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Pennsylvania Outdoor News Fishing & Hunting Report – Dec. 20, 2019

The opening of rifle deer season took angling pressure off rivers, lakes and streams in early December so fishing activity was down. 

Pennsylvania boaters are reminded that they are required to wear a life jacket from Nov. 1 through April 30 when in a kayak, canoe or any boat less than 16 feet long. 

Some trout stockings took place in recent weeks in anticipation of ice-fishing. For a schedule, visit 


Lake Erie — Lake trout were hitting in the shallows in nice numbers through late November, especially off Sixteenmile Creek.

Lake Erie reported Dec. 7 that streams were low and clear with a slight greenish tint and west side tribs were producing numbers of steelhead out of deep holes and back pocket eddies. Effective baits included beads, nymphs, egg sacs and minnow patterns. Other reports indicated that, in the right wind conditions, shore fishermen were catching steelhead at the mouths of the streams. Some anglers reported that some of the popular holes on Walnut Creek had become problematic because they were silting up and not holding fish. 

Presque Isle Bay (Erie County)  The bite in the bay was generally slow through the end of November, with some anglers catching a few crappies. 

Shenango Reservoir (Mercer County)  White bass, hybrid striped bass, and large catfish were hitting earlier in November but the hybrid striped bass bite slowed along with colder water temperatures, and perch became more active. Sizes varied. Crappies continued to bite through the end of November. During a lake draw-down, the river below the dam was yielding walleyes and muskies, but when the gate closed, the bite slowed.

Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County) — Anglers were catching walleyes amid light angling pressure in recent weeks. Boaters were jigging bladebaits on the South End through late November. Off the Jamestown docks, perch, bluegills, and crappies were reported. A few perch were hitting from the causeway. The lake was down 2.5 feet by late November. 

Conneaut Lake (Crawford County) — Some anglers were catching perch on jigs if they located schooling fish, but sizes were reportedly small on this large natural lake.

Sugar Creek (Venango County) — Rainbow trout were reported in November on live bait.

Allegheny River (Venango County) — Some smallmouth bass were caught on finesse-size tubes in November. Walleyes also were reported, on hair jigs, tubes, jerkbaits and blades. One angler caught more than a dozen bass and a couple of walleyes by dead-sticking soft plastic crayfish lures.


Brady’s Run Lake (Beaver County) — A late November stocking of rainbow trout kept anglers active. Nice catches were reported on rubber worms and spinners near the boat launch.

Marshall Lake (Allegheny County) — Anglers in recent weeks were targeting catfish on this small county lake near North Park Lake. 

Deer Lake, upper (Allegheny County)Trout were reported in recent weeks.

Wilmore Dam (Cambria County) — Brown trout were reported in early December, with one angler making a nice catch on a Rooster Tail.

Glade Run Lake (Butler County) — Trout were reported in early December.

Cross Creek Lake (Washington County) — A few largemouth bass, small in size, were reported in recent weeks, with one angler doing well on a perch-colored rubber swimbait. 

Canonsburg Dam (Washington County) — Trout were reported in recent weeks on Joe’s Flies. 


West Branch Susquehanna River — Anglers were catching muskies on live bait and lures through early December.

Fishing Creek (Columbia County) — Water was in the 40s and up a little from rainfall, but clear, in early December. Some anglers were catching trout on nymphs, such as flashback Pheasant Tails, Frenchies, Stoneflies, and orange and peach eggs in recent weeks. Olive and black streamers were both effective, as well.

Spring Creek (Centre County)  Water was in the 40s and had a little extra flow and some color from recent rainfall. Anglers were catching trout on peach/orange egg patterns, sow bugs, scuds, Walt’s Worms and bead head Pheasant Tails, as well as olive and black streamers.


Cowans Gap Lake (Fulton County) — A trout stocking was performed on Nov. 7.

Sheppard-Myers Reservoir (York County) — Anglers are reminded that the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission temporarily lifted all seasons, sizes and creel limits in October to enhance angling before the lake is drained next spring for repairs to the dam and spillway. Stocking of the reservoir will be suspended from 2020-22.

Red Hill, Dock Street Dams (Dauphin County) — Walleyes up to 24 inches were being taken on live minnows and jigs through the end of November. 

Raystown Lake (Huntingdon County) — Lake trout were being caught around the Seven Points area, with anglers having success trolling spoons over the top of standing timber.

Canoe Creek (Blair County) — A stocking was performed Nov. 25, which was earlier than the Dec. 16 scheduled date.

Juniata River, Raystown Branch of the Juniata River (Huntingdon, Mifflin counties) — Walleyes and muskies were reported on lures and shiners.


Francis E. Walter Reservoir (Luzerne, Columbia counties) — Water was drawn down to winter pool and good panfish action was reported. Fish were schooling in cold water temperatures.

Briar Creek Lake, Lily Lake, Lake Irena Trout were being caught after fall stockings. 

North Branch of the Susquehanna River  Nice catches of walleyes were reported through late November with jigs productive. 


Delaware River — Brinkman’s Bait and Tackle reported Dec. 7 that the few anglers fishing around Philadelphia were mostly catching carp. Around New Hope and Washington’s Crossing, the bass and walleyes were active on live bait and jigs.

Schuylkill River — Anglers were catching catfish and some walleyes on swimbaits, live baits, and jigs. 

Levittown Lake, Lake Luxembourg (Bucks County) — Rainbow trout were hitting spoons and pastebaits in recent weeks.

Little Lehigh Creek 

Anglers were catching limits of trout around Bogarts Bridge down through the Parkway. Spinners and small jigs were productive. 

Maiden Creek (Berks County) — Nice-sized common carp were hitting on doughballs where the stream crosses under Route 662 (Moselem Springs Road). Bass were hitting in the area, too. 

New Jersey saltwater report — Brinkman’s Bait and Tackle reported Dec. 7 that the striped bass bite was dwindling down. Surf anglers were catching small stripers on jigs with teasers above them. The black fish bite was in full swing, and boaters were making decent catches. 

Compiled by Deborah Weisberg

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