WCO Report for Erie County 07/28/2004: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: July 28, 2004

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on July 28, 2004 at 04:47:45:

WEST ERIE COUNTY, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert

Although it may be getting redundant, the perch fishing just gets better and better. Limits are the norm and jumbos are common with a good number of fish in the pound to pound and a half range. Emerald shiners are the best bait, dead or alive. 58 feet to 62 feet of water seems to be hot right now although anglers are reporting that they are locating schools everywhere.

The latest news is the introduction of several party or "head" boats to our area reminiscent of the blue pike party boats from years past. These boats can literally take dozens of people at a time out to perch fish for a nominal fee. This is an economical way for folks that might not have any other opportunity to reach the large perch schools, to cash in on their fair share of good fishing. Tuesday evening, I had such an opportunity to go on a gratuitous shakedown cruise (trial run) on one such boat. We had over 40 people on board fishing, enjoying good food, and sharing a great evening. Thanks Gary and Dotty.

Walleye are scattered, although the charter captains are still bringing them in. Deeper water walleye anglers are finding the steelhead beginning to hit. Michigan stingers and other bright colored spoons are grabbing the steelhead in 75 to 90 feet of water west along the second trench.

Bass action is still hot around Presque Isle and the Bay. Unless you are using live baits, weedless presentations are almost a must anywhere in and around the Bay.

Current Lake Erie water temperature as of this writing is 72 degrees.

Robert Nestor Appointed PFBC Region Manager for Northwest Pennsylvania:
With the recent retirement of Gary Deiger, Robert Nestor has been appointed the Northwest Region Manager for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. Bob has been with the Commission since 1990 and is from the Erie area making him the ideal choice to lead law enforcement in NW Pennsylvania. Bob graduated form Gannon University in 1989 and began his career with the PFBC in 1990. He was assigned as a WCO to Southern Montgomery County in 1992 and began working in the Central Erie County District in July of 1993. In 1998 Bob was promoted to Assistant Region Manager for Northwest Pennsylvania. His many accomplishments include the Erie County DUI Advisory Council Law Enforcement Award for 1998, PFBC Officer of the year for 2003, and serving as Vice Chairman for the Great Lakes Fisherys Commission, Law Enforcement Committee. Bob's dedication and commitment combined with a great respect from his fellow officers and peers will assure Northwest Pennsylvania and the PFBC the quality leadership necessary for one of the busiest areas in the state. Congratulations Bob.

Annual Walleye Tournament:
The eighth annual Poor Richard's Walleye Tournament began at 5 a.m. Saturday, July 17th and runs through 6 p.m., Sunday Aug. 15. The tournament proceeds benefits the S.O.N.S. of Lake Erie Walleye Hatchery and is open to all Pennsylvania Lake Erie waters. Entrants must be a S.O.N.S. member and pay a $5 entry fee. The S.O.N.S. (Sons of Lake Erie) are Erie's largest fishing club with nearly 3000 members. S.O.N.S memberships and registration for the tournament can be purchased at Poor Richard's east or west locations. Once registered, anglers wanting to enter their catches can go to either location as well. Prizes will be provided for the top three finishers, as well as four weekly prizes, and there is a bonus perch category. This tournament is open to the public and can add a little extra fun to this summers fishing and help to support a fine organization. For information, call 474-5623 or 725-8483.

Think You Know How to Catch Perch?
The North East Marina is hosting the 1st Annual Yellow Perch Tournament on Saturday, August 7 and Sunday August 8, 2004. Awards and prizes for junior and adult divisions, including free taxidermy mount of the top three places in the adult division. Also, special prize for the largest goby! For information contact the North East Marina at 814.725.8244.

Boater's Safety Tip of the Week:
Know the wind and wave forecasts before hitting the water. Carry a marine or portable weather radio to monitor weather conditions at all times and keep an eye on the sky.

Another New Exotic Species Confirmed in Pennsylvania waters:
A Recent Press Release By the PFBC
An unusual fish species native to Asia has been confirmed as being present in a Philadelphia waterway. Officials with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) today confirmed the presence of northern snakeheads in Meadow Lake within FDR Park. Snakeheads are a diverse family of fish native to parts of China, Russia, and Korea. All snakeheads are distinguished by their torpedo-shaped body, long dorsal and anal fins without spines, and toothed jaws. Northern snakeheads are typically distinguished by flattened, pointy heads with long lower jaws. The first report of snakeheads in the 17-acre Meadow Lake came late last week when an angler caught two snakeheads, preserved them and contacted the Fish and Boat Commission. A total of six northern snakeheads have now been taken from the lake, including three captured by PFBC biologists. The lake is part of a maze of interconnected embayments and tidal sloughs and the Commission believes additional snakeheads are likely present elsewhere in the system. The introduction of exotic species into areas beyond their natural range shifts the balance of an eco-system.

Exotics can introduce parasites, diseases and genetic pollution of closely related species. At the very least, even an otherwise innocuous exotic takes up space and food that might someday be used more beneficially by other species. Northern snakeheads are a predatory fish and will compete with other fish species for forage and habitat. It is too early to say what impact the presence of snakeheads will have on species already in Meadow Lake such as panfish, catfish, carp, gizzard shad, blueback herring, eels, and largemouth bass. Commission biologists have concluded that there is no practical method for eradicating snakeheads from Meadow Lake and that, given the nature of the system, snakeheads may have already accessed adjoining waters like the nearby lower Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers.

As a result, the PFBC has decided that it will monitor the pond and surrounding waters, it will take no concerted effort to eliminate the species. “Based on the experiences of other states where northern snakeheads have been previously identified and become established, we believe that an aggressive approach to eradicate the species from the Meadow Lake would be neither practical nor effective. Furthermore, efforts such as draining the lake or using fish toxins would likely do more damage to resident fish populations than the threatened competition for habitat and forage posed by the snakeheads themselves,” said Dr. Douglas Austen, PFBC Executive Director. Anglers catching snakeheads should dispose of them properly. It is against Fish and Boat Commission regulations to possess any variety of live snakeheads. Anglers certain they have caught a snakehead are encouraged to not release it, but report it to the Commission by calling 610-847-2442 or via e-mail to mkaufmann@state.pa.us. Northern snakeheads are considered good table fare and were introduced to this country via fish markets, where they were often sold live. The Commission will produce and distribute literature designed to help area anglers identify northern snakeheads. Snakeheads are sometimes confused with native Pennsylvania species bowfin and eels. Northern snakeheads first drew attention in the mid-Atlantic region in 2002 when a pair were discovered in a Maryland pond. Fed by national media coverage that dubbed the hardy species “Frankenfish”, the public imagination was fueled by the fish’s ability to live for periods of time out of water and to use its front fins to drag itself across land for short distances. While the northern snakehead may have established itself as among the most famous aquatic invasive species, it is merely another on a growing list of such species. Foreign imports, such as the round goby found in Lake Erie, can have negative impacts on ecosystems. In addition to gobies in Lake Erie, there are serious concerns about another fish species thought to have been originally transported via freighters, the ruffe. Zebra mussels are another non-indigenous species impacting Lake Erie and spreading to inland waters.For more information and photos of northern snakeheads, visit the PFBC web site at www.fish.state.pa.us.

Local Weather:
Wednesday night
Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 50s. West winds 5 to 10 mph in the evening, becoming light and variable after midnight.
Partly cloudy. Highs in the lower 80s. Light and variable winds.
Thursday night
Mostly clear. Lows in the lower 60s. Light and variable winds.
sunny. Highs in the mid 80s.
Friday night
Partly cloudy in the evening, then becoming mostly cloudy. A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 60s. Chance of rain 30 percent.
Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the lower 80s. Chance of rain 50 percent.
Saturday night
Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 60s. Chance of rain 40 percent.
Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the lower 80s. Chance of rain 50 percent.
Sunday night
Mostly cloudy in the evening, then becoming partly cloudy. A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 60s. Chance of rain 30 percent.
Partly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the lower 80s. Chance of rain 30 percent.
Monday night
Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 60s.
Partly cloudy. Highs in the lower 80s.

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