Archive for category Fishery of the Month
Located in the Allegheny National Forest is one of the largest lakes in Pennsylvania. The Allegheny Reservoir spans through Warren and McKean Counties in Pennsylvania and Cattaraugus County in New York. This reservoir is part of the Army Corps of Engineers. At normal summer pool the lake is 24 miles long and covers over 12,000 acres.
The Kinzua Dam was initially built for flood control of the Allegheny River in the 1930′s. It is estimated that the dam has prevented over 1 billion dollars worth of damage. However, since the dam was constructed many other uses have been utilized. The hydroelectric power plant located below the dam may be the greatest of its uses. Check out the Big Bend Access Vistors Center to see more information about the power plant and how it works. There are many campgrounds, water sports, fishing opportunities, and other outdoor activities possible around the reservoir. Not to mention it has some of the most beautiful scenery in the state.
Now let’s talk fishing! The Allegheny Resevoir is a very deep body of water with steep sloping banks. The water is also very clear as long as the weather has been consistent with no rain. Remember this is a river system and the water level fluctuates daily. These conditions stated there is a little something for everyone on this body of water.
Let’s start by talking about toothy criters. This body of water is know for producing giant Musky and Northern Pike. Not to mention that you can catch large numbers of both species. Like always trolling is an option and a lot of guys use this method. Just remember that the water is clear. My experience is that you don’t have to work that hard to find the Northern Pike. If you want fast results I would head up into some of the no wake bays and go to the back of the bays. Almost every bay has a small stream coming into the bay and the northern pike will move up into those areas to feed. Try some firetiger jerkbaits, firetiger topwater lures, or jitterbugs. My experience is that brighter lures attract pike and triger more stikes. However, if the sun is high try black. It puts out a great silouette. Most of the bigger pike and musky will be on the main body of the lake near the cliff faces. The best approach to fishing these areas is using a vertical style. My favorite is to use large red/white daredevil spoons and cast them parallel to the shoreline right against it. You will find that the spoon will be sinking and just stop on the fall before the lure hits the bottom. When that happens hold on because you got exactly what you are looking for.
There is also a decent walleye population. Coventional walleye tackle will be necessary. Light line and flourocarbon is a must. Trolling is probably the most effective way to fish for walleye there. However, I have had great success throwing plugs such as Rapala Shad Raps, Hot n Tots, and jerkbaits in the morning. Remember the water is clear so you will want to you natural colored lures. Some other methods that work well include jigging minnows, trolling worm harnesses, and using blade baits on the cliff faces. My favorite end of the lake for walleye tends to be towards Red Bridge.
There are plenty of panfish in the lake as well. Perch and rock bass dominate the panfish population, but you will also find crappie and bluegill as well. Shallow rock shorelines tend to hold good numbers of rock bass. Try throwing nightcrawlers on a small jig head. You will find the perch almost everywhere that you catch a walleye. Check 10-25 feet of water for you best chance. Unfortunately, you may not find the size of perch desired for keeping. This body of water is like every other body of water that I have ever fished in that when you catch one crappie sit there and work the area because you may get a bunch of them in a short period of time.
Now let’s talk bass fishing. Smallmouth are the dominate species, but there are largemouth around the lake. There are a lot bass in the lake, but it can be difficult to locate them and it can be even more difficult to find good sized fish. To me the reason for this is because the lake is very clear and there are large numbers of preditor fish in the lake. My recommendations for catching bass are as follows. First, trust your electronics for locating flats or shoals as well as bait fish. Throughout the lake there is only so much bank that doesn’t drop straight down. Finding feeding flats will greatly improve your odds. Also, you will want to head to the back of the no wake bays. The reason for this is that most of them are feed by some sort of stream or runoff area. Because of this the bass as well as Northen Pike seem to really stack up back in these areas. One of my favorite things to throw is a firetiger size 9 original floating rapala. Other natural colors work as well, but it just seems that I get more strikes on firetiger. Some other things you will want to try are tubes, drop shot, grubs, poppers, and spooks. Crankbaits can be a good option as well.
The largemouth are a little more difficult to find. In fact I only have 1 area on the lake that I consistently have caught largemouth and usually I only get a couple of them to bite. Usually, I am able to get these fish on soft jerkbaits or spinnerbaits. Like I said, the numbers just don’t seem to be in this body of water so I would spend my time looking for walleye and smallmouth.
There is plenty of camping opportunities around the Allegheny Reservoir. Red Bridge Campground, Dew Drop Campground, and Kiasutha Campground are on the Pennsylvania side of the lake. There are several areas set up for primative camping where there is no running water and no bathhouses. Some of my best memories of family camping trips were when my parents took my sisters and I primetive camping. It was on of those times in life that there were no rules and you could just have fun.
Scattered throughout the lake is hiking trials and overlooks. You will find some of the best scenery in the state at these overlooks. All watersports are legal here. There is a beach by Wolf Run Marina. Wolf Run Marina is the only Marina on the water on the Pennsylvania side of the lake.
When thinking about a weekend get away with the family you should really consider taking a trip to the Allegheny Reservoir. Make it a mid May trip when everything is in bloom and you will the some of the best senerio you could ask for. Not to mention the best fishing.
One of the best fisheries in Pennsylvania is located in Erie County. Presque Isle State Park on Lake Erie is home to some of the best fishing I have ever experienced. Everyone knows how good Lake Erie can be, but no one thinks about how fishing the Presque Isle Bay. There are many species of fish and certain times of year some species are more abundant than other times. The Erie area is thriving right now so there is plenty to do inside and outside the state park. It truly has something for everyone.
Let’s start by talking about all of the species of fish that can be found in Presque Isle Bay. The most abundant species in the bay depends on the time of year in which you are there. The most consistent species you can find is largemouth bass. Fisherman can experience some of the best largemouth fishing in the state from the time the ice comes off the bay until the bay freezes over. From mid April until early July you can find a huge population of smallmouth bass that move into the bay to spawn. Panfish such as perch, crapie, bluegill, rock bass, white bass, and sunfish. During the cold water temperature time of the year you can find steelhead and trout that have migrated in from the main lake. There is a healthy population of northern pike. Some other species that can be found include: muskie, freshwater drum, carp, catfish, and alligator gar. Whatever your target species there are ample oppurtunies at Presque Isle State Park.
As many species as there are in the bay there are many more ways to catch fish depending on the species. In the spring and fall months fishing aggressive tends to be the best when fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass. Spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, and topwater lures are my favorite lures. During the water summer months I tend to switch gears and pull out more of my heavy punching gear because of the abundance of weeds. Heavy weights and heavy line are a must to get fish out of the mat weeds. No matter what time of year that I there I expect to boat 50 bass a day. It doesn’t always happen, but it happens more often than not. Some of my favorite soft plastics include berkley chigger craws and tubes of various colors. Creature baits such as brush hogs are also very effective.
Early in the year steelhead move into the bay. You can effectively catch these fish on your typical lures for them. Spoons, blade baits, and jerkbaits are some of the common lures used. For muskie and northern pike you should start with white spinnerbaits and swimbaits. Everytime I fish this lake I catch a couple of these guys early in the morning while I am fishing aggressively for bass. Try fishing Misery Bay for these toothy guys. Try looking that the beginning of the penninsula for carp and panfish. However, panfish can be found throughout the bay. If you are looking to find an alligator gar you should look in the lagoons and horseshoe bay.
There are ample opportunities to fish from boats and from shore. There are e public boat launchs in Presque Isle State Park. There is the Vista Boat launch which is more for small water crafts and jet skies. Niagara Boat Launch and the Lagoons Boat Launch and handle small to medium sized boats. The largest boat launch is the West Pier Launch. It will handle whatever boat you choose to launch. There is a marina attached to the west pier launch with plenty of slips to accommodate. There is also a boat launch on the city side of the by on Chestnut Street.
Presque Isle State Park offers many more activities that just fishing. There is a paved bicycle trail that can be jogged, biked, or walked on that goes the entire way around the penninsula. At the beginning of the park there is a shop that you can rent bicycles. On Graveyard Point there is a boat rental where you can rent kayaks, canoes, or multiple types of boats. There are plenty of picnic shelters that can be rented or used on a first come first served basis. Scuba diving is permit is certain areas of the bay, but you must be a registered diver and check in with the park before doing so. Water skiing is also permitted as this is an unlimited horsepower body of water. Except for the no wake and lagoons (electric only) area.
My favorite time of year to be at Presque Isle State Park is May. At this time the trees are turning green and the flowers are blooming. Let’s not forget that the smallmouth bass are in the bay spawning or getting ready to spawn. The largemouth bass fishing is unbelievable as well.
Let’s talk about Chapman Lake. It is a 68 acre lake that the West Branch of Tionesta flow into and out. The water tends to be stained in the majority of the lake, but near the entrance of the creek the water can be very clear depending on the recent rainfall. The structure within the lake includes the main creek channel, laydowns along the bank, and weedbeds. You can also find some cattails along the shoreline. You are allowed boats on the lake, but they are restricted to electric motor or row boats. The target species of fish in the lake are Brook & Brown Trout. Chapman Lake gets stocked with these fish every year and has enough depth to keep the previous years stock alive. Fisherman may also catch largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish, yellow perch and suckers. The lake is also stocked with trout in the winter months for the ice fisherman. See the DCNR rules for the seasons and creel limits.If you are looking to catch fish other than bluegill and trout then this is not the body of water for you. You might get lucky and catch a bass or perch, but this is mainly a trout lake. If you are on a boat your best tactic is to troll with your electric motor. Roster tails, joe flyies, spoons, tread minnows, and streamer flyies seem to work best. When fishing from shore it seems like livebait or powerbait works best for trout. The lakes best colors of powerbait are pink and purple. Nightcrawlers, magots, milworms, waxworms, and minnows are popular livebait options. Fly fisherman can have great success during the month of my when the mayflyies are hatching. Minnow streamers are also good options.
Fishing the West Branch of Tionesta Creek can be difficult because the creek isn’t very large. However, it is well stocked with trout during the spring months. There are several nice holes that will hold groups of fish. Pay close attention to the laydowns and undercut banks. These seems to be the best places to get fish. I have 2 main lures that I take with me. First, I like to throw joe flyies with a small split shot about it for casting accuracy. The other one is a silver or gold niti. Both can be very effective when the fishing is good. Other times I prefer to fish with milworms on a split shot rig. Powerbait and livebait are also good options. If you are a skilled fly fisherman you will be able to fish this stream. If not I would leave the fly rod at home.
Chapman State Park has it’s own campground as well. There are 82 campsites and 3 cottages available to rent for the night or for the week. Also, they offer rustic group camping that is great for youth groups. The campground has modern bathhouse facilities that include sinks, showers, and tiolets. To reserve a campsite visit the DCNR website.
There are many other activities you can take part in while at Chapman State Park. There are 12.2 miles of hiking trails. Although most of them do not permit bicycles there are certain roads and paths that you can use them on. On Chapman Lake there is a swim at your own risk beach. During the hunting season Chapman State Park has over 400 acres of huntable land. You just have to follow the PA Game Commission season and regulations. In the winter months you will find people ice skating, snowmobiling, and taking part in the sled riding on the acre sloped hill. This is a great park for the entire family. For more information about the park please visit the DCNR website.
Southwestern New York is home to one of the best fisheries that I have ever been to. Chautauqua Lake has one of the best largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleye, perch, rock bass, and crappie populations that I have ever seen. Not to mention it is known for its large musky. This lake has something to offer every skill level, age group, and style of angler. Add to that the beautiful scenry and crystal clear water and you have the perfect get away.
Let’s start with some technical data. Chautauqua Lake is is approximately 17 miles long and 2 miles wide. The route 86 bridge seperates the upper and lower basin of the lake. In the upper basin you will generally find yourself in slightly deeper water and the lower basin. The maximum depth of the lake is 78 feet. There are 41 miles of shoreline and 13,000 acres of surface area. These numbers my sound quite large, but since there is an unlimited horsepower rating you can cover the lake in a hurry. The water clearity on the lake is very clear, but if an algea bloom happens you are not going to have any visability.
There are many types of structure to fish at Chautauqua Lake. The most abundant feature is the massive weedbeds. Weeds cover most of the shorelines throughout the lake and extends to the center of the lake in some places. Next, there is an impressive amount of boat docks that hold multiple species of fish all year round. Throughout the lake you will find small patches of lilly pads. These areas are usually quite shallow, but can hold decent amounts of bass and are often overlooked. Being the flipper that I am I found a shoreline in the creek that has a good number of laydowns. Although most of them are shallow, they can still be productive for largemouth bass. The most sought after spots on the lake are the rock piles that are scattered throughout. These will be very productive for all species. The second most common type of structure are the thousands of boat docks throughout the lake. Other structures include brushpiles and cribs.
There are multiple campgrounds and resort areas around the lake. There is campground called Chautauqua Heights that is on the Northeast side of the lake near Dewittville. They offer camp site for the entire year to just one night. The sites include tent sites, electric sites, and sites for RV’s. Chautuaqua Heights also offers multiple levels of cabin rental, from rustic to luxury. Some of the other features include well maintained bathhouse, basketball court, mini golf course, horseshoe pits, jungle gym, swimming pool, and game room. There is also a camp store. Another campground is called Camp Chautauqua. It is located on the Northwest side of the lake near Mayville. There facilities are very similar to Chautauqua Heights. Another area you can stay are the Irwin Bay cabins which are also near Mayville.
To my knowledged there are 5 public boat launchs on Chautauqua Lake. The most used boat launch is in Long Point State Park. There is a beautiful marina and boat launch that is well maintained with plenty of room for boaters to park there vehicles and boats. Another launch is located in the town of Mayville. This is a much smaller launch but typically is not as busy. It is perfect if you are staying in the Mayville area. In the middle of the lake on the West side is Pendergaust Point. This is a very nice boat launch that is maintained by the state. There is also a boat launch in Bemus Point and one where the creek enters the lake in the South. There are multiple marinas throughout the lake that have there own private boat launchs as well.
There are plenty of things to do near Chautauqua for the entire family. The famous city of Bemus Point is a festive town that always has something going on. From festivals to classic cars shows it leaves something for everyone. You can find some great restuarants around the entire lake as well. The Erie wine trail makes its way through Chautuaqua as well. Add those to all the activities on the water and in the campground, and you have a great vacation destination.
If you enjoy fishing a lake with a lot of weeds then this is not the lake for you. Weeds are difficult to find in the lake. There is however a ton of lake downs and bushes throughout the lake. It is not unusual to find debris build up at certain points of the lake when the area experiences heavy rains or snow melt off. Depth of the lake varies greatly from end to end. When you come out of the boat launch and head toward the dam (left) you will find deeper water ranging from steep banks and 30-foot depths to shelved banks that drop to that depth at a slightly slower rate. You can often find brush piles and fish habitats throughout this end of the lake. Some lay downs will be locate at this end of the lake and will be loaded with bass and crappie. If you head up the creek from the boat launch (to the right) you will find an abundant amount of lay downs, bushes, and debris jambs. This is a much shallow end of the lake and should be navigated very carefully. The water in the creek is usually muddy because the bottom is comprised most of slit run off from the creek. The dam end of the lake is usually clear or slightly stained in part because of the rocky bottom.
There are several species of fish that are abundant in Crooked Creek Lake. Let’s start by talking about my favorite fish, the largemouth bass. I swear that this lake was built for fishermen like myself who love to flip and pitch heavy cover. Needless to say, that I usually come out of the launch and head to the right towards the creek. This is one body of water that you do not need a gas motor to get to a good spot. Usually, I don’t even fire my gas motor until it is time to go home for the day. There is plenty of cover to flip and pitch all day long by heading up the creek.Some of my favorite flipping lures for the lake are tubes, jigs, beaver baits, and stick worms. Some other lures you should make sure you have with you include: spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, buzzbaits, and soft jerkbaits. I have found that sooner or later everyday you are on the water at Crooked Creek you are going to come across schooling fish feeding. You can catch a lot of nice sized bass in a hurry with the more aggressive lures once you see the baitfish busting on the surface.
While fishing for bass on Crooked Creek Lake, I have been able to catch a lot of good-sized crappie. There are plenty of areas to fish for crappie, but the larger schools of these fish tend to be in the 8-15 foot depth range. While fishing the main body of the lake I watch a couple of boats fishing slip bobber minnow rigs for crappie catch so many crappie that I changed my target species for the day. After the day was over I talked to them about their day as they took pictures of a stringer of 12” crappies. The group of guys told me that there was no reason to keep crappie under the 12” size because they are so abundant.
Some other features of this park include a swimming area, campground, picnic areas, spillway, hiking trails, and a horse park. There is a $4 per vehicle charge for use of the park. This includes the use of one or multiple features of the park in the same day. There are 6 pavilions for picnicking and can be reserved through the office. There is plenty of wildlife throughout the park and can be enjoyed while hiking the trails or just sitting in the fields. Campground information and reservations can be made by visiting the Army Corp or Engineer website. If you are looking for a great family location to relax and enjoy the outdoors, remember Crooked Creek Lake is right down the road.
When traveling with the Bassmaster Weekend Series last year I came upon a couple fisheries that are truly amazing. Today I am going to focus on Oneida Lake in New York. Even though we are a Pittsburgh based website and try to keep the lakes local to Western Pennsylvania, I felt that I had to tell people about this lake. I will be the first to tell you that I am not an expert or even pretend to know a lot about this body of water. However, this is one fishery that you don’t have to know in order to have a great day of fishing. Through the article I will touch on the most abundant species, camping, fishing techniques, and geographic features.
First, I feel that it is important to know what kind of lake you are going to be fishing before you get there. Oneida lake is twenty-two miles in length from East to West and is anywhere from one to five miles wide North to South. The surface are of the lake is 50,000 acres. This makes it the biggest lake in New York State. Oneida Lake is located just North of Syracuse and was formed by glaciers during the ice age. Because it is a natural lake the water is clear to slightly stained most of the time. However, you could hit it during the algae bloom and see why it was nicknamed the green lake.
The first thing I noticed about the lake was the pure size of the lake. I had been on some large bodies of water, but next to the great lakes it was the biggest. For its size this body of water is relatively shallow. I fished the lake for 4 days and the deepest water I located was 30 feet. What you have to watch for is the islands and shoals that are thrown throughout the lake. These shoals are not always marked on makes and could be completely submerged if the water level is high. It is my recommendation to get a map or rely heavily on your gps unit while travel on Oneida Lake. Another thing that I notice was that because the lake runs east to West the waves can build very fast and can be very dangerous. High winds don’t necessarily have to seem high at this lake. 15 mph winds will cause three to five foot waves. You add in shoals that are all around and you can have a recipe for disaster.
Located at the South Western corner of the lake is Oneida Shores State Park. They have over fifty campsites which most of which have electric and water hook-ups. The bathrooms and shower house are very well kept. There is also a sand beach in the State Park. Launching your boat is free if you are camping in the campground, but there is a small launching fee if you are just using the launch for the day.
Oneida Lake may be one of the best smallmouth bass fisheries by sheer numbers that I have ever came across. There are many local bass tournaments held at Oneida Lake, but there are a surprising amount of professional tournaments held there ever year. Circuits such as the Bassmaster Elites, Bassmaster Weekend Series, Anglers Choice, and the BFL are just a couple of the many professional bass circuits to come to Oneida Lake every year. This species of smallmouth is somewhat shorter but very heavy. I was very surprised that a sixteen inch smallmouth bass was anywhere from 2.25 pounds to 2.75lbs. What I discovered was that when you found one of these guys there was a pack of them there. Once you turn on that school it was absolutely unbelievable. Prior to my trip to Oneida Lake I had probably only broke a spinnerbait about two times in my life. During my 4 days there I broke 8 spinnerbaits. Most of which were because of how vicious the hits are and how strong the fish are.
For anyone that heads up there in search of smallmouth bass I have a few suggestions as to what depth, structure, and lures to use. Knowing that smallmouth bass are predator fish the depth can vary throughout the course of the day. Also, the time of year will play a part in deciding what depth to fish at. As a rule of thumb, shallow points, points on the islands, or tops of shoals should be fished early in the morning or late at evening. The fish in these areas are aggressive can will hit topwater baits or other moving baits. My recommendation is to throw poppers with a rear red feathered hook or to throw a double willow spinnerbait. You may need to cover water until you find them but when you do watch out. The rest of the morning and the middle of the day I would focus on the eight to twenty foot depth range. I realize that this my seem pretty vague but typically eight to nine foot of water is a weed line that extend to the surface and when you back your boat off twenty-five or thirty yards (a minimum in clear water) you will more than likely be sitting in fourteen to sixteen feet of water. Several techniques seem to really work well in this depth range. I would start by covering water with spinnerbaits. Natural shad colors seem to work best and silver blades seem to be better than gold. Other moving baits that I would try are jerkbaits (hard and soft), lipless crankbaits, and in-line spinners. Yes, I said in-line spinners. These work surprising well up there and got bites when the bite would seem to have died. Dragging tubes and beavers were also effective. Drop shoting a wacky hooked 4” green pumpkin senko is also effective. The smallmouth bass in this lake are not hard to find but when you launch at Oneida Shores, drop your trolling motor and go to the right. There are a lot of tournaments that release a lot of fish there and it is well stocked. Just stay in the 8 to 10 foot range.
There is also a decent amount of largemouth bass in Oneida Lake. The largemouth bass tend to win bass tournaments but they are harder to find. I feel that the reason that they are harder to find is that most of the shoreline is covered in mat weeds and it looks very similar. Plus, the population of largemouth isn’t as high as smallmouth. Unlike the smallmouth I would stay fishing in the mat weeds. I would start by working frogs and buzzbaits overtop of the mat. Once I found an area that I felt would hold fish I would punch the weeds with a minimum of ¾ ounce weight with your soft plastic of choice. Personally, when I flip mat weeds I am using a one-ounce weight with a beaver or tube. I find the sender profile help get it through the mat. Other options are heavy jigs. Something that I noticed was when I can across a log that was in the weeds I typically got bit there. Big Bay and the channel have been known to produce big bags of largemouth bass. If you want to go off the beaten path check out 3 Mile Bay. I had some success there.
Walleye and perch are also abundant. I was able to catch multiple walleye while dropping my senko. I think if I had targeted walleye a little more we could have had a nice bag of walleye at the end of the day. Even more so than normal you are going to need light line because the water is so clear. May is supposed to be the best month for walleye fishing at Oneida Lake.
I found myself catching an unbelievable amount of Pickerel during my time at Oneida Lake. The pickerel were not always big, but they were a lot of fun. White buzzbaits in the shallow water over the weeds really seemed to get them going. Each day I was there I would say that I caught at least ten pickerel. If you like catching these guys this is the lake for you. I know I truly have a blast a throwing topwater and spinnerbaits for them. The first day of my tournament I managed to only land 3 bass, but caught about 30 pickerel. Not something I am proud of because I feel that I am a quality bass fishermen, but that just shows you how many pickerel are in the lake.
If you are heading up I recommend throwing a few other lures. For all of the mentioned species I would try some swimbaits. It is a misconception that northern fish won’t attack these big lures. Give them a try and you might be surprised. Another lure I would try are jigging spoons. I feel that the smallies would eat a lure falling down and hoping across the bottom just was well as a lure being cranked passed them. Don’t be afraid to experiment as well. Burning a spinnerbait over twenty feet of water sounds crazy, but it works and works very well.
The next time you are looking at taking a fishing trip, I highly recommend visiting Oneida Lake. It is close to wine country and offers something for everyone. Not to mention that fishing is some of the best that I have ever experienced. If you have any questions about the lake or information that you would like to share with me or everyone else feel free to add a comment at the bottom of the article or shot me an email.
One of the most versitile lakes that we have in Western Pennsylvania is Pymatuning Lake. It offers something for every angler at every age and skill level. Pymatuning Lake is a great family destination because there are multiple campgrounds, beaches, and great fishing. The lake is has over 17,000 acres of surface area and is one of the largest lake is the state. Even though part of the lake is located in Ohio. Pymatuning has an average depth of approximately 15 feet but don’t let that fool you. This lake shallows very quickly and has many boating hazards such as stumps, standing timber, and submerged islands. The maximum horse power was recently changed on Pymatuning Lake is 20.
First let’s talk about the marinas located on the Pennsylvania side of Pymatuning Lake. There are three marina’s located on the Pennsylvania side of the lake. The southern most marina is Jamestown Marina and it is located near the dam. There are plenty of slips, gas station, concession, and a public boat launch located here. The Espyville Marina is located by the causeway on the north side of the lake. Espyville Marina has the same amenities as Jamestown, but the public launch is on the south side of the causeway. The causeway spans from the Pennsylvania side of the lake to the Ohio side of the lake along route 285. The last marina is called Linesville Marina. It is the northern most marina in the lake and has the same amenities as the Jamestown and Epsyville Marina.
There are three campgrounds located in Pennsylvania that are on the lake. Jamestown Campground is located in the south end of the lake. It has a private beach, playground equipment, camp store, and boat launch for campers only. The two camground on the north side of the causeway are Tuttle and Linesville Campground. Both have the same amenities as the Jamestown Campground. All three campgrounds allow pets on certain sites and also have electric and water hook-ups on certain sites. Reservations can be made through the DCNR website. Typically, these campgrounds open on April 1st and stay open until late October.
There are a few other boat launches and sites to see and use. Manning boat launch is located between Tuttle Campground and Epsyville Marina on the Northeast side of the lake. Snodgrass boat launch is another commonly used boat launch which is located on the Southeast side of the lake. Both boat launch have ADA accessible restrooms. Another great attraction of Pymatuning Lake is the spillway on the north end of the lake. The carp really stack up at the spill way and you can feed them on one side and fish for them on the other. There is a little bite of something for everyone at the spillway, which makes it a great family destination. Another place you should see is the causeway. The causeway run East to West across the lake along PA route 285. The causeway offers a place to fish and site seeing.
Pymatuning Lake offers great fishing for a number of different species. Smallmouth and Largemouth bass are frequently caught and can be sizable. Largemouth bass are often caught in shallow weeds, stumps, laydowns, and rock piles. Some common lures for largemouth bass are spinnerbaits, tubes, jigs, crawbaits, buzzbaits, shiners, minnows, nightcrawlers, and crawfish. Smallmouth bass are often located in slightly deeper water, but don’t be surprized if you find them spawning in the spring alongside largemouth bass. These bass are often caught on jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, drop shot worms, crankbaits, and jigs. Try tipping a jig and grub with fathead minnow on the rocky drop-offs. Muskie are often taken by trolling or by casting. Larger lures are necessary for catching these monsters, but there are plenty of them in the lake. The southern end of the lake by jamestown seems to hold more muskie than the northern end of the lake. Try fishing behind Jamestown Island near the dam for the best muskie action. There is an abundent amount of pan fish for any skill level to catch. Crappie, Perch, and Bluegill can be caught on typical panfish lures and small bass lures. The stump field by linesville launch and clark island is a great place to try to get some panfish. At one time Pymatuning was know for its great walleye fishing. Although the size of the fish wasn’t as good as some locations it was good for catching high numbers of walleye. Today the walleye population is a bit lower, but the size has increased. Whatever species of fish you desire, Pymatuning Lake is a great location to find them.
There are some good sources of information about Pymatuning Lake. First, check the PA Fishing and Boat Commission website. Then take a look at the Pymatuning Lake Association website.
All through my childhood I can remember trout fishing early in the year at Hereford Manor. Fishing from the shore line or from a boat you can be very successful. If you are going to boat at Hereford Manor Lake you can only use an electrical motor or row boat. At normal pool there is about 45 acres of water surface. The lake is well stocked with rainbow trout and may be the best kept secret for trout fishing besides the opening day of the season. Opening day can be very good as well, but it tends to get crowded. Although, it is not considered a primary fish in the lake, the crappie population is very high and very nicely sized.
For trout I prefer using a threaded minnow, but I have seen anglers do very well on flies. There is a decent amount of fishing pressure, so powerbait, salmon eggs and other live baits, such as red worms, maggots, mealworms, and wax worms, are somewhat over used. Still under the right conditions this baits can be very effective. For example, after a hard rain you will have good luck using a red worm or wax worm on a split shot rig (put one small bb sized split shot up your line about 6 inches from the hook) as the rain will wash worms and grubs off the bank, into the water. If you can find any area where water is running off the bank you will do especially well. You may also want to consider using a small spinner or a niti and move around covering water.
For crappie I would once again recommend minnow rigged on a jig head under a slip bobber. Or you can try tipping a roadrunner with a minnow. As far as artificial lures I would go with small spinners or small rapala. There is very little fishing pressure for species other than trout so your favorite lures will more than likely work for you. Just remember that crappie will be in schools and that if you get one there are more in the area. Crappie are also a fish that will normally hold tight to cover, wood or rocks, or weed beds. So a good place to start when you’re looking for spring crappie is close to a patch of weeds or a tree that has fallen into the water.
Hereford Manor Lake is located west of Zelienople off of route 588. For driving directions to Hereford Manor please visit our Local Fisheries tab on the home page.