WCO Report for Erie County 5/24/2006: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: May 23, 206

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on May 23, 206 at 22:21:56:

May 24th, 2006

West Erie County, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert


Lake Fishing is picking up with the anglers targeting smallmouth trophies along the lakeshore in 20 to 40 feet of water. Catch rates have been good off the International Paper site on the east side of the City of Erie, and West of Walnut Creek. Anglers unable to take to the Lake can find good smallmouth fishing from the shore on the south side of Presque Isle State Park and along the North and South Piers along the Erie Channel. Small mouth fishing has been fair from the boat launch north to the Lake at the Elk Creek access and off the Wall at the Walnut Creek Access Area. Some lake perch are being caught for the patient anglers, but no big numbers yet. A good number of sizable Lake Trout are being brought in to the Northeast Marina as well. Current Lake Erie Water temperature off Toledo is 57 degrees, off Cleveland, 54 degrees, and off Erie 51 degrees.

Have a Safe Holiday Weekend:
Memorial Day Weekend is traditionally the start of the summer boating season, even with the chilly Erie area temperatures. Although early weekend weather reports are indicating very warm weather, boaters should be well advised that Lake temperatures will still only be in the low to mid 50s, plenty cold enough to consider hypothermia a significant danger. Be sure that your safety equipment is in order and that all equipment and PFDs are in good serviceable condition. National Safe Boating Week is March 20th through the 27th with emphasis this year on wearing those PFDs. Check PFDs for rips, tears, mildew, and broken or missing fasteners. Check that fire extinguishers are full, visual distress signals have not expired, PFDs are readily accessible and in good condition, and that horns and lights are all in working order. Check and clean you spark arrester as necessary. Refer to your Boaters Handbook (available at most boating stores, the Walnut Creek Access office as well as on line) to be sure that you are in compliance with the required safety equipment for your particular boat. Required safety equipment is typically determined by the length and type of boat.
As always, a reminder that alcohol and boating can be a bad combination. Fines and penalties can be stiff for those boating under the influence. not to mention the danger to yourself and the lives of those around you. The penalties for operation of a watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance could lead to a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $7,500, or imprisonment not exceeding two years, or both, plus the loss of boating privileges for a period of 12 months. Homicide by watercraft while under the influence carries a fine of not less than $2,500 nor exceeding $15,000, or imprisonment of no less than three and no more than seven years, or both. In addition to the offenses described above, operating a watercraft under the influence may also violate other laws. These may include prohibitions against reckless or negligent operation of boats, public drunkenness, disorderly conduct and underage drinking. Its just not worth taking the risk.

Fish for Free Days
Fish for Free Days allow anyone to legally fish for Pennsylvania's most popular fish without a fishing license. Each year the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission's Executive Director designates 2 Fish for Free Days. No fishing license is required to fish on Pennsylvania's waterways all day May 27th and June 4th, 2006. All other fishing regulations still apply.

Copies of the Anglers Summary booklet can obtained at most area bait and tackle shops and at the Walnut Creek Access office free of charge. The Pennsylvania Fishing Summary Book can also be viewed on line. The Erie area offers a wealth of fishing opportunities for the new angler and the seasoned veterans alike. Plenty of shore fishing is available to new anglers along the Bay Front Highway on Presque Isle Bay as well as much of the shore line at Presque Isle State Park. Fish for free days are the opportunity for the inexperienced angler to try his luck as well as a great opportunity for the experienced angler to introduce a friend to fishing. Fish for Free Days can be the start of many memorable family outings as well.

Refresher on Boating The Erie Area:
Boaters, especially those from out of town that are not familiar with the area should take note of the regulations specific to our area. So often we here "Oh, I didn't know that" or "This is my first time here". Although much of the following is marked, boaters should know these regulations and what minimum swell height means. Generally, this means the slowest speed you can go and still maintain steering control. In most cases this is almost an idle and means little to no wake disturbance. The operator of the boat is responsible for wake he creates as well as any subsequent damage that it may cause. Boats are limited to slow, minimum height swell speed (no wake areas) in the following areas:

Through the Erie Harbor Entrance between the North Pierhead Light (foghorn) and Inter Range Tower.

In the area adjacent to the Dobbins Landing (previously called the Erie Public Dock), extending from the Erie Sand and Gravel Company on the West to the Continental Grain Company piers on the East. The restricted area will include the Canal Basin and extend northward to the harbor line (In short, the channel connecting Presque Isle to Lake Erie).

Within the boundaries of Presque Isle State Park, including the waters of Marina and Misery Bays and the waters along the bay and lake shore for a distance of 500 feet from the shore.

Water skiing, other than for the purpose of take off or approach, is prohibited within 500 feet of the shoreline of Presque Isle peninsula.

The anchoring of watercraft in the entrance channel to Horseshoe Pond, Fox Pond, Marina Bay, the Lagoons or the bridge at Misery Bay in a manner that interferes with the public use of these areas or in a manner which creates a hazard to other watercraft is prohibited.

The mooring of boats to any dock, wharf, pier, ship or boat launching facility in a manner that interferes with public use or creates a hazard to other watercraft is prohibited. Boats are prohibited within 100 feet of designated swimming beaches at Presque Isle State Park.

The internal lagoons from Marina Drive Bridge (Presently under construction with posted detours) at the West end of the Long Pond through the northern entrance of Graveyard Pond shall be limited non powered watercraft and electric motors only.

Maps of the area can be found at most area bait shops and on many on line sites.

Third Annual Lake Erie Shoot Out:
Area PFBC officers participated in an off duty recreational shooting competition this past Sunday along side 25 other officers area law enforcement agencies throughout the state. The all day competition included timed stationary shooting skills as well as a tactical obstacle course that emphasized the use of cover using vehicles and other objects while at the same time pushing the officer's shooting skills to the limit by having to endure return fire (paint balls of course). The highly intense, but friendly competition, held in some rather inclement weather, was an educational experience for all as well as a lot of fun. Officers had the opportunity to test their training skills in the use of their duty weapons, shotgun, and carbine rifles. Thanks to Bob McDowell and Bob's Gun Shop for the use of his training facilities and to WCO Brook Tolbert, DWCO Mark Scholtz, and Jake Scholtz for organizing this popular event. Above all, a special thanks to Bob McDowell for picking up the breakfast tab.

Local Weather:

Wednesday Night Partly cloudy...Becoming mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms after midnight. Lows in the mid 50s. South winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30 percent.

Thursday Mostly cloudy. A chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Highs in the mid 70s. South winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 50 percent.

Thursday Night Showers likely with a chance of thunderstorms. Lows in the upper 50s. South winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60 percent.

Friday Showers and thunderstorms likely in the morning...Then scattered showers with a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. Highs in the mid 70s. Chance of rain 60 percent.

Friday Night Mostly cloudy. Scattered showers with a chance of thunderstorms in the evening. Lows in the upper 50s. Chance of rain 30 percent.

Saturday Mostly cloudy in the morning, Then becoming partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 70s.

Saturday Night Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 50s.

Sunday Mostly sunny. Highs around 80.

Sunday Night Mostly clear. Lows around 60.

Memorial Day Mostly sunny. Highs in the lower 80s.

Monday Night Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 50s.

Tuesday Partly cloudy. Highs around 80

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