WCO Report for Erie County 12/18/02: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: December 18, 2002

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Posted by WCO John Bowser on December 18, 2002 at 16:39:00:

Thank you...
Your support, communication, and assistance have been a huge part of our success this year and we thank you. In the coming year, we welcome your comments and criticism on our reports and will entertain any subjects, questions, or issues that our readers would like to see addressed. These reports have grown in popularity thanks to you and are seen by and distributed to a wide range of media sources through out the Commonwealth encompassing thousands upon thousands of readers. We will try in the coming year to keep you as updated with the latest fishing conditions and tips and the important issues concerning our busy area along the Erie Lake Shore. Your comments and compliments have been heart felt and deeply appreciated. Officer Bowser and myself along with all the all the dedicated Officers along the North Coast wish you and your families a very warm and happy Holiday Season.

The tribs have begun to drop some after a heavy run off and we seem to have settle in to slushy mornings and nice conditions during the day. Much of the recent ice has melted and many areas are open as of this writing. Local reports have indicated a good number of fresh fish in many of the lower stretches of Elk and Walnut Creeks. The high water and the seasonal swings in temperatures seem to have stirred up some movement. Minnows and eggs have been popular with the bait crowd. The crowds have continued to thin with plenty of elbow room in most areas especially on weekdays. Fish are being caught although the numbers of fish in the tribs has thinned out some. Good fishing bets this time of year are typically the areas of the tribs south of route 20. With the high water levels we are experiencing fish will be coming in from the lake randomly and targeting the Walnut and Elk Creek Access areas may yield fresh fish for the smoker.

Walnut Creek Access Office:
Friday, December 20th will be the last day the WCAA office and restroom facilities will be open for the season. (Portable facilities will remain throughout the winter) The office has all of the popular PFBC publications, books and posters as well as 2003 licenses, all of which make great last minute stocking stuffers. Sherri, Beverly, & Marilyn (the office staff at Walnut) give their best wishes for a great holiday and thank everyone for a wonderful season.

Boat Auction

What: A public auction to sell used, confiscated, or unclaimed boats, motors, trailers, backhoes, etc.
When: May 3, 2003, 9 AM - 4 PM, rain or shine
Inspection Period - Day of auction from 7:30 AM to 9 AM
Where: Big Spring Fish Culture Station
844 Big Spring Road
Newville, PA 17241
Cumberland County
Payment Terms Check drawn on a Pennsylvania bank or cash, there is a 10% buyers premium added to the cost.
More Information Coming in January/February 2003

As of yesterday (12-16-02), the majority of the tributaries had dropped a
little but were still running a bit high. Color has turned 'greenish', but
I have not noticed any large runs of fresh fish entering the streams.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will stock more than 60,000 trout
as part of its Late Winter Adult Trout Stocking Program, delivering fish to
49 waters across 32 different counties.
The stockings will begin the week of January 6, 2003 and continue through
the month of February. A total of 45,240 rainbow trout account for the
majority of fish to be stocked. In addition, 10,350 brown trout and 4,710
brook trout will be included in the stockings.
All fish harvested from the affected waters are subject to Extended Trout
Season rules. Trout must be a minimum of seven inches in length and no more
than three per day may be taken. Anglers 16 years of age or older who wish
to fish for trout must display on an outside garment both a valid fishing
license and Trout/Salmon stamp attached to their license. The 2003
Pennsylvania Fishing Licenses and Trout/Salmon Stamps are now available at
more than 1,600 issuing agents statewide and via the "Outdoor Shop" on the
Commission's web site.
Waters included in the program are also open for an additional month of
trout fishing. Trout angling is permitted in March on these waters while
most other trout-stocked waters close to fishing at the end of February in
preparation for the traditional Opening Day of the season.
Lake Pleasant, which was last stocked on 05 December 2002, is scheduled for
an additional stocking on 10 February 2003.

Steve Grund):
[Taken from "CONSERVE" (a publication of the Western Pennsylvania
Conservancy)-- Nov/Dec 2002)]...
The WPC is, as a result of evaluations done by its National Heritage
Staff through the 1980's, now working with the Cleveland Museum of Natural
History on a study of the plants that grow in seven of the glacial lakes
located in northwestern Pennsylvania; with the determination that Lake
Pleasant was the most appropriate to focus conservation efforts.
In June 2001, the WPC and the Cleveland Museum, with funding from the
Wild Resource Conservation Fund, began a five-year study of the flora of
all eight inland glacial lakes of northwest Pennsylvania. These eight
lakes are: Lake Pleasant, Edinboro Lake, Sugar Lake, Lake LeBoeuf, Sandy
Lake, Canadohta Lake, Conneaut Lake and Crystal Lake (this lake was not
included in the survey done in the 1980's).
A complete mapping of submerged and floating level plants has been
done at Pleasant, LeBoeuf and Edinboro; with Lake Pleasant having
noticeably better water quality and healthier plant life, due to little
interference from algal blooms. Algal blooms are symptoms of nutrient
loading into the water source, which can be caused by numerous sources such
as ineffective sewage treatments, fertilizer and/or lawn chemical runoff,
livestock/wildlife overpopulation, etc.
At present, Lake Pleasant continues to be the only natural lake in
western Pennsylvania that has not been invaded with the invasive exotic
plant called Eurasian water-milfoil. These plants produce a canopy at the
top of the lake which shades out the native species below.
Motorboats are not permitted on Lake Pleasant. Motor boats chop up
aquatic plants; causing some species to suffer from the disturbance while
others sprout from the fragments and become more abundant. Both situations
lead to changes in the natural abundance of the species, and may help
account for the predominance of some exotics in those lakes which allow the
use of motorized watercraft.
Lake Pleasant's twenty rare plant species, the most for any lake in
western Pennsylvania, are doing well, and they have a bright future, thanks
to the watershed's landowners and the conservation work that continues out
of the WPC's Northwest Field Station.
For complete details and color photographs of Lake Pleasant visit the
WPC website at: www.wpconline.org/lakepleasant.htm or www.paconserve.org.

Q: This might not be the type of question you are used to getting but I really need your help, so here it goes: My father is a die-hard Pennsylvania angler and I want to get him something fishing-related for Christmas. But I know nothing about fishing stuff. Do you have any recommendations for things he might like?

A: Why not get your father a 2003 Pennsylvania Fishing License? They are on sale now, available at over 1,600 issuing agents state wide - including Fish and Boat Commission offices, bait & tackle shops, most county treasurers and in many stores' sporting goods department. Licenses are also available on-line at the Outdoor Shop.
The price for a Pennsylvania resident fishing license hasn't changed in seven years. The 2003 licenses remain a real bargain at only $17.00 (including the agent fee)! Add a $5.50 trout/salmon stamp and your dad is set for up to 365 days of some of the best fishing in the nation. Purchasing a license as a present is easy too; simply tell the sales clerk you'd like to make a gift purchase and provide some general information about the angler who will use it.
The Commission also offers a number of publications and products that should also appeal to the anglers on your gift list. How about a subscription to Pennsylvania Angler & Boater Magazine? We also have a great new book, Pennsylvania Fishes, with 170 pages full of information about the state's fish species, their life history and color illustrations. We offer other goodies too, like wall charts, patches and a Fish and Boat Commission baseball cap.

Wednesday: Mostly cloudy with drizzle developing in the afternoon. High 44F. Winds SE at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of precip 30%.
Wednesday night: Cloudy during the evening. A few showers developing late. Low 39F. Winds SSE at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 30%.
Thursday: Rain showers, with increasing winds in the afternoon. High 51F. Winds S at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of rain 50%.
Thursday (24 hours): Windy with showers at times. Highs in the low 50s and lows in the low 40s.
Friday (24 hours): Showers possible. Highs in the low 40s and lows in the upper 20s.
Saturday (24 hours): Chance of a few snow showers. Highs in the low 30s and lows in the mid 20s.


Founded in 1866, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is one of the oldest and most effective conservation agencies in the nation. The Commission is an independent agency with responsibilities for protecting and managing Pennsylvania’s fishery resources and regulating recreational fishing and boating on Pennsylvania waters. The Commission’s fishing and boating programs have won national recognition
More information about the PFBC is available on the web site: http://www.fish.state.pa.us

Mission - To provide fishing and boating opportunities through the protection and management of aquatic resources.

Agency Wide Goals -
—To protect, conserve and enhance all aquatic resources.
—To provide for the protection of aquatic resource users.
—To address the expectations of anglers and boaters.
—To advocate the wise, safe use of Pennsylvania’s aquatic resources.

Customers: Nearly 2 million people, including about 600,000 children, fish in Pennsylvania in each year. In 2001, the Commission sold more than 955,000 fishing licenses and nearly 700,000 trout stamps. Fishing has a tremendous impact on Pennsylvania’s economy. Anglers spent nearly $650 million in trip and angling-related expenditures. It generated an economic impact of over $1.35 billion. More than 2.5 million people boat on Pennsylvania waters each year. During 2002, about 350,000 boats were registered in Pennsylvania. The Commission estimates that boating has a total economic impact of $1.7 billion per year. Recent surveys show our customers like what we do and want us to do even more. Anglers and boaters generated about $50 million in state sales and income taxes.

Commissioners: Members of the Commission are appointed by the Governor to eight-year terms with the advice and consent of two-thirds of the Pennsylvania Senate. Eight of the commissioners represent districts; two at-large (statewide) commissioners represent boating interests. Commissioners receive no compensation except reasonable expenses. The commissioners are:
Samuel M. Concilla (North East)(1st District)
Ross J. Huhn (Saltsburg)(2nd District)
William J. Sabatose (Brockport)(3rd District)
Rozell Stidd (Huntingdon)(4th District)
Ted Keir (Athens)(5th District)
Howard E. (Gary) Pflugfelder (New Cumberland)( (6th District)
Leon H. Reed (Honesdale) (7th District)
Richard W. Czop (Collegeville) (8th District)
Paul Mahon (Clarks Green) (Boating)
Don Anderson (Salisbury) Boating)

Boating Advisory Board: The Boating Advisory Board includes five unpaid members appointed by the Governor for five-year terms and three ex officio members. It advises the Commission on matters related to boats and boating on the waters of the Commonwealth.

Staff: Peter A. Colangelo is the Commission’s Executive Director. He serves as chief executive officer and chief waterways conservation officer. For this fiscal year, the Commission’s complement is capped at 436 full-time employees. The wage (temporary and seasonal) complement averages about 150 employees during the peak stocking and recreational season.

Volunteers: Volunteers serve the anglers and boaters of Pennsylvania in a number of important roles. About 225 individuals serve as deputy waterways conservation officers. Other volunteers include our volunteer education/information corps, and volunteers who assist in fishing programs and boating safety instruction. Nearly 200 cooperative nurseries support fish rearing and stocking efforts.

Fiscal Management: The Fish and Boat Commission is a user-funded agency; it receives no General Fund tax revenue to support its programs. The Commission operates out of two special funds: the Fish Fund and the Boat Fund. Fish Fund revenues in FY 02-03 are estimated at about $29.5 million. The principal sources of revenue were fishing licenses and fees (66%) and federal funds (22%). Fish Fund expenditures are estimated at about $32 million. Boat Fund revenues are about $11.3 million. Boat registration fees, refunds of liquid fuels taxes on gas used by motorboats and federal aid are the top revenue categories. About $11.2 million is planned for expenditure from the Boat Fund in FY 00-01. About 60% of Commission expenditures are for personnel. Fishing license fees were last changed in 1995; the fee for a trout stamp has remained unchanged since 1991. Boat registration fees were changed in 1991. The PFBC exercises prudent management to enable us to maintain our fund balances. The estimated starting Fish Fund balance on July 1, 2003 is $8.8 million. This means the Fish Fund faces a critical fiscal situation and will need more revenue soon for both program and infrastructure needs. The Boat Fund’s projected starting balance of $12.1 million indicates that there is less immediate need for additional revenue.

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