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NW PA Weekly Fishing Report - July 5, 2011

July 6, 2011
Ohio Valley Outdoors
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

Crawford County Waters

Pymatuning Lake

Chris Hall (Espyville Outdoors): “The walleye bite has slowed down some. People are still catching them, but they have to put in more work. Most walleye are being caught in deeper water, suspended off the bottom between 3 and 5 feet. Hot-N-Tots, Bomber Long As and worm harnesses are the preferred baits right now. A few people have reported success using floating jigheads with leeches on bottom bouncers.

“The bluegill bite has been brisk. Quite a few female bluegills are still carrying eggs. An Ant tipped with a wax worm or maggot is the preferred bait.

“Crappies are moving deeper. Trolling a Bandit 200 or 300 series or a Berkley Flicker Shad seems to be producing good numbers. Leadhead jigs and maggots are being used in 10 to 12 feet of water, too.

“Catfish are biting great! Magic Bait dough baits in King Cat, Liver & Cheese, and Ole Whiskers flavors were hot this week. A young lady from Wexford turned me on to Lucky 7 Blood Baits – she uses it in the rivers around Pittsburgh. I can’t even keep it on the shelf! It smells terrible enough that it is shipped in heavy plastic bags…but the catfish love it!

“My 10-year old daughter, Ashley, caught her first fish last week! It was a perch. And she caught it on an AFF Lucky Seven Hook with red beads, tipped with a minnow.” (See Photo #1)

Norman Renwick (Jamestown): “Fishing success in shallow water has slowed considerably. If you want to catch bigger walleyes, move deeper. Anglers are reporting catches in 20 to 26 feet of water on crawler harnesses. Small walleye are being caught in good numbers; only a few big ones. No big muskies to report. The crappie bite has tapered off – look for them to light up again in the fall!”

Ken Smith (Sharon): “I fished the Jamestown area of Pymatuning this past Wednesday with Tim Oden. We stopped by Richter’s General Store for a fishing update and minnows. Most of our 23 keeper crappies came on MicroSpoons tipped with a medium size minnow. We only got in 3-1/2 hours of fishing before the wind picked up and made it too uncomfortable to fish the way we wanted. I went back to Pymatuning on Thursday alone, and caught 16 crappies and 7 bluegills in 4 hours.

Jim Melvin (Greenville): “I managed to get up to Pymatuning with my 9-year-old grandson, “Critter”, from West Virginia on Sunday, July 3. Of course we didn’t get to the lake until 11 AM; by then the cloud cover had dissipated leaving us with high bluebird skies, heat and no wind. Less than ideal fishing conditions, but we still managed to get 6 keeper bass and a few dinks. My grandson figured out the pattern of fishing a black & blue Berkley Chigger Craw super slow in the shallow weeds and pads. That was really the only way we could get bit. I had been up there on Friday by myself and caught ‘em good by flipping a tube or Sweet Beaver to shallow cover – but that pattern was no good on Sunday for us.” (See Photo #3)

Dustin Shay (Meadville): “Friends and I fished Pymatuning for catfish one evening the last week of June. We caught several bullheads and channel cats on cut bait (chucks of dead fish) including a largemouth bass that Jacquie Smith caught on the cut bait.” (See Photo #4)

Conneaut Lake

Bryan Stuyvesant (Meadville) “During the monthly CLAMA meeting, it was reported that Jim Grazio from DEP had contacted Milt Ostrofsky – biologist on our board – to notify the lake association that zebra mussels had been discovered in Conneaut Lake. CLAMA will purchase signs to put up at the two boat launches on the lake asking boaters to please check their boats to avoid further spread. CLAMA is also looking into buying a new weed harvester that will cut double the volume of the old one. There will be a public meeting to discuss funding sources to purchase a new harvester; fishermen are urged to attend the meeting scheduled for 10:00 AM, July 9th at the Hotel Conneaut Patio.”

Woodcock Lake

John Ensworth (John’s Bait Shop): “Sales of medium size shiners (3 to 4 inches) were very high over the weekend. Anglers are using them for walleye and bass on French Creek and Conneaut Lake. I’m also selling a lot of leeches for walleye fishing – reportedly heading to Woodcock.”

Joe Arnett (USACE – Woodcock): “I managed some time on the lake over the holiday weekend. I observed a nice 40” musky caught on a Cowgirl Lure (a double #10 blade, tinsel in-line spinner) by some Pymie diehards that were moonlighting at Woodcock. Also spoke with a fellow that divulged he’s been hammering ‘eyes at Woodcock on leeches. Slow fishing day overall, but a nice day on the water.”

Bill Logan (Pleasantville): “I fished Woodcock for musky on Saturday but never saw a fish. WCO told me the numbers of musky in the lake were down according to biologists’ survey. I’m headed to Canadohta Lake this coming week.”

Canadohta Lake

Jerry VanTassel (Timberland Bait): “Anglers had a good holiday weekend on pike and largemouth bass. Bass seemed to prefer the Berkley Power Worms, while pike wanted the Stinger trolling spoon. Both species were eating golden shiners from the bait shop. No muskies were reported caught.”

Erie County Waters

Presque Isle Bay

According to B.A.C. Bait, there is an excellent largemouth bass bite in the evening on topwater lures in the Bay. Also, anglers are taking bass on live crawfish. A couple muskies were reported caught this week.

Lake Erie

B.A.C. Bait reports that perch and walleye are on fire out in the lake. Perch are in about 60 feet of water off the Point and off Shorewood. Walleye are being taken from 30 to 80 feet of water – around 60 to 70 feet off the Point; 70 to 78 feet off Walnut Creek, but off Crooked & Raccoon Creek the walleye are in 35 feet of water. Most walleye are running 6 to 8 pounds in size. Stickbaits and worm harnesses are doing the trick.

Matt Hyrcyk (Poor Richards): “Perch fishing is simply outstanding. Most guys have their limit within a couple hours of fishing. The perch are out in 53 to 60 feet of water, and they are eating both emerald shiners and golden shiners – doesn’t make any difference to them. Walleye are in 55 to 70 feet on the West side; plugs or meat – if you get in front of them, they will eat it.”

Bryan Stuyvesant (Meadville): “Jeff and I went to Erie on Thursday – fished the main lake all day. The smallmouths were turned off; we only were able to catch one. However, largemouth and sheephead were fairly active. We caught them on blades, tubes, custom-painted crankbaits, dropshot plastic and BS Football Jigs. The sheephead were so aggressive I couldn’t imagine the smallies competing with them. Even though the bass action was slow, it was a fun day of fighting 20 or more gaspergou.”

Mercer County Waters

Lake Wilhelm

Bob Morha (Fergies Bait): “Pretty much the same story as the last couple weeks. Anglers are catching average size crappies and bluegills, plus a few walleye. Some reports of largemouth bass – but nothing outstanding. According to anglers purchasing my bait, they seem to be headed to Pymatuning.”

Destin DeMarion: “The fishing at Wilhelm has been inconsistent this past week. However, I managed to catch a bass or two. The majority of my fish were caught on an Omega Flipping Jig. I also caught some on a Kopper’s Live Target Frog.” Editor’s note: Destin is headed to the Bassmaster Open Tournament on the James River this week. Good luck!

Shenango Lake & River

Laurie Frantz (R&L Bait): “July 1 was the first day of turtle season…I sold over 100 turtles hooks! Sold out but will have more next week. I didn’t realize how many people are jugging for turtles these days.

“I had three people bring in fish for our contests this week. Ray Weaver caught a 31”, 6 lb. 1.6 oz northern pike from Shenango Reservoir. He also caught some nice catfish with the biggest going 20-1/4”. Chester Yoder brought in a beautiful largemouth bass caught at Pymatuning; it was 18-1/4”, 2 lbs. 10.6 oz.

“Most of my customers have switched from minnows to crawlers due to the heat. Here is a tip for folks using minnows: freeze water in plastic bottles, then put the frozen bottle in the minnow bucket. Freeze a bunch at home and keep them in the cooler to replenish the minnow bucket.”

Ken Smith (Sharon): “I fished Shenango Lake on Tuesday, just catching and releasing fish. I ended the day with 14 crappies, 2 smallmouth bass, 1 largemouth bass and 1 keeper walleye. Twister tails fished deep were the ticket for the crappies. I caught the bass on a jointed Shad Rap #5 casting the shoreline.”

Neshannock Creek

Bob Shuey (Neshannock Creek Fly Shop): “Neshannock Creek is clear, low and warm – that makes for tough fishing. Only trout being taken are from about daylight to 9 or 10 AM – mostly on midges and small nymphs. I’m hoping for a cool down in temperatures and/or some rainfall.”

Venango County Waters

Allegheny River

Marilyn Black (Cochranton): “Darl and I made our annual 4th of July fishing trip to the Allegheny River. The river was low and fairly clear – hard to believe that we contended with high dirty water all spring. As expected, there were a lot of canoeists and kayakers on the river. We only had a couple bites during the first 2 hours with Darl landing one small smallmouth and me losing two fish on jerkbaits. With uncooperative fish and boating traffic picking up on the river, we decided to head back to the ramp. Darl said we had to get one decent smallmouth for a photo, so we made a stop on the bank where we started. It was about noon. On his first cast, drifting a 3” Yum Dinger, Darl got a good smallmouth. We continued down the bank, landing and losing several more decent river smallmouths. All bass boated spit up crayfish or had pinchers sticking out their mouths.”

Justus Lake

Bob Vogan (Franklin): “Last Monday, June 27th, I was on Justus Lake with Ryan, Casey and Scott Williams. Casey and I caught several smallmouth bass around 12 inches using a drop-shot rig with Zoom 4” Meathead Worms in Green Pumpkin. Nothing big – but it was fun.”

Oil Creek

Mike Laskowski (Oil Creek Outfitters): “With low water and hot temperatures, trout fishing success on Oil Creek is slowing down. During the early morning hours some anglers are catching a few fish, but most trout are going inactive. However, smallmouth bass action on the Creek is picking up. I was out with a friend over the weekend on the stretch between the State Park and Oil City. We caught numerous smallmouths in the 10” to 13” range on Triple Threat Streamers.”

French Creek (Erie, Crawford and Venango Counties)

Dustin Shay (Meadville) reports he spent several evenings this past week trying to catch a big flathead catfish from French Creek. His bait consisted of large chubs, sunfish and rock bass which he caught. One evening he had a run on live bait he could not turn – even with 50 pound braided line. “The fish ran into an undercut with roots and pulled off,” he says. Dustin is still looking for that first French Creek flathead.

Another evening he went out to test a new Sebile Spinnerbait. On the first cast, a 36 to 38-inch musky slammed the bait but did not get hooked. “Guess I’ll be throwing that spinnerbait some more.”

On July 3rd, Dustin floated a section of French Creek with 29 friends! “The group was so large I could not take time to fish thoroughly – even if I could find a place to wet a line. The group of canoeists and kayakers in front of us consisted of 78 people. Just ridiculous numbers of people on French Creek! However, I did manage to nail several northern pike on spinnerbaits during the float.” (See photo #6)

Dock Talk

A week ago I was talking with Charlie Brewer Jr. of Tennessee, owner of the Brewer’s Slider Lure Company. Charlie, who receives the NW PA Fishing Report, mentioned he was going crappie fishing over the 4th of July weekend. On Monday he sent the following report about crappie in summer heat on Tim’s Ford Lake – there is useful information for area crappie anglers in it, so here it is:

“I admit that it is difficult for me to catch crappie in the summer here in Tennessee, but my trip to Tim’s Ford Lake with Terry Collins changed my thinking. We fished our Slider 1-1/2” Crappie Grub on a 1/16 oz open hook jig head with 4 pound line. The hooks were needle sharp double-light wire. This hook will straighten out when hung up, so all you do is bend it back into shape with your fingers and keep fishing. The double-light is fine for crappies and I even caught a 3.5 pound smallmouth bass on it. We caught about 50 fish during the 6 hour trip: 30 average size crappies, 18 stripes (white bass), and a few incidental bass and catfish. Most all our fish came from shade cover under floating docks where water depth is from 18 to 50 feet deep. The weather was bright and sunny which helps drive the fun under the shady docks. We had to watch our lines to detect the bites. Terry had the advantage in seeing bites because he was using 4 lb. gold line; I was using clear line and could not detect the light bites as well.” Charlie Brewer Jr., Slider Lure Company.

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

July 23 Take-A-Kid Fishing Buddy Tournament at Presque Isle Bay

Information: Steve Hughes, 814-473-3358

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

- Jigger Wholesale Tackle, Franklin, PA

- Area anglers

Keep Up with More NW PA Fishing at

Article Photos

Marilyn Black with Allegheny River smallmouth bass. (Darl Black photo)

Fact Box

Woodcock Lake
John Ensworth (John’s Bait Shop): “Sales of medium size shiners (3 to 4 inches) were very high over the weekend. Anglers are using them for walleye and bass on French Creek and Conneaut Lake. I’m also selling a lot of leeches for walleye fishing – reportedly heading to Woodcock.”

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