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NW PA Weekly Fishing Report - July 18, 2011

July 19, 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

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


- Well, we have hit the summer doldrums. After an incredibly wet and cool spring, we are now faced with an incredibly dry and hot summer. Water temps are so warm in creeks, rivers and smaller lakes that many gamefish species no longer feed during the day. But as some opportunities shut down, others open up: Cats and carp are drawing anglers’ attention; try fly-fishing for smallmouth in the low, clear streams (see Tips section in this Report); try collecting live creek minnows for river walleye & smallmouth fishing; throw frog lures over shallow weed mats for largemouth; or head to Erie for perch and walleye.

Mercer County Waters

Lake Wilhelm

Bob Mohra (Fergies Bait): “On Saturday, July 16, Al Means (Sheakleyville) caught 17 largemouth bass – all on a Strike King Red Eye Shad. Even though some anglers are complaining about the low number of bass in the lake, it seems some people know how to catch them! Panfish are still hitting on the usual stuff – bluegills on a maggot tipped Ant and crappies on live minnows.” (See photo #1 shoreline angler)

Shenango Lake & Shenango River

Laurie Frantz (R&L Bait): “I sold out of shiners this weekend to customers headed to Otter Creek for northern pike. My customers are also fishing Shenango Lake, Shenango River and Pymatuning – but not having as good success as earlier in the season. Again this week, I sold a bunch of turtle hooks – turtle jugging must be the newest rage. A young fellow says he will bring in a big turtle for me to take a picture of this week; he has kept it alive until it can be documented and weighed.”

Neshannock Creek

Bob Shuey (Neshannock Creek Outfitters): “This coming week looks REAL BAD for trout fishing. It is time to leave the trout alone in the freestone creeks because of the extremely warm water temperatures. Fish the tail water fisheries and spring creeks for trout. And don’t forget the smallmouth fishing on Neshannock and other mid-size trout streams – you will likely have a stream section to yourself. And how about those carp flies – it’s a blast!

Venango County Waters

Allegheny River

Mike Horrobin ( & Jigger Wholesale): “The summer heat is here and it looks like it is going to be with us for some time – so we must adapt. Fish early and late; try topwaters for smallmouth – I like to use deer hair poppers and divers because they land softly and you can work them slow if needed. Or try night-fishing for catfish. My friend Larry Coffer showed me a stringer of catfish from the river which totaled 80 pounds! Larry is a Catfish King, tearing them up this time of year.”

Chris Wolfgong (Oil City): “After returning from the ICAST Tackle Trade Show this past week, I hit the water Sunday afternoon with Dale Black and his son Jake. I caught five nice smallmouths – two on a tube and three on a jig. Dale caught four smallmouths on Yum Dingers and Houdini Shads. Not a bad day on the water for late July, plus the fact that the river is extremely low and extremely clear.”

Chuck Sari (Franklin): “My son Kevin and I fished the Allegheny River the evening of July 14, and had one of our best mid summer evenings ever – despite the river being very clear, very low and very weedy. We caught and released 5 bass and 7 walleye. The bass were small, but the walleye ranged from 17 to 26 inches! They were all caught on a silver-sided Floating Rapala Minnow.” (See photo #2 walleye)

Oil Creek

Mike Laskowski (Oil Creek Outfitters) reports trout fishing on Oil Creek is done for the summer and the water level on Oil Creek has dropped to a level where it is even impacting the smallmouth bass fishing.

French Creek (Erie, Crawford and Venango Counties)

Lou Letterle (Franklin): “I did some wade-fishing on the lower part of French Creek just upstream of Franklin on Friday afternoon. The water was low, clear and warm, plus I was fishing under bluebird skies. But the smallmouth bass were cooperative! I caught between 12 and 15 bass on various soft plastic baits. The majority of fish were between 14 and 16 inches.”

Dustin Shay (Meadville) spent Thursday morning catching chubs, darters and suckers from the Creek to use for walleye and catfish. “On Sunday, July 17, with the sun high in the sky mid day, we found walleyes in a deep hole. The walleyes would follow our live minnows, jigs and Road Runner lures right to the shoreline nipping at them, but would not commit to taking either live bait or lures. These ‘eyes ranged from about 18 to about 25 inches. We are going to try fishing them before daybreak to see if they are feeding then. In the meantime, we have been catching northern pike and smallmouth from the Creek on creek-caught minnows.” (Photo #3 bait gathering)

Crawford County Waters

Pymatuning Lake

Chris Hall (Espyville Outdoors): “With the warmer temperatures, both the fish and fishermen have slowed down. The reports that I received this week are less than spectacular. Some walleyes are still being caught in deeper water, suspended off the bottom about 4 feet. We had a 28-inch, 6-pound walleye in the shop this week. The walleyes are being caught by trolling worm harnesses, Hot-N-Tots, Bombers and the AFF Walleye Wizard. The Walleye Wizard was the hottest item in the shop last week with 100 units sold – emptied my pegs but will have more in this week.

“Crappies have been biting in the evenings and at night around the Andover-Espyville Causeway. Quite a few fishermen are using floating lights or other illumination. No reports on how successful these lights are at attracting crappies to the bugs attracted by the lights. Catfish are going crazy! Magic Bait dough bait is flying off the shelves; we are selling out twice a week! Cats are running average size; no repots of big ones – but people are catching them without much effort and having a lot of fun.

“Don’t forget the Big Kids/Little Kids Tournament at Lake Erie this weekend. Espyville Outdoors is proud to be a sponsor for the event, supplying trophies to both Big and Little Kids for 1st through 3rd and Lunker,” concludes Chris.

Dave Richter (Richter’s General Store): “I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but things are pretty much the same as last week – with the exception of several small musky catches, however, nothing over 42 inches. Walleyes are being caught, and if you know what you are doing, you can get some keepers. Two of my regular customers from Beaver County came in with six keepers over the weekend; they caught 30 ‘eye to get 6 legal ones. Crappies are biting strong in deeper water closer to the dam. Channel cats are going crazy.”

Dustin Shay caught seven channel cats each between 8 to 12 pounds at the Linesville Spillway on doughball.

Cussawego Creek

Dustin Shay has also been fishing Cussawego Creek not far upstream from its confluence with French Creek. He says the slower sections of the creek are choked with vegetation, and they’ve been catching some largemouth bass. His buddy, Russell Chaney, caught a 5 pound largemouth on a Tuscaronan Rude Frog, which he won in a Fishing Report lure drawing. (See photo #4 largemouth)

Conneaut Lake

Bryan Stuyvesant (Meadville): “I had my nephews staying with me for five days last week. My nephews, my son and I fished Conneaut Lake several times. We spent some time targeting crappies, and caught them pretty good. We also went bass fishing. My son caught his personal best largemouth bass – a 5 lb. 5 oz monster on a Yum Dinger. We caught a number of small largemouths from 6 to 16 inches by drop-shotting Dingers; sure is good to see so many little fish!” (See photo # 5 largemouth)

Erie County Waters

Presque Isle Bay

Al Napcopoulos (B.A.C. Bait) says fishing over all in the Bay has slowed some. However, he had reports of anglers catching smallmouth on live crayfish on the North Pier, as well as one angler who got into a mess of nice crappie off the pier. Largemouth bass are being caught in weedbeds around the Bay, particularly in Misery Bay and near the Stink Hole. He says everyone is reporting good perch and walleye action out in the main Lake.

Lake Erie

Gary Heubel (Poor Richards): “Perch and walleye fishing over the past weekend were very good on the West side Perch moved in shallower to 40 to 45 feet of water. Walleye are still in 65 to 75 feet of water north of Walnut and slightly to the east towards the condos.”

John Fuhrman (Phoenix, AZ): Former Erie resident John Fuhrman returns each summer to fish Lake Erie; Fuhrman has been scoring on walleye in relatively shallow water with an Erie Dearie & nightcrawler. He will provide details in next week’s Fishing Report. (See photo #6 walleye)

Lake LeBoeuf

This is the time of year when FLW pro Dave Lefebre (Union City) uses frog lures on LeBoeuf to assess the bowfin and largemouth populations. His 7’ heavy-action rod is spooled with 50-pound braid, and his tackle box has a variety of hollow belly frog lures. In recent years there has been a sharp increase in the number of bowfin caught; some days more bowfin than largemouth will be caught and released.

Fishing Tip of the Week

While there are holdover trout in area freestone streams, there isn’t much feeding by trout going on in these extremely high water temperatures plus handling caught trout under these conditions will stress them greatly. The fly-fishing experts on the Fishing Report suggest you shift your fly-fishing skills to smallmouth bass typically found in many of the larger stocked trout streams. Smallmouth bass are a hardier fish than trout and are willing to take a fly.

Bob Shuey: “Neshannock Creek fishes the best with small flies for bass. Try Wooly Buggers in size 10 to 14, in Black, Olives and Brown. Tie them in different color combinations to look like crayfish. Also try fishing regular crayfish patterns in sizes 8 to 14. Small poppers are also good early in the morning and late in evening on the slow pools. The fish in this stream like slow presentations so dead drift or fish with very slow retrieves. If you fish Clouser Minnows in this low water, you will need to retrieve it fast or get snagged on every drift.”

Mike Laskowski: “On Oil Creek the top patterns for smallmouth bass are the Triple Threat Streams, crawfish patterns and Sneaky Peat Poppers. One of the better sections this time of year is from the ice control dam downstream to the confluence with the Allegheny. French Creek is also a great place for smallies.”

Mike Horrobin: “The Clouser Minnow is my favorite for stream fishing for smallmouth. I like it because you can vary the weight of the eyes to adjust running depth. One of my favorite stretches of Big Sandy is from the Old Rt. 8 Bridge downstream to the Allegheny. I like brown/orange, brown/white, or brown/black color combinations.”

Ed Atts: “The best flies for any smallmouth water that I fish are black or brown Wooly Buggers (sizes 6 & 8), Clouser Minnows, Murray’s Hellgrammite and Murray’s Strymph. I cast these upstream and allow them to dead drift with the current. I don’t know if bass think they are minnows, hellgrammites, crawfish or leeches – but they work. French Creek is at a good level for fly-fishing right now. Wade the stream early in the morning and late in the evening. Sugar Creek has some bass that run up from French Creek, but Sugar is almost too low presently to hold fish.”

Bill Logan: “I use poppers if there is a surface bite. But for going deep, I like a weighted crayfish or sculpin pattern. On Oil Creek, I like a jigging presentation for big flies – sink the fly to the bottom the crawl and pop it across the pool as the current swings the fly downstream.”

Gamma Salutes…

The winner of a spool of Gamma Polyflex Line is Chuck Sari for submitting a photo of a 26” walleye taken from the Allegheny River this past week.

Gamma Line is available at Espyville Outdoors (Espyville), John’s Bait (Meadville), CDS (Grove City), Poor Richard’s (Erie).

Lure Packet winner…

Lou Letterle was drawn as the winner of the Jewel/Larewlure sample.

Shop Talk

Chris Hall: “Congratulations to the Law Lure Company of Pittsburgh making their first trip to ICAST last week with their Death Shimmer II Spinnerbait ( We carry the Death Shimmer at Espyville Outdoors.”

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

Russell Chaney (Meadville) caught this 5-pound largemouth on a Tuscaronan Rude Frog from Cussawego Creek. (Dustin Shay photo)

Fact Box

Allegheny River
Mike Horrobin ( & Jigger Wholesale): “The summer heat is here and it looks like it is going to be with us for some time – so we must adapt. Fish early and late; try topwaters for smallmouth – I like to use deer hair poppers and divers because they land softly and you can work them slow if needed.

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