Posts Tagged Walleye
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.
Berkley Havoc lures are best known for their ability to catch bass and the Beat Shad is no different. Typically I rig them on a 1/4 oz jig and slow roll them. It has also became my favorite lure to add to an umbrella rig. A few more applications where it excels are as trailers for spinnerbaits and bladed jigs, shaky head, and swim jig trailers. The video below tells us that these lures should not be over looked for walleye.
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.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.
Some 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.
Here is a great little clip that goes into detail about how the baitfish move in river current and why vertical jigging mimics that movement. The clip also goes into details about the tackle and equipment that will help you be successful. Vertical jigging can be a great way to get some nice walleye in out local river systems.
I know Western Pennsylvania has some great walleye fisheries. From one of the best in the world, Lake Erie, to the not so common small lakes such as Woodcock and Wilhelm. Here is a little advice on how to troll for those fish and a couple lures to use. Any piece of knowledge from a professional fishermen is good information. These guys put countless days into figuring out what makes fish bite and how to catch them, even under the most difficult conditions.
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 1960’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.
Check out this demostration from Ted Takasaki using light jigs on rocky shorelines for spring walleye. I am not experienced with the jig that he is using, but it seems like the lindy jig really makes changing sizes fast and easy.
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.
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.
This past weekend my dad and I fished an open tournament on the Allegheny River in Oil City. Even though I consider myself a weak river angler I decided to fish this tournament for a couple of reasons. First, it is for a good cause. It benefits the police in our area. Second, the fishing in the northern Allegheny River is amazing during the fall and for the better part of the year. Third, it gave dad and I another day on the water together before winter set in.
There are a few things that you should know about the pool. First, it is very short as far as where a regular prop motor can run. Another thing is there is deep water, up to 20+ feet in the pool. Last is that the fish tend to winter in the pool since it is so deep. This being said we thought we were in for a big day of fishing.
The morning started fast and furious. On my first two cast I caught a 14″ dink and our first keeper. The action never really stopped. All day long we got bit and caught 14-14 7/8″ smallmouth bass. Dad even caught a walleye and a musky. There were over 30 boats in the tournament. Probably 15 jet boats that left the pool and another 15 that stayed in the pool. Most guys caught alot of short fish, but couldn’t get the right keepers. Everyone caught fish on a few lures. Tubes, beavers, and drop shot rigs. Through the day I had over 50 hits, most of which dropped the lure before I could stick them. Still between dad and I boated near 30 smallmouth and 2 keepers over 15″.
I can’t wait to head back for some great fishing and some of the most beautiful scenary that our state has to offer.