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Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report - April 25, 2011

April 26, 2011
Sponsored by: PA Great Lakes Region & GAMMA Fishing Line
Connect to all counties at'>

- Crawford County Convention &Visitors Bureau at'>

- VisitErie at'>

- VisitMercerCountyPA at'>

- Oil Region Alliance at'>

Connect to Gamma Line at'>

- Gamma Line is now owned by Black Knight Industries of Oil City; watch for a new website soon.

Information contributed by:

- Chris’ Tackle Box, Jamestown, PA

- Maurer’s Trading Post, Franklin, PA

- Oil Creek Outfitters, Titusville, PA

- John’s Bait & Tackle, Meadville, PA

- Van Tassel’s Timberland Bait, Canadohta Lake, PA

- Fergie’s Bait & Tackle, Sandy Lake, PA

- R & L Bait & Tackle, Greenville, PA

- B.A.C. Bait & Tackle, Erie, PA

- Poor Richards Bait & Tackle, Fairview, PA

- Presque Isle Angler, Erie, PA

- Neshannock Creek Fly Shop, Volant, PA

- Erie Sports Store, Erie, PA


- Espyville Outdoors, Espyville, PA

- Farrell’s Hook, Line & Stitch, Meadville, PA

- Consumer Direct Sports, Grove City, PA

- Area anglers

Note: The information in the NW PA Weekly Fishing Report is based on the observations and opinions of individuals at the reporting tackle shops and expert area anglers. Although the information is reliable, it is not independently verified.

If you have fishing information or a picture of your catch from one of the waters in the following counties, please contact Darl Black at'>

In providing a picture, you are agreeing to it being posted on the Fishing Report.


- All Wet - Every angler and tackle owner angler agrees…this is the wettest, coldest April they can recall, washing out stream and river fishing as well as pushing most lakes over the banks. Unfortunately no drying out in the next 7 to 10 day forecast.

- Looking for Walleye! I have a Shakespeare “Catch More Walleye Kit” provided by Pure Fishing as a prize for a NW PA Fishing E-Report contributor. It consists of a rod, reel, line and utility case of walleye lures. I will award it by random drawing from among anglers submitting photos of walleye caught between now and June 1. Still got a month left before drawing. Inland walleye opens May 7.

- Monthly Lure Drawing! Become a winner of a lure packet by submitting comments to the Weekly Fishing Report on your angling success. Everyone who sends in an email report or photo will have their name thrown in the hat. At the end of the month, three names will be drawn. A lure packet will be mailed to the three winners. This month, you will have the choice between a “crappie packet” of baits from Charlie Brewer Crappie Sliders, Bobby Garland and Northland; or an “Erie smallmouth packet” of baits from Yum, Kalin and Galida Grub. (Names drawn on May 1 for April prizes.)

Crawford County Waters

Pymatuning Lake

Dave Richter (Chris’s Tackle Box) reports that anglers are doing very well on walleyes, including some very nice size fish. “Guys were stopping by the shop with limits of walleye over the weekend. The big fish at the Crystal Lake Inn tournament was 28-1/2 inches. Walleyes are being taken by two basic presentations right now – a jig tipped with a minnow, or casting a 3 to 4-inch stickbait such as a Rapala, Bomber Long A or Grandma Lure. The crappie bite has slowed down for now; but a number of incidental muskies being taken by shoreline fishermen looking for walleye.

“Pymatuning is water level is high but water temp is low at 47 degrees. The fishing great at Pymatuning, but there are not a lot of people out on the lake. It’s the same group of diehards willing to put up with the wet, cool weather,” concludes Richter.

Chris Hall (Espyville Outdoors) reported last week the Birch’s Landing area had been producing large numbers of walleye in the evening; numerous anglers reported limits of ‘eye. Good fishing reported from Bridge 20 area. The best hours for walleye appear to be the last two hours of daylight.

This week, Chris asks “Where have all the crappies gone? Crappie activity has dropped; water temp in lake fell 5 to 6 degrees on the north end due to cold weather. But the walleye fishing is still productive. Lots of walleye reportedly taken on a jighead tipped with a fathead minnow. Chris Kusta of Arona, PA caught a 41”, 26 lb 12 oz musky from the PA causeway bridge on a Heddon Sonar while fishing for walleye.” (See Photo #1)

Dean Waldbaum: “Despite the ramp areas and docks being underwater, we did finally catch a few walleyes and perch. I also thought sure I had a musky on, but it turned out to be a big carp; still fun on light tackle! We had fished hard for crappie but the weather has shut them down for now.” (See photo #2 & #3)

Bryan Stuyvesant (Meadville) was out twice last week to Pymatuning – once in the late evening until after dark and another time at sunrise – fishing from his boat. Both times he caught several walleye, but not a limit. Fish were taken with several different stickbaits. (See photo #4)

Conneaut Lake

Chris Hall had a few reports from anglers that were catching some crappie and bluegill, but not in numbers. Also, anglers were taking northern pike on shiners along the weed edges in Mammoth Bay.

Tamarack Lake

John Ensworth (John’s Bait) reports a few of his customers are fishing Tamarack for crappies and doing fairly well.

Woodcock Lake

John Ensworth said one of his customers was fishing Woodcock Creek right were it flowed into Woodcock Creek over the weekend; the fisherman caught and released four palomino trout and 7 additional trout. All fish were taken on Butter Worms.

Canadohta Lake

Jerry VanTassel (Timberland Bait) says Canadohta has not yet reached 50 degrees – well behind most years. “Nothing is happening – one fish here and there, but no good spring bites. We need some sun to bring out customers.”

Erie County Waters

Presque Isle Bay

The crappie and perch bite at PIB continues in Head of Bay; perch off the North Pier; crappies are being caught in Misery Bay, and Long Pond in the Lagoons. Live emerald shiners remain the favored bait. With the Bay temp only in the mid 40s, there are still lots of steelhead about on the surface. Bass fishing is finally starting to pick up.

Bryan Stuyvesant and I fished PIB for smallmouth over the weekend. The bites were few and far between, but we managed to catch and release a dozen smallmouth on several different baits. Bryan caught all his on a Perch Pattern B.S. Custom Blade bait; I had fish on a Road Runner ‘Rollin’ Runner with shad body; Road Runner 2.0 Marabou Pro; Poor Boy’s Tube; and a Silver Lucky Blade Bait. (Silver Lucky is out of production; the only place that still has any available locally is B.A.C. Bait on Peninsula Drive.) All our bass came from 14 to 20 feet by deadstick or drag presentations on the bottom; my largest was 5 pounds even. (See photo #5)

Also on PIB, Dave Lehman (Titusville) was fishing in another boat and checked in periodically. Early in the day, he had 10 smallies; late in the day he had lost count of smallmouth and largemouth, saying he caught two to three bass at every spot he fished. Almost all his bass came on either a Hopkins Spoon or a Galida Grub.

Lake Erie tributaries

Mike Tome (B.A.C. Bait Trout Run): “The good news is the cooler than normal water temperatures have kept the steelhead in the streams longer than normal. Even last week before the last rush of high water, there were still fresh fish coming in – smaller jacks. Will need to see what situation is when stream levels drop again and makes fishing possible.”

Matt Hyrcyk (Poor Richards Bait): “Silver jacks are still in the lower part of the streams and few older, larger fish still working their way back down from further upstream. It’s just about over for the year as temperatures expected to climb this week. The next thing to look forward to is the lake bite off North East. Anglers will be trolling 40 to 60 feet of water with spoons on Dipsy Divers for lake trout.”

Lake Erie

No indication that anyone has been on the main lake. Over the weekend, the nearshore waters were mucked up pretty good.

Mercer County Waters

Lake Wilhelm

Bob Mohra (Fergies Bait): “The weather is preventing most angling activity around the lake, but a handful of anglers are still getting large numbers of crappies and bluegills at both the Sheakleyville Bridge and Launch 3 at Causeway. The largest crappie I have seen was a 16.5-inch fish. Best baits are Pearl Stingers, White Twisters and split-tails – all tipped with maggots or waxworms.

Shenango Lake

This flood control impoundment remains very high and very muddy; reportedly no one fishing there right now.

Shenango River

The Shenango River is running high and dirty, over the bank in many areas. Perhaps one saving grace – this high water might make for a strong white bass run far up river; however, the water must drop before anyone can reach the fish.

Neshannock Creek

Bob Shuey (Neshannock Creek Fly Shop): “Not much to say with all the high muddy water, and more rain in the 10 day forecast. Here on the Neshannock, we have only had 5 good days of water level for fishing since March 12.”

Other trout Streams

Laurie Frantz (R&L Bait): “Really nothing great to report. I heard from customers determined to go trout fishing despite high water levels that they had caught nice Palomino trout on Little Shenango, Cool Spring and Neshannock.”

Venango County Waters

Allegheny River

With continued high and muddy water in the river (Franklin gauge at 11 foot and climbing today), no one is fishing the river.

Justus Lake

Being a small isolated lake with minimal runoff from surrounding area, Justus Lake is a good bet to fish. Over the weekend, Bob Vogel and friends Ryan and Dave Williams (all from Franklin) fished there two days. They caught a couple rainbow trout on a 4-inch Rapala Minnow; Ryan caught a 19-3/4 inch smallmouth on a white spinnerbait. (See photo #6)

Oil Creek

Mike Laskowski (Oil Creek Outfitters): “I’ve never seen a spring like this before. I saw trout rising in my driveway over the weekend. Certainly no one is fishing on the too high and too muddy Oil Creek.”

Other Trout Streams

Mike Horrobin ( “Last weekend was one of the toughest opening weekends of trout that I can remember. Anglers who fished some of the mountain streams found the atmosphere somewhat more hospitable. The stocked trout that were caught were taken on a selection of live worms and grubs.”

French Creek (Erie, Crawford and Venango Counties)

French Creek has not been within its natural banks for weeks, and in recent days the additional rain has increased the flooding.

Fishing Tip of the Week

- Pymatuning walleye tips from Darl Black: The spring walleye bite is in full swing at Pymatuning – a bit behind schedule due to a cold spring. The shallow-water bite should last until water temps climb the mid 50s – maybe another one to two weeks. Prime walleye locations right now are gravel/rubble humps and points in less than six feet of water. Two key presentations: casting a jig-n-minnow during the day, and casting a sitckbait at dusk and into the night (often by wading). When I regularly fished walleye over there some years ago, I used a Lindy Fuzz-E-Grub tipped with a minnow, although my fishing buddy did equally well with a 2-inch Twister on the jighead with a minnow chaser. For a stickbait, you want to choose one that is a ‘rolling’ swimmer; the Rapala Minnow, Shallow Shad Rap, Bomber Long A and Ripplin’ Red-Fin were among my favorites. Today I would also check out of the smaller size hard swimbaits and soft swimbaits, too.

Outdoor Calendar of Events

April 30 PFBC Boating Safety Course 814-664-9405

Corry High; pre-registration required

May 1 BMCC Spring Bass Classic 814-382-0686

Pymatuning Lake; $80.00 per team

May 7 Pymatuning Crappie Tournament 724-927-9493

$40 per 2-person team

May 7 PFBC Family Fly Fishing Program 814-676-5915

Oil Creek State Park; pre-registration required

May 21 Pymatuning Walleye Tournament 724-927-9493

June 19 BMCC Father’s Day Open Bass Tourney 814-382-0686

Presque Isle Bay; $100 per team

June 25 Walt’s Tavern Bass Tourney'>

Conneaut Lake; $50.00 entry per 2-person Team

Keep Up with More NW PA Fishing at'>

Article Photos

Justus Lake smallmouth bass (Photo courtesy of Bob Vogel)

Fact Box

Every angler and tackle owner angler agrees…this is the wettest, coldest April they can recall, washing out stream and river fishing as well as pushing most lakes over the banks. Unfortunately no drying out in the next 7 to 10 day forecast.

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