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October 31, 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, streams and rivers of Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango counties?"

FRENCH CREEK Flowing through all four counties

Article Photos

Gene Winger with a nice Allegheny River smallmouth. Photo courtesy of Gene Winger

Matt Watson (Franklin); filed 10-13: The full Beaver Moon has finally got the walleyes hitting again. I caught four 'eye from 18 to 22 inches tonight on Zoom Tubes. I also caught three nice smallies from 15 to 18 inches on the tubes. Hopefully we will get a little rain to make them move more now that the water is cooling off.

(Editor's note: With French Creek currently very high and very muddy, Matt may have wished a little too hard for rain! But when the creek recedes some and clears up a bit, the Fall Walleye Bite should be on!)


Fact Box


Shenango River Lake

Drew @ 5 Points Country Store, "Anglers are picking up a lot more crappies this past week. These fish are hitting minnows."

Pymatuning Lake

Dave @ Richter's Bait & Tackle; filed 10-24: Lake temperature is around 58 degrees. Lots of perch are being caught; some anglers reporting nice keepers. Crappie bite has picked up some. Anglers are picking up a few more walleyes, but it isn't really a strong bite yet. As the water temperature continues to drop, the walleye bite should improve. We have a good selection of blade baits for fall walleye fishing.

Patty @ Poff's Place: filed 10-24: Fishing isn't too bad for some people. Crappies are beginning to move. Perch everywhere. Not a lot of walleyes being caught. Recent Fish Commission survey says there are decent numbers out there, but with so much natural preyfish available for walleyes it is less likely they will hit angler's lures and live bait. But with the cool down in lake temp now occurring, the blade bite should pick up. We have the blades! I have both Heddon Sonar and Vib-E in the most popular Pymatuning colors. I also carry some locally made blades that sell for several dollars cheaper than the brand name ones.

RJ Graham @ Graham Jigs; filed 10-24: I fished Pymie all weekend and never touched a piece of bass tackle. The fall meat run is on! We caught over 40 fish each day on minnows mainly perch along with a few walleyes and crappies in the mix. All the fish were in brushpiles and cribs. Water temp is around 58 degrees. Lake is very low and many ramps are difficult to use especially Espyville launch. Right now Tuttle, Snodgrass and Jamestown are good for launching.

Brandon @ Slambow Lures; filed 10-24: I fished Pymatuning on Saturday with RJ Graham. The wind was blowing 25 to 30 mph out of the north with 3 to 4 footers crashing against the north side of the causeway. After picking up bait at Poff's Place, we launched at Espyville and fished just south of the causeway where the wind was not so bad. We got on a crib with lots of fish, and in two hours we had 25 jumbo keeper perch averaging 10 inches. A great weekend with a great friend!

John Braymer (Sharon); filed 10-24: I do not have much to report. I have been catching some crappies around structure in 15 to 20 feet of water. I mostly catch them with minnows. I have also had some success following Ken Smith's suggestion of Bobby Garland Itty Bit Swim'r baits.

Bill Cusick (Greenville); filed 10-21: I've only been out twice in the last two weeks; caught perch and catfish but no walleyes. Dan and Kathy Raiti caught 40 perch one day last week on the South End, keeping 20 really big ones.

Marilyn Black (Cochranton); filed 10-15: Darl and I fished Pymatuning on the 15th looking for crappies. It was a breezy day and hard to hold position. We did not find big groups of crappies holding to cover; instead we picked up one here and one there all on the small size. Lots of baitfish schools riding high in the water column were visible on the sonar; water temp was 62 degrees.

Conneaut Lake

Marilyn Black (Cochranton); filed 10-16: On Sunday the 16th, Darl and I fished Conneaut Lake. A sunny/cloudy day but breezy; water temp 61/62 degrees. We were looking for smallmouth bass but only caught largemouths none over 15 inches. All bass came on Lunker City Ribster shaky worms. I also landed my largest bowfin ever a 30 incher. The surface water over the weedbeds was filled with bluegills. Casting Terminator Swim Jigs, lipless rattle baits and Road Runner Classic Underspins did not yield any bass or pike but only the loss of three lures to clean bite offs. Pike or bowfin I have no idea.

Sugar Lake

Matt Watson (Franklin); filed 10-20: If looking for bowfin, look no further than Sugar Lake. There are lots of them in this small lake. Last month I caught six on a musky bucktail spinner.


Presque Isle Bay

Mike @ Lake Erie Bait and Tackle; filed 10-24: Customers are catching perch off the North Pier and crappies in Marina Lake. Remember, the docks at the state park marina open to fishing this Saturday. Plenty of flow in all the tributaries after several days of rain so steelheads are moving on up!

Lake Erie and tributaries

Rich Weber @ Erie Sports Store; filed 10-24: Perch fishing in Lake Erie has slowed to a crawl due to the windy weather and most anglers putting their boats away (always a sad time for me). What perch have been caught in the lake have been scattered with mixed reports of catches in 35 to 76 FOW. It looks like they are saying we have fewer perch, poor hatches recently and less emerald shiners.

Walleye fishing this season was OK, certainly better than the perch fishing. The good news for the walleyes is the large amount of small walleyes (8 to 12") that anglers caught this year. According to Ohio DNR there were outstanding walleye hatches during the last few years.

Perch fishing in the bay over the last two weeks has been picking up. There have been reports of the bucket fishermen catching perch off the dock, the Convention Center and off the North and South Piers, depending on which way the wind is blowing. Boaters have had some good catches off the Yacht club, Liberty Park, the Convention center and the buoys near the channel in the deep water.

Jeff @ Poor Richards; filed 10-24: Steelheads are pushing into creeks. Friday and Saturday the streams were blown out, but Sunday there were down enough to fishand there were lots of anglers out! However, we have not had any steelheads or browns brought to the shop in the last couple days. If we don't get any more serious rain, streams should be fishable through this week. With the higher and off-color water, you want to use egg sacks, skein and crawlers. The last report on perch on the main lake was 35 feet straight out of Walnut.

Dan @ Elk Creek Sports; filed 10-24: We got more water than needed late last week but streams came down enough by Sunday to fish. I had a great day fishing steelhead on Sunday on Elk Creek I sure hope others did too. Looks like we had a good run of fish move into the streams and they will spread out with this flow. For these conditions you need to do three things: bigger baits, heavier weights and longer leads things we are not used to in PA normally clear tributaries. Let us hope we get just enough rain to maintain flows for a while.

John Puline @ Uncle Johns Elk Creek Campground; filed 10-24: Prior to the heavy rain last week, our guests at the Campground were doing very well on steelhead. Then the rains came and blew the streams out. But this morning, Monday October 24, the level is fishable and our guests are catching fish once again!


Shenango River Lake

Drew @ 5 Points Country Store; filed 10-24: Anglers are picking up a lot more crappies this past week. These fish are hitting minnows. And we have the bait! Stop by the store for all your live bait and tackle needs for fall fishing.

Rick Como (Sharpsville); filed 10-23: Hybrid stripers are still hitting good on the shallow shelves and are also schooling in the main river channel of the lake. Search with electronics to locate them and use shad-like lures. The water level in the lake has risen dramatically from the past few days of heavy rain. Currently, the lake is a bit above summer level, but not muddy. White bass are still hitting, as well as very nice size channel cats. A few walleyes are starting to move onto gradual sloping points. Fishing should be very good for walleyes in the next few weeks as the water temp continues to drop.

Lake Wilhelm

Marilyn Black (Cochranton); filed 10-14: Darl and I fished Wilhelm on the 14th for several hours in the late afternoon. It was a very pleasant day; water temp was 64 degrees. We observed many anglers out and about. We worked hard for couple fish, with the biggest largemouth going about 4-1/2 pounds. It hit a shad-pattern Rapala DT-10 crankbait on a deep stump line.


Allegheny River

Gene Winger (Franklin); filed 10-24: Over past two weeks, with the Allegheny River still low and clear, I started out using Winco swim baits and tubes but I wasn't setting the world on fire. Last week I decided to switch to Winco "C.W. Smallies Delight" jigs and hit some deeper pools a good call. I fished several days before the heavy rains blew the river out, catching a bunch of bass in the 12" to 16" range plus managed a few three plus pounders. Had my best luck letting the jig settle to the bottom of the deep pools and using a very slow retrieve, the bite was what I would call a mushy bite. Can't wait for the river to settle down and clear a little so I can get back out!

Bill Logan (Pleasantville); filed 10-21: Last week I fished the Oil City pool on the river. I caught one smallmouth bass on a spinnerbait and one pike on a Fluke. That was it. Another day, I went up to the Hickory area of river and caught a couple of bass and a walleye. On Tuesday I went back to the river. It was whipped to froth by wind and full of leaves. It may be time to switch to steelhead fishing now.

RJ Graham @ Graham Jigs; filed 10-20: I've been fishing Oil City pool but fish are not set up there yet. Fall bite is coming but not quite there. It has been a great year for fishing but it is not over yet!

Pete Cartwright @ & guide service; filed 10-21:

Oct 14th The fish on the Allegheny know it is time to start getting ready for winter. Nice day on the river; we caught some fish in the 13-16 inch range and the two biggest ones were 20 inches and 18 inches. I caught the 20 incher on a 412ube from 412 Bait Co by Donald Corbett. Some fish were in deeper water, but the two biggest ones were in shallow water only 2 feet deep. I would say the fish were scattered!

Oct 18th We fished the Allegheny River on this great October day looking for smallmouths. The sun was high in the sky with temperatures in the 70s. The bite was on the soft side most of the day until evening when it got a little better. Overall a decent day on the Allegheny with 21 total smallmouths with biggest going 19 inches caught on a 412ube from 412 Bait Co.



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