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NW PA Weekly Fishing Report - July 11, 2011

July 12, 2011
By Darl Black
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, contact Darl Black at

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

Erie County Waters

Presque Isle Bay

Bob Clark (Erie) says largemouth bass is the best fishing going in the Bay right now, but the bite isn’t particularly strong at the present time. Anglers report the peak bluegill spawn has ended, and that crappies have moved to deeper water.

Lake Erie

Mike Tome (B.A.C. Baits): “Perch are going crazy in 50 to 60 feet of water – out of Walnut and off the Peninsula. It does not take long to fill out a limit if using emerald shiners or golden shiners – we have the bait. Smallmouth bass are holding in 20 to 30 feet of water up and down the PA section of the Lake. Walleyes are being caught in 65 to 75 feet of water from Erie to the Ohio line. Out of North East, walleye are out about 85 feet. We have a selection of the top-walleye getting plugs and worm harnesses right here at B.A.C.”

Jeff Staaf (Poor Richards): “Perch action is extremely hot in 47 to 57 feet of water out of Walnut. If your boat mates aren’t limiting out within an hour, you are in the wrong spot. Following a slow down last week, the walleye is picking up steam again; one key area is 60 to 75 feet of water west of Walnut. Stop in for the best fish-catching colors in Reef Runners, Renosky Minnows, and Bagley’s stick baits. Here’s a tip: watermelon blades on worm harnesses are hot.”

Lake LeBoeuf, Edinboro Lake and Pleasant Lake

Although no reports have been forth coming on these three inland lakes in Erie County, this is the time of year that vegetation beds are maxed out. The largemouth bite using surface frogs (both buzz frogs and hollow belly floating frogs) should be off the scale this coming month. These three lakes are among the best in NW PA for frog fishing.

Mercer County Waters

Lake Wilhelm

Bob Mohra (Fergies Bait) says anglers are catching walleyes in the lower end of the lake by Launch #1 on orange blade worm harnesses fished tight to the bottom. He has reports from anglers catching largemouth bass on Strike King Red-Eye Shads and purple worms. Bluegills are being taken on Sam’s Ants, and crappies are falling for white twisters and Southern Pro Stingers.

Eric Heil (Franklin): “I fished Wilhelm on Sunday, July 10th, participating in a club tournament. I caught around 20 largemouth bass around a variety of cover. My largest was 5.7 pounds, taken on a Rapala DT crankbait. I also landed two largemouths on the same crankbait on the same cast – one fish on the front hook and one on the back hook! I also caught bass on a black/blue jig. The total weight for my 5 fish limit was 17.04 pounds. All bass were landed on Gamma Line. I was using 10-pound Gamma Copolymer and a Kistler Magnesium crankbait rod for the Rapala crankbait. My jig rod was a Kistler heavy action Z Bone Rod with 14-pound Gamma Edge.” (See photo #1)

Shenango Lake and Shenango River

Laurie Frantz (R&L Bait): “Business has been brisk with customers heading to Shenango Lake, Shenango River, Lake Wilhelm and Pymatuning Lake – but not many mentioning successes or failures. I’m selling a lot of nightcrawlers to fishermen which tells me they are likely fishing worm harnesses for walleye at all of these lakes. Several walleye fishermen stopped in for Cotton Cordell Big Os on their way to Shenango. Another fellow told me he had been out everyday this past week and brought at least two keeper walleyes home each day. Shenango is still producing ‘eye!”

Neshannock Creek

Bob Shuey (Neshannock Creek Fly Shop): “Trout fishing does not look too promising until we get rid of this heat and we get a lot of rain! Wednesday this coming week temps will drop be we need a lot of water. Smallmouth bass fishing on the creek is picking up with Wooly Buggers and crayfish patterns working best. Also, small poppers can produce in some of the slower pools.”

Venango County Waters

Allegheny River

Mike Horrobin ( and Jigger Wholesale) says the heat is taking its toll on fishermen and fishing success. Best fishing is early and late in the day. Walleyes are biting in the river, as well as smallmouth bass. The big story surrounds catfish in the river; mashed up panfish and live chubs seem to be taking most of the fish.

Dawn Whitley (Franklin) reported a 40 inch flathead taken on a creek chub this past week, and Bill Anderson (Cochranton) caught a nice flathead around the 4th of July. (See photo #2)

Chris Wolfgong (Oil City): “I went wade fishing for an hour on July 9 with my dad, Larry. We fished the mouth of Oil Creek entering the river. I got a nice 21” walleye and a 14” smallmouth at the mouth, and a fat 18” smallmouth just north of the bridge. Dad landed three bas between 12” and 15” just fishing around the bridge pier by the ‘rapids.’”

Ken Anderson (Tionesta): “I fished the Allegheny three times over the July 4th holiday. On one outing with my dad, Ken (Fayette City), I caught one smallmouth on a Rapala Minnow, and lost five bass. Next time out with dad, I got five average size smallies and one rock bass on live minnows; dad missed five fish. Final river outing was with my brother Josh Anderson my nephew Marcus – we had a total of 10 smallmouth on minnows and one 27” pike on a jig.

Justus Lake

Panfish are hitting flies or small jigs tipped with maggots. Small bass – both largemouth and smallmouth – are being caught on drop-shot rigs. No report on musky. Some anglers have been observed fishing deep for trout in the lower part of the lake, but their success is unknown.

Oil Creek

Mike Laskowski (Oil Creek Outfitters) reports more bass being caught in Oil Creek than trout.

French Creek (Erie, Crawford and Venango Counties)

Dustin Shay (Meadville) continues the hunt for his first flathead catfish out of French Creek. In the process, he has been catching northern pike. He is looking forward to getting back after walleye on the creek this coming week. (Photo #4)

Crawford County Waters

Pymatuning Lake

Chris Hall (Espyville Outdoors): “Walleyes have been biting in deeper water – suspended off the bottom about 4 to 5 feet. Worm harnesses in greens or oranges have been producing. The AFF Walleye Wizard continues to be a hot seller, with the firetiger and chartreuse colors producing the most fish.

“Crappies are headed to deeper water, too. Jigheads tipped with minnows and AFF Lucky Seven Hooks tipped with minnows and fished under a slip bobber have produced nice slabs from about 12 feet of water. Bluegills are still biting decent on Ants tipped with maggots or wax worms. A few reports of perch in the bays – “somewhere south of the causeway” I was told. Turtle hooks are flying off the shelf! Never seen anything like it! Heard a story of a large snapper about 3 feet long seen around Shaw’s Landing area of French Creek.”

Dave Richter (Richter’s General Store): “Anglers are still catching nice keeper size crappies in the 11” to 13” range on deep brushpiles. Walleye fishermen are still catching lots of small fish with a keeper every so often. Fishermen pulling worm harnesses are catching high numbers of channel catfish. Perch are being taken but they are small. And I’m still getting reports of largemouth bass caught from weedbeds. There was mention of a 40” and 41” muskies taken over the weekend, but I don’t have details.”

Ken Smith (Sharon): “I fished Pymatuning this week. I did real well on MicroSpoons tipped with minnows and jigs tipped with Berkley Crappie Nibbles. I was hang gliding my baits over deep brush on drop-offs. All the walleye I caught were throw backs, but the black crappies were nice.”

Conneaut Lake

Darl Black (Cochranton): “I managed to make three early morning trips to Conneaut Lake this week, fishing from sunrise to about 10 AM. On an overcast Friday with Dustin Shay, we caught every gamefish species in the lake except a musky. Nice white bass and largemouth on a crankbait; two northern pike on a ?-ounce Terminator Spinnerbait; couple smallmouth bass on a Galida Grub; over a dozen small largemouth on a Yum Dinger wacky-rigged worm; and countless crappie and bluegill on small 1/16-ounce jigs. (See photo #6)

“Post frontal Saturday morning, Marilyn and I focused strictly on crappie; we lost count on the number of fish, but it exceeded over 40 crappies from 9 to 12 inches. Most crappies came on Bobby Garland Baby Shad jigs, with several of the larger fish on a Galida Grub. Under clear skies Sunday morning I was back on Conneaut with Bryan Stuyvesant looking to score a big smallmouth on topwater – no such luck. Bryan fished hard for a couple largemouth on a BS Football Head Jig and I got one smallmouth on a drop-shot F2 Dinger.”

Mike Horrobin ( “I fished Conneaut the other night. Bluegills were hitting any type of buggy looking fly. I put on a larger fly to eliminate some of the smaller fish and of course what did I catch right off the bat? Yep, a 3” bluegill!” If not into fly fishing for panfish, Mike recommends Mike’s Ant tipped with a maggot and suspended behind a bobber.

Canadohta Lake

Jerry VanTassel (Timberland Bait): “I heard that at least two muskies were caught from Canadohta this week, but I did not see them. Walleyes seem to holding the interest of most lake fishermen; worm harnesses in a variety of color blades are attracting these fish. Some anglers are catching bass – mainly around the docks on plastic worms.”

Bill Logan (Pleasantville): “I fished musky on Canadohta for several hours on Wednesday morning with Darl Black, trying to get a picture fish. We had one 40-some-inch fish follow to the boat, then sit there and watch my figure eight before sinking down out of sight. Although I did not boat a musky, I got my exercise throwing the Bulldog and Grandma lures. Darl caught 7 of the cutest little yellow perch you’ll ever see – perfect for musky bait – and a couple largemouth bass.” (See photo #7)

Sugar Creek

Ken Anderson (Tionesta) fished for an hour one evening on the creek and caught a rainbow trout on a white Rooster Tail Spinner.

Gamma Salutes…Dawn Whitley

Dawn Whitley’s photo of her big flathead catfish from the Allegheny River was drawn as the Gamma Line winner of the week. What for your line in the mail.

(Gamma Line is available at Espyville Outdoors in Espyville, John’s Bait in Meadville and CDS in Grove City.)

Lure Packet of Week Winner…

Eric Heil of Franklin was drawn as winner of the Jewel/Larew lure packet.

Dock Talk

Mike Horrobin: “It has been a busy week at Jigger making worm harnesses, spinner baits and buzzbaits as summer is in full swing. The new firetiger colored heads are very popular in spinnerbaits and buzzers. We received some new June Bug blades from Worth Tackle this week and the paint jog is a work of art – best chartreuse and blaze orange blades I ever seen. Some lures endure year to year, such as Kelly’s Plow Jockeyworms. Kelly’s has been around since plastic worms first hit the shelves and their rigged worms are still catching bass today.”

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

July 29 United Way Bass Classic at Conneaut Lake

Information contact: Eric Marsh at 814-382-0686

Aug 27 Walt’s Tavern Bass Benefit Tournament; $100.00/team

Information contact: Dan Mincin at 724-986-6557

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

Bill Logan with Canadohta Lake largemouth. (Darl Black photo)

Fact Box

Erie County Waters
Presque Isle Bay
Bob Clark (Erie) says largemouth bass is the best fishing going in the Bay right now, but the bite isn’t particularly strong at the present time. Anglers report the peak bluegill spawn has ended, and that crappies have moved to deeper water.

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