Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Erie Pa fishing report Feb 7th

This week’s Erie-area fishing report from Randy Leighton, deputy waterways conservation officer for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission:
Erie has been part of the Arctic blast that has sent the mercury into the single digits over much of the last week. High winds and drifting snow have made travel difficult and many have been content to stay in the warmth and safety of their homes or workplaces. On the other hand, the popularity of ice fishing our area, especially on Presque Isle Bay, seems to grow every year. This past weekend found countless huts on the bay and many hard-water folks trying their luck on the Walnut Creek channel and along the shore at Trout Run. Frigid temperatures have accelerated ice thickness around the area. Anglers coming off Presque Isle Bay Tuesday afternoon reported ice as thick as 10 inches to 12  inches in many areas. Although there is plenty of thick ice, a heavy blanket of snow has slowed the formation of hard “black ice” in some areas. With the wind howling, temperatures in the single digits, the shelter of a hut is a necessity. As always, ice-fishing reports vary greatly, depending on who you talk to, but in general, fish are being caught. Lake Erie, although not quite completely frozen, seems to be well on its way.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Lake Erie Pa fishing report Feb 2nd

This week’s Erie-area fishing report from Randy Leighton, deputy waterways conservation officer for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission:
Ice fishing is in full swing along Pennsylvania’s north coast. Single-digit temperatures and bone-chilling windchill factors have done little to deter the eager hard-water crowd. This past weekend, ice huts dotted Presque Isle Bay as far as the eye could see. Anglers were doing fair to good depending on their location, with good catches of sizable blue gills and a few crappie. Perch catches were not quite as good and seemed somewhat on the small side depending on whom you spoke to. A few pike and steelhead have been caught as well. The best fishing on the bay has been just off the second and third parking lots on Presque Isle, or the “Stink Hole” area as it is called, and off of the Chestnut Street launch along the Bayfront Highway in 20-25 feet of water. The largest concentration of huts has been due north of the Bayfront Convention Center. Live bait (shiners) has been working the best, however don’t be afraid to change off to the small jigging baits and grubs. The most successful anglers reported not spending too much time in one spot and trying a variety of small jigs and baits to trigger action. Ice thickness on Presque Isle Bay is reported at 7 to 8 inches in most areas as of this writing.  Presque Isle Bay is now covered in deep snow that can make ice conditions deceiving … use caution. There is considerable snow around the area and as always, anglers should check interstate driving conditions before a long trip to our area.
A number steelhead are being pulled through the ice at the Walnut Creek basin and in the channel with very little angling pressure at times. Shoreline ice along Lake Erie still consists mostly of broken drift ice and is not suitable or safe for ice fishing

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Lake Erie Pa ice fishing report Jan 26th

This week’s regional fishing report from Randy Leighton, deputy waterways conservation officers for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission:
The Arctic blast that hit the Northeast over the last week put the Erie area into deep freeze with temperatures in the low teens and at times dropping below zero. The frigid temperatures gave a good boost to ice conditions around the area. Most areas including Presque Isle Bay have been reported to be anywhere from 6 inches to 10 inches thick. The exceptions to this would be any ice on the faster moving areas of the tributaries. Ice-fishing activity has been a good in the Erie area with anglers taking to the hard water in search of some action in spite of the cold snap. The most popular area on Presque Isle Bay has been just north of the Bayfront Convention Center near Dobbins Landing. Reports have been varied and widely scattered with reports of good catches of perch and gills to “tried everywhere, and came up short.” Fishing in one stationary area certainly does stack the odds against the angler, and in winter conditions moving around and drilling more holes often doesn’t seem worth it. However, the patient angler and one who knows when to give up on a spot is more likely to score. Many anglers miss the subtle strikes that are common when ice fishing simply because they aren’t paying attention as well as they could be. Watching for light strikes on five tip-ups requires some concentration. Changing baits or jigs from time to time can also help. The noise factor certainly can come in to play as well, once the holes are drilled and you are settled in, its probably best to go into stealth mode. Temperature forecasts are predicted to be well below freezing over the next few week. Lake Erie is partially frozen, although there are still large areas of open water. Winter conditions can be tough in Erie and, as such, anglers coming from out of town would be wise to check weather forecasts and road conditions.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Lake Erie Pa Tackle Swap

The Erie PA Sport Fishing Association‘s second annual Tackle Swap and Meet is scheduled for Jan. 29 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Grover Cleveland School, 1540 W. 38th Street.
Check out new and used tackles, seminars, fishing club presentations, kids activities and food and beverages.
Those who wish to trade, sell or represent merchandise can buy a table for $15. For information, call 452-0648 or e-mail or
Proceeds benefit EPSFA programs for children, brown trout raceway and fish testing.
Tickets at the door are $3 for adults and $1 for children ages 13-18. Children 12 and under will be admitted free of charge.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Presque Isle Bay Ice Report

Just when ice conditions took a turn for the better on Presque Isle Bay, this warning is in place:
The Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority has issued a public advisory for Presque Isle Bay and adjacent waters, effective Friday through Jan. 19.
DonJon Shipbuilding & Repair, 200 block of East Bayfront Parkway, is expecting the arrival of three freighters, possibly accompanied by an ice-breaking vessel, Port Authority officials said.
While the disruption of ice is expected to be limited to the eastern portion of Presque Isle Bay, all ice on the bay could be affected, Port Authority officials said.
Ice angers started getting back onto the ice this past weekend. Marina Bay and Misery Bay each had a few huts in place and a few bucket-sitters as well.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pittsburgh Downriggers Club

Need a new home with some friendly faces, fellowship and competition?  The Pittsburgh Downriggers Club meets throughout the year and holds several events on Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.  Consider visiting them at

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ice Fishing Safety Tips

Safety tips from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission:
  • Wear a personal flotation device, or at least carry a floatation cushion to sit on and don’t fish alone.
  • Leave information about your plans with someone, where you intend to fish and when you plan to return.
  • Know the conditions of the ice before venturing out; taking into consideration recent possible effects changes in the weather have had on the ice.
  • Children should always be supervised on the ice.
  • Use an ice spud bar or an auger to test the ice ahead of you.
  • Before venturing out onto the ice, check with local sources, such as bait and tackle shops, for the most up-to-date information and always consider any information on ice thickness as suggestion, not fact.
  • Avoid ice formed over flowing water near shore and around inlets and outlet
  • Avoid aeration devices such as warm water bubblers used near marinas.
  • Temperature fluctuations typically occurring in early winter and spring will again make for uncertain ice. Be suspicious of gray, dark or porous spots in the ice as these may be soft areas. Ice is generally strongest where it is hard and blue.
  • Heavy snow cover insulates ice and prevents it from freezing as evenly and as quickly as it would if the snow weren’t there. Snow cover is also deceptive and makes evaluating the ice cover difficult.
  • Be especially wary of tributary ice, as it can be highly variable in thickness due to the erosive action of the underlying water current. Many anglers like to ice fish the Walnut Project waters, which has some deep holes. One can be standing on ice eight inches thick on a trib and just a few feet away, the ice may be only two inches thick.
  • Carry a set of “grippers” (a couple screwdrivers on a length of nylon cord will do in a pinch). If you should go through the ice, they can provide a “grip” on the slippery surface and aid in getting out.
  • Should you break through the ice, try not to panic. Remember to turn toward the direction you came from, toward the ice that supported you. Use you “grippers” or your hands to gain a hold on the unbroken surface of the ice, and advance by kicking your feet.
  • Once you are out of the water and are lying on the ice, don’t stand. Roll away from the point where you broke through until you are on solid ice.
  • If you do see someone fall through the ice, do not run toward them. Carefully extend a rope, ladder, pole or line to the victim.