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