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NWPA Fishing Report, 12-19-18
January 3, 2019

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Published by Blackwolfe Communications LLC

County by County Report

FRENCH CREEK Flowing through all four counties

Editor's note: No reports from anglers or area shops. However, French Creek looks to be in excellent condition for late fall walleye fishing. Creek flow is somewhat high (but not too high) and water color is somewhat dingy (but not muddy). Get out there and fish!

CRAWFORD COUNTY

Pymatuning Lake

Dave @ Richter's Bait & Tackle; filed 12/17: We were doing pretty good on walleye right before the lake iced over roughly 1-1/2 weeks ago. Once I found the walleye deep on the South End, I was catching legal-size fish on Vib-E Blades; others were getting them on jig-n-minnow. Then the lake iced over but not thick enough for fishing. However, with warmer weather this past week, bays opened up as did some areas on the main lake. If we continue with above average temps and some rain, we may be able to launch again. With the bays opened over this past weekend, some guys were catching yellow perch and bluegills from shore. Also hearing of some legal walleyes coming from the river outflow section, too.

Russ @ Gateway Tackle; filed 12/17: We are in that state of limbo between open water and safe ice. Last catches of walleyes we made were almost two weeks ago from the boat. I'm hearing some folks are catching panfish off the Jamestown docks.

ERIE COUNTY

Presque Isle Bay

Dominic @ Lake Erie Bait & Tackle; filed 12/17: We lost our skim ice this past weekend. Some guys were launching boats. Other anglers were fishing off the Marina Lake docks in open water; they are catching yellow perch, steelhead and the occasional walleye. Anglers on North and South Pier are seeing some big perch and occasional walleye. The word over the weekend from Liberty Park on City side was the perch were suspended about 10 feet and not in a feeding mood.

Erie Tributaries

Lynn @ East End Angler; filed 12/17: The East Side stream are giving up some steelhead and brown trout mainly in the lower sections of streams. I'm hearing the perch fishing at Marina Lake, South Pier and Liberty Pier has been off and on. And I'm still hearing of a walleye turning up off the docks and piers of the Bay every now and then. Eaton Lake reportedly had 4 inches of ice, but that may not be true now after the warm up. Lake Pleasant received its winter stocking of trout. The Minnow Man was able to fill our tanks with emeralds.

Jeff @ Poor Richards; filed 12/17: Anglers experienced a decent week on the streams given that it's December. Good numbers of browns and steelheads taken. Baits used depended on water level and clarity as the steams have been up and down recently. Single egg, minnows and muted fly patterns for low and clear; egg skein and brighter colored flies for dirty water. Some fresh steelhead entered the streams during the recent snow melt.

Becky @ Elk Creek Sports; filed 12/17: Elk has been up and down. Catches have been good, especially for stocked browns. We had no complaints from anglers about catches this past week.

Randy @ Fish West PA; filed 12/16: With most of the inland lakes skimmed over with ice, we have been venturing to Lake Erie and doing well on both steelhead and brown trout. Ever changing conditions means versatility becomes a must! Decent weather is helping.

Bill Logan (Pleasantville); filed 12/5: On the 5th, I landed five steelheads on egg patterns and streams.

MERCER COUNTY

No reports except that some panfish are being caught off the docks at Lake Wilhelm Marina.

VENANGO COUNTY

Sugar Creek

Angler Al @ Buttermilk Hill; filed 12/9: During his visit each year over Thanksgiving, my brother-in-law Doc Das from Hendersonville, NC, and I trout fish on Sugar Creek. This year the temperature was an all time low for us. Thursday morning's 15 degrees became an issue as our fly rod eyelets constantly were icing up. But Doc did catch 2 rainbow trout before we switched over to spinning rods. I had a few dozen crawlers for us, however I had asked him to bring some worms from down south. I used these worms earlier this year during his July visit, and they were hardy wigglers. The trout liked them too! At the end of our two-day outing our totals were:

Al 13 trout (largest a 17-inch rainbow)

Doc 8 (largest a 14-inch brown)

We brought back our 3 fish limit each day to release in my pond.

On Sunday's it's all about Steelers football. But with a night game on Dec 2nd, I was happy to go back down to Sugar Creek to fish those leftover worms. I caught 3 average-size rainbows. On Sunday the 9th, I headed back to Sugar. Drifting one of those red worms in a large pool beneath a bridge, a big brownie sucked it in! Wow did he do battle. However, I wonthe nearly 25-inch fish now swims in my pond.

Allegheny River

Jeff Knapp @ Keystone Connection Guide Service; filed 12-16: Recent fishing activity has been outstanding. With water temperatures dropping into the 30s I've been targeting walleye on both the middle (free-flowing) and lower (navigable) Allegheny River. We're getting both numbers and size on guide trips and "buddy" trips. Plenty of keepers in the 16 to 20-inch range, as well as large females which we release. Recently the river produced my personal best walleye, at 13.44 pounds/31 inches. On Keystone Power Dam we're still catching big smallmouth bass, along with occasional walleye and tiger musky. During the recent period Keystone produced my personal best inland (not Great Lakes) smallmouth bass at 5.56 pounds/22.25 inches. Getting the walleyes on hair jigs, jig-n-minnow and blade baits. Blade baits for smallies. I'll continue guiding as long as the weather and river/lake conditions allow. (PS Last minute call from Jeff saying the smallmouth bite at Keystone appears to have ended.)

Pete Cartwright @ Smallies on the Yough; filed 12/16: We fished the Allegheny on the 15th. Water temp was cold. We used 412ubes to land some nice smallmouth and a few walleyes. All smallies were 16 to 20 inches. The bite was pretty good for an hour or so, then it slowed. This might be the last trip until springbut you never know!

Mike McFadden at Mike's Custom Baits; filed 12/16: The walleye fishing in the river has been very good this late fall when the water level was up. We were limiting out on decent walleyes around Thanksgiving. But gradually the river level dropped and the walleye bite slowed. On my last couple trips this past week, I've only managed a few sub legal walleyes and maybe one or two legal ones. On the 16th, I actually caught more 12 to 14-inch smallmouth bass than walleye, including one four-pound smallie all on Ned Rigs.

Bill Logan (Pleasantville); filed 12/15: I was musky fished the Allegheny today near Tionesta. I had a 30-pounder follow my bait, a huge half-pound curly tail grub. I kept casting. It followed again. I kept casting. It hit. Game on! I could hardly hold it on my musky rod with 80 lb. braid. I expected the rod to snap. Water temperature was in the mid-30s. Finally played it out enough to guide it into the net. But the hooks tangled in the mesh by the rim. I had a 50-inch plus musky across my net but not in it. It thrashed and got free. What a thrill! Life is good today.

Darl Black (Cochranton); filed 11/23: The day after Thanksgiving, Marilyn and I joined Dale Black of Gamma Fishing Line for our annual Bronzeback Friday bass outing on the river. With water temperature at 34 degrees, we didn't have high hopes. However, we caught more smallmouth than expected, bringing 12 bass over the gunwale for a quick photo before releasing them. All bass came on Mike's Custom Tubes, Galida's Grubz and Jimmy D's River Bug hair jigs. I had invited other anglers who were out over Thanksgiving weekend to send photos of their catch as well. Check them out on the following page for photos and to see whose name was drawn for the end-of-year lure pack from Galida's Grubz, 412bait Company, Someday Isle Tackle, Bobby Garland Crappie Baits, Road Runner Lures, Gamma Line, Thill Floats, Yum and Polarized Safety Glasses from Al Bell's American First Aid.

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