WCO Report for Erie County 03/01/2006: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: March 01, 206

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on March 01, 206 at 00:08:57:

WEST ERIE COUNTY, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert


Area tribs continue to be an on again, off again fishing scenario with skim ice and slush one day and free flowing waters the next. We seem to have developed a trend of week to week of freezing temperatures leaving little to no open water and then a mid to late week warming trend to open things up. This week seems to be no exception with temperature ranges from the teens to the forties. The tribs have been generally on the low side and very often clear making fishing difficult at best. On the plus side, elbow room is relaxed and the quiet fishing experience that so many long for in our area can for now, be enjoyed. The larger, slower moving pools are still holding fish but the majority of the remaining fish are dark colored and well winter worn. We still have plenty of potential for incoming fresh fish. It will be interesting to see if we actually have a spring steelhead season or whether the mild weather will just taper off the season. Anglers looking for fresh steelhead would likely find the best success at the access areas of Walnut and Elk Creeks or shore line fishing at Trout and Godfrey Runs when wind and waves permit. The Walnut basin has been somewhat productive and anglers braving the wind along the wall at Walnut Access have also had some luck

Boating Safety Classes are Hot This Year:
As was mentioned last week, the PFBC safe boating class scheduled for March 5th and 6th filled up in only a few weeks making it necessary to schedule a second class for April 10th and 11th. The April class is already on its way to filling up and those interested are advised to get their names in soon. Boating season is just around the corner and the winter months are a great time to take this course. The class scheduled for April 10th and 11th will also be held at the Stull Interpretive Center (Nature Center) at Presque Isle State Park.

Area PFBC officers will be instructing this class. This comprehensive 8 hour class is designed for the novice boater or boater to be, as well as the experienced boater who would like to refresh his knowledge. It is also a great activity for the boating family and is a great cabin fever outing. The class covers basic boating safety, boating laws and regulations, and equipment. Successful completion of the course qualifies the individual for a Pennsylvania boating education safety certificate (card). There is no charge for the course or materials, although registration is required. These classes typically fill up quickly and class size will be limited to 35 people so early sign up is recommended. Upon successful completion of the course and the final exam , the Agency will require a processing fee for your Basic Boating Safety Card if one is desired. To register for this class, email DWCO Randy Leighton at rglerie@msn.com with your name, address, phone, age, and number of people you would like to register if necessary you can phone 814-774-4672.

Support Your Local Sportsmen's Clubs:
The next Pennsylvania Steelhead Association meeting is Wednesday March 8th, at 7 PM. Meetings are held in the main banquet room on the ground floor the American Legion Post 773 at 4109 West 12th Street, Erie, PA. 16505. This is on the south side of West 12th street (route 5), just east of the Erie Airport. Food and legal beverages are offered at reasonable prices. The public is welcome.

Ice Out Can Trigger Crappie Palooza:
Many types of fishing tend to slow down dramatically in the winter as the fish become more dormant. There is no better example of this than the winter battered steelhead. In the cold water they become lethargic and difficult to catch unless the lure passes right in front of their noses and even then they often will turn their heads. Crappie on the other hand, are great to fish for year round especially through the ice (when there is any) and in the cold waters following ice out and into the spring spawning season. This can mean big benefits for the savvy angler looking to fill his freezer. They actually like the cooler waters and can be found in the cooler deeper waters in the summertime as well.
Post ice out and Springtime crappie fishing can be spectacular in our area with the hot spot being Presque Isle, specifically Misery Bay and the shoreline on the north side of the bay west of the Marina Bay channel. Meaty slabs in the pound plus size are not uncommon in and around the Bay. Since crappie tend to prefer brush piles and other underwater cover, try to locate any structures. Ask rangers or park officials and bait shops where they can be found, or easier yet, just look for the crowds. Misery Bay has a good amount of natural and artificial cover. The North side of Presque Isle Bay along the peninsula has a significant amount of wadable water.

Rig up an light to ultra-light rod with 2-4 pound test line and a jig or live minnow with a stand-up crappie bobber or inline pencil type float. Grubs can be good baits at times and a change of jigs or tipping a jig with a live minnow can help to get the action started. Noodle rods used for steelhead fishing work great or even your standard trout set up. Any type of light set up will do to help detect the occasion sensitive strikes. Fish it with a lot of action to attract crappie in the 5-18 ft. depths. Crappie have delicate mouths that tear easy. When you get a strike, pull back on the rod tip and carefully begin reeling the fish in. Be sure not to let the line go slack or the fish can sometimes back the hook out before you land it. Crappie, like most pan fish, will put up a great fight, especially on light tackle. When possible, nighttime fishing for crappie can prove very successful. These fish are really attracted to a large lamp pointing into the water. For my money a cooler full of crappie filleted and fried will rival the best perch Lake Erie has to offer.

Last Reminder on the Big Show:
The 23rd annual Erie Outdoor Sport and Travel Expo will be held March 3rd through the 5th at the Family First Sports Park, 8155 Oliver Road in Erie (I-90 at Peach Street, Exit 24)
With 22 years under its belt, this expo has developed into the definitive cabin fever event for area hunters and anglers. The expo is a fabulous mix of the latest in hunting and fishing information and gear blended with exhibits by local clubs, bait shops and sport and travel stores. Great buys, informative demonstration, and noted guest speaker clinics round out the expo. Area PFBC officers and representatives from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission as always will be on hand through out the weekend to answer questions and listen to your comments. See you there..... For more information go to Erie Outdoor Sport and Travel Expo

Local Weather:
Wednesday Night
Rain showers likely...May mix with a little snow early. Little or no snow accumulation. Early lows in the lower 30s...Temperatures slowly rising overnight. Southeast winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 70 percent.

Mostly cloudy. Rain showers likely in the morning...Then a chance of snow showers in the afternoon. Morning highs in the lower 40s...Temperatures dropping through the 30s during the afternoon. South winds 5 to 10 mph...Becoming northwest 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation 60 percent.

Thursday Night
Snow showers likely. Lows in the lower 20s. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of snow 60 percent.

Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers in the morning...Then partly cloudy in the afternoon. Highs in the lower 30s. Chance of snow 30 percent.

Friday Night
Partly cloudy. Lows 15 to 20.

Partly cloudy. Highs in the lower 30s.

Saturday Night
Partly cloudy. Lows around 20.

Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of snow. Highs in the mid 30s.

Sunday Night
Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of snow. Lows around 20.

Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of snow. Highs in the lower 30s.

Monday Night
Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of snow showers. Lows around 20.

Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of snow showers. Highs in the lower 30s.

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