Hopefully the high temperatures and humidity are about to take a slight downturn. The weather of the past two weeks has not been good for fishermen or fish in smaller waters. Our trout fishing contributors have repeatedly warned anglers that trout in our smaller streams are stressed and recommend fishermen target other species. The water is so low and so warm that even smallmouth are under stress in streams the size of Oil Creek, Neshannock and Sugar Creek. Not only do we need cooler air temperatures, but we are in desperate need of good soaking rain to refresh streams, rivers and lakes. The good news, however, isLake Erieperch are on fire.
Venango County Waters
Chris Wolfgong (OilCity): “Dale Black and I made it out on the river for about two hours on Thursday evening. The water is very low and very warm. There was a bit of a topwater bite. Dale had three bass on top, including a 16.5” one on a Jitterbug. I managed to catch one smallmouth bass on a tube, one on a wake bait (both around 15 inches) plus four rock bass on the wake bait – including one that was only two inches long!”
Darl Black (Cochranton): “I took my visiting father-in-law toJustusLakefor bluegills on Monday, July 25. Fishing the north end of the lake, our net catch was not impressive. However, at the ramp I chatted with two anglers from Seneca. They had been fishing in 40-some feet of water down near the dam. They had caught 7 rainbow trout (up to 17 inches) and a mess of big bluegills on small white twisters tipped with a wax worm.”
French Creek (Erie, Crawford andVenangoCounties)
Dustin Shay (Meadville) has been trying to figure out the walleye bite this summer on the creek. “We’ve been seeing walleye follow our baits out of deepwater holes, but we can’t get them to hit. We have only caught a few small ‘eye. The water is so low, so clear and so warm that we are struggling. However, we have been catching lots of panfish on a jig-n-nightcrawler, including white perch and big bluegills. We have been gathering hellgrammites and soft shells, too, and enjoying success on smallmouth bass.”
Crawford County Waters
Dave Richter (Richter’s General Store): “The walleye bite has slowed down, due in part at least to fewer anglers fishing in the heat. However, one customer brought in 3 big walleyes which he picked up drifting a nightcrawler on a jig. A handful of anglers still targeting crappies are enjoying success on the southern end of the lake; best success is early and late in the day in 15’ to 21’ on stumps or brush. The musky guys are seeing a little more action with fish striking big plugs in the prop wash of outboards – but no landing of big fish reported to me.”
Chris Hall (Espyville Outdoors) says there wasn’t much to report this week with the number of anglers on the lake way down. Catfish seemed to be the primary fish being caught. “The Big Kids/Little Kids tournament at Erie this past weekend – sponsored in part by Espyville Outdoors – was won by Steve Hughes and Dakota with 14.24 pounds of bass,” adds Chris.
Bryan Stuyvesant (Meadville) reports the largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing at Conneaut is fairly good for this time of year. “The weedbeds are growing back following weed control measures earlier in the season, and largemouths like the green cover. Texas-rigged worm are producing largemouth on the weed edge. Even spinnerbaits are working some days. I’m catching smallmouth on drop-shot rigs on rocky outcroppings. Seems to be more juvenile bass than usual, but I’m also catching some decent ones, too. My largest this week was 3.5 pounds.”
Erie County Waters
Mike Tome (B.A.C. Bait): “The big news this past week surrounds perch moving into shallower water. Anglers out ofErieare catching them in 39 feet. The perch schools have moved in closer instead of going deeper in the heat – likely following baitfish. I was out this week and had some perch in the 13” to 14” range – nice fish.
“Walleye bite seems better to the East side of Erie, particularly out by the Mountain. The depth for the schools will vary day to day based on bait movement, but generally the fish are 45 to 50 feet over 75’ bottom. The long minnow plugs are catching fish, plus willow-leaf worm harnesses. We have the hottest colors here at B.A.C. Bait,” concludes Mike.
Jeff Staaf (Poor Richards): “Perch are in 44 to 47 feet of water straight out ofWalnut Creek. Walleye are in 65 to 75 feet on the West side, with some smaller eye – up to 17 inches – being taken in 30’ to 35’. Reports are leaning towards worm harnesses over plugs. Here at Poor Richards, we have the most popular blade colors in worm harnesses.”
Ken Smith (Sharon): On Wednesday, July 20, I fished Lake Eriewest ofErie. Walleye fishing was tough but three of us managed to put six ‘eye in the box before the heat and lack of breeze drove us from the water. We caught them in 72 feet, using Dipsy Divers with worm harnesses.”
Dean Waldbaum (Pittsburgh): Last week we fished out of Northeast around the “Mountain.” We landed about 15 walleye up to 9 pounds on worm harnesses and a couple steelheads on spoons. My largest steelhead was 31” at 14.5 pounds.”
John Fuhrmann (Phoenix,AZ): “As a former Erie resident, I return toLake Erie each year for a summer of walleye fishing. But we don’t head out to the deep water. Instead we fish the 20 to 25-foot depths just a short ride from the launch. And rather than trolling, we apply the old Western Basin technique of a controlled drift with Erie Dearie countdown bait tipped with a nightcrawler. In the last ten years, this technique has not failed us.
“We tie a two-foot fluorocarbon leader to 8-pound Fireline,” continues Fuhrmann. “Our rods are 8-1/2 foot Fenwick spinning rods. We make long casts opposite (into the wind) our drift direction or quartering casts to the drift direction. Count the rig down 15 to 20 seconds to the bottom, engage the reel and begin line recovery. Slowly sweep and retrieve the lure with six to eight foot sweeps, maintaining light line tension as you pick up line from the sweep. The key is to keep the Erie Dearie within a foot or two of the bottom. Walleye hammer it, along with perch, big bluegills, smallmouth, largemouth, white bass, catfish and drum. This is a far more enjoyable active presentation than slowly trolling.”
Lake Edinboro and Lake LeBoeuf
Dave Lefebre (Waterford) reminds bass anglers that now is the best ‘frog lure’ bite in the pads and thick floating mats of Edinboro and Lake LeBoeuf. Several companies make a hollow-belly frog lure designed to fish heavy surface weeds by skimming over the top. The key to success is to use 50-pound braid on a 7’ heavy action rod. Tie the frog direct to the braid. Experiment with retrieves from steady swimming to pull-pause. Don’t set the hook at the first explosion of weeds and water – wait until the line goes tight.
Mercer County Waters
Bob Mohra (Fergies Bait) says the number of anglers on Wilhelm has been marginal during the past heat wave. However, one of his customers reported catching 35 crappies in deep water off brushpiles; the bait was live minnows.
Eric Heil (Franklin): “My fishing partner and I went bass fishing to Wilhelm on July 24. Fishing was slow, really slow. Between the two of use, we caught 8 fish all day. We caught our bass on small crankbaits, football jigs and 10-inch Berkley Power Worms. The baits had to be worked very slowly on the bottom. The surface temperature was 85 degrees and there was no breeze. Bass fishing on Wilhelm is as slow as I’ve ever seen it.”
Ken Smith (Sharon): “I fished Shenango from shore on Tuesday around the Mahaney area for about three hours. I caught 15 fat black crappies from 8 to 11 inches plus a couple bluegills. I fished a jig and bobber around the new trees they put in this past spring – you can see them sticking above the water. Bobber set at 5 feet was most effective depth.”
Bob Shuey (Neshannock Creek Fly Shop): “Low water and very hot water in our freestone streams. Many trout have already died and remaining ones are stressed. Leave them alone. Even trout in tailwaters and spring creeks are likely feeling the effects of this drought and hot temperatures.”
This week Gamma salutes Ken Smith for his submitted photo of anEriewalleye. A spool of Gamma Ploy Flex Line is on its way.
Dustin Shay, a previous winner of Gamma Line, had this to say: “In French Creek, I fish a lot of flowing water with rocks. That is tough on a line. I tried some Gamma earlier this season – what a line! I like thin diameter lines in 6 and 8-pound test. With Gamma I was able to drift baits through rocky sections without breaking off every time I got hung up – most of the time I simply pulled loose. Gamma seems to stretch less than regular monofilament, and is far better abrasion resistant than any other line of the same diameter that I have used.”
Jewel/Gene Larew Lure Packet
The name drawn for the Jewel/Larew lure packet this week is Eric Heil.
Mike Horrobin (CLTackle.com): “When I am fishing just for casual fun, I like both topwater fishing with a fly rod as well as old-time plugging for bass. It reminds me of the fun I had when we made much of our tackle at home.
“There was a popper built by Gill Gallasch of Richmond and popularized by famed author Joe Brooks, called the Gerbubble Bug. Gallasch also made a skipping bug that was a great saltwater popper and worked well on bass. Another great one is the deer hair bass bug; Paul Young made a number of them. Larry Dahlberg’s Diver is yet another great fish-catching pattern. Any of these topwater bugs can be tied at home.
“If not into fly fishing, break out an old casting outfit such as a Pflueger, Shakespeare, Langley, Coxe or Meek plus and a 5/8-ounce wood plug like a Bass Oreno, Pal-O-Mine or Jitterbug. If you had forgotten how it was back in 1953, the occasional backlash will remind you.”
Outdoor Calendar of Events
Monthly Fly-Tying Class – Free, Walk In 814-590-1366
Farrell’s Hook, Line & Stitch (At the Bank Mall),Meadville
2nd Tuesday of each month;6 PM to 7:30 PM
July 29 United Way Bass Classic atConneautLake
Information contact: Eric Marsh at 814-382-0686
July 30 PF&BC Fishing Skills Instructor workshop at Woodcock
Contact Chad Foster at 814-683-5126 for information
Aug 27 Walt’s Tavern Bass Benefit Tournament; $100.00/team
Information contact: Dan Mincin at 724-986-6557
Sept 18 Allegheny RiverBass Team Tournament #1
$100 per team; for info contact Eric Heil email@example.com
Oct 16 Allegheny RiverBass Team Tournament #2
$100 per team; for info contact Erie Heil firstname.lastname@example.org
Information contributed by:
- Chris’ Tackle Box, Jamestown, PA
- Maurer’s Trading Post, Franklin, PA
- Oil Creek Outfitters, Titusville, PA
- John’s Bait & Tackle, Meadville, PA
- Van Tassel’s Timberland Bait, Canadohta Lake, PA
- Fergie’s Bait & Tackle, Sandy Lake, PA
- R & L Bait & Tackle, Greenville, PA
- B.A.C. Bait & Tackle, Erie, PA
- Poor Richards Bait & Tackle, Fairview, PA
- Presque Isle Angler, Erie, PA
- Neshannock Creek Fly Shop, Volant, PA
- Erie Sports Store, Erie, PA
- Espyville Outdoors, Espyville, PA
- Farrell’s Hook, Line & Stitch, Meadville, PA
- Consumer Direct Sports, Grove City, PA
- Jigger Wholesale Tackle, Franklin, PA
- Area anglers
Sponsored by: PA Great Lakes Region
& GAMMA Fishing Line (now owned by Black Knight Industries of Oil City)
Connect to all counties at www.PaGreatLakes.com
- Crawford County Convention &Visitors Bureau at www.visitcrawford.org
- VisitErie at www.visiterie.com
- VisitMercerCountyPA at www.visitmercercountypa.com
- Oil Region Alliance at www.oilregion.org
Note: The information in the NW PA Weekly Fishing Report is based on the observations and opinions of individuals at the reporting tackle shops and expert area anglers. Although the information is reliable, it is not independently verified.
If you have fishing information or a picture of your catch from one of the waters in the following counties, please contact Darl Black at email@example.com
In providing a picture, you are agreeing to it being posted on the Fishing Report.
Keep Up with More NW PA Fishing at http://darlblack.blogspot.com