WEST ERIE COUNTY, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert|
The Erie area has plunged into the winter deep freeze for now with cold and blistery conditions heavily upon us. Although we have not rivaled the bone chilling 50 plus degrees below zero in Minnesota, temperatures in the single digits (pretty balmy by comparison) have again frozen most of the area tribs except for the fastest moving water. Steelhead fishing on the tribs is on hold for now for the most part. The good news is the larger bodies of water have also begun to ice over. Presque Isle Bay is now nearly frozen over and if temperatures remain as predicted ice fishing season may finally arrive. The Ice on Presque Isle Bay is thin and unstable as of this writing. A few anglers have gently tip toed out onto the Walnut Creek marina basin and had some success. The basin ice is only 2 or 3" as of this writing necessitating extreme caution. Although the basin depth is shallow, anglers are reminded that 4" of solid ice should be considered a "minimum" for a lone angler. 6" is considered a minimum for a group of fishermen.
Current Lake Erie water temperature as of this writing is 33 degrees. Current tributary conditions as of this writing are mostly frozen with some open water in the faster moving areas.
Important Public Meeting Regarding the Erie Bluffs State Park
A Public meeting put on by DCNR regarding the development of the Erie Bluffs State Parkland will be held January 26th at 7:00 PM at the Girard High School in Girard. Sportsmen's clubs along with any hunters and anglers are strongly encouraged to attend this meeting to assure that fishing, hunting and trapping access concerns are discussed and given priority on this large piece of land. DCNR is a multi recreational agency who's concerns encompass many other public outdoor activities besides those of concerned hunters and anglers. Strong support by hunters and anglers is a necessity to protect this area for future hunting and fishing access. For more information on this important piece of public land along the Erie County shoreline, see Pa. DCNR-Press Release
Sometimes They Come a Long Way to Fish:
This past weekend three gentlemen from Toronto found their way to the Manchester hole for a weekend of steelhead fishing. After talking with these fellows for a short time, it was clear they were expert fly anglers not only by the top notch gear they used but by the success they enjoyed in conditions that were nothing short of an Artis blizzard. I asked them with all the legendary fishing opportunities that Canada has to offer, what brought them to our fishery. With great enthusiasm, they indicated that Walnut Creek with it's pristine slate beds, and close proximity to Lake Erie, was one of the most beautiful areas they had ever fished. In Canada, at least in their area, they said they have nothing close to the spectacular steelhead stocking programs and sheer numbers of fish that Pennsylvania has to offer. They indicated that they had many friends that make the trip over the border to enjoy our fishing opportunities as well. Without complaint, they told me that with the Canadian conversion, their PA. non resident licenses cost each of them well over on hundred dollars. This combined with a few nights in one of the area's upscale motels, a few good meals, a little refreshment and fuel I estimated that this trip may well have cost upwards of a thousand dollars or more. They indicated that money wasn't no object to enjoy such a beautiful setting and repeatedly indicated how fortunate we are to have such a world class fishery. After giving a few suggestion for other areas along the tribs to fish along with some directions, they left me with a number of beautiful custom made in line floats that are almost too nice to use. I thanked them for their generosity and will treasure their kindness. I guess sometimes the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. RGL
Support Your Local Sportsmen's Clubs:
The SONS of Lake Erie have their regular monthly meeting on Monday, January 24, 2005 at 7:30 p.m. at the East Erie Turners, 9th and Parade Streets in Erie. The public is welcome to attend.
General Ice Safety:
As we head into the season, here are some general guidelines for staying safe on the ice:
Thick blue/black ice is stronger than milky white ice.
Four inches of solid ice is the minimum recommended level for a small group of skaters or several anglers. Use an auger or spud bar to test the thickness of ice before you go out on it.
Perimeter ice is weaker due to shifting, expansion and sunlight reflecting off the bottom. Avoid areas with protruding logs, brush, plants and docks. These structures can absorb heat from the sun, thus weakening the surrounding ice.
Changing air temperatures and standing water on ice can weaken and crack it. Single, unbroken pressure cracks in the ice are probably safe to cross, but stay away from areas where cracks meet or intersect.
Venturing out alone is not advisable. Take a friend along for fun - and for safety's sake.
Wear a PFD.
If there is doubt, don't go out!
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