Posts Tagged Crappie

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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Slip Cork Rig

Bill Dance is a legend in the fishing world. Most commonly know for his many years on TV he fishes for many species of salt and freshwater fish. In this video he shows us how to use the Slip Cork Rig for catching crappie.

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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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Standing Timber for Crappie

For all of you crappie fisherman here is a tip of catching them off of standing timber. Although, we don’t have a lot of standing timber in our area there is some around. The video production is not very good, but the information is still good.

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Chautauqua Lake

chautauqua-smallmouth-4Southwestern 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.

tank-from-the-dock1There 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.

Beaver style baits have become very popular among bass fishermen.

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.

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Stormy Shenago Lake

Some friends, my dad and I spent the weekend camping and fishing at Shenago Lake. The campground was not crowded at all. Which was due to the forecast of rough weather that was going to hit that area. With the recent rains the water had risen, but not an excessive amount. My estimate was that the water was nearly 1 foot high when we arrived, and rose another foot while we where there. The water clearity varied greatly. On the main lake there was 4 feet of clearity, but in the feeder creeks you were lucky to see 6″ in the muddy water.

Friday evening we started fishing around 8:00 pm and fished until 9:30. We wanted to see if the striper were active, and if we could get a topwater bite. The night was pretty successful with the 3 of us catching over 10 bass. Most of which were on top water. None of the fish were big, but topwater is fun no matter what the size of the fish is. Tony, one of my best friends, even managed to hook up with a nice walleye on a spinnerbait.

Saturday Dad and I headed out on the water and fished from 7-12 in the morning. It was probably the single best morning I have ever had at Shenago. We managed to boat 26 bass and a catfish. We caught fish on buzzbaits, spooks, multiple crankbaits, tubes, beavers, and brush hogs. Colors were wide ranged, but the ones that seemed to work best were transparent/natural colors. The depth of water we caught fish varied greatly. We caught them flipping the shallows, topwater shallow, and deep and shallow cranking. It seemed like the fish were all over the board, but when you found 1 you found multiple fish. We headed in for lunch and ended up sitting out a pretty severe storm until 3. At that point we wanted to get on the water. The three of us started fishing again. I tied a crankbait on and never put it down for the next 2 hours. I caught 2 pike, catfish, multiple bass, and a couple crappie. Then the next severe storm came through so we called it a day.

We woke up Sunday to bad weather and high winds. That being said we thought it best not to head out on the water. For the amount of time we were able to fish we were pretty successful, which makes me anxious to get back out there.

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2010 Bob Reddick Memorial Crappie Tournament

Here are the results from the 2010 Bob Reddick Memorial Crappie Tournament, held on Sunday May 23, 2010 at Lake Arthur.  Jerry Swidzinski and Dean Andreas took 1st place with a 10 fish limit weighing 6.98 lbs.

#NAMETotal FishLunkerTotal WeightPrizes
1Jerry Swidzinski & Dean Andreas101.016.98$1000 & Plaque
2Mark Iarapinno & Jerry Tibay101.476.85$445 & Plaque
3Frank Nagy & Frank Nagy Jr.90.836.23$295 & Plaque
4Michael Conrad & Jason Reddick100.835.99$195 & Plaque
5John Waterbec & Mark Waterbec100.625.51$200 Gift Certificate from Allegheny Power Sports
6Mike Kumpfmiller & Bill Hershey100.825.50$100 Cash from Main Street Florist
7Andy Radwanski & John Reep100.915.49$50 Cash from VFW Post 249
8Mike Oshlik & Carl Oshlik100.435.37$50 Gift Certificate from CDS Sports
9Don Wagoner & Robert Wagoner100.995.13$50 Gift Certificate from Vin & Joes
10John Brown & Darrell Lenn Jr.101.025.05$50 Gift Certificate from Appalachian Trails
11Walt Debo III & Walt Debo Jr.100.774.94$50 Gift Certificate from Rock Ann Haven
12Bob Warren & Ruben Johnson100.844.92$50 Gift Certificate from Battery Warehouse
13Gary Holmes & Randy Laughner100.704.77$50 Gift Certificate from Cav's Place-Lyndora
14Robert Griffith & Mike Kuna100.694.72$50 Gift Certificate from Cav's Place-Lyndora
15William Disanzo & Walt Shaffer90.934.71$50 Gift Certificate from Cav's Place-Lyndora
16Brian Amos & William Snyder100.744.71$50 Gift Certificate from Van's Sporting Goods
17Tim Buffone & Bob Buffone100.904.70$30 Cash and 2 T-Shirts from Dan Gray Chiropractic
18Bob Sarnese & Bruce Finke101.374.59$30 Gift Card from Moraine Fishing and Camping
19Ken Zaludek & Sonny Daniels100.674.20$25 Gift Certificate from Prospect Corner Store
20Edward Nagy & Jason Plofchan100.574.05$25 Gift Certificate from O'Donnell's Sporting Supplies
21Brad Marshall & Barry Marshall100.654.00$20 Cash from Irrapino Muffler
Bob Barnes & Scott Barnes1.51Lunker Winner ($215 & Plaque):
Rich Rudakewich & Jerry LockhartWaterbec Smallest Weight:
John GrystarRaffle Ticket Winner ($500):

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Afternoon at Lake Arthur

Lipless crankbait deep in the mouth of a largemouth bass.

After fishing for the first time all year on Saturday I couldn’t wait to get back on the water. Well I didn’t have to wait too long. Sunday afternoon my friend Mike and I went out to Lake Arthur from 12:30 to 4:30 in the afternoon. Going into the day I had it in my mind set that I was going to fish a couple coves toward the 528 end of the lake. Being addicted to bass fishing is great, but I knew the muskie and northern pike get active in Shannon’s Cove in the early spring and can be a blast to catch. Since we only had 4 hours to fish we end up spending most of our time there. I managed to get a couple short bass on Lipless Crankbaits and another on a suspending jerkbait. If it wasn’t for the KBBC tournament coming up I would share in greater deal how and what exact lures I was catching them on. I am sure everyone understands the value of that information. The water temperature and water color with-in that cove alone was very different. If you were over 4 feet deep the water was pretty clear. You could see 3 to 4 feet of depth. If you got into the 2 foot of water or less you lost all but 6 inches of visibility. The surface temperature ranged from 48 to 58 degrees depending on the side of the cove, depth of the water and cover you were by. I have never seen that big of a difference in one cove before. Then again I am not sure I have ever fished in the middle of March in 70 degree weather in Western Pennsylvania.

I have always tried to throw lipless crankbaits in the spring and failed for the most part. I always thought I was using the wrong one, had the wrong color, or just didn’t know how to retrieve them. The truth is that it is a little of all of those categories. Over the next couple of weeks I plan on doing a lot of experimentation with them because of the moderate success that I had this weekend. If anyone has any input or advice they would like to share lets use the message board. See my post on the message board for what I learned this weekend.

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Crooked Creek Lake

Nice Crooked Creek Lake Largemouth Bass

Do you want to go fishing on a lake that doesn’t get a ton of fishing pressure? In Pennsylvania it isn’t easy to find a lake that doesn’t get a lot of pressure, but I have found one that is a short drive from Pittsburgh and is located just South of Kittaning. Crooked Creek Lake is an Army Corp. or Engineer Lake, and is the perfect lake to spend a day or weekend. This small 350 acre unlimited horsepower lake runs over 5 miles in length in one of the most relaxing settings an outdoorsmen can dream about.

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.

Beaver style baits have become very popular among bass fishermen.

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.

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