WCO Rport for Erie County 03/07/2012: Erie area, PA,
WCO Report Posted: March 06, 2012

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Posted by DWCO Randy Leghton on March 06, 2012 at 21:55:06:

March 7th, 2012

West Erie County, DWCO Randy Leighton


It appears unlikely that anglers will see any ice fishing on Presque Isle Bay this year, however the open water we have had all winter has left plenty of other opportunities for both shore and boat fishing as fish begin to move into the bay to spawn. Steelhead are beginning to thin out but there are still plenty of good opportunities with a little looking. The tribs have remained very good in color and nice flow with just enough precipitation over the last few weeks to keep conditions good. Forecasts next week are calling for temps in the upper 50s which should get the sucker rolling in.

Boat Registration Reminder:
Most people aren't thinking about boating this time of year however, now is a good time to check that registration and validation stickers on your boat to be sure they are up to date. Boat registrations in the Commonwealth are good for two years and expire on March 31st.

Support Your Local Sportsmen's Clubs:
The PA Steelhead Association will have their monthly meeting Wednesday March 14th at 7:00 PM. at the American Legion Post on Route 5 just East of the Airport. Your support at this meeting is appreciated and as always, the public is welcome. The club will be holding their annual Tom Morrison Catch and Release Tournament on March 31st.

Annual Open House at the Linesville State Fish Hatchery:

The annual Linesville State Fish Hatchery open house is scheduled for Saturday April 7th from 11:00 AM until 3:30 PM. This annual is event is a must attend event for the angling family, those new to fishing, and anyone infested in an afternoon of fun and education. Some of the events include kids casting; rigging a rod; making your own fish print T-shirts ($3.00); filleting and cooking demonstrations; live reptiles and amphibians; fish spawning; lake habitat models; talk to agency personnel from boating and education, law enforcement, fisheries management, biologists, habitat management, environmental services, many others; and much more. See you there !

Directions to the Linesville State Fish Hatchery Coming from the East From the intersection of I-80 and I-79, go north on I-79 to exit 147-B at Meadville. Take St. Rt. 322/6 west to Conneaut Lake. Take Rt. 6 west to Linesville. In the middle of town, turn left at the traffic light (Hartstown Rd.) and go one mile to the hatchery on the left.

Directions to the Linesville State Fish Hatchery Coming from the West From Ohio, follow St. Rt. 6 to Ohio Rt. 85. This road goes over the causeway of Pymatuning Reservoir and turns into PA Rt. 285 at the state line in the middle of the reservoir. Take St. Rt. 285 to the 2nd flashing light at Hartstown Road. Romar Homes is on the corner at this intersection. Turn left and continue past the spillway (one mile), past the Pa Game Commission's Pymatuning Wildlife Learning Center approximately one mile to the hatchery on the right. For additional information go to 2012 Linesville Open House

Support Your Local Sportsmen's Clubs
The SONS of Lake Erie will hold their annual Ice Out Party on April 1st at 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Erie Shrine Club on Zuck Road in Erie This is one of the great family events of the season a major fundraiser for the SONS. Many area families make this an annual event to break out of the cabin fever. Food and refreshments will be furnished throughout the afternoon. There will be plenty of door prizes and games for your enjoyment. First prize for the raffle this year is a choice of Yamaha “Grizzly” 4X4 Automatic ATV with trailer or a Kymco Grandvista 250 motor scooter. Call 814-453-2270 or visit the SONS of Lake Erie for tickets and more information and a list of other wonderful raffle prizes

Catching Spring Crappie:

Spring is, by the calendar, only a few weeks away, but as we are all aware, there hasn’t been much of a winter. 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 late winter and 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 bobber or in line pencil type float and hang on. 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.

Suckers Are Moving In:

Suckers have started to move into the tribs. Although the numbers aren't big yet, they are normally a sign that Spring is just around the corner. Although often considered a nuisance fish when steelhead fishing, suckers can be great fun to catch and provide easy action for the impatient young anglers. Suckers can be caught on just about any tackle. The most effective method is light or ultralight spinning tackle. Four to six pound test monofilament should be used, along with small, sharp hooks. Worms, live aquatic nymphs, maggots and waxworms are the best baits for suckers. Fish directly on the bottom, either with a stationary rig with a sliding sinker, or with a drifting rig that moves along the bottom with the current. In short, you can fish them the same way that you would fish for steelhead using pretty much the same gear and if the steelhead or trout aren't hitting, a pool full of Suckers can save the day with some fun filled action. Suckers have been known to hit leadhead jigs and in line spinners, but this technique is not very effective most of the time.

Suckers are also easy to catch on fly tackle. They hammer flies like the Pheasant Tail, Scud Patterns, and the Gold-Ribbed Hare's Ear. Fly fishing for suckers is great sport. The best fly fishing rig for white sucker fishing is the deadly shot-and-indicator nymphing rig. Set your indicator at the right depth to get your fly right on the bottom, and drift it naturally with the current. The strike of a sucker is very subtle and easily mistaken for a steelhead in the Spring. The indicator will either pause or dip for a fraction of a second before the fish spits out the fly. You must set the hook quickly, but softly, to avoid breaking your tippet. Always have a forceps or needle nose pliers on hand while sucker fishing, since their rubbery lips are tough and it's hard to get a deeply imbedded hook out without harming the fish.

Although the Erie tribs produce consistently large suckers, the State record sucker was caught on the Allegheny river in Forest County in 2003. The fish weighed in at a hefty 12 lbs. 14.4 oz. Although, not the most popular eating fish the meat is delicate with a slightly sweet taste and is often cooked, flaked and made into "fish cakes" or pan fried if you don't mind picking through the bones.

Local Weather:

Wednesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 58. Breezy, with a south wind around 24 mph.

Wednesday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 46. Breezy, with a southwest wind between 22 and 24 mph.

Thursday: Showers likely. Cloudy and breezy, with a high near 52. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

Thursday Night: Showers likely, mainly before midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 33. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 38.

Friday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 29.

Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 46.

Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 34.

Sunday: Partly sunny, with a high near 55.

Sunday Night: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 41. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Monday: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 51. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

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