WCO Report for Erie County 04/25/2007: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: April 24, 2007

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on April 24, 2007 at 21:00:55:

April 25th, 2007

West Erie County, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert

Conditions: Steelhead season is beginning to wind down, although there are still a few remaining to be caught. Colder night temperatures have kept the steelhead in the tribs, but the numbers are dwindling. Suckers are dominant in the tribs and we should start seeing bass moving in when the trib temperatures warm a bit. Anglers are beginning to turn their attention to other opportunities as the weather starts to warm. Presque Isle Bay was a hot spot this past weekend with a surprising number of boaters out targeting bass and spring crappie. Anglers fishing the Lagoons at Presque Isle have been picking up some nice pike.

The Gravel Pit Pond is scheduled for additional trout stocking on Saturday the 28th, along with Elk Creek from the Legion Hole in Girard to the mouth. Crooked Creek is scheduled for additional stocking on Monday April 30th from the Glosky Hole to Route 5. Current West county tributary conditions as of Tuesday afternoon were clear, with some flow. Current Lake Erie water temperatures as of this writing are 47 degrees off Toledo, 40 degrees off Cleveland and 44 degrees off the Port of Erie.

It's Not the Law But.... The recent cold water drownings around the area tragically bring to light the importance of wearing those life jackets this time of year. Even though it is not a regulation to have them on, a cold water dunking throws a severe shock to ones system that severely stacks the odds against your survival. Confusion, disorientation, hypothermia and the involuntary "gasp" reaction as a result of a cold water submersion gives you little time to react rationally. It is regulation to have them on board so why not wear them, especially this time of year. Children 12 years of age or younger on boats 20 feet or less in length, and on canoes and kayaks are required to wear PFDs while underway. Be sure they do....they are the operators responsibility.

Elk Valley Sportsmen's Club Kids Fishing Derby:
The Elk Valley Sportsmen's Association will be holding its annual fishing derby for kids 12 and under at the Girard Boro Park pond on Saturday, May 5th. Kickoff is at 1:00 PM till 3:00 PM with great prizes and refreshments for the kids. This is a terrific event for the kids (and great entertainment for the parents) and is always well attended. This is a great introduction to fishing for the youngsters. Get there early for that "hot spot". Any child 12 years of age or younger is welcome to join in the fun. Fishing gear and help is available for those kids in need. Club members and PFBC officers are always on hand to help out. To get to the Girard Boro Park turn north on Route 18 in Girard. Turn left on Lake street go several blocks and turn left at the Park Entrance (Lake Street). The pond is at the bottom of the hill.

A Few Suggestions Before That First Launch of the Season:

1. Check the fuel line for cracks and worn spots

2. Make sure the fuel primer bulb is pliable & not cracked

3. Make sure the fuel line fittings seat properly and don't leak

4. Check the clamps on the fuel line for rust or corrosion

5. Check the fuel tanks for damage or corrosion

6. Check the tank vent to make sure it aspirates properly (many a mechanic has handed a boater a bill for services after he simply opened the tank vent).

7. Check for water in the fuel

8. Look over the engine for any fresh leaks, especially on the lower unit or outdrive and have them repaired before first launch.

9. Check your trailer tires for correct pressure. Replace tires that have cracked severely. Look at the inside wheel seals for grease leakage and replace the seals if necessary. If you can move the wheel and the lug nuts are tight, the wheel bearings are in need of replacement. Safety chains and hitch lock should be in good serviceable condition. Have a friend assist you in checking all lights. Checking for loose or corroded wires early in the season
can save trouble down the road.

9. Critters often like making their winter homes in a covered boat. Check bilge areas, vents on boats with built in tanks, air cleaner areas, and electrical areas for nests that can cause blockage.

10. Steering and throttle cables should be checked for excessive play and repaired as necessary.

11. Take a good walk around the hull and transom areas and look for any serious stress cracks. Anything suspicious should be addressed before launch.

12. A "mushy" floor in a fiberglass boat can be an indication of rotting wood below deck...a project best left to the pros.

13. Make sure blower and trim motors or tabs are working properly.

14. Bilge area should be clean and free of debris and pump operation should be checked

15. Batteries should be fully charged and terminals should be covered or sealed.

Check All Required Safety Equipment:

1. Make sure all PFDs are in good serviceable condition. They should not compress easily and when squeezed and should not emit any air sound. Be sure buckles and straps are in good condition. If they are in the packages they came in, remove the packaging and place them in an easily accessible area on your boat.

2. Check all lights if your boat requires them. Check horn operation and keep spare bulbs and fuses on board

3. Check your fire extinguisher, if you require one, to see that it is USCG approved, fully charged and that it the appropriate type for your boat.

4. If you are boating on Lake Erie and are over 16 feet, you are required to have USCG approved day/night visual distress signals. These are most often a package of 3 and are hand launched or held. Check the expiration dates on the package. If you need to replace them, be sure to check the expiration date on the new package.

5. Check dock and anchor lines and replace any that have begun to rot

6. Suggested additional safety items to keep on board would be a bailing device, anchor and line, first aid kit, compass, extra PFDs, flashlight and a small tool kit. On Lake Erie, Electronic navigational aids such as a GPS unit or Lorance and a marine radio can save your life. If boating Lake Erie don't rely solely on a cell phone for emergency communication. A 911 call from the lake could potentially end up to with a confused Canadian Phone Operator

8. Be sure that your boat and trailer registration are current and on board and that your validation decals are current.

9. If you have an inboard or inboard/outboard engine, be sure your spark arrestor on the carburetor intake is clean.

9. If you are a novice boater, taking a boating course from the PFBC, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, or the US Power Squadron is an excellent way to get your feet wet.

Local Weather:

Wednesday Night Mostly cloudy. Lows in the lower 40s. Light northeast winds.

Thursday Cloudy. Thunderstorms likely in the afternoon. Highs in the lower 60s. East winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60 percent.

Thursday Night Showers or thunderstorms likely. Lows in the upper 40s. Southeast winds around 15 mph. Chance of rain 70 percent.

Friday Mostly cloudy. Showers likely in the morning. Highs in the upper 50s. Chance of rain 60 percent.

Friday Night Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers. Lows in the mid 40s.

Saturday Partly sunny. Highs in the upper 50s.

Saturday Night Mostly cloudy. Lows in the mid 40s.

Sunday Partly sunny. Highs in the mid 60s.

Sunday Night Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the upper 40s. Chance of rain 30 percent.

Monday Partly sunny with a 30 percent chance of showers. Highs in the mid 60s.

Monday Night Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers. Lows in the mid 40s.

Tuesday Partly sunny. Highs in the mid 60s.

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