keep the wind chill down.

Hunting Season:
With hunting season upon us and deer season right around the corner, anglers are reminded that wearing some type of bright clothing especially in the remote areas of the tribs will help keep you out of hunters sights. There is no special rule or regulation on this but a little blaze orange makes good sense in any wooded area this time of year. Many of the upper areas of Elk Crooked Creeks run through prime hunting areas.

Perch: Still spotty on the Bayfront at the public dock and S. Pier have patience and determination.

Crappie: Finally saw some crappie caught at the Viking/Landsdowne area.

Steelhead: Nice run in 4-mile behind the Lawrence Park Fishing Club.

Current Fisherpersons News:

If you have been watching the News lately you have probably seen the controversy surrounding the restrooms at Presque Isle State Park (Marina Lake). If you would like to voice your opinions regarding this issue either for or against you should contact the Presque Isle Advisory Board. This board will be voting in January on whether or not the restroom shall remain locked. This post is only to inform persons fishing in the park of the current issues.

Current Legislative News:

Senate Bill 1242 restores funding authorization for PFBC capital projects contained in Act 131 (Senate Bill 1213) . On October 30, Governor Mark Schweiker signed Senate Bill 1213 into law. The Governor's Press Release indicated that he "removed the bond funding for the projects for the Fish and Boat Commission, while not vetoing the projects themselves." Click here for PFBC news release on the capital budget.

The Pennsylvania Senate concurred in House amendments to Senate Bill 1213 on October 9. Senate Bill 1213 passed the House with amendments on October 8, 2002. The amendments provided that the Fish and Boat Commission projects itemized in Section 10 of the bill will be financed by incurring debt repaid from the General Fund. The amended bill also increased the amount authorized for rebuilding the dam at Leaser Lake, Lehigh County.

1. The Game Commission projects were previously approved in Act 131 of 2002, and it was not necessary for the General Assembly to give further consideration to these projects.

One More Legislative tidbit:

Background: Senate Bill 463, sponsored by Senator Richard Kasunic with broad bipartisan support, provides that on or after January 1, 2003, it will be illegal for a person born on or after January 1, 1982, to operate certain motorboat unless the person completes a boating safety course and receives a boating safety certificate.

PFBC Position: The Fish and Boat Commission supports enactment of legislation to provide for mandatory boating safety education for operators of motorboats. Senate Bill 463 represents a major step forward in seeking to ensure that operators of motorboats have completed a basic boating safety course and have a sound familiarity with the rules of the road of boating and safe boating practices. The PFBC endorses this legislation.

For more information on the above legislative news visit WWW.fish.state.pa.us

(continuing story of entrance into the Deputy Program) by DWCO Brendley
My first trip to the HR Stackhouse was both exciting and scary. I had no idea what the instructors would be like, what the food would be like, what the rooms would be like, and so on. When I arrived I was able to track down three of the other DWCO trainees from Erie County and we spent some time talking about the weekend before the main building was opened. WCO Bill Carey, the Academy Training Assistant, showed up and made us pretty nervous about what was to come that summer. Later in the afternoon, ATD Guy Bowersox arrived and really made the group nervous about the training and about the hazards and duties of fish wardens. That night two prospective deputies left the program.

The twenty-four of us who were left began to bond together and realized that as a group we could get through whatever the training officers dished out. Unfortunately, the first weekend at school was lectures and paperwork. We spent twelve hours a day in class listening, writing, listening, and writing some more! Thankfully, we took a ten-minute break each hour to stretch our legs and get a drink. Then it was back to defensive driving, law, regulations, and more law. We had to learn the 67 counties in Pennsylvania, the PA game fishes, and more law. By the time the weekend was over we were actually looking forward to being pepper-sprayed. But that's another story for another episode…
(to be continued)

Due to this past weekend's rain and snow, both Sixteen & Twentymile
Creek(s) are running a bit high, however color hasn't been too awful bad.
Twentymile has begun to receive more Steelhead, after their almost
'magical' disappearance act of the last week or so. Good concentrations of
fish were present this weekend near the mouth and, given the attention that
anglers have been paying to its southern reaches (I-90 through
'Snakehole'), it would appear as if these little critters are finally
making a concerted move towards the New York State Line. We observed no
less than 12 anglers playing last weekend through this southern stretch;
only one fish was seen on a stringer, but the folks sure seemed to be
having fun. Two of the majority choices of this week seem to be live
minnows and egg sacs. Throughout today, 11-19-02, we received light to
moderate ... well, let's say 'drizzle'. If things calm down over the next
day or so, conditions should be quite pleasant by this next weekend.

OK, here's the 'gist' of it. I have spoken at length with the tenant
landholders in question. They, in no way, wish to have problems with those
wanting to fish the creek. Quite the opposite, they are very empathetic to
the wishes of the anglers; and, have stated that they are aware that the
majority of their problems are occasioned by the smallest minority of
those playing along the stream. However, here's the deal ... they live
there 'year round' and, if it were you, how many times would you, prior to
seeking assistance, tolerate finding people fishing off your deck in the
wee morning hours, staring into your windows after dark, casting lantern
lights in the window or playing music in the late night/early morning, or
how about watching people urinate (yep, or even worse) as you sit and gaze
out the back window. I've heard some say that as residents' along a
popular Steelhead stream they should, if they don't like it, either move,
learn to tolerate this type of activity or, perhaps, keep their window
shades pulled completely down. To those of you who have this opinion, I
say... "Surly you must be kidding!" Because no one could truly say
illogical and, 'oft times, hypocritical things like this and still be
serious? Right!? Sarcasm aside, the signs have, at this time, been
removed from along the west-side and placed along the property on the
Eastside of the stream. Please respect the resident's privacy, act
responsibly and remember, I'm the one who gave them the signs. Talks,
between affected parties, were to be scheduled, last I knew. We'll keep
you updated if/when the status of this stream changes. Until then, be
GOOD!! Thanks!

Glad to be off that heavy subject above. Guess what?... Seems the're
starting to catch Walleye again along many reaches of French Creek. As
usual, the hotter spots seem to be at the mouth(s) of Woodcock and the
Conneauttee (Crawford County); and, in addition, north and adjacent along
SR 19 from the Crawford Line through the junction with LeBoeuf Creek. Also
you may want to try just south of the bridge on Himrod Road; seems there's
a 'monster' of sorts lurking thereabouts. I've had numerous reports of
many lines being taken clean through. No sightings yet, but we'll keep you

Wednesday: Cloudy. High near 50F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.
Wednesday night: Cloudy skies. Low 42F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.
Thursday: Considerable cloudiness. Occasional rain showers developing later in the day. High 49F. Winds S at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40%.
Thursday (24 hours): Showers developing by evening. Highs in the upper 40s and lows in the low 30s.
Friday (24 hours): Rain and snow showers. Highs in the mid 30s and lows in the low 30s.
Saturday (24 hours): Overcast. Highs in the upper 30s and lows in the mid 30s.

Fish and Boat Commission 2003 Calendar Available for Limited Time special offer for Pennsylvania angler / boater magazine inside Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) 2003 calendars are now available to be picked up for a limited time at agency headquarters, Commission regional offices and state-owned hatcheries. Featuring colorful artwork sure to stir memories of favorite days spent fishing in the Keystone State, the calendars are offered free of charge thanks to a partnership between the PFBC, fine art publisher Wilderness Editions and Motorola. “Through the support of Motorola, Wilderness Editions was able to provide 30,000 of these beautiful calendars to the Commission at no cost to Pennsylvania anglers and boaters,” said Executive Director Peter A. Colangelo. The calendar cover features “Morning Memories,” the winning design in the 2003 Pennsylvania Trout/Salmon Stamp contest. The painting by artist Christopher Leeper depicts a father and son walking to their favorite fishing spot on a beautiful spring morning. Inside, the calendar features artwork from the other finalists in the 2003 stamp contest. Thirty-three paintings were entered into the contest (held in May) from which eight finalists were selected. “We’re delighted that the hard work and tremendous talents of the artists who entered our trout stamp competition is recognized through publication of this calendar,” Colangelo said. Colangelo noted however, that once the supply of calendars is exhausted, no more will be available from the Commission. Calendars are available to be picked up in person at Fish and Boat Commission facilities, and PFBC staff will distribute them at meetings and other events they attend in the upcoming months. Calendars are not available for mail distribution because of the associated postage costs. In addition to fishing-related art, the calendar includes a special incentive to subscribe to Pennsylvania Angler and Boater Magazine, the state’s official fishing and boating periodical. A coupon inserted in the calendar allows interested readers to select a one-year subscription for $9 and receive the choice of a special “I’m a Pennsylvania Angler" or “I’m a Pennsylvania Boater” patch. Those subscribing for three years (at a discounted rate of $25) may choose two patches. An order form for other PFBC publications and merchandise is also included in the calendar, along with PFBC art prints and collectibles available from Wilderness Editions.

Pymatuning Lake- Walleye are still being caught by the few die hard fishermen that have braved the elements and gone out in a boat in pursuit of them. The South end of the lake along the western side in fairly deep water still seems to be the area that everyone is targeting. Jigging and minis are still the primary producers with chartreuse sonar's being the top lure preferred. Most of the rest of the activity is starting to slow down though, as I have not seen any other fish species taken this last week.
Conneaut Lake- I have heard (unofficially) that a state record white bass was taken this last weekend from here. I have not been able to confirm this as of yet but I do know the white bass fishing here has been really good lately. Hopefully the person that caught it was tipped off from last weeks report and we helped them out a little.
Last chance to send me your E-mails before the big public meeting for the proposed horsepower increase on Pymatuning Lake. I have gotten quite a few so far and public opinion for the ones I have received seems to be running in favor of going to 25 horsepower by about four to one or five to one. Very few have said they want no increase at all and only one or two have said they only want eighteen. The meeting should be interesting and I hope to see a packed house with anglers. A copy of the public notice is posted below with directions to the meeting.

JAMESTOWN, Crawford County (Oct. 28, 2002) -- A joint public meeting to address a proposed change in the outboard motor horsepower limit on Pymatuning Lake has been planned by Pennsylvania and Ohio conservation agencies, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) announced today.

The meeting will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, at Pymatuning Valley Primary School, 191 West Main Street (Route 6), in Andover, Ohio.

Residents of both states are invited to attend and comment on proposed horsepower limits changes on Pymatuning Lake. The lake is located in both Ashtabula County, Ohio, and Crawford County, Pa.

Presently, an agreement between the two states prohibits use of boat motors larger than 10 horsepower. Pennsylvania this past spring embarked on a pilot program that increased horsepower limits from 10 to 18 at six state parks. They are: Lake Marburg, Codorus State Park, York County; Lake Wilhelm, Maurice K. Goddard State Park, Mercer County; Lake Arthur, Moraine State Park, Butler County; Lake Nockamixon, Nockamixon State Park, Bucks County; Glendale Lake, Prince Gallitzin State Park, Cambria County; and Yellow Creek Lake, Yellow Creek State Park, Indiana County.

With the exception of Yellow Creek, all lakes involved in Pennsylvania’s pilot program are larger than 1,000 acres.

At Pymatuning Lake, officials from both states now are considering an increase in horsepower limits above 10 horsepower. The purpose of any increase in horsepower would be to improve safety for boaters traveling the lake during stormy weather or windy conditions. There is no interest in changing the character of the recreational experience at Pymatuning by allowing high horsepower boats.

Boaters are reminded that should horsepower changes be recommended and approved by both states, the effective date would not occur prior to joint action by both Ohio and Pennsylvania legislators. In the meantime, the 10 horsepower maximum limit would remain in effect.

Both Ohio and Pennsylvania are requesting public comment on the proposed horsepower increase. Persons wishing to express views in favor or against any change are invited attend the meeting, or submit written comments, no later than Nov. 29, to: Pymatuning State Park, Attn: Horsepower Limits, 2660 Williamsfield Road, Jamestown, PA 16134.

For more information on boating and other features at Pennsylvania's State parks, call 1-888-PA-PARKS; or visit DCNR's web site through the PA PowerPort at www.state.pa.us, PA Keyword: “state parks.”

For details on boating regulations, safety classes, public access areas and registering watercraft, visit the Fish and Boat Commission's web site at www.fish.state.pa.us.

Now is the time to start looking for boaters safety classes for the 2003 boating season. A new bill, Senate bill 463, has been approved making it mandatory for the safe boating class to be taken before you can operate a boat on Commonwealth waters, if you were born after January 1, 1982. Don't wait till spring to find a class this is something that you can take care of over the winter months. A copy of the entire press release is listed below.

On November 12, the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee approved legislation establishing a new mandatory boater education program for the Commonwealth.

Senate Bill 463 was sponsored by Senator Richard A. Kasunic with strong bipartisan co-sponsorship. The bill will, if enacted, require operators of most motorboats born after January 1, 1982, to complete a boating safety course and have a boating safety certificate before running their boats on Pennsylvania waters. The new requirement would take effect on January 1, 2003. Operators of unpowered boats and boats powered by motors less than 25 horsepower would not be required to get certificates. Senate Bill 463 provides for a $10 fee for issuance of a boating safety certificate, good for a lifetime, and a $5 certificate replacement fee.

"The Fish and Boat Commission knows that boater safety education works, and Senate Bill 463 is an important step forward," said Fish and Boat Commission Executive Director Peter A. Colangelo. "I want to thank Senator Kasunic, Chairman Ed Helfrick and the members of the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee for their persistence and foresight in pursuing this legislation," Colangelo added.

Nearly 200,000 Pennsylvanians already possess boating safety education certificates. Since 1999, when the Fish and Boat Commission required operators of personal watercraft to obtain certificates, about 115,000 certificates have been issued. "Many boaters have taken safety courses and obtained certificates in an effort to become better informed and safer boaters," noted John Simmons, Director of the Bureau of Boating and Education. "In fact, many of those taking courses were not doing so to meet requirements to operate personal watercraft such as jet skis, but in response to a sincere desire to become better boaters," Simmons added.

"The Fish and Boat Commission is confident that, if Senate Bill 463 becomes law, boaters who need to take courses and earn certificates will be able to do so before the 2003 boating season," Colangelo stated. "It's easier than ever to find and take a boating safety course. We offer distance learning and home study alternatives through the Internet and video courses, and many classroom boating courses are offered during the winter months," Colangelo concluded.

In order to become law, Senate Bill 463 will need to pass the State Senate and State House during the remaining days of the fall 2002 legislative session.

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