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NW PA Fishing Report, 11-17-14

November 19, 2014
By Darl Black ,

This report is provided by Darl Black and several sponsors: PA Great Lakes Region tourism; Black Knight Industries, home of Gamma Line and Wiegel Brothers Marine, Franklin. Connect to all counties at www.PaGreatLakes.comwww.

The NW PA Fishing Report provides timely angling information for Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango Counties covering all species and all waters open to the public. The fishing comments and photos are offered by regional tackle shops and area anglers, complied and published twice a month. The NW PA Fishing Report is based on experiences, observations and opinions of individual contributors; information sources are considered reliable but comments are not independently verified. If you would like to share your fishing experiences or photos from any waterway in the four counties, please email to Darl Black at In providing information or pictures, you are agreeing to it being posted in the Fishing Report and distributed electronically to media outlets and websites.

What's biting in the lakes, streams and rivers of Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango Counties?

Article Photos

Emily Marecic and Stephen Nymick choosing steelhead flies to fish on Elk Creek.
Photo by Darl Black


Pymatuning Lake

Hooker @ Hills Country Store (filed 11/17): "I've been busy hunting rather than fishing, but a couple clients from this summer stopped by to say they were catching some crappies and perch off the causeway but they said no one else was fishing. By the way, Hill's Country Store will be closing for the winter in late December and will reopen in March."

Fact Box


Pymatuning Lake

Dave @ Richter's Tackle (filed 11/17): "Anglers have pulling crappies and bluegills from the docks at the Jamestown Marina now that fishing from the docks is allowed for the winter. However, fish seem to be mostly on the small size."

Patty @ Poff's Place (filed 11/17): "Not many anglers out fishing everyone seems to be hunting. The few anglers who are fishing are catching some crappies and perch, plus walleyes at the Causeway Bridge and at the Linesville Spillway. With this rush of cold weather, I'm putting in my order for some ice fishing equipment so stop into see our selection when you come to Espyville for winter fishing."

Dave @ Richter's Tackle (filed 11/17): "Anglers have pulling crappies and bluegills from the docks at the Jamestown Marina now that fishing from the docks is allowed for the winter. However, fish seem to be mostly on the small size. There are a handful of anglers pumping blades for walleyes and doing very well in 14 to 18 feet; however, not many anglers on the water right now. I hear they are catching some crappies and an occasional walleye in the Shenango River at the Pymatuning Dam outflow area. We've got the hot blades for walleyes."

Loby @ Loby's Premier Entertainment (filed 11/13): "Here is a picture of a few walleyes I've picked up on Pymy recently. I was jigging blades, of course."

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Lake Erie

Destin DeMarion, Grove City (filed 11/12): "Not excited about the big chill at all. But before the chill, I hit the water on Lake Erie on the 10th with a good friend from the Bassmasters of Crawford County, Mark Hughes. We got to our first spot and started throwing Fish Sense Lures' Binsky Blades in both Silver and Gold. We tried tubes, but found the blades to be the ticket. Water temps were close to 50 degrees and the fish were chewing. We caught smallmouth, lake trout and walleye. We boated around 40 smallmouth including numerous 4-pound-class fish and one hog nearly 6 pounds on the scale. The weather was perfect and fish feeding heavily for winter."

Erie Tributaries

Dan @ Elk Creek Sports (filed 11/17): "This cold snap is not what we wanted at this time right in the middle of an outstanding steelhead run. There are fish up and down the streams, and anglers have been making great catches although we could have used some rain to raise the water. But the sudden cold weather the last few days turned the steelhead off until they can adjust. And even colder weather coming this week will likely lock up the lower sections of the creeks, although higher up sections should remain open but with slush. Through Wednesday the 19th we are expecting 30 mph winds, over a foot of new snow with lows at night near single digits and highs only in the 20s. Lock up, no doubt. Stay home for the next several days. Warmer temps expected the first of next week with some rain should open the creeks and put water in them. If all goes right, the creeks should be in good fishing conditions later by mid-week just in time for Thanksgiving."

Jeff @ Poor Richards (filed 11/17): "Both anglers and fish catches have slowed down with this sudden cold spell. Creeks are low and clear and cold. Fish need to acclimate. Go with single eggs or minnows if bait fishing; go with Blood Dots or small nymphs if fly-fishing. Expect a rough week with hoped for improvement before Thanksgiving. This has been an outstanding steelhead run with anglers saying it is the best in six years."

Ric @ Trout Run Bait (filed 11/16): "When the cold snap hit several days ago, it shut everything down. It will take time for the fish to adjust to the sudden drop in water temp. This has been an exceptional run this year, and when we get a warm up next week, I expect anglers will be back catching fish. The catches of big browns have been outstanding as well. One customer even caught a Coho salmon, likely a lost fish from a Canadian stocking."

Brian @ Uncle John's Campground (filed 11/13): "The fish were still biting until the big chill. The main bait here in our area has been live minnows. There have been lots of happy anglers here at Uncle Johns." (See Photo Page)

Dennis Beggs, Franklin (filed 11/12): Kim Slye and I made a trip to Erie to fish for steelhead on the 6th. We fished the lake in the surf at Trout Run, and saw many fish caught and released. Most fish came on sucker spawn and blood dot eggs flies under a small strike indicator. Kim caught nice brown trout on Power Bait and I caught a steelhead on a single salmon egg. Both fish were released. We had many more strong fights, but the fish broke off before getting them to shore. We returned on the 11th and caught even more brown trout in addition to steelhead."

Presque Isle Bay

Jim @ B.A.C. Bait (filed 11/17): "Not many anglers out on bay due to cold. However, I've had intermittent reports of bluegills and crappies hitting off the piers."

Thomas Watral, Erie (filed 11/7): "I was down at the Border's Dock to check out the railing they put up. The way they put in the railing has made it difficult to people to fish from the dock."


Lake Wilhelm

Bob @ Fergie's Bait (filed 11/17): "Reports from the upper Sheakleyville Causeway of good bluegill and crappie catches right at dark that is all that I've heard. We are gearing up for ice season with shanties, drills, poles and ice lures available at Fergie's."

Shenango River Lake

Ken Smith, Sharon (filed 11/13): "I fished Shenango twice in the past two weeks. First time on November 5; I caught crappies in deep water over sunken brush. I was hang-gliding Southern Pro Triple Tail body on either a 1/8-ounce Road Runner head or on a ball head sickle hook jig. Most fish caught came from 13 to 16 feet."

"Then I was back out on November 11. The weather was fantastic so I stayed out all day. I caught well over 80 crappies with most being those fat black 9" to 9.5" fish. They were shallow on deadfalls. Fish the Bobby Garland Baby Shad on a 1/32-ounce head under a bobber. Caught fish at every spot I fished. There were some bigger fish mixed in, too. I kept a dozen that were over 12" and 20 of the smaller ones."


Bill @ Griffins Bait & Tackle (filed 11/14): "Business has been slower than January molasses. We've had a few customers from Ohio and Pittsburgh trying to get in a last cast before hanging up the poles and grabbing the gun. Most fishermen are heading to the Allegheny River, Woodcock Lake or Pymatuning Lake likely for walleye. We had picture of nice 28" walleye caught by Steve Nestor on the Allegheny River; fish is being held by Brian Perry. (See photo) Be sure to like us on Facebook @Griffins Bait &Tackle Shop, and check out the special hand-painted lures we are offering."

Mike @ Jigger Wholesale (filed 11/17): "The new issue of Fishing Tackle Retailer magazine is out, and carries Darl Black's article about Jigger Wholesale and the Jobber Wagon. There are mentions of several other area tackle shops in the piece. Not a lot of guys fishing, but those who are on the river are mainly focusing on walleye with jigs and live bait, and on smallmouth bass on jigs. Big brown trout are moving, too."

Allegheny River

Gene Winger, Oil City (filed 11/17)

Week of Nov. 3rd - "Fishing was good during the week, landing a couple dozen smallies on each outing, mostly on Winco's Chilly Willee and Willee Wanabee Jigs in deep water. The smallies preferred smaller jigs worked on the bottom as slow as possible. Saturday, Chris Wehr and I fished the Oil City pool and had really slow dayboating only 2 smallies and a walleye."

Week of Nov. 10th "I fished Tuesday and Thursday, landing a couple dozen smallies each day most on Winco's Willee Wanabee Jigs in deep water. Sunday, Mike Keim and I fished up north with Red Childress. It was a great day! We landed two monster muskies (49" and 48"), a 28" brown trout and a 30"northern pike all trophy size fish in my opinion! I also took a few minutes to pull a couple smallies from the Warren pool. Thanks Red!"

Steve Udick, Oil City (filed 11/14): "Pat Murray and I got out on Veteran's Day in miserable high winds. We fished upper Rockmere and found a soft spot out of the wind. Pat got three nice walleyes and I picked up two bass...all in a bright blue sky. I fished Thursday at the Ice Device, arriving just as the white out started. Fish didn't seem to mind, as I caught three walleye and four small bass before 5 PM. All fish caught on live bait. Reminder to boaters: there is a 10' space in the Ice Boom on the Colbert side to get your jet boat up river. Also, wear you PDF it's the law from now until spring."

Joe Nichols, Pleasantville (filed 11/13): "Last weekend Doug Antill caught this musky on a green tube via a 1.5 pound smallmouth bass! The musky grabbed ahold of the bass halfway back to the boat and let go just at the side of the boat before we could net it. Then it turned around and hit the bass again and we landed both fish. Musky looked to be a little over 40 inches. The smallies are on a hot bite right now, and apparently so are the muskies!"

Bill Logan, Pleasantville (filed 11/13): "Last week I found out how hard it is to hand pull my jet to start it! I thought the battery died and I pulled the rope a bunch of times with no luck. I started paddling but then wondered about the battery terminal. Yep, it was loose. On Sunday I had four hits and landed 2 bass on a grub. The wind was more than I could take, so I left. On Monday, I had musky follow in the fast current in the river at Tionesta. A guy trolling for musky said he caught a 31" walleye."

Darl Black, Cochranton (filed 11/11): "Marilyn joined me on the river for what will likely be our last trip of the year together, since I'm putting the boat in storage given the bitter cold spell coming. The wind was howling up river making boat control and lure presentation difficult. Once again Marilyn out-fished me, landing the most smallmouth bass and the biggest probably because of new lucky cap she was wearing. Our total catch was only five fish (I only caught two). We finally caught those fish when we downsized to a 2" Get Bit Tube on the advice of Gene Winger who we saw on the river and told us we needed to go smaller to get bit."

Scott Kinard, Butler (filed 11/9): "Not much to report on river bass this Novemberaverage to slightly above average with decent numbersmaybe more rain will bring the big ones out in numbers. The walleyes are very activelanded a few nice ones while fishing for bass with Venom Tubes. I also discovered a flathead catfish bitelanded two of themnever caught a catfish this late in the season before."

Jeff Knapp @ Keystone Connection (filed 11/6): "River fishing has been very good. Yesterday, 11/5, we caught 40 smallmouths and 10 walleyes. They were hitting hair jigs and suspending jerkbaits."



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