WCO Report for Erie County 10/20/2004: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: October 20, 2004

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on October 20, 2004 at 12:03:11:

WEST ERIE COUNTY, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert

The Erie Area has received significant rainfall over the last week, swelling area tribs and triggering additional steelhead movement. Conditions over the last week have been difficult due to high and muddy water, however anglers still managed fair to good catch rates, especially in the lower areas of the tribs. Baits of choice in the murky conditions were bright colored jigs, colored egg sacks, fresh skein and shiners. As of late Tuesday afternoon, water levels had started to recede giving way to good flow and color. With some predicted breaks in precipitation, the stage may be set for the best conditions of the season by the weekend. Good numbers of steelhead have moved in and angling opportunities should be good. Weather holding, anglers should expect crowded conditions this weekend. Weekday angling pressure on lower Walnut and Elk Creeks has been strong already with the much needed precipitation. Anglers not wishing to join the lower trib crowds should see more fish upstream between routes 5 and 20. Calm wind and wave conditions should yield excellent fishing along the lakeshore at Trout and Godfrey runs. rgl

Current Erie water temperature as of this writing is 58 degrees. Current tributary conditions as of late Tuesday afternoon were high and stained with good flow.

Law Enforcement:
Arrest report
Three subjects from Erie where apprehended this past week for attempting to take steelhead trout from Trout Run (state controlled nursery waters). 11 charges were issued, including under age drinking with fines totaling over $1,100. An earlier incident at Trout Run resulted in 1 subject from Texas being charged with disorderly conduct and blocking the road. bt

Officers also issued citations for, attempted snagging, possessing fish in excess of the legal creel limit, failure to obey posted traffic controls on PFBC controlled property, and fishing without a license. bt

New Access Along Elk Creek with a Special Thanks to McKean Township:
The PA Fish and Boat Commission and McKean Township have entered into a lease agreement for a 600+ foot stretch of Elk Creek. Site is located on the Southeast corner of Route 832 and West Road across the stream from the McKean Township Water Treatment Facility. Currently parking is available with other upgrades (access paths to stream, handicap parking, port-o-johns, etc.)scheduled for this fall (weather permitting) and next spring. PFBC controlled property regulations apply. This site should alleviate some of the parking problems/landowner conflicts that have been cropping up in the area recently. The PFBC encourages anglers to access Elk Creek from this site and stay between the banks when traversing up or downstream. This agreement was made possible with assistance from McKean Township Supervisors, Fairview Township, Erie County WCOs and Bernie Kiesnoski (PFBC Property Services). Recently McKean Township has also done landscaping to provide additional parking places on Elk Creek at Rick Road. Steelheaders coming from the south along with spring trout anglers will really benefit from these quick access points off I-79 at McKean Exit. rn

Respect Landowners Courtesy and Rights or Risk Losing Angling Privileges:
Reports and complaints of anglers being loud and belligerent to a number of landowners living adjacent to the area tributaries and parking areas have been excessive as of late. Godrey Run has been an area of significant concern recently, especially late at night. Anglers are reminded that it is this type of behavior that triggers posted land and restricted access. Be reminded that in nearly all areas along the tribs, you are fishing courtesy of the generosity of a private landowner that has the right at any time to restrict these courtesies if they are abused. bt

Walnut Channel Advisory:
A large sandbar restricting boat traffic at the entrance to the Walnut Creek Channel has caused problems for area boaters. Small boats sixteen feet or so and smaller have been able to negotiate the sandbar although it has been a problem for larger craft. If you are unsure, as to channel restriction, up to date information can be obtained by calling the Walnut Access Office at (814) 833-2464 rgl

Wading Safety:
This past weekend, the area tributary conditions were flowing high and fast. Two anglers lost their footing along Walnut Creek and experienced a good soaking. One angler was observed running downstream chasing a fish he had just hooked paying little attention to his footing. The excitement of the fighting fish placed his attention on his rod with little or no concern for his personal safety. In an instant he went down and was pushed down stream twenty five or so yards taking a good cold soaking above his chest waders along the way. It was fortunate that he came to rest in a shallow area. Fellow anglers watched with little they could do to other than to help him to his feet when he came to rest. Yes, he still landed the fish and took a good ribbing from his fellow anglers but the fact is this situation is no laughing matter. As was mentioned a few weeks ago, anglers should be advised that the flow and pocket structure of the are tribs has been reformed in many areas as a result of the recent hurricane flooding. New pockets have formed in many areas and flow patterns have undergone many changes. Wading caution is advised for the area especially in the high fast conditions that we so often experience. Consider the following tips when wading the area tribs. rgl

Select the appropriate wading shoes. Area tributaries have rocky bottoms and are often smooth and slick. Wading shoes with felt soles can help improve your traction especially when there is still algae growth. Rubber bottom boots are better suited to mud and snow.

Take a wading stick or staff. While you can buy specialty wading sticks from most fishing outfitters, an old ski pole or stout wooden staff can work just as well. Use the stick for support as well as checking depths of unfamiliar water.

Wear a life jacket. They're not just for boats. Many models offer compartments that can hold your fishing gear. Alternatively, some models of fishing vests offer built-in inflatable lifejackets. They cost a little more than plain vests, but it’s a relatively inexpensive life insurance policy. In high fast conditions there are many areas, especially along Elk Creek that can put an angler in the water over his head.

Carry a whistle. You can use the whistle to call for help. Cellphones and two way radios are great but they are of little use if they get wet after a plunge. You can also use the whistle to tell your fishing buddy where you are.

Don't fish completely alone whenever possible. In an emergency, having someone around who can help is always a good idea.

Enter the water slowly and use extra caution on unfamiliar water. Flowing water can be surprisingly powerful, so don’t plunge in and get caught off guard. In addition, a slow, steady entry cuts down on streambed disturbance.

If you are wading with a staff, cross the current facing upstream. Lean on the staff as if it were a third leg.

Shuffle your feet. When in water over the top of your feet, don't pick up your feet. Lift them up just a little and shuffle along the bottom. Take one step at a time. It isn't a race, so go slowly. You will spook fewer fish that way, too.

If you do fall, immediately bend your knees to trap air in your waders. Don't panic; chest waders and hip boots will not "pull you down," as some people think. Stay on your back with your feet downstream and your knees bent until you can safety stand up.

Lastly, have some extra dry clothes. A dry shirt and pants feel good after you have taken a cold “swim.” Besides, if you have clothes to change in to, you can keep fishing!

Local Weather:

Wednesday night
Mostly cloudy. Lows in the mid 40s. East winds around 10 mph in the evening, becoming light and variable after midnight.
Mostly cloudy. Highs in the upper 50s. East winds around 10 mph.
Thursday night
Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 40s. East winds around 10 mph.
Partly cloudy. Highs in the lower 60s.
Friday night
Partly cloudy in the evening, then becoming mostly cloudy. A chance of showers or thunderstorms after midnight. Lows in the mid 40s. Chance of rain 30 percent.
Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the lower 60s. Chance of rain 50 percent.
Saturday night
Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers. Lows in the upper 40s.
Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers in the morning. Highs in the lower 60s.
Sunday night
Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 40s.
Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 50s.
Monday night
Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers. Lows in the mid 40s.
Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers. Highs in the upper 50s

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