Note: This will be the final regular weekly DWCO report from this author. When warranted and as my schedule permits, I may offer a report here and there. I am grateful to retired WCO John Bowser allowing me to take over these reports over 10 years ago and have enjoyed sharing info with the public. My mission has always been to keep it simple, informative and provide info for the novice. As the fishery has grown, so has the wealth of in quality in depth information available highlighting our area and the wonderful opportunities it offers. My thanks to WJET TV and Fox 66 for broadcasting these reports weekly as part of their long time running Outdoor Report and to the many sportsmenís publications that have used this material as part of their newsletters and publications. Lastly, I am most grateful for the emails of reader support and the opportunity to have a forum to answer angler and boater questions over the years. Good fishing and safe boating.|
Randy G. Leighton, Deputy Waterways Conservation Officer
District 1014, West Erie County
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
Area temperatures have dropped considerably from the unusually warm weather we have enjoyed and are more in line of the norm for this time of year. Area tributaries have been very low and clear and steelhead season has nearly come to a close . On the plus side crappie and perch fishing on Presque Isle Bay continues to improve with many weekend boat anglers taking to the water. The big story of course is the opening of the regular trout season this weekend. Forecasts are calling for cool to cold conditions with a good chance of rain.
Local Regulations Regarding The Big Opener:
Anglers should be aware of local regulations regarding the upcoming regular season Trout opener April 18th for our area.
The Upper Gravel Pit Pond, Lake Pleasant, and the East and West Basin Ponds at Presque Isle State Park have been open and part of the Early Season Trout Stocked Waters Program. These waters will be closed to fishing from April 1st until 8:00 AM, April 14th, the opening of regular trout season.
It is unlawful to fish or possess trout or salmon in or along any Lake Erie tributary stream or the East and West Basin Ponds (Waterworks Ponds, Presque Isle State Park) from 12:01 AM on April 13th until 8:00 AM on April 14th, a period of 32 hours
All anglers fishing Pennsylvania waters of Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay, and their tributaries are required to possess a valid Lake Erie permit.
The main tributaries where a permit is required are Cascade Creek, Crooked Creek, Eight mile Creek, Elk Creek, Four mile Creek, Mill Creek, Raccoon Creek, Seven mile Creek, Six mile Creek, Sixteen mile Creek, Twelve mile Creek, Twenty mile Creek, and Walnut Creek.
Conneaut Creek, although partially in the Commonwealth, does actually enter into Lake Erie within the border of the state of Ohio. Therefore, anglers are not required to possess a Lake Erie Permit.
Anglers fishing the East and West Basin ponds (Waterworks Ponds, Presque Isle State Park) are not required to possess a Lake Erie Permit.
Anglers fishing inland ponds, lakes and reservoirs in Erie County are not required to possess a Lake Erie Permit.
In many cases an angler may need both a trout/salmon permit and a Lake Erie permit to fish in waters in the Erie area. Rather than purchasing these individually, a Combination Trout-Salmon/Lake Erie permit may be purchased.
A Few Words Well Worth Repeating About This Weekend:
Anglers fishing this area are only too well aware of the loss of angling access due to posting. There is really no need at this point to dwell on what has been lost. We are all aware of the crowded conditions we generate and the tension it can cause with local landowners. Future access along the area tribs is in the palms of our hands and it is our choice as sportsmen to treat the given access we have with respect or to lose it all together. This special weekend brings an overlap of steelhead season with opening day of regular trout season making Erie County one of the hottest spots in the state on opening day. In our area this can mean excessively crowded conditions and excessive angling pressure along the tribs. Think about the area you may be fishing and understand that it may be through the generosity of a local land owner that you are able to fish there. Treat these and all areas as if they were your own. If you are fishing near a residential area, keep noise and lights to a minimum and leave with everything you brought in. If an area is posted, respect the rights of those that own it by staying out. Be aware of where you park observing any posted signs and assure that you are not blocking any right of ways. It's really not much to ask when you think about the consequences
Trout and Salmon for Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay and the Tributaries:
Trout and Salmon regulations changes at 8:00 AM on April 14th for Lake Erie and its tribs, and Presque Isle Bay. Minimum size is 9 in., with a creel limit of 5 (combined species only 2 of which may be Lake trout).
Some opening day suggestions:
Light or ultra light spinning or spin cast reels filled with two to four lb. test line are best suited for our area streams. Closed faced reels work best for the kids to avoid tangles. Rods should be no longer than six feet (five feet is better) so you can keep your bait out of trees and away from others while casting. Noodle rods which are popular in our area, can work well to detect those subtle strikes. Tie a short shank, size 10 to 14 hook and add one or two small (size BB or bird seed) split shot 12-18 inches above the hook. The removable type split shot works better as it allows you to change weights easily. If you are using larger baits like whole night crawlers, larger hooks (size 6 or 8) might work better. Float the bait under a small float just large enough to carry the bait. Large floats do little more than spook the fish and make it difficult to detect strikes. Adjust the float to keep the bait near the bottom, or as deep as possible at the Gravel Pit Pond
Popular trout baits include corn, red worms, night crawlers, crickets, salmon eggs (fresh cured or jarred types in different colors), the powerbaits, marshmallows and the favorite, emerald shiners (everyone has a secret weapon). Try a variety of baits in case the trout are finicky (and they usually are.) Put just enough bait on to just cover the hook, but do not go overboard. For example, on a size 10 hook use: a) one or two pieces of corn or, b) one cricket or, c) one red worm d) one or two salmon eggs or, e) one-third to one-half of a night crawler or a single minnow. Typically the smaller the presentation, the better. It doesn't hurt to watch what the guy catching all the fish is using either (My favorite technique).
VHS Reminder: It is unlawful to transport or cause the transportation of VHS-susceptible species of fish out of the portion of the Lake Erie Watershed in this Commonwealth into other watersheds of this Commonwealth except when certain conditions are met. It is illegal to use VHS-susceptible fish species, fish parts and eggs taken from the Lake Erie Watershed as fishbait in Commonwealth waters outside the Lake Erie Watershed except when the fish are certified as VHS-negative. It is legal to transport dead recreationally caught fish out of the Lake Erie Watershed solely for the purpose of human consumption.
Regarding trout fishing in our area, this includes Lake Erie Emerald Shiners, a popular bait in this area for trout. Many bait shops are now selling certified VHS free shiners for bait and a few are not.
The key to catching trout is to "read" a stream for good spots and then "present" your bait in a natural manner. "Read" the water for spots that offer trout a place to hide from predators while watching for food to drift by. Trout are usually found near the bottom in pools and in slower "pockets" around rocks, boulders. or submerged trees.
Stand downstream of a spot you think a trout might be. "Present" your bait by casting several feet upstream of the target area. Let the bait drift downstream into the target area while slowly reeling in the slack line. If your bait does not tick along the bottom, add more weight to the line. If your bait hangs up on the bottom. take some weight off. Cast two or three times into the same spot. If you do not get a bite, change baits or try a different area if possible. A stop in the downstream drift of your line along with a sharp tap in your line signals a bite. Give the fish a second or two at most to take the bait, then pull back on the rod and set the hook. A strong set is not necessary if you are using sharp hooks.
The Gravel Pit Pond in Fairview is literally a mined out gravel pit and as such is quite deep and pending weather, very clear. Small baits with very light line should be fished deep under a float or without any float at all. With a little patience, you may be rewarded with a tough fight from a beautiful brown trout!
Opening Day Etiquette:
Cooperation and consideration in crowded fishing areas will make for a great day of angling for all. Area officers will be out and covering as much of the area as possible. There are plenty of fish to be caught and sharing your secrets with others can develop into lifelong friend ships. As always be aware that many areas of our tributaries run through private land and your behavior is a direct influence as to how many areas will remain open to public fishing in the future. Be especially considerate of younger anglers and the elderly .....we were all young once and we certainly are all getting older.....and please police your area for litter before you leave, even if itís not your own. Good Luck!!
Local Campgrounds in Our Area:
The following is a list of a number of local camping areas. There may be others and there may be a few of these that are not open yet. Call ahead to be sure. Many people combine an early season camping trip with the opening day of regular Trout season. Open fires and camping typically are not permitted without land owner permission and overnight camping on PFBC controlled property is not permitted. This list may be helpful in fulfilling your camping needs
Uncle Johnís Elk Creek Campground 575 Elk Creek Road., Lake City, PA. 16423 (814) 774-8672 (bear right at the Elk Creek Sports Store to the bottom of the hill)
9356 W. Lake Rd., Lake City, PA 16423 (814) 774-8381
Cassidys Presque Isle Trailer Park & Campground
3749 Zimmerly Rd., Erie, PA 16506 (814) 833-6035
10834 Route 89, North East, PA 16428 (814) 725-5523
Erie KOA Kampground
6645 West Rd., Mc Kean, PA 16426 (814) 476-7706
Family Affair Camp Ground
9640 Findley Lake Rd., North East, PA 16428 (814) 725-8112
Follys End Campground
Rt. 98 R D 2, Girard, PA 16417 (814) 474-5730
375 Sciota St., Corry, PA 16407 (814) 664-9684
Waterford, PA 16441 (814) 796-1018:
Hemlock Lakes Park
RD 3, Box 83, Spartansburg, PA 16434 (814) 664-2994
Higbys 3-M Campgrounds
24360 Lakeview Dr, Union City, PA 16438 (814) 694-2501
Hill's Family Campground
6300 Sterrettania Rd., Fairview, PA 16415 (814) 833-3272
Lampe Marina Campground
Foot of Port Access Road, Erie, PA 16507 (814) 455-7557 Ext. 234
Liana's Lake Park
10827 Eureka Rd, Edinboro, PA 16412 (814) 734-3201
Moon Meadows Campground
9915 Station Rd., Erie, PA 16510 (814) 725-9360
Pine Lane Campground
11709 W Lake Rd., East Springfield, PA 16411 (814) 774-4808
R & K Campground
6601 Sterrettania Rd., Fairview, PA 16415 (814) 838-1082
Sara's Beachcomber Campground
50 Peninsula Dr., Erie, PA 16505 (814) 833-4560
Virginia's Beach Campground On The Lake
352 Holliday Rd., PO Box 75, North Springfield, PA 16430 (814) 922-3261
Wednesday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 32. North wind between 10 and 13 mph.
Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 45. Northwest wind between 7 and 9 mph.
Thursday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 34. West wind between 3 and 8 mph.
Friday: Sunny, with a high near 51.
Friday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 39.
Saturday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 62. Chance of precipitation is 50%.
Saturday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 51. Chance of precipitation is 50%.
Sunday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 65. Chance of precipitation is 50%.
Sunday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 57. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Monday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 65. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Monday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 53. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Tuesday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 58. Chance of precipitation is 40%.