WCO Report for Erie County 10/13/2004: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: October 13, 2004

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on October 13, 2004 at 07:29:10:

WEST ERIE COUNTY, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert

A long dry spell has left the area tribs very low and gin clear in all areas with some areas down to a trickle. As such there is very little flow making drift fishing difficult. Steelhead angling has been tough, but not impossible. Anglers willing to put in their angling time on second and third shifts are doing reasonably will in the lower stretches of Elk and Walnut Creeks. Those trying their luck during the day are finding the fish to be very uncooperative and easily spooked. These conditions often require inducing strikes by using lightly working the micro jigs or using small spinners or spoons. An occasional "twitch" of the still baits can sometimes be helpful. The crack of dawn this past weekend found anglers doing well along the wall at Walnut Creek and along the lake shore at Trout Run with the action fading with daylight. The most popular baits were small cleos, the powerbaits and egg sacks. Lower Elk has good numbers of fish although conditions are similar, clear and very little flow at this time.

Current Lake Erie Water Temperature as of this writing is 61 degrees. Area tribs are very low and clear as of this writing. rgl

Best Wishes Frank:
Frank Parise, Assistant Region Manager for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission's Northwest Region Office will be taking early retirement effective October 15th. Health concerns along with a lengthy career with the PFBC were influential in Officer Parise's decision. Frank has had a long and colorful stay with the PFBC and has been a dedicated officer both in the field and in management. Frank will always be remembered for his colorful stories and his firm but fair policies in law enforcement. His piers and fellow officers wish him well and hope that he has a long and productive retirement enjoying plenty of good hunting and fishing. rgl

Law Enforcement:
With steelhead fishing conditions difficult on the tribs, the temptation for snagging has been above normal. Snagging, attempting to snag, or possessing illegal fishing devices used for snagging (weighted treble hooks are a good example) are all violations. Fines can be heavy for these illegal not to mention unsportsman like activities. A number of citations were written this past week for snagging, attempted snagging, litter, anglers lines interfering with Walnut channel boat traffic and fishing is Commonwealth waters without a license. Angler cooperation with regard to violation reports has been good this year and resulted in a number of written citations. "Report a Poacher" cards with area WCO contact names and number are available at area bait shops as well as the Walnut Creek Access office. If you wish to report a violation, remember that information received is important for successful prosecution. Do not jeopardize your own safety by confronting the individual you believe to be in violation. Leave that up to law enforcement. Detailed vehicle and individual descriptions along with license plate numbers and the state issued, time and date of violation, type of violation observed are all important needed details. So often we hear " I saw a guy yesterday snagging. He was wearing brown chest waders, a tan vest, ball cap, and driving a green pickup truck". Unfortunately this describes half the anglers in the area and provides little information to follow up on. rgl

Support Your Area Clubs:
The PA Steelhead Association will have its monthly meeting beginning at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 13, 2004 at the Elk Creek Inn in Fairview. The public is welcome.

Minutes From the PFBC Fall Quartly Meeting Held in Erie on October 4th-5th and the Issues Affecting the Erie Area:
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has opted to seek additional public input on a proposal to establish 16 as the minimum age for operators of a special class of boats known as Personal Watercraft (PWC). During its fall quarterly meeting in Erie October 4-5, Commissioners considered a proposal to make age 16 the minimum age for PWC operators go into effect in 2008. Instead, they opted to modify the proposal to include a “phase in” approach and to seek additional input from boat operators before taking final action on the matter.

The new proposal still looks to establish a 2008 date for establishing 16 as the minimum age for operators of PWC. Rather than establishing that as the only effective date, the Commission is considering a staged approach, with different ages coming into play each succeeding year.

Specifically, the Commission is contemplating regulations that if adopted would read in part “A person 12 years of age or younger may not operate a personal watercraft. Effective January 1, 2006, a person 13 years of age or younger may not operate a personal watercraft. Effective January 1, 2007, a person 14 years of age or younger may not operate a personal watercraft. Effective January 1, 2008, a person 15 years of age or younger may not operate a personal watercraft.”Also, the Commission is proposing that a person 15 years of age or younger may not operate a personal watercraft if there are any passengers onboard 17 years of age or younger.

The term PWC refers to a boat less than 16 feet in length that uses an internal combustion motor powering a water jet pump as its primary source of propulsion. PWCs are designed to be operated by a person sitting, standing or kneeling in a position different from that used in conventional motorboats. PWCs often resemble motorcycles or snowmobiles more than they do conventional boats. They are known by their trade names such a Jet Ski®, Sea Doo®, Kawasaki®, or Bombardier®. The term "personal watercraft" is limited to the craft described above. It does not include all personally-owned watercraft. Prior to the last Commission meeting, the agency had received just one public comment on the proposal, a letter from the Personal Watercraft Industry Association supporting the measure. At the meeting itself, the Commission heard from the Governor’s Youth Council on Hunting, Fishing and Conservation, which supported the age 16 restriction, with a phasing in approach.

Persons interested in providing input are encouraged to submit written comments, objections or suggestions about the proposed rulemaking to the Executive Director, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, P.O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000.

In other action related to the Erie Area....

The Commission approved a name change from “Select Trout Stocked Lake Program” to “Early Season Trout Stocked Waters” for a program where trout are stocked in late winter for extended opportunities during the month of March when most other trout waters are closed. The Commission also added East and West Basin Ponds, Erie County, to the list of waters regulated and managed as part of the program.

The Commission voted to allow the taking of burbot on Lake Erie by hook and line or non-mechanical spears or gigs year round, with a limit of five per day and no minimum size. The Commission also voted to allow smelt in Lake Erie to be taken by hook and line, with no closed season and minimum length and no creel limit.

From Dan Tredinnick, Press Secretary, PA Fish and Boat Commission

Local Weather:

Wednesday night
Mostly cloudy. Showers likely. Lows in the mid 40s. East winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60 percent.
Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of showers. Highs in the upper 50s. Southeast winds around 10 mph in the morning, becoming southwest 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon.
Thursday night
Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of showers. Lows in the lower 40s. Southwest winds 10 to 15 mph.
Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers. Highs in the lower 50s.
Friday night
Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of rain showers. Lows in the lower 40s.
Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of rain showers. Brisk with highs in the upper 40s.
Saturday night
Mostly cloudy. Lows in the upper 30s.
Sunday Partly
cloudy. Highs in the mid 50s.
Sunday night
Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of rain showers. Lows around 40.
Mostly cloudy. Highs in the upper 50s.
Monday night
Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 40s.
Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers. Highs in the lower 60s.

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