WCO Report for Erie and Crawford County 04/01/2003: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: April 01, 2003

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on April 01, 2003 at 22:52:58:

WEST ERIE COUNTY, WCO Brook Tolbert / DWCO Randy Leighton

West County tribs have been good to excellent with good levels, color and flow. We seem to be getting just enough rain to keep conditions good. This should keep the Spring steelhead season alive for a while. Anglers have been doing very well on the Walnut Project Waters and at the Manchester Hole. Good numbers of limits were observed this past weekend. Fresh fish have come in and are scattered from the mouth of Walnut Creek up to the "Chutes" area. Egg sacs, minnows continue to be the ticket along with sucker spawn patterns in white, pink, cream and peach. A number of anglers in the slower water and along the "Wall" were having success with chartreuse power bait. Elk has been producing some fresh fish although not large, from the mouth to route 5. The Legion area to Follies End are good areas to try with lots of room.

A Few Reminders Before Opening Day:
The upper gravel pit pond is now closed to angling until 8:00 AM April 12th (Opening day of regular trout season).

Trout limit is for regular trout season is 5 fish with a minimum length of 9" on the Lake Erie Tributaries, Lake Erie, and Presque Isle Bay (only 2 of which can be lake trout).

For inland waters (i.e. the gravel pit in Fairview) the limit is 5 fish with a 7" minimum length

The Big Day:
Opening day of the regular trout season is April 12th at 8:00 am. The Erie Tribs are a great place for the opener. With the stocked trout mixed in with a potential run of fresh Steelhead, angling in our area can be can be a real smorgasbord on opening day. Popular areas in West County for the opener are include the Streuchen Flats area on Elk Creek. This area has plenty of parking and generally decent elbow room. Crooked Creek, Fairview Gravel Pits and the Legion Park Holes on Elk Creek are all good areas with the Gravel Pit pond in Fairview leading as the spot with the least elbow room but arguably the best place for the opener. A good rule of thumb is to look for the areas where there is a lot of parking. The number of parking spaces and vehicles is generally in direct correlation to the number of fish stocked in those waters. The large hole off the Mckean exit is a very popper area with adequate parking.

A Few Words of Caution for Opening Day:
Anglers fishing the Fairview Gravel pit pond are reminded that this is Fish and Boat Commission property. Open fires, camping and cooking are prohibited, as is erecting any permanent structures. Pets are permitted on Commission Property but must be on a leash. Leaving ones vehicle unattended at the Gravel Pit pond on order to reserve a spot can be considered an abandoned motor vehicle and dealt with accordingly. Officers will be on the lookout for litter problems and open fires in these busy areas. All boats on the Gravel Pit Pond, as well as all PFBC owned or regulated waters, require PFBC or DCNR State Parks registration. Internal combustion engines are not permitted on Commission owned waters, although electric motors are permitted. Water temperatures will still be ice cold on opening day. Make sure your safety equipment is in order. A PFD is required for all persons on board on all boats. They must be U.S. Coast Guard approved, in good serviceable condition and be easily accessible to all occupants. Officers will be checking boats for safety equipment.

Some opening day suggestions:

Tackle - Light or ultra light spinning or spincast reels filled with two to four lb. test line are best suited for our area streams. Closed faced reels work best for the kids to avoid tangles. Rods should be no longer than six feet (five feet is better) so you can keep your bait out of trees and away from others while casting. The exception to this would be if you are fishing the Erie Tribs. In that case a noodle rod may be more in order to handle the potential steelhead strike. Tie a short shank, size 10 to 14 hook and add one or two small (size BB or bird seed) split shot 12-18 inches above the hook. The removable type split shot works better as it allows you to change weights easily depending on the water flow. If you are using larger baits like whole nightcrawlers, larger hooks (size 6 or 8) might work better. Float the bait under a small float just large enough to carry the bait. Large floats do little more than spook the fish and make it difficult to detect strikes. Adjust the float to keep the bait near the bottom, or as deep as possible at the Gravel Pit Pond. The Gravel Pit pond in Fairview is actually a mined out gravel pit and quite deep.

Bait - Popular trout baits include corn, red worms, nightcrawlers, crickets, salmon eggs (fresh cured or jarred types in different colors), the powerbaits, marshmallows and emerald shiners (everyone has a favorite secret weapon). Try a variety of baits in case the trout are finicky or if the weather isn't cooperating. Put just enough bait on to just cover the hook and do not go overboard. For example, on a size 10 hook use: a) one or two pieces of corn or, b) one cricket or, c) one red worm d) one or two salmon eggs or, e) one-third to one-half of a nightcrawler or a single minnow. Typically the smaller the presentation, the better. It doesn't hurt to watch what the guy catching all the fish is using either (My favorite technique).

Etiquette - Cooperation and consideration in crowded fishing areas will make for a great day of angling for all. There are plenty of fish to be caught and sharing your secrets with others can develop into life long friend ships. Be aware that many areas of our tributaries run through private land and your behavior is a direct influence as to how many areas will remain open to public fishing in the future. Be especially considerate of younger anglers and the elderly .....we were all young once and we certainly are all getting older.....and please police your area for litter before you leave, even if its not your own. Good Luck!!

The following was provided by retired WCO John Bowser and is interesting reading worth repeating (John is having a fabulous retirement and doing fine) :

To put the risks associated with eating trout with low levels of PCBs into context, let's follow a typical angler on a routine fishing trip. Our angler gets up early in the morning, before sunrise. Slipping out of the covers, he steps out of bed (the odds of getting out of bed, falling and suffering a fatal skull fracture have been calculated at 1 in 20,000). He showers (the lifetime death risk of dying in the bathtub are 1 in 12,800) and shaves (the odds of injuring yourself while shaving seriously enough to require medical attention are 1 in 7,000). Going downstairs, (the stairs are considered the riskiest part of the house with some 2,000,000 Americans taking a serious fall each year) he heads for the kitchen. Household accidents are widespread and the kitchen is common location (small kitchen appliances and ovens account for almost 97,000 injury accidents each year according to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission). Our angler eats a hearty breakfast (lifetime odds of choking to death = 1 in 1,087) that includes eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, hot cakes, syrup and coffee. There are health risks associated with many foods. This includes the risks related to heart disease, cholesterol, high blood pressure and many others (according to the Center for Disease Control, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for more than 2,000,000 fatalities annually).Our angler hops in his car and drives down the interstate to pick up his fishing before heading to their favorite stream deep in the woods (in 1997, 41,967 people were killed in the estimated 6,764,000 police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes; 3,399,000 others were injured - US Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Our angler parks and hikes about a mile through the woods with his buddy. Although snake bites and other woodland accidents are rare, there are some risks associated with these activities (in fact, the National Safety Council computes your odds of dying by reaction to venomous animals, insects or plants are 1 in 51,265). When the angler gets to the stream, he pulls on his waders, enters the stream and begins to fish. Slipping while wading is a common occurrence. Most of the time, the response is to get up, have a laugh and keep fishing. Sometimes, though, injuries occur (In general, falls kill some 15,000 Americans per year. Another 3,500 die in submersion drownings - National Safety Council). To dry off, our fearless angler and his buddy light a fire (more than 1,700,000 burns occur in the United States each year). The anglers wash a sandwich (odds of death from eating peanut butter are 1 in 3,300) with a six pack of beer and each smokes a couple of cigarettes. Whoa! Alcohol and tobacco are the subjects of health warnings that are much stronger and much more closely based on documented scientific evidence than any health risks associated with PCBs in fish (based on research from the American Cancer Society, each year smoking claims more than 400,000 lives in the US). Assuming nothing drops on them along the way (odds for a fatality caused by falling objects is 1 on 4,400) they're able to walk back to their cars. They drive home, taking all the same risks they took getting to the stream. To finish a fine day in the outdoors, our angler enjoys with a meal of fresh caught trout. The point of all this is that we all take some "risks" everyday. Eating his catch of trout with low levels of PCBs is probably one of the least risky things our angler did this day.


Pymatuning Lake:
Walleye are being caught by the droves at the wire on the spillway. Sonar's and cicadas seem to be the hot item to fish with. Guys are fishing here around the clock and taking quite a few, remember though anything inside the wire is nursery waters and will result in a pretty steep fine if you are caught or turned in. I have had reports of some over the limit cases unfortunately they came in after the incident and I was unable to catch the actors in the process. Please feel free to use my numbers to contact me at the time of the violation and I will come right out if I am not already out some place. Shore fishing has been pretty nonexistent as of yet do to the cold water temps not bringing the fish in yet. The water will need to get about another 10 degrees warmer for shore fishing to pick up. Boating has started and everyone should check all their safety equipment prior to launching, don't just take it for granted that it is OK because it was when you put it away last year. The hatchery has informed me that they will have no problem whatsoever reaching their goal on egg production this year, they are catching a lot of fish and most of them are still green and not ripe yet.

Conneaut Lake:
Haven't seen any fishing yet here as I have been busy with Pymatuning lake however I am told the channel at the North end is getting hammered with crappie fishermen and they are doing quite well. Minnie's that are orange/red in color seem to be a favorite and are producing good results.

Stocking of Conneaut creek will take place on the 10th of April and everyone will meet the trucks at 9:45 at the Springboro post office on route 18. All are welcome to come check out the fish and carry a few buckets, I understand from other officers that the hatchery put out some nice trout again this year. In season stocking will be the week of the 14th. We are putting a total of 5700 browns and brookies in this year.

WCO Mark Kerr / DWCO Michael J. McSkimming

East County Tributaries Update:
Regarding the mile streams, all have received varying degrees of fresh steelhead runs with Four and Twelve-Mile receiving the largest & Seven, Sixteen and Twenty-mile receiving smaller runs. Most productive baits/flies - sucker spawn in red, cream, and orange, single eggs, egg sacs in stained water

License Display Reminder:
Due to the advent of warmer weather, coupled with varying degrees of cabin-fever as well as fresh runs, our officers' are once again encountering larger numbers anglers along the streams. Please keep in mind this friendly reminder... fishing licenses are required to be displayed at ALL times. For your convenience as well as ours, it is suggested that upon purchasing a license that a plastic license holder is purchased too; followed by attaching that holder to either a hat or other outside garment.

Lake Erie Tributary Streams Closing:
Ok, truth be told, I've gotten a laugh at the Fisherie.com Discussion Boards lately regarding this subject. Plain and simple, here it is (AGAIN)!!...ALL Lake Erie Tributaries, including the Waterworks Ponds (located on Presque Isle State Park), are closed to any and all forms of fishing/angling [for 2003] from 12:01 a.m. on 11 April (Friday) until 8:00 a.m. on 12 April. All totaled, this tributary closure is for the 32 hours immediately preceding the regular trout season opener.

Basic Boating Course Reminder:
Please remember, we will be offering a Basic Boating Course on April 22 & 23, 2003. This course is scheduled to occur at the Wesleyville Borough Building, from 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. (both nights). Reservations are required and can be made by contacting WCO Kerr at either 814-796-1378 or wco015@yahoo.com (e-mail).

Approved Trout Water (Later Winter Stocked Lake) Closures:
Please keep in mind that as of this last Tuesday (04-01-03), both Lake Pleasant and the Fairview Gravel Pits became closed to fishing until 8:00 a.m. on 12 April 2003. Both these bodies of water are included as Approved Trout Waters, yet remained open to fishing, under the Late Winter Stocked Lake Program, through March 31.

CENTRAL ERIE COUNTY, WCO Tom Edwards / DWCO Bryan Brendley:

What is whirling disease?
Whirling disease is a parasitic infection which tends to attack young trout and salmon. The parasite does not infect warm water species. Different fish within a species also have been shown to vary in their susceptibility to the disease. For example, brown trout appear to be more resistant to the parasite than are rainbow trout. Whirling disease is currently found in 22 states, including Pennsylvania, but the parasite does not reproduce well in concrete raceways, essentially eliminating the problem in the PFBC hatcheries. Humans do not get whirling disease and it is currently thought that live fish are the most important vector for the disease. The Whirling Disease Foundation is a partner with Trout Unlimited and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to present an annual symposium on what can be done to fight whirling disease. Next week, the invasion of Utah by the parasite, Myxobolus cerebralis.

Wednesday night:
Mostly cloudy. Lows in the lower 40s. East winds around 15 mph.
Cloudy with a chance of rain showers and thunderstorms. Highs 55 to 60. Chance of rain 40 percent.
Thursday night:
Showers and thunderstorms likely. Lows in the upper 40s. Chance of rain 60 percent.
Showers likely with a chance of thunderstorms, mainly in the morning. Highs near 60. Chance of rain 60 percent.
Friday night:
Cloudy with a chance of showers. Lows in the mid 30s. Chance of rain 40 percent.
A chance of showers during the day, otherwise partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 40s.
Partly cloudy. A chance of showers late. Lows in the upper 20s and highs in the mid 40s.
Cloudy with a chance of showers. Breezy. Lows near 30 and highs in the upper 40s.
Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers. Breezy. Lows 35 to 40 and highs in the lower 50s.

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