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NWPA Fishing Report, 9-12-18

September 13, 2018
By Darl Black , Blackwolfe Communications LLC

Angling News

VisitErie Promotes Fishing Vacations; Erie, PA: VisitErie, together with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has developed Fall into Fishing Erie, a contest that features a two-night fishing package for "Steelhead Alley" in Lake Erie. The contest runs August 31 to November 26, 2018. Contestants can sign up at and various events where VisitErie and PA F&B have information booths. The Fall into Fishing Erie vacation package includes:

Springhill Suites by Marriott, two-night stay.

Article Photos

Pete Cartwright with a nice smallmouth bass, taken from the Allegheny Rive.r

Bucket Charters, 1/2 day fishing charter. Eastern Lake Erie's only 6-boat charter service.

Colony Pub & Grille, $50 Gift Certificate.

U Pick 6 Restaurant, $50. Gift card.

FishUSA, $50 gift card and classic hat.

VisitErie package of goodies.

Go to for more information.

Pymatuning Lake Waterfowl & Fishing Outdoor Expo; Linesville, PA: This coming weekend on Saturday, September 15, 2018, Linesville will see an expanded Waterfowl Festival that will now include a Fishing Expo. Schedule includes Parade, Outdoor Fishing Expo at downtown Little League Field, Waterfowl festivities at Pymatuning Sportsman's Club, Ducks Unlimited Expo at Linesville High school, vendors and crafters at Mickle's Barn and much more. Over 70 vendors combined at all locations, plus Seminars, Displays, Gun Bash, Dog Displays, Trap Shooting and more. For more information and hours of events, visit Pymatuning Lake Waterfowl & Fishing Outdoor Expo on Facebook.

Duck-N-Drake Walleye Tournament: Duck-N-Drake will host a walleye tournament on October 6, 2018. Stop by the shop for more information or visit Duck & Drake on Facebook for more information.

County by County Reports from Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango

French Creek Flowing through all four counties

Editor's note: French Creek is currently blown out as result of heavy rains the past several days. The reports of success on French Creek occurred prior to the rain. Creek might be fishable by weekend unless we get more serious rain in the next couple days. However more heavy rain may reach us on Monday from the hurricane about to hit North Carolina.

Angler Al (Franklin); filed 9/9: With the heat being tremendous and the water level low in the Creek, I fished for the last half-hour of daylight one evening. I caught a 15-inch smallmouth and a small walleye. Both were taken on live creek chubs.

Tom @ Myers Sportsman's Connection; filed 9/10: Prior to the big rain of recent days, we had some reports of smallmouth bass being caught in French Creek. But now the Creek is very high and very muddy. My son Josh has been fishing for bowfin in Woodcock Creek feeder to French Creek. Bowfins run up the stream early summer and they are on the way out now. He is trying to get one over 32 inches. We heard some people eat bowfin; he brought one home, cleaned it and we tried. Told him never bring another home!

Jerry @ Timberland Bait Shop; filed 9/8: One of my customers provided this picture of a proud young angler with a French Creek smallmouth bass.

Dustin Shay provided this photo of Tad Hazeltine of Meadville with a fine French Creek smallmouth bass taken on August 30th.


Pymatuning Lake

Editor's note: Based on both sketchy and non-existent reports from multiple tackle shops around Pymatuning, it appears the lake is in the September doldrums as it undergoes a seasonal change from late summer into early fall. The up and down water temps (instead of a steady cooling of the water) certainly does not help. The shops report very few anglers on the lake, and fewer yet enjoying success for anything but catfish and yellow perch.

Laurie @ Duck & Drake; filed 9/10: The NE Catfish Addicts had a successful tournament over Labor Day weekend. The winner was Denver Zinn with three channel cats going 37.35 pounds. The NE Ohio Crappie Club had a rather dismal crappie tournament this past weekend, with some teams not weighing any crappies. We are hoping for a lake cool down following this current cold front. Duck-N-Drake will hold a Walleye Tournament on October 6; stop by the shop for details.

Gateway Bait; filed 9/10: Haven't heard a thing from customers except for catfish catches over weekend. Fishing is slow.

Sam @ Robinson's Bait; filed 9/10: Catfish are the only thing I've heard about from anglers. It's the September slow-down before the good fishing picks up with cooler fall water temps. It's the perfect time for the Linesville Fishing Expo in conjunction with the DU Waterfowl Festival. Come to Linesville this Saturday, September 15 to see all that is happening.

Mark Melega; filed 8/28: Prior to recent change in the weather, Mark Melega and Matt Tanner enjoyed a very good day of bass fishing on Pymatuning during the heat wave. With daytime temperatures hovering around 90 degrees and a 20 mph wind, Mark and Matt caught 16 largemouth bass from 1 to four pounds plus a smallmouth bass or two. See their photos of the biggest catch: Mark's 19 inch, 4 pound largemouth and Matt's 19 inch, 4 pound smallmouth.

Conneaut Lake

Darl @ Fishing with Darl Black Guide Service; filed 9/10: The bite might be slow at Pymatuning, but Conneaut Lake has been on fire for panfish at least up until Labor Day weekend. (I have not fished Conneaut since Labor Day weekend due series of 90 degree days followed by days of wind/rain.) The big bluegills and pumpkinseeds have apparently left the mid-lake humps haven't caught any out there in last three trips. The 'gills and 'seeds have relocated near the deep weedlines. I was surprised when Marilyn caught a couple very nice perch on our last trip. I will continue fishing Conneaut for panfish until early October, at which time I will consider returning to Pymatuning Lake for crappies. My final guide trips for the season will be early November; I will not book any trips after November 15th.

Dale Clemmer (Cochranton); filed 9/11: Dale Clemmer reports fishing through the rain on Saturday during the Conneaut Lake Sportsman's Club tournament. He caught several northern pike and bowfin. He provided pics of the largest catch of each species.

Canadohta Lake

Jerry @ Timberland Bait; filed 9/10: Anglers have caught a number of smaller size muskies from the lake in the last couple weeks, but no word on the big ones. When the water begins to cool down, expect the big ones to feed. One of my regular customers caught a 24-inch walleye at 1 AM; he had not been doing well on 'eye during the day, so tried night fishing.


Lake Erie and Presque Isle Bay

Dominic @ Lake Erie Bait & Tackle; filed 9/10: Recent weather has kept anglers off the water. Prior to storm and high winds, walleyes were still being caught on the Lake. Crappie and perch catches in the Bay were picking up. Perch were being caught at Dobbins Landing, and East & West Piers.

Rich @ Erie Sports Store; filed 9/7: We did well on perch. We got 3-person limit on Wednesday morning (9/5) north of Walnut in 45 feet. We also caught a 31-inch walleye. Pictured with perch are Bob Hoffman on left and Jim Rzomp on right. Perch fishing until this stormy weather hit had been picking up but still not up to our prior year standard. Walleye fishing is still outstanding with best catches north of Walnut in 70 feet. At Erie Sport Store, we are continuing our closing sale with up to 70% off all merchandiseall long guns are now 20% off our regular prices. All fishing tackle, boots, hunting clothing are at huge discounts; also selling display racks, shelving and more.

Lynne @ East End Angler; filed 9/10: Nothing new to report this past weekend due to weather. Last report had perch off North East and Shades in 45 to 48 feet, and walleyes & steelheads being caught around 80 feet with lake temp at 71 degrees. We expect the lake temp to come down some following all this cold rain and wind. No steelhead in the east side creeks. I heard perch being caught at Dobbin's Landing, Liberty Park and South Pier in the Bay. Yes, we have emerald shiners big ones! The Minnow Man has been busy!

Brittney @ Poor Richards; filed 9/10: The wind has kept most anglers in port this past weekend. The west side streams are currently blown out, but will likely be fishable by Wednesday, 9/12.

Dan @ Elk Creek Sports; filed 9/10: Steelhead may be making a run up the streams right now with the high water and colder temperature of the rainfall. Won't know much until the streams come down and clear up some. Walleye are still biting if you can get out; perch are reported at 36 feet out of Walnut.

Someday Isle Tackle Fishing Team; filed 9/10: The remnants of Gordon put the kibosh on a lot of fishing plans this past weekend. Getting into mid-September, it gets harder to find good fishable weather; winds blow increasingly harder. But when fair weather is upon us, the walleyes are still feeding. Recently Team Someday Isle found walleye as shallow as 25 feet. The big cats continue to cooperate.

Dave Horvath (Edinboro); filed 9/9: Here is my Erie West reportwalleye bite has been going strong in 65 to 74 feet of water. Worm harnesses seem to be working the best. Hot colors have been purple, black, chartreuse or any combination of those colors. Fish seem to be suspended between 40 and 50 feet. Spoons and plugs are getting a share of fish, too. However, after the big blow this past weekend, all bets are off. We will have to wait and see

Darl Black with Dave Lefebre; filed 9/1: When Bassmaster Elite Pro Dave Lefebre wants a fresh walleye dinner for out-of-town guests he simply launches his boat at Shades, runs out to about 25 feet of water and uses a drop-shot rig to collect dinner.


Lake Wilhelm

Editor's note: Nothing new to report from Wilhelm at this time, says both Fergies Bait Shop and Wilhelm Marina. Cory says Marina will be closing October 1, and then reminded me that a few really big crappies (2-pounders) have been taken at Wilhelm this season, and sent a photo to verify it. And the Fish Commission survey of the lake in April produced three walleyes over 10 pounds all released. Everyone is looking for water temperature to drop in order to encourage a fall feeding frenzy.

Shenango Lake

Randy @ Fish West PA; filed 9/10: Shenango Lake fishing slowed during the warmer weather around Labor Day, but has picked back up since the last cold front. Anglers are starting to do well all over the lake. Good luck and tight lines!

Rick Como (Sharpsville); filed 9/10: Fishing has been up and down this last week. High temps in the 90s followed by heavy rains and wind has kept me off the water. I did manage to get out one afternoon and found hybrid stripers and white bass feeding up on top most of the day. We caught lots of smaller 5 to 6 pound stripers and some impressive white bass. Crappies were hitting with nice average size on that day, too. Overcast with high barometer and light winds were the ticket to a good bite. As of this report on Monday, lake levels have risen but the lake is still fishable. Uncertain what it will be like in another 24 hours.

Ken Smith (Sharon); filed 9/10: It's been too hot, too windy and too wet for me to fish the past couple weeks. However, an Ohio crappie club had a tournament on Shenango this past weekend. According to their Facebook post, they were very pleased with their catch. Number of 7 to 9 inch crappies came from deep water but the bigger crappies came from brush and deadfalls along the bank.

Kevin Austin (Farrell); filed 10-7: Crappies and bluegills are biting but they are holding in deep water structure. I am using a Stinger Shad in different colors, fishing 12 to 15 feet of water sometimes with a bobber, sometimes without.


Justus Lake

Angler Al (Franklin); filed 9/9: On September 1st, I took ten-year old Mikey Galkowski to Justus Lake. He had an enjoyable day catching numerous largemouth and smallmouth bass by drifting live creek chubs. His biggest was a 16-inch smallmouth. He also caught various panfish on red worms. Later in week I returned to Justus to catch more bass using smaller minnows.

Allegheny River

Jeff Knapp @ Keystone Connection Guide Service; filed 9/8: Fishing on the middle Allegheny continues to be very good. Numerous recent guide trips have produced excellent numbers of smallmouth bass, including some big ones up to 20 inches. Walleyes are showing up frequently as well, the best one of the last two weeks was a 25-incher. Soft jerkbaits, Rapala X-Raps and Galida Grubz are putting them in the boat. No reason to look further. The Allegheny has gotten low, clear and quite warm, with fewer floating weeds. All that will likely change with the current tropical storm driven rain followed by additional rain from the hurricane expected to hit North Carolina this coming week.

Pete Cartwright @ Guide Service;

9/4: Hot humid day. Smallmouth were scattered in different spots. We caught them deadsticking 412ubes and stick worms. The bite should get better in the coming weeks as the river cools.

9/6: We fished the Allegheny today and caught a bunch of nice fish including a 19 and 21 incher. We used 412 Bait Co. Cigar Worms and 412ubes to catch them. As always my Shimano 2500 reel was spooled with 8-pound Gamma Edge and mounted on a 7'4" GLoomis Rod.

Erie Extreme TV show: During the recent rainy weekend, Dave Lefebre and the Erie Extreme crew visited Venango County to tape a show with Darl Black on how to gather and how to fish an often-overlooked and sometime forgotten live bait a bait that at first sight frightens many people and sends some screaming from the creek. Only the bravest individuals will attempt to pick one up because it is a bait that "bites" back. Yes, it's the bait with the appropriate name of Hellgrammite also known as Dobies (because the turn into Dobsonflies) and Smallmouth Candy (because bass cannot get enough of them).



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