January 23rd, 2008|
West Erie County, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert
Erie certainly has not been spared from the recent winter storms. Blowing cold temperatures dipping into the single digits at times and howling winds and drifting snow along the Lake shore have made traveling difficult. Snow accumulation has varied through out the area with the lake shore receiving less than a foot, however, the frigid arctic conditions have made steelhead fishing miserable at best. At the same time, hard water anglers are already testing the newly formed ice around the area. Presque isle has frozen over with a few inches of soft ice and most of the area tribs are frozen over with all but the fastest flowing water remaining open. It certainly appears that ice fishing season is moving in. Anglers should be exercise extreme caution with the soft early season ice.
2007 Pennsylvania Boating Analysis Recap from Dan Martin, Director, Bureau of Boating and Access, PFBC:
The total number of reported recreational boating accidents in Pennsylvania in 2007 was nearly identical to 2006. Boaters and officers reported only 65 recreational boating accidents of all types, a decrease of only one reported accident from 2006. The number of vessels involved in reported accidents totaled 74, an incredibly low total. Pennsylvania boaters reported 59 injuries requiring medical treatment, six fewer than in 2006. Property damage to vessels totaled $199,753, more than $62,000 more than the figure reported last year but still a modest total. Most accidents with property damage or minor injuries are not reported.
The numbers of Pennsylvanians plying the waterways in 2007 continued to decrease. Gasoline prices were at record highs, the number of currently registered boats decreased, and the weather for boating during three summer months was not ideal. We had some rainfall but the 2007 boating season will be remembered as being sunny and dry. Pennsylvania is a state of moving water and it never seemed to rain enough for the rivers to be ideal for boaters. The clear weather prompted excessive plant growth, making some waterways difficult for boaters to use, especially powerboaters. Weather dramatically affects participation in boating, and it is a factor that cannot be ignored when comparing statistical safety data from year to year.
The full report with further details and statistics can be viewed at 2007 Boating Analysis Recap
Ice Safety and Common Sense: Wear a personal flotation device, or at least carry a floatation cushion so sit on and don't fish alone.
Leave information about your plans with someone, where you intend to fish and when you plan to return.
Know the conditions of the ice before venturing out; taking into consideration recent possible effects changes in the weather have had on the ice.
Children should ALWAYS be supervised on the ice.
Use an ice spud bar or an auger to test the ice ahead of you.
Before venturing out onto the ice, check with local sources, such as bait and tackle shops, for the most up-to-date information and always consider any information on ice thickness as suggestion, not fact.
Avoid ice formed over flowing water near shore and around inlets and outlet
Avoid aeration devices such as warm water bubblers used near marinas.
Temperature fluctuations typically occurring in early winter and spring will again make for uncertain ice.
Heavy snow cover insulates ice and prevents it from freezing as evenly and as quickly as it would if the snow weren't there. Snow cover is also deceptive and makes evaluating the ice cover difficult.
Be especially wary of tributary ice, as it can be highly variable in thickness due to the erosive action of the underlying water current. Many anglers like to ice fish the Walnut Project waters which has some deep holes. One can be standing on ice eight-inches thick on a trib and just a few feet away, the ice may be only two-inches thick.
Carry a set of "grippers" (a couple screwdrivers on a length of nylon cord will do in a pinch). If you should go through the ice, they can provide a "grip" on the slippery surface and aid in getting out.
Should you break through the ice, try not to panic. Remember to turn toward the direction you came from, toward the ice that supported you. Use you "grippers" or your hands to gain a hold on the unbroken surface of the ice, and advance by kicking your feet.
Once you are out of the water and are lying on the ice, don't stand! Roll away from the point where you broke through until you are on solid ice.
If you do see someone fall through the ice, do not run toward them. Carefully extend a rope, ladder, pole or line to the victim.
Elk Valley Sportsmen Reverse Raffle..
Basic Boating Class, Sign Up Early:
Wednesday Night...Snow showers likely. Snow accumulation around an inch. Lows around 14. West winds 5 to 10 mph...becoming south after midnight. Chance of snow 60 percent.
Thursday...Cloudy with a 50 percent chance of snow showers. Highs around 19. Southeast winds 5 to 10 mph...becoming north 10 to 20 mph in the afternoon.
Thursday Night...Cloudy with a 50 percent chance of snow showers. Lows around 12. Northwest winds 10 to 20 mph.
Friday...Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 20s.
Friday Night...Mostly cloudy. A 40 percent chance of snow showers. Lows around 15.
Saturday...Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow showers. Highs in the lower 30s.
Saturday Night...Mostly cloudy. Lows in the lower 20s.
Sunday...Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 30s.
Sunday Night...Mostly cloudy with a chance of rain or snow. Lows in the lower 30s. Chance of precipitation 30 percent.
Monday...Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of rain. Highs in the upper 30s.
Monday Night...Mostly cloudy. Lows in the upper 20s.
Tuesday...Partly sunny. Highs in the upper 30s.