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Northwest Pennsylvania Weekly Fishing Report

May 11, 2011
Ohio Valley Outdoors
Reporting date: May 9, 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.

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.

Mercer County Waters

Lake Wilhelm

Bob Mohra (Fergies Bait) reports that very nice size crappies are being taken by anglers from the shallow bays up and down the lake. Shore anglers are as successful as boat anglers. Live minnows are accounting for most of the fish. “I think some anglers are concerned the lake is too high or too dirty. It’s a little high but not muddy – and very fishable!”

Daniel Gray (Butler): “On Thursday (5/5) the sun finally peeked through and the rain stopped, but the wind was blowing 20 mph so I skipped going to Erie and headed to Wilhelm to see what was going on. The water temp was 51 to 53 degrees with the north end of lake being cooler. Bass are eating if you can find them. Not a bite on the shoreline lay-downs. All fish came off staging areas outside the flats in 5 to 6 feet of water. The key was scattered grass or submerged wood at the depth.” Dan caught several nice largemouths including the attached photo. (See Photo #1)

Shenango Lake

Shenango Lake proper is very high. Some ramps are closed. With so much shallow cover available under the high water, finding crappies may be difficult.

Shenango River

Laurie Frantz (R&L Bait): “Several of my customers were catching walleye below the dam in Sharpsville on opening day. They told me it was wall-to-wall people. When one person caught a limit of fish and left, another angler stepped in to take their place. They are also catching walleye in the Shenango River below Pymatuning Dam. Crappies and white bass should be biting in the River above Big Bend.”

Most fishermen are using medium size minnows, while others are using nightcrawlers or a piece of nightcrawler on a Fuzz-E-Grub. Action-tail soft plastic jigs are producing, too. Using a lime curl-tail jig, Sergeant First Class David P. Kraut (local Army recruiter from Hermitage) caught a nice walleye in the Sandy Beach area of the Shenango on Sunday morning.

Ken Smith (Sharon): “I did a little trout fishing earlier in the week in the Shenango River below the dam at Sharpsville; the river had dropped some and water color improved. I kept some trout for a buddy. I also dropped down the river a little ways and caught a mess of crappies.”

Neshannock Creek

Bob Shuey (Neshannock Creek Fly Shop) reports that the water level and color in the Neshannock Creek project area are marginal fishing at the present time. If no more serous rains fall this week, fishing will continue to improve. There are some caddis flies coming off, but not in great numbers.

Other Mercer Trout Streams

Laurie (R&L Baits) reports a few of her customers had success for trout on Little Shenango and Cool Spring Creek this week. They were using small jigs and Rooster Tails tipped with maggots.

Venango County Waters

Allegheny River

The Allegheny level has been fairly steady level for past 5 days (around 8 feet at Franklin gauge – very fishable from my perspective) and water color improving. I’ve had reports of smallmouth bass success, but no word from walleye fishermen.

Dale Black (Oil City) was out twice this week. On first trip earlier in the week with his daughter; they boated 15 smallmouths, mostly on Bomber A crankbaits. On Sunday, May 8, Dale and three of his kids (giving Mom a break) caught 22 smallmouth from 13 to 17 inches with all fish taken on 3” Yum Green Pumpkin Tubes.

Bill Logan (Pleasantville) fished the Oil City area of river on Sunday. He caught 7 smallmouth bass; 5 fish came on a Rapala X-Rap jerkbait; 1 on a tube jig; and a 3-pounder on a Storm Swimbait. “The water was way high for me; I want to get back out but not until it drops well below 8 feet.”

Kahle Lake

Laurie (R&L Bait) had some customers report success on crappie and walleye at Kahle Lake over the weekend.

Justus Lake

Mike Horrobin ( reports one group of his customers were on Justus Lake over the weekend and enjoyed a good time with the bluegills The best baits were Mike’s Hand-Tied Ants; split-tail and curly-tail jigs; and Panfish Stingers. All baits worked better when tipped with wax worms or maggots.

Oil Creek

Terry Farrell (Hook, Line & Stitch) had a customer report catching 3 nice trout from Oil Creek on Stone Fly patterns. The water was high but clear.

Trout Streams

Mike Horrobin ( “The trout fishermen by in large are having a field day. While insect hatches have been sparse after the Grannom hatch, the spin tackle fishermen have been enjoying success with Mepps Spinners, Swiss Swings and Rooster Tail Spinners. Strung minnows are also producing, as well as some fish on salmon eggs and worms. Several nice brown trout were brought to Jigger Tackle, including a beauty taken by Dusty Rhoades. With the weather warming, it will only get better for the fly fishermen.”

Chris Porter (Franklin): “More rain kept trout streams running bank-full last week, which translated to low angler turnout. Fishing remains challenging: in a total of six hours of angling last week on Big Sandy, Sugar Creek, Pithole Creek and Cherry Run, I manage only six brown trout from 10” to 12”, all on gold or silver Mepps spinners with a #0 or #1 blade. My brother Kevin took eight browns and rainbows from 10” to 13” with a Pin’s Minnow from Pithole Creek on Saturday.”

Crawford County Waters

Pymatuning Lake

Chris Hall (Espyville Outdoors): “There are a lot of sub-legal walleye being caught – great news for future fishing! Biggest walleye brought in to the shop last week was 28”, 6 lb. 9 oz….caught on an AFF Worm Harness with green blades. There have been a good number of crappies taken off Harris Island – including a 16.5”, 1 lb. 9 oz. crappie taken on chartreuse Lindy Fuzz-E-Grub while jigging for walleye.”

Laurie (R&L Bait) reports that Phil Clayton of Transfer had some luck with Pymatuning crappies this week. He caught them in 17 feet of water on live minnows. All of them were 12 inches or bigger!

Norman Renwick caught 31 nice crappies and some bonus big perch in the bay at Jamestown Boat Livery on Sunday.

The hottest news this past week at Pymatuning via Jamestown Boat Livery was a 53-inch 45-lb musky taken by Ray Petersen while fishing from the shore not far from the dam – no other details available. (See Photo #8)

Woodcock Lake

Dustin Shay (Meadville) was casting for musky from the shore at Woodcock again this week with two other buddies. He was using a 7” Matzuo Minnow plug that had the lip re-worked so it would swim just under the surface with a wide wobble. He caught and released 3 muskies – two under 40 inches and a heavyweight 44-incher. “It may have been the heaviest musky that I have ever caught.” His buddies each caught a musky in the 32” to 33” range.

On Sunday evening, Dustin and a fishing buddy caught 20 walleye from the Woodcock Spillway area – keeping a total of 8 walleye between the two of them. The smallest keeper was 18 inches. Until the sun went down, they could only catch walleye on live bait bounced on the bottom. But after dark, walleye fish rose to six-inch Rapala Minnow.

Conneaut Lake

Dustin Shay caught a couple northern pike at Conneaut Lake, again this week, fishing from shore. Both pike came on a Terminator Spinnerbait from very shallow water.

Tamarack Lake

John Ensworth (John’s Bait) said business was brisk at his shop this past weekend. He had customers report making good catches of crappies from Tamarack on minnows. Most were in the 8 to 10 inch range, although some were 12 to 14 inch range. Even though the water was high, one of his most hardcore trout anglers caught 27 trout this week from upper portions of Woodcock Creek.

Dustin Shay hit Tamarack Lake on early Sunday morning for walleye; he had a very successful outing catching a limit of walleye.

Canadohta Lake

J erry VanTassel (Timberland Bait) had customers report high numbers of crappies visible in the lagoons/canals at the north end of Canadohta, but the fish were not aggressive and anglers had to work for every fish. One customer brought in a citation-size walleye taken from Lake Erie (see Gamma Salutes).

Erie County Waters

Presque Isle Bay

Al Nacopoulos (B.A.C. Bait) says fish are biting like crazy in PIB right now. Nice crappies and perch are being caught around the Yacht Club. Largemouth bass are biting soft plastics in shallow vegetation areas. Smallmouth bass are busting tubes, grubs and blades bait off the flats, but may move onto the flats any day for the jerkbait bite. “There are a few steelhead in the Bay; I weighed a 12.5 pounder for a customer over the weekend.”

Lake Erie

Poor Richards Bait Shop reports that with the opening of walleye, anglers are now catching them off the lake beaches after dark on large minnow plugs. The #18 Rapala Minnow is the most popular, but don’t overlook the Bomber Long A; Cordell Ripplin’ Red-Fin; Rebel Holographic Minnow and the long-cast Rapala MaxRap 15. It might be a good idea to pack one of the new shallow swimbaits from Sebile or Storm to offer those ‘eye something different.

The smallmouth bass report for both PIB and the main lake is off the charts….

Rex Heimberger (Venom Lures, Ohio) made his first visit to Presque Isle Bay early last week. “The weather was very challenging at the very least. If wind had not blown us off the Bay between storms, we would have had 100 smallmouths. Instead we caught 81 smallmouths and a handful of green fish (largemouth bass). The smallies were crazy on the blade bait bite. We averaged 3-pound smallies, with six over 5 pounds and forty over 4 pounds – weighed on digital scales. What a hawg-catching trip! I have plans for St. Clair in Canada in mid May, but I might come back to Erie instead to fish the main lake.”

Britt Stoudenmire (Pembroke, VA) and three fishing buddies have a four-day Lake Erie smallmouth fishing excursion currently in progress. On Saturday, May 7, they fished in PIB where their buddies in a second boat had a 6.3 and 6.9 smallmouth. On Sunday, they fished out of Northeast Marina. Britt’s boat had 40 smallmouths with the biggest 5 lbs. 12 oz. The fish were in 18 to 21 feet, and most fish were taken on a Silver Buddy Blade Bait. On Monday, Britt and Bob Elliott landed over 100 smallmouth with 10 of those over 5 pounds. Many fish were caught on deep-lip Rapala X-Raps and Lucky Craft Pointer 100s over 20 feet of water near Northeast.

French Creek (Erie, Crawford and Venango Counties)

Dustin Shay (Meadville) along with his son and older brother Boone were busy from the moment walleye season opened at midnight on Friday night until noon on Saturday putting together an 18-fish stringer of walleye. Most of the fish came on a Road Runner jighead tipped with a piece of nightcrawler. The fish were situated in the tail of pools. Even with high water, Dustin has also been catching some smallmouth in French Creek in past weeks.

Gamma Salutes

Pymatuning Crappie Tournament 5/7/11 - Pymatuning Lake Association

Winning Team: Ken Weilacher & Jim Krull (Jamestown, NY area) 5 fish/6.8 lbs

Big Fish: Calvin Steerman & Don Wheatly (Andover, OH area) 1.75 lbs

Pymatuning Bass Tournament 5/1/11- Bassmasters of Crawford County

Winning Team: Chuck Walker & Chris Covert (Butler area) 8 fish/25.65lbs

PF&BC Citation Fish

Quentin Lawrence – Age 12 (Corry, PA): Walleye @ 7 lb. 11 oz, 27” (Lake Erie)

Above anglers are eligible for Gamma Line drawing at end of month.

Outdoor Calendar of Events

May 9 Fly-Tying Class – Free, Walk In 814-590-1366

Farrell’s (At the Bank Mall), Meadville

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

Fishing Report 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

- Fergies 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

Keep Up with More NW PA Fishing at

Article Photos

Dan Gray with largemouth bass at Wilhelm

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