WCO Report for Erie County 03/24/2010: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: March 23, 2010

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on March 23, 2010 at 19:23:58:

March 21st, 2010

West Erie County, DWCO Randy Leighton, rglerie@msn.com


Significant rainfall this past Monday had the West Erie County tribs high and muddy however as the heavy rain change to drizzle, levels had dropped to good levels by late Tuesday. It's a bit early to tell if any significant steelhead moved in. Prior to the rain event few fresh steelhead were to be found through out the tribs. The rain and mild temperatures melted off all of the bits of remaining snow, however, there is still loose drifting ice and slush hugging the shoreline even though nearly all of Lake Erie is ice free. Forecasts are calling for rain all week. PFBC equipment was working at the Walnut Creek Channel on Tuesday doing some dredging work as the weather eases. Typically, once ice out starts it isn't long before the spring crappie, perch, and other pan fish move to Presque Isle Bay to spawn presenting additional area fishing opportunities.

Annual PSA Spring Spring Steelhead Tournament: On March 27th 2010 the members of the Pennsylvania Steelhead Association will be competing in the Annual Tom Morrison Spring Catch and Release steelhead fishing tournament. The tournament is open to PSA members only, if you are not a member you can contact the PSA before then and they will get you signed up. Foe more information on membership go to Pennsylvania Steelhead Association Each participant must be fishing with another PSA member to verify the catch. When you catch a fish, the participants will record the length of the fish and the time of the catch. A photo may be taken but it's not required, just a witness who is also a member of the PSA. The longest fish will win the tournament, in case of a tie, the fish caught earliest in the day wins. This is a PA tournament, so the fish must be caught in the waters of Pennsylvania. The Tournament starts at 7am and ends at 5pm. All fish entered must be caught in that time period.
The Club will meet at 6 pm at the American Legion Post 773 at 4109 West 12th Street in Erie following the tournament. The location is on the south side of West 12th Street (State Route 5), just east of the Tom Ridge Airport. Tournament awards will be given along with the annual banquet and a raffle. Typically, "Suds", pizza and wings are on the banquet menu. The Banquet is free and open to all participants of the tournament. There will be a short meeting before hand when club officer elections will take place. This is a great event, a bargain for members, and a great reason to join the club.

SONS of Lake Erie Annual Ice Out Party:
The SONS of Lake Erie will hold its annual Ice Out Party on Sunday, March 28th, 2010 from 1 to 5:30 p.m. at the Cauley Auditorium, 215 E. 4th Street in Erie. For more information on this great family event call (814) 453-2270 or email sonslakeri@aol.com.

Approved Trout Water (Later Winter Stocked Lake) Closures:
Keep in mind that April 1st, Lake Pleasant , the Fairview Gravel Pit Pond, and the East and West Basins at Presque Isle State Park will be closed to fishing until 8:00 a.m. on April 17th, 2010. Both these bodies of water are included as Approved Trout Waters, and are open to fishing, under the Late Winter Stocked Lake Program, through March 31.

Opening Day of Regular Trout Season for the Erie Area is April 17th at 8:00 AM:
Opening day for the regular trout season is just around the corner. Area tribs are typically very crowded opening the day of regular trout season with the overlap of the spring steelhead season. Anglers are reminded to obey all no parking areas and remember that most of our tributary access runs through private land. Keep our public fishing access open by carrying out everything you bring in. Police your area for litter before you leave. Use public facilities and obey posted land and water areas. Public access in our area is becoming a precious commodity and nothing helps more then an angler taking a little extra litter home.

The next few weeks are a good time to look at your regulation booklet that you received with your license to assure you that know the rules in our area. Regulation booklets can obtained from any license issuing agent if you don't have one.

One last reminder that the all Lake Erie Tributaries are closed to fishing from Thursday, at midnight till opening day, Saturday morning at 8:00 AM, April 17th

A Few Reminders Before Opening Day:
The upper gravel pit pond is still open to fishing today March 30 and tomorrow March 31st. Starting April 1st the upper gravel pit pond is closed to angling until 8:00 AM April 17th (Opening day of regular trout season).

Beginning April 17th at 8:00 AM, the Trout limit for regular trout season is 5 fish with a minimum length of 9" on the Lake Erie Tributaries, Lake Erie, and Presque Isle Bay (only 2 of which can be lake trout).

For inland waters (i.e. the gravel pit in Fairview) the limit is 5 fish with a 7" minimum length

The Big Day:
Opening day of the regular trout season is April 17th at 8:00 am. The Erie Tribs are a great place for the opener. With the stocked trout mixed in with a potential run of fresh Steelhead, angling in our area can be can be a real springtime smorgasbord. Popular areas in West County for the opener are include the Streuchen Flats area on Elk Creek. This area has plenty of parking and generally decent elbow room. Crooked Creek, Fairview Gravel Pits and the Legion Park Holes on Elk Creek are all good areas with the Gravel Pit pond in Fairview leading as the spot with the least elbow room but arguably the best place for traditional opener.

A good rule of thumb is to look for the areas where there is a lot of parking. The number of parking spaces and vehicles is generally in direct correlation to the number of fish stocked in those waters. The large hole off the Mckean exit is a very popular area with adequate parking. Lake Pleasant along with the Waterworks Ponds at Presque Isle State Park are also well stocked and are great family areas for the opener.

A Few Words of Caution for Opening Day:
Anglers fishing the Fairview Gravel pit pond and Lake Pleasant are reminded that these areas are Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission controlled property. Open fires, camping and cooking are prohibited, as is erecting any permanent structures. Pets are permitted on Commission Property but must be on a leash. Leaving ones vehicle unattended at the Gravel Pit pond on order to reserve a spot can be considered an abandoned motor vehicle and dealt with accordingly. Anglers fishing these congested areas on opening day are reminded that PFBC owned or controlled properties are specifically set aside for fishing and boating activities and are treated as family areas.

Officers will be on the lookout for litter problems and open fires in these busy areas. All boats on the Gravel Pit Pond, as well as all PFBC owned or regulated waters, require PFBC or DCNR State Parks registration. Internal combustion engines are not permitted on Commission owned waters, although electric motors are permitted. Water temperatures will still be ice cold on opening day. Make sure your safety equipment is in order. A PFD is required for all persons on board on all boats. They must be U.S. Coast Guard approved, in good serviceable condition and be easily accessible to all occupants. Officers will be checking boats for safety equipment.

Perch Size Reminder: April 1st, the minimum size limit for Perch caught in Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay, and the Lake Erie Tribs is dropped through November 30th, 2010

Local Weather:

Wednesday Night...Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s. West winds 10 to 15 mph...becoming south around 5 mph after midnight.

Thursday...Partly cloudy in the morning...then mostly cloudy with rain likely in the afternoon. Highs around 50. South winds 5 to 10 mph...becoming east in the afternoon. Chance of rain 60 percent.

Thursday Night...Cloudy. Rain likely in the evening...then a chance of rain and snow showers after midnight. Little or no snow accumulation. Lows in the upper 20s. North winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 70 percent.

Friday...Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers in the morning...then partly cloudy in the afternoon. Cooler with highs around 40. Chance of snow 30 percent.

Friday Night...Mostly clear. Lows in the lower 20s.

Saturday...Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 40s.

Saturday Night...Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 20s.

Sunday...Mostly cloudy. A chance of rain showers in the afternoon. Highs in the lower 50s. Chance of rain 30 percent.

Sunday Night...Cloudy with a 40 percent chance of rain showers. Lows in the lower 30s.

Monday...Partly sunny with a 40 percent chance of rain showers. Highs in the mid 40s.

Monday Night...Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 20s.

Tuesday...Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 40s.

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