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NWPA Fishing Report, 11-24-15

December 7, 2015
By Darl Black , darlblack@windstream.net

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, stream and rivers of Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango counties?"

FRENCH CREEK Flowing through all four counties

Article Photos

A successful angler at Trout Run. Photo by Darl Black


Angler Al (Franklin); filed 11/22: "On Friday, November 20th, I fished the later afternoon hours on French Creek. I had only a few strikes; caught two small pike using big creek bait. Did have dropped run on one of the larger chubs. Out again on Saturday but no bites!??"

CRAWFORD COUNTY

Pymatuning Lake

Fact Box

ERIE COUNTY

Edinboro Lake

Dave Lefebre (Erie); filed 11/23: "On Saturday, 11/21, I went to Edinboro to test some new rods for 2016. I caught several (about a dozen or so) average size bass by fishing out from rocky areas in 5 to 10 feet of water, plus a 41" musky. Everything came on a 1/4-oz. shad colored Fish Head Spin! I will be shooting a video for a Rapala commercial this week."

Dave @ Richter's Bait & Tackle; filed 11/23: "Well, this is a mixed report on walleyes. Anglers are still catching good crappies and bluegills off the Jamestown Marina Docks. But the walleye bite on the lake appears to be up and down. Occasionally, I'll have customers report making nice catches of walleyes on blades. Just yesterday, two guys from down state stopped in show off a limit of 'eye. But the walleye bite has not been consistent. Many anglers are complaining about catching few legal walleye. Last week local walleye guru Dan Wielobob stopped by to chat; he says the Pymatuning bite has been very poor so far this fall so he has been fishing Conneaut Lake for crappies and bluegills. Heck, I even struck out on walleyes on my last trip outbut caught a lot more crappies than usual on blades! But the lake water temp just dropped below 50 degrees a few days ago, and usually the best 'eye bite is when the water temp is falling through the 40s. Fingers crossedthe best is yet to come."

Darl @ Fishing with Darl Black; filed 11/23: "What a difference the weather can make! On Veteran's Day 11-11, while breaking in my new Yamaha motor and locking in spots with the new Garmin GPSMAP 7608xsv, I occasionally dropped a blade down to suspected fish, catching mainly crappies with the occasional sublegal walleye. But when I pulled onto one hump late in the afternoon, there was a school of big fish down there. (See pic of sonar screen) I hate to use the worn out metaphor, but the walleyes were stacked like cord wood. Every drop of my 1/4-oz Heddon Sonar was a fishnot huge 'eye but all keepers. However, there was no one else in the boat to pose as model! Not desiring to keep any fish, I immediately released each 'eye I caught. That week, the 9th through the 13th, was the same time time that Dave Lefebre was on the lake for his annual Pymatuning trip and doing fairly well. (See his report next.) But, when I returned the following week for three days Sunday, Monday and Tuesday 15th-17th, all we could muster was a single legal 'eye each day. The previous week was the New Moon and somewhat breezy, overcast, raining weather. The 15th 17th were exceptionally nice days for November. The conclusion we all know walleye bite better on foul days, and the New Moon likely helped."

Dave Lefebre (Erie); filed 11/23: "On our annual fall Pymi trip this year, we caught bigger than average walleyes; out of the last 6 eye, all were 23 to 28 inches. Fished the first four days with my uncle Denny and Dad, ending up with 250 crappies and 10 keeper walleyes, including one 8 pounder. I went back down on Friday the 13th in the foulest of foul weather and caught 6 big ones, including another 8 pounder. The hot bait was a 1/4-ounce gold Silver Buddy in 14 to 17 feet of water in the South End. Look for the bite to get better as the water gets colder."

Editor's Note: On the 19th, I headed to Conneaut Lake to fish smallmouth, but courtesy docks were out at both Fish Commission access and Fireman's Beach; didn't want to pull the boat up on the ramp in the high wind, so I drove over to Pymatuning at the Jamestown ramp where the understanding State Park manager keeps the courtesy docks in until the lake freezes. Tip of the hat to State Parks! I did quick check on water temp (49 degrees), ran to a couple spots to test the walleye bite and then back to dock to run the gas out of my motor for winterization; chatted with Bill Cusick in parking lot as he arrived for evening fishing. Bill sent the following report.

Bill Cusick (Greenville); filed 11/19: "Darl, after you left the lake on Thursday, here is what I caught: a 22 inch walleye, 10 throw-back walleye, 4 big channel cats, plus some crappies and perch. Wow! That was a great day for me this fall!"

Conneaut Lake

Dave Lehman (Espyville); filed 11/19: "Darl, as you know Chad and I fished Conneaut on the 19th. We were looking for you on the water until your phone call saying you were headed to Pymatuning instead. After several hours of fishing, we called it without getting a single bite. Chad pulled his boat for the season. Looks like I'll point my small boat to the Allegheny until things freeze up."

ERIE COUNTY

Edinboro Lake

Dave Lefebre (Erie); filed 11/23: "On Saturday, 11/21, I went to Edinboro to test some new rods for 2016. I caught several (about a dozen or so) average size bass by fishing out from rocky areas in 5 to 10 feet of water, plus a 41" musky. Everything came on a 1/4-oz. shad colored Fish Head Spin! I will be shooting a video for a Rapala commercial this week."

Presque Isle Bay

Paul Stewart (Butler):

Filed 11/17: "Fishing in November with just a flannel shirt! Both of us caught our limit of perch from the bay for a total of 15 pounds."

Filed 11/23: "We went for perch in PIB on Saturday the 21st. Got 40 between the two of us. But a cold front came in round 11 AM and the bite shut down."

Editor's Note: On Saturday, 11/21, I stopped by Dobbin's Landing, Liberty Park docks and the Marina Docks in Marina Lake. Many anglers were catching perch at all three sites. At Dobbin's Landing, Ron Ritz said this was his best November for big perch in a long time. Ron also said several anglers had caught walleyes in the bay recently; he believes the walleye followed the emerald shiners into the Bay. Furthermore, he said burbot were being caught off the North & South Pier already. At Liberty Park, Dean Rose and his daughter Teresa (age 8) were catching perch. At Marina Lake docks, John Cornman of Clarion was hoping to catch crappies but so far had only found perch and bluegills.

Thomas Watral (Erie); filed 11/19: "Almost every place you go in the Bay, anglers are catching perch as fast as the bait hits the water. Small minnows on Subiki rigs are best. On the North Pier, burbot are hitting cut bait fished on the bottom. At the Borders Dock, anglers are catching steelhead on Cleo's and KO Wobblers. We still have lots of minnows and tackle at low prices at my shop at 2407 McKinley Av on the East Side. We are the only shop carrying pinkey minnows (Rosey Reds). We will be open all winter long."

Erie Tributaries

Jeff @ Poor Richards; filed 11/23: "We are facing low, clear flows this past weekend after a little rain a week ago raised levels briefly. Given the water conditions in the streams, some of the best action is happening on the beaches near creek mouths especially Trout Run. Also, during the night, steelhead move into the mouth of Walnut and hang there until after sunrise; anglers who get there right at sunrise are catching fish until the activity on the Wall spooks the fish. Steelheads in the streams are running small this year. We have had more brown trout over 10 pounds brought to the store this year than ever before. Minnows, single eggs and small natural egg sacks seem to be best producers."

Ric @ Trout Run; filed 11/23: "We didn't get the promised snow fall over the weekend, so the streams remain low. However there was a push of fresh steelhead into the low portions of the streams this past week, but Bob Hetz thinks they are from Ohio stocked fish because there are no fin clips as done by PA. Anglers are catching some fish up and down the streams, but it is tough. We need rain to get good movements and better fishing. When the lake is calm, that is where the action is right now."

Dan @ Elk Creek; filed 11/23: "With low water, anglers are walking long distances on Elk looking for steelhead, but are not seeing many. But fresh run fish are hard to pick out in the streams because of silver color not as easy to spot as darker fish that have been in the stream. We are seeing a lot of small steelheads 4 to 5 pounders. Hardly any 7 to 10 pounders actually we have not seen a single big one. We have a lot of questions but not many answers. What initially looked like an exceptional steelhead run has turned out to be another average year."

Ken Anderson (Tionesta); filed 11/18: "On Veterans Day, I took a day trip to Erie's west side tribs with my brother Paul and his son Ely. Water was the right color, while leaves were a challenge. But it was the Big Guys who got skunked. Meanwhile, Ely took the only fish of the day a Crooked Creek Chromer his first Erie Steel!"

Denny Beggs (Franklin); filed 11/16: "Attached is a picture for the NW PA Fishing Report. My son, Devin, a senior at Penn State Behrend, landed this steelhead on Twenty-Mile Creek near Northeast, PA on Sunday 11/15/15. In the background is my older brother Bill. The fish was caught on an orange colored sucker spawn fly pattern; the fish was released. We also tried live shiners and single eggs but no luck. It amazes me how the artificial stuff out-catches real bait much of the time!"

MERCER COUNTY

Lake Wilhelm

Bob Flatley (Conneaut Lake); filed 11/18: "This is Bob from Conneaut Lake. I went to Wilhelm on Sunday and Monday, November 15th and 16th. I caught 6 legal bass on Saturday and 9 legal bass plus one dink on Sunday. The attached picture is the biggest catch, a 3.5 pound largemouth. All bass were taken on either tube jigs or Jig-n-pig."

Shenango Lake

Matt @ Five Points Country Store; filed 11/23: "The best tip I've picked up from customers right now for crappies is to fish vertical with your ice fishing rod and reel, light line, and tiny bait. Guys are catching crappies on this rig at Shenango and Pymatuning. Our hottest selling item this week has been small minnows."

Ken Smith (Sharon); filed 11/19: "I fished Shenango four times the last two weeks. I did pretty well every time out. On 11/11 I found a good size school in 15 feet of water on the channel edge; jig and Crappie Nibble put 35 crappies and 2 white bass in the livewell. Kept 10 for myself and gave the rest to my neighbor. On 11/14, I fished shallow with a jig and bobber set for 5 feet over 8 feet of water. I love watching the bobber disappear. I caught and released thirty crappies and gills. On 11/16 I fished the Swim Beach area. Another good day of catch and release over 50 fish caught including a lot of white bass. I cast a 1/8-oz jig with Bobby Garland Baby Shad body. On 11/19, wind was up to at almost 20 mph so fished the areas with high shore banks; did pretty good, too. Caught a lot of nice crappies and threw back a couple of nice largemouth bass. Jig and bobber set for eight feet down over 12 feet of water; caught 60 crappies, keeping a dozen. Bobby Garland Baby Shads in Monkey Milk color was best bait."

Bob @ Neshannock Fly Shop wishes to inform everyone there are a few seats remaining in the 2016 Fly Tying Class starting January 5, 2016. He is also taking reservations for Female and Youth Fly Fishing School, Fly Fishing Lessons and Guided Fly Fishing. For more information on the schools and spring stocking, contact Bob Shuey at 724-533-3213 or bob@ncflyshop.com.

VENANGO COUNTY

Sugar Lake

Janice @ Griffins Bait & Tackle; filed 11/23: "It has been a slow week of fishing in our area. Had one reliable report from a customer who has been catching a lot of crappies at Sugar Lake."

Justus Lake

Angler Al (Franklin); filed 11/17: "Today, Stan Huefner and I decided to fish Justus Lake we weren't alone! As many as 6 boats were trolling or anchored in different locations. I rigged an exceptionally large creek chub in hopes of a big toothy fish taking hold. However it was to no avail. Meanwhile, Stan drifted crawlers and small shiners; he caught numerous nice-size rainbow trout. Beautiful day on a lake in late autumn"

Allegheny River

Gene Winger (Oil City); filed 11/23: "What fall bite? I've been on the river three or four days a week but somehow managed to miss the fall bass migration to their wintering areas. Bass are either running really late this year, or I'm picking the wrong days to fish! With Kinzua Dam adjusting their outflow, water levels are up and down these past two weeks, and now the water temp has taken a 10-degree dive. Fishing isn't what I would expect for this time of year. Over the past two weeks we did manage a couple fair days on the Oil City pool where we boated around 20 smallies. Most bass were in the 12 to 15 inch range but a few pushing 19 inches. Most fish were caught on Winco's C.W. Smallie Delight jigs and his new 3" Baby Tastee Tubes. Hopefully water temperature will stabilize in the 40s and we will get a few more weeks of bass fishing before it starts icing up!"

Bill Logan (Pleasantville):

Filed 11/19: "I fished the river, taking 2 bass on tubes, until I could not stand it any longer. The white caps were 2 feet high. As I left two guys were heading outyikes!"

Filed 11/21 "In four hours I caught 7 bass with three of them going about 2.5 pounds. Also caught a 28 inch walleye."

Lou Letterle (Franklin); filed 11/20: "A couple friends and I made it out on the river two times in the last week. And somehow we managed to pick one day that rained for 6 hours and another day where the wind never stopped blowingwhite caps on the water in every pool. Funny, these were two of my favorite days this year; not because of the fish catching but more because of our discomfort. I was a Marine Infantryman in the early 1980s and like then, I still get a kick of out "shared misery" like bad weather conditions you share with friends while trying to catch a fish. On two separate trips we caught some walleyes and a few bass, but in general fishing has been slow. Hard to feel a "jig bite" when the wind keeps blowing your boat right over the area you just made a cast. My best fish included a 26-inch walleye and one nice-size bass that I did not measure. Pictures attached. Unfortunately for my friends, their fish did not make the size cut for a photo. The walleye was caught on a hair jig/Gulp Minnow combo and the smallmouth on a creek chub. I had the boat on the trailer when I realized I still had the bass in the livewell. So we took a quick picture and ran down to water's edge to release it. I have not kept a fish in many years."

 
 

 

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