1. 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


  2. 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


  3. 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


  4. 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


  5. 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.


  6. Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report 1/31/13

    February 6, 2013 by oilregion

    Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report
    Reporting date: January 31, 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 is shaping up as another weird winter in NW PA. On the first official day of winter, December 21, we got our first taste of real winter. Then it warms up around the first of January. Then it’s into a deep freeze about the middle of the month. Now at the end of January it’s nearly 60 degrees and rain. Granted, I don’t like the cold, the slippery roads, or the deep snow. But I do know that a thick lingering snow pack that melts slowly in the spring is needed to recharge our water table and keep us from experiencing the low water in lakes and rivers as we did by late summer of 2012. Of course this on-again off-again cold weather is also playing havoc with ice fishermen who look forward to sitting around a hole on hard water. This weather is also hurting local tackle shops that have a stock of ice fishing equipment. The cold returns February 1. And it’s anyone’s guess what Phil will say on February 2.

    NORTHWEST PENNSYLVANIA FISHING REPORT: Special Groundhog Day Issue

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

    Under normal circumstances, this mid-winter Fishing Report would be filled with photos of ice fishing catches. However, the unusual weather pattern prevented safe ice on most area waters until just this past week. Yes, I know anglers have been fishing a couple smaller lakes since early January. But safe ice simply did not exist (or last long) elsewhere. Fishing reports from readers have been very sporadic.With a three-day warming trend this week to the upper 50s with rain, and then Thursday’s high dropping to 20 degrees, who can predict what fishing opportunities will be here by February 1? Will there be ice let? Will steelhead streams opening up? With this being the Groundhog Day issue, it’s only appropriate to bring on the fishing prognosticators!

    French Creek: Flowing through all four counties.
    Dusin Shay (Meadville): Dusin has been fishing French Creek as creek conditions and his work schedule permit. He says walleyes have been tough to come by. But using his hand-tied hair jigs (and sometime live creek bait), Dustin has caught a number of muskies, pike and even a carp. With the warm up and rain, he expects the flooded mouths of tributary streams feeding into French Creek to be the hotspots.

    John Ensworth (John’s Bait Shop): “Our winter hours are 10 AM to 2 PM on Monday thru Friday; 9 AM ill 2 PM on Saturday and Sunday as long as there is ice. Bait shop phone is 814-337-6445, and cell numbers are 330-414-5559 and 814-323-8687.”

    CRAWFORD COUNTY
    Pymatuning Lake
    Scott “Loby” Lobins (Conneaut Lake): During December, Loby achieved some nice mix bag catches of walleye, crappie and perch from the deeper waters of Pymatuning.

    Norman Brakeman (Hills Country Store) filed 1/26: “This is Hooker from Hills country store in Williamsfield. Ice is on Pymatuning. Two inches and thicker on south end where perch are being caught at drop-offs at the intersection of feeder creek and the main channel. North end the ice is thicker and crappies are the rule. Both are being taken on teardrops and Hookerbugs – with more fish falling for black Hookerbugs tipped with a piece of worm or a maggot. The best catch so far is 61 crappies from the North End stump field. All mentioned baits are available at Hills Country Store. We open Monday through Friday at 7 AM; Saturday 8 AM; and Sunday 9 AM. We close at 6 PM on weekdays; at 10 PM on Friday and Saturday, and at 4 PM on Sunday.”

    Dave Richter (Richter’s General Store) filed 1/28: Dave says his late fall fishing for walleye (post hunting season) with blade baits was excellent. “During the first freeze of the lake, there were some guys out on about 2 inches of ice – but certainly not something I would recommend. When the lake thawed two weeks ago, I launched my boat to fish the open water – catching only one crappie. Then the deep freeze came. Over the weekend (26th – 27th) there was 3” to 5” of good ice on the lake. Some guys were catching crappies and bluegills, but only sporadic walleye reports. However, after the warm up this week with rain, I think the ice will be a mess. I certainly would not suggest anglers go out on the lake until we have another period of good freezing temperatures –and always proceed with caution. When you do come up to Pymatuning, remember we are open 7 days a week from 7 AM to 7 PM. We have all the popular blade bait colors, the ice fishing tackle and live bait in the tackle shop end of the store – and all the food, snacks and hoagies to fuel your fishing expedition in the grocery section of the store.”

    Chris Hall (Espyville Outdoors): “Our winter hours are 6 AM to 6 PM, seven days a week. Right now we have fatheads, shiner, wax worms and maggots, with live suckers expected in another week. Plus a full selection of terminal tackle and small ice fishing jigs.”

    Canadohta Lake
    Sarah & Jerry Van Tassel (Timberland Bait): “The Canadohta Lake one-day ice tourney is scheduled for Saturday, February 9th, with a make-up date of February 23rd. Tournament hours are 7 AM to 4 PM; cash prizes awarded at 4:30 PM. Award categories: musky, pike, walleye, crappie and perch. Absolutely no fishing prior to 7 AM. Get your $15.00 tickets at Timberland Bait Shop prior to tournament day or on the morning of February 9th. Bait shop will be open for bait and tackle on Thursday and Friday before the tournament and on the morning of the tournament. Questions? Call Jerry at 814-694-3494 or 814-882-8369. As always, ice fishing is at your own risk.”

    Conneaut Lake
    Scott Lobins (Loby’s Premier Entertainment): “Happy New Year everyone! We are making preparations for the upcoming 2nd Annual “Bluegill Bev Logins” Bluegill and Crappie Memorial Fishing Tournament. The date of the event is Saturday, June 8th, 2013. Walt’s Tavern will once again be the official hub of activities. We will offer on-line registration again this year, as well as entry forms at Walt’s Tavern and other local businesses.”

     

    ERIE COUNTY
    Presque Isle Bay
    Al Nacopoulos (B.A.C. Bait) filed 1/28: “We had good ice in a couple areas over the weekend, but that is in jeopardy with the high temperatures and rain this week. They are fishing off Chestnut Street this morning. Customers had been catching bluegills and a few
    crappies in Misery Bay. In Horseshoe Pond, they were catching bluegill and steelhead. The rest of the Bay is too thin. Who knows what it will be like by Groundhog Day? Not going to make any prediction.”

    Thomas Watral (Erie): Thomas supplies frequent updates on PIB and the tributary streams near the bay. He says the week after Christmas, anglers were catching big perch from the docks until ice started to form. Until the streams froze up, he reported seeing fresh steelhead in the lower pools. On January 24th he reported a few huts on Misery Bay, with the ice supposedly 4 to 5 inches. “I like it about 8 inches before I go out on it,” Thomas says. On January 25, he reported inconsistent ice depths around other parts of PIB. He also checked Lake Pleasant, Edinboro and Lake LeBoeuf – all around 10 inches according to fishermen on the lakes. Thomas email of 1/28: “With the heat up and rain today, the Bay ice has water on it and cracks running off the shore. With continued heating and rain next couple days, things don’t look good for ice fishing on the Bay.”

    Erie Tributary Streams
    Jeff Staaf (Poor Richards) filed 1/28: “The creeks had been locked up with ice this past week – thick enough in some areas that anglers were ice fishing for steelhead on the slower pools. They were also ice fishing in the Walnut Creek Marina Basin. They were catching a few steelheads on either jigs or live minnows. Ice extends about 200 yards out into the lake, but no one thinks it is safe at this point. The rain this week may open up the creeks, but the following days of temperatures in the 20s may only make a mess on the streams.”

    Dan Seaman (Elk Creek Sporing Goods) filed 1/28: “I predict the rain and runoff will blow the ice out of the streams. The drop in temperatures staring Thursday will not freeze the streams because there will be too much flow. I’m thinking the streams will drop to a fishable level by the weekend – and there should be a bunch of fish in them. So get after them before the streams freeze up again.”

    MERCER COUNTY
    Lake Wilhelm
    Bob Mohra (Fergie’s Bait) filed 1/28: “Guys were ice fishing on Wilhelm over the weekend, claiming the ice was 4” to 6” thick – I’m doubting 6”. They did catch some bluegills on ice jigs tipped with maggots or wax worms. I heard from customers that ice fishing has been good on Sugar Lake for big perch, and supposedly there have been a hundred ice shanties on Kahle Lake each weekend. Safe ice ater this warm up? I’m not holding my breath. We will likely need an extended period of low freezing temperatures to make ice safe.”

    Shenango Lake
    Chuck Sari (Franklin) filed 1/15: “Kevin and I with another friend went ice fishing on Shenango a week ago. We caught our limits of nice crappies. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a camera. All crappies were caught on small jigs tipped with maggots. Waiting on ice to get safe again!”

    Neshannock Creek
    Bob Shuey (Neshannock Creek Fly Shop): “Happy New Year from Neshannock Creek. I wanted to let you know about events coming up soon…
    (1) Annual Pre-Season Trout Stock on Saturday March 2
    (2) We will be open every Sunday beginning March 3
    (3) Lunker Stocking and Rod Rale on Saturday, March 9
    (4) I am seeking volunteers age 18 and up to help us float-stock Neshannock both March 2 and March 9.
    (5) The Female Anglers Fly Fishing School is on May 4 & 5 this year. I appreciate your continued patronage. Questions, call 724-533-3212.”

    VENANGO COUNTY
    Kahle Lake
    Mike Kuna (Pittsburgh) filed 1/25: “Anglers have been fishing Kahle Lake for some time, and catching panfish. There is a big ice fishing weekend coming up at Kahle on Feb 2 & 3. I’ll be helping with a kids’ fishing clinic on Saturday the 2nd, and then fishing in the tournament on the 3rd.”

    Allegheny River
    Steve Udick (Oil City): Steve continued to fish the Allegheny through Christmas week and into January – and continued to catch smallmouth and walleye!
    12/22/12 – I survived the Solsice Apocalypse, so I could fish another day. The river level was 8.2 feet but not too muddy. I managed four bass in an hour of fishing – all on minnows.
    12/27/12 – River is down a foot but water is 33 degrees and air is 28 degrees. Fish were hungry – landed three bass and a nice 23” walleye, but left camera at home. All fish taken on minnows.
    12/28/12 – River is down to 6.28 with water temp of 33 degrees and clear. Sun came out and put on a Rapala SR7 Helsinki Shad Rap. First two casts landed a nice bass. Ended day with 9 smallies coming from 4 to 6 feet of water.
    12/29/12 — River was windy and choppy, and the fish were finicky – barely picking up bait. I managed five bass in two hours. WD40 squirted in the rod guides kept them free of ice.
    12/31/12 – Final day of year with goal to hit double digits on bass. Water temp was showing 35.5 to 33 degrees, and air temp was 29 degrees. Started at 1:30 PM. Threw a Shad Rap but no takers. Switched to minnows and caught nine beauties in two hours. My tenth bass came on a Shad Rap. Fish were aggressive on the live bait. Got to mention what a great job the Owner Mutu Light Circle Hooks #4 did on hooking the bass in the lip.
    1/7/13 – Headed to river with air temp at 25 degrees. Sun broke out as I arrived. Could not get a bite on Shad Rap. Switched to minnows, and caught an 18” bass and a northern pike.
    1/12/13 – River was on rise so Pat Murray and I headed to upper Rockmere. We anchored up just below Monkey Face Rock and jigged minnows. Pat landed two big egg-laden walleyes at 23” and 25“. I got a 35” musky. All fish came on big minnows, and were released. Forgot the camera of course!
    1/13/13 – Water is bank full with little room to walk. Above Oil Creek, color not bad. Water temp 38. I caught 4 nice bass and a 21” walleye all on minnows.

    Gene Winger (Oil City): Gene hung in there fishing the river into January using only jigs, sot plastic and swimbaits all from Winco’s.
    12/31/12 – My son-in-law Chris Wehr and I fished the Oil City eddy and laded some nice walleyes, smallies and a 40” musky, which fell for a Winco’s Baby Predator Craw.
    1/14/13 – It was a tough day on the river. We only boated tow bass and no idea how many we missed. With water temp at 33 degrees, the bass were sooo sluggish. We just could not get the feel for things. I caught both fish on Winco Swim Bait.
    1/19/13 – Darl Black joined me for this ouing. Air temp was nice, but it was very windy, leaving few places to fish. I caught a nice walleye right off the bat on a Winco Swimbait on darter head, but no fish the rest of the. Darl dropped a walleye at the boat. We failed to hook a smallmouth. I think it may be time to winterize the boat.

    This Mid-Winter’s Best Bets

    Safe ice usually forms first and remains longest on certain small lakes in the NW PA that are nestled in valleys. These include Canadohta, Kahle, Sugar, Two Mile, Edinboro and Pleasant. Canadohta in particular seems to be in a unique deep freeze location. These would be the places to check for safe ice ater the warm up. Conneaut Lake and Wilhelm would likely be next to freeze.

    Pymatuning’s large acreage will freeze later than most area waters. But the impoundment most likely to not to have safe ice is Shenango – due to the strong river current flowing through the drawn down lake. At Shenango, you want to stay away from the main channel on this lake even if it appears iced over. Unlike Pymatuning where anglers fish everywhere on the lake, there are only three or four areas that anglers ice fish on Shenango: Golden Run Access, Celery Farm (from old RR Bed near Game Commission building on Lake Rd.), Chestnut Run Access and behind the islands at the Rt. 846 bridge.

    The Allegheny River and French Creek will like remain open for a period of time after this warm up. Walleye and musky will be the focus of anglers. If the ice isn’t safe on lakes and the Allegheny & French Creek are too chunked up to fish, you can almost always find fishable water at the ouflow areas at Pymatuning Dam, Shenango Dam and Woodcock Dam. Walleyes are available at all three, along with possible musky, pike, crappie and perch.

    Dustin Shay of Meadville Continues to make spectacular catches from French Creek right through the winter… Carp and musky love his hair jigs.

    Gamma Line’s Fishing Tips
    Bill Logan of Pleasantville offers this winter steelhead ip: For steelheading, pre-rig double fly rigs at home. With pre-tied rigs you tie only one knot instead of three when in the field. Double fly rigs cover more of the water column often resulting in more strikes. I use a leader folder to hold egg and nymph rigs. Each one is wrapped around thin cardboard strips that I cut from cereal boxes. Streamers like wooly buggers will be crushed in the folder, so they go in the smallest clear tackle box you find.

    Thomas Watral of Erie offers ice fishing safety advice: According to information from the SONS of Lake Erie’s ice recommendation chart, ice that is only 2 to 3 inches thick is unsafe. Safe ice minimum is 4 inches for foot travel and 5 inches for one snowmobile, and at least 12 inches for a medium size truck. Carry a spud bar with you to test thickness as you go across the ice. Also, have a long cord running up your jacket sleeve, across the shoulders and down the other sleeve; tie your hand spikes to each end of the cord and stuff up the sleeve – these spikes can help pull you out of the water should you go through. Wear a PFD, carry a rope with a float and never go alone. Remember, no ice is completely safe.

    Bill will receive Gamma Steelhead Leaders, and Thomas will receive a spool of Gamma Ice Line.

    Fish and Boat Commission Announces Erie County Stocking Changes
    Staff from the PFBC will stock brown trout into East Basin Pond, West Basin Pond, and Upper Gravel Pit on one day only – February 5, 2013. The meeing locaion will be at Upper Gravel Pit at 1:00 pm. Anglers can easily search the trout stocking schedules for locaions
    and dates of interest by going to www.fishandboat.com, click on the link for 2013 Trout Stocking Schedules and select a county.

    Prize Pack for this issue of Fishing Report is being supplied by: Gene Larew Lures

    The winning contributor of the prize pack is: Steve Udick

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


  7. Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report 12/12/12

    January 8, 2013 by oilregion

    Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report
    Reporting date: December 12, 2012
    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

    Happy Winter Solstice! In addition to being the first day of winter, December 21 has the shortest amount of daylight of the entire year. From here on out until the Summer Solstice, the days keep getting longer. I now start my count down to the Spring Equinox – the first day of spring on March 22…91 days away! While safe ice may be some time off in the future, there are several open water opportunities right now for anyone looking to fish during the Christmas/New Year’s Holidays. Check the pages of the Fishing Report: steelhead, walleye, crappies and smallmouth bass are in the news. PS: Blade baits are great coldwater lures. Check out my article on Blade Baits in the January BASSMASTER Magazine.

    NORTHWEST PENNSYLVANIA FISHING REPORT for December 12, 2012

    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 Editor’s Note – 12/20: With recent rains, the level of French Creek is ideal for movement of walleyes into identifiable high-water spots. French Creek should be in near-perfect fishing condition (high but clearing if no high temps to melt snow) for the week after Christmas and into January – although low temps may result in slush ice in the stream. What’s the potential of the creek this time of year? Best opportunity for trophy size walleyes. It was the holiday week back in the late 1980s that the late Ed Gray – renowned French Creek angler – caught an 11 pound walleye on New Year’s Eve and a 14- pound walleye on New Year’s Day; both fish taken on hand-tied white hair jigs. This time of year on French Creek, from Franklin north almost to Union City, walleyes are being taken on live creek minnows and hair jigs.

    Ed Lawrence (Union City) filed 12/20: “I’ve been really busy but managed to drop a line a few times. I have been catching some walleye from French Creek the past few weeks.”

    Doug Devore (Cochranton) 12/15: Doug reports having some very good walleye and smallmouth catches from French Creek during December on live creek bait and jigs.

    CRAWFORD COUNTY
    Pymatuning Lake
    Editor’s Note – 12/20: Starting around the first of December, anglers finally began reporting fairly decent walleye catches from Pymatuning on blade baits and the bite has continued through the month. Perhaps the exceptionally low water in the reservoir during October and November was in some way detrimental to the walleye bite.

    Norm Brakeman (Hills Country Store) filed 12/20: “The water level at Pymatuning is back up and you can now launch at several ramps. I plan to be back on the water in my boat as soon as this snow storm subsides. One of my customers has been catching walleyes by wadefishing the shoreline, casting both blade baits and long minnow plugs. When he hits the right spot, he limits out in 20 to 30 minutes – but he may have a long walk before finding a bunch of walleye. Other anglers are catching some nice crappies off the docks at Jamestown Marina – not those little ones, but crappies in the 12 to 14-inch range.”

    Chub Hornstein (Meadville) filed 12/16: “Dan Wielobob and I fished Pymatuning on December 14 th and 15 th , having our best two days this fall on the lake. On Thursday evening, we caught 8 legal walleye and Friday evening we had 6 legal – plus numerous short ones. All on blade baits around 12 foot depth.”

    ERIE COUNTY
    Editor’s Note – 12/20: With each rain in December, fresh steelhead have been moving into the tributaries making this a better than usual December for steelhead. When I stopped by the mouth of Trout Run on Saturday, December 16th, anglers were still catching steelhead in the lake. Fishermen told me the best bite was late in the day at dusk. I watched steelheads scoot behind the line of shoreline wading anglers and attempt to work their way into Trout Run (no fishing permitted) where hundreds of dark steelhead were holding in the first hole, unable to move upstream. With rain and snow this week, expect some fresh fish to move into the streams where you are permitted to fish. It should be a Merry Christmas for steelheaders!

    Erie Tributaries
    Matt Hyrcyk (Poor Richards) filed 12/20: “Each time we have high water, additional steelheads have been moving into the tribs. We have high and dingy water right now. But if we get more snow than rain, and the snow doesn’t melt quickly, the streams should be the right color by Sunday or Monday.

    Dan Seaman (Elk Creek Sport) filed 12/20: “With recent periodic rains, more steelheads have been moving into the streams. With the snow and cold coming in over the next couple days, it will slow the fish down until they acclimate. Temperatures are to remain cold through Christmas (low to mid 30s), so I don’t expect a lot of snow melt, therefore stream color should be good for fishing. If it’s a slow melt, stream flow should remain good. If temperatures turn too cold, expect some slush ice in the streams. The game is now winter steelheading techniques – don’t hit the stream until mid-morning and fish during the warmest part of the day. This has been one of the best Decembers we’ve had in years, and if we are lucky it will continue for a little while longer.”

    Bill Logan (Pleasantville) filed 12/20: “This past week fishing the mouth of 16 Mile Creek I caught 4 steelheads in two hours. Others were hooking fish regularly, too. Overnight the water dropped and the fish went back out to the lake; I caught 1 steelhead on 20 Mile.”

    Thomas Watral (Erie) filed 12/18: “On the 18th, I went to Cascade Creek to see if steelhead came in during the last few days of light rain. To my surprise there was a nice number of steelhead in the creek. On December 13th I went to Mill Creek and was surprised to see lots of minnows and lots of steelhead in the clear water. The fish were hanging in big pods and no one was fishing for them. Back on the 11th, I caught and released 4 steelheads at mouth of Mill Creek and walked upstream to a hole and caught 8 more fish, loosing many more. All fish hit a single red egg drifted through the hole.”

    Frank Malek (Oil City) filed 12/12: “The enclosed photo of a hen brown ate a green egg sack on Elk Creek, caught on my center-pin reel with 10-pound main line and 6-pound fluorocarbon leader. This was one of 28 fish I caught in a four hour period. I hated to leave biting fish, but my son had some unTrout Run packed with teelheadused deer tags he wanted to try to fill. Elk Creek is fishing the best it has in the last few years, so get out before it freezes!”

    Presque Isle Bay
    Al Nacopoulos (B.A.C. Bait) filed 12/20: “My customers have been catching some perch plus a few steelhead and brown trout at the Waterworks. They have also been catching perch off the docks at the Marina.”

    Thomas Watral (Erie) filed 12/10: “I went to the docks to fish for perch yesterday and did very well. Perch were hitting everything from minnows to grubs, fished on multi-hook crappie rigs. I limited out in three hours. The biggest one was 14 inches and the smallest was 10 inches. Then I stopped by the South Pier to see how they were doing. Anglers were catching big perch in the 14 to 15-inch range. Also learned that Lake Pleasant had been stocked for the winter so trout fishing should be good over there, too; I like to fish a minnow below a bobber for the Lake Pleasant trout.”

    MERCER COUNTY
    Editor’s Note 12/20: This week the PF&BC released a listing of PA’s Best Fishing Waters (based on biologists’ trap net and electrofishing surveys). Listed by species, just six lakes over 500 acres made the Best Crappie lakes list – two of those lakes were in Mercer County: Shenango was 3rd and Wilhelm was 6th. (Pymatuning in Crawford was #2) If you have not been fishing Wilhelm because you were not catching anything due to the large gizzard shad population – right now before ice up may be the time to Wilhelm for crappie and walleye. Try blade baits along the main creek channel.

    Shenango Lake
    Ken Smith (Sharon) filed 12/13: “My ice fishing club, the BOIs, have been fishing Shenango from our boats – instead of putting them away like we usually due the first of December. We’ve found a pattern that has been producing some very nice crappies – lots of 12 to 16-inch white and black crappies. Drifting deepwater stumps with jigs tipped with Berkley Crappie Nibbles has been working. For example, today, the 13th, we fished the stump field in Campground Launch Bay. Hang gliding and drifting Southern Pro Jigs on 1/8-ounce head tipped with Nibblers. We caught a lot of small fish along with 21 keepers. The sunshine felt nice with temps reaching 40 degrees. The lake is muddy with a water temp in the low 40s. I’m going to keep going until the lake freezes! The fall bite has been very good!”

    VENANGO COUNTY
    Allegheny River
    Editor’s Note 12/20: The Allegheny has been spectacular this fall, particularly for smallmouth, and the good fishing continued through December. No one can recall a fall when bass were running so heavy, and in good numbers.

    Steve Udick (Oil City) filed 12/16: “I fished the 15th and 16th with Pat Murray of Oil City. We both caught real nice walleyes on Saturday and four large bass – releasing all fish. We fished the Peaceful Valley section in protected areas to avoid the wind. We anchored near shore and fished major current breaks in about 7 feet of water. I used a perch-colored Rapala Shad Rap SR7 to catch the bass. The walleyes Perch fishing on PIBcame by jigging minnows. On Sunday, I was only able to land one walleye and two bass (another one with a funny tail). All fish came on the Shad Rap. River temp was 37 -38 degrees…who said bass turn off at 38 degrees anyway?”

    Jeff Knapp (Keystone Connection Guide Service) filed 12/16: “I continue to run guide trips through December, with fairly good results on smallmouth bass and walleye. Lately we’ve been catching most fish on live bait, although I had one day of excellent blade bait fishing. I caught my largest smallmouth of the season on the 15th – a 21-inch 4.5 pounder.”

    Steve Udick (Oil City) filed 12/11: “Fishing weather has held on again this year. I got out on Saturday, 12/8, in the early AM. Bass were hot as the river had come down to the 6-foot level. I caught bass in both deep and shallow water. I got four fish behind the pontoon ice device at Oil City. Water was about 2 feet deep. Fish were taking a perch-colored Shad Rap worked very slowly. One of my bass had a lamprey attached to it; it’s the third bass this year with a lamprey feeding on it, all in the same eddy…very strange. I ended up with 15 bass and a pike for the morning. No size to them. We had also been catching a few walleyes, several in less than four feet of water, both on live minnows and Shad Raps.”

    Bill Logan (Pleasantville) filed 12/5: “On Monday, 12/3, I fished the river alone for three hours. Three boats showed up later. I got 9 smallmouth bass, 3 rock bass and a walleye on Sweet Beavers, Galida Grubz and a 20-year old fresh-out-of-package Silver Buddy. I hit 4 bass on 6 casts. The flurry with the blade bait stopped as quickly as it started. Every fish was close to a drop-off.”

    Chub Hornstien (Meadville) filed 12/4: “Dan Wielobob and I made a couple trips down to the Allegheny this past weekend for walleye. We fished for smallmouth in the afternoon, catching a dozen or more each day on Kalin Grubs. Then we anchored up at a pool tail out for the evening, fishing live creek chubs which we had trapped. It was the first time we had fished live creek minnows in year. It was fun! We missed more ‘eye than we landed. But we came away with a decent catch each day. The largest was 26 inches.”

    Gene Winger (Oil City) filed 12/3: “Thanks for all the hard work you put into the NW PA Fishing Report, it’s a great contribution to the sport! Attached is a cute picture with my four-year old granddaughter Olivia (who loves to go fishing, too!) when we landed a double.”

    Scott Kinard (Elwood City) filed 12/2: “It was nice to meet you and Marilyn on the river yesterday. It was most pleasant day for December to be on the river. I only managed to land 11 smallies yesterday despite a number of missed or lost fish. With the water temp starting out around 40.4 degrees in the morning, it was a very slow bite until later in day when I finally figured out the right presentation was very slow. My fish came on Venom Sweet Dreams and tubes. Although I managed a few fish, the size did not match up to what I had caught in previous trips. This was likely my last trip of the year.”

    Marilyn Black (Cochranton) filed 12/1: “Darl and I fished the river with Dale Black for about four hours today. We saw eight other boats on the river, seven of which were contributors to the Fishing Report! The action was a bit slow, but we managed to land 15 smallmouths among the three of us. Dale caught fish on a tube and a Larew Biffle Bug Jr. on the back of a Booyah Baby Boo Jig; Darl got several fish on Get Bit Tubes; all of my fish came on Jimmy D’s River Bugs(hair jigs). Dale had a four pounder.”

    Gamma Line’s Fishing Tips and Forecast for NW PA Waters

    Gamma Pro Tip from Bassmaster Pro Stephen Browning: “In cold weather, I like to use a little lighter line. I believe you get better sensitivity for those coldwater bites. You need a lure to act naturally to the fish. With heavier line, the bait may not act as naturally as it does with lighter line. I normally drop down to 10 or 12 pound test when it gets cold outside. In the cold, use the lightest line you can get away based on the cover. If open water, you can go really light into the finesse realm.”

    Tackle tip from Fishing Report contributor Scott Kinard: “With winter approaching, many fishermen are hanging up their gear for the season – although others will continue to fish open water as long as possible. When you do put tackle away, you want to protect the investment you have in rods. For storage and transportation of rods, I use the Rod Glove (www.vrxfishing.com). They make a rod sleeve for all size and styles of rods. With this protection, I do not have to worry about damaged guides, line or rod blanks. It’s a great product for the angler that is tough on gear.” Scott wins a spool of Gamma Polyflex Line.

    Editor’s note: It’s a good idea to take the time before storing rods and reels to clear your gear. (Admittedly, I don’t do it right now ‘cause I continue to hope the weather breaks so I can fish the rivers or head South on a trip, etc…so I clean it all in the spring!) Rod blanks often get water stains, dried vegetation, grime and so forth on the blanks. Use extreme care in choice of cleaning agent to use on rod blanks because some household cleaning agents will soften the epoxy coatings on guide wraps – I know from experience! A little dish soap and warm water is best. To clean cork handles, I use Simple Green according to instructions…and Simple Green appears safe for rod blanks, too. Darl Black Prize Pack for this issue of Fishing Report is being supplied by: PRADCO Brands The winning contributor of the prize pack is: Steve Udick

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


  8. Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report 11/26/12

    December 17, 2012 by oilregion

    Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report
    Reporting date: November 26, 2012
    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 happens rather abruptly each year at this ime. At start of rifle season for deer on the Monday
    ater Thanksgiving, we see a hush falling over the 2013 open-water fishing season. With the drop off of
    area reports from angling contributors and tackle shops, it’s apparent there are sill a lot of deer hunters
    in NW PA. Yes, the hardcore anglers will coninue to fish for steelhead in the Erie tributaries and walleye
    on inland lakes, French Creek and the Allegheny. But if really cold
    weather sets in, even the flowing water may chunk up with ice before
    Christmas. Normally, anglers would be looking forward to safe ice on
    lakes around by January 1. But no one is sure when it will happen .
    This fall, Pymatuning’s November walleye bite fizzled…but the smallmouth bass bite in the river for big fish was spectacular. There’s sill a
    lot of steelhead in the west side Erie tributaries, and if we get some
    color to the streams in the next few weeks, fishing could sill explode
    up there.

    NORTHWEST PENNSYLVANIA FISHING REPORT for November 26, 2012

    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 11/20: “I made it out on the Creek on the 19th for an afternoon float with fellow kayakbassfishing.com members Wayne and Josh. Creek had settled down from the Hurricane Sandy rains, although here and there large trees had been dislodged and rearranged in the Creek. Water temp was barely 40 degrees. I managed to catch a single 16-inch smallmouth on a Venom Creature Bait dragged slowly across the bottom. That was it. However we did enjoy sightings of mink, several deer and bald eagle.”

    Jody Maurer (Maurer’s Trading Post) filed 11-19: “Al Bell from Franklin reports the walleye and northern pike fishing is excellent on French Creek. Al caught 12 legal northern pike in French Creek in one day. Al’s favorite rig that day was a chartreuse curly-tail jig tipped with a creek chub.”

    CRAWFORD COUNTY
    Pymatuning Lake
    Richter’s General Store reports that angling activity on the lake over Thanksgiving holidays was minimal as most outdoor people were preparing for deer season. Regular diehard anglers have been making good catches of bluegills and a few crappies. However, walleye success is down.

    Chub Hornsien (Meadville) filed 11/19: “I’ve fish Pymatuning several imes the last couple weeks searching for walleyes. Normally November is our best month of year for catching walleyes on blade baits. This year the legal-size fish are almost completely absent, and even the sub-legal ones are few and far between. I’ve fished the mornings, midday and right through sundown, but cannot catch anything noteworthy. I’m ready to throw in the towel. Dan Wielobob and I are headed to the Allegheny this coming week.”

    Conneaut Lake
    Bob Hornstrom (Meadville) filed 11-18: “I attempted to fish Conneaut Lake today, the 20th, but encountered boat engine problems ater launching. So I simply fished around Fireman’s Beach on the electric motor since I could not run to my best smallmouth bass spots. I managed to land one big northern pike on a Rattle Trap.”

    Bryan Stuyvesant (Meadville) filed 11-17: “Darl and I fished for smallmouth bass on Conneaut Lake for about four hours today. Between us we had about 7 or 8 hits on jig-style lures, landing three smallmouths. The largest was about 3 pounds, taken on a tube jig. It was a slow, slow day – blame it on the high pressure and bluebird skies.”

    ERIE COUNTY
    Presque Isle Bay
    Thomas Watral (Erie)
    - Filed 11-25: “Today I went down to fish for perch at the Border Patrol Dock. I had the whole thing to myself – even the bait stand was closed. I did very well, landing my limit of perch in 3 hours. The fish were 12 to 12 inches long; they hit minnows on crappie rigs and small jigs. Despite how cold it was, it was a fun day.
    - Filed 11-24: “I started the day out fishing for perch on the South pier, landing eight perch in the 13-inch range on minnows. Then I went to the docks where waves and cold wind didn’t reach me. I landed an addiional 20 perch.”
    - Filed 11-20: “I went perch fishing at 5 AM, and had hit ater hit, landing lots of 6 to 9 inch perch; they were hitting everything. I talked to man who had run out of bait; he had some perch in the 12 to 15 inch range.”

    Paul Stewart (Butler) filed 11-19: “My buddy and I did the same thing this weekend as last weekend. Drove to Erie for steelhead, but the creeks were very low and clear. So we opted for perch fishing in Presque Isle Bay. Fishing was better than last week; we landed about five dozen perch between the two of us, keeping 36 of the larger ones. The bite was very light; Berkley Fireline made the difference. We landed several doubles on our perch rigs.”

    Darl Black (Cochranton) filed 11-16: “On a trip to Erie tributaries to photograph steelhead anglers, I met up with Dave Lefebre on PIB to grab a couple pictures for an upcoming article. He had only been fishing a few minutes when I reached him on his cell phone, and during our conversations he landed a 2 pound largemouth bass. I met him at the sand ramp on Presque Isle State Park and grabbed the shots I needed. Dave said he was going back out to catch-and-release 49 more largemouth bass to make an even 50. But I didn’t hear back from him, so I don’t know if he succeeded or not with his goal.”

    Erie Tributaries
    Ric Gauriloff (Trout Run Tackle) filed 11-26: “Anglers were doing better the last couple days on Elk at the Legion Hole, Boro Park and the Lower Tubes. Also, there are bunches of fish in lower section of Walnut. There appears to have been a fresh run into west side streams in recent days – now we have those real black fish that came in early, some midcolor fish plus a bunch of small fresh silver ones. The hot fly has been Chartreuse Crystal Meth, along with small black nymphs in size 14 and 16. Single eggs if you are not fly fishing. There are a lot of fish in the streams but many anglers are frustrated that they can’t catch them due to low and clear water. The bite seems to be for a short period of ime each day and if you are not on the stream when it happens, you are not catching fish. Going into December, we could have some great fishing…if we would get some rain to color the water and if the creeks don’t ice over.”Elk Creek Sports filed 11-26: “The creeks remain low and clear. The little snow melt we had did nothing in adding water to the streams. Fishermen who know how to fish steelhead in low and clear conditions were enjoying moderate success. Small flies and live bait were working. Better fishing is low in the streams towards the mouth.”

    Grady Codd (Mars) filed 11-20: “I let school early and headed to Elk Creek for steelhead. The water was very low and clear with low numbers of fish compared to last week. I fished the McKean stretch for half a day with little luck, catching a total of 3 fish. Traditional steelhead flies failed to produce an interest from the steelies, and real eggs did nothing either. I caught one fish using a Lucky Craft RD-STX Jerkbait– a lure I use for bass, pike and stripers. The other two steelies were taken on a Strike King Coffee Tube Jig. Seemed the fish wanted something they had not seen before!

    Ed Phillips (New Castle) filed 11-19: “My wife and I went to 20 Mile Creek last Thursday afternoon and stayed overnight, and continued to fish on Friday. The stream was low and the fish count is also low compared to past years, but we managed to catch four nice steelhead. We found a nice school in one deep hole; my wife limited out with 3 fish on Thursday; all came on a blood dot. I didn’t have a strike. We went back on Friday morning but there were two guys already at the hole. We went further downstream and found another school. I managed to get one fish out of that group. I was hoping or expecting a higher fish count after the rain we had earlier in the week but the results weren’t there. I’m not sure if the fish are sill in the lake or if this is all we are going to get this year.”

    MERCER COUNTY
    Shenango Lake
    Ken Smith (Sharon) filed 11-24: “The crappie bite on Shenango is in the deep water. I found them in 12 to 15 feet around sunken brush and stumps. My brother Rich and I took home over 30 keeper crappies in two trips last weekend. We were using jigs ipped with Berkley Crappie Nibbles. I’m putting the boat away this week. See you on the ice!”

    VENANGO COUNTY
    Allegheny River
    Scott Kinard (New Castle) filed 11-24: “It’s no surprise – the upper Allegheny River has been fishing very well. I’ve been on a few trips this past week for big smallies and the river did not disappoint. I landed many smallies with a number in the 4-pound range, and two that went almost 5 pounds. Venom Tubes, Venom Sweet Dreams, Venom Vibra-Max Blade Baits and All-Terrain Tackle Jigs all produced fish.”

    Marilyn Black (Cochranton) filed 11-23: “Dale Black, Darl and I headed to the river earlier today, Friday, expecting the weather change (high pressure dropping with approaching snow storm) would trigger the big smallmouth. We got snookered, as the fish apparently shut down – apparently they ate well on Thanksgiving! We talked to Ken Pate who was pulling out the same time as Darl and I were leaving ater fishing only two hours; Ken and his buddy had caught six bass. Dale hung out on the river to catch a few bass in the afternoon, including a 4.5 pounder.”

    Bill Logan (Titusville) filed 11-22: “I fished the river on Monday the 19th, landing two bass and 1 perch. On Wednesday the 21st I had ten hook-ups, landing 7 bass, and lost a big pike. Bass were taken on spinnerbaits, Galida Grubz and hair jigs. River bass fishing has been a lot better than steelheading this fall.”

    Louis Letterle (Franklin) filed 11-21: “I fished the Allegheny River on November 21 with Tim Kier of Titusville and Ken Dudash of Pittsburgh. We caught a dozen fish, mostly walleyes. Best walleye was 24 inches, but no large smallmouths. Most fish were caught on creek chubs and suckers. We noticed plenty of anglers hitting the river in the late afternoon – the parking area at Franklin launch was almost full.”

    Ernie Pate (Butler) filed 11-21: “My brother Ken and I fished the Allegheny River near Oil City on Sunday the 18th. We caught 40 bass and two walleyes. I was up on Monday the 19th and Tuesday the 20th, catching 60 and 50 smallmouth respectively including some toads. Pictures included a couple 4-pound plus chunks – note the difference in coloration. Most of our fish were caught on beaver-style baits.”

    Chub Hornstein (Meadville) filed 11-20: “Dan Wielobob and I fished the Oil City pool on the Allegheny for walleye today. We caught a few smallmouths during the afternoon, and then right at dusk we boated six nice legal walleyes on jigs tipped with minnows. It was our best day for walleye this fall.”

    Marilyn Black (Cochranton) filed 11-18: “Darl and I fished the Allegheny with Dale Black today for a couple hours in the afternoon. Between the three of us, we landed about 20 bass, with eight of them over 17 inches. All fish came on tubes.”

    Desin DeMarion (Grove City) filed 11-20: “I’m in love with the Allegheny River in the fall! I went out today and caught 20 smallmouths with my best five going over 20 pounds. I caught six bass around 4 pounds from one little spot. Most came on a tube jig, a Picasso Shake-E-Football Jig with craw, and a Fish Sense Binsky Blade in Sexy Shad. The Sexy Shad color is only available at fishsenselures.com. My first two casts with the Binsky in Sexy Shad yielded back to back fish. I experimented with other colors and the fish would only eat the Sexy Shad.”

    Jody Maurer (Maurer’s Trading Post filed 11-19): “The diehard fishermen are sill fishing and doing great. Jeff Sehman and his son Nick only had about 1-1/2 hours to fish on the Allegheny above Franklin. They were drifting live shiners in about 20 feet of water. The lucky duo landed four 3- to 4-pound scrappy smallmouths, and lost about that many. They had great fun in a short period!”

    Gamma Line’s Fishing Tips for NW PA Waters

    Cold Water Hair Jig Fishing tips from Dustin Shay
    Dusin Shay says hand-tied hair jigs are a staple for walleye and smallmouth fishermen on French Creek and the Allegheny River during the coldwater period from late fall through early spring – as long as the creek and river does not freeze over. On French Creek in particular, the hair jig has high standing among diehard river rats since the 1940s. Growing up on the Creek in a fishing family, Dustin learned hair jig tying and fishing skills from his Dad as well as other long-time creek fishermen. Hair jigs are effective because of the natural undulation of the hair and feathers in the water. The angler should not retrieve a jig by applying overt gyrations. Instead, fish a hair jig slowly with the flow which activates the natural ‘alive’ appearance. You don’t want to drag a hair jig on the bottom, but match the weight of the jig to the current flow so it almost floats just above the bottom as you swim it slowly. Many anglers are satisfied with a white, black or yellow hair jig, but Dustin is more creative in my jig tying, creating patterns which more closely resembles one of the many species of baitfish in French Creek – including various shiners, dace, chubs, rile runners, sand pike, madtoms and colorful darters. “Recently I obtained some very naturalistic painted heads from Crappie Pro which I now utilize in my jig patterns. These custom painted heads are molded on a high-quality hook of sufficient size suitable for walleye and bass. They are the perfect head to give a completed look to my hair jigs. I normally use 6 or 8-pound Gamma Polyflex on French Creek, but during the coldest water temperatures of the year, I go with 4-pound Gamma.”

    Prize Pack for this issue of Fishing Report is being supplied by: Booyah and Yum
    The winning contributor of the prize pack is: Chub Hornstein

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


  9. Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report 11/11/12

    by oilregion

    Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report
    Reporting date: November 11, 2012
    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

    Late fall in NW PA. That means it is steelhead time in the tributaries of Lake Erie, walleye time on select inland lakes and smallmouth bass time/walleye on the Allegheny River. Sure there are other species biting as well, like crappies at Shenango and perch in Presque Isle Bay. But steelhead, walleye and smallmouth bass get the lion’s share of anglers’ attention – as you can see in the Livewell photos. One of the top lures for walleye, smallmouth bass and even large crappies at this time of year is the blade bait. It’s my favorite for big smallies. On the Gamma Line Tips Page, contributor Destin DeMarion shares some information about the blade bait he has been using for the last couple years. The photo at the right is Dave Lefebre with blade-caught walleye on Pymatuning Lake this past weekend.

    NORTHWEST PENNSYLVANIA FISHING REPORT for November 11, 2012

    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

    Chuck Papinchak (Cochranton) filed 11-12: “The walleye bite on French Creek has been pretty good with the increase flow from Super Storm Sandy. One of my buddies got a 30” and 28” walleye on Sunday. Last Thursday I was out on the creek. While I didn’t land a fish, another buddy caught 7 walleye with the biggest going 28 inches. Live creek bait is the ticket.”

    CRAWFORD COUNTY
    Pymatuning Lake
    Dave Richter (Richter’s Grocery) filed 11-12: “The water level has come up some, making it easier for anglers to launch boats. As can be expected, the blade bait bite for walleye is in full swing – with the Vib-E in black & white shad being the number one seller at the store. The majority of fishermen in boats are after walleye, although a few are trolling for musky. No musky reported, but walleyes are being taken in moderate numbers. Incidental perch are being caught as well. Down at the Jamestown Marina, anglers are catching crappies and bluegills off the docks.”

    Chris Hall (Espyville Outdoors) filed 11-12: “In the northern portion of the lake, perch have been hitand-miss on the Espyville Causeway; seems both early morning and dusk are best times. Perch are running 9” to 11” with a few 13” to 14” mixed in. Most have been caught on nightcrawlers or minnows fished on the bottom. One angler reported perch action at the Spillway on Saturday. A few walleyes have been caught with crawlers or minnows, too. I’ve seen guys standing on the bridges on the causeway using blade baits, but I don’t know if they were successful or not. There are a few boaters trolling or musky, but no reports on that either.”

    Dave Lefebre (Erie) filed 11-11: “I came down to Pymatuning for the weekend to catch walleyes. I fished with Danny Jones on Saturday and Jimmy Lunsford on Sunday. On Saturday, I ended up with a limit of ‘eye but it took all day. The largest fish landed was 25 inches, and I lost a couple nice ones on the way to the boat. Numerous sublegal fish were caught, but the bigger ones either were not biting or simply weren’t in the areas I had found them last year at this time. When the bluebird skies appeared on Sunday, the bite really soured; I landed only two legal walleye – both around 18 inches. All the fish were taken on blade baits, including Vib-E and Heddon Sonar. I don’t think the particular brand of blade was as important as the color of the blade. The hottest blade was an orange and chartreuse Vib-E model; Heddon doesn’t offer the Sonar in the brighter, bolder colors.”

    Conneaut Lake
    Chuck Papinchak (Cochranton) filed 11-12: “This past week I was on Conneaut with my friend Brain; he is first mate on a perch head boat on Erie and a serious musky fisherman. At Conneaut, we caught a 29” northern on a big musky jerkbait before I had to leave. Brian continued fishing, switching to trolling with planer boards. He hooked a monster of a fish – likely a musky – but lost before he could see it. The previous week, he was fishing Edinboro and had a 50” musky to the side of the boat.”

    ERIE COUNTY
    Presque Isle Bay
    Al Nacopoulos (B.A.C. Bait) filed 11-12: “Presque Isle Bay isn’t fishing up to expectations this past week. Things are slow. Anglers are catching some perch on the North Pier and in Marina Lake off the docks. The crappies have slowed way down. They are catching some steelhead from shore over at the Waterworks. The bay water had been stirred up by Sandy two weeks ago but has cleared up pretty good now. Hopefully the bite will pick up.”

    Paul Stewart (Butler) filed 11-12: “I went up to Erie for steelhead fishing on Sunday the 11th, but the creeks were very low and clear, and there were heavy crowds at the pools. So we went to Plan B and did some Presque Isle Bay pier fishing for perch. We hooked two dozen, keeping one dozen of the larger ones. Nice bonus was my buddy Mike LeDonne caught what appeared to be a moon eye!”

    Thomas Watral (Erie) filed 11-12: “I was down to the Bay after Super Storm Sandy went through over a week ago. The Bay was a dark green color and small perch were the only thing hitting; the main lake was muddy. However, I’ve been down fishing the Bay the last couple days, and the perch fishing has picked up. The perch are hitting minnows on 2-hook crappie rigs and small jigs tipped with a minnow or maggot. I caught 20 perch with the biggest being 13 inches – the bite is just starting as more perch move into the Bay. With the cold front coming this week, perch catches may pick up as the water temperature drops.”

    Danny Jones (North East) filed 11-11: “I was fishing on PIB the day that the remnants of Sandy blew through, getting off by noon before the big wind. I caught 20 largemouth bass with the largest going 3.5 pounds. I have not been back since. I did fish Pymatuning for walleye over the weekend; we caught some perch that easily rival the size of Lake Erie perch.”

    Erie Tributaries
    Jeff Staaf (Poor Richards) filed 11-12: “The high water from Sandy brought a lot of fresh fish into the streams – both steelhead and browns. Despite the creeks being back to low and clear after the hurricane rains two weeks ago, steelhead fishing was pretty good over the weekend. Early morning and late afternoon (after 2 PM) being the best times. Fish are in the deeper holes and shaded areas. Minnows and single eggs have been best for spin fishermen, while fly fishermen have had best success with lightcolored sucker spawn flies and black Wooly Buggers. We’ve had wind from the south for several days, so the shoreline fishermen have been doing well, especially at the mouth of Trout Run. They are casting the lake with spoons and skein.”

    Craig (Trout Run Bait) filed 11-12: “When the lake has been flat, anglers have been making killing in the lake at the creek mouths on brown trout and steelhead. Lakeshore fishermen are using nightcrawlers, egg sacks and Little Cleo Spoons. With the stream levels way down, stream success is limited to the bigger, deeper pools – it’s more being there at the time the fish turn on. Here are some of the fish brought to the shop this week: 7 lb. 5 oz. and 8 lb. 8 oz. browns from Walnut; 8 lb. brown from Elk; 7 lb. brown from mouth of Trout Run; and a 14 lb. 12 oz. salmon – yes, salmon – from Walnut Creek. Anglers stopping at the shop are averaging 3 to 4 steelhead per trip.”

    Ric Gauriloff (Trout Run Bait) filed 11-12: “It’s been a great week of fishing. Streams are clear but with good flow and new fish from Sandy’s rain. Not a ton of fish but anglers are catching decent numbers. The Lake was hot all week with lots of fish caught on spoons, egg patterns and Berkley Power Bait: small black jigs with maggots were also working.”

    Dan Seaman (Elk Creek Sports) filed 11-12: “We had phenomenal fishing in the creeks for fresh fish the first weekend after Sandy blew through and streams dropped fishable levels. But streams are now back to low and clear. The expected rain on Monday and Tuesday will hopefully help, but we must wait to see how much we get. All the fish I’ve checked since Sandy have been fresh run with hard skein. The average steelhead is 7 to 8 pounds.”

    Dennis Beggs (Franklin) filed 11-12: “Kim Slye and I had a good day on the Erie shore on Saturday, catching a total of 9 fish (six of which we are getting smoked). The two brown trout we landed were the nicest browns I have ever seen – we released them. Kim went back on Sunday and landed both a steelhead and a brown. The brown, similar to the two we caught on Saturday, was 7 lbs. 14 oz. – qualifying for a PA Awards Citation. I bet half the fish we caught on Saturday qualified for PA Citations. It was a great weekend off the shore for steelhead and brown trout. Everyone was catching fish when they turned on at mid-day. Egg sacks, Berkley Power Bait, sucker spawn flies, jigs and small rubber worms were all taking fish. What FUN!”

    Grady Codd (Mars) filed 11-10: “I fished Elk Creek over the weekend. The creek was low and very clear. The hurricane of two weeks ago blew most of the steelhead back down the stream but brought in new fresh steelhead. The rain also cleaned the stream, making fishing more enjoyable. Our fish were taken on egg sacks and Wooly Buggers. I was also up just before the streams became unfishable with Sandy’s rain, and caught nine steelheads that day on spawn sacks and Wooly Buggers.”

    Ed Phillips (New Castle) filed 11-9: “My wife and I went to Twenty Mile Creek on Tuesday afternoon and started at the Tomato Patch. The stream was very clear and pretty low so the fish were easy to see when you could find a school of them. We did notice that with all the recent rain we had the high water fill in some of the holes we usually fish. We headed upstream and found a hole with about 6 fish and my wife managed to catch one nice female on a small nymph. I hooked one on a small nymph but lost him after about a 5 minute fight. We then went to the mouth of the stream and found a large number of them in the first pool about 100 yards from the mouth. The flow was very slow and we could not get a hookup and didn’t see anyone else get one either – with the exception of an occasional foul hooked fish. They were so stacked up in the small pool it was hard not to foul hook fish. On Wednesday morning, we started again at the Tomato Patch but this time went downstream. We found a nice pool with about 20 fish in it but the flow was very slow and they were very spooky. However, my wife again managed to get another hookup on a small nymph. Later in the afternoon we went back upstream and found a small school of about 6 fish and they were pretty active, especially at the tail of the pool just before it went in the rapids. I finally caught a small male which put up a nice fight and went airborne 3 or 4 times. All things considered there was a few fish in the stream but nothing close to what I expected after the big rain we had, and nothing like it was in past years. But it was a nice day on the creek, and a couple fish is hard to beat.”

    MERCER COUNTY
    Shenango Lake
    Ken Smith (Sharon) filed 11-10: “I fished Shenango on Friday the 9th. Water level in the reservoir is back up so I fished the deep brush. Crappies were very active. They hit Road Runners tipped with Southern Pro bodies. The bigger crappies were just over 16 inches. The upcoming warm spell should send the crappies shallow for a while. I’ll keep you posted.”

    Lake Wilhelm
    Bob Mohra (Fergie’s Bait) filed 11-11: “Anglers are catching crappies and bluegills plus some decent perch off the marina docks. They are tipping small jigs with waxies and maggots.”

    Note: Laurie Frantz at R&L Bait & Tackle announced she has closed her bait shop until spring.

    VENANGO COUNTY
    Allegheny River
    Destin DeMarion (Grove City) filed 11-12: “I made it up to Allegheny River at Oil City yesterday and was greeted with a beautiful 65 degree day. There were many other boats on the river enjoying the good weather, and it appeared many fish were being caught. I caught 20 smallmouths in the 2.5 to 4 pound range on a variety of baits. Fish came from shallow and deep water – from 2 feet to 20 feet. My bigger fish were taken on a 3/8-oz. white/chartreuse Whip ‘Em Spinnerbait, Picasso Shake-E-Football jigs with craw trailers, and 1/2-oz. gold Binsky Blade. I attached photos of the bigger fish. I was also up on the river the previous Sunday. But then I was greeted with temperatures in the low 30s and high muddy water. There was only one other boat on the water. My girlfriend Meghan braved the cold, too – what a trooper! We managed to catch 15 smallies and 1 northern pike. All bass came on Whip ‘Em Spinnerbaits. The pike ate a big swimbait dipped in JJ’s Magic. I attached photos from that day as well.”

    Dale Black (Oil City) filed 11-12: “I fished the river on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week. On Friday, in just two hours I caught 1 walleye and six smallmouths in the 16” to 20” range. Fishing with a buddy on Saturday, we caught 25 to 30 smallmouths on tubes and drop shot Dingers. All fish were in the 15” to 20” range. Then today, the 12th, I fished alone for a couple hours, catching six bass from 16” to 19” on tubes. There were a lot of boats on the river and I could not fish my favorite spots.”

    Steve Udick (Oil City) filed 11-12: “I headed to the river on Saturday, November 10, hoping to get some walleyes out of the Honey Hole. River had dropped over a foot and clarity is lots better than last week. After thirty minutes of throwing a Shad Rap without a strike, I switched rods and threw a Zoom Super Fluke. On the fourth cast a nice bass smashed the minnow imitator hard. It must have ignited the school. In the next 30 minutes I had eight bass in the 13” to 17” range. Most came on a Green Pumpkin Magic Super Fluke – a color I have not had much success with in the past. The sun came out about 10:30 AM and ended the bite. I managed just two more bass in the next hour. I had not fished Flukes so late in the year before; the water temperature was 42 degrees yet I caught 10 smallmouths on them. On Sunday, the 11th, I was on the river at 7:30 AM. No fish in the shadows where I caught them on Saturday. S0 I moved up river into the sunlight and picked up five bass – nice fat smallies. One had a lamprey on it. I’m impressed with the way smallmouth were slamming Flukes!”

    Bill Logan (Pleasantville) filed 11-12: “On November 9th, I caught 6 bass in the river – 4 by slow-rolling a spinnerbait. On November 11th, I caught 5 bass – 2 on a spinnerbait, 2 on a Galida Grubz and 1 on a tube.”

    Gene Winger (Oil City) filed 11-12: “On November 3, I did a change of pace and tried my luck fishing Pithole Creek. Using a #2 Black and Gold Panther Martin Spinner, I picked up six average-size brown trout in about two hours. On November 8, I was back on the river. The river was still high from hurricane Sandy and visibility was about two feet. We fished the deeper sections of the pool in the morning, picking up only a couple bass. In the afternoon we moved into four to six feet of slower moving water and boated 11 nice bass on Winco’s CW Smallies Delight. With water temperature in the lower 40s, I think the bass decided to move into the shallows for a little mid-day sun bathing!”

    Gamma Line’s Fishing Tips and Forecast for NW PA Waters

    Contributor Destin DeMarion’s tip on the Binsky Blade earns him a spool of Gamma Polyflex Line

    (Editor’s Note – When water temperature drops below 50 degrees in NW PA, blade baits become one of the hottest lures for smallmouth bass, walleyes, white bass, big crappies and just about any fish that swims in our waters. The Heddon Sonar is the granddaddy of blade baits, but there are many similar baits. Practically every walleye angler at Pymatuning in the late fall is using a blade. For a complete overview of blade baits for coldwater smallmouth, check out the 2013 January/February issue of BASSMASTER which carries my article on the subject. Right now, while blades are hot, here are comments from NW PA Fishing Report contributor Destin DeMarion on a relatively new blade bait that many Pennsylvania anglers are not familiar with.

    “The Binksy Blade is the most unique blade bait on the market right now. Stephen Carey (Fish Sense Lures) is constantly working to improve and create new variations of the original Binsky. At first, the Binsky was available in a 1/2 ounce model in gold and silver. Now it is available in 1/4 and 3/4 ounce models, with the 3/4 ounce model the size of most 1/2 ounce models. Carey offers the Binsky in Sexy Shad color (what fisherman doesn’t love sexy shad) and Chartreuse/Blue – never seen in other blade baits. Check them out at www.fishsenselures.com. Another difference is the unmistakable vibration this lure puts off. Hold one rod in each hand, with a Binsky tied to one and a Silver Buddy tied to the other; drop bait into water column and pump each. The difference is amazing. I like to fish the Binsky in cold water situations, but don’t pigeon hole it to being just a coldwater bait. Anytime fish are deep, the Binsky can catch them. I like fishing Binsky on braid for increased sensitivity and better hooksets in deep water. Rule of thumb: less is more in cold water – with a shrinking strike zone in cold temperatures, less movement of lure is better trigger. With a blade bait you can stay right on top of the fish. Keep your rod close to the water and employ short jerks to make the lure jump short distances on semi-slack line. You want to keep the rod low in order to react with a bigger hook set. Bites can be subtle. Many times the line will stop unexpectedly – set the hook. The snap/drop cadence is very important. Once you find the right cadence, stick with it until the fish tell you otherwise. “– Destin DeMarion, tournament bass angler

    Prize Pack for this issue of Fishing Report is being supplied by: Booyah Baits and Yum
    The winning contributor of the prize pack is: Ed Phillips

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


  10. Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report 10/29/12

    by oilregion

    Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report
    Reporting date: October 29, 2012
    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

    Last week, outdoor writer Bud Cole from eastern Pennsylvania discovered firsthand how low and clear the Erie steelhead tributaries were running, and why everyone wanted water. “Careful what you wish for,” he said. Well, the much needed rains have finally arrived – unfortunately all at once. Thankfully, our area did not receive the devastation of the East Coast but we are experiencing some minor setbacks. Steelhead streams are blown out. Many other inland creeks are over their banks in low spots. This morning, 10/30, the Allegheny River gauge at Franklin is 8 feet and rising rapidly (flow had been around 3 feet). It will be sometime before fishing can resume on the Allegheny and French Creek. On the bright side, the high water moved steelhead into the streams. As French Creek and the Allegheny slowly drop and clear a bit, fishing for bass, walleye and musky will likely be very good for November – as long as water temps hold in the 40s. And the levels of Pymatuning and Shenango lakes are rising in time for late fall crappie and walleye fishing.

    NORTHWEST PENNSYLVANIA FISHING REPORT for October 29, 2012

    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

    Dusin Shay (Meadville) filed 10/26: “I’ve been archery hunting rather than fishing the last couple weeks. I did have one great day on smallmouth, with several smallies between 14 and 17 inches –taken on live chubs. My brother has been fishing walleyes on the Creek when he has time. Not catching any big ones yet, but getting some small ones on creek-caught shiners.”

    CRAWFORD COUNTY
    Pymatuning Lake
    Editor’s Note: The water level at Pymatuning Lake has been steadily dropping all summer through fall due to lack of summer rainfall (and no snowpack last winter). In recent weeks, anglers have encountered great difficulty getting boats off and on trailers. Many fishermen have thrown in the towel on launching. But the current rains will be revitalizing the fall fishing opportunities on Pymatuning – see message below from park manager.

    John Houghton (Pymatuning State Park Manager) filed 10/29: “In my opinion, with rain that is predicted we will be able to reach our normal winter pool level of 1006 – 1006.5 feet ASL. With the shorter days and the ground saturated, this should not be a problem if we do in fact receive the rain predicted from Hurricane Sandy. We will then attempt to maintain that level though the winter season and build up to 1008 foot level in the spring. The lake was down to a level of 1004.91 but today we are at 1005.25 and rising. Jamestown launch appears to be very usable by recent boat traffic and by week’s end it should be back to user friendly.” Houghton also stated that a rumor that Pymatuning was being drawn down another couple feet to work on the dam was “absolutely false.”

    Chris Hall (Espyville Outdoors) filed 10/29: “The only reports I have involved anglers catching perch on nightcrawlers from the causeway; been a bad week for fishing.”

    Ken Smith (Sharon) filed 10/25: “I fished Pymatuning today, 10/25. Fishing was real slow. It took me five hours to put 6 keeper size crappies in the boat. Lots of boats out today, but I didn’t see anyone doing anything. Talked to a few guys at the ramp and they had nothing. Hope the bite picks up in the next few days for both crappies and walleyes.”

    Dan Wielobob (Conneaut Lake) filed 10/25: “Chub Hornstein and I fished Pymatuning yesterday. My trip the previous week only yielded a few perch and couple crappies – no keeper walleyes. On the 24th, Chub and I hit our favorite fall spots with blade baits. In several hours of fishing, we caught one legal walleye. There were a number of boats fishing our general area but we did not see one bent rod among them.”

    Norman Brakeman (Hills County Store) filed 10/17: “Lesley, my son Zac and I were on Pymatuning today, 10/17. We beat the wind by drifting with a drift sock and caught a nice basket of good size perch. The trick was keeping contact with the bottom, using ball jigs tipped with live minnows. We focused on sites where small feeder creeks and ditches dropped into the main river channel.”

    Marilyn Black (Cochranton) filed 10/17: “The morning of 10/17, Darl and I fished Pymatuning for almost four hours, looking for walleyes and crappies using blade baits. There were tremendous baitfish schools visible on our new Garmin Echo 550c. Some arches may have been crappies stacked up below baitfish. And a few bottom blimps that may have been walleyes. But nothing appeared to be feeding. We didn’t have a single bite the entire morning. There were at least 20 boats in the south end, and I didn’t see one person catch a fish.”

    Conneaut Lake
    Jim Hall (Meadville) filed 10/29: “Little to report. On the 25th, I fished Conneaut, catching some pike, small bass, bluegills and perch. The perch and bluegills were in 24 feet of water, caught on pieces of nightcrawler. I’m sill looking for that big fall musky.”

    William Logsdon filed 10/25: “My son and I fished Conneaut Lake last Sunday, 10/21. We only managed 1 largemouth bass on a Zoom Fluke in Baby Bass color. Also had 1 pike follow a lure to the boat. But that was it. We marked a lot of fish but we couldn’t get them to bite. We usually do well at Conneaut. When we were taking out at Fireman’s Beach, a couple guys from the Pittsburgh area were launching. They had been at Presque Isle Bay in the morning but zeroed out. Where’s the fall feeding frenzy? I’ll wait to hear some encouraging fishing reports before heading back to Conneaut any more this fall.”

    Marilyn Black (Cochranton) 10/17: “Following an unsuccessful morning at Pymatuning, we stopped by Conneaut Lake for the late afternoon bite. Darl talked to two guys taking out as we prepared our boat. They had been to Erie in the morning, got blown off and stopped by Conneaut for the afternoon. But they had not had a bite on Conneaut. Darl and I initially fished shallow for smallmouth – but not a single strike, not even from a pike. Ater seeing good fish marks in the 25 to 40 foot depths – meaning the thermocline had broken – we went deep with new Binsky Blade Baits we were testing. Darl hooked one small crappie from 29 feet, released it but it floundered on the surface only feet from the boat. As we prepared to motor over to pick up the crappie, in the corner of my eye I saw what I thought was a gull diving down to grab the fish. However, it was a mature balk eagle which dropped down right beside the boat to take the fish! What a sight! Minutes later it came back and hovered above the water near us looking for another throwback. Darl snapped a photo on this pass, but we didn’t have any more fish to offer it!”

    Dan Wielobob (Conneaut Lake) filed 10/17: “I fished Conneaut for a couple hours, searching the deepwater for white bass. No white bass, but I caught a few small crappies on Vib-E Blade baits.”

    ERIE COUNTY
    Presque Isle Bay
    Al Nacopoulos (B.A.C. Bait) filed 10/29: “The word for the Bay is ‘Crappies’ – some very nice crappies are being taken around docks on emerald shiners, small jigs and Gulp Alive! Minnows. There was a nice walleye taken off the North Pier, plus steelhead in Marina Lake and East Pier. Perch fishing has been spotty.”

    Thomas Watral (Erie) filed 10/19: “I went looking for minnows today at the usual spots, but found no bait. I talked to anglers at the usual spots. An angler on the Border Dock had a nice brown trout. At Mill Creek, I saw an angler catch a steelhead on red egg below a bobber. On South Pier I saw a man with a bass; someone else was catching perch on live minnows. We need cooler temps and rain.”

    Lake Erie – Main Lake
    Desin DeMarion (Grove City) filed 10/25: “My friend, Justin Lonchar the founder of the Slippery Rock Bass Team and owner of Hookset clothing, invited me to fish Erie for smallmouth with him this past week. We got up there at daybreak and fished unil 2 PM. We checked some of his spots and went searching for new stuff, but managed only a few bass. However, we found a pod of quality smallmouth from 3.5 to 5 pounds in 15 to 18 feet of water. I was drop-shotting a goby style bait and throwing Zerek Innovations Giant Rudy Crankbait. Justin managed to catch his biggest fish on a Provider Tackle Smoke Tube. We fished 6 to 45 feet of water, but only caught bass at 35 feet and 15 to 18 feet. The bite was
    better in the afternoon.”

    Erie Tributary Streams
    Jeff Staaf (Poor Richards Bait) filed 10/29: “Well, the creeks are blown out today and for the next several days as the hurricane rains push in. But as the creeks were rising and getting some color the other day, fishing was good as fresh steelhead began moving in; Black Wooly Buggers for fly fishermen and egg sacks for bait fishermen. If the rains let up by Thursday as predicted, then this coming weekend should be the best fishing of the fall. It will only take 24 to 48 hours for high and muddy tributaries to drop to fishable levels – and there will be whole bunch of fresh steelhead in them! As the water clears some, go to softer colors Wooly Buggers. By the way, last week we weighed our biggest steelhead of the season so far – a 17.5 pounder taken from the mouth of Elk Creek.”

    Dan Seaman (Elk Creek Sports) filed 10/29: “Two days ago when the rains arrived and the creek started rising, they were catching 14 to 15 pound steelhead. Even though the creeks will be unfishable for several days, we need the additional rain. We had to lose a couple days of angling in order to get a good run of fish into the streams. This rain is also going to clean out the silt that has accumulated for two seasons of low water and flush all the leaves. In that sense, the hurricane was a good thing for us.”

    Mike Tome (Trout Run Bait) filed 10/29: “High, muddy and over the banks – that’s where we will be on Tuesday. But look on the bright side – we needed the water to bring in fish and flush the streams. It will be like new creeks when water recedes with some holed filled in and new ones created. Come next weekend, steelhead will be biting on everything.”

    Thomas Watral (Erie) filed 10/28
    - 10/17 “I went to Four Mile Creek. Not many fish in the creek. Fish were easily spooked. One thing they hit was Power Bait Honey Worms. I lost six fish”
    - 10/24 “Went to look at Upper Walnut behind the Millcreek Mall. It was low and clear; saw 30 smaller trout; had two fish hit my single red egg.”
    - 10/28 “Some people had been saying the steelhead run is over for the year since they weren’t moving into the streams. But the run is just staring. With this rain, the streams are on the way up the last few days and fish are moving – good numbers in Four Mile, Sixteen Mile and Twenty Mile over the weekend. With rising water, fish are hitting Fire Ball Eggs and Black Wooly Buggers.

    Bud Cole (Northampton) filed 10/28: “My friend and I fished the steelhead streams on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. With the water gin clear, fishing was tough. We even fished with a guide on Elk Creek on Thursday aternoon and didn’t have a strike. We could see the steelhead stacked up in the deeper pools, but they had no interest in anything. I caught a nice 9 pounder in the lake on Tuesday evening just before dark near the mouth of Trout Run. And one about 4 pounds on Elk Creek before dark on Wednesday. My buddy didn’t catch a fish. I attached a photo of my 9 pounder. Everyone was wishing for rain; beware of what you wish for!”

    Ed Phillips; filed 10/24: My wife Terry and I went to Twenty Mile Creek on Monday for steelhead. As everyone else has been reporting, the water level was very low, but more importantly, we didn’t see many fish. We started at the Tomato Patch and went downstream all the way to the cable. We saw a couple guys with one to three fish, but in most of the holes where we usually see 10 to 30 fish, we didn’t see any or only a couple. It was very disappointing. We then went to near the mouth of the creek to check holes that would normally have 20 to 40 fish, but saw only a few. On the positive size, I did manage to land a nice big male brown trout which was my personal best. But in the rush to get him back in the water, I forgot to save the picture to my phone so all I have is his memory.”

    MERCER COUNTY
    Shenango Lake
    Ken Smith (Sharon) filed 10/26: “I fished Shenango on 10/22 and 1/23. The crappie bite was tough. I noiced there was some kind of bug hatch going on. I did manage to put a few nice fish in the boat both days. Not many over 11 inches – keeping only 9 crappies on Monday and 7 crappies on Tuesday. I got them from areas with rocky bottom rather than mud. Southern Pro Jigs tipped with Berkley Crappie Nibbles put all the fish in the boat those two days.
    “But oh what difference a day or two can make. I fished Shenango today, 10/26, and caught crappies. It was a beautiful morning at 62 degrees and very little wind. Hang sliding Southern Pro Grubs over deep open water stumps caught a variety of sizes with lots of keepers. I took 30 crappies off one spot before the bite slowed. I headed to the shoreline stumps and brushpiles, and caught over 20 more on a 1/32 ounce sickle hook jighead with a Lunker City Fin-S-Fish body suspended below a bobber. I sill love seeing that little bobber disappear when the slab grabs the jig. Water temp was 58 degrees at noon when I finished for the day. There’s sill some good fishing to come.”

    Lake Wilhelm
    Bob Mohra (Fergie’s Bait) filed 10/29: “The only reports coming to the shop regard the bluegills being caught around Launch #4. Hardly anyone fishing Wilhelm this fall.”

    VENANGO COUNTY
    Allegheny River
    Jody Maurer (Maurer’s Trading Post) filed 9/28: “I’m new to this email stuff. I would very much like to participate in your Fishing Reports. What I’m seeing right now is a decrease in number of anglers on the water due to archery season and small game hunting. The diehard fishermen are picking up walleye in the river and in French Creek, mainly on jig-n-curly tail or jig-n-minnow. I talked to two fishermen who caught legal muskies – one on a Sucker-colored Grandma Lure and the other on a Black Mepps Muskie Spinner; both muskies were released to fight another day. Some walleye and smallmouth are being caught on Gitzit type tube jigs. “

    Lou Letterle (Franklin) filed 10/29: “I fished the Allegheny a couple times in the last week. I caught a few decent fish, but overall I have struggled to catch very many bass, and in my last three trips I did not even catch a walleye. For me, the artificial baits are currently out-producing live creek chubs and suckers. The few fish I have caught came on Winco’s River Darters, 4-inch grubs and Yamamoto Senko worms rigged wacky-style. However, I continue to catch my share of weeds and leaves!”

    Gene Winger (Oil City) filed 10/29:
    - 10/18: “Water temperature was in the lower 50 degree range and with an afternoon storm forecast, I decided to fish the deeper pool in the Reno Eddy. Using Winco’s River DarterWinco’s Swim Bait and Winco’s CW “Smallies” in ten feet of water, I picked up two nice bass. As the wind increase I moved up river to the Oil City Eddy picking up numerous bass in 16 to 20 feet of water using CW “Smallies” and Winco’s Undulator Jigs. It seems smaller jigs fished on the bottom with slow drag-stop-drag retrieve was the killer combination for the day. I landed over 15 bass before the storm chased me off. Everyone talks about how great the Fall Bite is on the Allegheny River… now I’m a believer!”
    - 10/25: “George Sisul and I fished a full day on the Oil City Eddy. Focusing on the deeper sections of the river, George used live minnows on a dropshot rig and I used Winco’s CW “Smallies” and Undulator Jigs. Live minnows produced four bass and a catfish for George, and I landed ten bass and missed about that many on jigs. Over all, we were impressed with the size of the bass, ranging from 2.5 to 4.5 pounds – good indicator that Catch and Release fishing is positive on the river.”

    Steve Udick (Oil City) filed 10/28: “On Wednesday, 10/24, my wife Sharon and I fished the lower end of Rockmere, catching 14 smallmouth bass – 13 of them behind one rock! All were from 15 to 17 inches. All fish came on Zoom Super Flukes in Watermelon Candy, Watermelon Magic or Disco Violet; my wife had never thrown Flukes for bass before. On 10/26, I fished with Dave Rembold of Rockmere. We fished all his favorite spots in the upper eddy, catching only three bass. Winds, leaves and grass were terrible. It was so bad you could not complete a retrieve without fouling. I had to clean the jet intake out seven times. Walleye season is on us now, once the river gets flushed out from this storm I will be back running Rapala Shad Raps for the late season.”

    Dale Black (Oil City) filed 10/22: “I fished the Allegheny on 10/21 in my boat, while Darl Black and Jonathan Custead fished out of Darl’s boat. Darl caught his largest river smallmouth of the year – a 20-incher – on a Get Bit Tube and lost a couple other big ones at the boat. I landed about 25 bass, plus a four pounder which jumped by the boat and got off. All fish came by shaking a Yum Dinger on the bottom.”

    Desin DeMarion (Grove City) filed 10/22: “Entered in the Bassmasters of Crawford County tournament on Sunday, I fished the river from my boat for the first ime. Even though a tournament, it was sort of practice day since I had not fished here before. It ended up a very fun day, figuring out new water. My four bass limit went 11.10 pounds and I had two over 3 pounds. I caught most of the bass by dropshotting various minnow-like soft plastic but my biggest smallmouth came on a BPS XPS Swimbait.”

    Duff Kerle, filed 10/22: “I fished the Bassmasters of Crawford County tournament on the Allegheny River on 10/21. Ben Lipiec won with four smallmouths weighing just over 14 pounds. I had lunker with a 5.94 smallmouth taken on a Berkley Gulp 3” Leech. Congratulations to Eric Marsh for getting Angler of the Year.”

    (Editor’s Note: Duff’s lunker bass is the heaviest officially weighed smallmouth coming out of the Middle Allegheny that I am aware of in the 20 years I’ve been fishing the river. Congratulations Duff!)

    Gamma Line’s Fishing Tips for NW PA Waters

    Fishing Tip - Report contributor Gene Winger wins a spool of Gamma Polyflex Line for his tip:
    “I’m not your typical rookie bass fisherman. When I turned 60, I decided to purchase a jet boat and get into the river fishing – to gear up for retirement. The first thing I did was drain my bank account at Cabela’s on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and spinners – you name it, I purchased it. The problem was all those fancy lures were not catching many bass. Then I started reading the NW PA Fishing Report, and it seemed river bass anglers were using sot plastic baits like wacky worms, Predator Craws, River Darters and other sot jerkbaits. I contacted Al Winco whose products were frequently mentioned by anglers. Al was willing to spend time discussing his products and explaining how to use them! Bottom line, I’m now hooked on Winco’s Custom Baits and my bass fishing has improved 10 fold. If you want to catch smallmouth as the water cools down next month, check out some of Winco’s Custom Baits specifically made for coldwater smallmouth, including Chillee Willee/Undulator Finesse Kit, CW Smallie Delight and Rabbit Hare Jigs.”

    Lure prize pack for this issue of Fishing Report supplied by: Gene Larew Lures
    Included are a pack of Bile Bugs, a pack of the new Rattlin’ Crawler and pack of Hardhead football heads. The hardhead is the lure which bass pro Tommy Bile has used the last four years to win over $400,000.00! Tommy says it is an easy lure to fish: “Rig a Bile But or Rattlin’ Crawler on the Hardhead, cast it out, let it settle to the bottom, and simply wind it back while keeping contact with the bottom.”
    The winner drawn for the lure prize pack is: Duff Kerle

    Important Notice from PA Fish & Boat Commission: Beginning November 1 and lasting through April 30, boaters are required to wear a life jacket while underway or at anchor on boats less than 16 feet in length or any canoe or kayak, under a new state regulation.

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


Our weather forecast is from WP Wunderground