Lake Erie (Erie County)
Poor Richards Bait & Tackle reported good perch fishing in 45 to 50 feet of water just west of Walnut Creek in recent weeks. Walleyes moved out a little to 64 feet of water in the First and Second trenches. West of Walnut continued to be the best area. Although anglers were doing well pulling stickbaits, there were more reports of success on crawler harnesses, with purple, watermelon and copper-blade models the most effective. B.A.C. Bait reported walleyes in 70 feet, with stickbaits the best seller, and on the east side, perch in 48 to 50 feet. Emerald shiners were the ticket. One angler caught keeper walleyes taking dipsy divers with worm harnesses to 50 feet of water in 72-foot depths. Smallmouth bass were hitting on shaky-head type lures.
Presque Isle Bay
Numbers of largemouth bass up to 2.5 pounds were reported on jigs, crawlers and creature baits in 20 feet off the deep weedlines. Channel cats from 8 to 20 pounds were reported in recent weeks, with one angler catching eight nice cats and six bass on jigs and crawlers off the new Chestnut Street fishing dock. Crappies up to 13 inches were reported.
Brokenstraw Creek (Erie County)
Bass were reported on crankbaits as conditions allowed in recent weeks.
French Creek (Erie, Crawford, Venango, Mercer counties)
Fresh water from recent rains spurred the walleye bite at the end of July. Smallmouth bass up to 16 inches were biting, too, on spinnerbaits, soft plastic crayfish or crawler patterns, and curly-tail minnows. Crankbaits weren’t as effective. Lots of suckers were spotted.
Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County)
Crappies were hitting on soft plastic grubs, as well as soft plastic stickbaits under bobbers in shallow brush on points. More than half of one angler’s haul were keepers. Jigs suspended in 9 to 14 feet also were effective on crappies up to 12-plus inches, perch and bluegills. Anglers did well on crappies up to 13-plus inches by dead-sticking a jig with live or soft-plastic minnow around brushpiles in 10 to 12 feet. One angler reported catching white bass and hybrid striped bass, which aren’t stocked in Pymatuning, but escaped from a hatchery pond a few years ago. A few up to 15 pounds are usually caught every year, typically in spring
Conneaut Lake (Crawford County)
Largemouth bass and a couple of smallmouth bass were reported on tube jigs from docks and pontoon boats. One angler caught 20 largemouths and smallmouths, mostly 17 and 18 inches, with one 5-pound largemouth and a 20-inch smallmouth in the mix. All came on top-water poppers. Football-head jigs with trailers dragged across rocky points were less effective. Drop-shotting picked up a small bass and a northern pike.
Canadohta Lake and Lake LeBoeuf (Crawford County)
Numbers of perch and crappies were hitting on live minnows and small curly tail jigs fished tight to the deep edge of cabbage beds. Northern pike, largemouth bass, bluegills and even bowfins also were active.
Sugar Lake (Crawford County)
Numbers of largemouth bass maxing out at 2.5 pounds were reported in recent weeks, although one angler reported losing a 7-pounder.
Lake Wilhelm (Mercer County)
Some nice largemouth bass, including a 5-pounder, were reported on a crankbait near a breakline in about 10 feet of water.
Shenango Reservoir and Shenango River (Mercer County)
A 461⁄2-inch 30-pound 10.4-ounce muskie was reported on a homemade bucktail in the river. The reservoir and river were yielding nice channel catfish, with crawlers effective on hot days. One angler caught an 18-inch channel cat on a soft plastic crawler.
Justus Lake (Venango County)
Largemouth bass were hitting on drop-shotted soft plastic crayfish.
Allegheny River (Venango County)
Good bites were reported on smallmouth bass up to 19 inches and walleyes up to 23 inches, with crankbaits taking a lot of the fish. The bass also were hitting on soft jerkbaits when other lures weren’t effective. Baitfish was the best color, although in stained water, smallmouth-colored jerkbaits worked well. Some anglers caught smallmouths on jitterbugs or tubes with 1⁄8-ounce heads. On hot days, fast well-oxygenated water, like that below or above a rapid in shallow areas, was the best target. A 14-inch northern pike was released in recent weeks. Flathead catfish also were hitting from dusk through just after midnight, with numbers ranging from 12 inches to 32 inches and live creek chubs, crayfish and hellgrammites effective.
Lake Arthur (Butler County)
Hybrid striped bass were hitting on Ripplin’ Red Fins and topwater baits, with chrome and blue the right color, given the blue-gray hue of the lake’s alewives. Largemouths were also hitting on the same baits, as well as Jitterbugs. Soft plastic baits also were productive. The occasional walleye was hitting on crawler harnesses or floating jigheads, with chartreuse and brass effective.