October 25th, 2006|
West Erie County, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert
Summer has blended quickly into winter in Northwest Pennsylvania with Fall being little more than a blur. Conditions over the week on the Erie tribs have been rough with high winds with considerable rain mixed with snow and sleet at times. Trib levels have been high and stained to raging and muddy. The good news is that a considerable number of steelhead have been on the move and the stage is setting for a great winter steelhead season. For now anglers have been doing very well during when when the trib levels are fishable. Savy anglers are learning quickly, that with a few changes in tactics and presentation, steelhead are catchable during the often muddy conditions we are experiencing. Current West county trib conditions as of late Tuesday afternoon were well stained and flowing hard.
Law enforcement: Steelhead crowds at Walnut Creek have brought litter and fishing violations. Common violations have been for snagging, keeping fish in excess of the legal limit and improper disposal of fish entrails. Snagging and or using illegal devices to catch fish will carry a zero tolerance policy by officers. Litter violations of any kind will carry the stiffest penalties allowed. It is often the case that an angler is ignorant of the laws and the specific regulations to our area. Anglers are encouraged, especially the first timers to our area, to again read their Fishing Summary Booklet carefully or to ask an officer if they are not sure or do not understand the regulations. Relying on another angler to clarify the rules will often get you the wrong answer. Anglers fishing at the mouth of Trout Run are reminded that vehicles blocking the road on RT. 98 or blocking any landowners driveways are subject to fines and having their vehicle towed.
Remember that it is illegal to sell, offer to sell, buy, or offer to buy any fish not taken by a commercial fisherman, The sale of any sport angler caught fish carries very stiff penalties.
Steelhead Fishing the Tribs in High Fast Conditions:
In these conditions, it's a great time for live bait and bright easily visible baits. Minnows, skein, egg sacks, and the bright colored Powerbaits work great. Glow ball sizes 10 to 12 in orange, red, chartreuse, and even yellow can work in muddy water. Plenty of split shot will be needed to keep your bait on the bottom. 1/32 to 1/8 oz. marabou jigs in black, white, chartreuse, pink, and orange can trigger a strike and do not require as much added weight. Heavier lines can often be used to battle tougher currents and larger fish when the tribs are stained or muddy colored.
Safety in High and Fast Conditions:
2) Be on the lookout for moving debris.
3) Watch for rapidly rising water conditions. A good hard rain and runoff can literally raise Walnut Creek
4) Fish can be caught in high fast water, but it is often best to fish from the bank.
5) Always try to fish with a buddy, or at least be with shouting distance of other anglers...generally not a problem
6) Life jackets and wading staffs are a good idea in high fast water conditions.
7) Loose waders (the large rubber type) can fill rapidly with water if you fall in...The tighter fitting neoprene will not fill up as easily and provide more warmth. A wading belt should always be worn with the breathable type chest waders.
8) If you fall in the fast water there isn't much to do but ride it out. Pulling your knees to your chest will trap air in your waders and help keep you afloat.
9) Wade cautiously...Area Trib bottom conditions can change frequently throughout the course of the Fall and Winter months.
Wednesday Night Mostly cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph.
Thursday Mostly sunny. Highs in the upper 40s. Northwest winds 5 to 10 mph.
Thursday Night Partly cloudy in the evening...Then becoming mostly cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s. North winds around 5 mph... Becoming east after midnight.
Friday Cloudy with a 40 percent chance of rain showers. Highs in the mid 40s.
Friday Night Showers likely. Lows around 40. Chance of rain 70 percent.
Saturday Cloudy with a 50 percent chance of showers. Highs in the mid 40s.
Saturday Night Cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow showers. Lows in the lower 30s.
Sunday Cloudy with a chance of rain and snow showers. Highs in the upper 30s. Chance of precipitation 40 percent.
Sunday Night Cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow showers. Lows in the lower 30s.
Monday Cloudy. A chance of snow showers in the morning. Highs in the lower 40s. Chance of snow 30 percent.
Monday Night Mostly cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s.
Tuesday Partly sunny. Highs in the lower 50s.