The year’s second Fish for Free Day is slated for July 4. The event allows folks to fish without having to purchase a Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission license, and is directed, in particular, to prospective new anglers.
The commission also is sponsoring fishing festivals around the state this summer that include instructional opportunities for newcomers to the sport.
For more, visit www.fishandboat.com
Lake Erie — Walleyes were hitting in the morning and around sunset in 35 to 40 feet, with crawler harnesses in orange/red and yellow or plugs effective. One angler reported a good bite running crawler harnesses close to the bottom in 55 feet at 1.5 miles an hour. Perch were reported in 35 to 40 feet, with the water off the cribs and the lighthouse productive. Minnows on crappie rigs were the ticket. Some crappies were hitting in 50 to 55 feet. Anglers were catching bass on soft plastic and buzzbaits off the south pier.
Presque Isle Bay (Erie County) — As conditions allowed, nice numbers of smallmouth and largemouth bass, including some 2-plus pounders, were reported in Misery and Thompson bays and elsewhere on a variety of baits, including spinnerbaits and swimbaits. Crappies were hitting in Marina Lake. Bluegills were on beds all over Presque Isle Bay.
Lake Erie tributaries (Erie County) — Catfish were in Elk Creek in mid-June, after smallmouth bass left the stream.
Edinboro Lake (Erie County) — Quality bluegills and crappies were reported in mid-June.
Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County) — Wind was a problem in mid-June, but when conditions allowed, anglers were catching nice walleyes by trolling shad plugs, slow-trolling willow-blade crawler harnesses in chartreuse or green, or drifting jigs-n-crawlers. The night-time walleye bite had slowed. The lake was loaded with alewives. Crappies were hitting in 9 feet and deeper with the stump field on the north end productive. Humps on the south end also were yielding crappies. The biggest was a black crappie measuring 15-plus inches. Numbers of bass were reported, with average-size fish biting creature baits and plastic worms pitched to shallow wood. Big bass were deeper. Catfish were everywhere. Bluegills were biting. Some yellow perch and white bass were reported along the causeway in the morning and evening hours. Bow-fishers were shooting carp.
Sparty Pond a/k/a Clear Lake (Crawford County) — Some nice northern pike and a few crappies were reported in recent weeks at this Spartansburg-area fishery.
Canadohta Lake (Crawford County) — This natural lake was yielding walleyes in recent weeks, with Hot-n-Tots the ticket.
Shenango River Reservoir (Mercer County) — Walleyes and channel catfish were reported in recent weeks. White bass and hybrid striped bass continued to bite through mid-June. Some nice channel catfish were reported along with the occasional northern pike and bluegills. Numbers of crappies, mostly in the 9- to 11-inch range, were reported on 2-inch plastic grubs on 1⁄8-ounce jigs. Two anglers caught crappies 1.5 pounds and 2 pounds. Bass were hitting.
Lake Wilhelm (Mercer County) — Walleyes, including a 31-incher, were reported in recent weeks, by anglers trolling crawler harnesses or crankbaits between the causeway and Launch No. 4. Crappies were everywhere, from 5 feet of water on the flats to deep points in 13 to 14 feet, but sizes were running small. Jigs were the ticket. Bass were hitting plastics on wood and spinnerbaits on the flats.
Sugar Creek (Venango County) — Trout were still being released in mid-June.
East Sandy Creek (Venango County) — Some nice brown trout were released in recent weeks.
Allegheny River (Venango County) — Anglers reported smallmouth bass up to 20¼ inches, with topwater, jitterbug-style lures, and tubes and other soft plastics effective.
Allegheny River (Allegheny County) — Nice catches of smallmouth bass were reported around the mouth of Pine Creek and Deer Creek. The walleye bite slowed some in mid-June, but catches were reported around the creek mouths and downstream of the locks and dams.
Fourmile Run, Mill Creek (Westmoreland County) — Numbers of trout remained in these and other area streams, although fishing pressure had tapered by mid-June. One angler reported releasing 30 fish in four hours fishing Fourmile and Mill creeks.
Conemaugh River Lake, Loyalhanna Lake (Westmoreland County) — Crappies and yellow perch were reported in the outflow of both fisheries, the result of increased water discharges from both dams in mid-June. Anglers were using big ocean-variety weights to get bait down to fish in these conditions.
Blue Spruce Lake (Indiana County) — Anglers were catching bass in recent weeks, and also reported a trout bite on this 12-acre lake.
Yellow Creek Lake (Indiana County) — Northern pike up to 24 inches were reported in early June. The panfish bite was slow.
Keystone Lake (Armstrong County) — Muskies up to 45 inches were reported in recent weeks by anglers throwing big spinner and stick baits.
Ohio River, Beaver River (Beaver County) — Nice-size flathead catfish, freshwater drum, and carp were reported on both rivers in recent weeks, with dough balls and hot dogs taking the catfish and drum. Some of the catfish also were caught on cut bait and chubs. Northern pike were reported below the Montgomery lock and dam on the Ohio.
Monongahela River (Greene, Washington counties) — Smallmouth bass and white bass were hitting live minnows near the locks and dams. Spotted gar were reported around Ten Mile Creek and the tailwaters of Maxwell lock and dam in the evening hours. A huge flathead catfish was released near Rice’s Landing lock wall.
Somerset Lake (Somerset County) — Largemouth bass were hitting in recent weeks. Carp up to 14 pounds also were reported.
Quemahoning Reservoir (Somerset County) — Smallmouth bass and northern pike were reported in recent weeks on this 900-acre reservoir.
Youghiogheny River Reservoir (Somerset County) — Walleyes were hitting in recent weeks.
Tioga Lake, Hammond Lake, Cowanesque Lake (Tioga County) —Don’s Tackle Shack reported June 18 that largemouth and smallmouth bass were hitting on all three lakes on crankbaits and jigs, with some fish weighing over 5 pounds. All three lakes were yielding crappies in anywhere from 12 to 20 feet. Anglers were starting to see decent walleye action on Hammond and Beechwood, with stickbaits and crawler harnesses productive.
Pine Creek (Tioga County) — Anglers were catching trout in and below the delayed-harvest, artificial- lures-only stretch in mid-June, when water was still a little low. Hatches included light Cahills, sulphurs, blue-winged olives, yellow sallies, and caddis. Cahill and Sulphur emergers were effective. Sulphur spinners also were working, as were Blue-Winged Olive dries in the midmorning hours. Bait anglers were releasing smallmouth bass through much of Pine Creek, primarily on minnows.
Raystown Lake (Huntingdon County) —Anglers were catching largemouth bass up to just under 6 pounds in mid-June, with crankbaits effective. Some anglers reported good early morning topwater action and an afternoon bite on soft plastics in 8 to 15 feet. Striped bass up to 30 inches were hitting large shiners and baby trout in 50 feet.
Juniata River (Juniata County) — Some nice channel catfish were reported on cut baits, chicken livers and crawlers in recent weeks, with the best action in the late evening and night hours. Brown bullheads also were reported.
Holman Lake (Perry County) — Panfish were reported on small baits, including redworms, waxworms, and minnows, and on 1⁄64-ounce jigs tipped with small twister tails or tubes. Pastebaits were taking trout at least through mid-June on this 88-acre Little Buffalo State Park impoundment.
Juniata River (Perry County) — Channel catfish were reported on crawlers, cut baits, and chicken livers mostly after dark.
Susquehanna River (Luzerne, Columbia counties) — Good water levels helped spur nice catches of smallmouth bass and walleyes on crankbaits and soft plastics in recent weeks.
Lehigh River — Numbers of trout were reported in this fishery in recent weeks, although trout-fishing pressure remained light.
Lily Lake (Luzerne County) — Crappies and trout were hitting in deeper water in mid-June.
Roaring Creek (Columbia County) — A good trout bite continued through mid-June.
Reservoirs in Conrad Weiser State Forest (Schuylkill County) — Bass and pickerel were hitting in recent weeks on these catch-and-release-only fisheries.
Lake Wallenpaupack (Pike County) — A strong walleye bite prevailed in recent weeks, as did that for striped bass and catfish. Chain pickerel and largemouth bass turned on in mid-June.
Prompton Dam (Wayne County) — Chain pickerel and crappies were biting live bait in recent weeks.
Lackawanna Lake (Lackawanna County) — Although the trout bite slowed some in mid-June, some anglers were still reporting limits, with some of the better action in Bullhead Bay and near the main boat launch. Rainbow-colored pastebaits on the bottom were the ticket. Boating traffic was moderate on this Big Bass Program water.
Octararo Lake (Lancaster/Chester counties) — As of June 18, Jim Neary’s Bait & Tackle reported that the largemouth bass bite was picking up, with fish hitting slow-moving crankbaits and spinnerbaits along the banks. Crappie action had slowed some, although anglers were catching fish in 10 to 15 feet as well as in shallower water near brush. Channel catfish up to 8 pounds were hitting crawlers, and even crappie lures, including soft-plastic grubs. White perch were biting on crawlers cast from shore.
Struble Lake (Chester County) — Small shad darts tipped with plastic split-tail bodies, and minnows and small spinnerbaits were taking crappies in recent weeks.
Delaware River — Striped bass, smallmouth bass, and walleyes were reported on minnows and grubs at the New Hope wing dam. Some bigger stripers and catfish were hitting on live eels after dark above the 202 Bridge. Some stripers and white bass were hitting on bloodworms around the Navy Yard. A few shad were reported still in the river at the beginning of June.
Lake Luxembourg (Bucks County) — The lower end of this Core Creek County Park impoundment was yielding bluegills and white perch in recent weeks.
Levittown Lake (Bucks County) — A few largemouth bass were reported on soft plastic lizards and plastic worms in recent weeks.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park Lake (Philadelphia County) — Bluegills and smaller largemouth bass were reported on minnows and crawlers in recent weeks.
—Compiled by Deborah Weisberg