November 12th, 2008|
West Erie County, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert
Erie fell victim to a significant lake effect snow event on Monday with a blanket of 4 to 5 inches of heavy wet snow. With temperatures climbing in the fifties and rain predicted combined with the gradual snow run off, we should see a nice rise in the tribs along with some good color. The West county tribs are loaded with steelhead and the bite generally has been great.
Crowded areas this past weekend included the Legion Park area, the Girard Boro Park Area near the sewage treatment plant, the Elk Creek Access area and of course the Walnut Creek Access area. Current trib conditions are still on the clear side with fair to good flow in many areas.
Area officers have been extremely busy 24 hours a day 7 days a week. This past weekend yielded dozens of violations and warnings. We occasionally hear that we are not around when needed, however, anglers can rest assured that law enforcement presence is exceptionally strong this year and producing positive results. Poaching, netting, and snagging violators are being caught and prosecuted. A number of anglers have been very helpful in these apprehensions. Those wishing to assist us in these efforts with any helpful information are advised to contact area officers when a violation is observed and never to attempt to take matters into their own hands. Frankly, you just don't know who you may be dealing with. When reporting a violation, your efforts should be directed at having good information including a detailed description, location and time, suspected violation, type of equipment used, vehicle description and license plate number etc.. The more good information received, the better the chances of prosecution. Area bait shops, local sportsmen's clubs, and the Walnut Creek Access office have free convenient wallet size cards available with contact numbers for reporting violations. These "Turn in a Poacher" cards are free of charge.
One interesting incident this past weekend involved an individual foul hooking and taking possession of a steelhead. He was so proud of his catch, he had his wife video the the whole thing complete with close ups. Unfortunately an onlooker elected to report the incident to Officer Jim Smolko. After talking with the individual, Smolko cited the impatient individual and seized the video tap implicated the angler (if you can call him that) and his guilt.
Another interesting case was an individual attempting to buy steelhead along one of the tribs. He attempted to buy fish from an undercover WCO. It is a violation to buy, sell, or barter for these fish or their eggs.
Violations in our area can be reported as follows:
WCO Brook Tolbert, West Erie County: cell (814) 566-7869
A larger than usual number of snagging cases have surfaced this year. Anglers should be aware that even an accidental foul hooking necessitates immediately releasing the fish unharmed. This means playing the fish no more than necessary (or cutting it loose if need be for it's survival) and if possible removing the hook while the fish is still in the water. So often we see an angler reel in a foul hooked fish, net it, toss it on the bank, admire it, show it to his buddies, play with it while his conscience debates whether or not to keep it, and in some cases, of all things he will the time to take a photo. After all this, he will release it thinking he did the right thing only to have the fish float belly up down stream. It is important to remember that regulations state "catch, kill or possess". Taking possession of a foul hooked fish obviously would be a violation but equally so, not immediately releasing the same fish unharmed and causing a kill through careless and intentional over handling would be equally in violation.
Cold Water Fishing: Fish become less active as the water temperature drops and the Erie area is already hitting the freezing mark at night. 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 marabou 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.
Support Your Local Sportsmen's Clubs:
Wednesday Night...Showers. Not as cool with lows in the lower 40s. Southeast winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 90 percent.
Thursday...Showers. Breezy with highs in the lower 50s. Southeast winds 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 90 percent.
Thursday Night...Cloudy with a 50 percent chance of showers. Lows in the mid 40s. Southwest winds 10 to 20 mph.
Friday...Showers and thunderstorms likely. Highs in the upper 50s. Chance of rain 60 percent.
Friday Night...Showers likely. Lows in the upper 30s. Chance of rain 70 percent.
Saturday...Cloudy with a 50 percent chance of showers. Cooler with highs in the mid 40s.
Saturday Night...Snow showers likely. Lows in the lower 30s. Chance of snow 60 percent.
Sunday...Snow showers likely. Highs in the mid 30s. Chance of snow 60 percent.
Sunday Night...Cloudy with a 50 percent chance of snow showers. Lows around 30.
Monday...Mostly cloudy with a chance of rain and snow showers. Highs in the mid 30s. Chance of precipitation 40 percent.
Monday Night...Cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow showers. Lows in the lower 20s.
Tuesday...Cloudy with a 50 percent chance of snow showers. Highs in the mid 30s.