Wednesday, February 1st, 2023
Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

In most parts of the state, anglers head for the ice

Lakes in many parts of the state were frozen enough for ice
angling about a week before Christmas, with first ice yielding
nice-sized panfish, walleyes, bass and pike. Though 4 inches is
considered acceptable for angling, soft spots over underwater
springs and around tree stumps and other structure are a potential
hazard. Anglers are advised to never fish alone, to always carry
rope and picks of life, and to proceed over ice with extreme
caution, since changing weather patterns can affect surface
quality. For more on ice angling and safety, visit


Erie — Despite slush ice and frozen surfaces on most of the
tributaries, Scott Paris, of Warren, limited out on steelhead up to
9 pounds fishing minnows on lower Elk Creek just before Christmas.
Ice anglers are catching perch in 12 feet near the one and two
parking lots in Presque Isle Bay. Lots of bluegills and crappies
are being iced in Misery Bay and Horseshoe Pond.

Allegheny Reservoir/Allegheny River (Warren County) — Nice
numbers of walleyes, 16 to 18 inches, are coming through the ice.
Fluctuating water levels made for inconsistent action in the river
below the dam just before Christmas, though earlier in the month
anglers were catching walleyes 15 to 18 inches on emerald shiners
through the day and evening, big numbers of brown and rainbow
trout, and northern pike. One angler caught and released a
12-pound, 31-inch rainbow in the river.

Cloe Lake (Jefferson County) — Waxworms, power bait and jigging
spoons have been productive for ice anglers on this 27-acre
reservoir. Legal-sized saugeye have been hitting live minnows.

Kyle Lake (Jefferson County) — Anglers have been icing bluegills
and crappies on waxworm tipped jigs on this 165-acre state-owned
reservoir, which is managed under the Big Bass Program.

Chapman Dam (Warren County) — Ice anglers are doing well on
recently stocked trout.

Slippery Rock Creek (Lawrence County) — Howard Wagner, of
Fombell, released a 50-inch muskie after chopping ice to fish open
water, the evening of Dec. 17. He released a 41-inch muskie the
following day.

Lake Arthur (Butler County) — First ice yielded many trophy
bass. Josh Lawson, of Butler, iced a 5- pound, 1-ounce, 20-inch
largemouth bass, James Lawson, of Butler, a 5- pound, 2-ounce,
20-inch largemouth, and Pat Noulett, of Butler, a 5-pound,
14-ounce, 21-inch largemouth and a 5-pound, 3 ouncer, as more than
100 anglers pounded the Muddy Creek and Shannon Bay areas on the
eastern end of the lake. Levi West iced a 6- pound largemouth bass,
and Jarrit Robinson, a 4-pound largemouth, during first ice. Gary
Miller landed two 6-pound largemouths, and Brian Barkley, a 5
pounder. Heather Lawson iced a 5-pound, 4-ounce, 21-inch
largemouth. Mark Iarrapino caught a 6-pound, 15-ounce largemouth.
Joe Gowan landed a 13-pound, 6-ounce, 38-inch northern pike.
Numerous smaller pike, including three 30-inch pike, also were

Lake Wilhelm (Mercer County) — Ice anglers are catching
crappies, bluegills and perch on minnows all over the lake. Perch
are being taken at the lower end of the lake toward the dam and the
“three posts” area. Bluegills and crappies are being caught from
the causeway to “the stumps.”

Shenango Reservoir (Mercer County) — At first ice last month,
anglers were icing crappies up to 14 inches in Golden Run and off
Route 846. Bull Dawson landed a whopping 16-inch crappie on a
maggot and Wayne Jarrett, a 15-inch crappie. Both men are from
Hermitage. Ice angling pressure remained high through Christmas,
especially in Golden Run with anglers catching nice crappies, 11
and 12 inches, and bluegills. Try mealworms and wax worms.


Raccoon Lake (Beaver County) — Bluegills and crappies are coming
through the ice.

North Park Lake (Allegheny County) — Carl Scholtz, of Shaler,
reported excellent ice angling for trout, given the pre-Christmas
stocking. He released almost 100 trout fishing all day Dec. 16.

Allegheny River — Bill Crousey and Wayne Evan, of West Mifflin,
boated a 12-pound, 6-ounce, 30-inch walleye, two 3-pound walleyes
and a 4-pounder, and 56 saugers, 11 to 18 inches, on chartreuse
jigs and minnows below the Highland Park dam, in the middle of last
month. Around Christmas, anglers were doing well on walleyes, up to
10 pounds, and sauger around the dam.

Ohio River — Very few anglers are fishing, but they’re catching
average-sized walleye in the back channel dam and at the mouth of
Little Sewickley Creek.

Canonsburg Dam (Washington County) — Ice anglers are catching
nice numbers of crappies on minnows.

Youghiogheny Reservoir (Fayette County) — Sub-legal and other
small walleyes are being iced near the Tubb Run area to the left of
the Route 40 Bridge.

Youghiogheny River — Anglers are catching trout on maggot-tipped
Mini-Foo jigs in the dam outflow area.

Virgin Run Reservoir (Fayette County) — Anglers are catching
trout through the ice.

Deep Creek Lake (Maryland) — Ice anglers report a decent walleye
bite in the bays.


Parker Dam (Clearfield County) — Trout were stocked before
Christmas, and anglers were doing well on live minnows and

Lake Hamilton (Tioga County) — An unexpected stocking of 1,000
rainbow trout was slated for Dec. 21.

Hamilton, Beechwood, Hills Creek lakes (Tioga County) — Ice
anglers report good panfishing on all three lakes. Hamilton is also
yielding nice numbers of trout.

Little Pine Lake (Lycoming County) — Ice anglers were on the
lake before Christmas, but disappointed with catch rates. Some
blame the fact that the lake was drawn down through the summer, and
restocked but pretty much fished out in the fall. A late winter
stocking is slated.

Pine Creek (Lycoming County) — The delayed-harvest waters were
still fishable just before Christmas, with anglers targeting trout
on streamers, Woolly Buggers, Stone Fly nymphs and Hare’s Ear
nymphs. Anglers should downsize and slow their presentation,
because fish become lethargic in winter.

Curwensville Reservoir (Clearfield County) — Ice anglers were
reporting good action on perch, walleyes, muskies, bass, and
crappies before Christmas.

Spring Creek (Centre County) — One angler was catching trout on
Cressbugs before Christmas, but sizes were small. The water
temperature was 40 degrees and the air temp was 29 degrees, which
worked in anglers’ favor as far as ice buildup. Warming trends can
cause run-off from snow melt.

Foster Joseph Sayers Reservoir (Centre County) — Ice anglers
reported good panfishing before Christmas on this 1,739-acre Bald
Eagle State Park impoundment in Bald Eagle State Park lake.

Black Moshannon Lake (Centre County) — Ice angling began before
Christmas, with moderate pressure. Anglers were targeting panfish,
perch and pickerel.


Susquehanna River — Matt Freeman caught a 30-pound, 39-inch
flathead catfish on a Rattletrap while bass fishing at Brunner’s
Island Dec. 17.

Raystown Lake (Huntingdon County) — A few ice anglers were on
the lake and catching perch, walleyes and lake trout by Christmas.
Though the lake is famous for its striped bass, very few are ever
taken through the ice, since they go dormant and feed only
infrequently when water turns frigid. Anglers fishing off the banks
below the breast of the dam on the Raystown Branch of the Juniata
River were catching nice walleyes up to 25 inches on #11 and #13
black and Silver Rapalas and live bait. A hodgepodge of sizes was

Yellow Breeches Creek (Cum-berland County) — The Yellow Breeches
Anglers and Conservation Association was slated to stock the
special regulation area Jan. 7, barring bad weather, in which case
the stocking would be changed to the next good Saturday. Before
Christmas, water was “wadable” and clear both in the main stream
and in “the run,” or the spring creek between Children’s Lake in
Boiling Springs and the stream. Hatches include abundant caddis
larvae, especially green. Try Early Black Stonefly and Sulphur
nymphs, fished on the bottom, and Sculpins, with Cress Bugs (Sow)
and Shrimp (Scuds) washing in from the Children’s Lake. Midges,
both adult and larval, hatch year-round. Because it stocks several
times a year, the association is always eager for new members. Dues
are $12 per year. Contact Yellow Breeches Anglers &
Conservation Association, P.O. Box 1, Boiling Springs, PA
17007-0001. For more, visit

Clarks Creek (Cumberland County) — The tailwater fishery below
the DeHart Dam is typically stable and cool all year. Even after
heavy rains, the stream drops and clears quickly. It had a slight
tannic stain before Christmas. Hatches include year-round midges,
both larval and adult. Try Early Black Stoneflies, and Sulphur
Nymphs, fished on the bottom. The special regulations area is in a
state game land. Visit

Big Spring Creek (Cumberland County) — The Heritage Trout
Angling section was “wadable” and very clear just before Christmas,
with water around 50 degrees. Nice numbers of 1- and 2-year-old
wild rainbows and brook trout and 6- to 8-inch stockies were
reported, along with larger browns and rainbows. Hatches include
year-round midges. Try cress (sow) bugs, shrimp (scuds) and snails.


Susquehanna River (Luzerne County) — Muskies are coming on
bucktail jigs and walleyes around the point near Coxton.

Duck Harbor (Luzerne County) — Bass up to 2 pounds and perch, 13
to 14 inches, were coming through the ice around Christmas.

Francis Slocum (Luzerne County) — Ice anglers are catching nice
crappies and bluegills, jigging minnows or maribou jigs tipped with

Lake Wallenpaupack (Pike County) — Ice angling was just getting
under way at Christmas, with anglers targeting perch on jigging
spoons and jigs tipped with waxworms in the coves.

Mauch Chunk Lake (Carbon County) — Bass angling through the ice
has been productive, though panfishing and walleye catch rates have
been slower. Panfishing has been mediocre much of this year.


The best ice angling began around Christmas on private ponds,
which were yielding nice bass and bluegills.

Tuscarora Lake, Locust Lake (Schuylkill County) — These
trout-stocked lakes have been productive for ice anglers.

Octararo Lake (Lancaster County) — Ice angling is prohibited on
this impoundment, however, anglers sometimes take advantage of open
water around the edges of the lake in winter. Bank fishermen were
catching perch, up to 12 inches, and crappies, just before
Christmas. For reports on conditions, call Jim Neary’s Tackle Shop
at (717) 529-2488.

Lake Towhee (Bucks County) — This lake is producing nice
panfish, such as crappies and sunnies, and nice pickerel and the
occasional bass through the ice.

Lake Galena (Bucks County) — A couple of people braved the
mostly frozen surface before Christmas and iced some decent size

Lake Nockamixon (Bucks County) — This popular impoundment was
mostly open water on Christmas and still needed a few weeks of good
cold cold weather to freeze. It tends to ice over later than other
impoundments, but can yield some monster pickerel. Anglers were
doing well through the open water for pickerel and bass, vertically
jigging spoons, such as Silver Buddies, or shiners or worms.
Christmas was a good time for stripers, too, jigged fairly deep,
between 15 and 25 feet. Chicken livers also worked for stripers.
The same tactics can yield big walleyes, but substitute curly tail
grubs or minnows. For more, call Nockamixon Sports Shop at (215)

Compiled by Deborah Weisberg

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