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–       Goodbye to Summer!  Every real angler welcomes the fall season with its fantastic fishing opportunities for big smallmouth bass, hefty walleye, trophy musky, abundant crappie and of course the long-awaited steelhead.  This year I am particularly pleased to see an end to what likely was the worst summer of fishing that I have experienced in two decades.  Blame it on weather, water conditions or personal scheduling conflicts – I don’t know, but both my time on the water and my catch rate suffered.  The only fishing I did the last week of summer was onConneautLakewith Harvey Bartash, a friend fromHarrisburg.  Check outHarvey’s comments underConneautLaketo see the typical luck I’ve had this summer.


–       While I didn’t have but one opportunity to fish Pymatuning early in the summer, receiving these reports from contributors leaves little doubt that Pymatuning Reservoir has been fishing extremely well for a variety of species in 2010.


Erie County Waters


Presque Isle Bay

Al Nacopoulos (B.A.C. Bait): “The big news this week involves steelhead beginning to show up in the Bay – not a lot, but they are catching some.  Also the crappie bite inMarinaLakehas been very good for anglers in boats – lots of 10 to 12 inch crappies on minnows.  My customers have been catching perch, crappie and bass from the North Pier, and crappie from East and West Piers.  One gentleman showed me a nice pike that he caught in Horseshoe Pond.”


Chub Hornstein (Meadville): Gail Peterson and I went toErielast week during the full moon and had a bad day.  We only caught 10 bass in five hours.  And I only caught one of them…about 10 inches long.  I hate the full moon.”


Ernie Pate (Butler): “Brother Ken and I won the Keystone Bass Buddy Circuit Championship last weekend (September 18) on PIB.  We weighed 15.7 pounds for six largemouths.  The fish were caught on jigs and Beavers.”


Lake Erie


Chris Hall (Espyville Outdoors) took Sunday morning off from running the shop and headed to Erie for perch.  He phoned in a report about10 AM.  Fishing had been slow so far, landing only about 30 fish.


Chuck Papinchak (Cochranton): “Several friends and I headed toErieearlier this week to fish perch off a head boat – the Danny O.  It was slow at first, but picked up later in the morning.  We got into them in 62 feet of water three miles off shore.  I had to clean all the fish for our group – we took 65 fish home.  I had the biggest one at just over 16 inches!”



Steelhead anglers in Walnut Creek (© Darl Black photo)

Lake Erie tributaries

Poor Richards Bait reports good number of steelhead in the lower sections of the tributaries near theErieshoreline.  This week customers brought in three steelheads at 13 pounds, and one at 12 pounds.  Most of the trout are being caught on eggs and live minnows.



Mercer County Waters



Wilhelm crappie (© Darl Black photo)

Lake Wilhelm

Bob (Fergies Bait) says it has been a slow week at Wilhelm.  Anglers in boats and from shore are catching bluegills and a few crappies.  He has not had reports on bass or walleye lately.  “But the water is cooling down,” he adds.  “The fall season on Wilhelm can be awesome for largemouth bass and musky.  In early October, there will be guys lining the upper causeway to catch lots of bluegills.  In the late fall, the crappie bite goes strong down by the dam with fish suspended over the creek channel.  And if we get good rain runoff with some breeze, the walleyes may turn on in the upper part of the lake by the Marina.”


Shenango Lake

Al Moore (Cochranton): “I’m looking forward to fishing for bass on Shenango this coming week.  I really enjoy that lake in the fall when all the pleasure boaters are gone.  I’ll send a report after I get back.”


Neshannock Creek

Bob Shuey (Neshannock Creek Outfitters) is anxiously awaiting the PFBC stocking of trout in the creek during early October.


Venango County Waters


Allegheny River

Dale Black (OilCity) reports the river above Franklindid not go up much due to rain but the floating weeds are now a problem.  “I was out one hour on Friday evening and caught one 17-inch smallmouth on a 4” Dinger.  Floaters fouled every cast.”


Bill Logan (Pleasantville) reports that while fishing on tributary just upstream from the Allegheny, he caught several bass on a buzzbait and had a 40-inch musky blow up on the bait.  “It was awesome!”


Chuck Sari (Franklin): “My son Kevin and I fished the Allegheny on Saturday, September 17 and had one of our better days.  We landed 15 bass and 2 nice walleye.  All were landed on 3- to 4-inch creek minnows caught from French Creek.  This time of year the type of minnow isn’t that important.  The river was low and clear, and there is no floating weed problem yet.  As the water temperature cools, the fishing will only get better.”


Eric Heil and John Ringle with Allegheny smallmouth (Heil photo)

Eric Heil (Franklin): “The Allegheny River Team Tournament sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 50, went well last weekend, September 17.  The river was perfect for the event.  The water temperature was 63-64 degrees.  Air temperature at take-off was 45 degrees but climbed to 70 by weigh-in. It was sunny all day. The water was clear in some areas, and slightly stained in others.   We had 27 two-person teams participate.  A total of 82 smallmouth bass were brought to the scales for a total weight of 173.53 pounds.  All fish were released alive.  The teams reported catching smallmouth on a variety of baits including jerkbaits, crankbaits, tubes, soft stickbaits, jigs and spinnerbaits.  Several teams also reported catching walleye; John Ringel caught an ‘eye that measured 29 inches and weighted 7 pounds.  Top three teams follow.”


1st Place: Rob Genter & Kit Pascarell – 5 bass for 14.45 lbs. plus a 4.54 lunker

2nd Place: Eric Heil & John Ringel – 5 bass for 13.48 lbs.

3rd Place: Bob Stephens & Randy Adams – 5 bass for 12.93 lbs.

Next tournament is October 16th; email lt.heil@yahoo.com for application and details.


Kahle Lake

Steve Fleckenstein (Clarion): “I had a fisherman tell me that he was getting some nice bluegills at KahleLakethe past couple days.  I’m still fishing the nearby Beaver Creek Ponds.  On Monday I caught bluegill and 3 small bass on the Slider Charlie Bee you sent me last week.  Fishing it below a bobber, yesterday I caught some more ‘gills with it before the fish finally bit the tail off.   Bluegills certainly love that little bait.  My second rod was rigged with a 1” purple split tail tipped with a maggot – the ‘gills went for it too.  I had a nice bass chase a struggling bluegill to shore as I was reeling in the fish.  The bass snapped at it just as I was lifting it from the water.  Last week I had a nice-size bass grab a hooked bluegill, and I fought it briefly until the bass let it go.”


French Creek (Erie, Crawford andVenangoCounties)


Ed Lawrence’s son with French Creek walleye (Lawrence photo)

Ed Lawrence (Corry): “My son and I caught several 20-inch walleyes from French Creek this week, and lost several more.  We caught them on jigs during the early morning.”


Dustin Shay (Meadville): “I was catching walleye pretty good in the Creek until we had that deluge of rain that turned French into a raging mud hole.  All my walleye were taken on smoke/sparkle Slider Double Action Grubs (a 3-1/4” swimbait) fished on a jighead.  When the water came up, I pulled on chest waders to hit some of the oxbow cut-offs on the Creek, and nailed several largemouth ranging from 2 to 4 pounds on a Terminator T-1 Spinnerbait in Perch pattern.  I also caught some bluegills up Cussawago Creek on the Slider Charlie Bee jig-spinner.”


Lou Letterle with French Creek smallmouth from a float trip (Letterle photo)

Lou Letterle (Franklin): “Last week I floated the Creek from Carlton to  Utica.  We caught a dozen smallmouths but nothing particularly impressive.”

Crawford County Waters


Pymatuning Lake

Dave Richter (Richter’s General Store): “Anglers were doing pretty well on a variety of species this past weekend.  There were lots of crappie, bluegill and some nice yellow perch coming in.  The big thing is the walleye bite – pretty good numbers for this early in the fall.  Most of the ‘eyes are coming on blade baits.  The hot one in my shop is the Vibe in gold finish.”


Ernie Pate (Butler): “Ken and I were up at Pymatuning on Saturday, September 24.  We caught 32 bass, mostly smallmouth, on small cranks, spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and Flukes.  Majority of bass were 16 to 18 inches; the largest was a 4-pound largemouth.”


Chub Hornstein (Meadville): “I went to Pymatuning yesterday (September 17) and caught 24 walleye, including 6 keeper fish.  All the walleye came from 12 to 15 feet of water on 1/4-oz. Heddon Sonar.  Fish ranged from 13.5 to 15.5 inches, and all appeared healthy.  Looks like walleye fishing will be good this fall and great in the spring.”


Dustin Shay (Meadville): “One evening this past week, a couple of my buddies and I headed to the Causeway to fish for catfish from shore; we caught four and missed another 6 or 7 runs.  But there was a boat anchored a little ways out in front of us along the channel.  At first, they weren’t catching much – a couple crappies and small walleye.  However, they kept saying ‘Wait untilmidnight.’  At just aboutmidnight, the walleyes moved along the channel.  We watched them catch 25 to 30 ‘eye on blade baits, with one fish they said measured 25 inches.  Seems after dark is the ticket on Pymatuning right now.”


Conneaut Lake


Harvey Bartash (Harrisburg): “I enjoyed our day of fishing onConneautLakethis past week.  I told my wife every time we go fishing with you, I learn something new.  The first time you taught me a new knot and how to mark the area we intend to fish, as well as teaching me the difference between fishing and catching – I mostly fish!  When we went fishing toLake Eriea few years back, I learned not to park a state vehicle on the peninsula when the wind is blowing 65 mph and pushing water across the exit road – you may end up swimming or worse yet, trying to explain to the state garage how the car stalled out inLake Erie.  This time you taught me that whenever you go out in your river jet – even on Conneaut – to make sure that you have four batteries onboard: a main one for the jet motor when you leave the ramp, a back-up battery in case the number one battery dies, a back-up battery to back-up the back-up in the event it is dead and a fourth battery so you have something to power the trolling motor so you can fish.”


Gamma Salutes

The winner of a spool of Gamma PloyFlex Line is Lou Letterle for the photo of French Creek smallmouth.   To have your name entered in the weekly drawing for a spool of Gamma, simply email a useable photo of any fish species which you caught from NW PA in the past week.  Gamma Line is available at CDS (Grove City); Poor Richards (Fairview); John’s Bait (Meadville) and Espyville Outdoors (Espyville).


Weekly Drawing

Drawn from the contributors who sent in information last week, Chuck Sari ofFranklinwon the Rapala Lure Pack for 9-18.  This week the name drawn for the Rapala Pack was Ed Lawrence.


Outdoor Calendar of Events


Oct 1               River Watcher Float on Shenango; Pymi Outflow toGreenville

Info: Hugh Clark greengrass@windstream.net


Oct 1&2          Antlers and Anglers Showcase, CrawfordCountyFairgrounds

For information, contact Joan Kocan at jkocan@agoc.com


Oct 16            Allegheny RiverBass Team Tournament #2

$100 per team; for info contact Eric Heil lt.heil@yahoo.com


Nov 5              PA Steelhead Expo atRainbowGardens,Erie,PA


Information contributed by:

–       Chris’ Tackle Box, Jamestown, PA

–       Maurer’s Trading Post, Franklin, PA

–       Oil Creek Outfitters, Titusville, PA

–       John’s Bait & Tackle, Meadville, PA

–       Van Tassel’s Timberland Bait, Canadohta Lake, PA

–       Fergie’s Bait & Tackle, Sandy Lake, PA

–       R & L Bait & Tackle, Greenville, PA

–       B.A.C. Bait & Tackle, Erie, PA

–       Poor Richards Bait & Tackle, Fairview, PA

–       Presque Isle Angler, Erie, PA

–       Neshannock Creek Fly Shop, Volant, PA

–       Erie Sports Store, Erie, PA

–       CLTackle.com

–       Espyville Outdoors, Espyville, PA

–       Farrell’s Hook, Line & Stitch, Meadville, PA

–       Consumer Direct Sports, Grove City, PA

–       Jigger Wholesale Tackle, Franklin, PA

–       Area anglers

Sponsored by: PA Great Lakes Region

GAMMA Fishing Line (now owned by Black Knight Industries of Oil City)


Connect to all counties at www.PaGreatLakes.com

–       Crawford County Convention &Visitors Bureau at www.visitcrawford.org

–       VisitErie at www.visiterie.com

–       VisitMercerCountyPA at www.visitmercercountypa.com

–       Oil Region Alliance at www.oilregion.org


 Note: The information in the NW PA Weekly Fishing Report is based on the observations and opinions of individuals at the reporting tackle shops and expert area anglers.  Although the information is reliable, it is not independently verified.


If you have fishing information or a picture of your catch from one of the waters in the following counties, please contact Darl Black at darlblack@windstream.net

In providing a picture, you are agreeing to it being posted on the Fishing Report.

Keep Up with More NW PA Fishing at http://darlblack.blogspot.com

News Reporter

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