WCO Report for Erie County 04/28/04: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: April 27, 2004

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on April 27, 2004 at 20:21:10:

WEST ERIE COUNTY/ DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert

As the spring steelhead season winds down, area anglers know that Erie offers plenty of other action as one season just blends in to the next. Bass fishing has been good and high speed bass boats have already been invading Presque Isle Bay searching for trophy fish.

Crappie fishing around Presque Isle has been hot with a number of limits observed this past weekend. Good areas to try have been off the second and third parking lots on Presque Isle. Shiners and a variety of tube jigs have been pulling them in. Perch fishing off the North and South Piers along the Erie Channel has been very good with several limits observed this past week end. A good number of jumbos were spotted in the mix. Shiners fished off the bottom on perch rigs are the ticket.

With this weeks in season trout stockings, Elk Creek both the upper and lower areas, and the Upper Gravel Pit Pond in Fairview will be good choices for stockies. Anglers have been having good luck at the Gravel Pit Pond with shiners and red worms.

Lake Erie water temperature as of this writing is 49 degrees.

Shoreline Fishing at Night for Walleye:
Walleye season opens on May 1st and early season anglers will be trying their luck along the shorelines near the Walnut access area and Trout and Godfrey runs. The jettys just east of the Walnut Creek Channel are the most popular spots at night. Resident walleye often will come in close to shore after sunset in search of stocked smolts and shiners. Patient anglers can cash in with a little skill and finesse. It is arguable how successful anglers are with these early season walleye, but be assured we have observed many successful night time outings.

Wading the shoreline or fishing from shore with light line (4 to 6 lb.) using large Rapellas in rainbow, silver, and fire tiger patterns are the ticket. Cast out as far as you can and let the lure rest, giving it an occasional twitch. Patience in and allowing the lure to float motionless at times is critical for success. Typically the strikes are hard and obvious since these "resident" walleye are often the "lunkers". Secrets to success are patience, keeping quiet and not using any light. Successful anglers say even a lit cigarette can scare them away from the shore at night. Calm moon lit evenings and a glass lake surface tend to be the most productive although the action can start shortly after sunset at times.

Boaters often have success as well this time of year staying close to shore and either casting or trolling. Planer boards are almost a must for near shore walleye when trolling. A reminder that the walleye limits have changed for this year. The minimum size is 18" with a daily creel limit of 4 fish.

Walnut Creek Access Information:
Dredging is somewhat behind schedule at the access area and it may be a few weeks before the channel is cleaned out. Boaters using the Walnut channel are advised the conditions are extremely shallow at the mouth at this time and the potential for hull or prop damage is high. The Walnut Access office is currently open weekends and will be open full time hours beginning May 8th. For additional information the office number is (814)-833-2464

Anglers fishing the wall are advised that boaters entering and exiting the Walnut Creek Channel have the right of way over angler lines by regulation. With the current conditions, boats will be hugging the wall. Boaters exiting the channel are asked to sound their horns as a courtesy to alert anglers on the wall to pull in their lines and avoid line tangled props.

Boating Season:
Boaters are already taking to the Bay and the Lake. Spring boating season in our area begins often times when water temperatures are still in the 40's. At these temperatures, a fall overboard can be bone chilling and the risk of rapid hypothermia great. Safety equipment, especially PFDs (properly sized and worn) along with a throwable device (ring or cushion) within arms reach can literally mean the difference between life and death this time of year. Check your safety equipment list to be sure all is in order for your boat and that each piece of gear is in good serviceable condition.

Stocked Trout are Great for Hot Smoking:
Because of their relatively small size, even texture and great flavor, Trout are a perfect fish to hot smoke. Hot smoking, as opposed to cold smoking which is used to preserve fish, cooks the trout while it adds that great smoke flavor. Water smokers either electric or charcoal fired work great. Smoked trout are a great meal and can be used to flavor many dishes from fish soup to smoked trout dip. Brining will help to flavor and moisten the fish. Combine about 1 tablespoon of kosher salt to 1 cup of water. You will, of course need enough brine to completely cover the fish. Add small amounts of seasonings to the brine to your liking. Fresh dill weed is my favorite.

Smaller fish like trout, donít need to spend a lot of time in a brine. About 1 hour will do for smaller fish. You want these fish to be cleaned and ready for the smoker before you brine then and have them laid open so the brine can get inside. Brining can be completely optional for smoked trout. While the trout brine you can prepare the smoker. Small trout (about 9 inches) can be completely smoked in as little as an hour or so, but more time will add extra flavor. Watch the fish to make sure they donít dry out, but leave them in the smoker for up to 4 hours. Use a mild wood like a fruit wood or oak to smoke with. Traditionally alder is used with fish and if you can get some it makes a great smoke flavor. Try to place the trout in such a way as to let the smoke get to the insides of the fish.

Once the trout is smoked it will be easy to remove the bones because the slow cooking process helps to separate the meat from the bones. Once the trout is completely smoked y you can eat them just the way they are, or you can use the smoked trout almost like smoked salmon as an appetizer or an ingredient in other dishes. Try adding about 1 cup of smoked trout meat to 2 cups of cream cheese. Season with garlic and Tabasco and serve it as a dip. (Oh yeah babe).

Smoked trout can be frozen for months or refrigerated for days, but remember that hot smoked fish isnít preserved and if you do not intend to eat it right away then you need to refrigerate it or feeze it. It is generally a good idea to remove the skin and bones before freezing.

Local Weather:
Wednesday night
Partly cloudy and brisk. Not as cool with lows in the upper 40s. South winds 15 to 25 mph.
Mostly sunny and breezy, warmer with highs in the mid 70s. Southwest winds 15 to 25 mph.
Thursday night
Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 50s. Southwest winds 15 to 20 mph.
Friday and Friday night
Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs around 70. Lows in the mid 50s. Chance of rain 30 percent.
Mostly cloudy and breezy. A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 60s. Chance of rain 50 percent.
Saturday night
Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers. Brisk with lows in the lower 40s.
Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers. Highs in the mid 50s.
Sunday night
Mostly cloudy. Lows in the lower 40s.
Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of rain showers. Highs in the upper 50s.
Monday night
Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of rain showers. Lows in the upper 30s.
Partly cloudy. Highs around 60.

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