After unseasonably warm temperatures this past weekend, winter hit the Erie area with the first real storm of the season on Tuesday. Overnight temperatures in the low teens have started the formation of slush and ice on the tribs. Forecasts indicate a bitterly cold weather for the next week or so. Whether we are seeing the beginning of a long term freeze remains to be seen. Significant rain fall last week brought a good number of fish into Walnut and Elk Creeks. Only a handful of anglers were fishing the Project waters and the wall but all seemed to be having good success. Anglers were doing very well at the Manchester hole. ( I honestly believe if there were a nuclear explosion in Fairview, there would still be anglers at the Manchester Hole) A break in the current weather conditions may open up to very good fishing. All anglers I spoke to on Sunday were having the best success using live shiners. Current Lake Erie water temperature as of this writing is 39 degrees and dropping. Current outside temperature as of this writing is 7 degrees with a windchill of -10 degrees.
Cold Weather Angling in Erie:
Area temperatures have reached the point where iced up lines and cold feet are the norm, leaving plenty of elbow room for the hardiest of anglers. Almost all cold weather anglers have a remedy for iced up lines from the commercial sprays to Vaseline and lip balms. Generally any convenient substance that will repel water will work. I like to carry a small tube of lip balm and apply it at the first sign of ice on the line or the rod eyes. If you are using a float, it can be thinly applied to keep the float ice free. Casting a heavily iced up line, particularly fly line in most cases will do little more than spook the fish. Another tip is to avoid getting the inner workings of your reel wet. Once the inside of the reel takes on water it can freeze rendering the drag useless and possibly damaging the reel.
Just another reminder that WCO Brook Tolbert will be speaking at the January 14th meeting of the Pennsylvania Steelhead Association on the issues of funding needs and the proposed merger. The meeting is at 7:00 PM in the upstairs banquet room of the Elk Creek Inn on Sterrettania Road. The public is welcome.
Late Winter Trout Stocking:
As part of the late winter stocking program Lake Pleasant and the upper gravel pit pond in Fairview are tentatively scheduled for stocking on February 9th, 2004. Extended trout season rules for approved trout waters are in effect. Once well frozen, both of these areas are popular ice fishing spots.
Preparing for Ice Fishing Season?
Consider the following check list of items (enhanced from last year) to make your ice outing more enjoyable and productive:
Fishing rods- Large guides, sensitive tip, with some backbone, preferably the short ones made specifically for ice angling
Reels - Micro-spinning reel
Line - 2 to 6 LB test ice line
Bobber stops with beads
Split shot, a variety of sizes
Foam ice fishing bobbers
Fingernail clipper or line cutters to cut line
Ice scoop / ladle / dipper-for removing slush from the hole, a must have item
Micro and ice jigs and spoons, hooks...etc.
Bait wax worms, fatheads, crappie, minnows, grubs etc.
5 gallon bucket to sit on, and carry fish
Hand warmers (I still like the Jon E's best)
Needle nose pliers or forceps
Fishing License (current of course)
Proper Personal Identification (regulations require an additional form of ID when fishing)
Ice auger (Regulations permit hole diameter to be 10")
Sled for auger and gear (The light weight kids plastic toboggans work great)
Small shovel, collapsible if possible
Ice picks - could be a lifesaver! (A couple of screw drivers tied on the end of a light cord will work in a pinch)
A compass (can be easy to loose sense of direction in a blizzard)
Mouth spreader (for the fish of course)
Gaff for larger fish should you get lucky
Spud bar (for checking ice thickness)
Tip-ups - preferably the freeze-free type (regulations permit a maximum of 5 tip ups or combination of tip ups and rods or handlines. A maximum of 2 rods or handlines is allowed. For example, 2 rods and 3 tip ups are permitted.)
Leaders for tip-ups
Quickstrike rigs for tip-ups
Bait for tip-ups, smelt, shiners, etc.
GPS (a white out on Presque Isle Bay can be pretty confusing)
Camera (disposable works best and you wont fret if you lose it)
Lantern Matches or Lighter (for propane heater)
A buddy when ever possible
Neoprene waterproof gloves
For those with a few extra bucks:
Aqua-view or underwater camera
Two-way radios to talk to your buddies
Strike sensors for tip-ups
Mostly cloudy with scattered snow showers. Brisk with lows 10 to 15. West winds 15 to 25 mph. Chance of snow 40 percent.
Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow. Highs in the upper teens. West winds 5 to 15 mph becoming south early in the afternoon. Chance of snow 50 percent.
Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow. Lows in the mid teens. Southeast winds around 10 mph. Chance of snow 40 percent.
Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow. Highs 20 to 25. Chance of snow 40 percent.
Mostly cloudy. A chance of flurries in the evening. Lows near 10 above.
Mostly cloudy. Highs in the lower 20s.
Mostly cloudy. Lows in the upper teens.
Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers. Highs in the lower 30s. Chance of snow 30 percent.
Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers. Brisk with lows in the upper teens. Chance of snow 30 percent.
Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers. Highs near 30. Chance of snow 40 percent.
Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers. Lows in the upper teens. Chance of snow 40 percent.
Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers. Highs 20 to 25. Chance of snow 40 percent.