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NW PA Fishing Report, May 28, 2012

May 30, 2012
By Darl Black , Ohio Valley Outdoors

Sponsored by: PA Great Lakes Region ( and Black Knight Industries Home of Gamma

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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.

Article Photos

Marilyn Black with a nice bluegill.

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

French Creek Flowing through all four counties

Mike Martin (Cochranton) filed 5/26: "Fishing buddies John and Frank and myself made a 13 mile float from Utica to Franklin this past week. We were on the water from 9 AM to 7 PM. It was a long but very successful trip. Together we caught around 40 smallmouth bass ranging in size from 13" to 16" it certainly was one of our most memorable kayak floats on French Creek. The bass were lying in shallow water with minimal current. I caught all my fish on a Yum Dinger stick worm. It was a big change from our regular Tuesday evening float from Meadville to Cochranton, which this week only yielded 3 smallmouths."

Fact Box

Presque Isle Bay

Brendan Colon (Erie) filed 5/29: "I was on PIB this weekend, catching fish everywhere in the Bay on tubes and shaky head. Nothing really big, however. I landed around 25 bass combined largemouth and smallmouth."

Chub Hornstien (Meadville) filed 5/28: "We spent the weekend at the cottage on French Creek. My grandson Isaak caught his first two French Creek smallmouth while wading in front of the cottage."

John's Ensworth (John's Bait) filed 5/28: "Several of our customers report catching both walleye and smallmouth over the weekend from French Creek on leeches. The run on leeches at the store just about wiped us out."

Thomas Watral (Erie) filed 5/23: "I fished French Creek near Union City. The water was low and clear, but I found trout in the deep holes. I caught 15 trout on Road Runner spinner jigs and Sliders not a bad day. And to top it off, I watched some baby raccoons play on the bank."

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Crawford County

Pymatuning Lake

Dave Richter (Richter's General Store) filed 5/28: "It was another great weekend of fishing and catching here at Pymatuning. The walleye bite is going strong with lots of limits taken by trolling worm harnesses and crankbaits. The shallow-water bedding bluegill bite is in full gearwhich means the black crappie bite has slowed down in the shallows but a few anglers are catching nice white crappies on offshore brush piles. Anglers are still catching lots of catfish and yellow perch, too."

Chris Hall (Espyville Outdoors) filed 5/29: "Walleyes are still biting, with many 'eyes still in shallow water. Limits reported in less than 10 feet of water all around the lake. Drifting floating jigheads, worm harnesses and AFF Walleye Wizards tipped with crawlers seemed to be producing best; a few guys are reporting success with Storm Hot N'Tots and Rapala Shad Raps. Crappies are being taken with a jighead and minnow, with reports of 12" to 15" fish. The Andover-Espyville Causeway has been hotspot for crappies this week. The BIG bluegills are being caught in the shallows using hackle ants tipped with maggots or a waxworm; reports of 10" bluegills are common."

Norm Brakeman (Hills Country Store) filed 5/29: "Despite the raft of boats on Pymatuning over the weekend, fishing was good. On Sunday afternoon about 2 PM, I went out with my brother. The first spot we stopped gave up 1/2 dozen nice crappies. After fishing additional sites, we ended the afternoon with a mixed bag of panfish. Another fishing buddy, Dave, took his father out on Memorial Day. The first hump they fished produced a stringer of nice crappies with the average fish going 14.5 inches."

Dan Shay (Meadville) filed 5/28: "My wife and I headed to Pymatuning early this morning to catch some walleyes and did we catch them. Dodging the flotilla of holiday boats, we trolled stickbaits and Hot N-Tots about 50 feet behind the boat, catching two nice limits of walleye from about 40 fish we boated. It was a good day in spite of the fact that a pontoon boat ran right behind us and cut our lines!"

Chub Hornstein (Meadville) filed 5/25: "I ran over to Pymatuning for a couple hours on Friday to see if the black crappies were still shallow. I caught several incidental smallmouth bass, yellow perch, and bluegillsbut the black crappies have left the shallows!"

Ken Smith (Sharon) filed 5/25: "I went to Pymatuning on Wednesday to check on bluegill bedding areas. Not a lot of beds yet, but enough to keep me busy. I found them in 4 feet of water near the weedline, using a small black hair jigs that I tie. I caught around 40 'gills with most in the 7 to 9 inch range. Being my favorite food, I kept some for a fish fry. Hope to get my fly rod out to have a lot of fun this coming week!"

Woodcock Lake

John Ensworth (John's Bait Shop) filed 5/28: "It was an incredibly busy weekend at the bait shop. We sold crawlers and leeches like crazy a shift from all the fathead minnows going out previous weeks. Customers say the leeches and crawlers are catching walleye at Woodcock on deep rock piles and channel drops."

Conneaut Lake

Mike Martin (Cochranton) filed 5/29: Mike says that he and John Wilpula took home 20 BIG bluegills at Conneaut Lake over the weekend.

Conneaut Outflow

Marilyn Black (Cochranton) filed 5/28: "After planting flowers and doing yard work for two days, I took a break Memorial Day morning to fish the Conneaut Marsh at Custard's Dam hoping to catch a bowfin. My nightcrawler ball didn't interest the bowfin, but two fishermen from Pittsburgh were catching them on cut bait chunks of bullhead I believe. One of them said that on a good day they could catch 15 bowfin in 30 minutes."

Sugar Lake

Kathy (Jigger Tackle Wholesale) filed 5/29: "A customer reports the bass were not biting, but he did catch a lot of northern pike at Sugar Lake over the weekend."

Erie County

Lake Erie

Dottie Heuble (Poor Richards Bait) filed 5/29: "The weather today is far too unstable for anyone to be out on the lake fishing. But over the past week, things were clicking. The perch fishing was crazy in 37' to 45' of water between Trout Run and Walnut Creek, and at 50 feet off the Peninsula. Walleyes are still in relatively shallow water with many fish being taken by trolling at night in 8 feet of water off the shoreline; the daytime bite is non-existent at this time. Some anglers are catching and releasing smallmouth bass in water less than 20 feet deep."

Ernie Pate (Butler) filed 5/27: "Bob Singer and I fished Lake Erie on May 24. We caught 25 smallmouth bass in 8 to 12 feet of water on jerkbaits. Bob caught a 1.54 pound perch on a Lucky Craft jerkbait. (See Livewell photo) On Sunday, May 27, we were back on Erie again. We caught 35 smallmouth bass on Yamamoto Senkos and Flukes in 3 to 5 feet of water before a storm chased us off the water."

Presque Isle Bay

Brendan Colon (Erie) filed 5/29: "I was on PIB this weekend, catching fish everywhere in the Bay on tubes and shaky head. Nothing really big, however. I landed around 25 bass combined largemouth and smallmouth. I was just fishing various weedbeds, using Gander Mountain Finesse Worms on shaky heads, plus some tubes. Sorry, no pictures this time."

Tim Tomlin (hometown unknown) filed 5/26: "While camping on Presque Isle State Park with Scout Unit #13 last weekend, we fished mostly the North Pier catching a ton of gobies and bunch of rock bass. Those fish kept the boys attention on the channel. I got tired of the bait-stealing gobies and lack of perch, so I grabbed my fly rod and poppers, and headed to the elevated pier on Horseshoe Pond. I had the opportunity to instruct some children and adults about how to target fish in clear water. We observed a largemouth chasing bluegills. It took several casts to get his attention away from the bluegills, but finally my frog popper got a strike. There was excitement for everyone watching as I landed my biggest largemouth ever on a fly. I estimated the fish between 4 and 5 pounds. After a quick hero shot, I showed the kids how to properly release a big fish. Take a child fishingbetter yet, take 20!"

Thomas Watral (Erie) filed 5/26: "I started out on the North Pier today where I caught 15 smallmouth bass on a Berkley PowerBait Crawfish. Then I headed to the South Pier where I caught 10 perch in the 10" range on minnow rigs."

Chub Hornstein (Meadville) filed 5/24: "Darl Black and I headed to Erie to fish smallmouth on the lake. But we struggled to get bites on the main lake, landing only a couple bass and perch. So we switched to PIB where we scored a mixture of smallmouth, largemouth, rock bass and white bassbut nothing impressive in either size or numbers. Erie has not been good to me this season."

Trout on Erie Tribs

Thomas Watral (Erie): "On May 27, I went to 4 Mile Creek to fly fish. The water was very clear. I fished the Joe Fly, catching some small trout. I switched to a Caddis Emerger and landed one large brown trout, and missed three others before the storm forced me to leave. On May 28, I went to 7 Mile Creek in Harborcreek. The water was still low and clear even after the rain. There were trout rising, so I tried on a Betts' Busy Bee Fly. I caught 20 trout, and kept the biggest 5, including an 18" brown. The tributaries are still holding a lot of trout."

LeBoeuf Lake

Bill Logan (Pleasantville) filed 5/28: "To avoid the crowds elsewhere, on Memorial Day I went to LeBoeuf to cast for muskies. The heat got the best of me, but not before I caught 6 largemouth bass flipping the pads around the edge of the lake."

Tom Watral (Erie) filed 5/23: "At LeBoeuf Lake I fished a Road Runner to catch four nice largemouth bass including a 20-incher, six crappies and one small perch. I counted the Road Runner down and reeled it real slow on the retrieve."

Mercer County

Shenango Lake & River

Laurie Frantz (R&L Bait) filed 5/29: "It was an exciting holiday weekend with lots and lots of people stopping by for bait. Many were out-of-towners up for the weekend. With the warmer temperatures I'm selling lot more worms and maggots than minnows. I sold three flats of crawlers that's a bunch! The walleyes had been biting great at Shenango Lake up until about Thursday when they suddenly quit no one was catching them; maybe it got too warm. But anglers are still catching good number of crappies at Shenango. And the white bass were going crazy in the Pymatuning Creek Arm of Shenango up towards Orangeville. With regard to the shop's big fish contest, there were two new entries: Heath Glaser caught a 28-1/2", 10 lb.6 oz. pound carp at Shenango, and Don Alabran caught a 33-1/2", 9 lb. 5 oz. northern pike."

Lake Wilhelm

Bob Mohra (Fergie's Bait) filed 5/29: "I had reports of walleyes being taken on worm harnesses in 4 feet of water. Otherwise, the news remains lots of bluegills and small crappies. Occasionally an angler catches several crappies in the 14 to 15 inch range but most are small. There were numbers of shoreline fishermen all over the lake during the holiday weekend, but fewer than normal boat anglers."

Venango County

Allegheny River

Jeff Knapp (Keystone Connection Guide Service) filed 5/29: "Recent guide trips on the Allegheny are producing a mix of fish from 18 inches on down to dinks. Water is warm and low, however that could change with likelihood of thunderstorms this week. Small jerkbaits have been the best presentation."

Ken Anderson (Tionesta) filed 5/29: "I fished the Allegheny on 5/26, catching several small bass and a 24" northern on a Joe's Fly Spinner. I observed and avoided when possible many large bass on beds. Other camp fishermen in the area were also successful and reported northern pike catches on topwater baits such as Rapala Skitter Prop. Fished the river again on 5/28 for four hours. I lost several large bass, pike and musky didn't land a single fish. I had lots of followers but few strikes. I observed many smallmouth bass, rock bass, walleye, lamprey, suckers, stone cats, catfish, minnows and a hellbender in the clear water. Most of the bass have left beds. Also saw an immature bald eagle."

John Conroy (Moon Township) filed 5/28: "I was able to get out Saturday for a few hours with my son Forrest. We fished from Franklin to Belmar. Boat launch area in Franklin was packed solid. People were using their imagination on finding ways and areas to park. River was really nice, even though there was a constant flow of kayak and canoe flotillas through the holes. We were able to take our time and fish some favorite locations. We caught a dozen smallmouths, with three of them going 4 pounds. They were taken on a variety of tub jigs, as well as live hellgrammites and crawfish. (Is live bait cheating?) My instruments were saying the water temperature was 77 to 78 degrees. On my first, I lost a 19 incher. There were numerous peeling crabs, and we had no trouble round a few soft shells as well as hellgrammites to fish with. Numerous sightings of wildlife. We jigged for walleyes in a couple holes, to no avail. We could not stay until dark when walleye may be more active. Sorry, forgot the camera."

Louis Letterle (Franklin) filed 5/25: "I fished the Allegheny River a couple times this past week. For the most part, the catching was slow. I caught ? dozen bass and couple small pike each time out. All fish were taken on a Trigger X Jerkbait and Rapala X-Rap. Water was low and clear beautiful to wade but tough to fish."


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

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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