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NWPA Fishing Report, 6-21-17
June 23, 2017

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Brought to you by PA Great Lakes Region tourism - Published by Blackwolfe Communications LLC

County by County Reports for June 21, 2017

Dave @ Richter's Tackle Shop; filed 6-19: It was as if a switch had been thrown! Suddenly in the last several days, walleyes are biting at Pymatuning in the South End! Every good-looking spot (humps and grass beds) you stop to fish, guys are catching keeper walleyes. I've heard of more limit catches in the last three or four days than I've heard of or seen all spring long. And most 'eyes are being caught with the oldest of all walleye baits a nightcrawler! I went out for a couple hours Sunday afternoon with family members, and we managed to catch walleyes at every place we stopped although we had to seek shelter on the shore when one of the big rainstorms passed through. What turned the walleye on suddenly? I don't know. Having doubted the fish commission biologist reports that there were good number of legal fish in the lake this spring when no one was catching any, I guess I'm eating some of my words along with those walleye fillets! In addition to walleyes, the crappie bite has improved, too. Bluegill catches continue strong, and there are reports of muskies still being taken. With the big 4th of July Holiday week on the horizon, it's looking like a fish-catching fest for Pymatuning. Get out here and Fish!

Norm @ Jamestown Livery; filed 6-19: The word about the up-tick in walleye bite hasn't filtered down to everyone yet. It was a slow weekend for boat rentals because of the poor reports of walleye catches. I did hear about good bluegill and crappie fishing late last week and Saturday, but calls for a stormy Sunday kept most anglers home. However, with the improved bite, I suggest anyone thinking about a boat rental for the 4th of July Holiday period better make reservations early I'm already getting bookings.

Laurie @ Duck-N-Drake; filed 6-19: I had reports of walleyes being taken this past week in 6 to 7 feet of water by drifting with crawler harnesses; also a few guys were getting them by trolling plugs in 18 to 27 feet. Reports are crappies are going crazy, too. Bluegill bedding continues with some nice size ones coming in. However, bass have disappeared from the radar. All necessary tackle and camp/picnic supplies we have you covered for your 4th of July Holiday at Pymie.

Patty @ Poff's Place; filed 6-19: While it was rough weather on Sunday, I had customers report improved walleye catches late in the week through Saturday, with some nice-size fish. Crappies and bluegills seem hit and miss good bite one day, and then slow the next. With the 4th of July coming up, I've got the tackle and live bait you need for a successful outing. Be sure to stop by and check out our selection of jigs and lures.

Sam @ Robinson's Fishing and Hunting; filed 6-19: Daily reports have not been done as of late because there had not been much to report. I am happy to say that is changing! There have been reports on both the North and South End of walleye hitting. And bluegills are biting, with some exceptional size 'gills being taken. A few crappies have been reported in 8 feet of water in North End. No word on perch.

Darl @ Fishing with Darl Black Guide Service; filed 6-16: Going into June, consistent crappie fishing success remained elusive on Pymatuning. No good explanation for the lack of active crappies in either the shallows or the deep. Catches were so spotty that I offered guests the option to go for bluegills which were biting to save the day. Then on Friday, June 16 (the first calm day on the lake that I had experienced during May and June), it was like someone waved a wand. BIG white crappies were hitting jigs on deepwater cribs in 14 feet of water. Philip and Sue Drone were the lucky anglers to get in on the big fish bite. Live minnows played no part in the catch; the magic lure was a 2.5 inch curly tail grub with bright-colored tail. With the exception of the first 9 inch crappie they caught, the balance of their 18 take-home fish were from 11 to over 14 inches releasing as many as they kept. darlblack@windstream.net

Hooker; filed 6-16: Hey Darl, Hooker is back! As usual Pymatuning Lake lives by its own set of rules. After talking to several people who all were saying the same thing "crappies aren't biting" I thought I might have my first unhappy clients on the fishing taxi. Mike and Melisa Hollabaugh drove up from south of Pittsburgh to meet me at the lake. We launched about 9 AM and headed for where the fish should be this time of year. Fishing a slip bobber/small jig with a minnow in 10 feet of water we caught two keepers right away, and as if a switch had been thrown and the bite stopped. My electronics were showing fish suspended 5 feet down but they would not bite. Since the water was pretty dirty, I said to Mike "With the dirty water those fish may not have left the shallows yet." We left the hump and headed to some wood cover on a point. We caught several good keeper fish from several trees. We repeated this pattern tossing small jigs and bobbers to wood cover on other points, putting together a nice catch of white and black crappies. I have jokingly said many times that fish don't wear sunglassesthough water temp was in the low 70s, the dirty water allowed them to stay shallow not where the book says they should be at this time of year.

Marilyn Black (Cochranton); filed 6-18: On Sunday morning, we made a run to Pymatuning to beat the approaching storm front. Precise offshore presentation was difficult given the stiff breeze, but we managed a few white crappies from deep structure along with my first walleye of the year. Then we hit some shallow sites for bluegill and in the process Darl caught his biggest black crappie of the season so far. At the first clap of thunder around 2 pm, we loaded the boat and headed to Bob's Place for burgers. It rained so hard during lunch that it took a full 10 minutes to drain our boat when we pulled the plug after coming out of the restaurant.

Keith Beamer; filed 6-16: We harvested 24 panfish two nights ago. We caught a mixed bag of gills, crappie, perch, white bass and a 17-inch walleye. We also caught and released a 3-pound largemouth and over 20 smallmouths but no size to the smallies. All caught on minnows. Yesterday the bite was slower but managed several nice crappies.

Christopher Tuers; filed 6-7: Kayak bass report Clark Island's big bay produced numbers of 2 to 3 pound largemouths on buzzbaits over weeds in early morning. Red Cross Bay produced several big bass on buzzbaits and frogs. Rock points close to main lake produced many smallmouth bass on lipless crankbaits. Protected coves close to causeway held good numbers of bass. Fishing was a grind mid-afternoon but largemouth bass have been targeting post spawn fry inside weeds in early mornings. However during mid-afternoon, crankbaits in shad colors off transitional banks produced numbers of bass.

Editor: Late entrymy buddy Mike sent the results of a Crappie Tournament on June 10th at Pymatuning by a NE Ohio club. The two-person team could bring in 8 crappies. Of interest, the lunker crappie was 1.9 pounds. With a winning weight of 7 pounds 13 ounces for 8 fish, the average weight was little less than 1 pound per fish.

ERIE COUNTY

Lake Erie and Presque Isle Bay

Rich @ Erie Sport Store; filed 6-19: The perch fishing is very spotty on Lake Erie. I have heard reports of some respectable catches on the East Side off the GE Stacks in 38 feet and off Shades in 42 feet. On the west side, I'm hearing 42 feet off Trout Run and Godfrey Runbut in general perch fishing success is very poor. We went out last Wednesday during a shaky wind prediction and caught just 2 perch. But I did catch a 31 inch walleye on a #6 perch hook!

Walleye fishing is excellent. Fish are being caught in 10 to 50 feet. Off Beach #2 in 25 to 35 feet, and anywhere off Walnut to the Ohio line. Drift fishing and trolling have both been effective. Best colors are reported by some was gold and fire tiger but others say color does not matter. While perch fishing we caught more small walleyes than perch. Emerald shiners are in short supply, but some bait dealers have them.

At Erie Sport Store, we are currently running 20% off all fishing lures and 20% off rod/reel combos.

LATE BREAKING NEWS from Rich @ Erie Sport Store: This afternoon we have reports of limits of perch being caught in 38 to 45 feet of water west of Walnut. Based on angler info, these are very nice size perch; some sublegal and legal size walleyes in the school mix, too.

Mike @ Lake Erie Bait and Tackle; filed 6-19: Not a lot happening. Bluegills are spawning big time in the Bay right now. Some smallmouth bass are still in the Bay, but I expect them to finish up spawning and leave within about week. Bass bite in main lake is picking up. Walleye bite is still decent in shallow water in late evening/night with fish taken by boats trolling shallow as well as some being caught from shore. Some perch being caught in 30 to 40 feet in lake. Be sure to stop by Lake Erie Bait & Tackle to buy your live bait for Fish for Free Day on July 4th.

Jeff @ Poor Richards; filed 6-19: Anglers are catching perch in 40 to 45 feet of water off Clay Banks, Trout Run and Godfrey, finally with some limit catches being taken. Walleyes are going pretty good with lots of small undersize walleyes being caught at 25 to 30 feet, and more keeper size taken at 40 to 50 feet. For walleyes, trolling both worm harnesses and plugs are working, with purple and black being one of the best colors.

Andy @ Presque Isle Angler; filed 6-19: One good wordcatfish! Big cats are being caught off the North & South Pier, and off the mouths of Elk and Walnut. Perch fishing is terrible especially from Walnut Creek to the New York line. One day last week both head boats were out with maybe 150 people between the two of them, and they brought back about 20 perch; and these captains know where to go. The perch fishing is bad because the bait is missing. Emerald shiners are nowhere to be found. I am out every day looking for bait. Ohio and NY state the emerald population is down between 40% and 70%; PA Fish Commission Biologist says there is plenty of bait. Where? I'm out every day. Also, there are lots of small walleyes being caught and anglers need to treat them with respect when handling them so they can grow up big and strong!

Dave Horvath (Edinboro); filed 6-18: Hi Darl. I'm back fishing again. The Erie West report has excellent walleye action. Shoreline out to 50 feet with worm harnesses working best. Anglers please note there are lots of undersize 'eye; please handle them with care as these are our future fishery. Perch fishing is not very productive at this time; have not heard any good reports. Hope it picks up!

Marilyn Black (Cochranton); filed 6-10: Darl and I made the mistake of heading to PIB on opening Saturday of bass season; never would have done that had we looked at the calendar. What a mistake! No place to park, no place to fishbusy, busy, busyand it was breezier than forecast. We ended up going fishing for panfish in Marina Lake. Lots of fun 'gills, 'seeds and rockies put a bend in the rod, too!

MERCER COUNTY

Mike @ CDS; filed 6-19: I've been kayaking Neshannock Creek several times recently and catching more smallmouth bass than trout. I use a small Rebel Crayfish. The better bites are when the water is low and clear. After the storms on Father's Day, the creek will be a mess. I've also fished some area Game Land Ponds this past weekend, catching over 30 largemouths on wacky-rigged Senkos and Yum Dingers.

Lake Wilhelm

Marci @ Lake Wilhelm Marina; filed 6-19: Walleye action is picking up some. There are lots of crappies being caught, with a few really nice ones showing up. The leader in our crappie contest for this year continues to be a 19-3/4 inch 3.5 pound crappie! With the 4th of July Holiday coming up, be sure to reserve a boat early at the Marina. Don't wait for the last minute!

Dennis Beggs (Franklin); filed 6-17: Earlier in the month, my daughter Daria and I fished for about an hour from the shore at Wilhelm. We fished for whatever would take our bait. We caught 10 crappies, two bluegills and one catfishall on salted minnows. Fun time with my youngest of three kids!

Shenango Lake

Rick Como (Sharpsville); filed 6-18: The fishing at Shenango has improved dramatically this week due to consistent water levels and warmer temps. The bass fishing has been very good with larger-than-average fish being caught. Walleyes are finally starting to show up but are still spotty. Hybrid stripers are feeding well on shad and also running larger-than-average. White bass are schooling in deep water and are also large this year perhaps due to the abundance of gizzard shad in the lake. I have been catching a lot of juvenile hybrids, so coming years should be good for striper fishing. Please be careful not to confuse small hybrids with white bass the small hybrids are the future of our trophy fishing at Shenango.

VENANGO COUNTY

Allegheny River

Jeff @ Keystone Connection Guide Service; filed 6-18: Continuing a pattern of extremes, during the last two weeks the Allegheny River has warmed up about 15 degrees, from the mid-60s to the mid-80s. During the start of this period, some bass had returned to spawning beds. But most were in the post-spawn period. Based on my observation all are done spawning by now. As of 6-18 (my last guide trip prior to Fishing Report deadline) river smallmouth were coming out of their annual post-spawn doldrums. I am starting to see more quality size bass in the mix again, with fish showing up in summer-type spots pocket water along riffles, moderate current runs, etc. Nearly all of our fish caught on recent trips have come on Rapala X-Raps. Jeffmknapp@gmail.com.

Steven Barnett; filed 6-16: I caught a huge smallmouth bass while night fishing for musky on the upper Allegheny River. It was 25.5 inches long and weighed 6.21 pounds. I released it immediately after the photo. I was using an 8-inch bluegill for bait trying to lure a musky.

Fishing with Lefebre: Bass Tips for Late June into early July

The later part of June is a transition time for bass on many area lakes. There may still be some late bedding bass, but for the most part, bass will be in post-spawn/early summer. This is the time when bass will be guarding fry, and the bite can be aggressive when using the right lure which seems to threaten the fry. You also have straggler bass just hanging in the shallows before moving into a true summer pattern. Late June is an excellent time for topwater fishing in very shallow water. You can get some very explosive strikes. I like the Rapala Skitter Walk the 5 inch model. First fish it slow and then fish it fast to figure out how the bass want it. Whether these shallow bass are guarding fry, feeding in shallow emerging grass or randomly swimming along the shoreline, this walk-the-dog presentation will draw strikes on area lakes including Presque Isle Bay, Pymatuning and Shenango. Dave Lefebre, BASS Elite Angler

Fishing with Darl Black Guide Service:

Total Crappie Fishing Package awarded to guide guest plus Summer Outlook

Prize Awarded: Back in April, a name was drawn from among guide guests who had reserved a 2017 trip prior to start of guide season. Mark Mauro of Indiana was the winner of the Total Crappie Fishing Package which included B'n'M Rod & Reel, Gamma Line, and baits/accessories from Road Runner, Bobby Garland Crappie Baits and Thill Floats. When Mark and his father-in-law arrived to fish Pymatuning on June 9th, he was presented the prize package. With crappies less than cooperative on his trip, we turned our attention to bedding bluegills and pumpkinseeds; they took a mess of fish home for a fish fry.

Summer Outlook: Just as Pymatuning was clearing up from the Memorial Day weekend storms, the white crappie bite in deeper water finally kicked in last week; Philip Drone and his wife caught the biggest crappies I've seen since last fall. Then the Father's Day storms arrived, dumping 4 to 5 inches of rain in the area. However, I expect the deeper water bite to hold. With that in mind, I have open dates available at Pymatuning through July 8th especially for those coming up to vacation at campgrounds or cabins for the Holiday.

Starting July 14th, I will make the switch to Conneaut Lake for summer crappies, bluegills and bass. However, I only fish Conneaut on weekdays; weekend trips would be to Pymatuning or Wilhelm. I will offer regular 5 hour trips for $200.00 for crappie and bluegill (or bass) at any one of the lakes. But I will also offer special anything-that-bites evening trips to Conneaut from 3:30 to 7:30 (four hours) for $150.00 from July 14th to Labor Day in September.

Watch my Facebook Page "Fishing with Darl Black" the week of July 4th for details on another crappie outfit drawing.

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