Cold snap had ice anglers hopeful before warm spell
Roller coaster temperatures through mid-December played havoc
with conditions on lakes, statewide, with skim ice shutting down
fishing pressure, only to be followed by rising temperatures and
open water. The state also is drawing down lakes, such as F.J.
Lake Erie and tributaries — Frigid weather and snow earlier this
month slowed angling action, although streams had been yielding
nice catches of steelhead in very good conditions until then.
Presque Isle Bay has been producing perch off the piers and around
“the waterworks,” where anglers also have been catching steelhead.
Steelhead and crappies have been hitting in the marina area.
Allegheny River/Allegheny Reservoir (Warren County) — Red
Childress and Jim Bortz released a 40- inch muskie and several
northern pike, including a 20 pounder, although others were 30 to
35 inches, all taken casting in the river in early December. Brian
Hoffner, of Sugar Grove, and Cole Schultz, of Pittsfield, have been
limiting out on walleyes around 18 inches on the Pennsylvania side
of the reservoir.
Allegheny River (Forest County) — Walleye fishing around
Tionesta has been productive from shore and boat. Fall-stocked
Salmon, Spring and Maple creeks were good late-season trout bets
for anglers fishing PowerBait or minnows. Cold weather calls for a
Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County) — Plummeting temperatures
brought limits of walleyes amid extremely light fishing pressure by
anglers jigging blade baits earlier this month. Crappies were
hitting off the docks. Rich Whiteside, of Franklin Park, released a
Conneaut Lake (Crawford County) — Bob and Tony McGrew and Chris
Gooden released 87 fish, including lunker largemouth bass and
bowfins, as well as catfish, crappies and six northern pike, in a
recent outing. The bass and crappies came on tubes and plastics,
while the pike took plugs. The bowfin and catfish were caught on
drop shot rigs and shiners.
Allegheny River (Venango County) — Excellent angling was
reported earlier this month around President, Pa., with Tim
Kretzler, of Wexford, catching a 36-inch northern pike and an
8-pound, 32-inch walleye on a black and gold Rapala. Dave Benko, of
Shaler, released a 42-inch muskie. Other anglers reported catching
nice numbers of smallmouth bass, a small muskie and three legal
walleyes, bottom bouncing soft plastics.
Lake Arthur (Butler County) — Frigid temperatures have begun to
generate skim ice in the Muddy Creek arm on the eastern end of the
Lake Wilhelm (Mercer County) — Skim ice is beginning to form on
some parts of the lake.
Allegheny River — Shawn Kurtz, of Cheswick, landed a 9-pound,
10-ounce walleye fishing from shore at lock three recently. Nice
catches of walleyes and saugers are reported at the Highland Park
Dam. Try minnows. Sean Bradley released a tiger muskie, 29 inches,
behind the power plant in Springdale. Last week he released a
32-inch tiger muskie in the same spot.
Youghiogheny River, Youghiogheny Reservoir (Fayette County) —
Anglers have been catching walleyes in the lake and trout in the
river where conditions have been good. From Cucumber Falls to the
mouth of Meadow Run has been especially productive, fishing
streamers and terrestrials.
Mark Rosenberger, of Uniontown, shot a 10-point buck with 21
1/2-inch spread on private farmland. One brow tine was 7 1/2 inches
and other was 8 inches. Several nice does were taken. On the whole,
the harvest seems to have been good. Brian Van Sickel, of
Farmington, shot a 7-point buck. Steven Van Sickel, of Farmington,
shot a 6 point. Jim Lohr, of Farmington, shot an 8 point. All were
part of the same hunting group. Out of 42 hunters, nine bucks were
turned in. Joe Daveler shot a 12 point with a 16 1/8 inch spread in
Menallen Township. Second place was Andrew Papai, of Farmington,
who shot a 9 point with 17-inch spread near Deer Lakes, and Ron
Varndell Jr., of Hopwood, shot a 10 point with 16-inch spread,
killed in Jumonville.
Young Woman’s Creek (Clinton County) — The catch-and-release
section has provided good angling action with rain-boosted flow.
This former Class A wild trout water was stocked by the state for
the first time this year.
Pine Creek, Little Pine Creek (Lycoming County) — Conditions
fluctuated through mid-December, with slush ice melting off as the
weather warmed. Temperatures in the low 40s produced midge hatches.
Plenty of fish were in the delayed-harvest section of Little Pine.
Productive patterns include stonefly nymphs, Woolly Buggers, and
Picket Pins. For more, visit McConnell’s Country Store at
www.mcconnells-countrystore.com or Slate Run Tackle Shop at
A number of big bucks were taken by hunters in the Pine Creek
Valley, but many complained about too few does in the same
Kettle Creek (Potter County) — This Ole Bull State Park stream
has been yielding stocked trout. Ole Bull Run yields brown, brook
and rainbow trout.
Beechwood Lake (Tioga County) — This 67-acre Fish & Boat
Commission impoundment last month got an unexpected allocation of
300 brook trout – about one-third of which were 18 inches or
greater – from the federal research lab at Asaph.
Yellow Breeches (Cumberland County) — Caddis larvae, mostly
green, are profuse and imitations should be fished on the bottom.
Midges hatch year round in various colors. Blue-winged olives are
an afternoon hatch, especially on sunny days. Sculpins are
abundant, with cressbugs and shrimp washing from the Children’s
Lake in Boiling Springs to the run that connects the lake to the
main stream. For more, visit www.coldspringanglers.com.
Big Spring Creek (Centre County) — Crystal clear water and
temperatures in the low to mid 50s were reported in the
catch-and-release, fly-fishing-only section in mid-December. Nice
numbers of small wild rainbow trout and a few wild brook trout were
reported. Midges hatch year-round. Blue-winged olives hatch in the
afternoons, especially on sunny days. Sculpins are also present in
decent numbers. For more, visit www.coldspringanglers.com
Susquehanna River (Dauphin County) — Rainfall kept water levels
fluctuating but mostly high. The Red Hill Dam area has been hot for
walleyes with nice catches of fish, 18 to 23 inches, on jigs and
minnows. Anglers in a recent bass tournament near Middletown
reported consistent catches of bass up to 20 inches.
Raystown Lake (Huntingdon County) — A good lake trout bite is
reported by anglers trolling for striped bass. Nice-sized rock bass
and walleyes are being caught in the spillway.
Stoevers Dam (Lebanon County) — A trout stocking was slated for
Dec. 12. For additional, limited, winter stockings, visit
Sheppard Myers Reservoir (York County) — Nice catches of trout
are reported on a variety of baits, including marshmallows.
Lake Marburg (York County) — This 1,275-acre reservoir with 26
miles of shoreline access has been producing nice catches of perch
and panfish on live bait between the first bridge and the Smith
Harveys Lake (Luzerne County) — Anglers are catching brown
trout, 18 to 23 inches, on live minnows and Cordell spoons, and
largemouth bass, 3 to 4 pounds, on brown banded crankbaits.
Susquehanna River (Luzerne County) — Jerry Daleppa, of Falls
Township, released a 42-inch muskie. Other anglers have been
catching muskies up to 49 inches on white and chartreuse bucktail
jigs from Wilkes-Barre to Wyelissing.
Lake Wallenpaupack (Pike County) — Smallmouth bass, 15 to 18
inches, are being caught on crankbaits, and big jack perch, 14 to
17 inches, are hitting minnows and spoons.
Lake Henry (Lackawanna County) — Largemouth bass, 13 to 15
inches, pickerel, 16 to 19 inches, and big crappies are being
caught on minnows.
Beltsville Lake (Carbon County) — Spoons and dropshot rigs with
plastics are taking smallmouth bass up to 3 pounds, while hybrids
stripers, 10 to 12 pounds, are being caught on live bait.
Wayne County — The Butternut Hunt Club reported a good harvest
of bucks, with 6 pointers being harvested by Tony and Dino
Ciliberto and Ray Cichocki. Sam Piemontese shot a 9- point buck.
Anthony Ciliberto, of Bear Creek, shot his first bear, a 168
pounder, during buck-bear season.
Susquehanna Township — Dave and John Morreale, both of Suscon
Township, each shot 8-point bucks. Mike Morreale Jr. shot a 7-point
buck, and Nicholas Morreale shot a 6 pointer.
Nockamixon Lake (Bucks County) — Phillip Negley, of Souderton,
released a 20-inch, 5-pound largemouth bass on a shiner in shallow
water Dec. 10. Bill Morris, of Philadelphia, has been catching nice
crappies and some average-sized smallmouths on fathead minnows in
recent weeks. Anglers are catching chain pickerel on shiners, white
spinnerbaits and green pumpkinseed Senko worms with chartreuse
tails. Cold weather has made chain pickerel active. They tend to
reach a good size in this lake. Some anglers are fly-fishing for
pickerel. Streamers work well. For more, call Nockamixon Sports
Shop at (215) 538-9553.
Lake Towhee (Bucks County) — This lake is among the first to
freeze in the southeast because it is shallow, but a warming trend
midmonth made ice-fishing seem a distant prospect. Ice anglers
typically catch nice bass and pickerel here.
Lake Galena (Bucks County) — Anglers are catching crappies on
small fathead minnows. Chain pickerel are hitting in this county
owned impoundment that is a smaller scale version of Nockamixon,
but the pickerel tend to be smaller here.
A lot of big racks came into Nock-amixon Sports Shop at the end
of the rifle season, once the cold front settled in. Poor crops of
acorns and hickory nuts in the woods forced deer toward farmers’
fields and populated areas.
Stilling Basin, Tulpehocken Creek (Berks County) — Reduced flow
from Blue Marsh Lake has made both streams more fishable, with
yields of walleyes, catfish and carp reported in Stilling. Trout
are hitting amid uncrowded conditions on Tulpehocken.
Lake Ontelaunee (Berks County) — Nice yields of crappies on
scented jigs are reported along Route 73. Yellow and white perch
also are being caught on minnows.
Scott’s Run Lake (Berks County) — This 22-acre French Creek
State Park cold-water impoundment is producing brown trout and was
slated for a winter stocking Dec. 12.
Manatawny Creek (Berks County) — Fly-anglers have done well on
nymphs, streamers and egg patterns, while natural color spinners in
browns, coppers and blacks as well as gold and silver, have been
productive artificials. Bait anglers are landing trout on wax worms
and crawlers. The water from Levengood Road to Ironstone Creek was
stocked with trout in early October.
Antietam Lake, Antietam Creek (Berks County) — A Dec. 5 stocking
in the lake increased angling pressure this month, with anglers
doing well on spoons and spinners. The creek also has been
productive on the same lures.
Carsonia Lake (Berks County) — Carp have been hitting on
nightcrawlers suspended from floats or corn soaked in sugar
Marsh Creek Lake (Chester County) — Perch and crappies are
coming on nightcrawlers and meal worms and small jigs along the
shoreline. The largemouth bass bite has been inconsistent.
Schuylkill River (Chester County) — The outflow at the Cromby
power plant in Phoenixville has been yielding decent catches of
largemouth and smallmouth bass and catfish.
Susquehanna River (Lancaster County) — Large white plastic grubs
are nabbing smallmouth bass and walleyes around Bainbridge and
Bruner Island. Some muskies have been released on big jointed plugs
in the deeper channels around the Fish & Boat Commission’s
Falmouth access. Channel catfish and smallmouth bass are hitting
live bait and nightcrawler rigs fished slow and deep at Safe Harbor
and downstream near the mouth of the Conestoga River.
Little Lehigh Creek (Lehigh County) — Midge hatches have been
seen on this creek. Fly-anglers are catching trout on inchworms and
Leaser Lake (Lehigh County) — Pickerel are hitting on
Green Lane Reservoir (Lehigh County) — Crappies and a bass up to
7 pounds have been caught off the Knight Road fishing piers.
Deep Creek Lake (Lehigh County) — Nice numbers of crappies up to
15 inches and a few largemouth bass are being caught on live
minnows or crawlers suspended from bobbers. The winter trout
stocking was canceled.
Perkiomen Creek (Bucks County) — The Green Lane Reservoir area
has been especially productive with trout, since the October
stocking by Montgomery County Green Lane Reservoir Park system.
— Compiled by Deborah Weisberg