WCO Report for Erie County 05/13/2009: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: May 12, 2009

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on May 12, 2009 at 22:11:45:

March 19th, 2009

West Erie County, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert


Although there are few steelhead hanging around in the deeper pools, the chapter is pretty much closed for another spectacular steelhead season an end with the tribs giving way to plenty of suckers, bass, and a few catfish. Anglers are turning their focus to the Lake in search of trophy bass, lake trout and early season perch. Bass fishing has been good to excellent in the Bay and east of Presque Isle Bay off the old International Paper site. Tube jigs, blade baits and shiners fished in 25 to 40 feet of water along the shoreline has been productive. Bass have moved into the tribs and can be found in the deeper areas of lower Elk and Walnut Creeks. Remember, we are currently in the trophy bass season on Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay and the tribs. The daily limit is one fish with a minimum size of 20". Regular bass season begins on June 13th for Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay and the tribs when the limit goes to 4 fish per day with a minimum size of 15"

Lake Trout fishing has been good to excellent as evident with this weeks photos. Lunker Lake trout have been hitting out of the Northeast Marina. A number of perch are being picked up on calm days in 20 to 25 feet of water west of Walnut Creek, although reports have been hit or miss. There have also been a few unconfirmed reports of good perch fishing due north of the Conneaut, Ohio harbor.

Current Lake Erie water temperature is 57 degrees of Toledo, 51 degrees off Cleveland and 52 degrees off the Port of Erie.

Walnut Creek Access:
Many changes are underway at the Walnut Creek Access Area. A dramatic change in the traffic pattern is in process with new roadways, paving, and additional parking being added. As are most such projects, it should be a temporary inconvenience for a long term solution to the crowded launch conditions. Boaters will see changes in the launch ramps, most noticeably the end ramp walkways have been modified to make them as user friendly as the center walkways. Ramps have also been lengthened.

2009 Safe Boating Week, May 16th to May 22nd, Reminds Boaters to "Wear It !" WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Safe Boating Council is promoting boating safety and life jacket safety by encouraging boaters to "Wear It!" during National Safe Boating Week May 16-22. Boating is a safe and fun recreational activity enjoyed by thousands every year, however, in 2009 there may still be more than 600 boating fatalities from boating accidents.

Wearing a life jacket can make the difference between life and death. According to the most-recently reported official U.S. Coast Guard statistics:

90 percent of drowning victims in recreational boating accidents were not wearing a life jacket in 2007.

Drowning is the reported cause of death in two-thirds of all boating fatalities.

That's why boating safety advocates continue to push for increased and consistent life jacket wear on the water.

"The consequences are too grim for anyone to afford to ignore the 'Wear It!' message," says Virgil Chambers, Executive Director of the National Safe Boating Council, an umbrella group representing boating safety advocates throughout North America. "However, for whatever reason, every year some boaters choose to go without wearing a life jacket.

"We want to prove that life jackets not only save lives, but that today's life jackets are comfortable, stylish and easy to wear," says John Johnson, Executive Director of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). "In fact, they don't even have to be 'jackets' anymore. The old-fashioned, bulky orange life jacket most people are used to has been replaced with innovative new options we want all boaters to know about, including the new inflatable styles."

Life jackets are available in a wide variety of compact, lightweight and attractive styles suitable for constant wear. Many are partially or wholly inflatable, and resemble a wide set of suspenders or even a belt pack. Special varieties are made for anglers, hunters, skiers and other sports enthusiasts. The view the many different life jacket varieties, visit http://www.safeboatingcampaign.com/choose.htm

"Life jackets today not only look cool and feel more comfortable, even on those hot summer days, but - most importantly - they're saving lives," Chambers says.

Boating Season is Here for Many, Are You Ready:
The traditional boating season in our area kicks off over the Memorial Day holiday but with the wonderful fishing opportunities in our area many boaters have been hitting the water for weeks. If you haven't already, now is the time to ready your vessel, large or small, for the water. If you did a proper job of winterizing your boat, spring maintenance should be minimal and a quick check should be all you need.. Boats stored outdoors are inviting homes for critters that love to gnaw on wires and make nests out of PFD stuffing. Doing a thorough preseason inspection of your boat can prevent problems and surprises on the water and unnecessary embarrassment at the launch ramp that first time out. Any local boat dealer or repair facility can help you with a preseason check if you are not comfortable doing it yourself. Free safety inspections are always offered by the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Erie Power squadron or any area PFBC officer to assure that your boat meets all legal requirements. The following suggestions will provide a basic guide however, be sure to refer to your owners manual for your particular vessel and if any maintenance procedures are beyond your skill levels, always leave to the professionals.
General: Do a general cleaning of hull, deck and topsides using a mild detergent
Make sure drains and scuppers are clear
Put on a good coat of wax
Clean and polish metal with a good metal polish
Clean teak and oil
Clean windows and hatches
Clean canvas
Clean interior including bilge
Check spare parts and tools and replace as necessary
Make sure registration is current and onboard and that numbers are legible
Check and replace wiper blades if necessary

Check for hull abrasions, scratches, gouges, etc., and repair
Check and replace zinc's
Check for blisters and refinish is necessary
Check rub rails
Check swim platform and/or ladder - be sure they are secure
Inspect and test trim tabs if applicable
Check shaft, cutlass bearing, strut and prop
Check rudder and fittings
Touch up or replace antifouling paint

Decks and Fittings:
Check stanchion, pulpits and lifelines for integrity
Check ground tackle, lines, fenders, etc.
Check chainplates and cleats
Check hull/deck joint
Check deck, windows, and port lights for leaks
Inspect anchor windlass and lubricate
Clean and grease winches
Check and lubricate blocks, pad eyes, etc.
Check dinghy, and life raft

Below Decks: Check, test and lubricate seacocks
Check condition of hoses and clamps
Make sure below waterline hoses are double clamped
Check bilge pumps for automatic and manual operation
Check for oil in bilges
Check limber holes and make sure they are clear of debris

Electrical Systems and Components:
Check battery water level
Check/recharge batteries
Check terminals for corrosion, clean and lubricate
Inspect all wiring for wear and chaffing, replace anything questionable
Test all gauges for operability
Check shore power and charger
Have spare fuses on board
Inspect all lighting fixtures (including navigation lights) and make sure you have spare bulbs on board
Check all electronics for proper operation
Inspect antennas

Required and Recommended Equipment:
Check that boat is currently registered if necessary and that insurance is in order. Validation stickers are good for 2 years and expire on March 31st, be sure you are current.
Be sure that sound signaling device is working
Inspect visual distress signals and expiration date (Required on Lake Erie)
Check PFDs, be sure there is one for every potential person on board and that they are out of their wrappers
Inspect life rings and cushions (A throwable device is required on boats over 16' in addition to required PFDs)
Inspect fire extinguishers and recharge or replace if necessary
Check and adjust compass
Check navigation lights for proper operation
Check charts if used, and replace as necessary
Check radar reflector
Inspect and replace first aid supplies as necessary
Check bailer and hand pump or bilge pump operation as applicable
Change batteries in all portable devices such as flashlights, handheld GPS units and marine radios Inspect anchor lines for fraying, fish hooks, and weak spot

Inboard Engines: Change oil and have spare filter on board
Check and change fuel filters - have spares onboard
Check and change engine zincs (anti corrosion devices)
Check cooling system, change coolant if necessary
Inspect belts for tension and wear
Check power steering and transmission fluids
Inspect and clean backfire flame arrestor (required in Pennsylvania)
Check bilge blower operation

Head System:
Checked for smooth operation - lubricate and clean as necessary
If equipped with treatment system, have chemicals on hand
Y-valve operation checked, valve labeled & secured

Water System:
Flush water tank
Check water system and pump for leaks and proper operation
Check hot water tank working on both AC and engines
Check for tank cap keys on board
Check and clean shower sump pump screens

Galley: Fill propane tank, check electric & manual valves, check storage box vent to make sure it is clear
Check refrigerator, clean and freshen, operate on AC and DC
Clean stove, check that all burners and oven are working
Check microwave, if fitted

Outboard Motor:
Replace or clean spark plugs as necessary
Check plug wires for wear
Check prop for nicks and bends
Change/fill lower unit gear lube
Inspect fuel lines, primer bulb and tank for leaks
Lubricate and spray moveable parts per manufacturers instructions

Check for current registration
Check rollers and pads
Look for broken springs
Check and lubricate wheel bearings
Clean and lubricate winch
Lubricate tongue jack and wheel
Test lights and electrical connections
Check tire pressure and condition. Tires with excessive dry cracks should be replaced
Check brakes (if equipped)
Check safety chains
Check tongue lock
If you are new to trailering, spend a little time in an open lot learning how to maneuver.

Check general condition
Look for wear and chafing
Check battens and batten pockets
Check all sail attachments
Inspect bolt rope

Mast and Rigging:
Check mast and spreaders for corrosion or damage
Inspect spreader boots and shrouds Inspect rivets and screw connections for corrosion
Check reefing points and reefing gear
Clean sail track
Check rigging, turnbuckles and clevis pins for wear and corrosion
Inspect stays for fraying and "fish hooks"
Check forestay and backstay connections
Check masthead fitting and pulleys
Check and lubricate roller furling
Check halyards and consider replacing or swapping end for end

Local Weather:

Wednesday Night...Cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Breezy with lows in the mid 50s. South winds 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 40 mph. Chance of rain 40 percent.

Thursday...Cloudy with showers and thunderstorms likely in the morning...then partly sunny with a chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Breezy with highs in the lower 70s. South winds 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 40 mph...becoming southwest in the afternoon. Chance of rain 70 percent.

Thursday Night...Mostly clear. Lows in the upper 40s. West winds 10 to 15 mph.

Friday...Mostly sunny in the morning...then becoming partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 60s.

Friday Night...Mostly cloudy. Lows around 50.

Saturday...Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 60s. Temperature falling into the lower 60s in the afternoon. Chance of rain 50 percent.

Saturday Night...Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the upper 40s. Chance of rain 50 percent.

Sunday...Partly sunny. A chance of showers in the morning. Highs around 60. Chance of rain 30 percent.

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

Monday...Partly cloudy. Highs in the lower 60s.

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

Tuesday...Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 60s.

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