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NWPA Fishing Report, 5-4-16

May 3, 2016
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 five counties

Article Photos

Angler Al (Franklin) recently caught a 20-inch brown trout from Sugar Creek on a live creek dace. Photo courtesy of Angler Al.

Angler Al (Franklin); filed 4/28: "On Friday, April 22, I discovered the French Creek smallmouth bass are starting to fire up. It took switching from a live large creek chub to smaller minnows to catch them. They were near the bottom of current rips. I returned to the Creek on the 25th and 27th. I suspended 3 to 4- inch creek baits below a float and drifted them through long sections of current. I caught 5 smallmouths, 1 walleye and 1 northern pike."


Canadohta Lake

Fact Box


Lake Erie

Rich @ Erie Sports Store: "Perch fishing in Lake Erie has slowed down due to a week of northeast winds. Perch fishing had been excellent through late April in 45 to 50 feet off the point of Presque Isle and some decent catches reported in 35 to 40 feet off Walnut Creek. Night walleye fishing has just started.

Jerry @ Timberland Bait; filed 5/2: "The crappies and bluegills are beginning to hit at Canadohta throughout the shallows. Trout fishing is in full swing in this area. There are plenty of trout in the streams. I suggest trying Oil Creek, Muddy Creek, or my favorite, Pine Creek near Titusville."

Conneaut Lake

Loby @ Loby Entertainment; filed 5/1: "I've been fishing Conneaut for bluegills off and on recently, but it wasn't until this past weekend that I really got into them good. As usual, they are in emerging weedbeds in select areas. I also caught some jumbo pumpkinseeds. It takes some time locating the right area. I have also been fishing Pymatuning shoreline for the spawning bite, and doing well. But that is about over."

Pymatuning Lake

Norm @ Jamestown Boat Livery; filed 5/2: "It was a pretty slow weekend on the South End of the Lake. This long stint of NE winds, gray days and lack of warmth has things running behind. I didn't see any number of crappies come through, just a few here and there; same for walleyes."

Hooker @ Hills Country Store; filed 5/2: "What a roller coaster week. While pre-fishing for an upcoming Hookers Fishing Taxi, I located a large school of crappies that had left the shallow cover spawning area after the arrival of a strong cold front. They took up residence on a hump in 6 feet of water about 200 yards offshore. When we returned the next day, they were gone and search was on again. Post frontal conditions 101: we finally found them in and around large rock and wood scattered around the North End of Pymatuning. Using medium action rods spooled with Gamma Polyflex, we fished 1/16-ounce jigs with Bobby Garland Minnow Mind'R tipped with live minnows. We had to pitch and cast many times at the same target to get bites, but the bites were good ones. We ended the day with a dozen quality crappies none were less than 12 inches. Also, customers at Hills County Store are reporting good catches of walleye. Anglers are starting in 5 feet of water on hard bottom and working shallower as the sun drops from the sky. Large minnow baits and 3" grubs are the rule."

Laurie @ Duck-N-Drake; filed 5/2: "Weather recently has played havoc with anticipated crappie movements on Pymatuning. Customers say the best area is North End in 8 to 10 feet of water. My walleye customers are turning to trolling already, reporting catches in 13 to 16 feet of water on Rapala Shad Raps and Berkley Flicker Shads."

Russ @ Gateway Tackle; filed 5/2: "Crappie fishing has been hot and cold due to this crazy weather pattern. One day a hero, the next day a zero. The best crappie area has been the Linesville stumps. The day of the PLA crappie tournament was very unsettled weather wise, but the winners had good weight over 7 pounds for 5 crappies. The evening walleye shoreline casting bite has slowed down. Soon anglers will be shifting to daytime trolling. By the way, there seems to be a higher than usual number of musky being caught."

Pymatuning Lake Association Crappie Tournament; filed 5/2: The winning team was Jim Krull and Ken Weilacher from the Jamestown, NY area. They had five crappies weighing a total of 7 pounds 9.5 ounces.

Patty @ Poff's Place; filed 5/2: "Right now fishing is not bad, nor is it great somewhere in between. Reports are crappie fishing is tough, and the crappies are running on the small side. And you've really got to work for those walleyes along shore in the evening. We sure could use some warmer weather, sun and a favorable wind!"

Sydney @ Robinson's Bait; filed 5/2: "While the cooler temperatures the past few days has made it challenging for our anglers to locate crappies, we have had reports of decent numbers being taken here on the north end in 3 feet of water on minnows. Walleyes have been reported being taken trolling at about 2 mph on Hot'n Tots south of Harris Island stumps. Some walleyes also have been reported taken on crawlers and bobbers near Wilson's Launch. Perch have been elusive but some were taken in Stewart's Bay. "

Ken Smith (Sharon); filed 5/2: "I've been to the North End a few times last week. On the first trip, I caught 10 nice crappies. Later in week, my neighbor and I fished the Linesville Stumps. We put 80 crappies in the boat for his family fish fry. All the fish came on a small jig with a Bobby Garland Baby Shad in Monkey Milk color."

RJ Graham @ Graham Jigs: filed 4/28: "I caught my bass last week mostly on a Strike King Silent Red Eye Shad crankbait; a handful of bass came on my Graham Jig. The big girls had not moved to the bank yet. Saturday night the cold snap messed up my pattern. And we ended up scrabbling the day of the tournament, flipping cover and tossing a Chatterbait occasionally; ended up with 6 bass for 14 pounds. Ben Lipec won with a 22 pound bag."

Jeff Frischkorn (Mentor-on-the-Lake, Ohio); filed 4/23: "My two older brothers were walleye fishing on Pymatuning on April 21st. There were trolling Berkley Flicker Shad in Firetiger without success. Trolling back to the Ohio boat ramp south of the Causeway, my oldest brother Terry caught an egg-laden 39-inch musky. The fish was immediately released. Terry asked me to electronically submit his catch to Ohio Division of Wildlife Trophy Fish program. Counting Terry's fish, there have been four Fish Ohio musky qualifiers from Pymatuning this season already. The minimum length for musky recognition is 36 inches."


Lake Erie

Rich @ Erie Sports Store; filed 5/2: "Perch fishing in Lake Erie has slowed down due to a week of northeast winds. Perch fishing had been excellent through late April in 45 to 50 feet off the point of Presque Isle and some decent catches reported in 35 to 40 feet off Walnut Creek. Night walleye fishing has just started. Shore anglers will be casting stickbaits like Rapalas and Bay Rats. Boaters will be trying their luck in 6 to 12 feet of water close to tributaries. The bass fishing in the bay has started to pick up with catches of both largemouth and smallmouth bass. Check out the new arrivals of long minnow lures including Bay Rats, Bandits and Renowsky lures at Erie Sports Store."

Presque Isle Bay

Jeff Reichel (Meadville); filed 5/1: "Jake and I fished Presque Isle Bay on Sunday, May 1 from 10 am to 2:30 pm. First fish in the boat was nice 12-inch perch at our first stop. But we remained skunked for the next 1-1/2 hours part of time was spent cleaning a mouse nest out of the engine compartment and repairing a wire the little buggers chewed through it's a wonder the engine started at all! So we moved to a small spot we found last year in about 24 feet of water that came up to 14 feet on top with what looked like a mangled station wagon on the Garmin! We spent the rest of the day there as the fog rolled in and we could not see land in any direction! The bite was steady and we caught between 15 and 20 nice smallies from that spotand could have caught more but we were getting wet and cold from the misty north wind so we called it a day."

Elk Creek

Becky @ Elk Creek Sports; filed 5/2: "On Saturday we had a young lad named Alex (age 12) with his father stop by to show us a beautiful steelhead. Other than that steelhead, anglers have been catching smallmouth and suckers in Elk Creek on Thursday - Saturday. Sunday the rains came and the stream is high and muddy for rest of week. Everyone is so tired of this miserable spring weather."

Rick @ Trout Run Bait; filed 5/2: "Well, we should be casting the surf from shore for smallmouth and walleyes it's that time of the year. But the cursed NW winds have messed up fishing for weeks, and I do not see an improvement this coming week. Some smallies in Elk but that's about it."

Jeff @ Poor Richard's Bait; filed 5/2: "There are a few steelheads left in the lower part of Elk. And of course the stocked trout in Elk and the Gravel Pit are drawing attention. Not hearing a lot about bass. But some guys are catching perch out in 37 to 52 feet off Walnut that's deeper than usual for early in the year."


Lake Wilhelm

Vickie @ Fergies Bait; filed 5/2: "Finally the crappies have turned on! On Saturday one fellow stopped in with 40 really nice crappies. Early in the week, a group out on a pontoon boat caught 100 crappies. All the action seems in the upper end of the lake from the causeway up into the electric motor only area. Shore anglers are catching crappies in 2 to 3 feet around cover."

Shenango River Lake

Mike @ CDS; filed 5/2: "Most of our customers are out turkey hunting this past week, but there was a crappie tournament on Shenango Lake over the weekend. I fished it with about 20 other teams. We caught our 20 fish tournament limit in 11 to 14 feet of water in a bay with live minnows. The winners had 20 lbs. 11 oz. for 20 crappies; the tournament lunker was 1.2 pounds. Guys also caught white bass, catfish and at least one musky and one pike."

Drew @ 5 Points Country Store; filed 5/2: "The weather messed up any plans anglers had for the weekend. I didn't hear from any customers about success on Shenango."


Bill @ Griffin's Bait; filed 5/2: "We picked up a new local vendor Rage Tackle. Rage Tackle is located in Oil City and offers a variety of products including sonars with matching spinner blades, bottom bouncers, tube jigs, tube jig heads, floating jig heads and swimbaits. Stop in and check out their new products or visit out Facebook page at Griffin's Bait & Tackle Shop. While fishing Lake Arthur, Mark Ringwelski picked up his first big fish of the year with a 30-inch musky weighing 8 pounds. Cody caught this 21-inch rainbow while fishing Sugar Creek. Cody also landed a nice stringer of trout from Sugar Creek near Wyattville."

Sugar Creek

Angler Al (Franklin); filed 5/2: "On Saturday, April 23, I caught a 20-inch brown trout from Sugar Creek on a live creek dace. This past weekend, on the 30th, following the rain, I took a variety of worms and float bucket of live bait to Sugar Creek. I rigged a large creek dace on a suspended float. The second drift I hooked what I thought would be a big brown but turned out to be a 22.5 inch walleye! Then I put the biggest piece of bait on the hook. Not long after, I landed a brilliant-colored 21-inch brown trout. The rest of the morning I used red worms, wax worms and pieces of crawlers to catch numerous 10 to 14 inch stocked rainbows."

Big Sandy Creek

Denny Beggs (Franklin); filed 5/2: "On April 27, Larry Kladny of Butler caught this nice Rainbow on Big Sandy; he was fishing minnows. My trout fishing buddies and I caught many trout this spring from Big Sandy. Kim Slye (Cranberry), Larry Kladny (Butler), Bill Beggs (Corry), my brother, and I have caught many trout in area streams this spring. We fish salmon eggs, minnows, wooly buggers and spinners- lots of fun! Here are more from Big Sandy."

Kahle Lake

RJ Graham @ Graham Jigs; filed 4/28: "I fished Kahle last evening with a friend Austin Weaver. We caught 29 bass all on a drop-shot rig with Jackall Cross-Tail Shad in water from 8 to 12 feet on weed edges. Not many big fish, but lots of fun!"

Allegheny River

Gene Winger (Oil City); filed 5/1: "Even with the recent cold front the Allegheny River has produced some great fishing over the past several weeks. Bass are moving into their pre-spawn locations and the bite has been spectacular. A typical day on the water produces 40 to 50 smallmouths, mostly in the 16 to 18 inch range but a few brutes in the 20 to 21 inch range. Most have been caught using Winco Tastee Tube Supremes and Solid Body River Darters. Saturday my son-in-law Chris and I boated so many bass we quit countingthe largest measured 19/2 inches. A memorable day on the river!"

Bill Logan (Pleasantville); filed 4/30: "Back on April 20th I caught 15 smallmouths in fast water; 13 of them on various Rapala baits and the 2 biggest ones on paddle tail swimbaits. On the 30th, the bite was slower. I got six bass including three of them over 2.5 pounds in one spot. All bass came on Rapala Shadow Rap Shad."



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