WCO Report for Erie and Crawford County 04/16/2003: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: April 16, 2003

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on April 16, 2003 at 07:49:24:

WEST ERIE COUNTY, WCO Brook Tolbert / DWCO Randy Leighton

The West County tributaries are becoming low and clear as of this writing. Predicted rain later in the week may help conditions. Continued cold nights may keep a few steelhead around for a while but generally the season is beginning to wind down. A fair number of steelhead remain near the mouths or Elk and Walnut Creeks particularly at the Manchester Hole and around the Elk Creek Access. A good run of steelhead occurred on Elk this past Friday night before the opening of regular Trout season. It is difficult to predict how long they will stick around. There are still a good number of stocked trout scattered through out Elk and Crooked Creeks. Clear conditions will dictate the lightest of presentations with no more than 4 lb. test line (preferably fluorocarbon). Sucker spawn patterns, single eggs, emerald shiners, and micro jigs will be popular choices for both steelhead and stocked trout.. Suckers have invaded the tribs and some bass are being caught in lower Elk.

A number of boats have been observed on both the Bay and the Lake. Water conditions are still frigid with drifting chunks of ice and debris. Use extreme caution when boating this time of year. Make sure all required safety equipment is on board and keep PFD's with in reach or better yet, wear them. Hypothermia can set in quickly with the current Lake temperatures.

Trout Opener:
The opening day of Trout Season was spectacular with beautiful weather and a large turnout of anglers. Officers had a great day watching the crowds enjoy this traditional day of family fishing fun. There were little to no problems with great cooperation all anglers. The smiles on the kid's faces were the best part of the day. The Fairview Gravel Pit is scheduled again for stocking on May 3rd.

Cleaning Trout:
Hold the trout around its middle with its underbelly facing towards you.

Insert a sharp knife into the anal orifice. Moving the knife point upward, slit the trout up to the gill cavity.

Looking at the bottom jaw of the trout, there is an upside horseshoe like tab. Slide the knife under the tab to loosen it.

Put your thumb under the horseshoe shaped tab and push it into the gill cavity.

Gripping the head with the other hand, remove gill cavity along with the entrails in one downward motion.

With the entrails gone, that leaves the head, skin and blood vein. You can, if you like, just remove the blood vein and prepare to freeze or cook.

Skinning is easy, as long as the trout is fresh. Grab the head and bend it back breaking the back bone while leaving the skin in tact.

Gripping the bottom half of the trout, pull the head and skin downward, stripping the skin inside out.

Along the inside of the backbone is a bloodvein that must be removed before cooking.

Using your thumb, scrape the blood away from the flesh.

That should leave you with a cleaned and skinned fish, ready to cook or smoke.

A last reminder that cleaning fish along streamside, although not prohibited, is strongly discouraged. If you elect to clean your catch streamside, all entrails must be bagged and disposed of properly. Casually discarded fish entrails are considered litter. They will also attract unwanted critters that local landowners may not be happy with.


Pymatuning Lake:
Catch rate in the lake is a little right now, as the water is still fairly cold. I have had reports that they are starting to get fish on the Ohio side from shore. The spillway still seems to be producing fish as well with some nice ones being taken on sonarís. With all the recent warm weather we have receiving it shouldnít be long for the water to warm up at all. Boating is starting to pick up on the lake with guys getting their boats out of storage. Remember to check your safety equipment before putting it on the lake. Just because it was fine when you put it away doesnít mean it will be this year. Mice love to nest in life jackets and nitrogen can leak out of extinguishers making them useless and unserviceable. One bad fire extinguisher can be worth $90.00 in fines and cost and it is definitely cheaper to check them and replace them.

Conneaut Lake:
The main body of the lake has not been fished much however the inlet at the north end is getting pounded. I have been told the Crappie fishing has been great there. Unfortunately when I brought my kids to try we got skunked, but so did everyone else that day so we didnít feel too bad. That is why it is called fishing and not catching. From what I am told minnies under a bobber are the hot item here and when they are biting it is fast and furious then as quick as they turn on they will turn off. This is an excellent area to bring kids though as the banks are level and fairly easy access.

Conneaut Creek:
Trout season opened this last Saturday and was interesting to say the least. 3400 trout were put into Conneaut creek on Thursday the 10th and at that time the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was treating the stream for Sea Lamprey with lampricide. This is a chemical that specifically targets Sea Lamprey in their juvenile form and kills them prior to going out into lake Erie. Unfortunately Friday night the night before trout opened at 7 pm the supervisor for their team did a news interview and warned about consuming any fish from the treated water for 24 to 48 hours after the treatment ended. At that time they were still treating the water, so opening morning was spent warning fishermen that they should practice Catch and Release. We were greeted with many thanks for our warnings from anglers and appreciation that we got the word to them. Steps are being taken to ensure that this never happen again and time restraints on the permits issued have been put in place. All the fish should be fine for consumption now as it is past the 48 hours, and the stream will be getting more fish (2300) this week. With most of the fish being caught and released and the in season stocking this week this stream should be loaded with catchable trout. Watch getting right up to the waters edge though as water levels are down and the water is clear and you could spook them very easily. Try up under branches or overhangs for best results or possibly some of the deeper holes at the downstream northern stretches near the county line.

CENTRAL ERIE COUNTY, WCO Tom Edwards / DWCO Brian Brendley

Good numbers of trout are being taken at the Waterworks Ponds on Presque Isle State Park, the ponds have received the second and final planting of some 2200 fish. Cascade Creek which runs through Frontier Park also has received another stocking of trout and the fishing was excellent there on Monday. Conneautee Creek which flows out of Edinboro Lake had some good catch reports from the opening weekend and will receive a stocking in another couple of weeks.

Edinboro Lake:
The fingers are heating up with crappie and bluegill action, the crappie are pretty small but the bluegill are very good size. I also saw some very nice perch being taken on Sunday out of the fingers.

Presque Isle State Park:
Good catches of Crappie being taken in Long Pond which is located just past the East Pier, one DWCO said he saw a couple of Citation sized fish. The Lagoons had some anglers in today and the catch rate was fair. Perch are being caught at Marina Lake and I saw a really nice sized Musky patrolling around the piers going into Marina Lake. Hopefully with this warm spell the bite will be on.

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission offers Boat Safety Checks:
Start your boating season off on a safe note. National Safe Boating Week is May 17-23, 2003. Bring your boat to Walnut Creek Marina on Saturday May 18, 2003 from 11am until 3pm by land or water. Waterway Conservation Officers will check your boat for all the required safe boating equipment you need on board to have a safe and enjoyable boating season. Life jackets, fire extinguishers, flares, and navigation lights are some of the items officers will check for you. Officers will also help you determine what recommended safety equipment you might consider carrying on board in addition to the required items. Visitors are welcome to ask officers questions about boating or fishing on Lake Erie. Free publications aimed at assisting boaters and anglers will be available inside the Visitor Center.

WCO Mark Kerr

Local Weather:

Wednesday night
Occasional showers. Lows 35 to 40. Northeast winds 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 90 percent.
Rain showers likely. Highs 40 to 45. Chance of rain 70 percent.
Thursday night
Showers likely. Breezy. Lows in the upper 30s. Chance of rain 70 percent.
Cloudy with a chance of showers. Highs 50 to 60. Chance of rain 70 percent.
Friday night
A chance of showers in the evening, otherwise partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 30s. Chance of rain 30 percent.
Partly cloudy during the day, then showers and thunderstorms likely during the night. Highs in the upper 50s.
Showers and thunderstorms likely. Lows 35 to 45 and highs 60 to 70.
Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers. Lows in the lower 40s and highs 50 to 60.
Mostly cloudy. A chance of showers until midnight. Lows in the lower 40s and highs in the mid 50s.

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