Pennsylvania Outdoor News Fishing Report — March 31, 2017
Winter storm Stella put the kibosh on fishing in many parts of the state in mid-March.
The reports below reflect fishing prior to any shut-down by snow and high winds.
The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission continued pre-season trout stockings across the state in anticipation of opening day – April 1 in the southeastern counties and April 15 elsewhere in the state.
Until opening day, trout waters are off-limits to angling, except in delayed-harvest, artificials-only sections.
For a stocking schedule, visit www.fishandboat.com.
Anglers are reminded that walleye season is now closed, and it is illegal to target walleyes from now until May 6.
Boaters are reminded that if the registration sticker on the side of their boat has a 17 on it, it will expire on March 31, 2017. Renewals can be mailed in or done online at www.fishandboat.com.
Presque Isle Bay (Erie County) — During spates of mild weather, numbers of perch were reported around the bay and off the docks as conditions allowed. The head of the bay was yielding some large perch and crappies to minnows on bobbers set at five feet. Elsewhere in the bay, perch were hitting minnows on Subiki rigs and 1-ounce sinkers, with some fish measuring 13 inches.
Erie tributaries — Some steelhead were reported as conditions allowed through mid-March, with jacks being caught in the lower reaches near the lake and holdovers in the upper reaches of the streams. Minnows and eggs were effective.
Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County) — Some walleyes up to 8 pounds were reported below the dam in the Shenango River. A 55-inch muskie was released near the spillway by a walleye angler fishing a bladebait before the season closed. Anglers wading for walleyes weren’t having much success as of March 13. Crappies were biting during spates of mild weather.
Canadohta Lake (Crawford County) — This natural lake was yielding some nice bluegills to jigs tipped with wax worms 3 feet under bobbers. Numbers were reported up to 9 inches.
Lake Wilhelm (Mercer County) — Crappies and other panfish were reported in the stumps in recent weeks.
Shenango Reservoir (Mercer County) — Numbers of crappies were reported as conditions allowed in recent weeks. A northern pike was released in the river below the dam.
Sugar Creek (Venango County) — One angler released an 18.5-inch rainbow trout on a large crawler targeted to a deep pool.
Allegheny River (Venango County) — Walleyes in mixed sizes up to 22 and 25 inches were reported on jerkbaits, bladebaits, and crankbaits in recent weeks when water was 50 degrees and turbid. At least one sauger also was reported, along with a northern pike. Periods of warmer weather turned on the smallmouth bass bite, with some fish measuring up to 20 inches and hitting tubes on barbless hooks.
Allegheny River (Pittsburgh) — Walleyes were reported through mid-March near Sharpsburg.
Yellow Creek Lake (Indiana County) — Nice-sized crappies and northern pike were reported in recent weeks.
Blue Spruce Lake — Largemouth bass and rainbow trout were reported through March 13, with hackle-tail spinners in a variety of colors productive.
Brady’s Run Lake (Beaver County) — Adverse weather made for difficult fishing even immediately after a recent trout stocking on this stocked trout water open to year-round fishing lake.
Crooked Creek Lake (Armstrong County) — Yellow perch were reported in the outflow, and one angler claims to have lost a muskie in recent weeks.
Glendale Lake (Cambria County) — Quality bluegills and crappies were hitting on this 1,635-acre lake in recent weeks.
Ebensburg Reservoir, Wilmore Dam (Cambria County) — Yellow perch were reported at both fisheries, as conditions allowed.
Quemahoning Reservoir (Somerset County) — Legal-size northern pike were reported in recent weeks.
Somerset Lake (Somerset County) — A few crappies and bass were reported on this fishery, which has been drawn down seven feet. All seasons, sizes, and creel limits were removed on this lake.
Loyalhanna Creek (Westmoreland County) — This newly-named Keystone Select Stocked Trout Waters section of this creek was yielding trout in recent weeks as conditions allowed.
Youghiogheny River — The outflow of this stocked trout water open to year-round fishing was yielding some nice brown and rainbow trout on artificials and live bait as conditions allowed through mid-March. This is catch-and-release only until opening day of trout season.
Monongahela River — Water was high and off-color through mid-March, which put the kibosh on fishing. The Pike Run and Dutch Fork tributaries’ delayed-harvest, artificial- lures-only sections were yielding recently stocked trout.
Hamilton, Hills Creek lakes (Tioga County) — Don’s Tackle Shack reported March 16 that winter storm Stella dumped 10 inches of snow on the region that shut down fishing, and lakes were icing up again. Prior to the storm, Hills Creek Lake was yielding perch to anglers fishing fathead minnows.
Penns Creek (Clinton County) — TCO Fly Shop reported March 19 that water was running a little low and off-color and had temperatures in the low 40s. Nymphs and streamers were the best bet. Trout seemed to be holding in slower water, and early and late in the day were the better times to fish. Hatches included midges (20-24) and blue-winged olives (18-22). Effective patterns included Hare’s Ear (14-18), Bead-headed Prince nymphs (8-12), and sculpins (4-10).
Fishng Creek (Clinton County) — In mid-March, anglers were catching trout on nymphs, such as Beadhead Prince nymphs (12-16) and Gold-bead Pheasant Tails (12-18). Olive and black streamers (6-10) also were effective. Dry flies such as midges (22-26) and Blue-Winged Olives (18-22) were working for a few anglers in mid-to-late afternoon hours.
Spring Creek (Centre County) — TCO Fly Shop reported March 18 that the creek was in good shape and fishing well with water in the 40s and showing some color. The trout bite was mostly subsurface, making small streamers, dead-drifted, and nymphing productive. Hatches included blue-winged olives (18-22) and midges (22-26). Productive fly patterns included Pheasant Tail nymphs (14-18), olive and black Slumpbusters (6-10), and Bird of Prey Caddis (14-16).
Foster Joseph Sayers Lake (Centre County) — Yellow perch were reported on live minnows and jigs in the Hunter Run Cut area. Perch and other panfish also were reported below the spillway.
Yellow Breeches Creek (Cumberland County) — Water was clear and in the upper 30s to low 40s as of March 19, according to TCO Fly Shop, which reported subsurface flies and zebra midges were effective. Hatches included midges (18-24), scuds (12-20), blue-winged olives (18-20), and Goblins (8). Productive fly patterns included Squirmy Wormies (12), Zebra midges (18-22), and Black midges (18-20).
Little Juniata River (Huntingdon County) — As of March 19, TCO Fly Shop reported water was in the low 40s and running at average flow but was difficult to wade. Nymphing was consistently productive. Hatches included blue-winged olives (18-22) and midges (20-24). Effective patterns included Blue-Winged Olive Sparkle Dun (18-20), Gold-beaded Catnip (10-14), and Green Weenies (12-14).
Juniata River (Juniata County) — Muskies were reportedly released in recent weeks, as conditions allowed.
Holman Lake (Perry County) — Panfish were reported on waxworms in recent weeks, as conditions allowed.
Little Buffalo State Park Lake (Perry County) — Bluegills, crappies, and perch were reported in recent weeks.
Susquehanna River (York County) — Catfish were reported on liver and shrimp in recent weeks, and walleyes were reported on jigs and minnows or twister tails before the season closed.
Lehigh River — Willie’s Bait & Tackle reported March 19 that trout were hitting as conditions allowed. Fishing elsewhere was hampered by the effects of recent snowfall and cold temperatures, which had caused skim ice to form on some fisheries.
Marsh Creek Lake (Berks County) — Gordon’s Sports Supply said March 16 that prior to the snow and sleet that hammered the area midmonth, anglers were doing very well off the bridge on Cononstoga Road, with nice catches of crappies and perch reported on crawlers.
Lake Ontelaunee (Berks County) — Anglers were reporting crappies out of the Peters Cove area and the main body of the lake with jigheads and plastic grubs the ticket.
Tulpehocken Creek (Berks County) — As of mid-March, water was clear in around 39 degrees, and nymphs and streamers were catching trout as conditions allowed. Hatches included blue-winged olives (18-22), midges (18-28), and black caddis (18-20).
Reports compiled by Deborah Weisberg