West Erie County, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert|
West County Tribs are still loaded with a good number of steelhead and catches have been good in most areas. Some pike are being caught in and around the Lagoons area on Presque Isle although the spring crappie action has not turned on yet. It looks like predicted temperatures will keep the water temperatures cold for another week or so which will postpone the spawning activity a little longer. Lake Erie water temperature off Erie as of this writing is 38 degrees.
Linesville Hatchery a Huge Success:
The annual "Day at the Hatchery" open house in Linesville again was a huge success. The public was treated to a tour of the State Hatchery, angling demonstrations and contests, filleting and cooking demonstrations, methods of raising fish, as well a variety of exhibits and displays. Hundreds of people took part in this annual event. Pictures are included in this week's report and additional photos can be viewed at http://sites.state.pa.us/PA_Exec/Fish_Boat/pfbchom2.html
The Big Day is Just Around the Corner:
The big Trout opener is April 17th at 8:00 am. The Erie Tribs can be a spectacular place for the opener. With the "stockies" mixed in with a potential run of fresh Steelhead, angling in our area can be "like a box of chocolates." Popular areas in West County for the opener are the Streuchen Flats area on Elk Creek, Crooked Creek, Fairview Gravel Pits, the Mckean Hole at the Mckean exit on I-79, and the Legion Park Holes on Elk Creek. (For a nominal fee, you can enjoy a great breakfast at sunrise at the Legion Park picnic pavilion.) A good rule of thumb is to look for the areas where there is a lot of parking....the number of parking spaces is often in direct correlation to the number of fish stocked in those waters.
Anglers fishing the Fairview Gravel pit pond are reminded that this is Fish and Boat Commission property. Open fires, camping and cooking are prohibited, as are erecting any permanent structures. Officers will be on the lookout for litter problems in these busy areas. Boats on the Gravel Pit Pond as well as all PFBC owned waters, require PFBC or DCNR State Parks registration. Internal combustion engines are not permitted. Water temperatures will still be bone chilling on opening day....make sure your safety equipment is in order. A PFD is required for all persons on board . They must be coast guard approved, in good serviceable condition and be easily accessible.
It is unlawful to fish or possess trout or salmon in or along any Lake Erie tributary stream or the East and West Basin Ponds (Waterworks Ponds, Presque Isle St. Pk.) from 12:01 AM on April 16 until 8 a.m. on April 17. Also the another reminder that the Gravel Pit Pond in Fairview is currently closed until 8:00 AM, April 17th.
Some opening day suggestions:
Light or ultra light spinning or spincast reels filled with two to four lb. test line are best suited for our area streams. Closed faced reels work best for the kids to avoid tangles. Rods should be no longer than six feet (five feet is better) so you can keep your bait out of trees and away from others while casting. Noodle rods which are popular in our area, can work well to detect those subtle strikes. Tie a short shank, size 10 to 14 hook and add one or two small (size BB or bird seed) split shot 12-18 inches above the hook. The removable type split shot works better as it allows you to change weights easily. If you are using larger baits like whole nightcrawlers, larger hooks (size 6 or 8) might work better. Float the bait under a small float just large enough to carry the bait. Large floats do little more than spook the fish and make it difficult to detect strikes. Adjust the float to keep the bait near the bottom, or as deep as possible at the Gravel Pit Pond
Popular trout baits include corn, red worms, nightcrawlers, crickets, salmon eggs (fresh cured or jarred types in different colors), the powerbaits, marshmallows and the favorite, emerald shiners (everyone has a secret weapon). Try a variety of baits in case the trout are finicky (and they usually are.) Put just enough bait on to just cover the hook, but do not go overboard. For example, on a size 10 hook use: a) one or two pieces of corn or, b) one cricket or, c) one red worm d) one or two salmon eggs or, e) one-third to one-half of a nightcrawler or a single minnow. Typically the smaller the presentation, the better. It doesn't hurt to watch what the guy catching all the fish is using either (My favorite technique).
The key to catching trout is to "read" a stream for good spots and then "present" your bait in a natural manner. "Read" the water for spots that offer trout a place to hide from predators while watching for food to drift by. Trout are usually found near the bottom in pools and in slower "pockets" around rocks, boulders. or submerged trees.
Stand downstream of a spot you think a trout might be. "Present" your bait by casting several feet upstream of the target area. Let the bait drift downstream into the target area while slowly reeling in the slack line. If your bait does not tick along the bottom, add more weight to the line. If your bait hangs up on the bottom. take some weight off. Cast two or three times into the same spot. If you do not get a bite, change baits or try a different area if possible. A stop in the downstream drift of your line along with a sharp tap in your line signals a bite. Give the fish a second or two at most to take the bait, then pull back on the rod and set the hook. A strong set is not necessary if you are using sharp hooks.
The Gravel Pit Pond in Fairview is literally a mined out gravel pit and as such is quite deep and pending weather, very clear. Small baits with very light line should be fished deep under a float or without any float at all. With a little patience, you may be rewarded with a tough fight from a beautiful brown trout!
Cooperation and consideration in crowded fishing areas will make for a great day of angling for all. Area parking can be hectic on opening day. Watch for signs and park only in designated areas taking care to not to block driveways or right of ways. Be especially considerate of younger anglers .....we were all young once.....and please police your area for litter before leaving.
Mostly clear in the evening, then becoming partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s. Northwest winds around 10 mph in the evening, becoming southwest after midnight.
Partly cloudy in the morning, then becoming mostly cloudy. A chance of showers in the afternoon. Highs in the mid 50s. South winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40 percent.
Mostly cloudy. A chance of rain showers in the evening. Lows in the lower 30s. West winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40 percent.
Mostly cloudy in the morning, then becoming partly cloudy. Highs in the lower 40s.
Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 20s.
Mostly cloudy with a chance of rain showers in the afternoon. Highs in the lower 40s. Chance of rain 30 percent.
Saturday night and Sunday
Mostly cloudy with a chance of rain or snow showers, then a chance of rain showers in the afternoon. Lows in the lower 30s. Highs in the mid 40s. Chance of precipitation 40 percent.
Mostly cloudy in the evening, then becoming partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s.
Monday through Tuesday
Mostly cloudy with a chance of rain showers. Highs in the upper 40s. Lows in the mid 30s. Chance