Hunting made for light pressure at many fisheries across the commonwealth in recent weeks.
Boaters are reminded that the mandatory cold-weather life jacket regulation for watercraft under 16 feet in length and all canoes and kayaks is in effect now through April 30.
Anglers are urged to exercise caution while wading wild trout streams, as fish are spawning and redds should not be disturbed.
Presque Isle Bay (Erie County) — Perch were reported in Marina Bay. Walleyes also were in Marina Bay and off the tip of the South Pier. As lake perch moved into the bay, anglers on the North and South piers were making some nice catches. Steelhead were hitting in the bay, and northern pike were reported in Misery Bay.
Lake Erie tributaries — As of Nov. 23, stream levels were dropping, although rain was forecast. Winds were adding to chilly air temps and sending leaves onto streams. Steelhead were not active, so anglers were focusing on deeper, slower stream sections. Egg sacks were productive.
French Creek (Erie, Crawford, Venango, Mercer counties) —Although this waterway typically yields large walleyes at this time of year, fishing pressure was extremely low just before Thanksgiving.
Allegheny River (Warren County) — Walleyes were hitting in the Kinzua Dam tailwaters through Nov. 23, with shiny poppers productive. Stickbaits were taking white bass at night.
Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County) — Anglers willing to brave cold, rainy weather in late November were catching walleyes in the lake and in the spillway below the dam, with Sonars the bait of choice. Walleye sizes were mixed and included many sub-legals. Some nice crappies also were reported, with some coming on white, two-inch tubes in about 22 feet. Perch also were reported, but very few were keeper-size. Smallmouth bass and largemouth bass were hitting for some anglers.
Lake Wilhelm (Mercer County) — The docks were producing crappies, perch and other panfish on jigs and minnows fished near the bottom.
Shenango River Reservoir (Mercer County) — Crappies, northern pike, walleyes and a few bass were hitting in late November. Crappies and white bass were hitting on soft plastic shad patterns. Earlier in the month, white bass and hybrid striped bass were reported on blade baits, and channel catfish were biting as water dropped to the low 40s.
Allegheny River (Venango County) — Until about Nov. 18, numbers of smallmouth bass up to 2 and 3 pounds, with the occasional 4-pounder, were reported on tubes, grubs, and hair jigs. Walleyes also were hitting.
Deer Lakes (Allegheny County) — Brown and brook trout from an Oct. 25 stocking were biting minnows amid low fishing pressure in recent weeks.
Ohio River (Beaver County) — Anglers were targeting walleyes and catfish through mid-November. Although the bite was generally slow, a few walleyes were reported near tributaries and below Montgomery Lock and Dam.
Raccoon Lake (Beaver County) — Trout were reported on the dam side of the lake (near lakeside restrooms) through mid-November. Pastebaits were productive.
Twin Lakes (Westmoreland County) — Recently-stocked trout were hitting on live bait through mid-November.
Indian Lake (Westmoreland County) — Pastebaits and artificial worms were taking trout through mid-November.
Youghiogheny River Reservoir (Somerset, Westmoreland counties) — Walleyes and bass were biting through Nov. 20. The winning weight in a late-October bass tournament was six bass totaling 13.75 pounds, and the lunker was 3.5 pounds. Carp and channel catfish were reported along the Somerfield access area in mid-November. A 16-inch walleye was caught in 30 to 40 feet.
Quemahoning Reservoir (Somerset County) — Walleyes were hitting minnows at dusk in recent weeks.
Youghiogheny River — Water releases by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers aimed at bringing the lake to winter pool made for tough fishing in the section 1 outflow in mid-November. Trout fishing was slow along the middle Yough.
High Point Lake (Somerset County) — Water levels were back to normal by mid-November, and bass, chain pickerel and crappies were hitting.
Laurel Hill Creek, Laurel Hill Lake (Somerset County) — The delayed-harvest, artificial-lures-only section of the stream was yielding average catch rates in higher water levels through mid-November. Trout also were biting in the lake.
Hills Creek, Hamilton, Beechwood, Tioga lakes (Tioga County) — Tackle Shack reported Nov. 24 that ice was beginning to form on these and other area lakes.
Tioga and Cowanesque Lake spillways (Tioga County) — Walleyes and yellow perch were reported through Nov. 20, with fathead minnows and shiners effective.
Pine Creek (Tioga County) — As conditions allowed, anglers were catching trout on streamers and small crankbaits, although fishing pressure was very light through Nov. 21.
Fishing Creek (Clinton County)
High, off-color conditions were reported through November 20, the result of rainfall and snowmelt, and water was in the 30s. The trout bite was slow with fish hugging the bottom of the stream. Nymphs such as flashback Pheasant Tails (14-18), Frenchies (14-18), Green Weenies (12-16), Caddis Larvae (12-16), and Brown Stoneflies (8-12) were productive. Streamers in olive or black (4-8) also were effective.
Spring Creek (Centre County) — Water was up, color was good, and temperatures were in the high 40s in mid-November, and trout were on the bottom, or holding tight to the bank in shallow areas. Nymphing with Hot Spot Sow Bugs (14-16), Green Weenies (12-16), Walt’s Worms (12-16), and Mop Flies was productive. Peach-colored egg patterns are also working, as were olive and black streamers (6-10) fished along the banks.
Little Juniata River (Huntingdon County) — TCO Fly Shop reported Nov. 21 that the stream was blown out. As conditions allowed earlier in the month, Golden Stonefly nymphs, Walt’s Worms, and small thread-bodied Mayfly patterns were productive, as were streamers. Hatches included Blue-Winged Olives (18-22) and Midges (20-26).
Conewago Creek (Adams County) — As of Nov. 20, fly-anglers were catching big brown trout in high water levels in the catch-and-release, fly-fishing-only section.
Conococheague Creek and Big Cove Creek (Franklin, Fulton counties) — Nice numbers of trout were hitting minnows, bread and crawlers as conditions allowed in recent weeks.
Harveys Creek, Bowman Creek (Luzerne, Wyoming counties) —Amid very light pressure, anglers were catching trout in late November.
Pohopoco, Aquashicola, Buckwa, Mauch Chunk creeks (Carbon County) — Nice catches of trout were reported as conditions allowed through Nov. 14.
Princess Run (Monroe County) — Nice catches of trout were reported as conditions allowed through Nov. 14.
Beltzville Lake (Carbon County) — Nice catches of bass were reported through Nov. 14. A few anglers also were catching striped bass near the Preachers Camp access area. The boat launch docks and the Slow No Wake regulatory buoys were removed for the winter but regulations pertaining to Slow No Wake are still in effect and enforced. Maps of Slow No Wake areas are posted at each boat launch.
Mauch Chunk Lake (Carbon County) — Bass and chain pickerel were active near Boat Launch B through Nov. 14. Boaters were catching perch and bluegills near boat launch A and near the swimming area of the lake earlier in November.
Lake Wallenpaupack (Pike County) — Despite very cold, wet weather in mid-November, anglers were catching bass and some stripers.
Delaware River — Brinkman’s Bait and Tackle reported Nov. 24 that carp and catfish were hitting during the cold snap.
Pennypack Creek (Bucks, Montgomery counties) — Trout were biting through the Thanksgiving weekend.
Core Creek State Park, Levittown Lake (Bucks County) — Brinkman’s reported Nov. 24 that largemouth bass up to 6.2 pounds and smallmouth bass were biting, with crankbaits the bait of choice.
Little Lehigh Creek (Lehigh County) — The Allentown Police Academy area was yielding nice catches of trout through Nov. 20, with bright-colored spinners, small jigs, and live minnows productive.
Lehigh River — Chain pickerel were reported by anglers targeting muskies and bass in the Bethlehem Township area in recent weeks.
Little Schuylkill River (Schuylkill County) — The water near Tamaqua yielded nice catches of trout through early November, with spinners, meal worms, and minnows the tickets. Water levels were a little above normal this fall.
Tuscarora Lake (Schuylkill County) — October-stocked trout were taking spinners when trolled slowly, through early November. Yellow perch and pickerel were biting minnows, and the occasional walleye was reported.
Locust Lake (Schuylkill County) — Shore anglers were catching trout in recent weeks. Another trout stocking is slated for Dec. 11.
New Jersey saltwater report — Brinkman’s Bait and Tackle reported that the striped bass bite was as hot as could be as of Nov. 24, with fish hitting from Long Island Sound to Point Pleasant and Barnegat Inlet. Black fish were active, and sea bass were hitting about 30 to 50 miles offshore.
Compiled by Deborah Weisberg