WCO Report for Erie County 12/17/03: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: December 16, 2003

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on December 16, 2003 at 20:41:24:


Rain on Tuesday evening has brought some flow and color to what has otherwise been very clear conditions. Weekend fishing was good with a mix of fresh and blackened fish throughout the tribs. Fishing was excellent at the Elk Creek access this past week end with very little angling pressure. I was able to get out in the afternoon and had most of Elk Creek from the boat launch north to myself. Temperatures kept the water just at the freezing point but not cold enough to make ice an issue. Single eggs and sucker spawn patterns kept me busy for a number of hours. Winter is a terrific time to fish the tribs if you prepare for the cold weather and the ice water.

There are still large numbers of fish holding in the nursery waters at Trout Run. Most of the fish are blackened and weak however, close observation revealed a surprising number of fresh fish mixed in the pack. Fishing the shoreline at Trout Run is usually good throughout the winter and into the spring wind and waves permitting.

Walnut Creek is still holding fish in the Project waters and anglers are still doing fair to good along the wall leading to the Lake. The Manchester Hole is still loaded with fish and will continue to draw a good number of anglers until ice over.

Lake Erie water temperature as of this writing is 40 degrees.

The Walnut Marina Basin has had a skim coat of ice hindering fishing there.

Walnut Creek Access Office:
The last day the Walnut Creek office will be open is Friday December 19th from 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM. The office will then be closed for the winter until April 2004. A reminder that the office sells most of the PFBC publications and posters as well as fishing licenses for those last minute stocking stuffers.

Special Sons of Lake Erie Meeting:
The Sons have extended a special invitation to the members and officers of all area angling organizations to attend this months meeting. The purpose is to establish common interests and goals and establish a voice common to all the local organizations. This meeting is December 22nd at 7:30 PM at the East Erie Turners Club located at 9th and Parade. If you do not support or belong to any of the local angling organizations this is your chance to ask questions, see what they are doing for our area, and sign up if you like.

Cold Weather Safety on the Tribs:
With the winter weather upon us in Erie, safety should be a concern when fishing the area tribs. With angling pressure lightening up it is very conceivable to be fishing alone at times. Cell phones are great however in some of the less elevated areas along the tribs signals can be weak. When going out for the day let someone know when you plan to return. Dress warm and in layers and cover the ears and head. Take frequent breaks and short walks to keep the circulation moving. We so often see folks wading in ice water to the point where they are numb and can barely move. Take a snack or two for energy and keep a warm thermos in the car or truck for the day's end.

Sixth in a Series of Local Tributaries, Conneaut Creek
Conneaut Creek is the stream furthest to the West in Erie County. The mouth of this creek is at Conneaut Harbor in Conneaut, Ohio. It is stocked with steelhead by both Ohio and Pennsylvania fish authorities and by PF&BC cooperative nurseries. Much of this creek is located in Ohio. It enters Erie County south of Interstate 90 and a good distance south of the Lake, and winds through rural lands to beyond Albion, Pennsylvania. It is an approved trout water only south of Erie County.

Conneaut Creek is the only creek in this watershed that has areas which have a sand and dirt bottom, rather than a shale bottom like the remaining creeks. It drops-off quickly from its banks, and it can be hard to wade in many areas. It holds bass and northern pike during the summer months.

Steelhead run in Conneaut Creek as far south as Dicksonburg in Crawford County. Angler pressure on Conneaut Creek is relatively light.

In addition to steelhead, Conneaut Creek has a very good fishery for muskellunge throughout its run through Erie County. Most fishing for muskie is done in the summer and fall. Conneaut Creek also has a good walleye and largemouth bass fishery, although few specifically target these species in Conneaut Creek. The PFBC stocks this creek with muskie, tiger muskie and walleye.

There is no good access to Conneaut Creek on the north side along Clover Road. The first access to the Pennsylvania waters near the Ohio line is from Akerly Road. Turn north on Akerly from Cherry Hill Road and follow the road to the dead end. There is a turn-around with parking at the end of the road. You will find an old bridge abutment here. There are also some nice pools and holding water here.

The next access point going east is at the bridge on Griffy Road. There is very limited parking on the southeast side of the bridge. There is also a nice pool under and just downstream of the bridge.

Route 6N crosses Conneaut Creek twice in Erie County. At the first overpass to the west, there is ample parking all along the bridge on 6N. The shale cliff on the south side makes access somewhat difficult, especially on the Southwest side.

Proceeding east the next access point is on either side of McKee Road. Until recently there was a historic covered bridge where McKee Road crossed the creek. The bridge burned in the late 1990's. It has not been replaced and therefore McKee Road dead-ends at the creek from both directions. You can park and access the creek at either end of McKee Road, whether you come from the North off Old Albion Road, or from the South off Cherry Hill Road. Sometimes on the North side of the creek at the end of McKee you will find people camping near the creek - exactly why they are there is less than obvious.

Upstream from McKee Road the creek becomes more muddy and slow-moving, and the banks become more muddy and steep. The combination of steep banks and a muddy bottom makes wading difficult in many places downstream from McKee Road.

The next access east of McKee Road is at Route 215. There is limited parking available at the northwest end of the bridge.

There is no easy access to the creek from Old Albion Road. There is also no parking along Cherry Hill Road where it passes over the creek. However, there is limited parking on Gage Road just east of Cherry Hill Road, and you can walk to the Cherry Hill Road bridge from here.

If you turn west on Hilltop Road, a short distance from Cherry Hill Road you will find a partially constructed road heading toward the creek. You can park here and walk down the trail to the creek, where you will find an old bridge abutment and a pool.

South of Hilltop Road the East Branch of Conneaut Creek and Temple Creek branch off to the east of the main stem.

Route 6N crosses Conneaut Creek a second time just west of Albion. There is limited parking on the northwest end of the bridge here.

The final access point is at Carter Road. There is ample parking along the bridge here. In this area the creek here passes through pleasant farm county.

Tributary descriptions in part provided by www.FishERIE.com, a www.FishUSA regional site.

Local Weather:
Snow showers likely. Snow accumulation up to 2 inches. Highs 30 to 35. West winds around 15 mph. Chance of snow 60 percent.
Wednesday night
Snow showers likely. Snow accumulation 3 to locally 6 inches. Lows in the mid 20s. West winds 10 to 20 mph. Chance of snow 60 percent.
Snow showers likely. More accumulation is likely. Highs in the lower 30s. West winds 15 to 25 mph. Chance of snow 60 percent.
Thursday night
Snow showers likely. Lows in the lower 20s. Northwest winds 15 to 25 mph. Chance of snow 60 percent.
Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers. Highs in the lower 30s. Chance of snow 50 percent.
Friday night
Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers. Lows in the lower 20s. Chance of snow 30 percent.
Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers. Highs in the mid 30s. Chance of snow 40 percent.
Saturday night
Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers. Lows in the mid 20s. Chance of snow 40 percent.
Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers. Highs in the mid 30s. Chance of snow 30 percent.
Sunday night
Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 20s.
Mostly cloudy. Highs in the mid 30s.
Monday night
Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers. Lows near 30. Chance of snow 30 percent.
Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers. Highs near 40. Chance of rain 30 percent.

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