Report from the Dock
More than a month of consistently frigid temperatures more or less statewide has resulted in thick, fishable ice on most Pa. waters. Lots of good fishing has been occurring. Some hotspot lakes include: Nockamixon, Struble, Leaser, Oxbow, Stevens, Shohola, Hamilton, Lyman Run, Marburg, Shawnee, Perez, Holman, Ford’s Tobyhanna, Brady, Wallenpaupack, Nessmuk, Keystone, Twin, High Point, Wilhelm, Raccoon, Pymatuning, Woodcock Creek, Canadohta, Sugar, Tamarack, Bald Eagle, Howard Eaton Reservoir, Presque Isle Bay, Pleasant, LeBouef, Black Moshannon, Glendale, Canoe Creek, Northmoreland, Brady’s Run, Bush Dam, Sinnemahoning and Wallenpaupack.
Ice anglers are urged to exercise extreme caution when venturing onto frozen surfaces. Fishing with a partner, drilling test-holes across the ice, wearing a PFD or float coat and yak tracks on boots, and using ice awls can help ensure a safe outing.
For more on ice fishing and safety, visit www.fishandboat.com.
Anglers are advised that all Stocked Trout Waters are closed to fishing (including the taking of minnows) from Feb. 21 until 8 a.m. April 2, which is opening day of trout season statewide. (Mentored Youth Day March 26.)
For more, including a trout-stocking schedule, visit www.fishandboat.com.
Boaters are reminded that they are required to wear a U.S. Coast-Guard approved life jacket through April 30 when in a boat less than 16 feet in length or any kayak or canoe.
Lake Erie (Erie County) — All boat ramps were frozen in as of Feb. 2.
Lake Erie tributaries (Erie County) — Streams were locked up with ice for the most part in early February, although a few open-water pockets could be found here and there.
Presque Isle Bay (Erie County) — Ice anglers were active in early February and catching nice-sized crappies in Misery Bay, and yellow perch off Liberty Park and the Chestnut Street launch.
Lake Pleasant (Erie County) — Anglers are advised that this small, natural lake will be closed Feb. 22. Crappies and trout were reported by ice anglers. Anglers are reminded that it is illegal to fish with live minnows here, and emerald shiners must be certified if used south of I-90. Keep bait store receipts as proof.
Lake LeBouef (Erie County) — Anglers were catching crappies and yellow perch in recent weeks.
Howard Eaton Reservoir (Erie County) — Anglers are advised that the parking lots at this reservoir were plowed so fishing could be enjoyed.
French Creek (Erie, Mercer, Crawford, Venango counties) — Smallmouth bass, walleyes, and panfish were reported as conditions allowed in recent weeks.
Woodcock Creek Lake (Crawford County) — Anglers were icing smallmouth bass, panfish and walleyes and the occasional muskie through early February.
Woodcock Creek (Crawford County) — As conditions allowed, anglers were catching muskies, walleyes and panfish below the dam.
Canadohta Lake (Crawford County) — Anglers were icing numbers of crappies and other panfish, as well as walleyes and the occasional muskie in recent weeks. The water was drawn down for winter.
Sugar Lake (Crawford County) — Ice anglers are catching panfish, chain pickerel, bowfins, and largemouth bass through early February. Shiners were effective on pickerel and bass for one angler.
Tamarack Lake (Crawford County) — Anglers were icing largemouth bass and panfish through the ice in recent weeks. The lake is still regulated as a catch-and-release-only fishery.
Pymatuning Lake (Crawford County) — Ice anglers were catching walleyes, mostly sublegal with the occasional nice-sized one, in recent weeks. Crappies were being caught in shallow water. Perch and bluegills were hitting in nice numbers. The bluegills were in deeper water, about 21 feet, in late January.
Lake Wilhelm (Mercer County) — Numbers of crappies were being iced. Bluegills also were hitting but sizes were running small.
Brady’s Run Lake, Raccoon Lake (Beaver County) — Ice anglers were catching nice-sized crappies on the dam side of Raccoon, with jigs tipped with maggots or minnows effective. Brady’s was yielding panfish and trout on waxworms. A couple of largemouth bass also were reported at Brady’s.
High Point Lake (Somerset County) — This mountaintop lake was yielding nice-sized yellow perch, bluegills, chain pickerel and largemouth bass through the ice on maggots, waxworms, and minnows
Youghiogheny River Lake (Fayette County) — As conditions allowed, trout were hitting in the outflow.
Twin Lakes (Westmoreland County) — Trout and panfish were iced. One angler reportedly caught a 30-inch channel catfish.
Keystone Lake, Northmoreland Lake (Westmoreland County) — Trout were taking minnows through the ice while panfish were biting waxworms and maggots.
Allegheny River (Armstrong County) — Until ice locked up the river, anglers were catching the occasional walleye.
Buffalo Creek (Armstrong County) — As conditions allowed, anglers were catching trout in the Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only section through late January.
Nessmuk Lake (Tioga County) — Tackle Shack reported Feb. 5 that the panfish bite has been “awesome” in recent weeks. This has been the most popular ice fishing destination so far this winter with the recent lifting of the catch-and-release-only restriction, although there are Panfish Enhancement regulations in place for sunfish, crappies and bass. Some anglers reported catching 100-plus panfish in one outing, but many were running smaller than the 7-inch minimum for sunfish and the 9-inch minimum for crappies. There’s a 20-fish creel limit for any one species of panfish, and a total maximum take of 50 panfish per day. Nice catches of bass, trout, and chain pickerel also were reported. The harvest limit on bass here is four per day, at least 15 inches.
Hamilton Lake (Tioga County) — Tackle Shack reported an excellent trout bite here as of Feb. 5, with nice numbers of fish being iced.
Lyman Run Reservoir (Potter County) — Stocked trout and panfish were being iced through early February.
Pinchot Lake, Lake Marburg (York County) — Ice anglers were beginning to venture out in early February.
Shawnee Lake (Bedford County) — Crappies and bass were being caught through the ice on small jigs and minnows. A hefty 21-inch largemouth bass was released.
Children’s Lake (Cumberland County) — Anglers are advised that this spring-fed lake was drawn down temporarily in late January to enable contractors bidding on a dam reconstruction project to view the lakebed, retaining wall, and other infrastructure. With completion of surveys expected in earlier this month, the lake will begin to refill, according to the Fish & Boat Commission.
Lake Perez, Greenwood Lake (Huntingdon County) — Ice anglers were catching panfish and bass at Perez. Live baits and small jigs were taking the panfish. Trout stocked in late December were being iced at Greenwood in recent weeks.
Holman’s Lake (Perry County) — Panfish were hitting through the ice at this Little Buffalo State Park lake.
Ford’s Lake (Lackawanna County) — Crappies were hitting.
Tobyhanna Lake (Monroe County) — Numbers of chain pickerel and perch were reported through the ice.
Brady’s Lake (Monroe County) — Nice sized black crappies were reported through the ice on this 229-acre impoundment in recent weeks,
Lake Wallenpaupack (Pike County) — Ice fishing pressure was high in early February, with numbers of anglers around Mangan Cove and by Ledgedale. Nice catches of perch, crappies and other panfish, chain pickerel, walleyes, and the occasional smallmouth bass were reported through early February.
Shohola Marsh Reservoir (Pike County) — Crappies, bluegills, chain pickerel and perch were hitting tip-ups and jigs through the ice.
Stevens Lake (Forest County) — Nice-sized bluegills and the occasional largemouth bass were being iced on wax worms and live minnows.
Oxbow Lake (Wyoming County) — Chain pickerel, rainbow trout, crappies, bluegills and largemouth bass were hitting. The trout were coming on spoons fished higher in the water column, while other species were hitting on minnows and other live baits.
Leasor Lake (Lehigh County) — Chain pickerel, northern pike, crappies, and panfish were hitting through the ice in recent weeks.
Struble Lake (Chester County) — Ice anglers were catching small crappies and bluegills and the occasional largemouth bass, with the panfish hitting shiners, chubs, and mealworms and small jigs in various colors.
Lake Nockamixon (Bucks County) — Brinkman’s Bait and Tackle reported Feb. 5 that ice anglers were catching perch and walleyes, and targeting muskies.
Levittown Lake (Bucks County) — This 20-acre impoundment was yielding crappies and perch.
Marsh Creek Lake (Chester County) — Brinkman’s reported that perch, bluegills and other panfish were being iced.
Delaware River — Brinkman’s reported that although some anglers were attempting to catch catfish as conditions allowed in recent weeks, most were anticipating the striper run in March.
New Jersey saltwater report — Brinkman’s was getting good reports on blackfish, as conditions allowed, through Feb. 5, with one party boat out of Belmar and some private boats harvesting limits when they could get out. The season closes at the end of February.
— Compiled by Deborah Weisberg