Posts Tagged Bluegill

Muddy Creek

This month our featured fishery could be looked at as part of Lake Arthur in Moraine State Park. However we believe that Muddy Creek, the tail waters of the Lake Arthur Dam, deserve to be classified as its own fishery. The tail waters stretch from the Lake Arthur Dam until it runs into Slippery Rock Creek. It can be difficult to fish, but if you can deal with hiking and working to get through brush you can find some really nice areas to fish.

Some of the species that you will find in Muddy Creek include: walleye, crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass, northern pike, and muskellunge. Near the tail waters you will find that there are gizzard shad. These are often the target of the trophy muskellunge. Just because this in not a large fishery don’t assume that the fish are not going to be big. You may not catch a bunch of fish, but you will catch quality fish. Walleye over 20 inches are common and 40 inch muskellunge are common as well.

Time of year should determine how you fish and the size of lures that you use. In the winter the best rig to use is a single hook a small split shot and a medium fathead minnow. This will catch every species swimming in the creek, especially the muskellunge and northern pike. Once the water begins to warm up in the spring larger lures. Spinnerbaits, stick baits, buzzbaits and frogs are all good options. For bass brings you jigs and trailers and you will not be disappointed.

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Lake Wilhelm

Located in M.K. Goodard State Park, Lake Wilhelm offers a great opportunity for the serious angler or family outing. Lake Wilhelm is 1680 surface acres of water. The majority of the lake (1440 acres) has a horsepower limit of 20. The remaining 240 acres that is managed by the PA Game Commission is electric power or non-power water craft only. This area is marked on the water, but if you cross until I-79 bridge heading northwest you will come to the electric only end of the lake in a few hundred yards. There are 5 main boat launches. Launch 1, 2, 3, 4 and the marina. The 241 slip marina has the nicest launch with 4 lanes and the most parking. Boat rental is available at the marina from May 1st through labor day. There is also a handicap pier at the marina.

Wilhelm Marina

Wilhelm Marina

Another nice feature of the lake is that launch 1, 2, 3, and the marina have pavilions for public use. They may also be rented and reserved. For the family there is a bicycle trail that runs 12 miles around the lake. In the winter it is acceptable to ride snowmobiles or cross country ski on the trail as well. There are also a total of 14 miles of hiking trails along the lake. Ice skating, ice boating, and ice fishing are also permited. There is a one acre hill near the dam designated for sled riding as well. M.K. Goddard State Park has 1550 acres of land that is opened to hunting during the Pennsylvania Game Commissions seasons. There truly is something for everyone here.

There are many species of fish to target. Recently, the walleye population has improved and many catches of 20″ and over have been reported. The lake also has an excellent pan fish population. Crappie, perch, bluegill, and sun fish are caught regularly. Although the size of these fish is generally small, I can promise you the numbers will keep you and especially kids entertained for hours. Some other species include multiple species of catfish, crap, and Muskellunge. Many local clubs have targeted the lake for bass tournaments. The population has shrunk in numbers and size, but the lake still offers some great largemouth bass fishing.

BuzzbaitSome of my favorite techniques for bass fishing include throwing buzzbaits, senkos, Carolina rigged lizards, and 10″ worms. Some key areas to focus on are the numerous roadbeds in the lake, offshore brush piles, but don’t over look the laydowns on the bank. Some of the best bass and pan fish fishing is located in the standing timber in the electric only section of the lake. It takes time and a calm day to be able to fish this timber, but it is well worth the time. For walleye trolling worm harness & medium range crankbaits on the roadbeds are the most successful baits. Muskellunge seem to be most active early in the morning and late in the event around the main lake points. The points at Lake Wilhelm are more settle than most lakes in the area but don’t overlook these area. Although I have never done it myself, I have seen bow fisherman have great success for carp as well.

If you looking for a place to stay near the lake you have two options. First, there is Camp Wilhelm Campground. Campsite prices range from $25 to $35 per night and there are also multiple cabin rentals. The second option is Goddard Park VactionLand Campground. This campground has daily, weekly, or seasonal rates for camp sites and cabins. Visit website for more information.

 

 

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Presque Isle Bay – Lake Erie

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.

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Pymatuning Lake

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.

PYMATUNING RESERVOIR

Species

Seasons

Minimum Size

Daily Limit

Walleye and Saugeye (Hybrids) Open year-round 15 inches 6 (combined species)
Bass Open year-round 12 inches 5
Muskellunge and Tiger Muskellunge (Hybrids) Open year-round 30 inches 2 (combined species)
All Other Species Open year-round No minimum None
Fishbait and Baitfish Open year-round No minimum None
Frogs and Tadpoles July 1 through Oct. 31 No minimum 15
Snapping Turtles July 1 through Oct. 31 No minimum 15 daily limit
30 possession limit
Turtles (all species other than snapping) Open year-round No minimum 2

Additional Restrictions for Pymatuning Reservoir

  • Lights or firearms may not be used to take frogs.
  • Hooks used to take turtles shall be at least 3.5 inches long with at least 1 inch space between the point and shank.
  • Spears, longbows, compound bows, and crossbows may ONLY be used to take carp and suckers.
  • Minnow seines and dip nets are restricted to 4 feet in size; mesh must measure not less than one-eighth inch, nor larger than one-half inch on a side.
  • ICE FISHING — An Ohio or Pennsylvania fishing license is recognized anywhere on the lake. It is unlawful while ice fishing to use more than five fishing devices, which may consist of rods, hand lines, tip-ups or any combination. Each device shall contain a single fishing line with no more than three hooks attached to each line. Holes cut in ice may not exceed 10 inches between the farthest points as measured in any direction. All lines, rods or tip-ups shall be under the immediate control of the person using 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.

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