WCO Report for Erie County 12/12/2007: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: December 12, 2007

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on December 12, 2007 at 11:15:32:

December 12th, 2007

West Erie County, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert


Significant rain and temperatures in the mid 40's have joined forces to raise the Erie tribs back to high and muddy conditions. The Erie area still had a fair amount of residual snow on the ground from a week ago adding a significant amount of run off to an all day rain fall on Tuesday. On the plus side, the ice has all but been eliminated for now. Forecasts for the remainder of the week are calling for a good chance of additional rain and freezing rain putting anglers in the wait and see mode. Current Lake water temperature off the Port of Erie is 36 degrees. Current West County trib conditions as of Tuesday afternoon were high, muddy and flowing hard.

Law Enforcement:
Area WCO's and DWCO's along with additional help from WCO's from around the Commonwealth working on assignment, were busy during the the peak fall Steelhead season months of October and November. Law enforcement concentration for the steelhead season typically begins as early as September and lasts through out the winter and into Spring pending ice over conditions. As long as the area is fishable, officers are on patrol. Violations and numbers for the peak Fall Season were as follows:

Snagging / Foul Hooking - 76
No Lake Erie Permit - 21
Nursery Water Violations - 11
Use of Illegal Fishing Devices - 18
PFBC Property Regulations - 23
Fishing without a License - 11
Retrieval and Unlawful Disposition of Fish - 6
Interference with Officer's Duties - 6
Tribs closed after 10:00 PM - 3
Misuse of Properties and Waters - 3
False and Fraudulent Statements - 1
Litter - 26
Over the Legal Creel Limit - 40
No Trout Stamp - 5
Additional Various Nursery Water Violations - 7
Fishing While Under License Revocation - 1
Disturbing Nursery Waters - 9
Borrowing / Lending a Fishing License - 1
Field Dressing / Disposal - 2
Fleeing/Alluding an Officer - 2
Fishing in a Prohibited Area - 2
Formal Notice of Violations (written warnings) - 40
Total Warnings Issued - 536
Total Prosecutions - 274

Two (2) poaching cases of note: One involved two individuals from New Jersey with 33 steelhead in possession on Walnut Creek early in the morning and three individuals, two of which were apprehended in possession of 48 illegally obtained steelhead taken from 20-mile creek. Snagging and over the limit cases were up significantly from last year.

Support Your Local Sportsmen's Clubs Reminder:
The Pennsylvania Steelhead Association will be holding their monthly meeting on Wednesday December 12th at the American Legion Post on West 12th street (route 5 near the Airport) at 7:00 PM. Following the general business meeting, the club well be offering fly tying demonstrations. The public is welcome.

New Regulation In Effect for the Erie Watershed for 2008:
An infectious fish disease, caused by a variant of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Virus (VHS), has caused fish mortalities in the Great Lakes. The initial list of fish species that are susceptible to VHS includes black crappie, bluegill, bluntnose minnow, brown bullhead, brown trout, burbot, channel catfish, chinook salmon, coho salmon, emerald shiner, freshwater drum, gizzard shad, herring, largemouth bass, muskellunge, northern pike, pink salmon, pumpkinseed, rainbow trout, redhorse sucker, rock bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, white bass, white perch, whitefish and yellow perch.
It is unlawful to transport or cause the transportation of VHS-susceptible species of fish out of the portion of the Lake Erie Watershed in this Commonwealth into other watersheds of this Commonwealth except when certain conditions are met. It is illegal to use VHS-susceptible fish species, fish parts and eggs taken from the Lake Erie Watershed as fishbait in Commonwealth waters outside the Lake Erie Watershed except when the fish are certified as VHS-negative. It is legal to transport dead recreationally caught fish out of the Lake Erie Watershed solely for the purpose of human consumption.

Because of diseases and invasive species, the Commission recommends as a good conservation practice that anglers not transport any live fish out of the Lake Erie Watershed and introduce those fish into other watersheds. For more information on invasive species, please see “Stop Aquatic Nuisance Species.” For more information on VHS, please contact the Commission’s Northwest Regional Office.

Walnut Creek Access Office:
The Walnut Creek Access Office and restroom facilities will be open this weekend and closing at 5:30 December 21st (Portable facilities will remain throughout the winter) The office has all of the popular PFBC publications, books and posters as well as 2008 licenses, all of which make great last minute stocking stuffers. Sherri, Beverly, & Judy (the hard working office staff at Walnut) offer their best wishes for a great holiday and thank everyone for a wonderful fishing and boating season.

Local Weather:
Wednesday...Cloudy. A chance of rain...snow and sleet in the morning. Highs in the upper 30s. North winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation 50 percent.

Wednesday Night...Partly cloudy in the evening...then mostly cloudy with a chance of snow and sleet after midnight. Lows in the mid 20s. East winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 30 percent.

Thursday...Snow...mixed with freezing rain and sleet in the morning and rain in the afternoon. Highs in the mid 30s. East winds 5 to 10 mph...becoming west in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation 90 percent.

Thursday Night...Cloudy with a chance of drizzle or freezing drizzle in the evening then a chance of snow showers. Lows in the upper 20s. West winds 10 to 15 mph. Gusts up to 30 mph after midnight. Chance of precipitation 50 percent.

Friday...Snow showers likely. Highs in the mid 30s. Chance of snow 60 percent.

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

Saturday...Mostly cloudy with a 50 percent chance of snow showers. Highs in the upper 20s.

Saturday Night...Cloudy with a 50 percent chance of snow. Lows 15 to 20.

Sunday...Cloudy with a 50 percent chance of snow showers. Highs in the mid 20s.

Sunday Night...Cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow showers. Lows 15 to 20.

Monday...Cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow showers. Highs in the upper 20s.

Monday Night...Mostly cloudy. Lows around 20.

Tuesday...Partly sunny. Highs in the upper 20s

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