The Times-News fishing report is published Fridays. To access it online, go to http://www.goerie.com/sports/outdoors. The Times-News cannot verify ice conditions. Anglers should use caution when ice fishing and check with local authorities before venturing onto ice.
The fishing report is better than last week. This is a big deal since last week we had a miserable fishing report. But fishing in the region is largely limited to steelhead creeks and Presque Isle Bay.
As of Wednesday afternoon, all of the steelhead creeks had good flow and good color. Rain Friday could change all of that, or sustain good conditions for a few days. Elk Creek probably holds far more steelhead than any of the other Pennsylvania creeks. Walnut Creek has a decent number of steelhead in the lower end, and some are still upstream.
On the east side of Erie, Four Mile Creek, Sixteen Mile Creek, Twelve Mile Creek and Twenty Mile Creek all have been fishing well. The better fishing has been when the creek flows were coming down. But do not ignore fishing during the rain while creek flows are starting to rise and the water is getting more color. You will be away from a lot of fishing pressure if you fish during rainfall.
Since creek conditions have been changing so often, the best bait and fly patterns have changed frequently. If you fish while creeks are rising, change your offering as the stream conditions become higher and muddier. Increase fly and bait size as flow and color increase. Use bright red colors. When streams come down and lose, use smaller baits and flies. Change bait and fly colors to orange, pink, chartreuse, then white, as streams recede and become clearer. Also drop down in line size as the water becomes clearer.
Most of Presque Isle Bay is open now, and it looks like it will remain this way for the coming week. Being less joined to rainfall, this should be the most consistent fishing in the region. So far this winter, perch fishing has been good in the bay. Anglers have been fishing at both the North Pier and the South Pier, and at the other usual locations inside the bay. Some burbot should still be accessible from the South Pier or the North Pier. Now also should be a good opportunity for pike fishing or steelhead fishing in the bay.
The last area lake to have ice has been Eaton Reservoir, where ice fishers have caught bluegill, perch and crappie. But at last report, the ice had eroded along the shoreline.
The Gravel Pit has been stocked with trout, and the water is open. This is another nice opportunity for shore fishing.
Elsewhere at inland lakes, the water is open, and very few anglers have been fishing the open water.
Outflow from the Kinzua Dam is at levels that should not be fished. A few pike and muskie may be caught in calm backwaters.
— Mike Bleech
Lake Erie Bait and Tackle, 317 Peninsula Drive, 790-5728
Elk Creek Sports Store, 10543 Old Lake Road, Lake City, 774-8755
Poor Richard’s Bait & Tackle, 6821 West Lake Road, 474-5623
East End Angler, 4702 East Lake Road, 898-3474
FishUSA.com, 6960 West Ridge Road, Fairview, 1-800-922-1219
Edinboro Outdoors, 211 Mill St., Edinboro, 814-734-4727
Poff’s Place, Route 285 and Perry Drive, Espyville, 724-927-2462
Richter’s, 2936 Williams Field Road, Jamestown, 724-932-5372
Hogan’s Hut, 3503 Old Bridge Road, Stowe, N.Y., 716-789-2148
Fergie’s Bait & Tackle, 857 Georgetown Road, Sandy Lake, 724-253-3655
Animalistics Outdoors, 2009 Pennsylvania Avenue E., Warren, 814-723-1243
Bill’s Hooks, 5139 West Lake Road, Dunkirk, N.Y., 716-366-0268