WCO Report for Erie and Crawford County 5/14/03: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: May 13, 2003

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on May 13, 2003 at 22:25:17:


West county tribs have been high and muddy due to considerable recent rainfall. Bass fishing has been good in the lower parts of Elk and Walnut Creeks as well as along the shoreline in 10 to 25 feet of water. Tube jigs, spinner baits, stick baits, and carolina rigs are good choices along the lakeshore for bass. Some Walleye are being caught trolling near shore, mostly at dusk and after dark. Anglers trying their luck from shore at night are catching some walleye mostly near the mouths of Godfrey and Raccoon Creeks. This is a good time of year to target catfish near the mouth of Elk Creek.

Free Fishing Days Coming Up:
May 24th and June 4th are designated as free fishing days by the PFBC. Licenses are not required to fish on these days although all fishing regulations do apply. This is a terrific opportunity to try the sport or to introduce someone to angling. For those new to fishing there are many great spots to start out in our area. Try the far end of Presque Isle near the Perry monument or the Waterworks Ponds on the North side of the Pennisula. Edinboro Lake, The Gravel Pit Pond in Fairview, and Lake Pleasant are all good learning spots as well. All the local bait shops are more than willing to help you on that first outing and to give suggestions as to "what they are biting on"

Walnut Creek Access Area Improvements:
Anglers and boaters are advised that beginning on Monday May 19th, the Southwest parking lot will be closed to begin a large improvement project for the parking lot areas. Plans include resurfacing, changes in parking spaces and design, and improved traffic flow patterns for the area. Plans are to do the work in stages to minimize disruption to the summer fishing and boating season. Your patience and cooperation are requested during this short term inconvenience that should result in long term improvement.

Have Your Boat Checked and Your Questions Answered this Sunday At :
Just a reminder to all, "No harm, No foul boat" inspections for required equipment will be conducted at Walnut Creek Access Area in Fairview on Sunday May 18th from 11:00 A.M until 3:00 P.M. Have your boat checked to assure that you have all the required safety equipment on board and hear suggestions for recommended equipement as well. Your boat can be on the trailer, on the water or you can have no boat at all, just questions. There will be boating publications available and Erie County WCO's and DWCO's will be on hand for these free inspections and to answer any questions which you may have.

Lake Erie Dead Spot Growing:
A continuing trend of hot summers and warm winters may shrink the surface area of Lake Erie by as much as 15 per cent over the next 50 years, affecting thousands of municipal waste intakes and wells, increasing the size of the lake's "dead zone" and leaving marinas high and dry.

That grim forecast was outlined by scientists at the Third Biennial Conference of the Lake Erie Millennium Network that continues today at the University of Windsor.

As temperatures continue to rise in the northern hemisphere, scientists predict the level of Lake Erie could be reduced by as much as 83 cm by 2050.

"Weather is a primary factor in determining lake levels," said Bryan Tugwood, of the Meteorological Service of Canada's Ontario Region. "We've had very high water levels for the past 30 years, with the exception of the last five."

Working from a series of climate models, Tugwood said the temperature is expected to continue to rise in the Northern Hemisphere over the next 100 years.

He said that from 1977 to 1999 the Great Lakes had the highest water levels recorded for more than a century because of increased rainfall. But since 2000, the lowest water levels in 100 years were recorded. He said the 1990s was the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year.

"Five of the 10 warmest winters recorded have occurred since 1998," Tugwood said. "That means less winter snowpack and less spring runoff. Though the region had a cold winter this year, there was 20- to 40-per-cent less precipitation. All lakes are below average water levels. Lake Erie is 24 cm below average and the prediction is for it to stay 22 cm below 2000 levels."

He said Lake Erie's in-shore water temperatures are already warmer than average. With lower ice cover, a later freeze up in the fall and an earlier breakup of ice in the spring, the lake could be down by 60 cm or more by 2030 -- wreaking havoc on marinas and recreational activities like ice fishing and skiing. Cold water fish like lake trout stand the risk of extinction in Lake Erie, to be replaced by more species of warm water fish.

Tugwood said the lake could be down 60 cm by 2030 and by 2090 the lake could be completely ice-free as early as February.

The conference, created in 1999 by University of Windsor biologist Jan Ciborowski of the Great Lakes Institute to conduct research on the management of Lake Erie, brings together dozens of prominent environmental scientists, researchers and managers from Canada and the U.S. to review and share new results.

Ciborowski, who has been conducting research on Lake Erie's "dead zone" -- an oxygen-deprived area devoid of life in the deepest parts of the lake -- said studies show the zone is affected by the warming climate. Oxygen supply near the bottom of the lake is getting cut off by warmer layers of water near the surface. As the water level decreases, the lake becomes warmer, creating the potential for a larger dead zone.

But there are other culprits. Ciborowski said research has found that increasing levels of phosphorous from sewage runoff is creating more algae, which in turn attracts more of the bacteria that feed off it. High levels of bacteria can deprive the water of oxygen, he said.

Scientists say the ideal way to reduce the dead zone would be to deepen the lake and cool its temperature -- an unlikely solution.
Reprinted from Boatersdream.com

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

Boating season is upon us.
The following information is taken from a new publication put out by the National Marine Manufacturers Association, USCG, ABYC, Utah Parks and Rec and the U.S. Dept of the Interior

Carbon Monoxide The Silent Killer:
Checklist for each trip, make sure all exhaust clamps are in place and secure, look for exhaust leaking from exhaust system components, this is indicated by rust and/or black streaking, water leaks, or corroded or cracked fittings. Inspect rubber exhaust hoses for burned or cracked sections. Confirm that water flows from the exhaust outlet when the engines and generator are started. Listen for any change in exhaust sound that could indicate component failure.

Avoid These Death Zones:
Swimming near or under the back deck or swim platform. Carbon monoxide from exhaust pipes of inboard engines, outboard engines and generators build up inside and outside the boat in areas near exhaust vents. Stay away from these vents. On calm days, wait at least 15 minutes after the motor has been shut off before entering these areas. It only takes one or two breaths of the air in this, "death chamber" for it to be fatal. Exhaust from another vessel that is docked, beached, or anchored alongside your boat can emit poisonous carbon monoxide gas into the cabin and cockpit of your boat. Even with proper ventilation your boat should be a minimum of 20 feet from the nearest boat that is running. The "STATION WAGON Effect" or backdrafting can cause Carbon monoxide to accumulate inside the cabin, cockpit and bridge when operating the boat at a high bow angle, keep forward-facing hatches open, even in inclement weather, to allow fresh air circulation in living spaces. When possible, run the boat so that prevailing winds will help dissipate the exhaust. Do not confuse Carbon Monoxide poisoning with seasickness, intoxication or heat stress. If someone on board complains of irritated eyes, headache, nausea, weakness or dizziness immediately move the person to fresh air, investigate the cause and take corrective action. Remember Carbon Monoxide is colorless, odorless and tasteless and mixes evenly with the air. Several WCO'S recently conducted system examinations of vessels from a dealer, at least one of these boats had exhaust hoses improperly mounted or not mounted at all. Please check your vessels system components for compliance, it could save your life. Any questions regarding this topic can be relayed by email to me at the posted address.

Central Erie , Presque Isle Conditions:
Over the past week the fishing has been pretty good. Along the North Pier, anglers have been pulling in 12-15 inch perch on a routine basis. However, the weather conditions dictate when the bites occur! On Friday, the perch were biting early, then as soon as the wind kicked up they shut off. The early angler got the fish! A few folks have been pulling in some smallmouth bass from the bay and the channel. Please remember that the current limit for bass is one per day with a minimum lengh of 20". It is a very good idea to measure your fish before you take possession of the fish. Possession means on a stringer or in a mesh bucket or in an officer's judgment that there is no intent to release. Buy a small metal tape measure and keep it close. The wisest angler I met last week on the North Pier told me he was once cited for an undersized fish at the Allegheny Reservoir and he went out and purchased a $15 metal fish measuring rod.

Storm stories:
You don’t want to be on The Weather Channel series, so keep an eye on the sky and the waves. The common “weather speak” on the lake is to “watch the skies west towards Cleveland.” However, the winds from an approaching front will normally precede the storm by 1-2 hours. Watch the waves, when they start kicking up, begin moving towards shore or safe harbor. This past week we have noticed some violations in the “No Wake” zone in Marina Lake on Presque Isle. Please be observant of posted regulations. Slow minimum height swell speed is like having your car in PARK with the foot on the brake, dropping into DRIVE and releasing the brake without pushing on the gas pedal. The car will move forward under power at a slow speed. Same thing for boats. You need to give a little throttle to maintain control, but not much! Take it easy in marked areas and close to shore.

Local Weather:
Wednesday night
Mostly cloudy. Lows in the mid 40s. Northwest winds 5 to 10 mph becoming east.
Cloudy with a chance of showers. Highs in the lower 60s. Chance of rain 40 percent.
Thursday night
Cloudy with a chance of showers. Lows in the mid 40s. Chance of rain 40 percent.
Partly cloudy with a chance of showers. Highs in the upper 50s. Chance of rain 30 percent.
Friday night
Mostly cloudy. Lows in the mid 40s.
Partly cloudy. Highs in the lower 60s.
Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 40s and highs in the mid 60s.
Monday and Tuesday
Mostly clear. Lows in the upper 40s and highs in the lower 70s.


Pymatuning Lake:
If you are having trouble catching Walleye this spring do not be alarmed you are not alone. From the fishermen that I have been talking to the catch this spring is way off. Even guys that normaly limit out wading are having trouble catching any. The other bad thing seems to be that very few if any sub-legal fish are being caught. That may seem good right now because the fish they are catching are bigger but if no smaller fish are caught then what will be caught next year. I was notified that over 10 million fry were stocked the middle of last month however it will take about 3 to 4 years before they are a legal size. Muskies are still being caught and they seem to be really large as well. Most of the muskies caught seem to be from anglers not trying to catch them and not being prepared with the right gear. If you do not have a steel leader on the chances of you getting it in are very slim. The Causeway is also open now to traffic and the construction has been completed until this fall when PennDot will work on our side but will only restrict it down to 1 lane while they are working.

Conneaut Lake
Not much activity here this last week but more and more boats are hitting the water getting ready for the upcoming holiday weekend. A new patrol boat was brought up from Harrisburg this last friday and will replace the older one that caught fire last year. There will be a fireworks display on Saturday the 24th at 10 pm being launched from Conneaut Lake park. This is usually a pretty good show so plan on bringing the family out.

PennDot had a Summer Of Safety days this last weekend with various agencies showing up to demonstrate how activities should be safe for a good summer. I was there with the new Venango county patrol boat and handouts answering questions, As well as Vernon K-9, MADD, Vernon Fire Co., Meadville Ambulance, Boy Scouts, and Many more. It was an excellent community program for the kids and well over 550 people showed up. My thanks to PennDot for allowing me to be part of it.

Special Offers Make It Easy to Get Involved With Fishing and Boating:
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is making it easy (and inexpensive) for families to get involved with angling and boating through a number of exciting special offers, including opportunities to fish without purchasing a license, a new series of free publications highlighting local opportunities and a money-saving coupon book.

The PFBC has designated Saturday, May 24 and Saturday, June 7 as Fish For Free Days in the Commonwealth. Fish For Free Days allow anyone - not just license holders or youth under the age of 16 - to legally fish in Pennsylvania. From 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on both days, no fishing license is needed to fish in Pennsylvania's waterways. Fish For Free Days provide an opportunity for active anglers to introduce a friend or relative to the lifelong sport of fishing. Best of all, it's a good time - and a fun way - to spend a day with the entire family. The May 24 Fish For Free Day was specifically designated to coincide with the Memorial Day weekend, a traditional time for families to gather, and the unofficial start of many outdoor recreational activities in the state. The June 7 date is part of the observation of National Fishing and Boating Week, June 1-8, 2003. "We invite young and old alike to Fish For Free and discover just how much fun it can be. No other activities can bond a family together quite like fishing and boating. It's a great way for families to have fun, create new memories and spend quality time together. Fish For Free Days provide the perfect chances to get started," said PFBC Executive Director Peter A. Colangelo.And to help you find ideal locations to begin enjoying recreation on Pennsylvania's many waters, the PFBC is now offering a new series of free regional Fishing & Boating Opportunities Guides. Each of the seven guides features a regional map depicting streams, lakes and the roads that lead to them. Waters stocked with trout and top-notch wild trout streams are detailed, as are specially regulated areas and universally accessible areas. PFBC offices and hatchery locations are also included.

For watercraft users, boat accesses and launch ramps are shown, along with pumpout stations.The regional guides offer both general information -ideal for novices - as well as details that more experienced boaters and anglers will appreciate. Whether you are headed to an unfamiliar area or simply looking for new opportunities close to home, the regional fishing and boating guides fit the bill.The regional guides are available at Commission headquarters and regional offices. They can be ordered by printing out and submitting the order form found in the "Publications" section of the PFBC web site (www.fish.state.pa.us).Anyone ordering the guides, other publications, or making a purchase from the Commission's web site will receive a Boating & Fishing Family Fun Pack, while supplies last. The pack is a 72-page booklet containing 30 manufacturers' coupons and six "family fun" coupons totaling over $4,000 in potential discounts, rebates and special offers for products and services. It has been designed to encourage people of all ages and interest levels to engage in fishing and boating activities. The coupon books are being made available through the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. RBFF is the organization behind the national "Water Works Wonders" campaign designed to promote fishing and boating participation.While they are available, coupon books will also be sent to those purchasing new boat titles in Pennsylvania and to attendees at various PFBC-sponsored/co-sponsored events.

A listing of free educational programs geared toward beginning anglers can be accessed online by clicking the "Start Smart" button on the PFBC homepage. Also available online is a list of tackle loaner sites that allow those without fishing gear to borrow some at no cost, and advice on finding great family fishing locations across the state. For those who do not have web access but are interested in publications or educational programs, call the Fish and Boat Commission's general information number at 717-705-7800.Add all that free stuff up, and there's never been a better time - or more inexpensive way - to get in touch with nature, friends and family than fishing and boating in Pennsylvania.

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