Boaters are reminded that they are required to wear a life jacket from Nov. 1 through April 30 when in a canoe, kayak or any other boat less than 16 feet in length.
In anticipation of ice fishing, anglers are advised to brush up on safety tips at www.fishandboat.com. Anglers also can find recent trout stockings there also.
Lake Erie tributaries — Poor Richard’s Bait & Tackle reported Dec. 19 that two rain events brought fresh steelhead into the streams, and the shop was seeing some nice-sized fish. Crooked Creek was holding nice numbers of fish, and Elk Creek was fishing well. At Walnut Creek, most catches were coming near the mouth. A large brown trout was landed at Twenty Mile Creek in early December. Lake trout were biting out of Northeast marina. Fishing pressure was expected to increase in the week between Christmas and New Year’s.
Presque Isle Bay (Erie County) — Numbers of perch were reported in recent weeks but most were small.
French Creek (Erie, Mercer, Venango, Clarion counties) — One angler caught northern pike up to 28 inches and a 21-inch walleye on a floating jighead tipped with a large creek bait.
Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County) — Anglers on the Jamestown docks were catching some nice crappies, small bluegills, and perch. One angler reported numbers of perch, including jumbos, and a couple of keeper-size walleyes on blade baits. During a high water period, the river in the tailrace of the dam was yielding walleyes.
Kahle Lake (Clarion County) — Bluegills and yellow perch were reported in recent weeks.
Piney Dam, upper Clarion River (Clarion County) — Walleyes and yellow perch were reported in recent weeks.
Allegheny River (Clarion County) — Walleyes, smallmouth bass, and some northern pike were reported from Emlenton to Parker in recent weeks.
Shenango River Reservoir (Mercer County) — Anglers were picking up panfish along the shorelines of this Panfish Enhancement Program fishery, which has a nine-inch size minimum/20 a day creel limit.
Lake Arthur (Butler County) — Fishing pressure was minimal in mid to late December, but anglers were catching nice numbers of bass and a fair number of crappies.
Allegheny River (Forest County) — Walleyes were hitting through early December in the Tionesta pool. Northern pike also were reported.
Tionesta Lake (Forest County) — Yellow perch, bluegills, and crappies were reported earlier in December. The Tionesta outflow was yielding muskies, walleyes, and northern pike near the wall and on the campground side. Anglers are reminded that a trout/salmon permit is needed to fish Tionesta Creek from the outflow to the confluence with the Allegheny River.
Dunlap Creek Lake (Fayette County) — As conditions allowed, anglers were catching a few trout at this 44-acre fishery in Dunlap Creek Park in recent weeks.
Virgin Run Dam (Fayette County) — Despite the recent trout stocking, this lake received little angling pressure in recent weeks.
Monongahela River — Walleyes were hitting at the locks and dams and the mouths of tributaries, with anglers doing well on live minnows and on swimbaits and soft plastics.
Twin Lakes (Westmoreland County) — Some nice-sized largemouth bass were reported in early December.
Fishing Creek (Clinton County) — As of Dec. 17, water was up and in the low 40s with good color. Trout were moving to the slower runs and pockets in falling water temperatures, and taking nymphs such as flashback Pheasant Tails, Frenchies, and large Stoneflies. Streamer patterns in black or olive were working for some anglers.
Spring Creek (Centre County) — Water was in the 40s and trout were moving to the deeper pockets. Anglers were catching them on hot spot sow bugs, olive scuds, Walt’s Worms, and bead-head Pheasant Tails. Streamers also were productive in black and olive.
Little Juniata River (Huntingdon County) — TCO Fly Shop reported high muddy conditions and water in the upper 30s in mid-December. Midge (20-26) hatches throughout the day were getting some fish to rise but nymphs and streamers were more consistently productive. Effective flies included Caddis Pupa (12-16), Blue-winged Olives (20-24), Frenchies (14-18), and olive Slumpbusters (6-10).
Susquehanna River (Wyoming County) —Rainfall made for high muddy conditions in mid-December.
Lake Winola (Wyoming County) — Crappies, bluegills and trout were reported on crawlers as conditions allowed in recent weeks.
Lake Wallenpaupack (Pike County) — Largemouth bass were reported in various lures, including rubber worms and spinners, in mid-December. Yellow perch and pumpkinseed sunfish also were reported.
Susquehanna River — Amid light fishing pressure, anglers were catching smallmouth bass and walleyes on soft plastics on jig heads.
Francis E. Walter Reservoir (Luzerne County) — The winter drawdown provided anglers with schooling panfish through early December.
Lily Lake, Lake Irena and Briar Creek Lake (Luzerne County) — All three received fall stockings of trout.
Bushkill Creek (Northampton County) — Fly-anglers were catching some wild brown trout in the lower section in recent weeks.
Delaware River — Brinkman’s Bait and Tackle reported Dec. 19 that some anglers were catching smaller-size striped bass while targeting other species with live bait. The channel catfish bite had slowed considerably.
Schuylkill River — Brinkman’s reported Dec. 19 that walleyes were hitting, with swimbaits and minnows effective. The flathead catfish bite had died down.
Core Creek Lake, Levittown Lake (Bucks County) — Anglers were catching crappies, if they could locate where they were schooling. Minnows and small jigs were productive.
Ridley Creek (Delaware County) — Trout anglers were fishing as conditions allowed earlier in December. Fish were reported in the traditional holes in the fly fishing only area, as well as some downstream areas.
Darby Creek (Delaware County) — Catches of bass were reported in early December, with both largemouths and smallmouths feeding for winter. Anglers are reminded that the Darby Draw Bridge is closed until next spring.
New Jersey shore — Brinkman’s Bait and Tackle reported Dec. 19 that plenty of striped bass were being caught from the beach. Fish were 20 to 24 inches. Tandem rigs with a diamond jig or plug on the bottom and a teaser about 18 inches above were effective. Blackfish angling was in full swing, when conditions allowed boats to get out. Some jumbos up to 17 pounds were reported.
Compiled by Deborah Weisberg