Thursday, February 2nd, 2023
Thursday, February 2nd, 2023

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Pennsylvania Fishing Report – May 14, 2020

Report from the Dock

Lots of folks were fishing for – and catching –  walleyes in the weeks since the season opener on May 2. In the early season, live bait seemed to be the ticket most places, with quite a few fish hitting drifted jigs tipped with nightcrawlers or minnows. Anglers have been doing especially well in these waters: French Creek,  Pymatuning Reservoir, Allegheny River and Kinzua Reservoir, Monongahela, Youghiogheny and Cheat rivers, Susquehanna, West Branch of the Susquehanna, Juniata, Ohio and Beaver rivers, and Beltzville Lake. Frequent, heavy rains early in the month made larger trout waters, such as the Little Juniata River, Penns Creek and the Yellow Breeches unfishable, so anglers concentrated on smaller trout streams. Unseasonably cold weather seemed to delay hatches of mayflies on some streams.


Lake Erie — A lake trout was landed from about 55 feet down on the East Side in late April. Lots of walleye action was reported after the season opened, with one boater limiting out on walleyes on jigs and crawlers fished on the bottom at the mouth of Walnut Creek. The east side was producing in about 45 feet of water. 


Presque Isle Bay (Erie County) — Smallmouth bass, including a 6-pounder, were reported in nice numbers in early May when water was around 50 degrees. 


Lake Erie tributaries — Smallmouth bass were on the move in early May. In Elk Creek, they were above Route 20 and being released on leeches. Suckers also were in Elk, along with a few brown trout and some straggler steelhead.  


French Creek (Erie, Venango, Crawford, Mercer counties) — At the confluence with Sugar Creek, anglers landed walleyes up to 24 inches and released smallmouth bass on creek minnows and minnow-pattern lures in early May. Elsewhere, northern pike and bass were hitting on spinners, jigs, and crankbaits.


Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County) — Anglers caught walleyes wading at night, but the better bite was during the day by those drifting jigs with minnows or crawlers or trolling in early May. One fish was 27-plus inches. Muskies were still biting in impressive numbers, and crappies were sporadic on the south end. Perch were hitting along Andover Causeway. One angler released some nice smallmouth and largemouth bass on the north end, where crappies also were biting. 


Conneaut Lake (Crawford County) — Largemouth bass were released on soft plastics around weedlines in recent weeks. 


Allegheny River (Venango County) — Walleyes and smallmouth bass releases were reported in early May, with swimbaits, small tubes and crankbaits effective. One angler released a 3-pound, 7-ounce smallmouth on a spinner.


Sandy Creek, Sugar Creek, Oil Creek, East Sandy Creek (Venango County) — Nice trout catches were reported in recent weeks.


Twomile Run Reservoir, aka Justus Lake (Venango County) — Anglers were catching trout and bass particularly from the area of the southern (newest) boat launch and extending to the dam on this 144-acre lake.


Lake Wilhelm (Mercer County) — Bluegills and pumpkinseeds were hitting in recent weeks, with the north end producing on pink and chartreuse soft plastics fished under bobbers.


Shenango Lake (Mercer County) — Flathead catfish were reported in recent weeks. Crappies 11 to 14 inches were hitting around brush in late April. Northern pike were reported in shallow water in early May. 


Kinzua Reservoir (Warren County) — Boaters were doing well on walleyes with nightcrawlers. 


Lake Arthur (Butler County) — Hybrid stripers were released on crankbaits in recent weeks.


Keystone Power Dam (Armstrong County) — Crappies and yellow perch were hitting live bait in recent weeks.  


Mahoning Creek (Beaver County) — The Fish & Boat Commission was advising caution when fishing below the Mahoning Creek Dam because of changing water levels and conditions. 


Brady’s Run Lake, Raccoon Lake (Beaver County) — Numbers of trout were reported on minnows and paste baits in recent weeks. Boaters were successful trolling inline spinners.


North Fork Little Beaver Creek (Beaver County) — Trout were reported in recent weeks.


Ohio, Beaver rivers — Walleyes were reported on jigs and soft plastics. 


Allegheny River (Allegheny County) — A 3-pound 9-ounce smallmouth bass was released on a tube in recent weeks.


Duman Dam, Lake Rowena (Cambria County)  Trout were hitting on minnows and other live baits. 


Chest Creek (Cambria County) — Anglers were catching trout on minnows. 


Dunlap Creek Lake, Virgin Run Lake (Fayette County) — Trout were hitting in recent weeks. 


Monongahela River, Youghiogheny River, Cheat River  Nice catches of walleyes were reported after the May 2 season opener.


Blue Spruce Lake (Indiana County) — Trout and sunfish and releases of bass were reported.


Hills Creek Lake (Tioga County) — Perch, crappies, and bluegills were reported on minnows and waxworms as conditions allowed in recent weeks. 


Lake Nessmuk (Tioga County) — Crappies and other panfish were reported on artificials as conditions allowed, with manmade habitat structures productive spots. All species are catch and release here. 


Pine Creek (Tioga County) — Heavy rainfall in early May left this stream unfishable. 


Susquehanna River (Northumberland County) — Walleyes and bass were inconsistent in fluctuating water levels, but catches were coming on tubes and minnows. 


West Branch Susquehanna River (Clinton, Lycoming counties) — Bass, walleyes and muskies were reported in recent weeks. 


Black Moshannon Creek (Centre County) — Trout were reported in recent weeks.


Juniata River (Juniata County) — Rainfall made for higher than normal water levels in early May. Smaller trout streams like the upper reaches of East Licking Creek or Delaware Creek can be good alternatives in conditions like this.


Holman Lake (Perry County) — Nice releases of bass and trout were reported at this Little Buffalo State Park impoundment in recent weeks.  Trout also were reported on paste baits in various colors. 


Wiconisco Creek (Dauphin County) — Some nice brown trout were reported on a live minnow in recent weeks.  


Raystown Lake (Huntingdon County) — Brown bullhead catfish were reported by one angler in mid-May.


Lake Wallenpaupack (Pike County) — Chain pickerel, including a 27-incher released on a jerkbait, were reported as of May 8.


Beltzville Lake (Carbon County) — Walleyes and some striped bass were reported during evening hours in early May. Chicken livers were taking the stripers. 


Mauch Chunk Lake (Carbon County) — Perch and crappies were hitting in early May. 


Hickory Run Lake, Sand Spring Run Dam (Carbon County) — Some nice brook trout were reported around the state park campground area. 


Sunfish Pond, Mountain Lake, Cook’s Pond, Hunter’s Lake (Bradford, Sullivan counties) — Trout were hitting gold spinners. 


Octararo Lake (Chester County) — Jim Neary’s Bait & Tackle reported May 1 that the perch bite was below-average, but some fish were hitting on nightcrawlers and artificial crappie rigs and trailers around rip rap and fallen trees. Bass releases were average on chatterbaits with swimbait trailers. Spinnerbaits with gold blades around riprap were productive for some. White bass were above-average on medium and large fatheads on jigs, and crappie magnets with straight or octopus tails. Catfish, including bullheads, also were biting. 


Delaware River — Striped bass were on the move in early May, and being caught as far up as Trenton Falls. Bloodworms were effective. Anglers are reminded that, as of March 1, regulation changes for striped bass include mandatory use of non-offset (in-line) circle hooks when targeting any species with bait in the tidal Delaware estuary. For more, including new seasonal sizes and limits, visit


Lake Towhee (Bucks County) — Panfish were hitting for some anglers in recent weeks.


Falls Township Park Lake (Bucks County) — Largemouth bass up to 20 inches were released through May 8.


Pequa Creek (Chester, Lancaster counties) — One angler caught a catfish on shrimp.


— Compiled by Deborah Weisberg

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