WCO Report for Erie and Crawford County 8/13/03: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: August 12, 2003

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on August 12, 2003 at 22:20:44:


Anglers continue to slam the Perch with countless limits being brought in. Small schools have been found as shallow as 30' but the best fishing is still due north of Walnut creek in 50-65' of water. Anglers have also been doing very well north of the Conneaut Harbor just over the line in Ohio. Local bait and tackle shops are doing their best to keep up with the demand for shiners and perch rigs which in combination are the hot ticket. Walleye fishing has slowed somewhat, but is still much better than we have seen in years. Walleye are scattered, but the best bets are still the deeper waters of the first and second trenches northwest of Walnut Creek. Although there are reports of different baits being successful, it seems that chartreuse and purple tandem crawler harnesses are consistently the most productive. Lake Erie water temperature as of this writing is 75 degrees.

Lake Erie Walleye Changes Approve For 2004:
The (PFBC) today took action to raise the minimum size limit for walleye harvested by Lake Erie anglers to 18 inches, with a four-fish maximum daily creel limit, beginning January 1, 2004. The harvest season will remain as the first Saturday in May to March 15 of the following year. Walleye in Lake Erie and Presque Isle Bay are currently regulated with a minimum length of 15 inches and a creel limit of six per day. The regulation change for Pennsylvania is part of a reduction in the total allowable catch limits lake-wide by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission's Lake Erie Committee, of which the PFBC is a member. The Commission anticipates that new walleye regulations will remain in place on Lake Erie for at least five years.

Celebrate Erie Takes Place This Weekend:
Celebrate Erie (formally, We Love Erie Days) takes place August 15-17th. This is the largest summer event in the city and combines the Arts, Music, great food, and a wealth of Downtown events and activities. The gala fireworks display over Presque Isle Bay takes place Saturday Night. The view of hundreds of boats dotting the Bay combined with the largest fireworks display in the area is breath taking. A marked safety perimeter around Dobbins Landing will be maintained by area law enforcement during the fireworks display. Boater cooperation will be appreciated. For more information on this great weekend and for a weekend schedule go to (http://www.celebrateerie.com/event_highlights.htm)

Foggy Conditions:
Significant differences between water and air temperature (very common on Lake Erie as we head into the fall months) are a recipe for fog and poor visibility. Consider the following when caught in foggy conditions:

If possible, finding a spot to safely anchor is the best way to ride out foggy conditions. Once anchored, however,, you must sound your compressed air horn (or whistle or bell) for 5 seconds during every minute anchored and you should display your all around white light (anchor light)

If you hear another vessel approaching, give the sound signal to alert oncoming vessels to your presenceÖ One Short Blast and One Prolonged Blast.

Should you find that you must operate a vessel in fog conditions, be sure you are displaying your running lights, immediately reduce speed, and remember the proper following sound signals to avoid collision:

Two Short Blasts: You are turning to port and will pass the other vessel on your starboard side.

Three Short Blasts: This means that a boat is slowing or stopping to avoid collision.

Five Short Blasts: This means danger. If you believe a collision is imminent or that there is confusion in the sound signals this is an appropriate signal.(A short blast is about 1 second. A long blast is about 5 seconds.)

Treat your windshield with a quality rainshield product to reduce fogging and improve visibility.

Think You've Got What It Takes?
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is looking for individuals interested in a career as a Waterways Conservation Officer (WCO). Applications for a qualifying examination for the position of WCO Trainee will be accepted through September 26, 2003. WCOs perform specialized work in fisheries conservation and watercraft safety under the jurisdiction of the Commission, blending law enforcement and public relations skills. Officers work long hours, including holidays and weekends. Typical duties include patrolling by foot, car and boat to detect violators; apprehending violators; issuing warnings and or citations; serving warrants; presenting evidence at hearings and court proceedings; investigating water pollution incidents; investigating boating accidents; and stocking fish. Appearing in public to conduct classes or provide information is also required. Applicants must be at least 21 years of age at date of hire and possess a current valid drivers license. Successful candidates must pass written, oral and physical evaluations. Before candidates are assigned the duties of Waterways Conservation Officer, they must complete an extensive 52-week specialized training program beginning with 20 weeks of instruction in law enforcement principles and practices that meet the standards of the Municipal Police Training Act. An additional 32-week period follows with 20 weeks of classroom training by the Commission at the H. R. Stackhouse School of Fisheries Conservation and Watercraft Safety and 12 weeks of supervised field experience. The training is conducted under close supervision, according to strict rules. Failure to meet these standards could be reason for dismissal from the program. Those who successfully complete the training program will be promoted to a seasonal Waterways Conservation Officer position. During the application period, application forms and further information can be obtained from the State Civil Service Commission Offices in Harrisburg at 717-783-3058 (Text Telephone: 717-772-2685), Philadelphia at 215-560-2253 (Text Telephone: 215-560-4367), or Pittsburgh at 412-565-7666 (Text Telephone: 412-565-2484.) Information is also available on the Civil Service Commission's web site. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is the sole state agency, charged by law, to manage the fisheries and to regulate fishing and pleasure boating in the Commonwealth. The Commission also has a vital, mandated interest in the enhancement and preservation of the state's aquatic environment. These responsibilities have been in place for more than 130 years, growing steadily in scope, complexity and the number of people served.

Local Weather:
Wednesday night
Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 60s. East winds 5 to 10 mph.
Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 80s.
Thursday night
Mostly clear. Lows 60 to 65.
Mostly sunny. Highs in the mid 80s.
Friday night
Mostly clear. Lows in the lower 60s.
Mostly clear. Highs in the lower 80s.
Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 60s and highs in the lower 80s.
Partly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the lower 60s and highs in the lower 80s.
Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 60s and highs in the lower 80s.


Pymatuning Lake:
Rain continues to be a problem for both boaters and fishermen here. The lake is currently more than a foot above normal pool and most of the docks that are fixed are under water. Every time the water starts warming up and the warm water species start biting we get a storm and it slows them down again. At least we donít have a drought or have to worry about lower units this year.

Horsepower Change:
DCNR has made a news announcement that as of last week Saturday all the State Park Lakes that were taking place in the 18 HP pilot programs will be going to 20 HP and Pymatuning will also be 20 HP pending legislative action. Donít purchase that 10 HP for the rest of this season because depending on your representatives it could be 20 Horse by the next boating season.

Conneaut Lake:
Bowfin and Bullheads are biting very well at night from our access area at night. I checked several people there last weekend around midnight and they were averaging a fish every 5 or 6 minutes. Worms on the bottom were the bait of choice and they were producing well


Anglers have been having some luck in the bay this past weekend in between pop-up thunderstorms. I spoke with two anglers who caught and released five largemouth bass off the sunken boathouse from Presque Isle on the bay side. They were using small topwater Rapalas. In addition, they had fun watching schools of minnies swim around them that particular evening as the bass were feasting. Gar Pike in the 30" plus range have been hitting in the Lagoons area of Presque Isle. Rock bass, smallmouth bass, and some perch have been hitting on the North and South Piers.

Fallen Officer:
The Erie County PFBC Officers would like to offer their sympathy and condolences to the family and fellow officers of a Texas conservation officer killed in the line of duty. Game Warden Wesley Wagstaff was killed in an automobile accident on Farm Road 1293 in Hardin County, Texas, while responding to reports of a man hunting deer out of season. Warden Wagstaff's patrol pickup collided with another vehicle head-on. The driver of the other vehicle was also killed in the accident.

Game Warden Wagstaff had been with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for 10 years and is survived by his wife and son.

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