WCO Report for Erie County 03/30/2005: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: March 29, 2005

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on March 29, 2005 at 22:58:19:

WEST ERIE COUNTY, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert

Ice season has come to a close in Erie with temperatures around the area expected in the 50s and 60s. The quick warm up and high trib levels may provide the spark necessary to trigger a much anticipated run of steelhead. With the recent melt down and subsequent runoff, trib levels have been good with a fair number of fresh steelhead moving into the lower areas of the tribs especially at Elk Creek. Good bait choices have been egg sacs, singles when clear enough, plastic trout worms and jigs. Shiners, both live and salted drifted under a float have been hot at times. Current Lake Erie water temperature as of this writing is 33 degrees around the Erie area. Much of the western Lake Erie basin has thawed w with most of the remaining ice covering the eastern basin. West county tributary conditions were flowing good and were slightly stained as of Tuesday.

Take Care Of The Steelhead Smolts:
Steelhead smolts look like small rainbows and are often mistaken for stocked trout. They are typically smaller then the "stockies" and should be carefully released. They hold the future of Steelhead fishing in our area. If a Steelhead smolt is hooked, reel it in quickly without overstressing the fish. Release the smolt as quickly and as gently as you can. If the hook is swallowed it is generally best to just cut the line and release the fish for the best chance of survival.

Approved Trout Water (Later Winter Stocked Lake) Closures:
Keep in mind that as of April 1st, both Lake Pleasant and the Fairview Gravel Pits will be closed to fishing until 8:00 a.m. on April 16th, 2003. Both these bodies of water are included as Approved Trout Waters, and are open to fishing, under the Late Winter Stocked Lake Program, through March 31.

Opening Day of Regular Trout Season, April 16th at 8:00 AM:
Opening day for the regular trout season is just around the corner. Area tribs are typically very crowded opening the day of regular trout season with the overlap of the spring steelhead season. Anglers are reminded to obey all no parking areas and remember that most of our tributary access runs through private land. Keep our public fishing access open by carrying out everything you bring in. Police your area for litter before you leave. Use public facilities and obey posted land and water areas. Public access in our area is becoming a precious commodity and nothing helps more then an angler taking a little extra litter home.

This week is a good time to look at your regulation booklet that you received with your license to assure you that know the rules in our area. Regulation booklets can obtained from any license issuing agent if you don't have one.

One last reminder that the all Lake Erie Tributaries are closed to fishing from Thursday at midnite till Saturday morning at 8:00 AM

Walnut Creek Office:
The office at the Walnut Creek Access will be open on weekends during the day starting Saturday, April 9th. The office will have licenses, ice, and most all of the PFBC brochures and publications. The office phone number is 814-833-2464 for more information

A Few Reminders Before Opening Day:
The upper gravel pit pond is still open to fishing today March 30 and tomorrow March 31st. Starting April 1st the upper gravel pit pond is closed to angling until 8:00 AM April 16th (Opening day of regular trout season).

Beginning April 16th at 8:00 AM, the Trout limit for regular trout season is 5 fish with a minimum length of 9" on the Lake Erie Tributaries, Lake Erie, and Presque Isle Bay (only 2 of which can be lake trout).

For inland waters (i.e. the gravel pit in Fairview) the limit is 5 fish with a 7" minimum length

The Big Day:
Opening day of the regular trout season is April 16th at 8:00 am. The Erie Tribs are a great place for the opener. With the stocked trout mixed in with a potential run of fresh Steelhead, angling in our area can be can be a real springtime smorgasbord. Popular areas in West County for the opener are include the Streuchen Flats area on Elk Creek. This area has plenty of parking and generally decent elbow room. Crooked Creek, Fairview Gravel Pits and the Legion Park Holes on Elk Creek are all good areas with the Gravel Pit pond in Fairview leading as the spot with the least elbow room but arguably the best place for traditional opener.

A good rule of thumb is to look for the areas where there is a lot of parking. The number of parking spaces and vehicles is generally in direct correlation to the number of fish stocked in those waters. The large hole off the Mckean exit is a very popular area with adequate parking. Lake Pleasant along with the Waterworks Ponds at Presque Isle State Park are also well stocked and are great family areas for the opener.

A Few Words of Caution for Opening Day:
Anglers fishing the Fairview Gravel pit pond and Lake Pleasant are reminded that these areas are Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission controlled property. Open fires, camping and cooking are prohibited, as is erecting any permanent structures. Pets are permitted on Commission Property but must be on a leash. Leaving ones vehicle unattended at the Gravel Pit pond on order to reserve a spot can be considered an abandoned motor vehicle and dealt with accordingly. Anglers fishing that these congested areas on opening day are reminded that PFBC owned or controlled properties are specifically set aside for fishing and boating activities.

Officers will be on the lookout for litter problems and open fires in these busy areas. All boats on the Gravel Pit Pond, as well as all PFBC owned or regulated waters, require PFBC or DCNR State Parks registration. Internal combustion engines are not permitted on Commission owned waters, although electric motors are permitted. Water temperatures will still be ice cold on opening day. Make sure your safety equipment is in order. A PFD is required for all persons on board on all boats. They must be U.S. Coast Guard approved, in good serviceable condition and be easily accessible to all occupants. Officers will be checking boats for safety equipment.

Support Your Local Sportsmen's Clubs:
The PA Steelhead Association will have its monthly meeting beginning at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 13, 2005 at the Elk Creek Inn. The public is welcome.

A last minute reminder that The SONS of Lake Erie annual ICE OUT PARTY will be held on Sunday, April 3, 2005 at the East Erie Turns at E. 9th and Parade Sts. from 1 P.M. until 6 P.M. Admission is $5.00 for adults $3.00 under 12. There will be Food and prizes galore. The public is invited. For more information call 814-453-2270.

Local Weather:

Wednesday night
Becoming mostly cloudy. A chance of showers or a thunderstorm after midnight. Lows in the upper 40s. South winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30 percent.
Mostly cloudy. A chance of showers in the morning. Highs in the mid 60s. Southwest winds 10 to 15 mph with gusts up to 35 mph. Chance of rain 30 percent.
Thursday night
Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of showers. Lows in the lower 40s. Southwest winds 10 to 15 mph.
Rain likely. Cooler with highs around 50. Chance of rain 60 percent.
Friday night
Rain likely in the evening, then may mix with or change to snow after midnight. Cooler with lows in the lower 30s. Chance of precipitation 60 percent.
Mostly cloudy. A chance of rain or snow in the morning, then a chance of rain showers in the afternoon. Highs in the lower 40s. Chance of precipitation 50 percent.
Saturday night
Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 30s.
Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of rain showers. Highs around 50.
Sunday night
Mostly cloudy in the evening, then becoming partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 30s.
Monday and Monday night
Partly cloudy. Highs around 50. Lows around 40.
Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 50s.

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