WCO Report for Erie County 11/03/2004: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: November 03, 2004

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on November 03, 2004 at 13:15:05:

WEST ERIE COUNTY, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert

Tuesday brought much needed rain to the area swelling the tributaries and creating high and muddy conditions. Weather forecasts indicate a pretty strong chance of rain throughout the week that could keep the tribs flowing heavily through the weekend. The heavy flow should help wash much of the fallen leaves away that have hampered angling efforts. Anglers coming from out of town would be wise to call ahead or check the Internet for conditions over the next week. Area bait shops can give up to the minute condtions or you can call the Walnut Creek Access offfice at 814-833-2464.

Anglers coming to town and finding the trib conditions too high and fast to fish might consider a day at Presque Isle Bay for panfish or bass. Anglers have been doing well fishing for perch off the North Pier along the channel connecting Presque Isle Bay to Lake Erie.

Current Lake Erie water temperature as of this writing is 55 degrees. Current Erie tributary conditions as of this writing (11/02/04, 1900 hrs) are high, muddy and flowing hard. rgl

Steelhead Fishing the Tribs in High Fast Conditions:
Fish can be caught by the skillful angler no matter what the conditions. When the creeks are high and fast, running fish tend to move closer to the banks to hold in the slower moving water. While you are standing on the bank casting out as far as you can, the fish are probably right at your feet. Look for any slower moving areas or pools that are not as affected by the hard flow.

In these conditions, it's a great time for live bait and bright easily visible baits. Minnows, skein, egg sacks, and the bright colored Powerbaits work great. Glow ball sizes 10 to 12 in orange, red, chartreuse, and even yellow can work in muddy water. Plenty of split shot will be needed to keep your bait on the bottom. 1/32 to 1/8 oz. marabou jigs in black, white, chartreuse, pink, and orange can trigger a strike and do not require as much added weight. rgl

Safety in High and Fast Conditions:
1) In cold fast water conditions, try to make a habit of looking upstream frequently.

2) Be on the lookout for moving debris.

3) Watch for rapidly rising water conditions. A good hard rain and runoff can literally raise Walnut Creek
from a little flow to raging in a matter of minutes

4) Fish can be caught in high fast water, but it if often best to fish from the bank.

5) Always try to fish with a buddy, or at least be with shouting distance of other anglers.

6) Life jackets and wading staffs are a good idea in high fast water conditions.

7) Loose waders (the large rubber type) can fill rapidly with water if you fall in...The tighter fitting neoprene will not fill up as easily and provide more warmth. A wading belt should be worn with the breathable type chest waders.

8) If you fall in the fast water there isn't much to do but ride it out. Pulling your knees to your chest will trap air in your waders and help keep you afloat.

9) Wade cautiously...creek bottom conditions can change frequently throughout the course of the Fall and Winter months. rgl

Walnut Creek Basin Open to Fishing:
A reminder that the Walnut Creek Basin is open to fishing Wednesday November 3rd at 2:00 PM.

This may be your last chance to support funding for an independent Fish and Boat Commission...The Time is Now:
If preserving the fishing and boating heritage of Pennsylvania is important to you, then it’s important that you speak up. Legislators will only act on these measures if you support them. Let your representatives and senators know that you support both House Bill 2155 and Growing Greener II. A letter. A phone call. An e-mail. A quick visit to the district office of your representative or senator. These things take only a few minutes. But they will help preserve the sports you love for years and generations to come. pfbc

To learn how to contact your state legislator, call 1-800-932-0784 or visit the PA General Assembly's Find Your Legislator website.

Support Your Area Sportsmen's Clubs:
The PA Steelhead Association will have its monthly meeting beginning at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 at the Elk Creek Inn. Meetings are held at the Elk Creek Inn on Sterrettania Road in Fairview. This months scheduled guest speaker is Chuck Murray, PFBC biologist, who will share and discuss the results of the 2003-2004 creel survey which was a big part of the area economic study of the impact of steelhead fishing in our area. The public is welcome.

On Saturday, Nov. 13, 2004, the PA Steelhead Association will be sponsoring a stream cleanup. Interested parties are requested to gather at Walnut Creek Access Area around 9:00 a.m. For more information, contact Doug Kramer at doug@reelfishn.net or Michael McSkimming at mcskimming@gannon.edu.

Steelhead Fishing's Dramatic Impact on the Erie Area Economy:
As if trophy trout nearly three feet long weren't catch enough, a new study shows that steelhead fishing in Pennsylvania’s Lake Erie tributaries is a “keeper” for the local economy in Erie County, generating $9.5 million in economic activity annually.

According to freshly released results from a study of Economic Impact of Sports Fishing (EISF) in Erie County, steelhead fishing activity in Pennsylvania nearly tripled in the last decade, going from around 70,000 trips in 1993 to over 200,000 trips in 2003. As interest in the fishery has grown, attracting anglers from across Pennsylvania and the country, it has become a notable part of the local tourism economy.

Senator Jane Earll, Pennsylvania Sea Grant, and the Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership joined with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) to announce the results of the EISF during a press conference at Fairview State Fish Hatchery October 27.

“For too long, we have vastly underestimated the economic impact of fishing on Erie County,” said Senator Earll. “And while fishing or recreational activities will never replace manufacturing jobs or rival a high-tech sector in our economy, they are still important pieces in the overall economic picture, and cannot – nor should not – be overlooked. The study that was done to compile this data was a cooperative effort done to meet multiple goals, and I am very proud to have been a part of such an impressive collaborative effort,” she said.

The study revealed that anglers catch more than 500,000 steelhead each year. Not only are large numbers being caught, but the catch rate is impressive as well, with the average angler landing a steelhead about every hour and a half.

“The Lake Erie tributary steelhead fishery is one of the Commonwealth’s top trophy trout fisheries. As a result, Erie County is a premiere fall fishing destination,” said PFBC Executive Director Dr. Doug Austen. “Fishing is great recreational pastime for families and as this study illustrates, it’s also a tremendous contributor to local and regional economies across the state.”

The steelhead study results represent Phase II of the EISF study. According to Phase II of the study, the economic impact of steelhead fishing in Lake Erie tributary fisheries is $9.5 million. That figure is part of the overall $28 to $36 million in total fishery expenditures in Erie County as determined in Phase I of the study.

Under the direction of Pennsylvania Sea Grant and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, researchers collected information regarding angler expenditures. That data was analyzed by the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, Pennsylvania State University and released in a report by the PFBC’s Lake Erie Research Unit.

“There is a very real and direct economic impact to Erie’s economy through sports fishing,” said Robert Spaulding, senior vice president/COO, Erie Regional Chamber. “The $9.5 million in trip-related expenditures in 2003, results in $5.71 million in new value-added economic activity in Erie County which directly and indirectly creates 219 local jobs.”

Spaulding notes that the important number for economic impact is the value-added figure, i.e. new money created in Erie County. The retail mark up (the difference between wholesale and retail values) on the $9.5 million is $6.85 million. Applying the IMPLAN model to this number results in both a direct and secondary economic impact total of $10.68 million. This translates into 170 steelhead-related jobs, and another 49 jobs created due to the spin-off effects of the steelhead fishery.

Of the $10.68 million, $5.71 million is value-added or new money created in Erie County solely due to the steelhead fishery; $3.57 million of which is from directly related activities, and $2.13 million from spin-off activities due to the steelhead fishery.

“We believe this is only a fraction of the economic impact as we are using a very conservative economic model and focusing on short-term, trip-related expenditures,” said Spaulding. “Those expenditures, however, clearly suggest the pathway for developing the strategy of increasing the impact of that industry segment.”

Phase II of the study noted that sports fishing for steelhead is high in October through December. The average out-of-town angler spends $62 per day while the local angler spends $6.60 per day.

“People are coming to Erie County from all over the world, and they are coming at a time many would consider off season, and they are spending money here because of the steelhead fishery,” said Senator Earll. “Steelhead fishing is unique to Erie County; it is the only place in Pennsylvania you can catch them. We should use that fact to our advantage, and do all we can to enhance that industry even more,” she said.

In Phase I of the study, the Erie Regional Chamber and the study partners compiled the economic impact of sports fishing through research and data collection. That research showed that Pennsylvania anglers account for $580 million in fishing expenditures statewide, with a $26 to $30 million economic impact in Erie County. pfbc

Local Weather:
Wednesday night
Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 30s. East winds 10 to 15 mph.
Rain likely. Highs in the lower 50s. Southeast winds 10 to 15 mph becoming south. Chance of rain 70 percent.
Thursday night
Cloudy with a chance of rain through the night. A chance of snow after midnight. Windy with lows in the mid 30s. West winds 20 to 30 mph. Chance of precipitation 40 percent.
Mostly cloudy and windy. A chance of rain and snow. Highs in the lower 40s. Chance of precipitation 40 percent.
Friday night
Mostly cloudy and brisk. A chance of rain and snow. Lows in the mid 30s. Chance of precipitation 30 percent.
Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of rain. Highs in the upper 40s.
Saturday night
Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of rain. Lows around 40.
Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of rain. Highs in the upper 40s.
Sunday night
Mostly cloudy with a chance of rain through the night. A chance of snow after midnight. Lows in the mid 30s. Chance of precipitation 40 percent.
Mostly cloudy with a chance of rain and snow. Highs in the lower 40s. Chance of precipitation 40 percent.
Monday night
Mostly cloudy. Lows in the lower 30s.
Mostly cloudy. Highs in the lower 40s.

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