Anglers anticipating ice-fishing season are urged to exercise safe practices and extreme caution while venturing onto frozen surfaces.
For more on ice-fishing safety and a list of trout-stocked lakes, visit www.fishandboat.com.
Boaters are reminded that through April 30, personal flotation devices must be worn at all times while on board any canoe, kayak, or boat less than 16 feet in length.
Lake Erie tributaries (Erie County) — Poor Richard’s Bait & Tackle reported Jan. 5 that the creeks were high and dirty but beginning to come down, and steelhead anglers were doing well on egg sacks, single eggs, and minnows. The biggest steelhead the shop weighed last year was a 17¼-pounder landed on Elk Creek in December.
Presque Isle Bay (Erie County) — Poor Richard’s reported that water was mostly open with ice in some sections as of Jan. 5. Perch and crappies were being caught off the peninsula and bay front, and walleyes were coming off the south pier.
Glade Run Lake (Butler County) — An angler reported catching a dozen trout in early January on a 2½-inch soft plastic floating trout worm on this 52-acre impoundment.
Loyalhanna Lake (Westmoreland County) — An angler released numbers of catfish, including a 33-inch flathead catfish and seven others over 24 inches caught in a pool filled with shiners at the start of the year.
Buffalo Creek (Armstrong County) — The Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only section was yielding trout, as conditions allowed, in recent weeks.
Allegheny River — Walleyes were being caught below Lock No. 7, with nightcrawlers and crankbaits effective.
Monongahela River — Anglers were catching muskies near the mouths of tributaries.
Youghiogheny River — Muskie releases were reported around the deeper holes of this Monongahela River tributary in recent weeks.
Nessmuk, Hamilton, Beechwood lakes (Tioga County) — Tackle Shack reported Jan. 10 that there was no fishable ice on any of these. The docks on Hamilton were yielding trout in open water. On Jan. 1, anglers were catching some bass.
Hills Creek Lake (Tioga County) — Tackle Shack reported Jan. 10 that this state park lake was yielding some decent bluegills, chain pickerel, small crappies, and a lot of small perch around the start of the year.
Spring Creek (Centre County) — TCO Outdoors reported Jan. 7 that water was high and off-color from rain and snow melt, but clearing, and in the 30s. Fish were moving to deeper lies, and anglers were advised to target warmer parts of the creek where spring influence raised water temperatures by a few degrees. On warmer days with blue-winged olive hatches (18-20), trout will slide up to riffles to feed. Streamers and nymphs were productive, as were Olives and Midges (22-26).
Long Arm Reservoir (York County) — Water was low making it hard to put in boats in recent weeks. Low water temperatures were spurring the bites for northern pike and walleyes.
Yellow Breeches Creek (Cumberland County) — TCO Outdoors reported Jan. 7 that conditions were stabilizing Streamers fished along the banks and small nymphs and scuds (12-20) were effective. Water was in the high 40s to low 50s and clear. Hatches included midges (18-26) and blue-winged olives (18-20).
Little Juniata River (Huntingdon County) — TCO Outdoors reported Jan. 7 that water was very high, off-color and in the 30s. Snow melt was keeping water cold, sending trout to deeper water. Anglers were advised to target warmer parts of the creek where spring influence raises temperatures a few degrees. Fishing sub-surface during the winter was recommended. Blue-winged olives (20-24) and midges (20-26) were providing sporadic top water action on warmer days. Eggs and streamers were recommended for slower, deeper pools.
Lakes Ariel, Wallenpaupack (Wayne, Pike counties) — Bait-N-Basics reported Jan. 9 that there was no fishable ice, just skim ice.
Lackawanna River — An angler caught a few nice brown trout at the start of the year.
Susquehanna River — Smallmouth bass up to 2 and 3 pounds were reported in early January along with some nice walleyes, and a fallfish. One angler reported losing a 15-plus-pound catfish at the bank.
Delaware River — Brinkman’s Bait & Tackle reported Jan. 9 that anglers were catching some nice walleyes.
Levittown Lake (Bucks County) — Some nice crappies and trout were reported Jan. 6.
New Jersey saltwater report — Brinkman’s Bait and Tackle reported Jan. 6 some of the charter boats were putting anglers onto nice catches of tautog.
REPORT FROM THE DOCK — A forecast and summary of fishing
Unseasonably warm days in recent weeks with little rain and no snow to melt has resulted in some pretty decent trout fishing, mostly in the south-central part of the state. On Spring Creek in Centre County, blue-winged olive hatches brought rising trout. In Yellow Breeches Creek in Cumberland County, streamers fished along the banks and small nymphs and scuds (12-20) were effective. A number of Keystone Select big-trout stretches ere reported to be yielding trout, such as Laurel Hill, Wiconisco, Buffalo and White Clay creeks. Water levels in the tributaries around Erie had come down by the time this issue went to press, and steelhead action was picking up. Anglers were doing well on egg sacks, single eggs, and minnows, and some big fish were caught. With no ice, few anglers have been on the water statewide, but walleyes were taken on the Allegheny and Delaware rivers.
Compiled by Deborah Weisberg