WCO Report for Erie and Crawford County 6/11/03: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: June 11, 2003

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on June 11, 2003 at 08:19:11:


Bass angling along the lakeshore is still good although starting to slow down as the spawning period comes to a close. Walleye catches are starting to pick up although limits are not common. Most walleye are still being caught near shore in 35 to 40' of water. Small dipseys combined with thundersticks and crawler harnesses. Dawn and dusk are the peak periods for Walleye. It is often said that 10 percent of the anglers catch 90 percent of the fish and that 90 percent of the fish are caught before 10:00 AM. Anglers are beginning to try the trenches with limited success. Perch fishing has started to pick up with a number of limits coming in. Typically, perch will turn on after the sun is up and mid day can be the peak period when the sun is high in the sky. Just west of Walnut Creek in 47' of water has been the most recent hot spot. Good catches have been observed along the Ohio line in 35-45' of water off of Raccoon Park.

Pennsylvania / Ohio Line:
Pennsylvania has no reciprical laws with Ohio on Lake Erie regarding regulations and a resident license is required for the state's waters that you are fishing. If on the Pennsylvania side of the line you must have a valid Pennsylvania license and all PA regulations apply. If on the Ohio side of the line, you must have and Ohio license and Ohio regulations will apply. If fishing along or near the state line (GPS 80 degrees, 31.1 minutes West) be sure you have the proper license and know the regulations for the waters you are on. For example, if you are from Ohio and have drifted well over the PA line, you must have a PA license, and all PA regulations will apply. In Ohio, the perch limit is 30 and but would be considered over the limit in PA, regardless of which state waters they were caught in. Remember, Pa regulations state catch, kill, or possess.

Regular Bass Season Opens This Saturday:
Regular Bass season opens this Saturday. Limits for Lake Erie and it's tributaries are 4 fish (combined species small and large mouth) with a 15" minimum length. Inland waters other than Lake Erie and its tributaries the limit is 6 fish with a 12" minimum length.

A Few Bass Techniques:
Tube Jigs:
Tube jigs are very popular along the lake shore. Combined with a 1/4 to 3/8 ounce lead head jig hook they can be deadly. Popular colors include pumpkin seed, chartreuse, black with sparkles, and brown. Working them off the bottom can be very productive.

Close-Quarters Jigging
This technique works well for big large mouths, so you will need a strong and stiff rod. You will also need at least 20-pound monofilament line. Use monofilament because it is less abrasive then other lines. You will be fishing in heavy cover. It is recommended you use jigs with nylon bristles. This helps prevents snags. Work the jig into heavy cover. Then jig it up and down several times. The heavier the jig the better.

Topwater Buzzing
Of all the top water baits available, the buzzbait is the most productive, versatile, and forgiving lures. It gets bass out of cover, and attracts them in open water. Most anglers fish a buzzbait too fast. Retrieve slowly so the blade just barely spins. This will catch you more fish. Keep the rod tip held high for best results.

Carolina-Rigging Soft Plastics
The Carolina rig requires a 3/4 or 1 ounce egg or bullet sinker. Assemble a Carolina rig by threading the main line through the sinker, followed by a 8mm glass bead, and tie off to a swivel. The bead protects the knot, and makes noise when it hits the sinker. To the other end of the swivel, tie a 3 to 5 foot leader and a 3/0 offset worm hook. The leader should be monofilament, 10 to 14 pound test. Carolina rigs can be purchased pre rigged also. Add a 6-inch lizard, or a worm, crawfish, tube, or other soft plastic.

Deep-Cranking Spinner baits
Fishing 8 to 20 feet of water with spinner baits can produce big bass. A heavier spinner bait is needed to get it down deep. A good color combination is gold and silver blades with chartreuse and white skirts. Position your boat in deep water, and cast over structure, ledges, or other bass holding areas. Let the lure sink to the bottom, then give a slight pull on the rod to start the blades. Maintain a slow retrieve to keep the lure near the bottom.

Twitching Floating Worms
This technique works well by structure near open water such as boat docks. A twitching action of pull, then pause, works well. It simulates a dying minnow or worm. The Banjo Minnow is an example of this technique. Normally you can see the bait and any strikes. If you can’t, be ready because fish on average will hit on the pause. You can cover good water with this technique.

Live Baits:
Shiners, night crawlers and crawfish are all good choices for bass.

Local Weather

Wednesday night
Mostly clear. Lows in the lower 60s.
Partly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs 70 to 75. Chance of rain 50 percent.
Thursday night
Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the upper 50s. Chance of rain 50 percent.
Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 70s.
Saturday and Sunday
Partly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the lower 60s and highs in the mid 70s.
A chance of showers in the morning, otherwise partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 50s and highs in the mid 70s.

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

This DWCO recently took a bit of time to travel the East coast and offers a few reflections on the trip. First, pollution along the bays and harbors of New York City is so widespread and rampant I do not think it will ever be possible to clean it up. The bay I visited, Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn, is so full of trash and garbage that the smell along the waterfront is revolting. Please remember how much wonderful water we have in Erie County and take your garbage with you!

Second, I happened to be on board a boat that caught fire. It was a scary situation that could have resulted in serious injury or death, as the engine literally caught fire. It was only the fact that a FIRE EXTINGUISHER was mounted right by the steering wheel that allowed me to put out the fire in only a few seconds. Boaters, if you have an engine it is always important to have your extinguisher on the vessel. The laws are in place to keep us safe and alive!

Third, I was in Washington DC and had the opportunity to visit the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Judiciary Square. I was able to find the names of the two Fish and Boat Commission Officers killed in the line of duty. In addition I was able to locate some of the names of our brothers in gray, the PA State Police, who have lost their lives in this region of the state in the six years I have lived here. The memorial is a moving tribute and if you make it to DC this year, be sure to stop by and check it out.

It's Snowing On Presque Isle
No, really what you are seeing are the seeds from the cottonwood trees floating in the air just in time for the opeing day of bass season. A ride through Presque Isle State Park this morning brought us into contact with anglers who are getting tuned up for the big day. A few folks were popping the bass in the lagoons on tube jigs. One angler reported six smallmouths in less than two hours. Action was also brisk off both the East Pier and the North Pier - again we're talking bass. That should do it, enjoy the opening day of bass season.


This time of the year provides the greatest opportunity for anglers to enjoy what this area has to offer in the way of sportfishing. Warm temperatures, coupled with the closing of schools for the summer months, will lead to more anglers on streams, lakes and resevoirs. Please take some time to consult
fishing and boating regulations to assure a pleasant time for all.

Northwest Lake Erie
Fishing, at times, has been quite productive in this sector of the lake. Bass enthusiasts have been successful in 13' - 30' ft. of water using Golden Shiners. Additionally, some bass have been taken from the rocks near the NE Marina itself. Overall, the Bass fishing has slowed a bit from its peak over the Memorial Day Weekend. However, plenty of action is still available for the opening of the regular Bass fishing season this Saturday (14 June 2003).

Lake Trout
Fishing for Lake Trout has been "so-so,"and those wishing to target these fish are encouraged to use "Dodgers" running them in about 97' of water. This past Sunday saw a beauty being caught out of the North East Marina.

Perch fishing has been most productive North West of the North East Marina in about 47" - 50" ft. of water. Successful anglers have been using minnies to catch these tasty swimmers.

Inland Waters and Streams
It seems as though much f the attention this time of the year is devoted to Lake Erie fishing. However, there is a significant population of anglers that either do not have access to the lake, or prefer to fish smaller bodies of water. Here are some suggestions for those wishing to try alternate areas.

Bass and Panfish
Currently, tributary streams are running on the low side, but some smallies can be located in both 16 and 20 mile. Live crawfish, leeches, and smaller Rapalas (gold and silver) will entice these energetic fighters.

In addition to the Erie tribs, bass fishing can be had at Eaton Reservoir, Hertzel Pond, and French Creek (to name just a few). Topwater poppers (frog imitators being the best) work very well at Eaton Res. in the early part of the morning, and just before sundown (6 pm - 9 pm being ideal). Other successful artificial lures for big Bass in Eaton Res.include 7" plastic worms "Texas Rigged" and larger Rapalas (chrt/silver, blue/silver). For the kids, a simple worm and bobber is killer for fat panfish and the occasional cruising pike. Rapalas and topwater poppers are also recommended for Hertzel Pond (do not forget that this body of water should have some trout left!).

French Creek
For some reason French Creek is rarely talked during the summer months. Musky, Bass, and Walleye, can be caught out of this body of water with a little bit of patience and a bit of scouting. Look for overhanging trees
and deep cuts for musky. This time of the year, Larger Rapalas (bronze/black) will do much better than the larg spinners that are popular. I know this may sound like a no-brainer, but be reminded to use wire leader and do not lip these toothy creatures while trying to remove the hook(s)! Similar to Steelhead, play these beauties as quickly as possible and try to keep them in the water as much as possible. Worn out fish should be revived before letting go. Smaller Rapalas, spinners, and Rooster Tails will catch the Walleyes and the Bass that inhabit French creek as well. Crawfish, minnies, and large shiners should not be overlooked for live bait lovers.

As time permits, we will scout out other popular fishing "holes" and give a report on them. Until then, best of Luck to all of those that venture out to these alternate places. Stay safe and remember to take back more than you came with!


First let me apologize to everyone that sent me messages about last weeks report. I didn’t submit one because my Mom and Dad, John and Dixie Russell came for a visit. Their visit allowed me to do something I hadn’t been able to do in quite a while and that was go fishing and enjoy our resources from this area. My Mom, who had never had a fishing license bought her first one and accompanied my father and I quite a few times. She was able to land a whopping 6” bass from the lower impoundment below Crystal Lake and you would have thought it was a 20-pound Steelhead. There was definitely a pride shown after landing the sub-legal fish but it was dampened somewhat when my 6 year old daughter exclaimed, “Nana that’s not much bigger than those bait fish”. The areas we fished and the species that cooperated were the following

Pymatuning Lake
The week was started by taking them to the spillway and hoping to hook a carp on bread balls and my mom's new ultralight. We weren't disappointed either and soon had fish on but the line broke prior to landing it. Around carp point (the point just north of the gate house) I hooked into a 15” bass using suckers and fishing from shore. From the group camp area we took crappies and bluegills from shore using minnows under a bobber. Behind Ackerman Island on the South end we again got into panfish using minnows and bobbers, and fishing from a boat. I have been told the bluegills are starting to bite along shore and in the shallows now but we were unable to find them.

Crystal Lake
We attempted to fish from shore here however the vegetation has exploded and after losing several bobbers and a lure we decided to move on. I do know the bass were jumping like crazy that day and someone in a canoe or johnboat would have a very good time.

Upper, Middle and Lower Impoundments
These are the bodies of water that are just south of Crystal Lake. We were very successful with the bass here using minnows under bobbers and light rigs. There wasn’t any great size to any of the ones we brought in but they were a lot of fun to catch. My father did hook into one here that he said was “The largest Bass he had ever caught” but it managed to spit the hook after about 5 minutes of playing it. Unfortunately for him the rule before we started was if you don’t land it, it doesn’t count.

North Pier at Presque Isle
Thanks to my neighboring officer and good friend WCO Tom Edwards, when I called and asked where the fish were biting he directed me to the North Pier. We used Minnows and suckers here as well and lost count of the fish we were catching. At one point I had a pole in one hand reeling it in and the other was bent in half with fish taking my bait. Largemouth Bass, Rock Bass, and a very nice 12” Perch is what we were able to land here before the rain and night ran us off. On WCO Edwards tip we fished just off the bottom with our minnows and were very successful. On a final note I would like to thank my bosses at the Northwest Regional Office for allowing me the time off to be able to do this, and my neighboring officer WCO Raymond Borkowski, who covered a reported boat accident in my area while I was out. Thanks for the help Ray.

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