WCO Report for Erie County 03/10/04: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: March 09, 2004

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on March 09, 2004 at 21:21:41:

West Erie County, DWCO Randy Leighton

Spring is nearly upon the Erie area with all area tribs and Presque Isle Bay now ice free. There is some drifting ice on Lake Erie but unless Mother Nature pulls a surprise, hardwater fishing season has come to a close. Run off and precipitation has kept the tribs high and flowing with good color often making conditions excellent. There have been a good number of limits caught over the last week with a number of fresh fish being observed in all areas. The Project waters and the Manchester Hole have been hot areas as well as the Legion Park, Folleys End, and the Streuchan Flats area on Elk Creek. Sucker spawn patterns in white, pink, and peach have been good choices. Egg sacks and single eggs when the water has cleared have been doing well also. Although some ice remains on the Lake in front of Trout Run, this area should be clearing soon as well. Trout Run is normally a hot area right after ice out. With the temperatures still remaining on the cold side, there has been plenty of elbow room. A few boats were already observed this past weekend on Misery Bay in search of spring crappie. Lake Erie water temperature as of this writing is 33 degrees.

2003-2004 Steelhead Tributary Survey Preliminary Summary Information:

. Based on fishing license type, anglers were categorized as adult resident (77%),
senior lifetime (9%), non-resident annual (7%), youth (5%), 3 day tourist (1%), 7 day
tourist (1%), and senior annual (1%)

. Pennsylvania residents account for 91% of the tributary steelhead anglers and originate
from 50 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties

. The top five PA counties of angler origin are: Allegheny (18%), Erie (16%), Washington
(7%), Westmoreland (6%), and Beaver (5%)

. Non Pennsylvania anglers (9% of all anglers) are from Ohio (3%), West Virginia (3%),
Maryland (1%), Virginia (1%), New York (0.5%), Canada (0.2%), South Carolina (0.1%),
North Carolina (0.1%), Georgia (0.1%), Florida (0.1%) and California (0.1%)

. Average Distance traveled by steelhead anglers based on Zip Code Data and calculated
as the "crow flies" is 110 miles

. Approximately 76% of interviewed anglers fish with spinning gear and 24% fish with fly
fishing gear

. Steelhead anglers fished an average of 16 times per year for steelhead with each trip
lasting 3.7 hours

. Harvest rates (% of steelhead catch that was harvested) was 33% among all anglers.
Spin anglers harvested about 37% of their catch and fly anglers harvested about 21%
of their catch

. Steelhead angler support for a "Lake Erie Stamp"under a $3.00, $5.00, and $10.00
structure were as follows:
$3.00 $5.00 $10.00
Yes 80% 77% 59%
No 20% 23% 41%

This data is preliminary and final results will be shared upon completion of the survey.

Freezing and Smoking Tips:
. Use only fresh fish for freezing

. Cut and package fish into meal size portions

. Use heavily waxed paper wrap, heavy duty aluminum foil, or plastic freezer storage bags for fish storage.

. Wrap fish tightly. Remove all air from the bag before sealing

. Fish can be placed in a shallow metal, covered with water, frozen, and re-wrapped in foil, paper or plastic

. Label packages with contents and dates

. Space packages in freezer to allow proper air circulation for quick cooling and freezing

. Once packages are solidly frozen (with in 24 hours), you can restack them within the freezer

. Properly wrapped fish will store in the freezer for six months if they are fat fish

. To avoid quality deterioration, do not refreeze thawed products

. In general, for smoking, salt the fish (1 cup salt to 7 cups of water along with herbs and spices of choice) for 1 hour.
Smoke the fish until it reaches and holds an internal temperature of 160 degrees F for at least 30 minutes during the
smoking cycle.

. Smoked fish can be stored in the refrigerator. Use within a week and freeze any unused smoked fish

Money Money Merger Presentation:
Area WCO's will be giving another presentation on the funding needs of the Pennsylvania Fish ang Boat Commission and the proposed merger. This powerful powerpoint presentation is a great way learn the whys and the potential outcome of these most important issues. It also fields you the sportsmen a forum to ask the tough questions and get answers. The program will be presented this Thursday at 7:00 PM at the Wesleyville Municipal Building on Buffalo Road (Route 20)

Local Weather:

Wednesday night
Increasing cloudiness. Lows in the upper 20s. South winds 5 to 15 mph.
Snow or rain likely. Highs in the lower 40s. South winds 10 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation 60 percent.
Thursday night
Snow showers likely. Lows in the lower 20s. West winds around 20 mph. Chance of snow 70 percent.
Snow showers likely. Breezy. Highs in the lower 30s. Chance of snow 60 percent.
Friday night
Mostly cloudy. Lows near 20.
Partly cloudy. Highs in the lower 40s.
Saturday night
Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow or rain. Breezy. Lows in the lower 30s. Chance of precipitation 30 percent.
Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow or rain showers. Breezy. Highs near 40. Chance of precipitation 40 percent.
Sunday night
Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers. Lows in the upper 20s. Chance of snow 50 percent.
Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers. Highs in the mid 30s. Chance of snow 40 percent.
Monday 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 lower 40s. Chance of snow 30 percent

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