WCO Report for Erie County 11/24/2004: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: November 23, 2004

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on November 23, 2004 at 19:25:30:

WEST ERIE COUNTY, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert

With hunting season upon and with very low and clear trib conditions, angling pressure on the tribs has eased up somewhat. Scattered drizzle and cold nights triggered some incoming steelhead over the last week although they seemed to stay confined to the lower stretches of the tribs near the mouths. The Elk Creek Access area from the boat launch north to the lake had a significant number of fish but the clear conditions made catching them tough. Most of the action was seen just before daybreak. Much needed rain and even a little snow are predicted this week that may provide good conditions for the holiday weekend. Anglers are doing fair at the Walnut Creek Project waters finding a mix of fresh and stream darkened fish. Anglers fishing the mouths at Walnut, Elk, and Godfrey runs have been doing good on calm days and evenings. It appears that there are still a significant number of fished staged just off shore in all these areas. rgl

Lake Erie Water temperature as of this writing is 50 degrees. Current trib conditions as of this writing are low and clear with slight flow.

Law Enforcement:
This past weekend was a busy one for law enforcement with persistence paying off. Area officers led by WCO Mark Kerr and DWCO Dave Gustafson were able to apprehend a small group of poachers that have been suspect and under investigation for a long time. Working from information compiled by DWCO Dave Gustafson a targeted area was staked out. The incident occurred late Friday evening and early Saturday morning along a stretch of 20 mile creek. Three individuals, 2 adults and a juvenile, were observed by WCO Kerr using a large commercial gill net to “herd” fish into a confined area and then snagging them with large weighted treble hooks attached to 40 LB test line. Officer Kerr requested backup from Officers Edwards and Tolbert along with the assistance of several out of town PFBC officers here on special detail. They were assisted by 2 PGC officers and 2 Chautauqua County sheriffs deputies. The individuals were first observed in illegal activity at approximately 11:30 PM Friday with officers working well into Saturday morning to complete the processing and paperwork. A total of 63 citations were issued for snagging, fishing in a prohibited area, fishing during hours not permitted, using and possessing illegal fishing devices, no fishing licenses, no Trout stamps, over the limit, giving false statements to law enforcement, litter and fleeing and alluding an officer. A number of fish were confiscated along with the illegal devices. Fines levied were in excess of $7000.00 for the two adults from Pennsylvania. The juvenile was not charged.

Other citations issued over the past week also included additional violations for snagging, attempted snagging, and underaged drinking on PFBC controlled property. A total of 13 officers including area WCOs and DWCOs along with WCOs from around the state were working the area this past week. Officers also issued 57 warnings in addition to the written citations. rgl

Local High School Students Learn About Steelhead Fishing:
22 science students from Girard High School participated in an informative class on Tuesday conducted by WCO Brook Tolbert, DWCO Dr. Michael McSkimming, Doug Cramer from Gannon University, and Chuck Murray, biologist for the PFBC. This public service was made possible by donations from Poor Richards Bait Shop with equipment donated by the PFBC. Classroom space was provided by the Elk Creek Sportsmen's Club. The information packed class included information on angling ethics, biology, the history of the Erie steelhead fishery, rules and regulations along with an exciting opportunity to do a little steelhead fishing. Biologist Chuck Murray did a segment on anatomy that included some fish dissection. The carcasses were used as food for an eagle nesting in the local area. What a great way to introduce the next generation to the exciting sport of Steelhead angling. rgl

A Special Thanks to Our Fellow Officers:
This season additional PFBC officers from around the state have taken the time and considerable effort in many cases to come to Erie to assist local officers and deputies. The tireless hours and effort put in to assist the often overburdened local officers has not gone unnoticed. These combined weekly details have been a productive part of maintaining a high and quality level of law enforcement so necessary during the crowded steelhead season. rgl

Have a Safe Holiday:
On behalf of all the officers along Pennsylvania's North coast, have a safe and happy holiday and successful hunting season. rgl

Local Weather:
Wednesday night Rain likely, possibly mixing with or changing to snow towards morning. Lows in the mid 30s. Northeast winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 70 percent.
Thanksgiving day Snow showers likely. Highs around 40. North winds around 15 mph. Chance of snow 60 percent.
Thursday night Snow showers likely. Lows in the mid 20s. Chance of snow 60 percent.
Friday Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of snow showers in the morning. Highs in the lower 30s.
Friday night Mostly cloudy. Lows around 30.
Saturday Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of rain. Highs around 40.
Saturday night Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of snow showers. Lows in the lower 30s.
Sunday Partly cloudy. Highs in the lower 40s.
Sunday night Mostly cloudy and brisk. Lows in the upper 20s.
Monday Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of rain. Brisk with highs in the upper 30s.

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