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NW PA Fishing Report, 10-12-16

October 13, 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 Line.

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

Julie Como with a nice hybrid striper, taken at Shenango Lake. (Photo by Rick Como)

French Creek level and color looks ideal for fishing. I have not received any reports from anglers on the Creek, however. But if you are looking for smallmouth action this week by wading or kayak in the next two weeks, I would suggest you give French a tryand then send in a report. It could win you a packet of lures in the next Fishing Report.


Pymatuning Lake

Fantastic NEWS for Pymatuning Lake anglers who love to crappie fish! The PFBC Board of Commissioners recently approved designating Pymatuning as a Panfish Enhancement Lake for Crappies. This includes a 20-crappie-per-day creel limit and a nine-inch minimum size limit. Fisheries sampling data from both Pennsylvania and Ohio shows that crappie abundance and average size peaked in 2012 and has declined steadily in the years since. With no minimum size and no creel limit on crappies at Pymatuning, overharvest is believed to be the cause as more and more anglers began harvesting large numbers of crappies. Ohio DCNR has agreed to the Enhancement regulations. The change will go into effect by the 2017 season.

Dave @ Richter's Tackle; filed 10-10: I'm hearing from regulars that they are catching a few walleyes on blades as well as some more crappies. Perch are biting everywhere. Water temp was still 67 degrees last week but likely cooled down some over weekend. With cooling weather, it will not be long before the really good fishing picks up.

Norm @ Jamestown Boat Livery; filed 10-10: Anglers on my rental boats were picking up a few more walleyes this weekend. The lake temp was 60 degrees this morning. When it drops into the 50s, the walleye should get on the blade baits really good. The lake is down about 16 or 17 inches lower than normal; if we don't get more rain, they will likely drop it more. I plan to be open through the end of October with rental boats.

Laurie @ Duck-n-Drake; filed 10-10: Other than lots of perch, I haven't heard much from anglers this week. Guys catching perch are doing at anchor in 10 to 12 feet of water using 1/32 ounce jigs with bits of worms. Perch don't seem to be hitting baits that are drifted. We will be closing for the season before the end of the month.

Russ @ Gateway Tackle; filed 10-10: As the water temperature begins to slide downward, fish are feeding more actively. Anglers are catching a few crappies and perch of the causeway both early and late in the day. Some guys are jigging blades and catching a few around the causeway; walleyes bite should pick up once water temp drops below 60 degrees. I heard about a 17.5 inch perch taken last week.

Brandi @ Poff's Place; filed 10-10: The main bite seems to still be perch perch everywhere. Waiting on walleyesPatty will keep the store open into early December, but then she may shut down for a few weeks until we get good ice cover.

Ken Smith (Sharon); filed 10-10: This past Thursday, I fished Pymatuning by myself. I caught 40 crappies and some big rock bass. I kept 16 crappies; 12 of those were over 11 inches. All fish were taken on Bobby Garland Itty Bit Swimmers on a 1/64 ounce jighead. I presented the tiny jig by hang-gliding with a 1/4-ounce weight. On Friday, a fishing buddy joined me. The crappies were deeper but not as active. We kept 15 fat black crappies. The crappie bite is on at Pymatuning, so get out there!

Brandon Blystone @ Slambow Lures; filed 10-10: Brandon reports having a great weekend of bass fishing at Pymatuning.


Presque Isle Bay

Mike @ Lake Erie Bait & Tackle; filed 10-10: Perch are starting to move into the Bay. Anglers are catching them on North & South Piers and the East & West Piers. Crappies are beginning to show up in Marina Lake but they are small. Some steelheads have moved into the streams, with many more waiting to move up when we get rain.

Danny @ Bay Rat Lures; filed 10-10: I haven't been doing much bass fishing at PIB, but I have been catching crappies pretty good there. Most crappies have come from deeper water (15 to 20 feet) but they are now moving into the shallower bays. I have been using 4-pound Gamma Edge with a 1/16 ounce jighead and a Mister Twister grub. Perch should be coming into the bay in force now that the water temp is beginning to drop.

Thomas Watral (Erie); filed 10-7: We went out onto Lake Erie on October 1st to see we could locate perch or walleye schools. From Beach One to 20 Mile Creek, nothing on the fish finder. But steelheads are loaded near the mouths of the creeks. We've been picking up some smaller perch in the Bay off Dobbins Landing, Borders Dock, in the Marina, and off the South Pier.

Lake Erie and Tributaries

John @ Uncle John's Campground: filed 10-10: Anglers are having a lot of fun catching steelhead at our Elk Creek Campground by the Tunnel.

Jeff @ Poor Richards; filed 10-10: The creeks are low and clear. There are a few steelheads in some streams down low; fish have been reported in Elk up to the Legion Hole. With water conditions, steelies are spooky with best bite very early and very late in the day. Minnows and single eggs are best. Fly fishermen are using Sucker Spawn and Blood Dots in soft colors. Along the lake shore at creek mouths, anglers are casting spoons and fishing egg sacks catching fish when it's not blowing. Lake has been pretty rough lately and not many boats going out. Perch have become spotty again, and walleyes seem to be moving back west. Best perch depth has been 71 feet and walleye catches are reported from 73 feet from Walnut Creek west.

Becky @ Elk Creek Sports; filed 10-10: We had a pretty good weekend with lots of people hooking fish just not that many landed. Creeks are low and clear. We are desperate for some all-day soakers to get levels up and steelies moving.

Mike at Folly's End Campground; filed 10-10: Only a few steelheads this far up Elk Creek. We need rain. Lots of fish waiting, but if we don't get rain, they are not going to move. Looks like the same situation as last year when decent numbers of fish didn't show up until October 22.

Eaton Reservoir (aka Bull Dam)

Danny @ Bay Rat Lures; filed 10-10: We have been catching some good bass at Eaton Reservoir. The lake is super low and you need a small boat to get in, but fish don't seem to mind. Most bass we caught have come on topwater baits and chatter baits.


Lake Wilhelm

Vickie @ Fergie's Bait; filed 10-10: The biggest fish we had reported this week was an 11.5 pound walleye which measured 29 inches. It was taken on a crawler harness.

Angler Al (Franklin); filed 10-8: For this report I will share my neighbor John Holden's good fortune. While fishing the other day for largemouth bass in 6 feet of water near the Marina on Wilhelm, he caught a chunk 6 pound bass. It reacted to his presentation of a Firetiger square-bill crankbait. He also boated numerous smaller largemouths while flipping a shad-colored jig with trailer. All fish were released to do battle another day!

Shenango River Lake

Drew @ 5 Points Country Store; filed 10-10: Customers are reporting that crappie fishing is picking up using minnows as bait. We continue to carry live bait through the fall and into the winter.

Rick Como (Sharpsville); filed 10-10: The cooling of the water seems to have triggered more hybrid stripers to bite. They have moved shallower, and I am catching them on both live shad and on crankbaits. The best time of day is later in the afternoon, when they sometimes come up and bust bait on the surface. Windy days are not good. The other day my wife and I caught three stripers and lost three typical. Some schools of large white bass have apparently moved further up the lake to around the Golden Run area. Schools of small white bass are in the Celery Farm area. Both white bass and hybrid stripers are very good to eat if you first remove all the dark red sections of the fillets.

Ken Smith (Sharon); filed 10-10: On October 3, 4 and 6, I fished Shenango Lake for crappies, catching over 100 with many over 10 inches. The fish came from around 13 feet of water near the shoreline. The top baits were Bobby Garland Baby Shads and Garland Itty Bit Swimmers.

Kevin Austin (Farrell); filed 9-28: Mike Davis caught a 40 pound flathead catfish form Shenango Lake on September 26. He was fishing under the Route 18 Bridge at Clark. He was using a yellow and green jig, casting it out about 10 or 15 feet from shore when he hooked the monster. It took 20 to 30 minutes to bring it in to the rocky shoreline. He did not have a net, but he received help from a friend to land it. We weighed the fish on my digital scales.

Terri Cox @ USACE Shenango; filed 10-4: Pat Domico of Curwensville, PA was fishing Shenango in August and September when he caught a 5 pound and a 5.5 pound walleyes. Photos provided by Mr. Domico are attached. Mr. Domico was recently presented with PFBC's Resource First Award, and is recognized in the current issue of Pennsylvania Angler & Boater. Both walleyes were caught trolling a Storm Hot-N-Tot.


Allegheny River

Steve Udick (Oil City); filed 10-10: I fished upriver with Jim Allen the first week of October. There was a light drizzle for the first couple hours with a pushing wind down river. I landed the smallie in the picture in the shallows on the backside of Alcorn Island on a Zoom Super Fluke in watermelon color. We fished down to Tarbottom, catching a couple smaller bass. Jim landed the 18-incher in the photos in the deep water on a Rightbite Tube in black/gold color. Weeds and grass on every cast no matter what you threw. East South East winds kept me off the water all this week.

Jeff Knapp @ Keystone Connection Guide Service; filed 10-10: During the past two weeks, we caught lots of smallies in the 15 to 21 inch range. Not many smaller ones. Water is still relatively warm in the low to mid 60s as of October 10th so active bass are still in the shallows close to faster water. Winco's River Darter, Rapala X-Rap and Texas-rigged tubes caught most of the fish.



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