WCO Report for Erie County 07/06/2011: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: July 06, 2011

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leighton on July 06, 2011 at 19:19:15:

July 6th, 2011

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

It seems that some one pulled the lid and the Walleye and Perch fishing on Lake Erie exploded this past weekend . Area fishing reports all have been good with a good number of limits or near limits being brought in as evidenced by this weeks pictures. We could have added many more. Anglers that were not into trolling and enjoy using drift fishing with bottom bouncers were doing well well in the shallows for walleye west of Walnut Creek. Charter captains from both the East and West sides of Erie have been reporting great catches in relatively short periods of time. Lake conditions have been relatively calm and area temperatures have been warm bringing the Lake temperatures up. Lake Erie water temperature off Erie is 72 degrees. (only a degree cooler than this date last year)

Boating Safety Tip of the Week:
Always test your boat lights before the boat leaves the dock. If you use battery operated lights, always carry extra batteries and spare bulbs. Keep in mind that even if you plan to be back before dark, an equipment malfunction or bad weather may change your plans.

What To Do When Help is Needed on the Water:
So there you are are with a few friends, trolling the trenches 8 miles off shore on Lake Erie. The fishing is great, and it couldnt get any better when you notice that all is quiet except for the jibber jabber of your friends and the buzz of a battery powered bait bucket....the engine has stopped and you realize you are adrift. You and your friends pull in the gear and frantically try to assess the problem. You crank the engine but nothing. All of your friends have exhausted you with their arm chair advice and all you can do is to keep trying until the battery is dead. Then it hits you squarely that mechanical failure has put you in need of assistance. Now what do you do??

First and foremost is to remain calm and assess the situation. A number of factors will affect your next course of action. Mechanical failure is typically not a "Mayday Call" unless wind and wave conditions have you in a distress situation or if there is a risk of leaking fuel or fumes. If you are in distress, Mayday calls are placed to the USCG along with the use of your visual distress signals. The USCG monitors channel 16 on the Marine Radio. If you haven't already, now is the time for you and your passengers to put on your life jackets. Of course you have prepared for this knowing that it is a legal requirement to have a wearable PFD on board for everyone. Take control and insist that your passengers do so...remember you are responsible for your boat and the safety of your passengers. In many cases you may be with in distance of another vessel that could render aid, but before having a stranger tow your boat, consider the situation. Am I in immediate danger?, or rather than risk damage to someone else's boat, would it be wiser to call for professional help or to have the good Samaritan call for you. Towing can be risky to both vessels especially in the rough waters that Lake Erie can dish out. In the Erie area, Lake Shore Towing is the professional service for these situations. The Coast Guard or PFBC should be second and third choices for mechanical failures if there is no immediate danger and typically in a non emergency or non distress scenario, both the Coast Guard and the PFBC will normally turn the call to the professionals offering to stay with you if they are in the area, until the towboat arrives and you are safely underway.
Lakeshore Towing is based out of the Wolverine Marina along Dobbins landing, centrally located along the Pennsylvania shoreline. They monitor Channel 16 on the Marine Radio 24/7 or they can be reached by phone at 814-453-6387. These folks and other similar services have the right equipment for all conditions, and are the most experienced in rendering aid to a disabled boat. They know how to handle the situation in all types of wind and wave conditions. Once you have made contact with the towing service you will want to be ready with helpful information as to your situation. Your location preferably from electronic coordinates or at least an approximate visual location, a good description of your boat and the number of passengers, and what type of mechanical failure will all be needed. Drop anchor, to maintain your position (a good reason to have plenty of anchor line on board) and if you are adrift or unable to anchor, so advise the towing service. Follow the towboat's instructions as ordered...they know what they're doing. The towing service will walk you safely through the process and maintain contact with you until you are in safe harbor. Now, the next time your battery dies, you run out of fuel or your inboard throws a belt you will be better prepared to handle the situation.

Congestion at the Walnut Creek Access:
With perch fishing at its peak and good fishing expected for a while, the Walnut Creek Access area has been on overload . This past holiday weekend saw parking conditions and boat traffic nearly as full as it gets. The revised traffic pattern seems to be working well with back up at the launch ramps relatively minimal compared to years past. The key is patience and a little common sense. Officers are tolerant to a little creative parking when conditions warrant so, however there are a few areas where parking is unacceptable. Do not park in any area that would block a building entrance or access, any place that would block right of way or another vehicle and in any handicapped spot without proper license or permit. Parking anywhere along the north bank (just above the beach) is not permitted as much of this area is "dredge fill" and can be unstable. Parking on the Sunset Memorial Garden island is not permitted. Always be sure all paved parking areas are full before considering parking on any grass area and if there is any doubt as to permitted parking areas ask an officer or office personnel rather than risk a citation. Boaters are reminded to heed the open and closed signs on the ramps. They are there to ease congestion. Courtesy docks along the south side of the Walnut Creek marina basin are for fueling, loading and unloading, and emergency or mechanical breakdown use only and are not for overnight or extended docking time.

Local Weather:

Wednesday Night...Mostly cloudy. Lows in the mid 60s. North winds around 5 mph.

Thursday...Partly sunny in the morning...then becoming sunny. Highs in the upper 70s. Northeast winds 5 to 10 mph.

Thursday Night...Mostly clear. Lows around 60. Northeast winds 5 to 10 mph.

Friday...Sunny. Highs in the upper 70s.

Friday Night...Mostly clear. Lows in the lower 60s.

Saturday...Sunny. Highs in the upper 70s.

Saturday Night...Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 60s.

Sunday...Mostly sunny. Highs in the lower 80s.

Sunday Night...Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the upper 60s. Chance of rain 30 percent.

Monday...Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the lower 80s. Chance of rain 40 percent.

Monday Night...Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the upper 60s. Chance of rain 40 percent.

Tuesday...Mostly sunny with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the lower 80s. Chance of rain 30 percent.

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