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NW PA Weekly Fishing Report - June 27, 2011

June 28, 2011
Ohio Valley Outdoors
NW PA Weekly Fishing Report

Reporting date: June 27, 2011

Sponsored by: PA Great Lakes Region & GAMMA Fishing Line

Connect to all counties at www.PaGreatLakes.com

- Crawford County Convention &Visitors Bureau at www.visitcrawford.org

- VisitErie at www.visiterie.com

- VisitMercerCountyPA at www.visitmercercountypa.com

- Oil Region Alliance at www.oilregion.org

Connect to Gamma Line at www.GammaFishing.com

- 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 darlblack@windstream.net

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

Venango County Waters

Allegheny River

Mike Horrobin (CLTackle.com/Jigger Wholesale): “Fishing overall remained good this week. Bass fishermen seemed to be having a great deal of fun and success with topwater lures. Both the river and French Creek were giving up modest catches of smallmouth. The largemouth bass bite is on at Lake Wilhelm and Pymatuning.”

Lou Letterle (Franklin): “I took my son Corey fishing this past Tuesday on the Allegheny. It was a ‘nice’ cloudy day and we caught a few smallies on topwater baits. But we only fished for an hour or so before a threatening thunderstorm sent us off the water.” (See Photo #1)

Kris Sampson (Titusville) took his son fishing on the Allegheny on June 25. It was a slow start…until the first bite: “After a few very light tugs that could have been a bluegill bite, I felt something and set the hook. I thought it was a turtle or hellbender, and handled the rod to 5-year-old Sam to enjoy the only action of the night. He fought it for a while and then said it was stuck. So I reefed a few times on the rod. When it surfaced, only then did I discover it was not a turtle – but a giant fish. Sam continued to fish while I reeled in the other line and grabbed the net. The monster flathead cat was finally landed after several failed netting attempts – including the net frame bending while hauling the fish to the bank. We weighed the fish on certified scales – it weighed 25.67 lbs. and was 39-1/2 inches long with a 23-1/2 inch girth. The fish was taken on a 7 inch sucker.” (See Photo #2)

Kahle Lake area

Steve Fleckenstein: “Instead of Kahle, I’ve been fishing the Beaver Creek Ponds near Knox and also took a couple trips to the Gamelands near Shippenville. I have been catching a good number of bluegill and a few crappies, plus some perch and an occasional bass while fishing from shore. My hot baits have been split-tail jigs tipped with a maggot, or a small hair jig with or without a maggot.”

Justus Lake

Mike Horrobin: “Justus Lake was the place to be for a group of our customers seeking bass. They reported success by fishing around wood cover with a good old Jitterbug. Buzzbaits and live shiners were also producing bass at the lake.”

Oil Creek and other County trout waters

Mike Horrobin: “Trout fishing is still holding up well and devoted fly fishermen are catching good numbers of fish. Early morning and evening are the periods for best action.”

Bill Logan (Pleasantville): “Oil Creek was high and dirty when I fished it Saturday. I caught 4 trout in 2 hours using a hot orange Bead Head Bugger.”

French Creek (Erie, Crawford and Venango Counties)

Dustin Shay (Meadville) has been concentrating on French Creek this past week. “With the rising, dirty water resulting from the heavy rainfall, Russell Chaney and I have been fishing a lot of spinnerbaits on the Creek. We’ve caught numerous different species, including largemouth and smallmouth bass, rock bass, pike, chain pickerel, and a 36” musky. We’ve been using 1/4-, 3/8- and 1/2-ounce tandem spinnerbaits from both Booyah and Terminator. As water level drops and clears some, the spinnerbait bite has fallen off.” (See Photos #3 & #4)

Crawford County Waters

Pymatuning Lake

Chris Hall (Espyville Outdoors): “Walleyes are still biting strong! The ratio of sub-legal to legal now seems to be running about 3:1. Storm Hot-N-Tots, Bomber 4As, AFF Walleye Wizard and worm harnesses are the preferred baits. Any spinner with green or orange has been selling well. There have been reports of walleye being caught shallow in the ‘Linesville Stumps’ and deeper in the channels as well. Doesn’t seem to be much consistency as to where the walleye are located. They are all over!”

“Crappies have slowed down some. A few guys are trolling for them using small crankbaits, such as Bandit Series 200 or Norman Baby N. Other anglers have caught them on a jig-n-minnow.”

“The catfish bite has picked up lately. Magic Bait prepared Dough Catfish Bait in the Great Scott! (liver and cheese flavor), Crawfish, Chicken Blood, and Ole Whiskers flavors have been the best sellers,” concludes Chris.

Dave Richter (Richter’s General Store & Tackle): “Anglers are still catching lots of walleye but most of them are sub legal. However some anglers know how to get the legal ones. For example, John Bresan (Greenville) had a limit of legal walleye over the weekend, with his largest fish going 29 inches. I think they were taken on a worm harness.

“Anglers have been stopping by with real nice catches of big bluegill. Also lots of 24 to 29-inch channel cats – doesn’t seem Pymatuning can produce the really big cats, however. With the opening of inland bass season, all the bass tournaments have left the lake; locals are now reporting a strong largemouth bass bite in the weedbeds.”

Ken Smith (Sharon): “I fished Pymatuning with Tim Odem this week. We got some nice crappies, gills and a smallmouth bass. Most of the crappies were caught while ‘hang gliding’ twister tails over brush. The gills and smallies were caught while using a Grandpa Bob’s Jig under a bobber near a weedline. We also caught some walleye but no keepers.” (See Photos #5 & #6)

Conneaut Lake

Bryan Stuyvesant (Meadville) reports that the CL white bass are making their presence known on the lake right now in the mid morning hours. While practicing for the Walt’s Tavern Bass Tournament, Bryan observed numerous white bass schools busting bait on the surface. He caught a couple in the 14-inch range on his homemade BS Chugger with white feather tail. (Editor’s note: Walt’s Tavern Bass Tournament was cancelled due to low entries.)

Sugar Lake

Ken Anderson (Tionesta) enjoyed a 3-hour outing on Sugar Lake this past week, catching two quality largemouth bass. The biggest one was 19.5” taken on a Bagley Killer B II. “I left some Z-Man ChatterBait bling on a big musky and lost a pike on a great leap – thankfully the pike threw my spare Z-Man ChatterBait!” (See Photo #7)

Canadohta Lake

Jerry Van Tassel (Timberland Bait) says Canadohta Lake has been giving up lots of bluegills to anglers using a jig-n-live maggot. Largemouth bass are being taken on Berkley Power Worms in weedbeds. Live shiners and Great Lakes trolling spoons are tallying up northern pike. There have not been any reports of musky, but with the July 4th weekend approaching, Jerry says it’s usually a timeframe when a really big musky will be caught.

Erie County Waters

Presque Isle Bay

George Nacopoulos (B.A.C. Baits) reports plenty of fishing action in the Bay with largemouth and smallmouth bass being taken on artificial lures, and yellow perch being taken on live minnows from the North Pier.

Ken Anderson (Tionesta) journeyed to PIB this past week. “I had to do some biking with the family, so fishing was a short 2 hours…but I still managed two quality largemouths. I observed some local legends stretching lines on bass near the Stink Hole.”

Lake Erie

George Nacopoulos (B.A.C. Baits): “East of Presque Isle, perch schools are in 40 to 45 feet of water, and another big concentration of schools around 55 feet. Walleye are out further over 60 to 70 feet of water.”

Jeff Staaf (Poor Richards): “Anglers have been doing real well on perch north of Walnut in depth ranges of 40 to 45 feet and 50 to 52 feet. The magic depth off Trout Run is 39 feet for perch.

“In terms of walleye, there are some fish in close but the better catches are coming from deeper water – over 55 to 65 foot bottoms. The walleye are suspended around 20 to 30 feet in the early morning, then dropping down to 40 to 50 feet when the sun gets high over head. Bagley Bang-O Lures, Reef Runners and worm harnesses are the top-getting baits. Spoons are picking up a few fish.”

Chris Hall (Espyville Outdoors) says he spent all day Thursday on Lake Erie with Jerauld Smith Jr. as he pre-fished for a weekend tournament. “We caught over 40 bass, using a variety of crankbaits (Koppers Live Target, Rapala Flat Rap and Rapala DT6), Death Shimmer Spinnerbait, AFF Bass Dancers and drop-shot rigs. Jerauld went on to a fourth place finish in the PA District 6 Team Tournament at Lake Erie over the weekend. The 4th place finish earns him a spot in the PA Bass Federation Championship at Lake Oneida in New York in October. Congratulations Jerauld!” (See photo #8 & #10)

Erie County Inland Lakes

Jerry VanTassel (Timberland Bait) says his customers are catching nice crappies on Southern Crappie Stingers in the weedbeds around the island on Lake LeBoeuf and trout are still being caught at Lake Pleasant.

Mercer County Waters

Lake Wilhelm

Bob Mohra (Fergies Bait) says anglers continue to catch lots of bluegills and some crappies. Bluegills are coming on tiny jigs tipped with a maggot; crappies are being taken on live minnows or young-of-year shad-imitating soft plastic jig bodies (Bobby Garland Baby Shad; Lunker City Fin-S-Shad; Road Runner Bubble Belly and Southern Crappie Stinger). Some walleyes are being caught on worm harnesses, and bass anglers are enjoying fairly good success on crankbaits and jigs.

Destin DeMarion (Grove City) was practicing his craft at Wilhelm again this week. Destin, a recent graduate of Gannon University in environmental science, is planning on fishing the Northern Bassmaster Opens this summer so he has been working hard honing his bass fishing skills. One afternoon this past week, I joined him on Wilhelm where he caught 10 largemouths on his favorite Strike King Series 5 crankbait and a Z-Man Chatterbait. His largest bass taken on crankbait is this week’s Photo of the Week. (See photo #9)

Shenango Lake & River

Laurie Frantz (R&L Bait): “A number of my customers are fishing the Shenango River because there are so many boats on Shenango Reservoir. I am being told that some of the best Shenango Lake fishing is very early in the morning or at night. Fishing tips passed on to me include: crappies being caught on 1/16-oz chartreuse/orange jighead with 2” chartreuse curly tail and brightly colored worm harnesses for walleyes.

“In the river out by Big Bend, several customers are reporting huge flatheads being caught. They didn’t provide an actual length on the fish being caught, but said, ‘You should have seen the size of some of those cats – big enough to eat a small mammal.’”

Also, Laurie says the place for nice pike right now is Otter Creek; big shiners are the best bait.

“I also want to remind anglers to bring in big fish for PFBC Citation awards – R&L Bait is an official weight station. A young Amish boy, Chester Yoder, brought in a 25-1/4”, 5 lb. 2.8 oz walleye caught at Pymatuning on a night crawler. So far he is winning our walleye contest,” concludes Laurie.

Neshannock Creek

Bob Shuey (Neshannock Creek Fly Shop): “Neshannock should be in good shape for the 4th unless we get a lot of heavy rain or extreme temperatures. The best fishing is in the morning with small nymphs, but there are lots of cream midges and small Blue Wings. In the afternoon try terrestrials on top.”

Fishing Tip of the Week

Food for thought: The 3-day 4th of July weekend is almost upon us. As might be expected, if it’s a nice day there will be thousands of people out fishing and boating on the waters of Northwest Pennsylvania. The more popular waters will receive intense traffic. At some access areas, it will be difficult to find a place to park your car and trailer. If you like to fish among the crowds, that fine. But for those desiring a less congested place to fish, think about some of the smaller public waters in the four counties. Peruse the Fish Commission Website to locate information on less popular bodies of water in Erie, Crawford, Venango and Mercer; learn more about what species are present, size of motors permitted, etc. Electric motor only lakes (typically PFBC lakes) and non-powered-boats-only lakes (some Game Commission properties) are typically less congested than waters permitting gas motors.

Shop Talk

Chris Hall says opening day of turtle season is just around the corner. Espyville Outdoors has PA-legal turtle hooks in stock.

Laurie Frantz of R&L Bait: “We have a wide selection of worm harnesses and some of the biggest crawlers anywhere to put on the harnesses. Some customers refer to our crawlers as baby anacondas.”

Outdoor Calendar of Events

Monthly Fly-Tying Class – Free, Walk In - 814-590-1366; Farrell’s Hook, Line & Stitch (At the Bank Mall), Meadville.

2nd Tuesday of each month; 6 PM to 7:30 PM

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

- CLTackle.com

- Espyville Outdoors, Espyville, PA

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

- Consumer Direct Sports, Grove City, PA

- Jigger Wholesale Tackle, Franklin, PA

- Area anglers

Keep Up with More NW PA Fishing at darlblack.blogspot.com

Article Photos

Corey Letterle with Allegheny River smallmouth bass (Lou Letterle photo)

Fact Box

Lake Erie
George Nacopoulos (B.A.C. Baits): “East of Presque Isle, perch schools are in 40 to 45 feet of water, and another big concentration of schools around 55 feet. Walleye are out further over 60 to 70 feet of water.”

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