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NW PA Fishing Report, 8-24-15

August 27, 2015
By Darl Black ,

This Report is brought to you by PA Great Lakes Region tourism with additional sponsorship from Wiegel Brothers Marine and Gamma Fishing.

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

FRENCH CREEK flowing through all four counties

Article Photos

Jim McClave with Conneaut Lake crappies.

Jerry @ Timberland Bait & Tackle; filed 8/24: "Customers floating upper part of French Creek have been catching smallmouth and walleye on hand-tied hair jigs in the deepest holes they can find. With the water so shallow, gamefish are holding to the holes at least during the daylight. The best jigs are crayfish patterns tied locally and available at Timberland Bait & Tackle."

Angler Al (Franklin); filed 8/23: "I didn't have time to fish this week personally, however I did speak with a couple anglers who did. My friend Matt Watson caught a few decent walleye on several occasions during the evening hours on French Creek. His presentation primarily was a Rebel Frog lure and a Shad Rap #5. While in Erie on business, I swung by Walnut Creek Access. Check the Erie section to see what I learned."

Editor's Note: With the nice weather and low water level recently, French Creek has been overflowing with kayakers, canoeists, and tube floaters on weekends but few anglers. I had been scouting the Creek for bluedots, making several trips to different access areas without locating any bait. Exceptionally high water in early summer followed by exceptionally low water within weeks may be contributing to lack of baitfish. I spoke with Dustin Shay just before he left for a western adventure last week; he stated even the regular rats were having trouble finding their favorite indigenous baitfish for creek & river smallmouth. The good news: I finally found a section of creek with lots of bluedots. Now I'm ready to gather bait and go fish! However, it is too warm to hold baitfish overnight in an aerated cooler; but if you have a spring creek on your property, then you might be in luck for holding bait.

Fact Box


Allegheny River

Gene Winger (Oil City); filed 8/24: "With the river so low and clear, smallies have become really skittish these past couple weeks. Evening fishing has been most productive.


Pymatuning Lake

Patty @ Poff's Place; filed 8/24: "A few anglers are still catching walleyes by trolling deep water not everyone, just the most dedicated. A customer stopped by the other day to say he had been fishing with Red Denmark and they caught a mess of crappies. He said Red has been averaging 30 to 50 crappies every day he goes out."

Dave @ Richter's Bait & Tackle; filed 8/24: "My report is pretty much what it was last time. Hardcore anglers are picking up some walleye either by drifting with worms or by trolling crankbaits; catfish are everywhere. My boy and I went out bass fishing the other evening, but the weedbeds have disappeared looks like weeds died early. But while running across the lake we came upon haystacks of crappies in deep water; unfortunately we didn't have crappie tackle with us."

Norm @ Jamestown Livery; filed 8/24: "A few anglers are catching walleye, crappie and musky. Walleyes and crappies are down deep in 18 to 20 feet. Muskies are coming on top. It has been good musky fishing this summer for average size fish; biggest fish I've had reported is 44 inches."

Laurie @ Duck & Drake; filed 8/24: "The last fish reported was last week with walleyes caught in 11 to 16 feet of water just north of causeway. Anglers have been using either worm harnesses or shad style crankbaits."

Shawn @ Espyville Marina; filed 8/24: "Some anglers still picking up walleyes by trolling either Shad Raps or Hot-n-Tots. Others are drifting live bait for small perch."

Sydney @ Robinson's Bait; filed 8/24: "Lots of catfish being caught; only hearing of an occasional walleye. But there is big news at Robinson's we are gearing up for shrink wrapping boats for winter (or longer period). With the Linesville Marina closing the end of the month (and remaining closed through 2016 for updating of docks), we expect a lot of people looking to have boats wrapped for winter. We are now handling hunting equipment and will be ready for your ice fishing equipment needs, too."

RJ Graham (Tionesta); filed 8/19: "I fished Pymatuning today. I started at the Jamestown end looking for weeds, but with the big gusts of wind out of the north I couldn't move around much. So I trailered to Linesville, and had good day."

Hooker @ Hill's Country Store; filed 8/18: "In the truest sense of walking the walk and not just talking the talk, I took my own advice and followed the crappies from overhanging shoreline cover along the ridges, points and ditches to the deepwater humps of summer. Guests on Hooker's Fishing Taxi continue to catch good numbers of both black and white crappies. The fish are positioned near stumps located on humps topping out at 15 feet. The transition was if coordinated, with all the fish moving at the same time. It took a couple weeks for them to make the journey, but they are there now. Zac Olechovski and his grandfather Bob fished with Hooker for his 75th Birthday. Using old school bottom bouncing rigs (snap swivel, bell sinker, and #8 snelled hook) with live minnows, we caught crappies. We adjusted the sinker size for the changing wind condition, and boat control was not easy. Fish were at 15 foot and you had to be at that depth. By the end of the afternoon, they had a bunch of fish to take home, including quality perch and a 20 inch catfish. (See photos on Livewell page) A customer at Hill's says the perch have moved to the 18' depth and are ganged up. Once you find the right depth, stay with them." Hooker also added he is giving a free pack of Bobby Garland Crappie baits with every purchase of a filler spool of Gamma Line while store stock supplies last.

Conneaut Lake

Darl @ Fishing with Darl Black Guide Service; filed 8/24: "Starting about the first of August, the big bluegills finally schooled up in deeper water. But I had not located any decent crappies until last week when they suddenly showed up chasing schools of small minnows on select weed flats. Panfish is definitely the hot bite on Conneaut right now. Book a 5-hour trip for panfish in September and receive a sample spool of GAMMA Panfish Line. Email me at or phone my cell at 814-720-1407.

Other areas of Crawford County

Jerry @ Timberland Bait & Tackle; filed 8/24: "Several of my customers report catching walleyes at the spillway of Woodcock Dam this past week. I continue to hear about northern pike in the spillway of Union City Dam in Erie County."


Lake Erie West Side

Jim @ Lake Erie Bait & Tackle; filed 8/24: "Not hearing a lot of reports from either the Bay or the main lake. Best bite going seems to be big sheephead. This has been a tough year for Erie fishing perch never schooled up and stayed put. Walleye has been good when able to get out, but we had a lot of windy days with big waves. However, as a point of interest, our best-selling baits have been Storm Thundersticks in the UV colors. Now we are gearing up for steelhead season."

Jeff @ Poor Richards; filed 8/24: "No steelheads in the streams yet, other than an occasional brown near the stream mouths in the lake. Weather has been rough and anglers not able to get out very often. The last perch reports we had placed some perch in 43 to 53 feet of water, and walleyes in 65 to 75 feet on the west side. We have emerald shiners right now, although they have been hard to come by some weeks."

Dan @ Elk Creek Sport Store; filed 8/24: "Not much fishing-wise happening right now. Monday we had 10 to 20 mph west winds with waves to 6 feet and building. Wind has been the story of this summer. Perch are here today, gone tomorrow not holding together in big schools; fish are moving all the time. I received reports of walleye in 80 to 100 feet off the Point, and perch around 54 feet from the Peninsula to Walnut. The good news is the charter fleet has been picking ups lots of steelhead out in the trenches while walleye fishing. Some boats are getting 10 to 12 each day. We have not seen these kinds of numbers in August for over five years. Everyone here is hoping for a great steelhead return to the streams this fall!"

Rich Weber @ Erie Sport Store; filed 8/24: "Perch fishing on Lake Erie has been on the upswing during the past several days. Limits of perch off Walnut Creek have been reported. Best spots are north of the Creek mouth in 50 to 55 FOW. Good reports several miles West of Walnut in 48 to 55 feet. The perch seem to be moving in those depths. Some perch anglers are moving several times before they hit the right spot. Walleye fishing has been very good off the Point in 80 to 100 FOW. Please note: We are a running our end-of-season outdoor sale, including Eagle Claw Lead Core Line Combos for just $69.98; other rods and reel combos are also on sale!"

Paul Stewart (Butler); filed 8/24: "I finally got out on the perch boat for a Saturday evening trip. It was a slow start with an East wind. But after moving, we hit perch all on the large size. We got 40 between the two of us!"

Angler Al; filed 8/23: "While visiting Walnut Creek Access, I spoke with Tom Troki of Erie. He started around 9 AM, catching three 18 to 22 inch brown trout on a 1-3/4" chartreuse spoon then the fish shut off. Another fellow said he caught a steelhead on his fly rod."

Lake Erie East Side

Tim@ North East Marina; filed 8/24: "Hello Darl! The walleye fishing on the east side of Erie has been good-plus if lake conditions cooperate. This past weekend, 105 FOW from Marina to State Line produced nice catches at 60 feet down. Dipsy bite was good at 2-1/2 setting with 175 feet back for spoons and worm harnesses. Lead core 7 colors with deep diving Bay Rats or Reef Runners. The charter fleet out of Erie has been working the waters on the east side of Harborcreek in 80 to 110 FOW; Shades Beach and McCord's Point are excellent. Tip: the bite is much better one hour before sunrise.

"Perch have been running hot and cold. Try 42 FOW between Greenfield and McCord's Point. Large schools of emerald shiners on the surface probably are why perch are there. Steelheads are coming from 110 FOW at 60 to 65 feet down on blue/chrome and green/chrome spoons. Some very nice browns mixed in."

Erie County Inland Waters

Thomas Watral (Erie); filed 8/17: "This week I went to the South Branch of French Creek; it is running very low. I hit some of the smaller holes and got a few trout on a Joe Fly with yellow tip. We fished the rest of day at Union City Reservoir, enjoying luck at different spots and a variety of bait. All together we landed over 100 fish, including bass, catfish, sunfish, crappie and perch. Baits included minnows, grubs, worms, leeches and small live frogs."


Shenango River Lake

Jim McClave (Andover); filed 8/21: "I fished Shenango Lake for the first time this year, accompanying Darl Black while he tested some new crappie baits. But crappies were not cooperative on this day. Darl caught a crappie on the first brushpile we hit, but that was the only crappie caught for next three hours. I caught several small white bass, two smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass all on crappie jigs. Back at the ramp, a couple bass anglers said they had caught five legal-size bass, including one 20-inch smallmouth."

Dianne Kolodziejski (Hermitage) caught a very nice northern pike on a 1/8-ounce jig on August 8 while fishing with her husband. They also boated half-dozen nice white bass, numerous crappies and a few keeper bluegills. Said the bite was steady all day.

Lake Wilhelm

Marci @ Wilhelm Marina; filed 8/24: "I caught a 28-inch 6.5 lb walleye on a Hot-n-Tot last week."

Vicki @ Fergie's Bait; filed 8/24: "Not much fishing activity this past week. My notebook only lists a couple 4 to 5 pound largemouth caught by a customer on the 14th, and another customer catching some nice crappies off the Three Posts area."


Allegheny River

Bill @ Griffins Bait & Tackle; filed 8/24: "Nightcrawlers and maggots have been the best seller of the last few weeks at the shop. After being without wax worms for a month, fresh ones finally arrived. Shallow diving Challenger Lures have been a hot seller, along with Berkley's Flicker Shad and Storm's Crawfish Lure. Tom Nuhfer landed several nice largemouth bass in a private pond in Venango County using a pink jig with glow head no live bait. Alex Tafoya, age 10, caught a 4-pound 24 inch bass using a jitter bug on the Allegheny River across from Sheetz."

Gene Winger (Oil City); filed 8/24: "With the river so low and clear, smallies have become really skittish these past couple weeks. Evening fishing has been most productive. Picking up smaller bass in shallow, fast running riffles and at the lower end of deep pools using Winco's new River Darter Soft Jerk Bait in River Shiner Color with lateral stripes. However, larger smallies seem to be concentrated in the deepest spots in the river and require some real finesse fishing to get their attention. Using Winco's Tube Supreme fished slowly on the bottom seems to do the trick; I've caught several bass in the 18 to 20 inch range. On the lighter side, my 7-year-old granddaughter Olivia kicked my butt fishing on Monday eveningcongrats Olivia!"

RJ Graham @ Graham Jigs; filed 8/24: "Dad and I fished the river from Oil City to Franklin yesterday, drifting in our Pymi boat. We managed about 10 bass all on Graham Jigs in faster water sections. The bite was slow for us, but we were on a new section of the river. I also fished the river at Tionesta the day before, landing 15 smallies on a Zara Spook right around dark."

Pete Cartwright @; filed 8/24: "We fished the Allegheny River near Tionesta for three days. Smallmouths were tough to come by with the bright sunny skies. We landed some nice ones from 16 to 19 inches. It was a great float with good friends from 412 Bait Company and Kayak Anglers of Western PA. Buzzbaits and sitckworms were hot, along with 412ubes."



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