WEST ERIE COUNTY, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert|
Cold weather has hit the Erie area with temperatures dipping into the thirtys and snow flurries earlier this week. The cold temperatures seemed to trigger a blast in the bite with anglers doing exceptionally well this past Monday in near perfect conditions. This past weekend found large pockets of anglers concentrating at the access areas on Walnut and Elk Creeks, the Whitman's Bridge area in Girard, the Conrail tubes area south of route 5 on Elk Creek, and the Legion Park area on Elk Creek in Girard. The Walnut Creek Marina basin, now open for fishing, has been giving up a few steelhead but no big numbers. Anglers looking for alternative fishing can try Presque Isle Bay for additional steelhead opportunities. Angling the Bay for Steelhead requires an adjustment in angling tactics with spoons and spinners being good choices to cover the larger area. Marina Lake at Presque Isle has produced fair numbers of crappie and perch. Lake Erie water temperature as of this writing is 53 degrees. Current tributary conditions as of this writing are clear to slightly stained and dropping.
Officers in uniform and plain clothes and in marked and unmarked vehicles heavily worked both the East and West side tribs over the last week. Three defendants from Parma, Ohio were apprehended for netting steelhead from the state controlled nursery waters at Trout Run. Fines exceeded $1000.00. Additional charges filed included fleeing and eluding an officer. Other violations this past week included possessing foul hooked fish, snagging, illegal parking, failure to follow traffic control devices, littering, and fishing without a valid license.
Cold Weather Trib Tips:
Cold weather requires some modifications that can be prepared for in advance. Here are some of those tips to make your experience in Erie more satisfying:
Allowing your reel to get wet in freezing weather can make the drag system ineffective. Be sure to thoroughly dry out a wet reel or even change reels .... especially in freezing conditions.
Smearing a thin coat of petroleum jelly or lip balm on each eyelet can alleviate frozen rod eyelets. Water will not stick to the eyelets and allow them to freeze them shut.
Have your rod and reel rigged and ready to cast at home. Trying to thread a size 18 hook streamside or in a parking lot with the wind howling and the temperature dropping can be a real challenge.
Ice on your line or float will adversely affect you casts and excessive ice build up can make 4# test line sound like rope when it hits the water. Clear any ice build up frequently.
When wading, an extra set of gloves can be a blessing if that first pair falls into the water. Neoprene gloves are great for cold water fishing. An extra set of dry clothes in the vehicle can be gold after a cold day on the tribs.
Disposable pocket hand warmers work great when they are kept dry but nothing beats the good old Jon E. Hand warmers for my money.
Fish become less active as the water temperature drops. Sometimes it is necessary to induce the strike. Bright colored Glo Bugs and Blood Dots and sucker spawn in red, chartreuse, pink and orange can be the ticket in cold water. "Jigging" will often produce a strike when the fish aren't hungry. Twitching a small maribou jig under a very light float will often produce the desired result. Try pink, chartreuse, or white in cold water. Steelhead are cold blooded and as such their body temperature adjusts to the water temperature. The colder the water, generally the less active the fish will be. A slight increase in water temperature by just a few degrees can trigger activity that was absent the day before.
Never wear cotton clothing under your waders. Cotton retains moisture and has very little insulation value when damp. It also becomes a medium for fungal infections. The organisms that cause infections such a jock itch and athletes foot can not live in synthetic fabrics. Synthetic materials tend to "pass-through", rather than "retain" moisture from perspiration. Nylon, acrylic and polyester do not retain as much moisture as cotton, silk or wool. Dressing with layers of Synthetic material under your waders will help keep you dry and dry means warm.
Last Reminder - You Can Help
On Saturday, Nov. 13, 2004, the PA Steelhead Association will be sponsoring a stream cleanup. Interested parties are requested to gather at Walnut Creek Access Area around 9:00 a.m. For more information, contact Doug Kramer at firstname.lastname@example.org or Michael McSkimming at email@example.com.
Partly cloudy and brisk. Lows in the upper 30s. South winds 10 to 15 mph in the evening, increasing to 15 to 25 mph after midnight.
Mostly cloudy with a 50 percent chance of rain showers. Highs in the mid 40s.
Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers through the night. A chance of rain showers in the evening. Brisk with lows around 30. Chance of precipitation 40 percent.
Partly cloudy with a chance of snow showers through the day. A chance of rain showers in the afternoon. Highs in the upper 30s. Chance of precipitation 40 percent.
Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of snow showers. Lows in the mid 20s.
Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 30s.
Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 20s.
Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 40s.
Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 30s.
Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 40s.