WCO Report for Erie County 10/4/2006: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: October 03, 206

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on October 03, 206 at 23:24:34:

October 4th, 2006

West Erie County, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert


Significant rainfall over the past week has kept the tribs high and flowing with very muddy conditions at times. The rain this past weekend had the tribs rocking and rolling with fish on the move upstream. Catches were tough given the conditions but as the water levels subside we should see an influx of many more steelhead. Perching has been good on the lake when calm enough. Smart perch anglers know that as long as the wind and wave conditions are calm, perch fishing on Lake Erie can last well into the Fall months. Perch are still schooling in 60 to 62 feet of water north of the point on Presque isle. Many bass anglers have been working Presque Isle Bay with fair to good success. Current Lake Erie water temperatures as of this writing are 60 degrees off Toledo, 64 degrees off Cleveland, and 62 degrees off Erie. Current West County trib conditions as of this writing are high and flowing hard.

Pennsylvania Steelhead Association Welcomes Outdoor Writer Mike Bleech: The Pennsylvania Steelhead Association is proud to welcome Mike Bleech to this months meeting scheduled for Wednesday October 12th at 7:00 PM at the American Legion Post on Route 5 just East of Tom Ridge Field.

Mike Bleech has been a full-time outdoor writer and photographer since 1981. He has written more than 3,500 articles for more than 90 magazines, newspapers and web sites, is a columnist for Erie Times News, the Warren Times Observer and the Pennsylvania Outdoor Times. He is also the author of two books. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association, Professional Outdoor Media Association, and New York State Outdoor Writers Association. Mike is a colorful writer with a wealth of information to offer the outdoor enthusiast. Mike should be a real treat for the members and guests. The public is welcome.

More Public Access On The Way for the Erie Area: The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) announced on September 28th that it is moving forward with four projects that will provide 8,800 feet of stream frontage for public fishing access in Erie County.

Three of the property acquisitions involve partnerships with local municipalities which will take ownership of the sites and hold them open for free public fishing. As part of these transactions, the Commission acquired public fishing access easements along the streams in perpetuity. The fourth property will be purchased by the Commission. Each of the projects utilize money from the Lake Erie Access Improvement Program, funded by the sale of special Lake Erie Fishing Permits.

“Working with partners, we are able to use anglers’ dollars to leverage additional monies. Each and every one of these properties is an important acquisition in itself. Taken cumulatively, the benefit to anglers and the residents of Erie County is immense. Recreational fishing gives a $36 million boost annually to the Erie economy, so these purchases represent a significant investment that will provide an equally significant return,” said PFBC Executive Director Dr. Doug Austen.

The Commission has approved a grant of $73,000 to Girard Township for the purchase of 8.32 acres along Elk Creek containing 350 feet of stream frontage on the popular steelhead trout stream.

The Commission also approved $50,000 in funding for Millcreek Township to acquire a 22-acre property on Walnut Creek containing 2,600 feet of stream on both sides of the waterway.

Northeast Township will receive $92,000 toward the purchase price of 19 acres of property along Twenty mile Creek containing 1,900 linear feet of stream.

The Commission has also entered into an agreement to purchase 4.2 acres off Rick Road along Elk Creek in McKean Township. Through this purchase, anglers will have public access to 900 feet of stream on one side and 450 feet on the other. This site already has a small parking area and is a steelhead stocking point for the Commission. The Commission will pay $55,000 for the property.

In addition to these purchases, the Commission is developing a process and program materials for acquiring streamside fishing easements as part of the Lake Erie Access Improvement Program. Easements will allow landowners to maintain title to their properties, while providing permanent public fishing corridors for anglers.

A Few Wading Suggestions:
With the near record rainfalls during the month of September, we are of to and early start on Steelhead season with the anglers often seeing the high and muddy rapids more typical of the spring steelhead season. Good waders and footing are important part of enjoying a good day on the tribs.

First, select the appropriate waders. Give yourself a little extra room for warm clothing underneath. Generally neoprene waders with built in boots will provide the best insulation although many anglers prefer the "stocking foot" type with separate shoes making it possible to vary the material on their soles. The local tribs have a variety of bottom structure from slippery shale, to gravel, to mud, and rocky bottoms. Wading shoes with felt soles can help improve your traction. Don't worry if you can't find boots with felt soles in your size. Most tackle shops carry felt sole kits you can use to customize your boots. Felt can provide good traction this time of year but are not much help once the snow starts to fall.

Take a wading stick or staff. While you can buy specialty wading sticks from most fishing outfitters, although an old ski pole or stout wooden staff can work just as well. Most of our areas are relatively shallow however, there are plenty of deep pockets that can fool an unsuspecting or unfamiliar angler.

Consider wearing a a life jacket, especially when fishing the tribs after a strong rain when the water is high and fast flowing. This is should be a must for younger anglers and non swimmers. They're not just for boats. Many models offer compartments that can hold your fishing gear. Alternatively, vest models offer built in inflatable lifejackets. They cost a little more than plain vests, but it’s a relatively inexpensive life insurance policy.

Let someone at home know how long you plan to be out, especially when fishing some of the more remote areas. Electronic communication is now at everyone's fingertips, however much of our area, especially near the lake shore, can put you out of cell phone range.

Don't fish completely alone. In an emergency, having someone around who can help is always a good idea, especially when fishing the more remote areas of the tribs

Enter the water slowly, especially at night. Flowing water can be surprisingly powerful, so don’t plunge in and get caught off guard. In addition, a slow, steady entry cuts down on stream bed disturbance. It is also a courteous idea to wade slowly in crowded fishing areas.

If you are wading with a staff, cross the current facing upstream. Lean on the staff as if it were a third leg.

Shuffle your feet. When in water over the top of your feet, don't pick up your feet. Lift them up just a little and shuffle along the bottom. Take one step at a time. It isn't a race, so go slowly. You will spook fewer fish that way, too.

If you do fall, immediately bend your knees to trap air in your waders. Don't panic; chest waders and hip boots will not immediately "pull you down," as some people think. Stay on your back with your feet downstream and your knees bent until you can safety stand up. If you are wearing loose fitting chest waders, a wading belt should be worn to help prevent water from entering in the event of a fall. If you do fall, you and not your gear or fish should be your first priority

Finally, always have some extra dry clothes and a repair kit for leaky waders. A dry shirt and pants feel mighty good after you have taken a cold “swim.” Besides, if you have clothes to change in to and a kit to repair a tear in your waders, you can keep fishing!

Local Weather: Wednesday Night Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms in the evening...Then partly cloudy after midnight. Cooler with lows in the upper 40s. North winds 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 30 percent.

Thursday Partly cloudy and much cooler with highs in the lower 50s. Northeast winds 5 to 10 mph.

Thursday Night Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 40s. Northeast winds around 10 mph.

Friday Partly cloudy. Highs in the lower 60s.

Friday Night Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 40s.

Saturday Mostly sunny. Highs in the lower 60s.

Saturday Night Mostly clear. Lows in the upper 40s.

Sunday Mostly sunny in the morning...Then becoming partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 60s.

Sunday Night Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers. Lows in the lower 50s.

Columbus Day Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers. Highs in the mid 60s.

Monday Night Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 40s.

Tuesday Partly cloudy. Highs in the lower 60s.

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