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NWPA Fishing Report, 4-23-12

April 30, 2012
By Darl Black , Ohio Valley Outdoors

NWPA Fishing Report, 4/23/12

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Article Photos

Larry Schott of Espyville, PA caught this 49-inch, 38-pound musky with a 26” girth while fishing off the causeway at Pymatuning Lake.

The information in the NW PA Fishing Report is based on the observations and opinions of individuals at the reporting tackle shops and expert area anglers. The information is reliable however it is not independently verified. If you have current fishing information or a picture of your catch from one of the waters in the counties of Crawford, Erie, Mercer or Venango that you would like to share, please send it to Darl Black at In providing a picture, you are agreeing to it being posted in the Fishing Report.

What's biting in Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango Counties?

French Creek Meandering through all four northwest counties

Fact Box

Jeff Knapp (Keystone Connection Guide Service); filed 4/18/12: Jeff says the smallmouth bass bite has improved from the previous week, with bass moving towards spawning areas.

Dustin Shay (Meadville); filed 4/21/12: "I only got out two evening this past week. The smallmouths are still eating tube jigs, but with the cold weather arriving this coming week I would anticipate the bass bite to slow down. As expected, walleyes have abandoned their feeding binge. You rarely see them feeding ravenously by the time walleye harvest season opens in early May. Pike have not been very active this past week either."

Crawford County

Pymatuning Lake

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Chris Hall (Espyville Outdoors); filed 4/20/12: "Larry Schott of Espyville, PA caught a 49-inch, 38-pound musky with a 26" girth while fishing off the causeway at Pymatuning Lake. He caught on a #4 hook baited with a minnow under a floatusing a Zebco Predator rod and Zebco 33 Classic Reel with 10-pound Stren!"

Darl Black (Cochranton); filed 4/19/12: "I had hoped to fish Pymatuning this past week, but things didn't quite work out that way. Instead, I simply took a drive over the lake to visit with a group of anglers who fish Pymatuning for a solid week each April. Butch Thimons (Pittsburgh) is the patriarch of a family group (sons, grandsons, nephews, etc.) who rent two state park cabins, and maintain a fleet of six or seven fully equipped boats to carry the 12 to 16 members of the entourage. 'This years was the absolute best walleye and crappie fishing that we have had in many years. There was a long spell when we barely caught a legal walleye. Then the crappies came on strong a couple years back. But this year, we are limiting on legal size walleye along with some of the largest crappies we've ever taken.' When I stopped by their cabins, several members of the group were filleting today's catch, consisting of walleye ranging from 15 to 20-inches, crappies to 14 inches, jumbo yellow perch and the occasional big bluegill. While the skill level of individuals in the group varied, it seemed everyone caught some fish. Everyone was delighted with the weather and the fishing success this past week."

Dan Wielobob (Conneaut Lake); filed 4/19/12: Dan has been catching crappies rather consistently during the day from stumps and man-made fish attractors in 9 to 12 feet of water on the South End. He is using jigs tipped with minnows, saying the minnow is absolutely necessary right now. Also, he has routinely caught numerous legal walleye in the late evening just before dark in relatively shallow water, using jig-n-minnow or small crankbaits.

Conneaut Lake

Chub Hornstein (Meadville); filed 4/19/12: "I was out on Conneaut Lake this morning for several hours. I caught a number of largemouth and smallmouth bass on suspending jerkbaits. The smallmouths were not as large as the ones I caught last week. The water is so clear you can see the fish coming up for the jerkbait. However, I lost one huge smallmouth when it came up, nailed the lure and then jumped one of the biggest I've ever had on in the lake."

John Wilpula (Conneaut Lake); filed 4/19/12: "It was a rather slow night on Conneaut Lake but Mike Martin did manage to land his first ever musky a fat 39 incher. Mike was ripping a 1/8-ounce Strike King Redeye Shad through the weeks when the fish struck. After several runs under the boat and one trip around the trolling motor, we finally landed the fish!"

Dustin Shay (Meadville); filed 4/21/12: "My dad, Dan Shay, made a trip over to Conneaut Lake this week to check on the crappies. Even though the weather was warm the last few days, the cold snap from a week ago has the crappies pushed back. Dad was only catching one or two every 30 minutes nothing like he normally does on Conneaut about this time of year. However, the bite probably will not improve this week as below normal temperatures are expected for the next 7 days."

Woodcock Creek

Dustin Shay (Meadville); filed 4/21/12: "I've been fishing Woodcock Creek for trout this week and doing pretty good. Many fishermen are complaining they can't catch any of the trout they see in the clear water. Well, if you can see them so easily, the fish can likely see you especially if you are wading up the middle of stream. First, I use light line. I spot the fish, then move back from the bank, make long casts, and drift a nightcrawler to the trout. This week I've caught and released over 40 trout."

Woodcock Lake

John Ensworth (John's Bait Shop); filed 4/18/12: "Mike Prystaloski caught a 44-1/2 inch musky this week."

Canadohta Lake

Jerry VanTassel (Timberland Bait); filed 4/21/12: "Everyone up here is trout fishing. The crappie bite which started last week has slowed way down due to the cold snap. They are projecting snow for Monday."

Erie County

Lake Erie

Editor's note: When I spoke with Gary at Poor Richards last week, we had a bad phone connection. After publishing the Report, Gary sent me an email saying the lake trout he mentioned caught off Northeast was 27 pounds not 7 pounds as I reported.

Presque Isle Bay

Brain (B.A.C. Bait); filed 4/22/12: "All the Bay action is centered on perch on the North and South Pier of the Channel. In Presque Isle Bay proper, every species from bass to crappies seems to have lockjaw due to the cold snap of the last couple days. Weather forecast is for up to five inches of wet snow first of the week."

Thomas Watral (Erie)

Filed 4/17/12: "I went to the dock today. I fished in the wind and waves on the eastside. Hooked two bass and lost both. I ended up with 13 nice-size perch in the 12-inch range, all on minnows. Saw a lot of bass jumping after minnows."

Filed 4/19/12: "I went done to the Sand Dock area on the Bay. I observed lots lake trout chasing minnows I threw slated minnows in to draw the fish close to tell what they were. Also saw bass jumping after the same minnows. I'll go back tomorrow to fish."

Cascade Creek

Thomas Watral (Erie); filed 4/17/12: "I went down to Cascade Creek at 2:30 today just in time to help with the stocking. They put 800 trout in and the fish were hitting everything. I got 100 hookups on my Joe Fly, landing 50 of them. Fishing for them was fun and challenging since the creek is as low as I've ever seen it; the fish spooked easily. My biggest was a 20 inch brown; most were around 9 inches."

Mercer County

Shenango Lake

Laurie Frantz (R&L Bait Shop); filed 4/22/12: "I've had a busy week with customers buying bait for trout, but for the most part, the few who are fishing Shenango are saying the crappies are small. One customer, however, reported 30 keeper crappies. Right now everyone is preparing for the winter storm rolling in tonight."

Neshannock Creek

Bob Shuey (Neshannock Creek Fly Shop), filed 4/20/12: "Like all streams, Neshannock is low and in much need of water. Hatches are crazy many coming off 2 to 3 weeks early? The only good thing is all the cool temps have kept the water temperature in a good range for trout. Fishing is good!"

Venango County

Allegheny River

Lou Letterle (Franklin); filed 4.20.12: "I fished the Allegheny River on April 17. Started off the day using various soft plastic jigs and caught a couple fish. But the action was slow. I tossed a Rapala X-Rap for a while, but only managed to hook then lose some small bass. As the water temperature warmed, I switched to soft plastic jerk baits (Winco's River Darter) and got more consistent action. I fished in pocket eddies adjacent to faster water fishing as I would in mid-summer. I ended up with 9 smallmouths and a walleye. Most bass were in the 12 to 14-inch range. Water temperature was 58 degrees by afternoon; the river was low and clear."

Jeff Knapp (Keystone Connection Guide Service); filed 4/18/12: Jeff says the smallmouth bass bite has improved from the previous week, with bass moving towards spawning areas.

East Sandy Creek

John Hummel (Franklin); filed 4/20/12: "Once the opening weekend crowds had thinned out, J.V. Varhola or Vandergrift, PA, put on his usual trout fishing clinic on East Sandy Creek. The trout seemed to be in the slow, deep pools between the bridges in the Rockland and Cranberry Townships from Rt. 322 at Van to the mouth of the creek at Belmar Bridge on the Allegheny."

Tionesta Creek Forest County

Ken Anderson (Tionesta); filed 4/17/12: "I fished Tionesta Creek on the 16th. I did not catch a trout. But I did catch two smallmouth bass; the largest was 19 inches and over 4 pounds and full of eggs. Also, I lost a musky after a short battle on 4-poun line; the fish was around 24 to 26 inches. The water was so clear and low, and a caddis fly hatch was so strong that trout were hard to coax on artificial. My mom and dad fished downstream, and both were successful with stocked trout using bait."


Monthly Free fly-tying classes; 2nd Tuesday; 6 PM to 7:30 PM; 814-590-1366, Farrell's Hook, Line & Stitch; At the Bank Mall, Meadville

April 25 PFBC Fish Management Day; Presque Isle Bay;

May 5 PLA Crappie Tournament; Pymatuning Lake; 724-927-9493

May 6 BMCC Spring Bass Classic; Pymatuning Lake; 814-382-0686

May 5 & 6 Female Anglers Fly Fishing School; Neshannock Creek Fly Shop; 724-533-3212

May 19 PLA Walleye Tournament; Pymatuning Lake; 724-927-9493

June 2 PLA Walleye Tournament; Pymatuning Lake; 724-927-9493

June 9 Crappie & Bluegill Tournament; Conneaut Lake; Walt's Tavern; 814-510-9056

June 17 BMCC Father's Day Open; Presque Isle Bay; 814-463-9256



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