Too warm for ice fishing, but open-water angling hot
Erie — Though angling pressure has been low, Cy Grajcar, of
Accworth, Ga., landed a 16-pound, 2-ounce, 33-inch steelhead on a
jig and minnow on Walnut Creek Jan. 6. Conditions this winter have
so far ranged from high and brown to fishable. Earlier this month,
Greg Mason, of Erie, landed a 7-pound steelhead on a sunrise yellow
and flame Micro-Spawn on a guide d trip on lower Elk Creek.
Chartreuse Micro-Spawn has been another good producer. Jim Panik
and son, Ryan, of Pittsburgh, reported landing 15 steelhead each,
including a 9-pounder this month. Annual runs of burbot (freshwater
cod) now are reported along the north and south piers between
Presque Isle Bay and the lake. While some locals target burbot,
perch anglers fishing minnow rigs also land them.
Kinzua Reservoir/Allegheny River — Anglers are landing walleyes,
15 to 22 inches, on emerald shiners in the river below the dam, as
conditions allow, given releases from the reservoir. Anglers also
are releasing brown trout up to 22 inches. Before the ice
deteriorated, a 40-inch northern pike was landed in the reservoir
on the reservation end.
Lake Arthur (Butler County) — One group of ice anglers landed a
5-pound largemouth New Year’s Eve and two northern pike around 9
pounds in Shannon Bay despite “iffy” surface conditions, which have
since deteriorated more. Joe McKay, of Baldwin Borough, released 85
largemouth bass up to 20 inches, and six northern pike up to 28
inches on creek chubs and shiners, ice angling in December. Tom
Seiger, of Whitehall, iced a 20-inch largemouth just under 5 pounds
on a jig and minnow after Christmas. Barry Miller, of Prospect,
released four trophy-sized bass, up to 6 pounds, 21 inches, and a
32-inch northern pike in December. A nice crappie bite on minnows
also was reported.
Lake Wilhelm (Mercer County) — Crappies, perch and bluegills
were being iced through late December. Once ice deteriorated,
anglers were targeting panfish through holes, off the docks in the
Shenango Reservoir (Mercer County) — Shore ice is gone, and
water below the dam is moving too fast to be fished.
Allegheny River (Crawford County) — Keith Eshbaugh, of West
Alexander, released a 43-inch muskie near Oil City on a Bait Rigs
Esox Cobra Shad Tail Jig, slow-trolling in low, clear water late
Oil Creek (Crawford County) — A 24-inch brown trout was landed
near the McDonald’s in downtown Titusville just before Christmas.
The creek was blown out early this month.
Allegheny River — Billy Crousey, of West Mifflin, boated a
6-pound walleye and several nice saugers below the Highland Park
Dam in early January. John Morcos, of Shaler, released nine
walleyes and 41 saugers on chartreuse bucktail jigs tipped with
minnows below the dam. Highland Park has been the hot spot, with
lots of walleyes and saugers being landed. Lee Murray released a
9-pounder there recently. Hybrid stripers and a few walleyes are
being taken at the warm-water discharge at the power plant in
Ohio River — Very little angling action and meager catches of
walleyes are reported in the back channel, and the mouth of Montour
Monongahela River — White bass and hybrid stripers are being
caught around the warm-water discharge of the Mitchell power
Youghiogheny River — George Dressel, of Markleysburg, released a
26-inch brown trout on a stick bait at the tailrace in Confluence
in early January, while a 21-inch rainbow trout was landed below
the falls at Ohiopyle.
Youghiogheny Reservoir (Fayette County) — Small walleyes,
panfish and crappies were being iced through late December before
Highpoint Lake (Somerset County) — Small northern pike were iced
through late December before conditions changed.
Curwensville Reservoir (Clearfield County) — Excellent angling
was reported early this month, with nice catches of walleyes, 18 to
23 inches, from last year’s stocking, perch, big crappies, and
channel catfish pulled through the ice. A 17- inch crappie was
reported. For more, call P.J. Bressler Bait and Tackle at (814)
Halfway Lake (Union County) — A pre-Christmas stocking of an
extra 800 rainbow trout provided by Mansfield University added to
the ice-angling action at this impoundment in R.B. Winter State
Park, which also is known as a good largemouth bass fishery.
White Deer Creek (Union County) — Effective Jan. 1, the
delayed-harvest, fly-fishing-only section is now catch-and-release,
Tioga Lake (Tioga County) — Anglers are advised that the boat
launch and access at the lake is closed until further notice. For
more, call the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at (570) 835-5281.
Hamilton Lake (Tioga County) — An extra helping of trout was
slated for Jan. 5 from the Asaph federal hatchery. Ice erosion
early this month opened the upper end of the lake to shore
Beechwood Lake (Tioga County) — Until conditions deteriorated
early this month, chain pickerel, largemouth bass and perch were
being iced at this popular impoundment.
Walker Lake (Snyder County) — Ice angling was hot and heavy
until rising temperatures made for unstable conditions on this
239-acre impoundment which is stocked with walleyes and northern
Faylor Lake (Snyder County) — Ice angling also was productive on
this 140-acre impoundment which yields panfish almost
Raystown Lake (Huntingdon County) — Limited open water in the
main lake and around the Seven Points launch site allowed for some
fishing, though anglers had to dodge patches of ice. Striped bass
go semi-dormant in winter, but lake trout, 2 to 15 pounds were
hitting in early January, being caught by anglers downrigging with
flutter spoons. Lakers were scattered in shallow to deep water.
Some walleyes were coming below the dam from the tailrace to the
Point Access area.
Whipple Lake (Huntingdon County) — This tiny, 22-acre stocked
trout impoundment in Whipple Dam State Park is popular with ice
anglers, though a warming trend put the kibosh on action late last
Perez Lake (Huntingdon County) — A winter stocking of 1,000
rainbow trout was done Dec. 19 on this 29-acre lake in Stone Valley
Recreation Area. The lake was drawn down five years ago and
replanted with largemouth bass, bluegills, chain pickerel and black
crappies, as recently as last year.
Opossum Lake (Cumberland County) — Nice panfish catches were
reported by ice anglers fishing grubs and mealworms on this 59-acre
Big Bass Program impoundment best known for the 9-plus pound
largemouth it once yielded. This is also a trout-stocked lake.
Laurel Lake (Cumberland County) — Trout anglers have enjoyed
good catches, thanks to an extra 2,800 fish planted here early last
Yellow Breeches Creek (Cumber-land County) — The main branch
downstream of Boiling Springs has been yielding the best catches so
far this winter, though cold weather has caused a drop-off in
pressure. Productive patterns include BWOs (size 22), Tan Caddis
(20-22), Midges, Ants, Beetles, streamers, small nymphs such as
Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ear, Prince and Copper Johns. Visit
Wiconisco Creek/Powells Creek (Cumberland County) — As of Jan.
1, the new delayed-harvest, artificial- lures-only (DHALO) special
regulation area was instituted on Wiconisco from about 1/2 a mile
downstream of the power lines upstream to the west end of the new
Ned Smith building. The section is slated for a first-ever stocking
on March 24. The DHALO section has been removed from Powells, at
the request of landowners, according to the Pennsylvania Fish &
Boat Commission, which said the posting occurred too late for
notation in the 2006 PA Summary Book.
Juniata River (Mifflin County) — Rainfall triggered good walleye
action on jigs and minnows early this month.
Mauch Chunk Lake (Carbon County) — Ice anglers reported landing
chain pickerel and largemouth bass on tip-ups and minnows early
this month. Panfish catches haven’t been as good, especially for
perch. The hot spot has been boat launch B. Try mealworms.
Francis Slocum Lake (Luzerne County) — Good angling for
nice-sized perch and bluegills was reported by anglers fishing
maribou jigs with waxworms in this 165-acre horseshoe-shaped lake
in Francis Slocum State Park.
Susquehanna River (Luzerne, Monroe counties) — Muskies up to 48
inches have been released on hair jigs with crawlers. The same rigs
have been productive on walleyes, though sizes have averaged just
16 to 18 inches.
Duck Harbor (Monroe County) — Mostly bass and trout have been
coming through the ice, along with a few walleyes. The walleye,
taken on minnows, have been averaging 18 inches.
Lackawanna Lake (Lackawanna County) — A. Walker Loveland iced a
20-inch largemouth bass and some nice bluegills over the holidays
on this 198- acre impoundment, which also is stocked with trout and
yields walleyes, channel catfish, pickerel and largemouth bass.
Tuscarora Lake/Locust Lake (Schuylkill County) — Anglers were
icing recently stocked rainbow trout in Tuscarora Lake, and brook
and brown trout in Locust on minnows and small jigs, until
conditions changed. Both lakes also have been yielding perch. When
ice deteroriated on Locust, anglers started targeting trout on fly
and spin tackle from shore at the inlet.
Little Lehigh River (Lehigh County) — The yield on enormous
trout has been the best in years, thanks to the accidental influx
of trout last year during a hatchery flood. Anglers in the
Allentown section were catching a nice mixture of wild trout and
holdovers. When water is high and muddy, anglers can sometimes find
more fishable water at nearby Cedar Creek, a wild trout
Lehigh River (Lehigh County) — Angling pressure was slow early
this month because of high flow.
Susquehanna River (York County) — A good walleye bite was
reported earlier this month, especially in late day and early
evening, on grubs, jerkbaits and minnows. Smallmouth bass fishing
has been good at Brunner Island. An 18-inch minimum creel size is
in effect for bass until April 14. The Fish & Boat Commission
reports that one angler caught a 10-pound channel catfish and a
25-pound carp on a crawler out of Lake Clark on the river.
Lake Nockamixon (Bucks County) — Productive angling was reported
in early January for folks fishing medium or large shiners in and
around marinas, the fishing pier or any other place that could be
accessed by boat. Anglers were doing well around chunky rocks and
drop-offs. Fish are schooling. Big numbers of bass were being
caught at 20 feet, and crappies at 25 feet. Sun-warmed places also
were productive, especially at the edge of shadows. Anglers were
doing well on pickerel, bass, crappies, and the occasional walleye
and striped bass, vertical jigging with small movements and
downsized tackle, including spoons and live bait. Small and slow is
key. For more, call Nockamixon Sports Shop at (215) 538-9553.
Lake Galena (Bucks County) — The same techniques and species as
Nockamixon apply here, though the chances for catching walleyes are
actually better, and the panfish, including sunfish and perch, tend
to be bigger.
Perkiomen Creek (Bucks County) — An extra 250 brook trout were
stocked around the Central Perkiomen Valley Park in mid-December.
The east branch was fishing well early this mouth, yielding both
trout and smallmouth bass.
Delaware River — The deeper holes near Regelsville have been
yielding walleyes, brook and rainbow trout, pickerel, and the
occasional muskie or pike on waxworms, fatheads, and small jigs
with twister tails. Infrequent catches of smallmouth bass also have
Scott’s Run Lake (Berks County) — An extra 1,300 rainbow trout
were stocked before New Year’s in this 22- acre French Creek State
Park impoundment. The companion 68-acre Hopewell Lake is Big Bass
Program water that also yields northern pike, chain pickerel,
walleyes, and panfish.
Blue Marsh Lake (Berks County) — Until conditions deteriorated,
anglers were icing channel catfish on tipups in the spring creek
arm, plus nice-sized crappies and muskies, 30 to 35 inches, on
Ontelaunee Lake/Antietam Lake (Berks County) — Nice catches of
large bass and panfish were iced on Ontelaunee until early this
month. Anglers were icing trout, small yellow perch, bluegills and
largemouth bass through the ice until early this month on
Donegal Creek (Lancaster County) — The delayed-harvest area has
been yielding nice catches of trout on nymphs and streamers.
Stony Creek/Kepner Creek (Montgomery County) — More than 1,000
brook trout were stocked last month in both creeks, and anglers
reported good catches on PowerBait, worms, stickbaits and spinners.
Fly fishermen are doing well on nymphs and small black flies.
During the Jan. 11 late-season controlled deer hunt, no angling was
allowed on the creeks.
Compiled by Deborah Weisberg