1. Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report 8/12/13

    August 15, 2013 by oilregion

    Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report
    Reporting date: August 12, 2013
    The NW PA Fishing Report is brought to you by…

    Gold Sponsor: Pennsylvania’s Great Lakes Region

    Connect to all counties at www.PAGreatLakes.com

    Bronze Sponsor: Black Knight Industries, Oil City – Home of Gamma Line

    Bronze Sponsor: Wiegel Brothers Marine, Franklin

    The NW PA Fishing Report provides timely angling information for Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango Counties – covering all species and all waters open to the public. The fishing comments and photos are offered by regional tackle shops and area anglers, complied and published twice a month. The NW PA Fishing Report is based on experiences, observations and opinions of individual contributors; information sources are considered reliable but comments are not independently verified. If you would like to share your fishing experiences or photos from any waterway in the four counties, please email to Darl Black at darlblack@windstream.net. In providing information or pictures, you are agreeing to it being posted in the Fishing Report and distributed electronically to media and websites.

    The Landing Net by Darl Black

    Based on reports coming from anglers and tackle shops on the PA’s North Coast, Lake Erie is the place to be right now for walleye and perch. If you’ve complained about inconsistent perch catches on your trips up there this summer, it certainly looks like RIGHT NOW is the time to be on Erie for the BIG summer bite…and walleyes are apparently eating like it’s their last meal. (Well, for many, it was!) If seeking crappies, there is no place better than Pymatuning and Shenango right now, with Pymatuning producing bigger crappies and Shenango greater numbers. And the smallmouth & walleye bite is better than expected on the Allegheny given the low, clear water and all the floating weeds! Other than the low Allegheny River, all other area lakes/reservoirs appear above summer pool from all the rain earlier this summer. French Creek is a perfect level for paddling and fishing. Go fish!

    NW Pennsylvania Fishing Report for August 12,2013

    Brought to you by PA Great Lakes Region tourism
    What’s biting in Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango counties?
    Sponsored by PA Great Lakes Region tourism

    French Creek: Flowing through all four counties

    Jerry VanTassel (Timberland Bait) filed 8/12: Jerry says several of his customers are catching northern pike and bowfin in the spillway of Union City Dam, which technically is French Creek. However, it’s a long walk from where you park down into the valley to the spillway area.

    Mike Horrobin (Jigger Tackle) filed 8/12: “Based on customer comments this past week, the area hotspot appears to be French Creek. There have been a string of reports of smallmouth catches –mostly creek-size smallies, few over 14 inches. Also, reports of walleyes being taken on shiners in the evening.

    Dustin Shay (Meadville) filed 8/9: “Legal-size walleyes – not real big ones – have turned over the past week. However, the most effective baits are creek-caught minnows and riffle chubs; if you are not catching the right type of bait, you will not catch
    many walleyes. Some big cats are biting, too. My buddy Russ caught a channel cat while walleye fishing near Meadville. We didn’t have a scale, but it looked like it should have weighed 30 pounds yet didn’t feel like 30 pounds. It was still filled with eggs so we released it after I took a photo of it. Another big channel was hooked on light tackle by two friends fishing near Cochranton. They had it up to the shore twice but just could not get ahold of it; they guessed the weight to be in the 30-pound range, too.

    Angler Al (Franklin) filed 8/8: “Smallmouth bass are aggressive on French Creek. But not a single walleye in the holes I’ve been fishing. I understand from the report and others that they’re catching them on the river. An old friend of mine I bumped onto said he caught 9 keeper “eyes” in one evening over the weekend.”

    CRAWFORD COUNTY
    Pymatuning Lake
    Dave Richter (Richter’s Tackle Shop) filed 8/12: “Some anglers are catching walleyes by trolling plugs and a few are still getting ‘eye by drifting nightcrawlers…but overall the walleye action has slowed some. There are guys fishing from midnight to 2 am and catching walleyes – but that’s not for everyone. There are some nice crappies being caught in deepwater brushpiles/cribs. And typical for late
    summer, channel cats are being caught everywhere. However, no reports of the usual late summer muskies.”

    Norman “Hooker” Brakeman (Hill’s Country Store)
    - Filed 8/1: “Hooker’s Taxi had David Palovino out for his third trip this year on Tuesday. We had partly cloudy blue skies with moderate breeze. We fished the North End Stumps in 12 to 14 feet of water – not visible above the surface. We tapped into an unmolested treasure of big slab crappies. Dozens of small jigs were sacrificed to the tangle of logs and roots to boat 80 fish – all released. Wednesday afternoon I had a party of three out on the South End, fishing wood cover in 8 to 10 feet of water. Crappies were not eating the Garland Baby Shad which had been working – but they could not resist the larger Garland Slab Dockt’r – the bigger profile did the trick.
    - Filed 8/8: “Hooker’s Fishing Taxi took Patrick and Joseph Crowe out on Monday, and they caught some very nice fish. On Sunday, I had been asked by ODNR officer why I was catching so many fish and others were having a tough time. Simple – I am adjusting to changes and giving not what the fish want – not necessarily what I want to fish. On Monday my clients had their minds set on taking crappies on a fly rod, but after a long morning we had managed only a couple average crappies and bluegills from visible wood. I offered to extend the trip, switching to spinning tackle and moving to an old road bed in 15 feet of water. The lake was flat calm and I could not get bites with the usual small jigs, so we switched to a chartreuse ball heads with a Garland Slab Dockt’r and employed an aggressive lift and drop retrieve. BAM! The bite was on. In the next 20 minutes we caught a dozen crappies over 12 inches.”
    - Filed 8/11: Hooker says while fishing with Dr. Crowe and his son on Monday morning, he noted the water seemed shallower over certain stumps, and the fish had moved – but he found them deeper. On Saturday, fishing with Jeff Sampson, hooker checked an isolated piece of wood some distance from shore on an otherwise barren point. He discovered his jig being pulled by current, and realized they were pulling water at the dam. And they caught nice crappies. “I’m going to check out some potential deep main lake current breaks on the next trip.”

    Conneaut Lake
    Walt’s Tavern Bass Buddy Tournament scheduled for August 24th. Contact Dan Mincin at 724-986-6557 for more information.

    Bob Mohra (Fergie’s Bait) filed 8/12: Bob reports having good success on bluegills on several recent trips to Conneaut Lake.

    Marilyn Black (Cochranton) filed 8/11: “A week ago, on the evening of 5th, Darl and I fished Conneaut for white bass. He was anxious to do additional testing with an umbrella rig which had worked the week before. However, I stuck with a Road Runner spin-jig head with a chartreuse tail Brewer Slider Grub. That evening the white bass didn’t bust the surface, and the bite was
    spotty. However, I outfished Darl with my single hook Road Runner versus his umbrella rig…and I caught three largemouth bass, too! Sunday evening the 11th, we headed back to Conneaut about 5 PM. A north wind and lots of boat traffic bounced us around, and although we waited until sunset, no white bass schools showed up…and we went home without a single bite –not even a bluegill! Cut/chopped floating weeds fouled every cast; also, we found zebra mussels on long strands of weeds.”

    Bryan Stuyvesant (Meadville) reported catching several nice smallmouth bass on topwater just after sunrise one morning past week.

    Canadohta Lake
    Jerry Van Tassel (Timberland Bait) filed 8/12: “A father and his two sons stopped by the shop to show us a 41” musky and 21.5” walleye that one of the boys caught while slow trolling willow-leaf worm harness. This year’s Timberland Bait Kids Fishing Contest on August 10th was a huge success with 92 kids from ages 3 to 16 entered. Kids caught approximately 200 fish and released all of them. The winners for each species follow.”
    Perch 8-1/2” – Raymond Litz (age 7)
    Sunfish 7-1/2” – tie with Madisyn Lapenz (age 10) and Ramond Lapenz (age 5)
    Crappie 7-1/2” – Brielle Hart (age 7)
    Smallmouth Bass 9” – tie Brad Fairman (age 7) and Steven Hart (age 4)
    Largemouth Bass 18” – Marshall Van Tassel (age 8)
    Painted turtle 8” – Mason Haskell (age 8)

    ERIE COUNTY
    Presque Isle Bay
    Al Nacopoulos (B.A.C. Bait) filed 8/12: “Customers are reporting they are still catching bass off the East and West Pier. On the North Pier, it’s a mixture of crappies, perch and sheephead.”

    Thomas Watral (Erie)
    - Filed 8/2: “Went to the West Slip Marina early, and got a lot of sunfish plus crappies. They were hitting grubs and minnows under a bobber; caught 30 sunfish and 25 crappies.”
    - Filed 8/6: “We slammed the perch using very small pinhead minnows on perch rigs; they measured 8 to 11 inches.”
    - Filed 8/9: “Went down to the South Pier and Border Dock this morning. Anglers fishing these locations are getting crappies from 10 to 12 inches; some limits.”
    - Filed 8/10: “My step dad and I caught perch, sunfish and silver bass on small minnows from the docks today.”
    - Filed 8/11: “I went back down to the Convention Center today and got some crappies from 10 to 12 inches, plus some nice perch. Perch were hitting minnows and crappies were hitting Mister Twisters. Twisters were fished on a crappie rig with dropshot as weight. Tipped the Twisters with grubs.”

    Lake Erie
    Gary Heuble (Poor Richards) filed 8/12: “Walleye are out on the south side of the First Trench in 60 to 70 feet, from Walnut Creek to Conneaut Harbor – best walleye fishing of the entire year right now. Perch reports are good, too; they are in about 55’ of water up and down the lake. And I don’t want to call it a run, but there are a few steelheads showing up at the mouths of the creeks; some guys are catching a couple early and late in the day.”

    Mike Tome (Trout Run Tackle) filed 8/12: “Erie fishing is on fire! Why go anywhere else? Perch and walleye catches are at their peak. The last two days it’s been non-stop on the perch in 55’ to 62’ – crazy. Drop a line down and if you don’t get bit in a few seconds, you need to move. It’s been tough keeping bait, but we have shiners right now – but do not know for how long. For walleyes, get out to the 62’ to 72’ foot depths. Pull deep running plugs on leadcore, or run worm harnesses or shallow plugs on Dipsy Divers or boards. Color doesn’t matter. Walleye are hitting everything.”

    Dan Seaman (Elk Creek Sports Center) filed 8/12: “The last couple days has seen the biggest perch catches of all season – maybe in a couple seasons. About 58 feet is the magic number I’m hearing from customers. The shallow water walleye bite has faded but the keep water is very good at 65’ to 80’. With the water low and clear in Elk, the catfish bite has slowed. While we usually see some brown trout move to the tributaries in July, this year they were late in coming…and they brought some steelhead with them. Some anglers reported catching steelhead as far upstream as the Trestle on Elk over the weekend; strange year.”

    Kurt Sitler (Cochranton) filed 8/11: “We were on Erie yesterday and brought home 18 walleyes. The average size was 8 pounds. We figured we had about 144 to 150 pounds of ‘eye. We had one solid 10 pounder and several others pushing over 9 pounds on the scale. We were out in 75 feet of water using Reef Runners. The photo is my son-in-law Josh Yost, holding a 9 pound walleye.”

    Keith Eshbaugh (Dutch Fork Lures) filed 8/9: “I went to Erie this past week. Fishing in 62’ to 64’ of water on the south side of the First Trench out of Walnut Creek, I trolled Ghost Blade Harnesses in the morning at 1.5 mph at 110 to 115 feet back on boards. Then I switched to crankbaits on 5 colors of leadcore at 2.2 mph. Results: Lots of walleye and perch. Best patterns were our custom Krome Krappie and Green Gator. We caught 2 to 5 pound eaters with the occasional 7 to 9 pounder thrown in. We also caught steelhead on spoons and walleyes on harnesses and crankbaits over 110 feet off the Peninsula.”

    Norman “Hooker” Brakeman (Hill’s County Store) filed 8/1: “Lesley Hill, Dave Kota, John Cecilic and I did a perch charter on Erie this past Wednesday, fishing with Capt. Dan Dryna. All were using cut bait supplied by the Captain, while I played with plastic. I rigged a Bobby Garland 2” Swimming Minnow on a #2 Aberdeen hook with a ¾-oz. inline sinker. I was catching perch as fast as the others. In 1 hour and 20 minutes the four of us had our limits and we were back at dock eating breakfast at 9:30 AM.”

    MERCER COUNTY
    Lake Wilhelm
    Bob Mohra (Fergie’s Bait) filed 8/12: “The locals are picking up a few walleyes – not limit catches, but two or three each trip out which is better than earlier in the summer. Seems an orange blade on worm harness is the ticket. Usual summertime crappies and bluegills – nothing to get excited about yet until water cools down some. I have not heard anything on bass, however.”

    Shenango Lake
    Darl Black (Cochranton) filed 8/13: “After our lackluster performance on Conneaut Lake on Sunday, Marilyn and I decided to give Shenango Lake a try this morning before finishing up the Fishing Report. Under heavy cloud cover and threat of rain, we arrived at the lake about 9 am. I headed directly to a favorite stump-covered point within sight of the launch, and caught three crappies on my first three casts. After Sunday’s Conneaut Lake fiasco, it felt good to catch fish…and not have to contend with floating weed strands! I was using a white marabou/silver tinsel jig pattern that old timers on French Creek anglers recognize as the Eddie Gray Special. Marilyn asked to use my rod with the marabou jig (the only EG Special jig I had with me), and she never surrendered the rod the rest of the morning. Although I caught crappies on a Road Runner head with Garland 2” Swimming Minnow and a hand-tied gray hackle jig, the white marabou stole the show. We lost count the number of crappies caught between us the first hour, but then things slowed down as the sun came out and the wind picked up. Crappies were in 9 to 16 feet of water. Besides beating me on crappies, Marilyn also captured the green sunfish award with three of cuties from the rip-rap on one of the bridges. As Ken Smith had mentioned in a report last month, crappies seemed to be on the small size at Shenango. Maybe bigger ones will show up this fall as water cools. Twenty-mile hour gusts drove us from the lake and to the Corral for a lunch of a Hi-Boy and coffee stir.”

    Ken Smith (Sharon) filed 8/10: “I’ve been fishing Erie for perch and walleye. However, I did sneak out one morning this past week for crappies on Shenango. Caught a few decent size ones on brushpiles up by Shenango Arm by Clark.”

    Laurie (R&L Bait & Tackle) filed 7/30: “Reports of limit catches of walleye in 12 to 14 feet of water with fish taken on medium size minnows. Also some nice channel cats in the Shenango River on shiners and stink bait at night.”

    Neshannock Creek
    Bob Shuey (Neshannock Creek Fly Shop) filed 8/3: Effective August 4th, we are on Fall and Winter hours. Now open 6 days a week from 9 am to 5 pm except Wednesdays from 10 am to 5 pm. We are closed Sundays until the first weekend in March 2014. The ncflyshop.com website is the best source for up-todate conditions of many trout streams in PA, OH and NY, as well as hatches on Neshannock Creek and boundaries of the Artificial Lure Only section of Neshannock, too.

    VENANGO COUNTY
    Justus Lake
    Angler Al (Franklin) filed 8/9: “Rainy morn’n. I met my fishing buddy Stan around daylight at the boat launch Two Mile Run Lake (Justus Lake). I hadn’t fished there in years. I brought along a mix of shiners & creek chubs to present, and he went to drown crawlers. It was a two fisted kind of day! We lite’em up –25 largemouth bass that is! Two Mile Lake is part of the Big Bass Program, whereupon a length of 15” is required. Though we were practicing catch & release, 5 of those would have met that standard. See ‘Livewell’ for a shot of my “dandy double” and a picture of Stan’s smaller double. Location Note: the transition from weeds (8’-12’) and open water (down to 20’), the stretch behind the swimming area, produced big. Crappies were feeding on the surface near the swimming area, too.”

    Allegheny River
    Dale Black (Oil City) filed 8/12: “I took my brother-in-law Justin Bolfek of Washington, DC out fishing for smallmouth on Saturday morning. We caught around 20 bass up to 18” on Skippy Fish soft jerkbaits and Yum Dingers. Saturday night we went after catfish with live chubs. We landed 6 flatheads from 17” to 25” but could not get a big one.”

    John Conroy (Pittsburgh area) filed 8/12: “I didn’t have a camera and I was fishing alone over the weekend. I caught 6 smallmouth bass on Saturday, but nothing of notable size; one bass on a Zoom Fluke and 5 on live hellgrammites. Weeds were troublesome when fishing lures; even making the Fluke weedless didn’t help. So I fished hellgrammites on a slip bobber. Sunday morning didn’t produce, but late in day on Sunday, I caught six which would have made a great photo – five were over 17”! I got them on hellgrammites and a stonecat. I floated one section of the river three times with same techniques. Didn’t catch anything on the first two floats but on the 3rd time I picked up the six bass, one right after another. Makes you believe in the Solunar Tables!”

    Gene Winger (Oil City) filed 8/12:
    - Week of July 29 “Peg and I took our 5-year-old granddaughter Olivia fishing on Wednesday evening. She caught her first smallmouth! Except for removing the hook, she did it all – casting, setting the hook, landing the fish and releasing it. I’m not sure who was more excited – the grandparents or Olivia! On Thursday I fished below Franklin, landing seven nice smallies using Winco Laminated Wacky Worms in 8 to 12 feet of water. With the water low and clear, the good fish seemed to be in the deeper pools while smaller fish were shallow. Saturday I fished from Franklin to Belmar Bridge with my son-in-laws Chris and Jeremy, landing over 20 smallmouth and 5 walleyes. Winco River Darters and Rapala X-Raps worked best with the bigger smallies caught in the head and tail of deeper pools.”
    - Week of August 5…”I was on the river almost every day this week, with the river running low and clear, the morning and late evening fishing seemed to be most productive. Targeting fast moving shallow water with Winco Solid Body River Darters and the deeper pools with Winco River Swim Baits has been working. Picking up smaller bass, but also several smallies in the 17 to 19-inch range by working the swim bait with a slow, pause- drag-pause retrieve.”

    Chuck Sari (Franklin) filed 8/11: “I fished the Allegheny four times so far in August, twice with my son Kevin and twice with Lloyd Rodgers, and of course grandson Reece was with me all four times. We caught and released 61 bass and 23 walleyes, with the largest walleye being 25 inches. All were caught on Rapala SR-5 and SR-7 plugs in various colors. On August 10, my son Kevin and Lloyd along with Reece decided to try their hand at catching catfish. Using chubs as bait, they caught and released 25” and 28” flatheads.”

    Angler Al (Franklin) filed 8/10: “Stan and I hit the Allegheny. We started out underneath the Veterans Bridge. Rocks ended up getting the best of us, as we were cut off on a few too many. By night fall we put ourselves in position below the marina. Using a Rapala SR-5 (crab pattern) & SR-7 (shad black/silver colored), I picked up two nice smallies and a 22-inch walleye after dark. Sadly my camera’s flash wasn’t work’n properly, so snaps didn’t take. I send a note of thanks out to fellow angling contributor Chuck Sari…the tip you provided us in the last report ended up being what put fish in the boat. And also I want to give a shout out to Darl for a wonderful job creating this report. I sure do appreciate the efforts you put forth. Thanks again.”

    Steve Udick (Oil City) filed 8/5: “A group of us floated from Tionesta to Rockmere over the weekend. Big bass of the trip went to Dave Marczak for a 20” smallmouth caught on a Right Bite Green Pumpkin/Orange Flake tube. We caught 199 bass. Terry Corbett of Rockmere landed 41 bass and his son, T.J. Corbett of Pittsburgh, put 29 in the boat – mostly on a white Mepps spinner. They gave a spinner to 12 year old Chris Marczak and he promptly landed 14. Bill Miller and Mark Miller (of Meadville) boated 27 bass and 20 bass respectively. Fishing near Rockmere, Terry Corbett caught a 29” walleye on his first cast of the next morning with Mepps white spinner.”

    Gamma Fishing Tips

    Dale Black, president of Gamma Line, says August and September is a favorite time to fish for catfish and carp in the Allegheny River and French Creek. “The late summer transition towards fall can be an unpredictable time on the fishing front. So this is a great time to do a little bank fishing for predictable species…carp during the day and catfish after dark. With the potential of 30-pound-plus carp, 20-pound-plus channels, and 30-pound flatheads, you need to be prepared with tackle that can handle these fish. Also, the rigs used for carp and cats generally involved heavy sinkers so your rod must be able to throw these a long distance. I use a set of three 11’ European Predator Rods from Cabela’s. Remember, we can now fish with three rods. These rods are perfect for handling big cats and
    carp, and are relatively inexpen- sive compared to fancy European carbon rods used for carp – less than $90.00 each for Cabela’s rod versus $300 each for imported carbon rod. I spool my bait-runner reels with 14-pound Gamma Edge Fluorocarbon plus a 15-pound Gamma Torque braid leader. Many carp and cat fisher- men run braid on the main line, but I prefer fluorocarbon because it holds up better to bottom abrasions. My set up is simple: 1-oz. egg sinker on the main line, a swivel to act as sinker stop, and a 12” braided line
    leader to the hook. For catfish I use a large hook to match the size of chub being used. For carp, I use a #4 x-strong carp hook, usually baited with canned sweet corn.”

    Winner of the spool of Gamma Line for this issue of Fishing Report: Kurt Sitler

    Winner of the Prize Pack of Baits for this issue of the Fishing Report: John Conway

    Lures for the Fishing Report Prize Pack supplied by: Case; Gene Larew; Get Bit Baits; Road Runner; Venom Baits; Yum; Zipper Worms.

    Road Runner Caps for Crappie Reports go to: Thomas Watral, “Angler Al” and “Hooker”

    Obtain your French Creek Waterways brochure at Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
    Follow Darl as he fishes with angling experts around the country at www.darlblack.blogspot.com

    Obtain the PGLR fishing brochure “Reel It In!” at www.pagreatlakes.com


  2. Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report 7/29/13

    July 30, 2013 by oilregion

    Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report
    Reporting date: July 29, 2013
    The NW PA Fishing Report is brought to you by…

    Gold Sponsor: Pennsylvania’s Great Lakes Region

    Connect to all counties at www.PAGreatLakes.com

    Bronze Sponsor: Black Knight Industries, Oil City – Home of Gamma Line

    Bronze Sponsor: Wiegel Brothers Marine, Franklin

    The NW PA Fishing Report provides timely angling information for Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango Counties – covering all species and all waters open to the public. The fishing comments and photos are offered by regional tackle shops and area anglers, complied and published twice a month. The NW PA Fishing Report is based on experiences, observations and opinions of individual contributors; information sources are considered reliable but comments are not independently verified. If you would like to share your fishing experiences or photos from any waterway in the four counties, please email to Darl Black at darlblack@windstream.net. In providing information or pictures, you are agreeing to it being posted in the Fishing Report and distributed electronically to media and websites.

    The Landing Net by Darl Black

    ’s the middle of summer, and fish are biting…if you know where to go and what to fish for. The Allegheny River smallmouth bite is excellent, offshore walleyes at Lake Eire are raging, crappies are going crazy at Pymatuning and Shenango, Wilhelm has been giving up some big largemouth for the first time in several years, and the white bass are making an appearance at Conneaut Lake. I was on Conneaut this past week throwing an umbrella rig for white bass – what a blast! When I handed it to Bryan to try, he caught this
    nice largemouth bass which was suspended below the white bass school busting minnow on the surface. No excuses, Go Fish!

    NW Pennsylvania Fishing Report for July 29,2013

    Brought to you by PA Great Lakes Region tourism
    What’s biting in Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango counties?
    Sponsored by PA Great Lakes Region tourism

    French Creek: Flowing through all four counties

    Editor’s Note: As noted in an earlier Fishing Report, French Creek has been designated as a PA Water Trail. Separate brochures are now available for the Upper French Creek and Lower French Creek, featuring a detailed access map and valuable information. Pick up your Upper and Lower French Creek map/guide at French Creek Valley Conservancy in downtown Meadville or request one from the
    Crawford County Visitors Bureau at 814-333-1258; www.visitcrawford.org.

    Dustin Shay (Meadville) filed 7/28: “Even though French Creek has good flow and good color courtesy of our wet summer and it looks perfect for fishing, the bite has been a bit slow for me. I’ve been trying to catch a big catfish, but it seems I’ll have to wait until conditions change in August as the cats don’t seem to be biting yet. Getting an occasional walleye, but not many and not of any size. Catching mostly smallmouth in the Creek – which isn’t a bad thing, of course, just not what I wanted to target. After seeing those huge carp that were shot with a bow, I’m going to try to catch a big carp on hook and line this week.”

    John Wilpula (Conneaut Lake) filed 7/28: “Outings have been pretty sporadic due to weather, but the action has been consistent for us on French Creek and the Allegheny. We recently acquired a tandem fishing kayak that has allowed our two boys to tag along now and experience French Creek for the first time. They’ve been picking up smallmouth and rock bass on Beetle Spins and stick worms – having a blast! So much fun that I doubt I’ll be going by myself much from now on – not that’s a bad thing.”

    Angler Al’s French Creek Diary:

    Thursday July 18th – My guest Buck Kise from the Pocono region of our state timed it perfectly. French Creek had finally come around. From pre-dawn until 9 am we worked the stretch above Polly’s Dairy Isle. Buck caught a total of 7 smallies. The biggest was a 3-lb, 16 incher. I released a total of (12) and the largest one was 4-lb at 18 inches. Baits of choice were night crawlers, creek chubs and a Rebel Crawfish lure.

    Friday July 19th – From 6:30 am until 1 pm, Buck had a great day catching & releasing trout on Sugar Creek. It took him around 2 dozen nightcrawlers, but the end result was several rainbows, a brown trout and a couple good smallies. Seeing I sell crawlers they’ll be plenty more of them to use tomorrow morning on Frenchy, if we beat the storm front predicted to cover the region.

    Saturday July 20th – At daylight bad weather prevailed. We changed gears for the day and decided to go late evening. I threw out the traps so we’d have some live bait. During the last half hour of daylight, we hooked up on a total of 7 average size smallies and 1 beauty.

    Tuesday July 23th – Beat it for French Creek just before dark. Put out a floating jighead w/shiner on one set up, and started casting a Tiny Torpedo top water plug on another rod. Thought I had a trophy-size smallmouth take it, but ended up being one of those gosh darn bowfins – 26-inches of fertilizer is what it became. In my opinion they’re seriously hurting the eco-system on our waterways!!!

    CRAWFORD COUNTY
    Pymatuning Lake
    Dave Richter (Richter’s Tackle Shop) filed 7/29: “From the Espyville Causeway to the Dam, walleyes are still hitting hot and heavy for the guys drifting with nightcrawlers in 7 to 12 feet of water. An unusually strong walleye bite for this late in the summer. A few anglers are targeting crappies on the deep brush of the South end and still catching nice ones. Big bluegills are being taken as well from deeper wood cover, and channel cats are everywhere – but still no reports of muskies being caught.”

    Chris Hall (Espyville Outdoors) filed 7/29: “Walleye bite is still strong! Many limits have been reported from 8 to 12 feet of water… all over the lake. Lindy Shadlings, Berkley Flicker Shads and AFF Walleye Wizards were the hot baits this week. Crappies are eating like crazy along the Causeway! A minnow on Lindy Fuzz-E-Grub is the ticket, as well as minnows on a plain hook.”

    Hooker (Hill’s County Store) filed 7/27: “On Tuesday I had David Polovian and his guest for the second time on Hooker’s Fishing Taxi. We went to the North End of Pymatuning for an afternoon trip. While launching, a dark thunderstorm rolled in. We waited for the hardest rain to stop and then headed to the Stumps. We were fishing light line and jigs. There was a vicious bite going on for about 20 minutes. We caught over a dozen thick slab crappies to 14 inches. Then it stopped as if someone threw a switch. A few minutes later, David set the hook into something big on 4-pound test line. After a several minute fight, we slid the net under a 22 inch largemouth – which we released after measuring it. On Saturday, I had Jeff Sampson out on the South End, focusing our efforts on wood in 8 feet of water. But the fish were finicky so we went to vertical jigging to keep the bait in front of them longer. We caught several nice crappies and bluegills. Then we moved to an offshore hump that topped at 12 feet, where we fished vertical for additional crappies. That is where Jeff got his big fish of the day – a 21-inch walleye on a Bobby Garland Baby Shad in Screamer color. We moved to deeper water and started catching perch on almost every cast. Then it happened – three boats moved in next to us and dropped anchors. However, they could not catch fish at the rate we were, and when we left, I suggested to them to stop in at the shop to see what magic bait we were using. Seems the invitation was taken seriously because an hour later one of the boats pulled into the shop’s parking lot just as we were photographing Jeff’s catch. Seeing what Jeff caught, they bought a bunch of Bobby Garland baits!”

    Conneaut Lake
    Steve Hughes (Clarion) filed 7/29: “This past week I fished Conneaut on Thursday and then again on Friday in a tournament. Both days I caught decent bass on a Fat Free Shad crankbait along the weedline before the sun got too high. But once the sun was up, I had to go to drop-shot rigging of small plastic to catch any additional bass – but they were small largemouth.”

    Ernie Pate (Butler) filed 7/26: “I fished the charity tournament at Conneaut Lake on Friday, but our boat only had five fish. Sixteen pounds won it, and Steve Hughes’ team came in second with 14 pounds. It was a tough day at Conneaut.”

    Bryan Stuyvesant (Meadville) filed 7/25: “Darl and I fished Conneaut Lake for a few hours this evening looking for a big smallmouth, but had to settle for average size fish. But just as we were headed into the ramp at sunset, we observed fish busting the surface near one of the mid-lake humps. I cast a Rico topwater thinking it was smallmouth and came up with a white. Darl threw a Yumbrella Ultralight Flash Mob rig with Gene Larew 3” Lon John Minnows (3 hook baits and two dummies as allowed in PA) and almost had the rod yanked from his hands. After catching another white or two, Darl handed the umbrella rig to me. On my first cast, I thought I was going overboard from a powerful hit – thought it was a huge smallmouth but turned out to be a white bass! Incredible! On a later cast, I counted the rig down several feet below the surface activity and caught a nice largemouth on it – pretty exciting.”

    Dan Mincin (Finleyville) filed 7/20: Announcement of the 4th Annual Walt’s Tavern Bass Buddy Tournament for Saturday, August 24; $100.00 per 2-person team. For more information and an application, contact Dan at 724-986-6557.

    Canadohta Lake
    Jerry VanTassel (Timberland Bait) filed 7/29: “Guys are catching bluegills, crappies and perch tight to the weedline on Canadohta; no musky reports. Over at Clear Lake (i.e. Sparty Pond), the northern pike are hitting like crazy late in the evening according to some customers.”

    ERIE COUNTY
    Lake Erie
    Jeff Staaf (Poor Richard’s Tackle) filed 7/29: “Good news! Walleyes are strong out at 60 to 80 feet, with fish suspended at 40 to 50 feet. Plugs, worm harnesses and spoons are all producing. Color is important…purple, purple-pink and purple-black on spoons and harness blades. Best plug colors are green, blue or purple. There’s a lot of perch at 52 feet straight out of Walnut.”

    Dam Seaman (Elk Creek Sports Center) filed 7/29: “We’ve been having a lot of wind lately on the lake, but when boats can get out, they are catching fish. The hottest walleye bite out of Elk Creek launch has been in the rocks at 28 to 30 feet down by Virginia Beach. This is great place for the guy with a smaller boat, fishing the old fashion way with crawler harness bouncing among the rocks – hook a fish, stop the boat and fight the fish – real fishing! Guys have been limiting out in this shallower water. Of course the big pack of walleyes is out at 60 to 80 feet, but you need a big boat. Perch fishing has been off and on – the smaller schools are still moving and have not set up anywhere; usually can find some at 38 to 42 feet out of Elk Creek. But here is some exciting news…some guys stopped in to show off their hand scars from noodling channel catfish from downed tree snags in Elk Creek. Yes noodling! They claim to have taken cats up to 30 pounds by sticking their hand in dark holes and letting the cat clamp down – just like on TV show, which where they likely got the idea. But if you are not into noodling, you still catch catfish at night with hook & line and a crawler for bait around the ramp at the township park on the west side of Elk Creek near the mouth.”

    Ric Gauriloff (Trout Run Tackle) filed 7/28: “Walleye fishing has been good this past week. The chop from the waves has been beneficial to those chasing walleye. One day they are finding them in close at 38 feet and the next morning the bite is out at 60 to 70 feet. Worm harnesses are working, with watermelon and copper blades getting the most attention. Worm harnesses of course draw non-targeted species, too. Plugs in purple or blue are working as well. I’ve done well with a rainbow trout pattern put out by Renosky’s Lures. Perch bite has been slow, with fish here and there. It takes time to find them. The head boats have been catching fish but not the jumbos. Plenty of catfish being caught in the lake and in Elk Creek. A variety of baits are working, but usually the more scent you get in the water, the better your success.”

    Keith Eshbaugh (Dutch Fork Lures) filed 7/26: “Friends and I caught a bunch of walleyes out of Presque Isle in 62 to 65 feet of water; most of fish were 4 to 8 pounds. We were trolling Dutch Fork Ghost Blade harnesses, with a 6-foot lead, 2 ounces of inline weight, 70-90 feet back behind a planer board at about 1.2 mph. Conditions were cold front, sunny, NE wind, waves 2-4 feet.”

    Presque Isle Bay
    Thomas Watral (Erie) filed 7/27: “I talked to a number of anglers yesterday and today. I’m told most of the smallmouth bass had headed back out to the lake. But anglers are catching a few bass on live minnows, buzz baits and Bomber plugs. The crappies are hitting just about everywhere around the Bay; most are being taken on live minnows and Power Bait minnow jigs. A few perch are still being caught on the North and South pier – but they are on the small side. On July 24, I talked to a guy who caught 28 nice crappies from the Docks by fishing a jig straight down along the wall. Back on the 22nd, I caught nice crappies, large sunfish and over 63 perch on minnows and crawlers on perch rigs. On the 20th, I got 20 silver bass, 20 perch and 9 crappies fishing from the docks.”

    Edinboro Lake
    Steve Hughes (Clarion) filed 7/28: “I fished a benefit tournament on Edinboro this past Saturday, the day after a Conneaut Lake benefit event. The young person fishing with me got land all the fish hooked. We won the tournament with 5 bass for a total of 10 pounds by cranking Fat Free Shads in 7 to 8 feet of water. There were no weeds in the lake.”

    MERCER COUNTY
    Shenango Lake
    Ernie Pate (Butler) filed 7/28: “Unlike my last tournament on Shenango, the one today was tough. The water fell 3 feet over the week and then came up a foot overnight. Most bass were caught shallow – 5 feet or less on crankbaits, jigs, Chatterbaits and Senkos. I saw big fish on structure in 12 to 16 feet of water but could not get them to bite. There were several nice smallmouth bass caught during the tournament.”

    Ken Smith (Sharon) filed 7/26: “The crappie bite at Shenango has really been good this week. Although the size of crappies is down from the previous year, they are still fun to catch. In three trips this week, I caught and released over 100 crappies. I kept six 9” fat black crappies on Wednesday, and threw back the bigger fish because it’s a down year. Jigs caught all the fish this week.”

    Ken Anderson (Tionesta) filed 7/22: “I fished Shenango Lake from sun-up for three hours on Sunday, 7/21. I caught a 16.5” largemouth on a crankbait, a 14” bass on a jig-n-pig, a 10” crappie on a crankbait and lost a smallmouth. Effective fishing was limited due to battery issues, but I did see schools of gizzard shad being chased by smallmouth bass.”

    Lake Wilhelm
    Bob Mohra (Fergie’s Bait) filed 7/28: “I’ve talked to a few people fishing for walleye, and they have been catching some nice ones – mostly on worm harnesses with orange blades. Also they are taking a few walleyes on Storm Hot-N-Tots in silver and black. Crappies are being caught on Southern Pro Stingers tipped with maggots. Bass fishermen are happier this year, too, since the largemouth catches have improved over recent couple years. Locals like the purple worm for bass.”

    Joe Nichols (Underground Angler) filed 7/28: “Took a trip to Wilhelm today because the waves were too big at Erie. I caught a nice largemouth on a ½-ounce Fatratz Jig with green pumpkin Fury Craw by New Wave Plastics. The other nice largemouth came on a Rapala DT Crankbait. Not a lot of bass, but good size ones.”

    VENANGO COUNTY
    Allegheny River
    Dale Black (Oil City) filed 7/29: “I’ve been sneaking off to the river several times the past week. Earlier in the week, I landed a 30 inch musky in the Oil City pool which tore up my hand. Fishing injured on Saturday morning near Fisherman’s Cove, I still caught the bigger smallmouth while fishing with Darl Black. We expected a good day for big fish with the approaching storm, but got fooled, landing only about 8 bass in two hours. Really didn’t have pattern during the few hours we fished. Darl caught fish on a buzzbait and Case Salty Shad jerkbait. I had a tube, Skippy Fish soft jerkbait, and crankbait tied on, and got fish on all of them. But Sunday, I took my friend Jimmy Jackson from Texas out on the river, fishing from Oil City to Belmar. We landed approximately 40 smallmouths with a number of them in the 15 to 18 inch range. Almost all were taken on tubes.”

    Gene Winger (Oil City) filed 7/29: “During week of 15th with midday temps exceeding 90 degrees and water temp at 80 degrees, I fished mornings and evenings. Smallies seem to be scattered all over the river and patterning them was a challenge. Fishing deep pools using a Winco 3.25” Predator Craw and Winco River Darter in shallow riffles produced the most fish. I averaged six to eight smallmouths during the week, but things picked up on Sunday with 12 smallies and 2 walleyes. During the week of July 22, I fished every evening, averaging a dozen smallmouths. With the heat wave subsiding and water temperatures dropping into the mid-70s, larger smallmouth started to come out of hiding. On Wednesday, I landed a 20-inch smallie weighing 5 pounds; it hit a Terminator Spinnerbait with a Winco 3” Swimming Grub trailer. The brute fought hard; thankfully I was using Gamma Edge 8-pound Fluorocarbon leader!”

    Chuck Sari (Franklin) filed 7/28: “On the 21st, I fished the river with my son Kevin and grandson Reece. We caught 29 bass and 7 walleyes, with the largest ‘eye going 25 inches. All were caught with Rapala #5 Shad Raps in silver or gold; all were released. On the 24th, I fished with my brother Frank and grandson Reece. We caught 23 bass and 3 walleye. All on Rapala SR5 and all released. On the 26th, I fished with Lloyd Rogers; we managed 6 bass and a walleye. On the 28th, I fished the river with Kevin and Reece. We caught and released 17 bass, 5 walleye and a northern pike – all Rapala SR5s and SR7s in gold and crab colors.”

    Louis Letterle (Franklin) filed 7/26: “We have not fished much this summer due to family commitments, sports for the kids, etc. Be we did manage to fish the river on Tuesday. Using soft jerkbaits and jigs, we caught several nice fish in a very short time. Attached is a picture of Corey with a 19” 4-pound smallmouth – not bad for an 11-year old!”

    Ken Anderson (Tionesta) filed 7/22: “On the 13th, I caught several nice smallmouth bass and two walleyes (16.5” and 23.25”) on a white crankbait from the river.”

    Gamma Fishing Tips

    Gamma Pro-Staff Tip
    Gamma Pro Kota Kiriyama: I use a Palomar knot when drop-shotting. It is strong and easy to tie. The key is to take the line end after tying the knot and run back through the top of the hook eye before adding the drop shot weight. If you do this procedure, the hook will stay in an upright position making your hookset more efficient. I used this drop-shotting technique to win the Bassmaster Elite on Lake Erie and broke the record for heaviest limit weight of smallmouth bass in a tournament! Here are the details of my dropshotting…
    Line: Gamma Touch 7#
    Rod: Shimano ML action 6’8”
    Reel: Shimano Stella
    Lure: Jackall Crosstail Shad and other prototype drop-shot baits.

    Also, visit my home page at www.kotakiriyama.com and connect to my blog, Facebook, Twitter, American Dream tournament, Ninja Tackle Box, etc.

    Thank you,
    Kota

    Winner of the spool of Gamma Line for this issue of Fishing Report:
    Winner of the Prize Pack of Baits for this issue of the Fishing Report:
    Lures for the Fishing Report Prize Pack supplied by: Case; Gene Larew; Get Bit Baits; Road Runner; Venom Baits; Yum; Zipper Worms.

    Follow Darl as he fishes with angling experts around the country at www.darlblack.blogspot.com
    Obtain the PGLR fishing brochure “Reel It In!” at www.pagreatlakes.com


  3. Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report 7/15/13

    by oilregion

    Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report
    Reporting date: July 15, 2013
    The NW PA Fishing Report is brought to you by…

    Gold Sponsor: Pennsylvania’s Great Lakes Region

    Connect to all counties at www.PAGreatLakes.com

    Bronze Sponsor: Black Knight Industries, Oil City – Home of Gamma Line

    Bronze Sponsor: Wiegel Brothers Marine, Franklin

    The NW PA Fishing Report provides timely angling information for Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango Counties – covering all species and all waters open to the public. The fishing comments and photos are offered by regional tackle shops and area anglers, complied and published twice a month. The NW PA Fishing Report is based on experiences, observations and opinions of individual contributors; information sources are considered reliable but comments are not independently verified. If you would like to share your fishing experiences or photos from any waterway in the four counties, please email to Darl Black at darlblack@windstream.net. In providing information or pictures, you are agreeing to it being posted in the Fishing Report and distributed electronically to media and websites.

    The Landing Net by Darl Black

    Water, water everywhere! Last summer we had a severe drought. This year, NW PA has too much rain in form of damaging thunderstorms. The storms certainly disrupt plans for fishing…but fish are biting if you can dodge the lightning bolts. Perch are on fire on Lake Erie; river smallmouth bite is strong; walleye at Pymatuning continue biting; crappies are hitting in many lakes; even the
    stocked trout streams have been giving up fish well into summer. The higher water may be helping the bass bite at Wilhelm…see the Lake Wilhelm report. High water (short of flooding) creates some problems, but in the long run, high water levels keep fish biting into the summer.

    NW Pennsylvania Fishing Report for July 15,2013

    Brought to you by PA Great Lakes Region tourism
    What’s biting in Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango counties?
    Sponsored by PA Great Lakes Region tourism

    French Creek: Flowing through all four counties

    Editor’s Note: Given all the rain of late, French Creek had been flowing higher and darker than normal for this time of year. Unfortunately, many anglers have decided not to fish the Creek. However high flow (not flooding) with color — but not muddy water — can make for great fishing when the right areas are selected; generally high water pushes fish to shoreline pocket eddies and into flooded mouths of tributary streams. Use caution when fishing high water.

    Ed Lawrence (Corry) filed 7/15/13: “I’ve been fishing for largemouth bass in recent weeks, catching most on an Original Rapala Minnow. One of my favorite places is upper French Creek.”

    French Creek Water Trail maps and guides are now available at French Creek Valley Conservancy office at 301 Chestnut Street, Meadville, and Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau on Conneaut Lake Road/Rt. 322 next to Burger King in Vernon Township.

    CRAWFORD COUNTY
    Pymatuning Lake
    Dave Richter (Richter’s General Store) filed 7/15: “Even though it’s the middle of July, with the high water and somewhat cooler water temps, anglers are still catching shallow walleyes in the weeds on a jig and crawler. However, with predicted high temps this week, this could be the end of the shallow-water ‘eye bite. There are lots of crappies being caught on deeper brush structures in 12 to 18 feet of water, mainly on minnows. Channel cats are turning up everywhere! No muskies reported this past week.”

    Chris Hall (Espyville Outdoors) filed 7-15-13: “Walleyes are still be caught in shallower water…8’ to 12’. But I think that will soon change given the hot weather this week – should drive them deeper. Berkley Flicker Shads, Rapala Shad Raps, Lindy Shadlings and Storm Hot’N Tots are the preferred trolling baits. The AFF Walleye Wizard has been very productive, not only for walleye but other species as well. Worm harnesses and floating jigheads with bait are catching fish, too. I have attached a picture of one of our customers with a 6-pound walleye caught this past week. Crappies have moved deeper; causeway has been a hotspot. Catfish are being caught in numbers. I can’t keep Magic Bait Catfish in stock! Shrimp, Chicken Liver/Chicken Blood, and Grasshopper are the most popular flavors. Bio Edge Fishing Products potions and wands continue be a strong seller. Their
    products are 100% natural and outperform other attractants on the market.”

    Ken Smith (Sharon) filed 7/15: “Today I fished the south end of Pymatuning for four hours. I could not find the crappies bunched up but I did find some here and there. I got some at 8 feet, 12 feet and 19 feet. All came on a 1/8-ounce Road Runner head with Lunker City Fin-S-Fish body. Guys at the ramp said the walleye bite was slow.”

    Hooker (Hill’s Country Store) filed 7/8: “Hey Darl, fancy meeting you the other day on #24 GPS Waypoint on Pymatuning – guess that hump isn’t so secret. The two gentlemen in the boat with me are in their seventies and have a difficult time launching and operating a boat but still enjoy fishing. We had a good day of catching fish and joking around. On the previous Saturday, I had Jeff Sampson and his buddy fishing the North End. We fished the long tapering points that drop sharply from 7’ to 13’ in about a boat’s length. Took time to locate the sweet spot, but when we did, Gamma Line and Bobby Garland Baby Shad helped us catch many 13” to 14” crappies and a bonus walleye along with perch and bluegills. The Bobby Garland Crappie Baits – particularly the Baby Shad – have become a valuable tool for my fishing clients.”

    Marilyn Black (Cochranton) filed 7/5: “After fishing with artificial baits for decades, I went old style with a simple nightcrawler to catch a 20” Pymatuning walleye on a weedline…seems like old times! Of course, crappies were biting too!”

    Chuck Sari (Franklin) filed 7/4: “On June 30th, my son Kevin and my grandson Reece and I went to Pymatuning after several days of rain. We caught 21 walleyes of which 13 were keepers. We trolled Storm Hot’N Tots. There was no wind, so drifting with crawler rigs was out of the question. The water temp was 74 degrees, which was four degrees lower than a week earlier before the heavy rain. We also caught some nice perch and crappie while trolling. On July 2, my brother Frank, my grandson Reece and I were again on Pymatuning. We caught 8 walleyes of which 5 were keepers. Again, it was the Storm Hot’N Tots with silver color patterns, plus some on a Cotton Cordell Walleye Diver.”

    Mike Mainhart (Vienna, OH) filed 6/28: “My fishing buddy Marlan Blair (Meadville) and I fished Pymatuning after a heavy rain on Friday. We use a slow approach by kayak and canoe. When we mark fish on the sonar, we slow paddle through the spot. Bluegills and crappies are in deep water right now – 16 to 20 feet. The fish are near the bottom. Between the two of us, we caught seven nice crappies, six big bluegills and eight channel cats – always fun in a kayak. Everything hit a Gulp! Minnow in either natural or chartreuse.”

    Conneaut Lake
    Dustin Shay (Meadville) filed 7/7: Dustin reports success on recent outings on Conneaut for big bluegills. He also landed a long-nose gar on light tackle. “Wicked prehistoric-looking fish – check out those teeth,” he says.

    Canadohta Lake
    Jerry VanTassel (Timberland Bait) filed 7/15: “The local anglers have been catching lots of northern pike on golden shiners in the evening just before sunset. They are fishing openings along the weed edge. Other anglers are catching walleyes by trolling a worm harness or a leech on a floating jig just outside the weeds.”

    Chuck Papinchak (Cochranton) filed 7/15: “One of my fishing buddies reported catching a 30” northern pike at Canadohta that had a big bulge in it. When they cleaned it, they found a small duck in its stomach!”

    ERIE COUNTY
    Presque Isle Bay
    Al Nacopoulos (B.A.C. Bait) filed 7/15: “Fish have been biting, but the heat this past weekend has limited anglers to fishing early and late in the day. Panfish and bass are being caught in the Bay. There are still some smallmouth bass in the Bay, with customers catching them off the North Pier. They are catching largemouth bass off both the East and West Piers. Out in the main lake, they are getting perch in 37 to 54 feet, and walleye around 70 feet.”

    Ed Atts (Utica) filed 7/13: “I went to Presque Isle Bay on July 12 to wade fish Marina Lake and Misery Bay. Water was deep green pea color and extremely weedy. The wade fly fishing for bass and bluegills is over for me this year at PIB, but it sure was great in May and June. I had a solo canoe in the truck so I paddled from Misery Bay to Marina Lake and back through the Lagoons. Not as much bird life as earlier in year, but a nice paddle regardless.”

    Thomas Watral (Erie) filed 7/15/13:
     7/15 – Went to the docks the last two days. Got 18 nice perch, 2 sunfish and one big catfish yesterday – all came on minnows except one on a crawfish. Today I caught 26 nice perch, one crappie and one silver bass on Crappie Rigs. Fish are hitting from 6 AM to noon.
     7/13 – Perch, crappie, silver bass and rock bass are being caught from the docks and Piers. Most are using live minnows and crawlers, but some anglers are successful with crawfish.
     7/9 – Fishing has been very good at the Border Pier bass, catfish, perch and silver bass using a two-hook rig with live bait.
     7/4 – Being Fish for Free Day, lots of people were out fishing. Reports have been good from the South and North Piers. Perch are being caught in the lake at 45 to 55 feet. There are still some brown trout in the streams; they are hitting crawlers. Lake Pleasant has been giving up panfish and some trout on the edges of weedbeds.

    Lake Erie
    Gary Heuble (Poor Richards) filed 7/15: “Walleyes are in the First Trench at 70 to 75 feet. They are catching them on either a crawler harnesses or minnow plugs from Bagley’s, Renosky, or Reef Runner. A few steelheads are turning up when trolling plugs for walleye. Perch are pretty much distributed all along the lake west of the Peninsula from 50 to 55 feet.”

    Ric Gauriloff (Trout Run Bait) filed 7/15: “Perch fishing has been very good recently, with catches from 45 to 50 feet off the Point on the peninsula, and on Sunday as deep as 70 feet off the Condos. Back towards Elk Creek, walleyes are in 68 to 70 feet. Best walleye baits are meat on copper blade worm harnesses or Reef Runner plugs.”

    Ken Smith (Sharon) filed 7/15: “My friend and I headed to Lake Erie for perch on Saturday. We called ahead to check on emerald shiners, and learned from our regular shop that none were available. So we stopped on the way for fathead minnows. Everyone that perch fishes knows emerald shiners are preferred but sometimes fatheads will catch SOME Erie perch. We headed out to 48 feet to join the pack of about 50 boats and dropped anchor; we only moved one time. We left about noon when it was getting too hot. We finished with about 40 perch – some very good size ones among them.”

    Norman Brakeman (Westfield, OH) filed 7/14: “Lesley and I took a day off over the 4th weekend and went to Erie for smallmouth bass. We fished the walls in the Bay with tubes with limited success. But when I changed to my B-n-M Crappie Rod with 4-pound Gamma Line and a 1/16-oz. Hooker Bug tipped with a Bobby Garland Baby Shad, I started catching 2 to 3-pound smallmouth one after another in the same place we had just fished with tube jigs!”

    MERCER COUNTY
    Lake Wilhelm
    Bob Mohra (Fergie’s Bait) filed 7/15: “I’m hearing more reports of bass being caught this year than last. Customers are catching them on spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. There some nice crappies being caught on Southern Pro Stingers. Not hearing anything about walleye, however.”

    Ernie Pate (Butler) filed 7/15: “I’ve made three trips to Wilhelm this year and caught some largemouth on each trip. Two of the three trips myself or my brother had a largemouth over six pounds. Looks like Wilhelm may be on the way back – maybe the gizzard shad peaked.”

    Scott Kinard (Ellwood City) filed 6/30: “I took the opportunity to fish Wilhelm on June 30; this was my first trip to Wilhelm this year. I had a good day landing a number of nice largemouth, including one that went over 5 pounds. It was a total post spawn bite; best bait as an All-Terrain Tackle Swimming jig fished around the weed edges. Fish were not tight to cover. Areas near good weeds produced best. From all indications, the lake seems to be fishing better this year than past few years. Bass are still coughing up gizzard shad when you catch them, but hopefully the shad invasion has peaked and is now declining as forecast by Fish Commission biologists.”

    Angler Al (Franklin) 6/29: Stan Hefner and I spent the early a.m. hours trolling cranks on Wilhelm. The weather was perfect for walleye fishing – overcast and cool. Rain was projected and we got it. However it didn’t run us off. We stayed until 9am, but didn’t even get a strike. This makes two weekends in row we’ve been skunked when rigged up for walleye. I would have never figured. I’m wondering what it might be that I’m doing incorrectly these days? Or, is it that this lake just isn’t producing any walleye? Heck, we didn’t even pick up a largemouth bass. Most times we’ll at least get one of them while dragging along. Decided to use items from the new gift package I won (Venom Salty Slings and 5” Skip Shads). Wish I had a positive report, but can’t. I left puzzled and not wanting to waste my time this lake again. Might anyone have a good suggestion or tip for fishing walleye on Wilhelm?”

    Editor’s Note: On Sunday, July 14, Marilyn and I fished Wilhelm for the first time in two years. With all the dismal bass reports coming from the lake in past couple years, we didn’t know what to expect. But based on the fact that gizzard shad had exploded in the lake and the Fish Commission biologists’ belief the big bass are following shad school around the open water, I decided to try an umbrella rig (Yum Flash Mob Jr. with Larew Soft Swimmers) over mid lake humps. I had just interviewed bass pro Jason Christie about umbrella rigs for an upcoming B.A.S.S. Times article, and I applied several of his tips. It paid off with a five-pound largemouth – my first Pennsylvania largemouth on an umbrella rig. We also caught a 24-inch walleye on a Larew Hard Head Jig with Biffle Bug. Of course, we spent some time crappie fishing too, landing a number of these from stumps and brush in 10 feet of water; most crappies were small but several were keeper size.”

    Shenango Lake
    Ken Smith (Sharon) filed 7/14: “I took my granddaughter to Shenango last Monday before all the storms. We caught small crappies and bluegills for a couple hours. But it got so hot we had to get off the lake quickly. Water was high, but didn’t affect the bite.”

    Ernie Pate (Butler) filed 7/14: “My brother Ken and I won the KBBC tournament on Shenango on June 23. We had four bass that went 16.35 pounds – we actually had the three biggest bass in the tournament. Our lunker was 5.54 pounds. We caught two bass shallow and two bass deep. All four keepers were caught on jigs with Zoom trailers. Since all our fish came in the last two hours of the tournament, it was a pretty exciting day for us.”

    Stoneboro Lake
    Chuck Papinchak (Cochranton) filed 7/15: “During the past week I fished Stoneboro Lake for bass. I have been catching 4 or 5 bass each trip – some on topwater and some on drop-shot rig, but none of the fish are very large.”

    VENANGO COUNTY
    Allegheny River
    Gene Winger (Oil City) filed 7/15: “Fishing has been slow this past week. I’ve been averaging about ½ dozen smallmouth per outing. Most have been caught on a Winco 3.75” River Darter Swim Bait fished in 4 to 6 feet of fast moving current above and below main pools. My outings for the past couple weeks included…

     June 26 – with storms predicted on Thursday, I hit the Allegheny a few hours on Wednesday. Good call – I landed over 20 smallmouths in matter of a couple hours. All on Winco 3.75” River Darter Swim baits. Most fish were in the 14 to 16 inch range, but two measured 19 inches.
     June 27 – George Sisul and I fished the river on Thursday morning. With heavy rain and storms predicted, our time was limited. By noon our count was 17 smallmouth bass and two very wet fishermen. Bass bite shut down when the water visibility dropped to about a foot.
     July 7 – After 12 days of high turbid water I could wait no longer. Sunday evening I was back on the water. With water level down to 5.5 feet and clarity improving, I was surprised the bite was slow. I landed only six bass, all on a chartreuse-colored Terminator Spinnerbait.”

    Bill Logan (Pleasantville) filed 7/7: “I went to the river today and back on the 4th as well. Bite was slow in the stained water – all fish came on a Strike King Spinnerbait.

    Oil Creek
    Mike Laskowski (Oil Creek Outfitters) filed 7/15: “With the water temp heating up in Oil Creek, the trout fishing is done until fall. However, the smallmouth bass bite is coming on. Triple Threat Streamers and Wooly Buggers are the best flies. Smallmouth bass can be found throughout the stream, but the higher numbers are from Miller Station Bridge to the mouth of the creek at Oil City.”

    Other trout streams
    Ed Lawrence (Corry) filed 7/15: “With the stocked trout streams warming to uncomfortable levels for the fish, I’ve been fishing the canopy-covered small trickles in the backcountry of Venango County for native brook trout.”

    Justus Lake
    Chuck Papinchak (Cochranton) filed 7/15: “I’ve been spending time on Justus Lake for a big musky. I had several follows this past week and landed one 30 inch fish on a spinnerbait. This past Saturday night, four of us went night fishing for trout. We caught 17 rainbow trout after dark fishing 38 feet of water with split-tail jigs and split-shot – a lure typically used for crappies.”

    Sugar Creek
    Angler Al’s Sugar Creek Journal
     Thursday July 4th – Brother Steve was home. We planned an early a.m. excursion for trout on Sugar Creek. Steady rains hit about 5:30 and by 7:00 Sugar was roaring muddy. Around 9:00 I decided to take a few big lures and a hand full of garden worms down the Burchardt stretch and see if I could get a big brown trout to attack. I only managed to pick up a little, smallmouth bass on a worm. It was neat to see a mature bald eagle on our country’s Independence Day. The encounter was Priceless…
     Sunday July 7th – After an enjoyable few days with family & friends, I decided to try my hand at fishing for trout on Sugar Creek. I set out for Red Bridge, but ended up going further upstream to the Iron Furnace above Wyattville. Though a tad high and brownish, it didn’t take but a few casts with an orange bodied, gold blade, brown haired Rooster Tail spinner and I landed a 10” rainbow. Several casts later, another trout the same size took it. Then I switched over to a fireball egg and suspended it for float. On my first cast, I
    hooked a clone the other two trout engulfed it.
     Monday July 8th – After a full day of good sunlight, water level and clarity was finally right, so near dusk I hit Sugar Creek with night crawlers, fireball eggs & spinners. I caught a 14” rainbow on an egg, a dandy 18” brown on a crawler and a descent smallmouth bass a yellow haired, silver blade Rooster Tail spinner. In my attempt to photograph the brown trout, he released himself.
     Wednesday July 10th – Although we were only afforded an hour and a half to escape to the stream, I had the pleasure of fishing with my cousin/adopted brother Steve Bell (retired Airman the Air Force) and his son, Riley, of Yuba City, California. Steve and I grew up as trout fishermen on Sugar Creek, but 12 year old Riley had yet to ever catch a trout on any water. We went to the stretch behind the Wyattville Store. Steve rigged up with a red worm and I tied on an egg suspended set-up for Riley. 1st cast he got a bite. The second taker he hooked. Nice little rainbow. He also caught a bigger “bow” on a crawler. His dad did well too. He caught a total of four fish. For the 1st time in his life Steve had to purchase an out-of-state license.

    Gamma Line’s Fishing Tips

    Gamma Pro-Staff Tip
    Tip from Gamma Pro Randy Howell: ”One of my favorite techniques is cranking shallow crankbaits through heavy cover to catch big bass. Line choice is critical in this technique, and I choose Gamma Edge fluorocarbon in 14 or 16 pound test. This line extremely abrasion resistant and offers a very low stretch rate so you can hook and land the big ones with ease. Good luck and God Bless.”

    Note change in Gamma Line prize: Starting in this month, the winner of a spool of Gamma Line will be drawn from among the contributors providing information or photo to the Fishing Report, as had been done last year. A packet of Bobby Garland Crappie Baits will accompany the Gamma Line. A prize back of baits will continue to be awarded to a name drawn from among each issue’s contributors.

    Winner of spool of Gamma Line for this issue of the Fishing Report: Ken Smith (Sharon)

    Winner of the Prize Pack of Baits for this issue of the Fishing Report: Ernie Pate (Butler)

    Lures for the Fishing Report Prize Pack supplied by: Case; Gene Larew; Get Bit Baits; Road Runner; Yum; Zipper Worms.

    Follow Darl as he fishes with angling experts around the country at www.darlblack.blogspot.com
    Obtain the PGLR fishing brochure “Reel It In!” at www.pagreatlakes.com


  4. Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report 6/24/13

    June 27, 2013 by oilregion

    Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report
    Reporting date: June 24, 2013
    The NW PA Fishing Report is brought to you by…

    Gold Sponsor: Pennsylvania’s Great Lakes Region

    Connect to all counties at www.PAGreatLakes.com

    Bronze Sponsor: Black Knight Industries, Oil City – Home of Gamma Line

    Bronze Sponsor: Wiegel Brothers Marine, Franklin

    The NW PA Fishing Report provides timely angling information for Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango Counties – covering all species and all waters open to the public. The fishing comments and photos are offered by regional tackle shops and area anglers, complied and published twice a month. The NW PA Fishing Report is based on experiences, observations and opinions of individual contributors; information sources are considered reliable but comments are not independently verified. If you would like to share your fishing experiences or photos from any waterway in the four counties, please email to Darl Black at darlblack@windstream.net. In providing information or pictures, you are agreeing to it being posted in the Fishing Report and distributed electronically to media and websites.

    The Landing Net by Darl Black

    Even though the weather has been unsettled recently, fish catches have continued strong across most NW PA waters. The Allegheny has been on fire for big smallmouth through the high water period. The river rose from torrential rains while bass were bedding several weeks ago. Marilyn and I fished the river on Saturday, and noticed a number of smallmouth bass on beds in typical spawning sites south of Franklin – these late spawners waited for the river to drop and clear a bit. Still, I’m concerned about the survival of fry from the early spawn. Interestingly, the smallies Marilyn and I caught on Saturday, as well as the ones Dale and I caught on Friday, were extremely healthy and plump from eating crayfish – best weight I’ve ever seen for June river smallies.

    NW Pennsylvania Fishing Report for June 24,2013

    Brought to you by PA Great Lakes Region tourism
    What’s biting in Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango counties?
    Sponsored by PA Great Lakes Region tourism

    French Creek: Flowing through all four counties

    Dustin Shay (Meadville) filed 6/23: “On my most recent trip to French Creek this past week, I caught smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and pike. The biggest smallmouth was 3.5 pounds but I lost a real hawg! Several of the fish came on large soft plastic swimbaits with a big boot-tail. Keep in mind these fish were eating even though the Creek was high and dingy.”

    Angler Al (new contributor Al Bell of Franklin goes my Angler Al) filed 6/23: “After church I spend an hour on French Creek. Even though it’s still a tad cloudy and flowing a bit higher than I like, it was fishable. Natural baits were the key for me. With the turn of a rock or two, I can usually pick up a few crawfish. That’s what worked during the noon hour today. Don, a resident along French Creek
    at Sugarcreek, was kind enough to snap a picture of one of the smallmouth bass that I caught and released.”

    CRAWFORD COUNTY
    Pymatuning Lake
    Dave Richter (Richter’s General Store) filed 6/24: “Walleyes are still going strong on the south end. There are still a lot of ‘eye fairly shallow due to cooler than normal water temperature. The 8- to 12-foot depth is producing for many fishermen when drifting nightcrawlers on a jig. Casting crawlers to the deep weed edge is paying off during the day, with some getting a limit doing this. The walleye/alewife deal seems to be happening after midnight, with bait coming shallow late…too late for me to be out and then go to work the next day. Crappies have moved out to deep structure; you can catch them if you like to fish deep cover. There have been a lot of big bluegills recently. And channel cats are being caught everywhere.”

    Chris Hall (Espyville Outdoors) filed 6/24: “As of this past week, walleyes are still being caught SHALLOW. Successful anglers are saying 8 to 12 feet – some even shallower! Floating jighead and AFF Walleye Wizards tipped with nightcrawlers are among the most popular methods. A few limits are reported on Lindy Shadlings, Berkley Flicker Shads, Rapala Shad Raps and Storm Hot-N-Tots. Not many reports about worm harnesses yet. The area of Hemlock Island and south of Padanaran are popular with anglers, as well as between Orchard and Snodgrass ramps. Crappies are still being caught along the causeway and the Espyville Marina Breakwall in the early morning and evenings.
    Try an AFF Lucky Seven hook under a bobber.

    “We have received a couple new products in the shop recently: Custom X Lures and BioEdge Fishing scent. Custom X Lures are musky crankbaits made in Illinois. We are carrying the 5” Mini X and the 6” Chubby. These crankbaits can be trolled at 5 mph and will not blow out! BioEdge is 100% natural fishing scents in both a “Potion” (liquid) and a “Wand” (semi solid). They can be used on any artificial lure. The BioEdge Minnow Potion proved productive during Crappie Camp in May!”

    ‘Hooker’ (Hill’s County Store) filed 6/23: “Pymatuning is being invaded by Hooker Bugs and Monkey Milk! Hooker Bugs are small hair jigs, hand crafted by the Yankee Hooker. They can be tipped with live bait, or select plastic. The Bobby Garland 2” Baby Shad is a great trailer for the Hooker Bug. The Baby Shad is available in many enticing colors, but Hooker has found Pymatuning crappies will pass up a live minnow to eat one of these Baby Shad in a color called Monkey Milk. Reservations for Hooker’s Fishing Taxi can be
    made at Hill’s County Store at Rt. 322 and SR 7 in Williamsfield, Ohio. I’ve included pictures of some recent satisfied customers. A week ago I catered to father and son parties both Saturday and Sunday. On the 15th, crappies were cooperative but the bite was light. The father and son duo had to learn line watching and setting the hook at the slightest movement. Four-pound Gamma Line made all the difference when fishing the Hooker Bug. On Sunday the 16th, another father and son team wanted to fish bass. We caught several nice largemouths on buzzbaits, wacky worms and Texas-rigged flipping tubes. All bass were found in the backs of coves where wood cover met emergent grass.”

    Chuck Sair (Franklin) filed 6/23: “I made several trips to Pymatuning for walleyes in the past two weeks. On the 16th, I fished the North End near Linesville with son Kevin and six-year old grandson Reece. We caught nine walleyes of which seven were keepers. It was extremely windy so we could not troll. Instead we drifted with walleye rigs and floating jigs tipped with crawlers. The wind was so strong we even drifted with Storm Hot-N-Tots, catching several crappies and perch. We ended up getting blown off the lake. On the 20th, my son Reece and my brother Frank joined me. We caught seven walleyes with four being keepers. There was no wind, so we trolled Hot-N-Tots in silver; in addition to walleyes we caught crappies and perch. Water temp was 75 degrees. On the 23rd, again with Kevin and Reece, we caught four walleyes of which two were keepers. Trolled Hot-N-Tots until wind picked up then drifted with walleye rigs in yellow and green for a couple more ‘eye. Water temp was 78 degrees which is making it difficult to find and catch fish.”

    Woodcock Lake
    Dustin Shay (Meadville) filed 6/32: “Two weeks ago at Woodcock, I landed a BIG smallmouth – photo attached. This past weekend I lost a MONSTER smallmouth beside the boat that had hit a musky topwater. It jumped twice and threw the plug. Estimated it at 6.5 pounds plus.”

    Oil Creek
    Jerry VanTassel landed this 23.5” 6-pound rainbow trout from Oil Creek several weeks ago.

    Canadohta Lake
    Jerry VanTassel (Timberland Bait) filed 6/24: “No further word on the big musky – must still be swimming in the lake. There will be a lot of musky fishermen up over July 4th, so maybe someone will connect with it. Also, some customers say that walleyes turn on in the lake during the 4th Fireworks display. Let me know if you catch walleyes during the fireworks show this year!”

    ERIE COUNTY
    Union City Dam
    Jerry VanTassel (Timberland Bait) filed 6/24: “During the recent high water, several of my customers have been fishing from shore and making some nice catches of smallmouth bass, pike, and bluegills at Union City Dam – not Union City water reservoir. One customer brought in a 22.5” largemouth bass from there. But hundreds of fish got trapped in a pool when the water went down – a variety of species were stranded according to one of my customers. I also have reports of excellent bluegill fishing at Edinboro Lake.”

    Presque Isle Bay
    Al Nacopoulos (B.A.C. Bait) filed 6/24: “There are still a lot of smallmouth bass in the Bay; my customers are catching them off the North Pier. Anglers are also catching largemouth bass in Misery Bay. Crappies are being caught in the Marina Bay early in the morning and late in the evening. There are lots of bluegills everywhere. The Bay perch bite is declining, with a few being caught on the piers in the morning and evening. Out in the main lake, walleyes are at 37 feet off the Condos, with another bunch in 56 to 70 feet off the Point.

    Paul Stewart (Butler) filed 6/24: “I fished the Erie piers on Sunday. Nothing on the North Pier but East Pier gave up some nice perch. Looks like the pier perch fishing is done for the summer.” Paul Stewart supplied photo on right of PIB Pier Perch.

    Al Moore (Cochranton) filed 6/23): “The Bassmasters of Mercer County fished the Bay this weekend. It was windy and hard to hold. There was a good spinnerbait and crankbait bite, with a ½-oz. Strike King Sexy Shad getting a number of fish. My biggest fish, a 3 lb. 3 oz. smallmouth, came on a Sweet Beaver. I took 1st place and lunker in the tournament. Smallmouths were in 9 to 11 feet of water; largemouths were everywhere.”

    Thomas Watral (Erie) filed 6/23): “I fished the Bay a number of times this past week. On the 15th, I had a great time with crappies in the Lagoons on salted minnows and Slider Jigs; fish ran 8 to 9 inches. On the 20th, I fished the Border Patrol Dock and got 6 nice perch on crawlers. One angler has 29 perch and 6 crappies. Later in day I moved to the Public Dock and got 10 bass with the biggest one going 18 inches, taken on a buzzbait. Then at the West Slip, I got into rock bass – landing 30 of them on a Slider Jig and Love Bug, with the biggest one going 15 inches. On the 22nd, I went to the West Slip for panfish. Fishing was so good I ran out of bait. On the 23rd, I fished live bait from the piers and caught 8 bass, 30 sunfish and 5 rock bass.”

    Lake Erie
    Gary Heuble (Poor Richards) filed 6/24: “There are good perch at 38 to 40 feet off Trout Run and the Clay Banks. Walleye fishing has been up and down with the cold fronts. The migratory schools of walleyes are starting to show up suspended 15 to 20 feet down over 55 to 65 feet. These walleyes are basically from Trout Run to the Ohio line. Fish are being taken with Reef Runners and Bagley’s on flatlines, and with crawler harnesses behind cookie-size Dipsy Divers.”

    Mike Tome (Trout Run Bait) filed 6/24: “Fishing is good and getting better on the lake. Today, perch are at 42 feet. Walleyes are stretched from Trout Run to the Ohio line in 55 to 65 feet of water. The bigger schools are over in Ohio and hopefully moving this way. Also, there are walleyes in close at about the 30-foot depth, which makes a safer run than going 5 miles out to deep water when there is threat of thunderstorms.”

    Dan Seaman (Elk Creek Sports) filed 6/24: “Elk Creek is still filled with smallmouth bass from the Legion Hole to the mouth; the best bait is live crayfish. There are also big cats in the creek. Yesterday a 7 year old brought in a 30” catfish. The ramp on Elk is good for launching boats up to about 18 feet to get out on the lake. On the main lake, walleyes are in the rocks at 15 to 25 feet, and there are suspended schools out at 50 to 60 foot depth all along the PA waters.”

    MERCER COUNTY
    Lake Wilhelm
    Bob Mohra (Fergie’s Bait) filed 6/24: “Anglers are catching nice bluegills all over the lake. The size of bluegills is much nicer this year than the past couple seasons.”

    ‘Angler Al’ (Franklin) filed 6/22: “Stan Huefner and I were on Lake Wilhelm this morning from 5 AM to 9 AM. I trolled a Hot-N-Tot and he trolled a crawler harness. We were hoping to catch a walleye or two. They didn’t cooperate. The crappies on the other hand did. Stan landed nearly a dozen decent fish, and I picked up a couple too. A chartreuse and orange colored blade on the harness did the trick as well as a perch color Hot-N-Tot.”

    Shenango Lake
    Ken Smith (Sharon) filed 6/22: “I fished Shenango today, the 22nd. With all the boat traffic from a bass tournament and water skiers out as early as 7:30 AM, it was next to impossible to enjoy being on the lake. I caught some crappies and bluegills, but they were small. Caught them on Southern Pro Plastics tipped with Crappie Nibbles. Fish came from 8 to 15 feet over and near brushpiles.”

    VENANGO COUNTY
    Sugar Creek
    ‘Angler Al’ (Franklin) filed 6/19: “There isn’t much traffic on the trout streams now, but there are still fish to be caught. Back on June 12, I fished Sugar Creek one evening, landing 3 rainbow, 2 browns and 2 spitfire smallies, and lost another four fish at my feet. The largest was a 21-inch rainbow. Then on the 18th, I was afforded the opportunity to take 9 year old Aaron Burkhardt trout fishing. I chose a stretch of Sugar Creek near Sleepy Hollow golf course. Considering the rain we’ve had, the creek was low. With a tin of red worms and crawlers, we looked for rushes of current which fed small pools. I instructed him how to handle the rod and how to identify a bite. When he got the first bite, the kid made a brilliant, sweeping hookset, and managed to bring a 10 inch rainbow to the rocks. He caught three other trout around the same size plus a smallmouth bass on a Rooster Tail. His father had already planted the angling seeds in him, and I helped that along. Above all, we had fun…Always, Angler Al.”

    Justus Lake
    Chuck Papinchak (Cochranton) filed 6/23: Chuck reported on an exceptional day this past week at Justus Lake when fish were very active. Fishing with a spinnerbait, he caught 8 bass and two muskies, plus he missed two additional muskies. The largest musky was 45 inches. Landing the muskies without a net while fishing alone was a challenge, and getting a photo even more difficult.

    Allegheny River
    Dale Black (Oil City) filed 6/24: “This past weekend, fishing two to four hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I enjoyed a very good streak on the river. On Friday, fishing with Darl Black, we landed about 30 smallmouth – all very chunky from eating crayfish. Several were dripping eggs which surprised me so late in June. I also landed two nice walleyes and a 20-some pound channel cat – thank goodness for 8-pound Gamma Line. All my fish came on Skippy Fish soft jerkbait on a swimming head (including the channel cat) while Darl caught his fish on a Lunker City Swim Bait and a Larew Sweet Swimmer on a Road Runner Rollin’ Runner head. On Saturday, I caught 15 smallmouths on a Skippy Fish; on Sunday I added another 15 to 20 smallies to the total – again on a Skippy Fish.”

    Bill Logan (Pleasantville) filed 6/23: “On the 22nd, I boated 11 smallmouths on a Lucky Craft Pointer 100. Eight more came up for a topwater chugger in the afternoon when the wind kicked up and it was whitecapping.”

    Jeff Knapp (Keystone Connection Guide Service) filed 6/23: “With higher flows and cloudy water, it’s been a big fish bite for smallmouth the past couple weeks. All of my trips have produced numerous quality fish including many in the 19 to 20.5 inch range. Productive baits have included spinnerbaits (Strike King Midnight Special and Jimmy D’s); Winco’s Predator Craw; and Rapala X-Raps. As of June 23, the Allegheny was falling, clearing and warming rapidly.”

    Steve Udick (Oil City) filed 6/17: “With the river high and murky, we were the only boat to launch at Oil City on this day. I managed six bass – all on tubes. They were in very fast current, not in the relief areas where I figured they would be. All were good size, and full of fight, but none jumped as the water temp was in the mid-60s. I also caught a 25” bullhead on a SR7 Shad Rap. I had caught channel cats on lures, but never a bullhead. All fish were released.”

    Last Friday, Dale Black had a bent rod for four hours on the Allegheny; the strikes never stopped!

    4th of July Week Forecast — Looking for the best bite

    The week of July 4th sees many anglers out for single day outings as well families taking week-long fishing vacations. Make no mistake, if the weather is good, the lakes, creeks and rivers will be crowded –not only by anglers but by general recreational boaters; this will be true for all popular waters in NW PA. So if you don’t like crowds, consider your options carefully – such as going to a smaller lakes that do not have first class ramps or a cottage community around it. If fishing the popular lakes, GO EARLY.

    The Pymatuning walleye daytime bite is dwindling, but you might consider a late night run at the alewife-walleye connection around weedbeds. Crappies are plentiful at Pymatuning and Shenango if you fish deeper. Don’t forget the white bass and hybrid stripers at Shenango – both should be active in evenings around main lake points or humps. Reports of some of the biggest bluegills seen in years are coming in from Conneaut Lake, Edinboro and Pymatuning. Play to the gizzard shad at Wilhelm…try night fishing for big bass with surface baits over open water. The Allegheny River smallmouths await, but if fishing by jetboat over the holiday, you might reconsider; kayakers and canoeist (mostly novices) will form a steady line on the Allegheny if the weather is nice making power-boating a risky venture.

    Typically, the first part of July signals the initial summer musky bite. Few reports have come in this week, but with steady warm temps this could change. Look to Shenango, Pymatuning, Woodcock, Justus, Edinboro, LeBoeuf, and Canadohta…especially for the monster reportedly roaming Canadohta.

    The Erie perch fishing is getting into full swing, and the western walleye schools are moving into Pennsylvania waters. But running out deep during unsettled weather that is forecast through this weekend is very risky. There are walleyes being caught in the 20 to 30-foot depths, so try close. With the main lake being slow to warm, it seems the smallmouth bite should be very good this coming week; likely a lot smallmouth still in relatively shallow water.

    Gamma Line’s Fishing Tips

    Gamma Pro-Staff Tip

    Britt Stoudenmire, New River Smallmouth Guide Britt Stoudenmire is a member of the Gamma Pro-Staff. “I use Gamma Edge 12-lb. fluorocarbon as a leader all season long on all my bottom rigs while fishing the New River in Virginia for smallmouth. I like to start by attaching an eight- to ten-foot piece of Edge to 20/6 braided line via a double Uni knot; I’ll attach a new leader after retying baits shortens the lead to about six feet. I take special care to moisten the knot before pulling it tight to maintain line strength and to trim the tag ends down as far as possible so the knot passes through the guides with ease. I always use a Palomar knot for connecting the Edge to the baits. The leader affords me some flex for presentation and has better abrasion resistance than straight braided line, while giving me all the positive benefits of braided line: no stretch, sensitivity, long casts, etc.”

    Winner of the Prize Pack of Baits for this issue of the Fishing Report: Angler Al Bell (Franklin) and Steve Udick (Oil City)

    Lures for the Fishing Report Prize Pack supplied by: Case; Gene Larew; Get Bit Baits; Road Runner; Yum; Zipper Worms.

    Follow Darl as he fishes with angling experts around the country at www.darlblack.blogspot.com
    Obtain the PGLR fishing brochure “Reel It In!” at www.pagreatlakes.com


  5. Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report 6/10/13

    June 13, 2013 by oilregion

    Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report
    Reporting date: June 10, 2013
    The NW PA Fishing Report is brought to you by…

    Gold Sponsor: Pennsylvania’s Great Lakes Region

    Connect to all counties at www.PAGreatLakes.com

    Bronze Sponsor: Black Knight Industries, Oil City – Home of Gamma Line

    Bronze Sponsor: Wiegel Brothers Marine, Franklin

    The NW PA Fishing Report provides timely angling information for Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango Counties – covering all species and all waters open to the public. The fishing comments and photos are offered by regional tackle shops and area anglers, complied and published twice a month. The NW PA Fishing Report is based on experiences, observations and opinions of individual contributors; information sources are considered reliable but comments are not independently verified. If you would like to share your fishing experiences or photos from any waterway in the four counties, please email to Darl Black at darlblack@windstream.net. In providing information or pictures, you are agreeing to it being posted in the Fishing Report and distributed electronically to media and websites.

    The Landing Net by Darl Black

    Well, it certainly has been strange May and June. Water warms up, only to drop several degrees due to unusually late cold snaps. Serious rain for days at a time. Anglers are still catching fish – although it has up and down at times. Maybe things will stabilize by late June so we can enjoy a pleasant summer. In the meantime, bass season opens this coming Saturday. It’s not such a big deal anymore due to the catch-n-release season in the spring. Still, it’s Father’s Day on Sunday, so you may want to take your dad somewhere for bass where you will not get run over by speed boats. Northwest Pennsylvania is blessed with a number of smaller lakes with respectable bass populations. I would recommend Lake LeBoeuf or Lake Edinboro in Erie County; Woodcock Lake, Sugar Lake
    or Canadohta Lake in Crawford; Lake Wilhelm in Mercer County; and Justus Lake in Venango County. Speaking of Canadohta, you won’t want to dangle your toes in that lake after reading Jerry VanTassel’s report on a monster musky.

    NW Pennsylvania Fishing Report for June 10,2013

    Brought to you by PA Great Lakes Region tourism
    What’s biting in Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango counties?
    Sponsored by PA Great Lakes Region tourism

    French Creek: Flowing through all four counties

    Editor’s Note: No reports from French Creek this week. French Creek continues to run over its banks and is the color of dark chocolate. The high and muddy conditions have existed for over a week, since the heavy rains around June 1st or 2nd; looks like more heavy rains early this week as well. Given the ongoing high water, I would not be surprised that the smallmouth spawn was lost this year.

    CRAWFORD COUNTY
    Pymatuning Lake
    Dave Richter (Richter’s General Store) filed 6/10: “Anglers are still catching walleyes and crappies in good numbers in the southern section of the lake. On Tuesday last week, I went crappie fishing. I caught a mess of white crappie from an 8- to 10-foot spawning hump; many still had eggs. Black crappie spawn is over; found the blacks along the outside weed edge. Walleyes are being taken shallow along weedbeds, likely due to unusually cool water temperatures for this time of year. The best technique for walleye right now is drifting with a nightcrawler on a jig. A few guys are pulling plugs, but not getting many fish. Channel cats are everywhere being taken by anglers targeting walleye.

    Chris Hall (Espyville Outdoors) filed 6/10: “Crappies have been reported in good numbers along the causeway in the evenings. Also, during the PA State Qualifier bass tournament this past weekend, it was reported there are lots of crappies hanging out in the weeds. Walleyes are still being picked up in shallow water, from about 8 feet to 12 feet. Floating jigheads behind a walking sinker or a worm harness seem to be doing the trick. Bluegills are being caught in the weeds, too.
    “From Thursday to Sunday, we had an outing at the shop for members of an internet fishing forum with members from PA, OH and WV attending. There were refreshments, camaraderie, camping and fishing. We could not have asked for a better weekend! The bass were on FIRE! Guys focused on weedbeds from Snodgrass to the Dam. Bluegill, crappie, pumpkinseed and perch were caught, too. A member from WV caught his personal best for three different species. A six-pound largemouth was caught on Friday, and a small perch ate a big Crooked Mouth Tackle Company Kyoban Spinnerbait. Go to www.outdoor-fishing.com to learn more.”

    Hooker (Hills Country Store) filed 6/10: “Hooker’s Fishing Taxi has been busy. Attached are pics of a father and this two sons who fished Saturday morning on Pymatuning; as you can see they had nice mixed bag of species. The black and white crappies were taken from hard-bottom hump cresting at 9-foot on a Hooker Bug and Bobby Garland Baby Shad. With heavy overcast, chartreuse was the color to use. The walleyes and catfish were taken on worm harness with chrome blades fished in 16 feet of water as it approached the creek channel. On Sunday, other clients had similar success. One customer reported catching a number of crappies (12” to 14”) in 10-feet of water by suspending minnows at 6 feet under a bobber. Water quality is great with visibility down to about 6 feet; coontail grass is nice and green.

    “Last week I had great success on oversized panfish by pitching Bobby Garland Minnow Mind’Rs and Slab Slay’Rs on 12-pound line to flooded cover. Other customers reported keeper-size walleye on a worm harness. Going back to Memorial Day weekend, I found myself fishing the Linesville Stumps with a storm rolling in. My first two fish on my new B&M Crappie Rod were a 15” crappie and a 22” walleye. Backtrolling into the wind with the electric allowed me to fish the cover. I continued to catch crappies on a red-n-white Hooker Bug tipped with a Bobby Garland “Baby Shad” in Monkey Milk –what a name for a color!”

    Chuck Sari (Franklin) filed 6/5: “I have made three trips to north end of Pymatuning over the last week. I caught nice walleye on every trip. On the last trip on June 4, I took Doug Clark, and we caught 12 walleye, with 8 of them being keepers. I used Storm Hot-n-Tots with silver finish. We also picked up some nice crappies while trolling for walleye. Other anglers were pulling walleye rigs with crawlers, and enjoying success.”

    Conneaut Lake
    Scott Lobins (Conneaut Lake) filed 6/10: “It was a beautiful day for fishing Conneaut Lake on June 8 when 49 teams participated in the 2013 Bluegill Bev Lobins Memorial Fishing Tournament. The crappie division was won by Greg Chalmers and Bob “King Crappie” Kesslar and the bluegill division by Earl and Theresa Dehanse.”

    Bryan Stuyvesant (Meadville) filed 6/9: “My boy and I fished Conneaut for panfish on Saturday. We did okay on bluegills but could not find the big crappies I had been catching a couple weeks ago.”

    Chuck Papinchak (Cochranton) filed 6/9: “A little over a week ago I had my best day on Conneaut Lake so far this year. In two hours I caught 7 largemouth bass, 2 smallmouth bass and 1 northern pike. Couple of the fish came on a spinnerbait and the rest on a Rebel Pop R.”

    Woodcock Lake
    Chuck Papinchak (Cochranton) filed 6/10: “Last week I fished with Brent Clark on Woodcock for musky. We trolled, cast and drifted with big suckers – no runs, no hits.”

    Benjamin Page (Chief of PF&BC Division of Habitat Management) sent 5/13: “Please see the attached pictures from Woodcock Creek Lake. The Lake Habitat Section did some night electrofishing with Fish Management Area 2 on the evening of May 20th. We caught some big smallmouth bass and some nice black crappie. Good luck on the water!”

    Canadohta Lake
    Jerry VanTassel (Timberland Bait) filed 6/10: “Over the weekend, fishermen were doing very well on pike and crappies. Some of my customers were also fishing Lake LeBoeuf, doing well on pike and crappies up there too. Back at Canadohta, musky hunter Eric Casper was casting a big bucktail from his dock when he hooked a huge fish. He worked the fish up to within sight of the dock, but when the musky eyed Eric, all heck broke loose. The musky did a big flip part way of out of the water and broke free. But that’s not the end of excitement here at the lake. Over a week ago I was up early one morning working in the yard. I heard a chain saw running down towards the lake. But when the saw quit, I heard someone screaming for help. I called 9-11 and headed down to where I thought the shouting was coming from, and found the responders already there and big search of the entire area started. Later in the day, a buddy stopped by the shop to tell me what happened. Seems one of the cottage owners was out trolling on his pontoon boat for musky. A monster fish hit, bent the rod holder and the rod popped out. Scrabbling for the rod, he slipped and went into the lake. The boat continued on and beached itself on the shore, while the angler shouted for help. He ended up swimming to shore. There are a lot of musky stories told at Timberland Bait – some true, some slightly exaggerated. But both of these are true. The explanation is simple – we have at least one oversized monster musky lurking in Canadohta Lake.”

    ERIE COUNTY
    Presque Isle Bay and Lake Erie
    Al Nacopoulos (BAC Bait) filed 6/10: “This past week, fishing was good in the Bay with lots of bass and panfish being caught. Some nice smallmouth came from the North Pier and largemouth from the weedbeds in the Bay. Catfish and even a walleye were taken by my customers from the North Pier. Perch have been biting early and late off the North Pier. Northern pike are reported from Misery Bay, Head-of-Bay and Marina Lake. Out in the lake, perch are reported off the Point at 35 to 45 feet, and walleye at 45 feet.”

    Mike Tome (Trout Run Bait) filed 6/10: “Looks like bad weather coming this first part of week. Up until this past weekend, the perch and walleye fishing were picking up. Last Tuesday, a friend and I limited out on perch. But I was out this weekend and struck out on both perch and walleye. The lake was muddy from the creek run-off from recent rains. I heard the perch head boat was out Saturday or Sunday, and only brought in 20 perch. That tells you things are shut down right now…whether due to the muddy water or NE wind that caused a lake temperature drop. But I am sure things will pick up shortly.”

    Gary Heuble (Poor Richards) filed 6/10: “The walleye and perch catches had been pretty good last week, with perch in 45 to 50 feet and walleye in 25 to 35 feet on stickbaits. Then the NE wind blew in a few days ago and dropped the lake temp from 65 to 54 degrees. There is a huge mayfly hatch going on out in the lake clear out to 45 to 50 feet of water. Perch are likely feeding on the larvae as they swim up out of the bottom. Fishing will improve when weather system blow through.”

    Bill Logsdon (Pittsburgh) filed 6/10: “We fished Erie on Sunday the 9th and caught another 30 smallmouth. We spent more time on the lake between the Cribs and the W’s from 3 to 30 feet, marking lots of fish but zero bites. Went back to Bay and saved the day with smallmouth and largemouth in 7 to 8 feet of water. One on a Senko, but rest came on Rattle Traps. Lake temperature is still 58 degrees.
    What happened to the Senko bite this year?”

    Ed Phillips; filed 6/10: “My wife and I fished out of North East Marina on Friday afternoon, 6/7, trolling for walleye but did not get a release. A charter boat captain told me I have not missed much this year so far. Stayed overnight and went for perch in the morning, but could not locate them and bugs were bad (note: likely mayfly hatch). We stopped at Pymatuning on the way, fished out of Linesville and caught three nice walleye and some perch by drifting crawlers.”

    Paul Stewart (Butler) filed 6/7: “Mike LeDonne and I fished Erie of the north Pier on the 25th. Fishing was good despite the cold front. We hooked 8 smallmouth bass and landed 6 of them, including a 4.5 pounder. We also caught two dozen perch and at least two dozen rock bass – some fought as hard as smallmouths!”

    Ed Atts (Cochranton) filed 6/6: “Fly fishing for nice bluegills at Presque Isle Bay has been pretty good – if you search the flats to find them. They just recently started to build nests. Each trip the bedding area is someplace different. The cottonwood bloom was strong on June 5 making fly fishing impossible by late morning. My buddy kept 18 and I kept 22. On June 3, I caught an 18-inch smallmouth on my Orvis 7’9” Superfine which made for a real battle. All the bluegills have come on a hand-tied nymph.”

    Ric Gauriloff (Trout Run Bait) filed 6/6: “Perch are moving in steadily off both west and east side of town. They are on the move, so you must look for them. Many anglers are getting limits, and size of fish is good. I cleaned a 14.5 incher this week. Walleye are being caught in better numbers. Anglers are getting fish out deeper during the day but still trolling close to shore at night when lake is calm; the F15 Rapala is working. Smallmouths are in Elk Creek as well as Bay; crayfish and leeches are good bet. Anglers on North and South Piers are catching nice perch and rock bass. Fly fishermen are having blast in the Bay on bluegills and smallmouth – and fun with the unexpected pike. Enclose picture of lake trout taken couple weeks ago.”

    Thomas Watral (Erie) filed 6/4: “I went down to the South Pier for perch and had my limit by noon. Biggest perch was 14 inches – caught on a fathead minnow. Other big perch came on a Bobby Garland crappie jig. Hooked four bass but lost them since I did not have a net. The last week in May I caught a few crappies in the West Slip. Got them on a Love Bug Jig; most were about 10 inches. That week I also fished for trout in Four Mile Creek; tried minnows and corn but ended up catching ten trout on a Bobby Garland crappie jig!”

    Robert Muller (Scranton, PA) filed 5/25: “Just home from a week at Erie. Overall, not bad. PIB was the place to catch ‘em. The average smallmouth weighed two pounds. The bass hit various plastics in watermelon red flake and Sand –Tubes, Beavers, Spider Jigs. I just drifted the flats in the Bay, picking up fish occasionally. I tried the lake for bigger fish. One day it was flat and gin clear – I could see big smallmouth in 13 feet but not get them to bite. Next day the visibility went from 13 feet to 4 feet. I fished rocky bottom structure. The third day we got blown off the lake. Thank goodness for the Bay.”

    MERCER COUNTY
    Shenango River Lake
    Ken Smith (Sharon) filed 6/8: “I finally had the chance to take my granddaughter fishing and we had great time on Shenango Lake. We started out casting jigs to shallow brush, catching quite a few crappies – but all were small (6 to 8 inches). Decided to check one of my bluegill spots – the fish were there. We caught over 30 ‘gills but kept only a dozen since Mya loves eating fish. Hope this is just the first of many fishing trips together with her for years to come. I have been spending most of time fishing the Linesville Stumps at Pymatuning; the crappie bite is awesome, averaging 50 fish per out.”

    Editor’s note: On Friday in parking lot in Meadville, I talked with a gentleman (no name provided) with a kayak on his car roof. Said he was going to Shenango Lake for stripers. Stated they had been catching them near the Chestnut Run Swim Beach in the evening.

    Kevin Austin (Farrell) filed 6/1: “I’m back in the game this spring. Attached several pictures of crappies I caught from Shenango Lake. All were taken on a green jig tipped with a minnow and fished a few inches below a bobber in 7 feet of water.”

    Wilhelm Lake
    Bob Mohra (Fergie’s Bait) filed 6/6: “Anglers are catching lots of bluegills and crappies at Wilhelm this week. Bluegills are being taking on Sam’s Ant tipped with a maggot or wax worm, and crappies mostly on live minnows or pearl-colored Southern Pro Stinger. Also, I have heard reports of nice bass being caught off Cemetery Road.”

    Stoneboro Lake
    Chuck Papinchak (Cochranton) filed 6/10: “I fished Stoneboro Lake over the weekend. Water was high –at least a foot higher than normal. I caught four largemouth bass – none of noteworthy size.”

    Neshannock Creek
    Bob Shuey (Neshannock Creek Fly Shop) filed 6/6: “Neshannock Creek is low and clear but some much needed rain is expected. The Caddis hatches are still good and some Sulphurs. This rain should help stream levels for the next 7 to 10 days. The Young Anglers School will be conducted behind the shop from June 10th to 14th from 8 AM to 1 PM. Thanks for your cooperation.”

    VENANGO COUNTY
    Allegheny River
    Gene Winger (Oil City)
    - Filed 6/10: “I fished the river on Thursday, 6/6, and Friday 6/7. With heavy rains on Wednesday, the level was rising and I only landed a dozen smallmouths – all on Winco Wacky Worms in blue/black. Friday was tough, with river running higher and very muddy; a few bass were caught with spinnerbaits tight against the shore.”
    - Filed 5/28: “On Thursday, May 23, George and I landed 65 smallmouth bass on Winco River Darters and Winco Wacky Worms. Most fish were shallow in slow moving water. In the evening I went out with my son-in-law Jeremy and we caught 10 more…an amazing day! Memorial Day weekend, the river temp dropped from 72 to 55 degrees by Saturday morning. Fishing went from amazing to tough. Fishing with both my son-in-laws, Chris and Jeremy, we boated several smallies. The Winco Tastee Tube was the big producer. Found fish in 4’ to 6’ of water close to weedbeds.”

    Venango County Trout Streams
    East Sandy Creek: John Hummel says trout fishing has been fantastic on the creek.
    Sugar Creek: Al Bell says back in May, a visiting friend and he caught over 20 rainbow trout from Sugar in two hours. Al plans on providing current fishing information for Sugar Creek and French Creek.

    Gamma Line’s Fishing Tips

    Ric Gauriloff at Trout Run Bait offers this helpful tip for Lake Erie perch fishing: “I’m surprised more people don’t use this tip regarding emerald shiners. When perch fishing in the summer, we all run the aerator in the bucket in an attempt to keep minnows alive…and they still die. Dead minnows will catch perch, but emerald shiners get real soft. Next time, put the shiners in a cooler or bucket without water and add ice. The minnows will stay fresh, shiny and firm as long as they are on ice. Added bonus – you don’t have to listen to the noise of the aerator. (Ric receives a spool of Gamma Line for this tip)

    Darl’s tip for bass season: “Many anglers think that heavy line is needed all the time for bass fishing, often spooling with 12-, 14-, 16- or 20-pound test. In recent years, I’ve dropped to increasing lighter line for bass fishing. It’s 6- or 8-pound-test for plastics with spinning gear. Rarely do I go heavier than 10-lb. even on a casting outfit – except for 12-lb on my pitching stick and 20-lb on my frog rod. Lighter line sinks faster and provides better action to baits. One major reason I can lighter is directly related to the extreme high-break strength of Gamma lines I’ve been using in the last couple years. This season, I started fishing 4-pound Gamma Edge on a light action G. Loomis spinning rod for tubes, hair jigs and wacky worms; this worked great on the Allegheny. I took the rod on a recent trip to the New River and James River in Virginia, catching numerous smallmouth including a couple citation size 20-inch plus fish. Never broke off. And I sure had fun on the light tackle! Go light when you go Gamma!”

    Winner of the Prize Pack of Baits for this issue of the Fishing Report:

    Lures for the Fishing Report Prize Pack supplied by: Case; Gene Larew; Get Bit Baits; Road Runner; Yum; Zipper Worms.

    Follow Darl as he fishes with angling experts around the country at www.darlblack.blogspot.com
    Obtain the PGLR fishing brochure “Reel It In!” at www.pagreatlakes.com


  6. Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report 5/20/13

    May 22, 2013 by oilregion

    Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report
    Reporting date: May 20, 2013
    The NW PA Fishing Report is brought to you by…

    Gold Sponsor: Pennsylvania’s Great Lakes Region

    Connect to all counties at www.PAGreatLakes.com

    Bronze Sponsor: Black Knight Industries, Oil City – Home of Gamma Line

    Bronze Sponsor: Wiegel Brothers Marine, Franklin

    The NW PA Fishing Report provides timely angling information for Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango Counties – covering all species and all waters open to the public. The fishing comments and photos are offered by regional tackle shops and area anglers, complied and published twice a month. The NW PA Fishing Report is based on experiences, observations and opinions of individual contributors; information sources are considered reliable but comments are not independently verified. If you would like to share your fishing experiences or photos from any waterway in the four counties, please email to Darl Black at darlblack@windstream.net. In providing information or pictures, you are agreeing to it being posted in the Fishing Report and distributed electronically to media and websites.

    The Landing Net by Darl Black

    Well, following the Big Chill that set in May 12 and continued through the early part of last week, the weather has taken an upswing and put fish back in a feeding mode. If the water temperature holds and improves slightly, fish everywhere should be cooperative.
    With the Memorial Day weekend ahead, everyone will be fishing, especially with Monday the 27th being a Fish For Free Day in PA. With the full moon on May 25, expect lots of crappies spawning. And walleyes should be back on the feed, as well. Be sure to check out the special Crappie Camp Report in this issue to get some tips on catching spring crappies, and read Hooker’s Cold Front Tips on the Gamma Page in case the weather dips for Memorial Day.

    2013 PA Crappie Camp Report – Fish Don’t Come Easy in a Late Spring Big Chill

    Unsettled weather made it a test of what it takes to be a Master Crappie Angler

    When Mother Nature threw radical weather changes at NW PA last week, the 2nd Annual PA Crappie Camp became a true fishing challenge. Fortunately Sunday’s snow flurries had concluded before outdoor media and professional crappie anglers arrived in the area on Monday, May 13. Nonetheless on-the-water apparel for Tuesday was fleece jackets and stocking caps. But by Thursday, it was shorts and sandals.

    The State Park Cabins at Pymatuning served as a base of operations for 20-some anglers and angling writers seeking story material and photos. Guests from Massachusetts, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio and eastern Pennsylvania were teamed up with local volunteer anglers who escorted them to three different area lakes – Pymatuning Lake and Conneaut Lake in Crawford County, and Shenango River Lake in Mercer County.

    Given the event was billed as PA Crappie Camp you might expect the specie of interest was crappie. Black and white crappies are perhaps the most popular warmwater fish across much of the United States. Pymatuning and Shenango have excellent populations of both black and white crappies, while Conneaut Lake has primarily black crappies.

    The first day of fishing was too cold, the second day too windy and the third day too blue. (Clear blue sky with bright sun is a sign of post-frontal highpressure conditions which usually gives fish lockjaw.) But hardcore crappie anglers are accustomed to difficult bites, and each day different individuals showed attendees how to handle a particular situation on each lake.

    At Pymatuning where water temperatures had dropped almost ten degrees in two days (rapid temp drop is another turn off for fish), Russ Bailey of MidWest Crappie and TJ Stallings of Blakemore Lures schooled the attendees on how to catch tight-lipped pre-spawn black crappies from shallow pad beds. Using 8-foot BnM rods, they pitched a small bobber with either a 1/24-ounce jighead or 1/32-ounce Road Runner Head (for an extremely slow fall) to openings in the emerging pads. The soft plastic bait of choice on the heads was Bobby Garland Baby Shad in white or shad baitfish patterns. They jiggled the bobber, and then let it sit still until a crappie pulled it under.

    On the deeper breaks and rock piles, Hooker put his guests on smallmouth bass, walleye and yellow perch using both hand-tied hair jigs, and live minnows with a Garland Minnow Mind’R on a leadhead. Meanwhile, local bass expert Ernie Pate showed his out-of-town guests that Pymatuning was a very good largemouth lake as well, having them pitch to shallow cover with a Larew Biffle Bug and bag some big mouth bass.

    Over at Conneaut Lake, crappies were further behind in the spawning cycle than at Pymatuning, so when the bad weather hit these crappies suspended over deeper water beyond the weedbeds. Local angler Bryan Stuyvesant demonstrated how to catch these temperamental fish by drifting a live minnow and bobber outside the weedbeds. Two days later when the suspended crappies became a bit more active, Bryan scored with a 1/16-ounce white Road Runner head and a 2” Garland Slab Slay’R in Double Silver – easily out fishing live minnows.

    Down at Shenango River Lake, the shallow wood cover seemed void of crappies following the cold snap. But spider-rigging expert Dan Dannenmueller of Crappie Now Magazine slowly trolled his multiple lines across the large flats near Clark to discover gold mine of responsive crappies around brushpiles in 10 to 14 feet of water. The 14-foot BnM PST Trolling rods were rigged with a red Tru-Turn Crappie Hook attached above a heavy egg sinker and a trailing Road Runner head with soft plastic bait. His soft plastic selection included Garland Stroll’Rs and Minnow Mind’Rs.

    Also at Shenango, some guests hooked up with smallmouth and largemouth bass on jigs and Larew Biffle Bugs fished along the rip-rap banks of the bridges and campground area – although the bass bite was not nearly as good as the crappie bite.

    Shenango provided me a chance to take a new Garmin echoMAP 50s through its paces. With exceptional sonar reception on the unit, I noted an exceptionally high number of small individual marks suspended throughout the river channel, leaving me suspect as what they were – phantom clutter, baitfish or actual fish. So I made it my mission to find out. Dropping down to 2-pound Gamma Polyflex Line with a 1/32-ounce Road Runner head and a 2” Slab Slay’R, I made repeated drifts across the channel. Once I got the depth zeroed in, I started getting light hits – hooking perhaps one out of four or five strikes. Turns out the marks were fish – very small black crappies. Looks like a tremendous number of black crappies will be entering the 10-inch range in 2014 and 2015!

    Yes, the unseasonably down turn in the weather pattern put all species in a no-feeding mood. But with persistence and the right presentation, attendees at PA Crappie Camp were able to figure out how to make them bite. And free-lance writer Jeff Samsel of Georgia proved he had the right presentations for the most species by capturing the Gamma Line Challenge – landing five different fish species! Bill Decoteau of Massachusetts came in second with four species. During their stay, visiting outdoor writers were able to snap photos, obtain interviews and preview new techniques—that’s what made the 2013 PA Crappie Camp a success! Go Fish!

    NW Pennsylvania Fishing Report for May 20,2013

    Brought to you by PA Great Lakes Region tourism
    What’s biting in Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango counties?

    French Creek: Flowing through all four counties

    Dustin Shay (Meadville) filed 5/20: “I fished the Creek over the weekend for walleye using live creek chubs but didn’t score on the ‘eye. However, I did catch two big smallmouth bass. Since smallmouths in the Creek are on beds right now, I’m not intentionally fishing for them.”

    Chuck Papinchak (Cochranton) filed 5/20: “One of my fishing buddies, Brian Clark, was on French Creek this past week. He caught a 40-inch musky and a 20-inch northern pike. Last week he also caught a couple small muskies at Edinboro Lake and had five follows on Woodcock Creek Lake. It’s start of musky season in NW PA!”
    Thomas Watral (Erie) filed 5/15: “I fished the South Branch of French Creek this week, catching a few trout on a Zug Bug, and several small walleyes on live minnows.”

    John Wipula (Conneaut Lake) filed 5/13: “An evening paddle trip north of Saegertown on Sunday, May 12, produced my 2nd largest creek smallmouth bass ever – along with several others in the 16-17 inch
    range.”

    CRAWFORD COUNTY
    Pymatuning Lake
    Dave Richter (Richter’s General Store) filed 5/20: “Following a very slow bite at the start of the week due to that cold snap, by this past weekend crappies were again biting everywhere on the lake. Some anglers were catching unbelievable numbers, with black crappies taken from cover in the bays and white crappies on brush in deeper water. The walleye bite is also strong on the southern end; wind-drifting with a nightcrawler-tippedjig was the number one fish catcher. I have not received any reports on
    muskies.”
    Chris Hall (Espyville Outdoors) filed 5/20: “The walleye bite has been HOT on the North End this past weekend. Numerous limits are being caught, along with lots of smaller fish. Small floating jigheads tipped with a crawler seemed to be the ticket. A Lindy Fuzz-E-Grub tipped with a fathead minnow caught fish, too. A depth of 8’ to 10’ seemed to be most productive. However fish were being caught deeper and shallower, too. Crappies are being taken on 1/8-oz. jigs tipped with a minnow, especially around lily pads and stumps. An 18.5 inch black crappie was brought into the shop over the weekend; it weighed 1 lb. 10 oz. Good numbers of bluegill have been caught from shore at Orchard Launch and off Westford Rd. behind the Welcome Inn.”

    Dustin Shay (Meadville) filed 5/20: “Over the weekend I made it over to Pymatuning one evening for catfish. I caught a 15-pound channel cat at the Linesville Spillway.”

    Chuck Sari (Franklin) filed 5/19: “On Sunday, May 19, my son Kevin and six-year-old grandson Reece went to Pymatuning for walleye. The walleye fishing was very slow. I talked to several fishermen at the Linesville Boat Launch and only heard of one walleye caught. We did manage to catch some nice crappies while drifting for walleye, including a 14 incher caught by Reece.”

    Norman Brakeman (Hills Country Store) filed 5/17: “Lesley and I wanted to share this picture of C.J. Helarie with a 28” walleye; he caught it on the 16th with a jig and nightcrawler fishing the southern end of the lake. Other customers are catching walleye on Hooker Bugs tipped with a nightcrawler on breaklines in 6 feet of water. Mike Curran and Dick Thayer caught a total of 30 fish, including 9 good-sized walleyes plus perch, bluegill and crappies – all on a jig tipped with nightcrawler.”

    Conneaut Lake
    Bryan Stuyvesant (Meadville) filed 5/20: “I fished Conneaut for a couple hours this evening for bass. Northern pike were chasing everything; caught more pike than bass.”

    Dustin Shay (Meadville) filed 5/20: “My dad and brother have been fishing Conneaut for bluegill and crappie the past couple weeks, and doing very well. This past week they got into some bull bluegills and big crappies in about 17 feet of water.”

    Jim Hall (Meadville) filed 5/19: “I spent 8 hours on Conneaut Lake on Friday, 5/17, catching 12 bluegills, 1 crappie and a 17” white bass – not a good bite. With water temp climbing back to 62 degrees, I thought the fish would be back on the feed. I fished a bluegill tournament on the lake on Saturday and caught some nice bluegills – but not big enough to win.”

    Chad Templin (Meadville) filed 5/19: “On May 13 while fishermen were chasing crappies at Pymatuning, I spent the day at Conneaut Lake with my fishing buddy trying to catch bass and pike. We managed a few of each on spinnerbaits, tubes and BS Jigs. But the real catch of the day was a rare and elusive Conneaut Lake walleye. As you tell by the attire, this was a cold misery day more like late fall; fish were deep. With warmer temperatures by the weekend, Conneaut Lake temperature rose from the mid-50s to the mid-60s. The water is very clear.”

    ERIE COUNTY
    Presque Isle Bay
    Al Nacopoulos (B.A.C. Bait) filed 5/20: “It was a beautiful weekend for fishing in PIB. Bass are biting all over the bay – both largemouth and smallmouth. My customers are catching nice bluegills in Horseshoe Pond, Misery Bay and Head-of-the-Bay. A few crappies are being caught in Misery Bay. Perch are being taken off the North Pier, as well as out in the main lake at 35 to 40 feet of water off The Point. And northern pike are hitting in Thompson Bay.”

    Joe Nichols (Pleasantville) filed 5/19: “We fished PIB on Saturday. It was very busy. We managed to catch 15 smallmouth bass and a couple largemouth bass – nothing over 3 pounds. The fish were taken on crankbaits in 6 to 12 feet of water. Orange seemed to be the color for some reason.” (Orange? Maybe due to the funky water color of PIB – editor)

    Bill Logsdon (Pittsburgh area) filed 5/17: “Dave Gallocher and I fished Erie on the 16th. We caught a total of 26 smallmouth bass. The Bay’s color is strange to say the least. We managed to catch one smallmouth out on the lake with a XD Pointer. The rest of our catch came on Rattle Traps in the Bay. Water temperature on the lake was 53 degrees and in the Bay it was 56 degrees. The new Garmin depthfinder is AWESOME. We marked a spot in the Bay, and all the fish came from that one structure area.”

    Thomas Watral (Erie) filed 5/13: “The Bay bite has picked up; I’ve been catching good perch, sunfish, crappie and smallmouth bass, plus there are reports of lake trout taken at 45 feet in the main lake.”

    Lake Erie and Tributary Streams
    Dottie Heuble (Poor Richards) filed 5/20: “With the high winds recently and drop in lake temperature, there isn’t a lot to report from up here because it has been tough to get out on the Lake. When boats can get out, they are catching perch in 35 to 40 feet off Trout Run and off the Cribs.”

    Mike Tome (Trout Run Bait) filed 5/20: “It’s a beautiful day up here right now, and the perch fishing is just getting ready to break loose. However, the creek mouth and launch area on Elk Creek is silted in and you cannot get a boat out of it right now. That needs to be remedied as soon as possible. Smallmouth bass are on fire in the creeks right now; many anglers are buying crayfish and leeches to fish for bass. I have only heard of sporadic reports of boat anglers trolling the shoreline for walleye at night. Remember, Trout Run Bait is now open seven days a week right through the summer and fall.”

    Becky (Elk Creek Sports) filed 5/20: “Elk Creek and other tributaries are low and clear – we need water. There are still a few steelhead and brown trout in the lower end of Elk, but the warmwater species are more prevalent. Bass moving in the stream is peaking, along with catfish. Perch out in the main lake are a little slow, but when anglers have been able to get out, the magic depth seems to be 37 feet.”

    Ed Lawrence (Corry) filed 5/20: “We focused on lake trout this past week. They are out in deep water and we caught several by trolling spoons.”

    Thomas Watral (Erie) filed 5/18: “I went to 4 Mile Creek on Thursday and slammed stocked trout on a fly with 2-pound tippet; caught and released 32 trout. Went back on Saturday to fish live nightcrawlers on 6-pound line and caught nearly a 100 trout. The creek is low and clear, so you need to stay way back from the water’s edge so not to spook the fish.”

    Lake Pleasant
    Thomas Watral (Erie) 5/15: “I caught some trout and jumbo perch in the weedbeds at Lake Pleasant this week.”

    MERCER COUNTY
    Shenango River Lake
    Laurie (R&L Bait & Tackle) filed 5/20: “Another terrific week at R&L. Lots of people are fishing and lots of fish being caught. But most of my customers are releasing their fish, so I don’t have photos to send. I did include a picture of Joe Minto with a 15-3/4” 2 lb. 4 oz. crappie caught on a live minnow at Shenango Lake. Joe was using a Shakespeare light action rod with 6-pound Trilene Line. By the way, we will be open Monday May 27th– Memorial Day – so stop by for you fishing needs.”

    Larry Claypool (editor of Ohio Valley Outdoors in East Liverpool, OH) filed 5/17: “The weather improved greatly for Thursday morning’s fishing at Shenango River Lake. I fished with crappie experts Dan Dannenmueller and TJ Stallings –both from Alabama. We used a spider-rig trolling system, which was new to me. Dannenmueller has this system down – even when fishing a new lake so far from. First, we ran boat passes with the fishfinder in search of an old roadbed east of the marina. Once identified, we caught about 45 crappies on both sides of the extended roadbed, but only a few were keeper-size. The baits on the rig were set near the bottom in about 12 feet of water. Dealing with a slight wind challenged us to keep the boat under 3 mph. During the afternoon session I fished for bass with Dale Black and Mark McQuown. We focused on the rip-rap west of the ramp because they had caught three nice largemouth bass there in the morning. But all I managed in the afternoon session was a channel catfish!”

    Kevin Austin (Sharon) filed 5/11: “I included a picture of my girlfriend JoAnn’s first crappie of the season. She had just picked up her fishing license, and on her first trip out caught this nice 14-1/2 inch crappie at Shenango Lake.”

    Lake Wilhelm
    Bob Mohra (Fergie’s Bait) filed 5/20: “Anglers are catching a lot of small crappies and bluegills from shore. One customer caught a bunch of bluegills in the 10” to 11” range. I’m not hearing any reports on walleye being taken.”

    Steve Fleckenstein (Clarion) filed 5/17: “My girlfriend and I went to Wilhelm on May 8, hitting a couple spots before the rain chased us out. We caught a bunch of small ‘gills and crappies on my 1/64-oz. hair jigs under a bobber. I caught the only nice crappie – a 13-inch white crappie on a black hair jig. In one cove we caught crappies on every cast – but they were only 6 to 7-inches long.”

    VENANGO COUNTY
    Oil Creek
    Mike Laskowski (Oil Creek Outfitters) filed 5/18: “After a cold spring with lots of high water, Oil Creek is now low and clear – and the fishing is very good. There are numerous Mayfly and Caddis hatches coming off, and that is providing excellent dry fly action. The next two weeks should provide some of the best dry fly fishing of the season. So get out there and take advantage of it!”

    Allegheny River
    Gene Winger (Oil City) filed 5/20: “I’ve been out on the river several times with friends in the past two weeks. Here is a rundown on what we’ve done.

    Thursday May 9th– George Sisul and I spend the day on the Oil City and Reno eddies, landing 22 bass and a 30” northern pike. Most fish were caught mid-day in 2 to 6 feet of water using Winco Solid Body River Darters. A few bass were landed by working steep drops near shallow flats with a Winco C.W. Smallie Jig.
    Friday, May 10th– I had the privilege of fishing the Oil City eddy with my friend Mike Cook and his daughter Kyla, just home from college. With morning thunder showers predicted and cold front moving in we anticipated a short day on the river. To our surprise the storms held off and we fished the entire day – catching 40 smallies and Kayla’s first northern pike. All fish were taken on Winco 3.25”, 3.75” and 4.75” Solid Body River Darters fished in two to six feet of slow moving water and current breaks. This was Mike and Kayla’s first experience fishing the Allegheny with Winco River Darters!
    Thursday, May 16th– George and I spent the day on the river landing 35 bass, all on the 3.75” Solid Body River Darter. Most of the action was in the two to six feet of shallow, slow moving water around emerging weedbeds.
    Saturday, May 18th– I talked my wife Peg into going out a few hours. Sticking to the shallow water, we landed 25 bass on River Darters. My wife caught her best smallmouth ever – an 18” 4.5 pounder. For a Saturday morning, I was surprised to see only one other boat on the river – figured everyone must be crappie fishing on the lakes.
    Sunday, May 19th– I found a few hours on Sunday to some fishing. With the water temperature around 65 degrees, I started out with a Winco Wacky Worm but switched back to a River Darter resulting in 8 bass from shallow water near the shore.”

    Gamma Line’s Fishing Tips

    Gamma Contributor Tip

    Hooker says: Spring cold fronts that cause a dip in the water temperature can be very disruptive to fish in the late spring. The bluebird skies in days immediately following the passing of a front can make for difficult fishing even if the water temperature does not actually dip. If you fish frequently, you may decide to wait for better weather. But if you have a vacation planned, such as an extended fishing
    weekend for Memorial Day, then you must deal with the hand dealt. Fish-catching may have been great days before, but bluebird skies and bright sun can put a damper on your trip unless you adjust.

    Sometimes if the fish had been hitting in the shallows, they may remain there and simply shut down. Or in some cases, they may abandon the shallows dropping back to the next breakline towards deep water.

    In shallow water, fish the thickest cover, and slow the presentation down for crappies and bluegills; going to the smallest jigs or switching to live bait can be helpful. If out deeper for walleye and smallmouth, the same advice works: go to the smaller baits, fish slower and very precisely on isolated structure. One of the best baits for tough conditions is the hand-tied hair jig, such as the Hooker Bug, tipped with a minnow or piece of nightcrawler.

    Note: Hooker provided one of his special Pymatuning Lake maps printed on weatherproof paper as a drawing prize. The name drawing from among this issue’s contributors is Chuck Sari of Franklin.

    Also, to celebrate a successful media Crappie Camp, every angler contributor to this issue of the NW PA Fishing Report will receive two packs of Bobby Garland crappie baits.

    Winner of the Prize Pack of Baits for this issue of the Fishing Report: Bill Logsdon
    Lures for the Fishing Report Prize Pack supplied by: Case; Gene Larew; Get Bit Baits; Road Runner; Venom; Yum; Zipper Worms.

    Follow Darl as he fishes with angling experts around the country at www.darlblack.blogspot.com

    Obtain the PGLR fishing brochure “Reel It In!” at www.pagreatlakes.com


  7. Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report 5/6/13

    May 8, 2013 by oilregion

    Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report
    Reporting date: May 6, 2013
    The NW PA Fishing Report is brought to you by…

    Gold Sponsor: Pennsylvania’s Great Lakes Region

    Connect to all counties at www.PAGreatLakes.com

    Bronze Sponsor: Black Knight Industries, Oil City – Home of Gamma Line

    Bronze Sponsor: Wiegel Brothers Marine, Franklin

    The NW PA Fishing Report provides timely angling information for Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango Counties – covering all species and all waters open to the public. The fishing comments and photos are offered by regional tackle shops and area anglers, complied and published twice a month. The NW PA Fishing Report is based on experiences, observations and opinions of individual contributors; information sources are considered reliable but comments are not independently verified. If you would like to share your fishing experiences or photos from any waterway in the four counties, please email to Darl Black at darlblack@windstream.net. In providing information or pictures, you are agreeing to it being posted in the Fishing Report and distributed electronically to media and websites.

    The Landing Net by Darl Black

    A week ago, Allegheny River smallmouth bass were chowing down. Then one of those unexplained dips in a progressively improving spring bite occurred…just in time for the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association meeting in Franklin. Following a slow bite on Thursday, smallmouth got a case of lock-jaw on Friday when writers hit the Allegheny with local river rats. Everyone struggled to catch fish. Gamma’s Dale Black was trying so hard to put his guests on fish that he ended up going overboard! When Dale laid his rod down to help one of his guests free a line, a bass grabbed the tube jig dangling over the side and pulled the rod into the water. Dale
    dove in after it, coming up with the rod and the fish still attached. Tyler Frantz snapped this picture of a soaking wet Dale Black – with smallmouth!

    NW Pennsylvania Fishing Report for May 6,2013

    Brought to you by PA Great Lakes Region tourism
    What’s biting in Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango counties?

    French Creek: Flowing through all four counties

    Dustin Shay (Meadville) filed 5/6: “On the opening day of walleye, May 4, Justin and I floated French Creek above Meadville seeking walleye with live bait and jigs – but no ‘eyes were caught. Fortunately I had thrown in a couple spinnerbaits for northern pike; those lures saved the day – not just for pike but for bass as well. We found nice-size bass on shallow flats in the timber along shore. We landed about two dozen smallmouth from 2.5 to 3.5 pounds on spinnerbaits. During April, I had been having some great mornings fishing tube jigs for smallmouth in deeper water, but a little over a week ago that bite dried up; now they are shallow.”

    CRAWFORD COUNTY

    Pymatuning Lake
    Editor’s note: Water level is very good at Pymatuning, with water up to the edge of the shoreline grass; plenty of shallow submerged wood cover for crappies.

    Dave Richter (Richter’s General Store) filed 5/6: “On the southern end of Pymatuning, anglers are catching the heck out of black crappies in the shallow wood cover in one to three feet of water; black crappies are on the verge of spawning right now. I would expect the white crappies to move up from deep water shortly in preparation for spawning – but they spawn deeper than black crappies. Walleyes are biting in 4’ to 10’ of water; drifting with nightcrawlers is working. A few spawning muskies are being caught by shoreline anglers fishing live bait, but musky anglers fishing plugs are not catching them right now.”

    Hooker (Hill’s County Store) filed 5/6: “I went fishing this evening for about ½ an hour and filled my wire basket with black crappies – really dark colored ones which indicate spawning colors. I was swimming a chartreuse grub on a 1/8-ounce head over the tops of a weedbed. One fellow told me over the weekend that he is so tired of filleting crappies that he isn’t going fishing for a week in order to rest up. Last Wednesday, I hopped in the boat with Darl Black for about 20 minutes to do some photos; it only took us a few minutes to catch crappies off wood in about 2 feet of water.”

    Chub Hornstein (Meadville) filed 5/5: “On Thursday, Dan Wielobob and I fished the North End of Pymatuning. We started out for crappies in the pad stem beds of bays, but never had a bite. We ran out to crib structures on Hemlock Island, catching a couple walleyes. Back to the stem beds outside Blackjack we went. Only now the crappies were biting. Dan took home 10 very nice black
    crappies.”

    Eric Heil (Franklin) filed 4/28: “I took my daughter to Pymatuning on April 27th. We boated about 20
    keeper crappies and a few keeper perch. I was still finding them in the shallow, dead pad stems. Fathead minnows under a float did the trick. The lake was very busy and we saw everyone catching crappies. It’s a great time to take the kids – lots of action to keep them interested. I included a picture of our lunker crappie caught by my 7-year-old Amelia.”

    Dan Wielobob (Conneaut Lake) filed 4/24: “Chub and I hit Pymatuning on April 23. Not a bad evening. We kept 9 walleye; the ‘eye were taken on chartreuse curly tail jigs and Rapala Minnows at dusk. We also caught 10 crappies, a bass and a channel cat by accident.”

    Conneaut Lake
    Dan Shay (Meadville) filed 5/6: “I have been fishing Conneaut Lake for bluegills and crappies. The crappies seem like they are ready to spawn, moving shallow – only to drop back beyond the weeds when the weather changes. My wife and I kept 30 panfish the other day, but all were from deep water. The pace of the shallow water bite should pick up with extended warm weather.”

    Chuck Papinchak (Cochranton) filed 5/3: “Last week, my buddy and I went to Conneaut to see what was biting. The big smallmouth bite was on! We caught a number of bass over 3 pounds, but our biggest two were 22 inches and 22-1/2 inches. Didn’t have a scale, but these fish were easily over six pounds.”

    Canadohta Lake & Woodcock Lake
    Jerry VanTassel (Timberland Bait) filed 5/6: “Last week the local anglers were catching crappies like crazy in the canals on the north end of Canadohta Lake. Over the weekend, I had customers stop in with reports of both walleye and crappie catches at Woodcock Creek Lake. The walleyes were being caught in 16’ to 20’ of water in the lake, plus walleyes were caught in the Spillway below the dam.”

    ERIE COUNTY

    Presque Isle Bay
    Al Nacopoulos (B.A.C. Bait) filed 5/6: “Fishing has been great the last few days. Everything is biting in the Bay. Anglers are getting jumbo perch from the North Pier, as well as catching some smallmouth bass as they move along the channel; one customer reported a 6 pound smallie off the wall. Northern pike are being caught in Misery Bay and Thompson Bay. Largemouth bass and crappies are coming from Misery Bay. And the bluegill bite is getting started.”

    Paul Stewart (New Castle) filed 5/6: “I fished the North Pier yesterday with a friend. We got 35 perch and a bonus smallmouth bass. We kept 25 of the larger perch.”

    Thomas Watral (Erie) filed 5/5: “I took my niece to the South Pier on Saturday. We caught perch, silver bass and several smallmouth bass. The perch fishing in the Bay has been good for the past two weeks. On calm days it can be tough to get bites; but with a little wind blowing, the bigger perch are active. One of my better days was on April 30 on the South Pier, when I landed 22 perch from 10 to 14 inches on minnows, 2 silver bass on salted minnows, and 16 smallmouth bass on tube jigs.”

    Chub Hornstein (Meadville) filed 5/5: “Dan and I headed to PIB this past Wednesday to see what the smallmouth bass were doing. Using soft plastic, we struggled to get bites at first. But later in the day I switched to a small lipless crankbait. That was the ticket. We caught between 35 and 40 smallmouths by ticking the top of the weeds on the flats in about 4 feet of water.”

    Frank Malek (Oil City) filed 5/1: “The smallmouth bite is finally on at Lake Erie and PIB is on…awesome.”

    Marilyn Black (Cochranton) filed 4/27: “We made our first trip to PIB on April 27th. A nice sunny day but a harsh East lake wind apparently put the smallmouth off their feed – or they simply had not moved into the Bay because of the dirty water. We only boated two smallies. There were so many dead gizzard shad floating everywhere that we hooked gobs of rotting fish flesh while working jerkbaits.”

    Lake Erie and Erie Tributaries
    Gary Heuble (Poor Richards) filed 5/6: “Lots of fishing action going on. They are catching stocked trout in the Gravel Pit. Smallmouth bass are moving into the creeks from the Lake. Perch are being caught in 38 feet of water off Trout Run. Over the weekend, some anglers trolling offshore at dark are catching some walleye on stickbaits – but the shore casters have not had much success yet; lake shore temperature needs to be 55 to 60 degrees, along with calm nights to get them on the beach.”

    Mike Tome (Trout Run Bait) filed 5/6: “Steelheads are pretty much back out to the Lake, and the streams are now filled with smallmouth bass. We’ve had several days of East wind making shoreline fishing for walleyes impossible, but that should change this week. They are getting perch in 30 to 40 feet of water off Walnut Creek. The perch are just getting started. I don’t look for good perch fishing until at least Memorial Day weekend.”

    Dan Seaman (Elk Creek Tackle) filed 5/6: “There are a variety of opportunities right now. In the Lake, anglers are starting to get perch in 37 to 40 feet of water off the PA shore – there are limit catches of jumbo perch being taken. Elk Creek is low and clear, but nonetheless filled with fish – including smallmouth bass, suckers, and few holdover steelheads. Now catfish are moving in. Bass in the creeks are being taken on spinnerbaits, Rapala Minnows and Mepps Spinners.”

    Britt Stoudenmire (Roanoke, Virginia) filed 5/5: “I came up at the last minute to fish for several days. We hit PIB first, but the Bay was dirty and seemed void of smallmouth bass. We moved out to the main lake at North East. We were marking fish in 20 to 22 feet but could not get them to bite. We concluded our trip on Sunday the 5th. We did okay, but not as great as last year. My best five smallmouths over the three day period weighed almost 30 pounds, including ones at 6.25 pounds and 6.50 pounds. On our best day, we caught 50 bass. But the northeast wind and high pressure put the fish down.”

    Thomas Watral (Erie) filed 5/5: “I took my niece to 4 Mile Creek on Saturday. She had a blast, catching a brown trout on almost every cast. She landed 45, releasing all but five which she took home for dinner. The trout were hitting salted minnows floated downstream with a fly rod; twitching the line helped get bites.”

    Inland Trout Streams
    Ed Lawrence (Corry) filed 5/6: “I haven’t had much time to fish. But I have made it to the trout streams a couple times. To my surprise, I caught an 18” largemouth bass from a little trout steam, along with stocked trout. The fish were hitting anything with flash – including Rooster Tails and Mepps Spinners.”

    MERCER COUNTY

    Shenango River Lake
    Laurie (R&L Bait & Tackle) filed 5/6: “This has been one very busy and exciting week at R&L. The weather has been beautiful and people have the itch to go fishing. I had several reports of very nice crappies being caught in the Shenango River as well as the Shenango Reservoir. Most of my customers have been using live bait, while a few of them are still firm believers in the jighead-curly tail presentation. Walleye season came in on Saturday, and I had reports of keepers being caught, with a good number coming from the Pymatuning Creek Arm of Shenango Lake towards Orangeville. Also, walleyes are being caught at Pymatuning Lake on crawlers and worm rigs. Greg Ferlin of Fredonia caught a 2 lb. 2 oz., 15-1/4” bullhead from Lake Wilhelm on a minnow. Being the largest bullhead he ever caught, Greg was excited! Eleven year old Aaron Solderich caught a 6 lb. 13 oz., 23” rainbow trout from Ross Run on a Kastmaster. So far Aaron is winning our Trout Contest!”

    Ken Smith (Sharon) filed 5/6: “I had been fishing Pymatuning out of Linesville ramp all last week and catching a slew of big black crappies drifting a Lunker City Fin-S-Fish under a bobber in 5 to 9 feet of water. I had not fished Shenango Lake this spring until today when I took my step-daughter and son-in-law out. We had lots of small crappies; they are not spawning yet.”

    Terry DeMaria (Sharon) filed 5/4: “I fished Shenango Lake from shore for a few hours on four different times this past week with limited success. I talked to an old timer who fishes the lake all the time; he says the last few years that what he catches are small crappies. The crappies I caught were 7 to 8 inches. I was using my favorite chartreuse curly-tail. Water temperature was 52 to 53 degrees.”

    Jim Melvin (Sharon) filed 4/29: “I’m sharing a picture of a Shenango Lake 17-inch crappie taken this past week by my friend Eric Thomas of Brookfield, OH. Sorry, I don’t have any details on what he was using. The big ones are swimming in Shenango!”

    Shenango River
    Ed Atts (Utica) filed 5/5: “On Saturday, five of us paddled from Pymatuning to Riverfront Park in Greenville. There just isn’t enough water being discharged from Pymatuning Lake to make a good trip. The current flow rate was 28 cu/ft/sec. The median discharge for that date based on a 77 year average is 79 cu/ft/sec. The maximum discharge for that date was 925 cu/ft/sec and the minimum is 3.3 cu/ft/sec. Quite a range! We had to get out twice for downed trees blocking the waterway, and at least a dozen times to walk our crafts through shallows. Some walks were only a few feet but others were 100 feet or more. We had 3 kayaks and 2 solo canoes. We only take 3 inches of water to float these crafts and 3 inches of water just isn’t there in many places. This trip would be virtually impossible in a 2-person craft. I would not recommend this as a float fishing trip unless the water comes up significantly. We were not fishing, but the trip took us 5.5 hours on the water.”

    Bob Shuey (Neshannock Creek Fly Shop) filed 5/1: “Neshannock is fishing well and everything looks good in the 10 day forecast. The stream levels are good and hatches are on schedule.”

    VENANGO COUNTY

    Allegheny River
    Chris Wolfgong (Oil City) filed 5/1: “I hit the river with Dale from 6 PM to 8:30 PM. Fishing was slow. I caught six bass – all small – on hair jigs. Dale was throwing tubes and caught a few more than I did. Smallmouths were not where they were on Friday, April 26, when we had an awesome evening. On the 26th we could not keep the fish off! I lost track of the number caught after releasing my 35 fish. Dale finished ahead of me in the count. I got all mine on hair jigs; Dale was throwing his favorite tube.”

    Gene Winger (Oil City) filed 4/30: “On Thursday, April 25, George Sisul and I launched at Franklin and fished to the Belmar Bridge. With water levels up and stained, we worked hard to boat three bass. French Creek was running high and muddy so we decided to run the river north of Franklin to find clearer water. We headed to a deepwater stretch, positioned the boat along a current break and landed 25 smallmouths in 8 to 10 feet of water using Winco’ 3.25” Predator Craw and C.W. Smallie Jigs. With water temperature was below 50 degrees and a cold front was moving in, small jigs on the bottom produced nice bass – most were in the 3 pound range. George had the biggest one of the day – 20-1/2 inch, five pounds.”

    Kahle Lake
    Duff Kerle (Clarion) filed 4/26: “Steve Hughes and I fished Kahle on Thursday, April 25. We ended up with around 10 bass, catching them on jigs, Shad Raps and spinnerbaits. I caught one over 5 pounds, and Steve caught on pushing 3 pounds. The 5 pounder came in 24 feet of water on a brushpile. Conditions were rough with wind blowing about 30 mph.”

    Justus Lake
    Steve Udick (Oil City) filed 4/26: “Austin Siar, one of the students at Venango VoTec, caught and released this huge musky at Justus Lake this past week. Austin didn’t have anything to measure it with, so I estimated the size of the fish based on Austin’s shoulder to shoulder measurement. I came up with a 50 to 52 inch length with a 24 to 27 inch girth. Some of the tail section is wrapped around his body and hidden from the camera shot. It was suggested the upper jaw may have been deformed or torn from being caught – but it didn’t seem to affect its eating habits.”

    Gamma Line’s Fishing Tips

    Editor’s Note: During May, the crappie and bluegill bite hits the springtime peak here in Northwest Pennsylvania. Having the correct line spooled on your reel is a big plus in hooking and landing crappies and jumbo ‘gills. A thin diameter line will improve line manageability on the spool and increase casting distance with small baits used for panfish. Years ago, my crappie rod was spooled with six-pound test because going lighter resulted in breaking off too many lures and bait hooks when snagged. These days, I have complete confidence in spooling my panfish rods with 4-pound Gamma Polyflex Line. Gamma 4-pound test is the same diameter as another company’s 4-pound-test monofilament, but Gamma 4-pound has a Break Strength of 8.5 pounds – due to a special treatment process at the molecular level. How can a line that breaks at 8-pounds-plus be classified as a 4-pound test? Because the American standard of line classification is based on diameter, not break strength. Therefore, Gamma Polyflex 4-pound is classified by its diameter; the angler gets the performance benefits of a thin line for small baits but the Break Strength of an 8-pound test line. Go Gamma!

    Fishing Report contributor Dean Waldbaum offers this tip for spring fishing: If you put away your tackle last fall without cleaning the reels, you’ve got some work to do right now. Take time to clean and lubricate your reels to insure you don’t have a breakdown when you start fishing. A clean, smooth drag and drive train gearing (along with fresh line) is your best insurance against losing a big fish or having a mechanical breakdown of the reel along the stream or out in the boat. Dean will receive a spool of Gamma Line for this tip.

    Winner of the Prize Pack of Baits for this issue of the Fishing Report: Terry DeMaria
    Lures for the Fishing Report Prize Pack supplied by: Case; Gene Larew; Get Bit Baits; Road Runner; Yum; Zipper Worms.

    Follow Darl as he fishes with angling experts around the country at www.darlblack.blogspot.com
    Obtain the PGLR fishing brochure “Reel It In!” at www.pagreatlakes.com


  8. Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report 4/22/13

    April 23, 2013 by oilregion

    Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report
    Reporting date: April 22, 2013
    The NW PA Fishing Report is brought to you by…

    Gold Sponsor: Pennsylvania’s Great Lakes Region

    Connect to all counties at www.PAGreatLakes.com

    Bronze Sponsor: Black Knight Industries, Oil City – Home of Gamma Line

    Bronze Sponsor: Wiegel Brothers Marine, Franklin

    The NW PA Fishing Report provides timely angling information for Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango Counties – covering all species and all waters open to the public. The fishing comments and photos are offered by regional tackle shops and area anglers, complied and published twice a month. The NW PA Fishing Report is based on experiences, observations and opinions of individual contributors; information sources are considered reliable but comments are not independently verified. If you would like to share your fishing experiences or photos from any waterway in the four counties, please email to Darl Black at darlblack@windstream.net. In providing information or pictures, you are agreeing to it being posted in the Fishing Report and distributed electronically to media and websites.

    The Landing Net by Darl Black

    Saturday, April 13, was the opening of trout season in our area. To be honest, I’m really not interested in fishing for trout during the opening weeks…but I sure love to visit stream and lake sites where kids are enjoying the opening day. I particularly like to see parents
    teach fishing to their young children. This year I stopped by the Youth Area on Deer Creek and at Buhl Park Lake – both in Mercer County. Buhl Park Lake in Hermitage was the spot I spend many a summer day of my youth in the 1960s fishing for bluegills. Recently rehabilitated, the lake was stocked with trout for the first time. This drew a large crowd of anglers. This week’s cover photo is Sharon resident Myron Bundrant helping daughters Mya and Marley on the trout opener at Buhl Park Lake.

    NW Pennsylvania Fishing Report for April 22,2013

    Brought to you by PA Great Lakes Region tourism
    What’s biting in Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango counties?

    French Creek: Flowing through all four counties

    John Wilpula (Conneaut Lake) filed 4/21: “Mike Martin and I floated French Creek between Saegertown and Meadville today by kayak. Water was dirty and high. We caught a handful of 10 to 13 inch smallmouth. All fish cam on Jeff Little’ Confidence Bait Series – the Bird and Finesse Craw on Draggin’ Head. See photo.”

    CRAWFORD COUNTY
    Pymatuning Lake
    Editor: The extremely hot shallow-water crappie bite in north end bays is fading as crappie move out of the pad stems to wood cover. Focus is shifting to post spawn walleye.

    Chris Hall (Espyville Outdoors) filed 4/22: “Perch have been caught at various spots in North End of Pymatuning, including the rocks at the Spillway, Bridge 20, Wilson, Padanaram and causeway; reports of 11” to 13” perch. Most have been caught on crawlers, and some on minnows. Crappies are still being caught around the islands and the mouth of Stewart’s Bay. Walleye bite is sporadic – depends who you talk to. Orchard Access has been productive in the evenings using Rapala F-11 and Smithwick Rogues. Some eyes are coming on bucktail jig and minnows. Snodgrass and Birch’s Landing have reports of shoreline success. Spawn-ready muskies have been observed cruising the Causeway and Spillway; none reported caught.”

    Dave Richter (Richter’s Grocery) filed 4/22: “It was a miserable, cold and windy Saturday, but a few guys caught walleyes, including a 25.75” in a local tournament. We caught a 19.5” smallmouth while walleye fishing; been lots of reports on bass. Also had report at store on a 39” and a 48” muskies taken by shore anglers fishing for walleye and crappies. Last week, I had a good day on crappies – see attached photo.”

    Norman “Hooker” Brakeman (Hills Country Store) filed 4/21: “Snow and cold on Saturday – stayed home. But we went out Sunday afternoon in post frontal conditions. Took a while to find fish, but we ended up with 6 magnificent crappies, 4 jumbo perch, a 3 pound smallmouth and respectable largemouth. All fish came in the back of a cove from sun-drenched water only 2 feet deep. All
    caught on a Hooker Bug. At first I went deep thinking the cold would have pushed fish deeper, but I ended up finding active fish very shallow.”

    Frank Malek (Oil City) filed 4/20: “I was on Pymatuning on Saturday with 30 MPH winds. Between snow squalls, I managed to flip a few green bass from downed timber in bays.”

    Tom Breene; filed 4/18: “I fished the North End on the 17th, on the Ohio side in 3.5’ of water around an island where water temp was 53 degrees. Using a minnow on a small jighead, I caught 6 big crappies and one perch – that was it.”

    Chub Hornstein (Meadville) filed 4/17: “I fished all day in the pad bays of the North End and only caught a dozen crappies. Tried for walleye in the evening – only caught 3 ‘eye on jig and minnow, but only two fish were legal size.”

    Hooker (Hill’s Country Store) filed 4/16: “I took a client out for crappies on the South End after the rain stopped. Using minnows and a float, we put 4 nice crappies in the boat very quickly…then the bite stopped as if someone threw a switch. We tried a different spot and different technique: using a 1/16 oz. Hooker Bug tipped with a grub, we fished 8 feet of water and took a dozen quality crappies.”

    Bryan Stuyvesant (Meadville) filed 4/16: “I fished for crappies a couple times recently but the bite in the North End has fizzled. I went to South End for walleye one evening – nothing.”

    Conneaut Lake
    Steve Hughes (Clarion) filed 4/15: “We took a trip to Conneaut Lake on Saturday. With the wind, we could only fish the east side. We caught 10 to 12 small largemouth bass and 20 small pike on jerkbaits. Matt Hergenroder caught his first musky – a 36 incher – on 8 lb. Gamma Line.”

    Canadohta Lake
    Jerry (Timberland Bait) filed 4/22: “The lake is too cold for any crappie action yet, but guys were doing very well on trout in Oil Creek flowing out of the lake. And I caught a 6 pound brown trout from Oil Creek this week.”

    ERIE COUNTY
    Presque Isle Bay
    Al Nacopoulos (B.A.C. Bait) filed 4/22: “The fishing in the Bay is excellent right now. Customers are reporting nice perch on the North Pier, including many limits. Two burbot were caught off the pier this week. Nice perch are coming from 8 feet of water between the 2nd and 3rd Parking Lot on the Peninsula, and around the Yacht Club. Crappies are biting in Marina Lake, and sections of the Lagoons – including by the Boat Livery. Northern pike are biting in the Lagoons and Misery Bay. Bass fishing is picking up. I was out last night fishing for crappies and kept 23 nice ones from the State Park Marina Docks; the Marina Docks will close to fishing at the end of the month.”

    Dave Lefebre (Erie) filed 4/22: “Danny Jones and I fished the Bay yesterday. With my tackle packed and waiting for the next tournament, I only grabbed a couple Rapala Countdown Minnows. In six hours, we caught 101 largemouth bass – including some beauties in the four pound plus range – on that one type of lure.”

    Chad Templin (Meadville) filed 4/21: “My fishing buddy took me to PIB last week. I managed to catch a 14 pound pike on a pink Zoom Fluke from among the dead and rotting shad everywhere in the bay –the smell was awful but the big pike made my day. Water temp was still in the low 40s. My friend netted, lipped, weighed, measured, photographed and released the fish for me – what a great guy! I’m 0 for two trips at Conneaut this year – still very cold.”

    Thomas Watral (Erie) filed 4/18: “I went to the South Pier today for perch. Started at 8 AM and had my limit by noon. The biggest was 15 inches and the smallest was 9 inches. They were hitting minnows on perch rigs.”

    Erie Tributaries
    Gary, Jr. (Poor Richards) filed 4/22: “There are a few steelheads still in the streams, especially in Elk and Walnut. But most anglers are catching crappies and perch in PIB.”

    Gary Seaman (Elk Creek Sports Store) filed 4/22: “Guys have been catching both steelhead and smallmouth bass in the lower part of Elk this week. One customer hooked two big catfish – neither of which he could land.”

    Mike Tome (Trout Run Bait) filed 4/22: “Because the water remains cool, there are still steelheads hanging in the creeks. And smallmouth bass are starting to move in the streams. That’s an odd mix.”

    Thomas Watral (Erie) filed 4/21: “I went to 4 Mile Creek with my step dad. We landed 20 stocked trout, with the biggest 13 inches. We released all of them. They were hitting minnows. The water is low and clear. Then we went to 6 Mile, where we landed 6 trout on crawlers floated off the bottom. At 7 Mile Creek we landed a few nice keepers in the 14-inch range and lost one steelhead.”

    Ed Lawrence (Corry) filed 4/9: “A friend and I went steelhead fishing the other day. We walked miles of streams. Doesn’t look like much of a spring run, although I had heard of staging fish in the lake. I did manage to catch a 24” female that spawned in a smaller stream.”

    Mercer County
    Laurie (R&L Bait & Tackle) filed 4/9: “Except for trout fishing, not a lot is happening due to the cold, windy weather. We had a 20.25” rainbow trout checked in at the shop. Ken Kopp reported catching a 19” palomino trout from Sandy Creek. Crappies are biting in the Shenango River in the backwater around Big Bend. White bass are running up the Pymatuning Creek arm of the Shenango Lake to Orangeville. We have expanded our business to open a special Musky Pro Shop.”

    Lake Wilhelm
    Bob Mohra (Fergies Bait) filed 4/20: “Shore anglers are catching bluegills and crappies off the Sheakleyville Bridge, at Launch #3 and in the little bay at Launch #4. Ice jigs and ants tipped with maggots and wax worms are working best. Also crappies are being taken on Southern Pro Stingers, too.”

    Deer Creek
    The special designated Youth Fishing Area of Deer Creek saw plenty of activity on opening day. The Boy Scout Troop 254 Saeger town camped there over the weekend, and worked on their fishing merit badges. Volunteers from Trout Unlimited were on hand to provide assistance to youngsters fishing in the special stretch. Bob Mohra at Fergies Bait supplied the live bait for the Scout Troop.

    Buhl Park Lake
    With restoration of Buhl Park Lake completed and the lake once again filled, the PA Fish Commission stocked the lake with trout for the first time ever. The lake drew a good crowd of anglers on opening day, and Buhl Park volunteers were on hand to sell refreshments and special T shirts. The Fish Commission will stock warmwater species in the lake at the beginning of summer.

    VENANGO COUNTY
    Allegheny River
    Steve Udick (Oil City) filed 4/20: “I managed to get down to the river after 7 PM twice this week. With the high water, there is no shoreline, but water color is very nice. With bank full, I was restricted to what I could fish. On the 18th, I landed six smallmouth bass – all on my favorite Rapala Shad Rap – taken at the grass line. On Friday night, wind was whipping waves on the river. I caught one bass on a Zoom Fluke and one on the Shad Rap – again at the grass line in about 10 feet of water.”

    Gene Winger (Oil City) filed 4/2: “I had a great day on the river with my son-in-laws Chris and Jeremy. We landed 20 bass with several in the 3 to 4-pound range. I was very impressed with quality of smallies considering coming out of winter. We were using Winco’s 3.25 Predator Craws and Chillee Willies in 12 feet of water.”

    Oil Creek
    Mike Laskowski (Oil Creek Outfitters) filed 4/22: “Right now Oil Creek is too high, too dirty and too cold for fly fishing. However, given the forecast this week, I am anticipating the creek level to recede and stabilize. There should be good fishing by the weekend.”

    East Sandy Creek
    John Hummel (Kennerdell) filed 4/16: “With heavy rains pushing area creeks over their banks on Friday, and then the cold and wind on the morning of Saturday the 13th, trout opener was tough this year. But friends J.V Varhola, Ray Mazanek, Josh Varhola, George Grimes, Tim Hummel and I managed to catch some trout on East Sandy on live bait and have a lot of fun in the process. On Monday we shifted to Pine Run where conditions were better.”

    Gamma Line’s Fishing Tips

    Gamma Pro Tip:

    Tip from Gamma Pro Randy Howell: “One of my favorite techniques is cranking shallow-running crankbaits thought heavy cover to catch big bass. Line choice is critical in this technique, and I choose Gamma Edge fluorocarbon in 14 and 16-pound test. This line is extremely abrasion resistant and offers a very low stretch rate so you can hook and land the big ones with ease! Good luck and God bless.” Randy Howell

    Contributor’s Tip

    From Ed Phillips: “For those of us who love to catch moat anything on a fly-rod, spring bluegills and crappies are a riot – and not bad in the frying pan! I’ve found larger bluegills and crappies are generally in slightly deeper water than the smaller fish, and the bigger fish like the presentation a little slower, too. To get past the smaller fish, I use an 8 or 9-foot straight piece of 4 or 6-pound monofilament as my tippet. Then I add a very small split shot about a foot from the end of the tippet. I tie a small #12 or #14 dry fly to the tippet. Yes I said dry fly. With this presentation the split shot will be pulling the fly down but the fly itself will actually be somewhat higher. The downside is detecting the strike with the long tippet, so watch the line closely. Bluegills usually like very bright colors, while crappies like more natural colors. I’ve had good luck with the old Micky Fin.”
    Ed Phillips receives a spool of Gamma Line for his tip.

    Winner of the Prize Pack of Baits for this issue of the Fishing Report: Chad Templin
    Lures for the Fishing Report Prize Pack supplied by: Case; Gene Larew; Get Bit Baits;
    Road Runner; Yum; Zipper Worms.

    Follow Darl as he fishes with angling experts around the country at
    www.darlblack.blogspot.com
    Obtain the PGLR fishing brochure “Reel It In!” at www.pagreatlakes.com


  9. Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report 4/8/13

    April 10, 2013 by oilregion

    Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report
    Reporting date: April 8, 2013
    The NW PA Fishing Report is brought to you by…

    Gold Sponsor: Pennsylvania’s Great Lakes Region

    Connect to all counties at www.PAGreatLakes.com

    Bronze Sponsor: Black Knight Industries, Oil City – Home of Gamma Line

    Bronze Sponsor: Wiegel Brothers Marine, Franklin

    The NW PA Fishing Report provides timely angling information for Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango Counties – covering all species and all waters open to the public. The fishing comments and photos are offered by regional tackle shops and area anglers, complied and published twice a month. The NW PA Fishing Report is based on experiences, observations and opinions of individual contributors; information sources are considered reliable but comments are not independently verified. If you would like to share your fishing experiences or photos from any waterway in the four counties, please email to Darl Black at darlblack@windstream.net. In providing information or pictures, you are agreeing to it being posted in the Fishing Report and distributed electronically to media and websites.

    The Landing Net by Darl Black

    It’s April, it’s finally starting to warm up and fish are biting. The hottest bite this week will be crappies at Pymatuning. Everyone like to
    fish for crappies! Ask Colin and Bryan Stuyvesant.

    Trout season opens this weekend, but deepfired crappies taste much better than trout!

    NW Pennsylvania Fishing Report for April 8,2013

    Brought to you by PA Great Lakes Region tourism
    What’s biting in Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango counties?

    French Creek: Flowing through all four counties

    Today, the flow conditions in French Creek are near perfect for springtime smallmouth bass fishing. Expected heavy rain this week will likely increase the flow and create dingy water due to run-off. As soon as the water begins to clear next week, look for a good jerkbait bite.

    Dustin Shay (Meadville) filed 4/8: “The smallmouth fishing on French Creek has been excellent in the last couple weeks. A week ago Saturday, I caught 11 bass in less than 2 hours. Yesterday, 4/7, I caught 13 smallies. All fish were coming on tube jigs or hand-tied hair jigs. Incidental catches included a couple walleyes and musky a little over 40 inches long. I’m looking forward to walleye season opening in May.”

    CRAWFORD COUNTY
    Pymatuning Lake
    If you are looking for crappie or perch, Pymatuning is the place to be this week. The shallow bays on the north end are giving up big black crappies on minnows or maggots, and jumbo perch on minnows or crawlers; fish are in the old pad beds. Wade fishermen and boat fishermen are successful. The shallow crappie bite likely will not last much longer.

    Chris Hall (Espyville Outdoors) filed 4/8: “Perch and crappie were reported from the Padanaram area on Saturday. The key was fishing in less than 6 feet of water, using a bobber to suspend a minnow because the crappies were suspended. Perch were caught on the bottom. Numerous reports of good number of crappies from Stewart’s Bay came into the shop. Perch were hitting at Bridge 20. However, there were only a few reports of walleye being caught.

    Dave Richter (Richter’s General Store and Sporting Goods) filed 4/8: “The best crappie fishing is in the North End of Pymatuning in the various bays and backwater areas; some really nice fish being taken. The walleye bite has been a slow start, and I’m just starting to get reports of decent walleye catches by waders in the evening. The hot lures for waders in the shallows are the traditional Rapala Minnow and assorted stickbaits, or a jig-n-tail. Waders don’t like to deal with minnows. A couple musky hunters stopped in the shop to say they had fished over the weekend without success.”

    Norman Brakeman (Hill’s Country Store) filed 4/8: “Crappies have gone wild in the North End of the lake – in any bay that has old pad beds just under the surface. A bobber and strong line is required. I was out over the weekend, testing my hand-tied Hooker Bug tipped with a minnow versus just a plain minnow. The Hooker Bug and minnow caught more crappies. Over Easter weekend a couple weeks ago, I caught some the biggest crappies I’ve ever seen from Pymatuning in those shallow North End bays. I love to see wading anglers standing beside boat anglers, and both catching fish! But before you head out on the lake for a day of fishing, stop by Hill’s Country Store for a fisherman’s breakfast of crawfish, sausage, sweet corn and potatoes – that will fortify you for the entire day.”

    Jim Hall (Cochranton) filed 4/7: “I fished Pymatuning on the 6th in a bay off Padanaram. Bite was slow but the crappies and perch which I caught were nice size. Crappies came on fathead minnows, and perch on minnows or crawlers. I was fishing 3 feet of water in a bay out of the wind. At one time there were 21 boats fishing in the bay!”

    Colin Stuyvesant, age 16 (Meadville) filed 4/6: “Even though it was a windy and a little cool, I convinced Dad to take me crappie fishing. We launched out of Wilson, and found an area of submerged pads not being fished by other boats. In a couple hours we had more than enough crappies for several meals. While all crappies were of nice size, several were exceptionally impressive – going 13 to 14 inches. There were a couple bonus perch in the mix as well. I was using a crappie jig tipped with maggots suspended below a bobber. Dad was using a bobber and minnow-tipped jig. However, the secret was braided line on our reels so we could pull loose from the pads and land the fish.”

    Conneaut Lake
    Scott Lobins will conduct the 2nd Annual Conneaut Lake Crappie and Bluegill Tournament in June. See flyer posted in Report for details or go to Darl Black’s Facebook page to see the flyer in his Timeline.

    ERIE COUNTY
    Presque Isle Bay
    Conditions at PIB this spring have not favored fishermen; it was either blowing too hard, raining or just too darn cold to be on Erie. Two weeks ago a few bass anglers ventured up, but their reports were dismal – one or two smallmouth, and tons of dead shad everywhere. A bass tournament had been scheduled for yesterday, 4/7, but that event was reportedly cancelled due to the forecast of 35 mph wind. The best times for the Bay are still ahead.

    B.A.C. Bait (Erie) filed 4/8: Customers are reporting perch and crappie being caught from the North Pier, and some nice perch in Marina Lake.

    Thomas Watrall (Erie) filed 4/6: “I went to the SONS of Erie clean-up day on Cascade Creek on Saturday. We gathered a dozen bags of trash. After some work last fall, there is a new look to the creek with new trees on the bank. It would be great if more people were involved in this sort of clean –up day. I went fishing afterwards. Anglers are getting some very large perch around the condo slips and marina docks – perch in the 14 to 15 inch range on minnows. On April 1, I fished Dobbins Landing for a few hours, catching 30 perch in the 9 to 12 inch range on minnow rigs. On March 31, I went to Perry’s Marina all day, and just had a great time with perch, using minnows on crappie rigs and grubs to catch them; I also lost a steelhead.”

    Erie Tributary Streams
    Karen Gauriloff (Trout Run Bait) filed 4/8: “Anglers had a pretty good weekend on some of the streams, especially Elk. A 15-pound steelhead was brought into the shop from Elk. There are a lot of aggressive males still in the streams, and if we get the forecast rain this week, we might see more jacks move into the streams in time for opening day of trout season next weekend.”

    Jeff Staff (Poor Richards) filed 4/8: “With the low, clear water, the steelhead bite is slowing. Some larger winter hold-overs further up Elk and Conneaut Creek; but closer to creek mouths there are lots of 14” to 20” jacks. Steelheads are falling for the typical egg pattern or small nymphs for the fly-fisherman, and single eggs or minnows for the spin anglers. If we get decent rain, I would expect more fish to come into the creeks. Stream water temperatures are still cool enough due to the extended winter weather. It could be a wild day of trout season next weekend. Don’t forget all tributary streams close to all fishing at 12:01 AM Friday and do not open until trout season comes in on Saturday.”

    MERCER COUNTY
    Lake Wilhelm
    Bob Mohra (Fergies Bait) filed 4/6: “I expect a much better year on Wilhelm than the past few seasons, based on the bigger panfish and greater numbers of fish caught through the ice this winter. So far this spring, the fishing has been better than previous years with nice perch, crappies and bluegills being caught off the Sheakleyville Causeway; maggots and wax worms are the best baits.”

    VENANGO COUNTY
    Allegheny River
    Due to the extended winter weather into April, smallmouth bass in the river have been hanging in winter sites longer than usual. Only in the last couple days with water temperature finally climbing into the 40 degrees are we seeing some movement. However, even in the cold waters, river rats were making some impressive late winter catches.

    Jeff Knapp (Keystone Guide Service) filed 4/8: “Smallmouths were quite active on April 7. We were catching lots of bass in the 15 to 19 inch range. Lure of choice were tube jigs in the pools, and hard jerkbaits on nearby rocky flats. Water temperature was 46 degrees.” (Jeff was fishing the southern section of river below Emlenton.)

    Duff Kerle (Clarion) field 4/8: “I fished with RJ Graham on Saturday, 4/6, on the Allegheny. We caught
    around 20 smallies; biggest was around 3 pounds. Most fish were caught on Power Team Food Chain Tubes in green pumpkin. We caught two nice bass on a Silver Buddy and one on a jerkbait. Water temp hit around 44 degrees in the afternoon.”

    Gene Winger (Oil City) filed 4/8: “On Thursday, April 4, George Sizul and I fished the Oil City eddy. With water temperature below 40 degrees, we were anticipating a slow day. To our surprise our first three casts netted two nice bass. Over the course of the day we added another 18 to the tally, all on Winco’s Baby Predator Craws and Willie Wanabee jigs. Fishing directly off the side of the boat helped keep the small jigs on the bottom in 18 to 20 feet of water. Working as slow as possible was the trick. On Saturday, April 6, I arrived at the landing at noon and counted 10 boats – most I’ve ever seen in the eddy at one time! With water temperature breaking 40 degrees in the afternoon, the bite was a little stronger than earlier in the week. But working small jigs on the bottom seemed to be the trick, landing 15 smallmouths.”

    Joe Nichols (Titusville) filed 4/7: “I fished the Allegheny on Friday and Sunday. We really got into smallmouths. Folks around me were catching them too. All bass were nice size. After temp on Friday was 38 degrees, and on Sunday it was up to 44 degrees by late afternoon. The river bite is hot! We caught most of our fish on tubes and vertical presentations.”

    Steve Udick (Oil City) filed 4/7: “I went down to the river yesterday. The fire department has taken down the Ice Boom so the river is not passable for boat traffic going north. Bass are apparently starting to leave the winter holes as I caught several in 2 to 3 feet of faster water – smaller ones. Still catching smallmouth on a Shad Rap with a twitch and pause retrieve.”

    Chris Wolfgong (Oil City) filed 4/6: “I fished the river this afternoon with Dale from about 4 to 7:30 PM. I caught 13 smallies and one hammer-handle pike. All my fish came on my hand-tied red bucktail jig. Not sure how many bass Dale caught, but it was less than 13 while I was with him. He had been out most of the day, having caught 16 smallies before I got there. All on tubes and finesse jigs.”

    Bill Logan (Pleasantville) filed 4/4: “I was on the river today…it was s-l-o-w bite. I caught 5 bass on tubes and blade baits. Fishing a Silver Buddy, I set the hook on a strike, but it felt weird. Turns out I had hooked two bass at once – one on each hook of the blade. I landed them both!”

    Steve Hughes (Clarion) filed 4/1: “Duff, my son and I fished the river on March 30. We ended up with 36 smallies between us. We got into a good flurry right at the end of the day. Everything was caught on tubes. I tried a few other lures but the bass wanted it right on the bottom. Early in the day, they were biting soft, but late in the day bass were more aggressive in smacking the tubes.”

    Chris Wolfgong (Oil City) filed 3/30: “Dale and I caught some fish after you left. I had 6 and Dale had 4. My biggest was 19-¾ inches. We really had to slow down the presentation to get bites. Frank Malek was fishing beside us for a while. He was catching them regularly but I don’t know how many he caught and released. Back on the 27th, Dale, my dad and I fished from 4 PM to 7:30 PM. It was a great night. Our count was 25 smallmouths, although we may have landed a few more because things got hectic at times. We missed a number of bass, too. All fish were caught on tubes or hair jigs (in black or brown). Every bass was over 15 inches.”

    John Wilpula (Conneaut Lake) filed 3/25: “Nothing epic to report on my first trip of 2013 to the river, except I managed to catch my first fish of the season on an olive hair jig.”

    Special Note from Eric Marsh with the Bassmasters of Crawford County:

    “Our Fathers’ Day Buddy Tournament on PIB will be Sunday, June 16. This year we are donating all proceeds to benefit Deb Genter. Many of you know Deb and her husband Rob from fishing or all the community work they do – they are always there to help. Deb has been involved in many District, State and Buddy tournaments throughout the region. She was recently diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing treatment, but is not currently in insured. If you cannot be at the tournament, please consider sending a donation.” For more info, Eric’s email is epmash@zoominternet.net. Or go to Benefit for Deb Genter Facebook Page. There is a special dinner benefit in May, too.

    Gamma Line’s Fishing Tips

    Tip from Gamma Pro Pete Gluszek:
    “Cold water means Jigs and Jerkbaits. When water temperatures are ranging from the low to upper 40s, these two baits offer the angler the best chance for numbers of bass and perhaps the biggest bass of the year.

    “When the water is in the low 40s, I like to use small profile jigs like the Bitsy Bug in 1/8 or ¼-ounce size, with a Yamamoto double tail trailer. Fish it around steeper, deeper rocky areas with little or no current. Allow the jig to sit longer than during warm water times. I typically fish finesse jigs on spinning tackle rigged with 10-pound Gamma Torque braid with a 12-pound Gamma Edge leader.

    “When water warms into the upper 40s, it time for the Mop Jig. Big bass are moving to shallow wood as temps near 50 degrees, and I love this larger profile jig around shallow wood. I use a 5” Yamamoto Double Tail as a trailer. Because I’m fishing around heavy cover, I use 65-pound Gamma Torque with a 25-pound Edge leader. This is a powerful combo that gets the big ones out of heavy cover.”

    Pete is a professional guide and bass fishing instructor on Chesapeake Bay and New York’s Lake Champlain. Get more details at www.petegluszek.com and on YouTube and Facebook.

    Contributor’s Tip from Thomas Watral of Erie:
    “Trout season opens this coming weekend. Here’s a trick for those stocked trout: canned corn resembles the pellet food used in hatcheries. For lake or pond fishing, slip on a light egg sinker, tie on a barrel swivel and add a 14” leader to a small hook. Squeeze the corn to release the juices, stick several kernels on hook and cast out. Steelheads like corn, too.” Thomas will receive a spool of Gamma Line for this tip.

    This year, lures for the drawings are being supplied by the following companies:

    Get Bit Baits; Case; Zipper Worms; Road Runner; Gene Larew; and Yum.

    The winning contributor of the prize pack for this issue is: Colin Stuyvesant

    Obtain the PGLR fishing brochure “Reel It In!” at www.pagreatlakes.com

    Follow Darl Black as he fishes around the country at www.darlblack.blogspot.com


  10. Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report 3/20/13

    March 25, 2013 by oilregion

    Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report
    Reporting date: March 20, 2013
    The NW PA Fishing Report is brought to you by…

    Gold Sponsor: Pennsylvania’s Great Lakes Region

    Connect to all counties at www.PAGreatLakes.com

    Bronze Sponsor: Black Knight Industries, Oil City – Home of Gamma Line

    Bronze Sponsor: Wiegel Brothers Marine, Franklin

    The NW PA Fishing Report provides timely angling information for Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango Counties – covering all species and all waters open to the public. The fishing comments and photos are offered by regional tackle shops and area anglers, complied and published twice a month. The NW PA Fishing Report is based on experiences, observations and opinions of individual contributors; information sources are considered reliable but comments are not independently verified. If you would like to share your fishing experiences or photos from any waterway in the four counties, please email to Darl Black at darlblack@windstream.net. In providing information or pictures, you are agreeing to it being posted in the Fishing Report and distributed electronically to media and websites.

    The Landing Net by Darl Black

    It’s the first day of spring, but you certainly would not know it by looking outside. Regardless, this First Day of Spring NW PA Fishing Report contains a special Fishing Forecast section.

    Also, four area tackle shops are supplying gift certificates for this Special Report. The shops are: Espyville Bait & Tackle; Trout Run Bait & Tackle; Jigger Wholesale; and Underground Angler. Thank you to each tackle shop, please thank them for their support when you stop by. The four contributors whose names were randomly drawn for the certificates are: Trevor Pavlik; Duff Kerle; Frank Malek;
    and Chris Wolfgong. I’ll be in touch with each of you to provide further details.

    And if you are wondering where the photos are for this issue, a computer gremlin erased all of them when I was transfer the photo file of downsized images. Never had it happen before, but they all vanished. I apologize to everyone who sent in photos. I’ll do my best to see it does not happen again. The next Fishing Report will be on April 8th.

    Best “Catch” Opportunities in 2013 for PA Great Lakes Region

    By Darl Black

    With dozens of natural lakes and man-made reservoirs, trout streams, warmwater creeks and rivers, plus Lake Erie, there is no better place to cast a line than the northwest corner of the state. No matter what species you are interested in – panfish, bass, walleye, musky, pike, catfish, striped bass hybrids or steelhead – you’ll find them all the counties of the PA Great Lakes Region.

    PA Fish & Boat Commission’s Pennsylvania’s BEST Fishing Waters Program

    According to Tim Wilson, Area 1 Fisheries Manager the program is intended to steer fishermen, especially novice fishermen, to waters where they have an excellent chance to catch a particular species. “The listing of water by species is based largely on the data collected from our fisheries sampling conducted through trap-netting and electro-fishing, plus historical data. The resulting list details the best waters in our state for specific species. Program waters will be periodically evaluated and updated. This is a great tool for beginning and experienced anglers wanting to focus on a species in a particular region of the state.”

    The complete list of PA’s BEST Fishing Waters can be found on the Fish & Boat website, but here’s the breakdown by species (in alphabetical order) for Erie, Crawford, Mercer and Venango counties.

    Bluegill and Pumpkinseed: 7” and over

    • Conneaut Lake, Crawford County

    Bullheads: 12” and over

    • Lake Wilhelm, Mercer County

    Channel Cat: 16” and over

    • Lake Erie, Erie County
    • Pymatuning Lake, Crawford County
    • Shenango Lake, Mercer County

    Crappie: 9” and over

    • Pymatuning Lake, Crawford County
    • Shenango River Lake, Mercer County
    • Lake Wilhelm, Mercer County
    • Kahle Lake, Venango County

    Largemouth bass: 15” and over

    • Lake Wilhelm, Mercer County

    Smallmouth bass: 15” and over

    • Lake Erie, Erie County
    • Allegheny River, Venango County French Creek, flowing through all four counties

    Musky

    • Pymatuning Lake, Crawford County
    • Sugar Lake, Crawford County
    • Woodcock Creek Lake, Crawford County

    Striped bass hybrid

    • Shenango River Lake, Mercer County

    Stocked trout water

    • Lake Pleasant, Erie County
    • Oil Creek, Venango County
    • Neshannock Creek, Mercer County

    Walleye: 15” and over

    • Pymatuning, Crawford County
    • Lake Erie, Erie County
    • Allegheny River, Venango County
    • French Creek, flowing through all four counties

    Yellow Perch: 9” and over

    • Lake Erie, Erie County
    • Kahle Lake, Venango County
    • Sugar Lake, Crawford County

    The PA Great Lakes Region has waters that hit in 11 of 12 specie categories, missing the mark only under “Wild Trout Waters.” However, several species were not included in the program, but those overlooked species all are found in northwest Pennsylvania, including steelhead – found in Lake Erie during the summer and in Erie’s tributary streams in the fall, winter and early spring.

    Other overlooked species include northern pike, white bass and flathead catfish. Interested in toothy northern pike? Look to Presque Isle Bay, Allegheny River, French Creek, Conneaut Lake, Canadohta Lake or Otter Creek. Want lightning-fast white bass? Check out Conneaut Lake, Pymatuning Lake and Shenango Lake year-round, plus Presque Isle Bay in the late spring. How about the mysterious flathead catfish? The Allegheny River is by far the top producer, and Shenango River backwater above Shenango River Lake is a sleeper for big flatheads.

    “HOT BITES” BEFORE TROUT SEASON

    During the last week of March and the first couple weeks of April, a number of “Hot Bites” expected to occur.

    Steelhead: The Lake Erie tributary streams will have steelhead in them for several more weeks. Fishing for steelhead is permitted until April 11 in allowed tributaries – except where posted as nursery waters – and reopens the first day of trout season on April 13. Check the 2013 PA Fishing Summary for complete details.

    Crappie: Some of the most exciting and interesting crappie fishing of the entire season is happening right now. Crappies are moving into backwaters canals, marshy bays and flooded creek mouths off the lakes and reservoirs, plus slough-like areas off Shenango River, French Creek and the Allegheny River. And they will a near-motionless a small minnow or tiny jig below a bobber. At Presque Isle Bay, check out the Sink Hole and the Lagoons for the first crappie movement after ice-off.

    Perch: Best shot for perch will be PIB’s Head of Bay area, as well as Pymatuning Lake off the Andover Causeway.

    White bass: Sometime in April, white bass will begin moving out of Shenango River Lake up the Shenango River; area between Big Bend and Hamburg is good place to check out.

    Walleye: Closed season everywhere except Pymatuning. Waders will be out in the late afternoon and evenings on the points and where small creek feed the lake. The Linesville Spillway will see a lot of shore anglers.

    Smallmouth Bass: The smallmouth action on the Allegheny River in the deeper pools has already started. This is catch-and-release fishing. Fish slow with hair jigs, tube jigs and other crayfish-type winter baits. Typically, PIB gives up smallmouth in early April form deepwater breaks, but things may be behind schedule.

    Largemouth Bass: Unless we suddenly get a turn-around in the weather with a strong warming trend, the early largemouth bass bites are not likely to materialize. Remember, bass fishing is C&R.

    Musky: Every spring, several of the largest muskies of the year will be taken in April by someone fishing from shore at Pymatuning.

    NORTHWEST PENNSYLVANIA FISHING REPORT: Special First Day of Spring 2013 Issue

    Brought to you by PA Great Lakes Region tourism
    What’s biting in Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango counties?

     

    French Creek: Flowing through all four counties
    Dustin Shay (Meadville): Last week before the snow and cold returned, Dustin had been catching and releasing some nice smallmouth that had been feeding on shallow mud flats. He was using hand-tied hair jigs. During periods when the Creek was ice free over recent months, Dustin caught an assortment of species including musky, northern pike, walleye and carp.

    Ed Lawrence (Corry): Ed sent in a photo of the 23-inch 5 lb. 1 oz. rainbow he caught on a worm this past year from a tributary of French Creek.

    CRAWFORD COUNTY
    Pymatuning Lake
    Dave Richter (Richter’s General Store) 3/19: “The ice is pretty much gone from the lake, although some remains in the southern section towards the dam. There is an occasional walleye reported from the Andover Causeway, but no reports of successful wading anglers yet. With walleye season closed in the river, a couple anglers are catching small perch in the Shenango River below the dam. At the Linesville Causeway in early March during a warm spell, there were several days of impressive crappie catches made by a handful of fishermen– but the fish moved out quickly.”

    Chris Hall (Espyville Outdoors) 3/19: “I have the shop open, but things are pretty slow. Few perch off the Andover causeway and the usual handful of anglers at the Linesville causeway looking for walleye. I had a report from a customer that he caught walleye and sauger in the Allegheny River – uncertain which section of the river.”

    Norman Brakeman (Hills County Store) 3/17: “Hi, Hooker at Hills Country Store. I saw an amazing sight while standing on the shore of Pymatuning – a boat with two fishermen reeling a walleye while a guy standing on the ice behind them trying to grab a flopping fish at his feet. Who says you can’t make every angler happy. However, today the ice is all but gone – definitely not safe. Some walleyes are being caught at the Causeway and by wading gravel bars at creek mouths – not widespread action yet. Some crappies are being taken on Hooker Bugs tipped with wax worm and fished on a float. I’ll be fishing this week, and will let you know how it goes.”

    Conneaut Creek in Crawford County
    Dustin Shay (Meadville) 3/13: “On Monday, I caught 11 steelheads and Dad caught 3 steelheads on my hand-tied green and white raccoon hair jigs. All fish were caught without leaving Crawford County.”

    Conneaut Lake
    Before the ice went out, Trevor Pavlik enjoyed catching largemouth bass and pike on shiners through the ice on Conneaut Lake.

    Canadohta Lake
    Jerry Van Tassel (Timberland Bait) 2/24: Jerry conducted another successful annual ice fishing tournament on Canadohta in February. The winners by fish category were:
    Musky: Harry Hicks with 40-3/4 musky
    Northern Pike: Todd Kaufman (12 years old) with 26-3/4 inch pike
    Walleye: Kevin Ferrie with 21 inch walleye
    Perch: Joe Wailand with 11-1/2 inch perch
    Crappie: Ben Fleet with 11 inch crappie

    ERIE COUNTY
    Presque Isle Bay
    Al Nacopoulos (B.A.C. Bait) 3/19: “The ice is off the Bay, but there are dead gizzard shad littering the
    shore and floating in the water, making fishing difficult and trapping of emerald shiners for our shop impossible. One customer brought in an 8.7 pound brown trout caught off the East Piers. They are catching some perch from the North and East Pier. Fishing should break loose our first warm days in the next week or so.”

    Thomas Watral (Erie) 3/17: “Went down to one of my hotspots on the Bay to check for perch. I talked to a man at the Docks with several nice perch in the 12 inch range. He was using minnows on a perch rig. Checked mouth of Mill Creek, but no steelhead – just lots of dead gizzard shad.”

    Erie Tributaries
    Jeff Staaf (Poor Richards) 3/19: “The upper portions of the tributaries have hold-over steelhead while the lower parts of the streams closer the lake have fresh-run jacks in 14” to 18” range. We had one customer report catching 30 steelheads from Elk with one going 12 pounds. Steelheads were being taken on single eggs and minnows. But if the stream flow increases with rain and snow melt, expect egg sacks and nightcrawlers to be better choices.”

    Ric Gauriloff (Trout Run Bait) 3/19 “There has been good fishing the last two weeks. Elk, Crooked and Conneaut – all producing fish. Shiners, single eggs, stone flies – all producing fish. There’s a mix of jacks and larger fish in the streams. We have weighed more 11 and 12 pounders in the past two weeks than all year. But this is normal for spring. Weather is driving us nuts – ready for warmer temps and a nice rain that may bring in one more run. Over at PIB, perch and crappies are hitting in the Sink Hole.”

    Trevor Pavlik 3/10: “This past weekend with the nice weather, I hit Conneaut Creek for steelhead. By end of day, between four of us, we landed 41 fish and lost 10 others.”

    Bill Logan (Pleasantville) 3/9: “I caught three steelheads from Elk Creek on Friday evening.”

    Thomas Watral (Erie): During the winter months, Thomas continued to send in reports on the steelhead streams around Erie, including Four Mile. Some days he caught fish, some days he didn’t due to water conditions. One day he reported helping some youngsters catch a couple steelheads from Four Mile.

    MERCER COUNTY
    Shenango River Lake
    Laurie Frantz (R&L Bait & Tackle) 3/19: “I opened the Shop on March 1, but fishing has been slow. I’ve had crappies up to 13 inches reported from the early warming spots. And there was a big pike caught from Shenango near Orangeville before the season closed.”

    Two of our regular Mercer County reporters have been on the sidelines recently. Ken Smith is in Tennessee on a fishing trip and Kevin Austin is recovering from surgery. Hope to see both back in action by the next report.

    VENANGO COUNTY
    Oil Creek
    Mike Horrobin (CLTackle.com) 3/19: “The Blue Quill hatch will be starting very soon on Oil Creek and run thru the first of April.”

    Chris Wolfgong (Oil City) 3/19: “I broke out the fly rod the other day – something I have not done in years. I hit Oil Creek on Sunday with my cousin Ed Wolfgong to try our luck in the delayed harvest areas. We fished both the Drake Well and Centre sections. I managed to land my first trout on a fly rod (previously only caught bluegill). I also lost two and missed numerous others. Ed did a lot better landing five trout. All in all a good day for my first outing of the year.”

    Allegheny River
    Gene Winger (Oil City) 3/18: “I fished the Oil City pool for a few hours on Sunday, March 10th and managed to land several nice smallies on Winco ‘Willie Wannabbe’ and ‘Baby Predator Craw’ Jigs. The combination of spring like weather and water temps pushing 40 degrees made for perfect jump start to the season. I counted 8 boats out on the river.”

    Steve Hughes and Duff Kerle (Clarion) 3/11: Duff and Steve caught 7 smallies and one walleye on Saturday the 9th; and 14 smallies and 1 walleye on Sunday the 10th. “Water temp was 37 to 39 degrees – coldest we have ever caught smallmouth. We were using Power Team Lures Food Chain Tubes in green pumpkin and a brown/orange hair jig in 14 to 18 feet of water. We fished on 12 pound Gamma Edge Fluorocarbon.”

    Frank Malek (Oil City): On March 8th, Frank caught 7 bass, two musky and one northern – all on tube jigs. On March 9th, Frank and two friends tallied 25 smallmouths. On March 10th, Dale Black and Frank Malek landed about 35 smallmouths on tubes and coldwater finesse jigs. All fish were in deep water wintering spots.


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