Steelhead fishing early this week was lousy to good depending on whom you talked with. A nice run of fresh steelhead came into Elk Creek. Fishing was good Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but by Wednesday it was apparent that the steelhead were moving upstream. Elk Creek was still in good shape Thursday, but if it goes the way of most creeks, we can anticipate shore ice and slush. Snow will likely aggravate the running slush problem. Twentymile Creek also fished well Monday through Wednesday. The largest steelhead reported from Twentymile Creek weighed 13.1 pounds and measured 32 inches. It was caught close to the lake on an egg sac. Most of the fish caught this week fell for skein or minnows. Eastside creeks were getting shore ice and were running full of slush Thursday.
Ice fishing at Presque Isle Bay took a bad turn with the recent warm weather. There were several open areas Thursday, and there was a gap between shore and the ice along most of the peninsula side and just somewhat less on the city side. Conditions are shaky at best. Some ice-fishermen were headed for Misery Bay and Horseshoe Pond Thursday, but first word was that ice was very thin in places.
If you want to fish through the ice, one of the inland lakes may be a better option, although even there the ice may be questionable. Nice crappie are being caught with black ants and minnows near Tuttle Point, at Pymatuning Lake, and some 5-pound to 6-pound walleye have been caught in the Jamestown area using cicadas or chubs. At Lake Wilhelm, ice-anglers have been catching some very nice bluegill along with crappie and perch that have been on the small side. Ice is still thickest toward the south end of Chautauqua Lake, about 7 inches in Burtis Bay, where bluegill and perch have made up the bulk of the catch. Ice is reported to be 3 inches to 5 inches in the Mayville area. Some walleye have been caught, but most have been undersized. Unfortunately, 8 inches of fresh snow has fallen on the ice. The best ice fishing in Erie County may be at Lake Pleasant. Trout, bluegill and crappie have been hitting with some consistency. Crappie have not been numerous, but those caught have been in the 10-inch to 11-inch class. Pike and bluegill are coming through the ice at Eaton Reservoir. At the Allegheny Reservoir, ice along shore is gone.
— Mike Bleech, contributing writer