PA: Trout season starts slowly in the chilly southeast Issue: 8
Anglers are reminded that Early Season Stocked Trout Program
lakes closed at 12:01 a.m. April 1 and were scheduled to reopen on
the opening day of trout season, either April 2 for southeastern
counties or April 16 for most of the state. Walleye season is
closed now until May 7. For more, visit www.fishandboat.com
Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay, tributaries – Anglers were catching
steelhead in the streams through early April, with smaller males in
the lower reaches and a few larger holdovers in the upper reaches,
on bait, Sucker Spawn, and Stonefly and Crystal Meth patterns.
Spates of warmer weather brought on the crappie bite in Presque
Isle Bay, with nice yields on emerald shiners in the Stink Hole and
the lagoons. Northern pike also began hitting in the backwaters of
the lagoons. Steelhead were reported in Marina Lake. Perch were
quiet, with a few catches coming in the convention center area
through the end of March.
Lake Wilhelm (Mercer County) – Perch were hitting at Sheakleyville
Bridge and where water was slightly warmer, such as shallow areas
with dark bottoms, and around brush and logs.
Neshannock Creek (Mercer County) – Folks were still catching
recently stocked trout in good conditions in the delayed-harvest
section through the end of March.
Allegheny River (Venango County) – Water was high and debris-filled
through late March.
Oil Creek (Venango County) – Decent water levels were reported
through early April with Triple Threat streamers, Early Black
Stonefly nymphs, and Woolly Buggers producing trout in the
delayed-harvest sections. A little surface action was reported on
Early Black Stonefly dry patterns.
French Creek (Venango, Crawford counties) – High, stained
conditions were reported in late March, although water was
beginning to come down.
Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County) - In warmer water, crappies
were hitting in the backwater bays on the north end, with anglers
reporting catches up to 14 inches on fathead minnows and small
jigs. Crappies and a few perch also were hitting off the spillway,
but walleye action was slow. A few 20- to 25-inch walleyes were
reported. The Bridge 20 area was yielding crappies, perch and a few
catfish. Anglers were fishing the causeway on both the Pennsylvania
and Ohio sides for walleyes, catfish and crappies. Erik Rosengarth,
of Rillton, caught a 423⁄4-inch, 27-pound, 2-ounce muskie on a
sonar while jigging for walleyes on the Pa. side of the
Tamarack Lake (Crawford County) – Crappies were hitting on minnows
in late March.
Lake Arthur (Butler County) - Low angling pressure was reported,
with anglers catching largemouth bass, crappies and channel
Allegheny, Monongahela, Ohio river – High and muddy conditions were
reported. A couple of anglers were fishing the mouth of Deer Creek
on the Allegheny in late March.
Cross Creek Lake (Washington County) – Until water temperatures
dropped, crappies were reported and bluegills were coming on, with
shallow water productive. An angler caught a 7-pound largemouth
bass in late March.
Lake Somerset (Somerset County) – The bluegill bite started at the
end of March, as water levels returned to normal, following the
winter draw-down. A carp angler reported his first catch of the
Quemahoning Reservoir (Somerset County) – Northern pike up to 37
inches were reported. The 37-incher was released.
Laurel Hill Creek (Somerset County) - Nice trout releases were
reported in the delayed-harvest section.
Donegal Lake (Westmoreland, Fayette counties) - Paste baits were
nabbing trout before this Early Season Stocked Trout Program lake
closed April 1.
Mammoth Lake (Westmoreland County) – Before it closed April 1, this
Early Season lake was yielding nice releases of trout and a few
bluegills around 9 inches.
Twin Lakes (Westmoreland County) - Releases of trout and some nice
crappie catches were reported on both lakes until April 1, when
they closed. Crappies up to 11 inches were hitting minnows, and
paste baits were taking trout.
Green Lick Dam (Westmoreland County) - The bluegill bite was
beginning to turn on in late March, with fish around 9 inches
hitting waxworms and maggots under bobbers near the bridge on Mud
Spring Creek (Centre County) – Above-average flow was reported, and
dry-fly activity was improving, with trout taking midges and
blue-winged olives. Nymphs remained more productive than
F. J. Sayers Lake (Centre County) - The spillway was yielding
crappies, perch, and bluegills, with catches coming on minnows and
Black Moshannon Lake (Centre County) – Perch and bluegills were
hitting on soft plastics in the open water.
Little Juniata River (Huntingdon, Blair counties) – Blown-out,
muddy conditions from rainfall were reported April 4, with water in
the upper 30s to low 40s. When fishable, streamers cast toward
banks and around in-stream structure were working. Nymphing with
double-fly rigs under an indicator was effective. Hare’s Ears,
Pheasant Tails, Prince Nymphs, Green Weenies and other standard
nymphs were recommended. Midges, a few blue-winged olives and
little black stoneflies were reported.
Spruce Creek (Huntingdon County) – Rainfall left water high,
off-color, and muddy April 4. Temper-atures were in the upper 30s.
Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ears, Green Weenies were productive when
conditions allowed. Midges, little black stoneflies and blue-winged
olives were possible.
Susquehanna River (Bradford County) – Anglers were catching catfish
Susquehanna River (Luzerne, Columbia counties) – Walleye releases
were reported at Cross Valley, Pittston and Harding
Stump Pond (Susquehanna County) – This was one of the first
fishable waters for bluegills and crappies after ice-out.
West Branch Wallenpaupack Creek (Wayne County) – The
delayed-harvest section was yielding recently stocked rainbow and
brown trout to spinning lures.
East Branch Perkiomen Creek (Bucks County) – A couple of 7-pound
golden rainbows were caught opening day April 2.
Nockamixon Lake (Bucks County) – Pre-spawn walleyes were released
in recent weeks, and crappies were reported. Anglers were waiting
for muskies to come into the shallows, chasing baitfish. Muskies
here have averaged 30 to 36 inches, with the occasional 40-inch
Delaware River – Angling activity has been quiet, although water
levels were coming down in early April.
Lake Towhee (Bucks County) - This weedy lake was yielding pickerel,
crappies and small bass in recent weeks.
Lake Ontelaunee (Berks, Mont-gomery counties) – Crappies were
reported on the Route 73 side of the lake. Perch were hitting small
Octoraro Reservoir (Chester, Lancaster counties) – Crappies up to
15 inches and catfish up to 10 pounds were reported on this lake
that opened April 1.
Lehigh River (Lehigh County) – Water levels returned to normal in
late March, but water was about 45 degrees. Sucker runs occur at
this time of year, with anglers typically targeting the base of the
dam in Cementon.
Little Lehigh Creek (Lehigh County) – Fly-anglers were doing well
on Woolly Buggers and bead heads in the catch-and-release, fly-
Compiled by Deborah Weisberg