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NW PA Fishing Report, 2-16-15

February 19, 2015
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.

We answer the question "What's biting in the lakes, streams and rivers of Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango counties?"

Article Photos

Outdoor writer Jeff Samsel with a nice bluegill, caught during the Erie Ice Camp in NW PA.


Pymatuning Lake

(Editor's note: I attempted to reach Pymatuning Lake on February 14 to photograph the winners of the PLA Ice Fishing Tournament, but turned back due to white-out conditions making the drive dangerous. I later heard from ice fishermen on the lake that the wind was so bad their ice huts took off across the lake; others reported being separated from their group due to low visibility. As of publication time, I have not received results from the PLA tournament.)

Fact Box

Shenango River Lake

Chuck Sari (Franklin); filed 2/15: "I fished Shenango Lake yesterday with Kevin and Reece. We fished the Swim Beach area. We brought home 60 nice crappies all caught on small jigs tipped with maggots. There were three other guys fishing near us; they had about 30 crappies and bluegills.

Patty @ Poff's Place ; filed 2/16: "There are some very experienced anglers catching walleye through the ice but for the most part, I'm only hearing about less than stellar catches. Even with all the ice this year, most people don't seem to be connecting with fish. Better days are coming, however. Hopefully ice-out is only about four weeks away!"

Rich Sari (Ohio)

Filed 1/19: "Went to Pymatuning Saturday 1/17 and again the morning of the 19th with my grandson Jake. Ice is still a little shaky. You must be cautious. Most places have four inches of good ice under slush, water and snow. There is still no one on the south end below Snodgrass. There is a lot of water on top of the ice at the south end. There are a few fishermen around Manning, Tuttle, Westford and Snodgrass. Catches are spotty, but if you have the patience and a little skill, there are walleye to be caught. We got seven 'eye on Saturday ranging from 16 inches to 24 inches. Caught quite a few smaller throw-backs. This morning we did about the same. Attached is a picture of my grandson with the four he caught, ranging from 18 to 25 inches."

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Filed 2/14: "It really got bad out on the ice today. I didn't stick around to get my limit, but between Jake and me, we got 10 walleye. Jake got a 27 incher which was the biggest. I got a 23 incher and a 22 incher which are really nice Pymatuning walleye. Our 10 keepers ranged from 16 inches to 27 inches. We have been doing very well all year on walleyes. If you put in the time and effort, a limit of walleyes can be the norm for an ice angler on Pymatuning."

Chuck Sari (Franklin); filed 2/13: "I have made several trips to Pymatuning fishing strictly for walleyes with my cousin Rich Sari. We have had very good success fishing the north end of the lake using Sonars. The attached pictures are from a trip on February 7th fishing with my son Kevin and my grandson Reece. Reece is holding a very fat 22-inch walleye that took him 10 minutes to land. We have also been fishing Shenango Lake at Golden Run for crappies with some success using 1/32 oz. jigs tipped with a maggot."

Loby (Conneaut Lake); filed 2/10: "I've been jigging blades at Pymatuning to catch walleyes, including the Vibe-B and BPS XSP Lazer blade in sizes ? and 3/8 ounce. Gold is my favorite color."

Lake Canadohta

An ice fishing tournament sponsored by Timberland Bait Shop was held at Canadohta Lake on February 14. Sara @ Timberland Bait sent photos of the winner in each species category; but she only identified Joe Fink of Pittsburgh as the first place winner of $350 for a 28-3/4 inch northern pike.

Woodcock Lake

Trevor Pavlik; filed 2/16: "I caught two muskies at Woodcock this past week. I was jigging live minnows on a Swedish Pimple and fishing big shiners on the tip-ups. We were fishing on a drop that went from 10 feet to 20 feet. The larger musky was 48 inches and the smaller one was 32.5 inches."

Sugar Lake

Angler Al (Franklin); filed 1/24: "On January 22nd my neighbor Luke and I rode our snowmobiles over to Sugar Lake. The ice was 7 inches thick, but with a layer of slush on top. Other sleds had been on the ice, so we motored out to see what the two men nearest the hotel might be catching. Turned out they were fellows I knew from the Shippenville area Daryl and Von. They had caught a few perch on minnows before I arrived. However while visiting with them, one of Von's tip-ups went off. He tugged once on the braided line and said "This ain't no perch." His Fireline held true and he worked a two-foot fish out of the hole. Initially believing it was a funny looking musky, it turned out to be later identified as 24 inch Chain Pickerel!"



Jeff @ Poor Richard's Bait Shop ; filed 2/16: "A few anglers are ice fishing for steelhead at the mouths of Elk and in Walnut Creek Marina. An occasional small fresh steelhead is caught, and sometimes it's a dark fish that has been in for some time. They are catching them on jigs tipped with a minnow, wax worm or grub."

Presque Isle Bay

RJ Graham (Tionesta); filed 2/16: "I went up to PIB on Saturday the 14th. We got some 'gills and perch, but the bite was slow and the wind was high. After our ice hut sailed across the bay when we walked out of it, we decided to call it a day."

Thomas Watral (Erie)

- Filed 1/23: "Ice thickness 5 to 8 inches. Hot spot for perch is straight out of Chestnut Street Ramp in mid-section of Bay. Best set-up is Subiki Rig with minnows on 6 to 8-pound test line. Perch are running 9 to 14 inches.

- Filed 1/24: "Got a picture of red fox today by the ship yard; I gave the fox one of my fish. The ice is 10 inches thick. We only managed 10 perch all about 9 inches slow day.

- Filed 2/2: "The ice is anywhere from 7 to 12 inches thick. Perch fishing has been picking up early in the mornings. Hot spot is the middle of the Bay. Crappies are being caught in the Stink Hole; best baits are ice jigs tipped with maggots under a bobber. Some steelhead reported at Four Mile Creek and Walnut Creek on single eggs and roe."

- Filed 2/9: "Down to Dobbins Landing to ice fish for perch. Lot of anglers out but hardly anyone catching decent perch. I managed a limit of perch - barely 9 inches long. On Subiki Rigs tipped with minnows. I've been told the fishing is slow in Misery Bay."

- File 2/12: "I went out on the Bay today and tried six different areas. Every place was slow. Hardly any hits. No one I talked to was doing any good. Even talked to a man that has been out on the ice every day since it froze; he said he only limited out one time. Certainly not as good as last year."


Shenango River Lake

Chuck Sari (Franklin); filed 2/15: "I fished Shenango Lake yesterday with Kevin and Reece. We fished the Swim Beach area. We brought home 60 nice crappies all caught on small jigs tipped with maggots. There were three other guys fishing near us; they had about 30 crappies and bluegills. We fished until noon and then the wind go too bad; it literally blew us off the ice.

Ken Smith (Sharon)

- Filed 2/7: "On February 6, I fished Shenango Lake's Golden Run area for panfish with a couple of buddies. Our group drilled lots of holes searching for fish. After drilling about 40 holes and checking depths from 4 feet to 9 feet, we found some brush in 8 feet near the channel. The crappies were stacked there. We caught well over 150 fish between three of us; most of the fish were between 7 and 11 inches. Quite a few thick black 9-inch crappies were taken home for a fish fry. I caught all of mine on small plastic baits but my buddy Ron and Steve used maggots on Swedish Pimples and Fiskas Jigs."

- File 2/9: "I had so much fun on the 8th, that I invited my buddy Al to come down from Saegertown since he had never fished Shenango on the ice. We went back to the same areas fished a couple days earlier and drilled holes all around the area looking for the school of crappies. After more than 20 holes and fishing them for over an hour, we decided to check an area that had produced for me in the past. I drilled 10 holes, while Al checked each for brushand found some. We set up on it and started hammering crappies. Again, they averaged a little over nine inches but they were biting good and fast. We caught over 80 crappies, with Al keeping 20 of them; I kept 30 for our upcoming church Fish Fry. About 90% of the crappies came on plastic, with the other 10% on maggots."

Lake Wilhelm

Vickie @ Fergie's Bait Shop; filed 1/29: "Here is what was happening on Lake Wilhelm the end of January. Ice was 6-1/2 inches. Anglers were picking up perch and bluegills at Bachop Road and accesses #1, #2 and #3. At accesses #1 and #2 they were picking up good size crappies in 7 to 8 feet of water, just off the bottom. Water clarity is between 1 to 3 feet. Grubs and wax worms on a Horrobin Ant seemed to work best, plus minnows."

Neshannock Creek

Bob at Neshannock Creek Fly Shops; filed 1/22: "We are only a couple months away from the official start of trout season. Our annual pre-Season Trout Stocking will be Saturday, March 7. We will again be open every Sunday beginning on March 8. The Lunker Stock and Rod Raffle is Saturday, March 14; winner does not need to be present and gets their choice of any Orvis 2015 Recon Fly Rod. I am seeking volunteers age 18 and up to help us float-stock on both Saturday, March 7 and Saturday March 14. We are also taking reservations for Female Anglers Fly Fishing School, Young Anglers Fly Fishing School, Fly Fishing Lessons and Guided Fly Fishing. Details on any of the above items can be found at our website"


Bill @ Griffins Bait & Tackle Shop; file 2/12: "Here at Griffins Bait & Tackle we have been selling a lot of maggots, wax worms, shiners and fathead minnows. We have been getting new products in, including Arnold, DOT, Moon, and Ratso ice jigs in sizes 10-14. Griffins now offers GAMMA line in sizes 6, 8 and 10 pound test in the pony spools or filler spools. We are now able to purchase K&E Stopper products mostly ice fishing lures, accessories and equipment. Griffins also will be handling HT products. With temperatures staying below 32 degrees, ice fishermen have been reporting nice catches. Sugar Lake has been producing crappies in the 10 to 11 inch range. Alex and Bob Keith have been catching pike and walleye on frozen sections of French Creek. Also good catches from the Allegheny River, including Bob's northern pike at 33 inches, Matty's northern pike at 32 inches, and Ryan's musky at 35 inches all taken on February 8th."



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