Report from the Dock
Anglers who wanted to be on the water while awaiting the opening of trout season were mostly concentrating on panfish, and the fishing was pretty decent on the warmer days in recent weeks. The panish bite was particularly fast at Hills Creek Lake, Foster Joseph Sayers Lake, Justus Lake, Canoe Lake, Glendale Lake, Pymatuning Lake and Presque Isle Bay. Bass were said to be hitting in the Allegheny, Susquehanna and Juniata rivers, Shenango River Reservoir, and lakes Winola, Raystown and Marsh Creek. After the surprise opener on April 7, trout fishing was good in lots of stocked streams, but the bite was reported to stronger in some than in others. Among the best were Yellow Breeches, Oil, Caldwell, Kettle, Chest, Penns, Yellow, Young Womans, Fishing, Manatawny, Sugar and Tulpehocken creeks.
Lake Erie — A good perch bite was reported in recent weeks, with a number of jumbos in the mix. Walleye numbers also were good in 42 feet on the east side of the lake, with some anglers doing well on 1⁄8-ounce Water Puppets tipped with minnows.
Presque Isle Bay (Erie County) — Nice catches of perch were reported, and crappies were hitting in the lagoons in early April. Largemouth bass and northern pike were biting for some panfish anglers. Square bill crankbaits and Shad Raps were catching largemouth bass and a few northern pike. Smallmouth bass were moving into the bay with rising water temperatures.
Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County) — Wading anglers enjoyed a good walleye bite on long-minnow shallow-lip baits in recent weeks. The humps were yielding walleyes on jig-n-minnow lures during the day. The walleye bite at the spillway had slowed. Numbers of perch, including jumbos, were reported around Espyville causeway. One angler reported nice catches on 1⁄32-ounce jigs tipped with small fatheads in 14 feet. The shallow water crappie bite on the north end had slowed. Some anglers were releasing numbers of largemouth bass, with spinnerbaits effective.
Lake Wilhelm (Mercer County) — The panfish bite was slow in recent weeks when heavy rains turned water turbid.
Shenango Reservoir (Mercer County) — Fish were moving shallow depending on water temperatures. As conditions allowed, hybrid striped bass, some white bass, and spawned-out pike were hitting for some anglers. Floating Rapalas were effective.
Justus Lake (Venango County) — Numbers of bluegills were caught from shore in recent weeks.
Oil Creek (Venango County) — Numbers of trout were released on Rooster Tails and other lures in the DHALO section through mid-April.
Caldwell Creek (Venango County) — Anglers were catching trout on this Oil Creek tributary through April 12, with crankbaits.
Allegheny River (Venango County) — Numbers of smallmouth bass up to 20 inches and 4-plus pounds were released in recent weeks. A variety of baits were productive, including husky jerks, bladebaits and finesse tubes.
Lake Arthur (Butler County) — Largemouth bass, including a 5-pounder, were released in mid-April on chatterbait and other lures.
Chest Creek (Cambria County) — Anglers did well on stocked trout April 7.
Killbuck Run (Cambria County) — Despite rainfall, conditions were clear and yielding trout as of April 8.
North Park Lake (Allegheny County) — Anglers were catching trout in recent weeks.
Hills Creek Lake (Tioga County) — Panfish were biting on a variety of artificial and live baits in mid-April.
Penns Creek (Snyder County) — TCO Fly Shop reported April 11 that water was high but returning to better shape, and in the high 40s to low 50s with some color. Blue-winged olives (18-22), Hendricksons (12-14), and Grannom caddis (12-14) were hatching, along with little black caddis (16) and midges (20-26). Effective patterns were Caddis Pupa (12-16), Frenchies (12-16), and Hare’s Ears (14-18).
Young Woman’s Creek (Clinton County) — As of April 8, water was in the upper 40s to low 50s, and flow was slightly high but conducive to angling. Trout were taking sucker spawn, Walt’s Worms and other nymphs.
Fishing Creek (Clinton County) — An excellent caddis hatch was reported mid-month, along with blue-winged olives and Hendricksons. Water was above-average but fishable flow. Trout were taking nymphs, but also rising on occasion. Stonefly and caddisfly patterns were effective, as were egg patterns and streamers, such as sculpins.
Foster Joseph Sayers Lake (Centre County) — A variety of panfish were biting bait and artificials. Perch were taking small jigs tipped with pieces of nightcrawlers.
Spring Creek (Centre County) — Water was slightly up and in the mid 40s in mid-April. Nymphing with Pheasant Tails and hot spot sow bugs was effective. Fish also were rising on occasion to grannom caddis and blue-winged olives.
Raystown Branch Juniata River — Channel catfish were active on cut bluegills in recent weeks.
Juniata River — Rainbow trout were biting spinners on opening day.
Yellow Breeches Creek (Cumberland County) — TCO Fly Shop reported that water was clear, falling and in the mid-50s April 11. Small Pheasant Tails and Frenchies were recommended, as were Tan Elk Hair Caddis (16) and Hendricksons (16).
Beltzville Lake (Carbon County) — Pohopoco Creek Bay was yielding striped bass to boat and shore anglers.
Lake Winola (Wyoming County) — Largemouth bass up to 3 pounds were released on artificials.
Marsh Creek Lake (Berks County) — Releases of largemouth bass were reported on Berkley Gulp! through mid-April.
Manatawny Creek (Berks County) — Anglers had plenty of trout to target when the season opened April 8.
Tulpehocken Creek (Berks County) — Water was 51 degrees and had a greenish color April 12, according to TCO Fly Shop, which reported a heavy midge (20-22) hatch in the afternoon and evening hours that attracted trout.
Delaware River — Striped bass were beginning to show up in early April. Regulations for targeting this species changed April 1 as part of a conservation effort.
— Compiled by Deborah Weisberg