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.