WEST ERIE COUNTY, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert |
Conditions: The deep freeze continues to settle in on the Erie are with night time temperatures dipping into the teens, additional snowfall and the tributaries all but frozen over. Anglers will find open water only in the fastest moving sections of the tribs where there are few steelhead to be found.
Ice fishing season is just starting for a few of the braver anglers with reports of 3 to 4 inches of softer white ice on much of Presque Isle Bay. The thinnest ice is very often along the shore line where the ground temperature is still relatively warm making the walk out a bit risky. Presque Isle Bay had a considerable number of stress cracks this past weekend and some open water. A few ice anglers were found at the far west end of the bay where the water is much shallower and a few others were spotted on Misery Bay with a few small catches of gills and perch. The main body of Presque Isle Bay should still be treated with extreme caution at this time.
The Walnut Creek Marina basin is frozen but riddled with stress cracks from the warm Lake water moving in and out of the channel. This area is unstable at the time of this writing.
With water temperatures hovering above the 32 degree mark, Lake Erie has not begun to freeze yet and a few hardy anglers have been spotted fishing the shoreline at Trout Run on calm days.
General Ice Safety: As we head into the season, here are some general guidelines for staying safe on the ice:
Thick blue/black ice is stronger than milky white ice. Much of the ice around the area is still the white softer ice.
Four inches of solid ice is the minimum recommended level for a small group of skaters or several anglers. Use an auger or spud bar to test the thickness of ice before you go out on it.
Perimeter ice is weaker due to shifting, expansion and sunlight reflecting off the bottom. Avoid areas with protruding logs, brush, plants and docks. These structures can absorb heat from the sun, thus weakening the surrounding ice. Be especially cautious along the shorelines
Changing air temperatures and standing water on ice can weaken and crack it. Single, unbroken pressure cracks in the ice are probably safe to cross, but stay away from areas where cracks meet or intersect.
Venturing out alone is not advisable. Take a friend along for fun - and for safety's sake.
Carry Ice pics at all times.
Wear a PFD.
If there is doubt, don't go out!
Additional safety tips can be viewed on the Commission Website at Ice Fishing and Safety
Law Enforcement Summary for 2005 Steelhead Season Details from WCO Tom Edwards, NW Region Office:
The following list of violations was compiled during organized steelhead season details that were in force from October through December. Details were planned and comprised of local WCO's and DWCO's along with a rotation schedule of WCO's from other districts throughout the Commonwealth. These are the violations that were a result of these targeted details and are in addition to routine violations and warnings issued during the period.
22 Litter violations
21 Use of Illegal fishing devices
23 Nursery Water Violations of various natures
10 Misuse of PFBC controlled property of various natures
69 Snagging/Foulhooking violations
12 Lack of Lake Erie Permits
19 Possessing over the limit cases
4 Lack of Trout Stamp
21 Fishing in areas where prohibited
1 Not possessing a second form of ID in addition to fishing license
2 Borrowing/or lending a license
2 Unlawful retrieval/or disposition of fish
4 Tributary closure
2 Fishing with a revocated license
7 Fishing without a license
2 Field dressing of fish prior to reaching point of consumption
1 Disturbing Nursery waters 1
1 PFD requirements
In addition to these detail violations, PFBC Officers listed some 571 warnings for various other violations
One for the Holidays, Smoked Steelhead/Salmon Dip:
3/4 Cup mayonnaise (not the sweeter salad dressing type)
3/4 Cup of sour cream
3 to 5 ounces of smoked salmon, steelhead, or trout
Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon of bottled horseradish or to taste (Suchoski's old world recipe is a personal favorite but unfortunately hard to find)
1 small garlic clove very finely mince (no powered stuff here)
A few drops of hot Louisiana hot sauce
2 Tablespoons of minced dill (fresh is best but dry is ok in a pinch)
Salt and black pepper to taste
Combine ingredients in a bowl or with a processor and allow to "settle" in the fridge until chilled. Dip will keep for several days in the fridge
Down to the Holiday Shopping Wire:
A 2006 Pennsylvania Fishing license makes a great holiday gift or a last minute stocking stuffer and can be purchased on line at 2006 PA Fishing License
Have a safe and happy Holiday season on behalf of all the officers along Pennsylvania's North Coast