WCO Report for Erie County 03/31/2010: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: March 30, 2010

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on March 30, 2010 at 22:09:02:

March 31st, 2010

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


With winter meltdown over, and only light rain, area tribs are low and clear. The meltdown did not bring in large numbers of fresh steelhead and anglers have been settling for the winter worn fish that are sparsely scattered throughout the tribs. Some smaller fresh steelhead have been caught north of the access area on Elk Creek and off the Walnut Creek channel wall, but no big numbers. Warm forecasts towards the end of the week will not help and may do little more than start the sucker migration. Of course this is Erie, and more cold temperatures and precipitation are always a possibility this time of year. Boaters have taken to Presque Isle Bay targeting spring crappie and perch with fair success.

Boating Season is Just Around the Corner:
Now is the time to ready your boat for the water. If you did a proper job of winterizing your boat, spring maintenance should be minimal. 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. Any local boat dealer or repair facility can help you with a preseason check if you are not comfortable doing it yourself.
Early season boaters should be aware that lake and bay temperatures are still in the 30's and are an invitation to hypothermia should a mishap occur. Many boaters were observed this past weekend wearing their PFD's exceeding the requirement of having them on board. Heavy clothing will keep you warm in the boat but can be trouble in the water. PFDs should always be worn and especially this time of year.

Reminder: 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.

Catching Spring Crappie:
Many types of fishing tend to slow down dramatically in the winter as the fish become more dormant. In the cold water they become lethargic and difficult to catch unless the lure passes right in front of their noses. Crappie on the other hand, are great to fish for year round. They actually like the cooler waters and can be found in the cooler deeper waters in the summer time too. In the spring, during their spawning, like most fish, they move into the warmer shallow waters of Presque Isle Bay.. Spring time crappie fishing can be spectacular in our area with the hot spot being Presque Isle, specifically Misery Bay and the shoreline on the north side of the bay west of the Marina Bay channel. Since crappie tend to prefer brush piles and other underwater cover, try to locate any structures. Ask rangers, or park officials, and bait shops where they can be found, or easier yet, just look for the crowds. Misery bay has a good amount of natural and artificial cover.

Rig up an ultra light rod with 2-4 pound test line and a jig or live minnow with a stand-up crappie float or in line pencil type float. Noodle rods used for steelhead fishing work great. Fish it with a lot of action to attract crappie in the 5-18 ft. depths. When you get a strike, pull back on the rod tip and carefully begin reeling the fish in. Be sure not to let the line go slack or the fish can sometimes back the hook out before you land it. Crappie, like most pan fish will put up a great fight, especially on light tackle. When possible, night time fishing for crappie can prove very successful. These fish are really attracted to a large lamp pointing into the water.

Crappie are excellent table fare and can be rivaled only by our mouthwatering perch. Filleted, and pan fried, they are hard to beat.

How to Clean That Opening Day Catch:
Cleaning trout is relatively simple process and is easiest while the fish are fresh. Trout do not need to be scaled and most folks prefer to leave the skin on, however, trout are easily skinned if you prefer.

1) Hold the trout around the middle with the belly facing towards you

2) Insert a SHARP knife into the anal orifice and moving the knife upward, slit the
trout to the gill cavity. (insert the knife just deep enough to pierce the skin and
not rupture the entrails

3) Looking at the bottom jaw of the trout you will see an upside horseshoe like tab.
Slide your knife under the tab to loosen it.

4) Put your thumb under the horseshoe shaped tab and push it into the gill cavity.

5) Gripping the head with the other hand, remove the gill cavity and the entrails all
together in one downward motion.

6) You should now be left with the head, skin and the blood vein. At this point you can
remove the blood vein and prepare the fish for cooking or freezing.

7) If desired, skinning the fish is easy, as long as it is fresh. Grab the head, bending
it back breaking the back bone while leaving the skin in tact.

8) Gripping the bottom half of the trout, pull the head and skin downward, stripping
the skin inside out.

9) Along the inside of the body cavity along the back bone is a blood vein which
must be removed. Slice the thin membrane that runs along the vein.

10) Using your thumb, scrape the blood away from the fish.

11) The fish is now cleaned and skinned and ready for cooking or freezing.

Local Weather:

Wednesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 47. Calm wind becoming south between 5 and 8 mph.

Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 68. Southwest wind between 8 and 10 mph.

Thursday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 50. South wind between 5 and 9 mph.

Friday: Sunny, with a high near 73.

Friday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 55.

Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 72.

Saturday Night: A chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 54. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Sunday: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 54. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Sunday Night: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 38. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Monday: Partly sunny, with a high near 52.

Monday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 39.

Tuesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 57

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