With ice fishing under way on many lakes across the state,
anglers are reminded to exercise extreme caution when venturing
onto frozen surfaces. The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission
continues stocking trout at select lakes statewide. Stockings are
slated through early February. For a complete stocking schedule and
ice fishing safety tips and techniques, visit
Presque Isle Bay, Lake Erie tributaries (Erie County) – Open water
was reported in much of the bay in early January, which put the
kibosh on ice fishing. Before the thaw, panfish in mixed sizes were
being iced. Anglers fished the streams for steelhead as conditions
allowed. Poor Richard’s Bait and Tackle weighed 16 steelhead over a
period of several days after New Year’s, when anglers waited until
late morning for slush ice to disappear on the edge of
Lake Pleasant (Erie County) – This small, natural lake was yielding
bluegills, crappies and perch through the ice in early January.
Trout were hitting in 2 to 3 feet on Swedish pimple spoons and
tip-ups with minnows.
Lake Edinboro (Erie County) – Anglers were icing crappies, but most
were running small in early January.
Allegheny River (Warren County) – Billy Acklin, of Warren, limited
out on walleyes, 15 to 19 inches, New Year’s weekend. Water was
high in early January.
Chapman Reservoir (Warren County) - As conditions allowed, anglers
were icing trout. Another state trout stocking was set for Jan.
Allegheny River (Venango County) – Flow peaked at 10 feet near
Franklin Jan. 2 and was debris-filled and dirty. Levels were
dropping as of Jan. 3, but edge ice was expected to form again. A
42-inch muskie was reported New Year’s Eve.
Kahle Lake (Venango County) - Good ice-fishing was reported between
Christmas and New Year’s, with perch, 6 to 14 inches, and bluegills
and crappies hitting.
Lake Justus (Venango County) – Inconsistent trout fishing was
reported through the ice Dec. 24. A state stocking was slated for
French Creek (Venango, Crawford counties) – Water was over the
banks in early January.
Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County) – The New Year’s weekend
warm-up caused some surface melt, although several days later
anglers were icing nice crappies up to 14 inches and perch on small
jigs tipped with maggots or minnows, mostly on the north end.
Walleyes were hitting blade baits and jigging Rapalas with minnows
in 12 to 18 feet on the south end.
Conneaut Lake (Crawford County) – Nice catches of northern pike
were reported just before New Year’s. The bluegill bite was
Woodcock Lake (Crawford County) – Anglers were icing crappies and
walleyes, with the walleyes hitting in 14 to 16 feet in early
Lake Wilhelm (Mercer County) – Ice anglers were catching bluegills
and crappies near launch No. 3 and by the dam as of Jan. 6. Two
anglers iced 53 keeper bluegills Dec. 28.
Shenango Reservoir (Mercer County) - As ice conditions allowed,
anglers were icing crappies on small minnows in recent weeks.
Lake Arthur (Butler County) - Jerry Osborne, of Evans City, iced a
141⁄4-inch, 1-pound, 15-ounce crappie on Jan. 2. Largemouth bass,
crappies, bluegills and northern pike were reported in the eastern
Harbor Acre Lakes (Butler County) – The state stocked trout in
Raccoon Lake (Beaver County) – Panfish and trout were reported on
waxworms and maggots near the beach and boat launches before New
Hereford Manor Lakes (Beaver County) – A few small crappies and
largemouth bass were reported near the stumps before New
Bessemer Lake (Lawrence County) - A trout stocking was slated for
Allegheny River - Water was high through early January, but
yielding walleyes as conditions allowed.
Canonsburg Dam (Washington County) – An angler reported landing
trout in the outflow Jan. 3.
Highpoint Lake (Somerset County) - Small northern pike and a few
perch were iced in early January.
Deep Creek Lake (Maryland) - Numbers of perch and legal walleyes
were iced in early January.
Little Pine Lake (Lycoming County) – Ice anglers were catching
trout in early January.
West Branch of Susquehanna River (Lycoming County) – Nice numbers
of crappies were being iced in early January.
Rose Valley Lake (Lycoming County) – Inconsistent action was
reported, with at least one angler catching pickerel.
Hamilton Lake (Tioga County) – Panfish were being iced in early
Hills Creek, Beechwood, Nessmuk lakes (Tioga County) – Ice angling
was heating up in early January.
Ridgway Reservoir (Elk County) – A state trout stocking was
performed in recent weeks.
Cloe Lake (Jefferson County) – Anglers were targeting brook, brown
and rainbow trout with minnows and maggots in early January.
Marilla Reservoir (McKean County) – The state recently stocked
Spring Creek (Centre County) – Low, clear water in the low 40s was
reported Jan. 8. Nymphing with small flies was considered the best
bet, although anglers also could fish with small- to mid-sized
streamers. Midges were a possible hatch. Good patterns included
red, black, olive, and brown Zebra Midges (18-22), Green Weenies
(14), Walt’s Worm and Olive Scud (14-18), Sow Bug (14-16), Glo-bugs
and Sucker Spawn.
Little Juniata River (Huntingdon, Blair counties) - Low, clear
conditions were reported, with water in the upper 30s to low 40s.
Tan Caddis (14-18), Green Weenies (12-14), Pheasant Tail wet flies
(12-16), and mid-size streamers, such as Zonkers, Muddlers, and
Wooly Buggers were recommended. Nymphing with double-fly rigs under
indicators was productive. Midges were hatching.
Lake Wallenpaupack (Pike County) - Numbers of nice-sized bluegills
and crappies were reported. One angler iced two largemouth bass,
around 6 pounds.
Peck’s Pond (Pike County) – Numbers of panfish were reported
through the ice.
Lake Shohola (Pike County) – A 26½-inch, 5-plus pound pickerel was
iced in early January.
Mauch Chunk, Minsi lakes (Carbon County) – Pickerel, perch,
bluegills, and bass were being iced in early January. The pickerel
on Minsi were mostly average size.
Fishing Creek (Columbia County) – Cold, clear, above-average flow
was reported Jan. 8, and nymphing was productive. Anglers also
would find streamers effective casting toward banks and around
in-stream structure. Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns, Black and Gold
Stoneflies, and Zebra midges were recommended patterns.
Lake Nockamixon (Bucks County) – Tough ice fishing was reported in
early January, as rainfall caused open water in the center of the
lake. The coves remained frozen and were yielding bass 1½ to 3
pounds, and crappies, while pickerel and catfish were hitting
around the fishing pier.
Lake Towhee (Bucks County) – Good pickerel fishing was reported,
along with crappies and bluegills in mixed sizes in early
Delaware River – Frozen boat ramps and floating ice chunks made for
tough but fishable conditions New Year’s weekend, according to Dave
Freeburger, of Perkasie, who said medium shiners were the only bait
that worked. His best catch was a fat, 15-inch smallmouth.
Little Lehigh River (Lehigh County) – Trout were hitting in early
Compiled by Deborah Weisberg