“Fantastic! It’s rainbow trout fishing on the tributaries right now,” said Chris of Elk Creek Sports. Anglers catch plenty of Rainbow Trout at Walnut, Elk, and even Crooked Creek.
“If you’ve been waiting for the right conditions to make the trek to Erie’s Rainbowheaded Streams, I’d say it’s the coming weekend,” Jeff told Poor Richard’s. “The streams have been covered in ice and are clearing and lowering a bit. According to the forecast, the weather looks good for the weekend. Single eggs and minnows are the ticket.
After a day of capturing “returns” (post-spawning fish that have overwintered in tributaries), Bill at Tudor detailed the flow scenario. “On a hot day, some of the deep snow in the woods will melt, raising the water in the creek a little and giving it color in the late afternoon. The melting slows down with the night temperature and the water clears up. I believe the stream temperature is still too cold to pull fresh rainbow trout from the lake, but when the streams warm up a bit more I expect to see the real start of the spring run. White streamers and Blood Dot egg mimics are the go-to flies.
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As the spring rainbow trout fishery takes off, the ice fishery draws to a close. “With the exception of Marina Lake, which has solid ice, hard water fishing in the bay is pretty much over,” Kirk told East End Angler.
All anglers should be extremely careful with any remaining ice fishing. “I’ve had several anglers come to me and tell me they’re hanging up for the season,” Kirk said. “According to them, there are major cracks in the ice sheet around parking lots #1 and #2, water on the ice in places and more open water almost daily.
Dave from Richter’s Bait on Pymatuning said he wouldn’t go on the lake in the current ice conditions. “The ice cover is deteriorating with more softening at the edges and melting snow on the ice. Additionally, there is open water from the Linesville Spillway to the islands.
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With forecasts for the weekend in the mid 50s to low 60s, more rain and wind, the already patchy ice on the inland lakes will be in full decay. The Allegheny River and French Creek are full and dirty. There are few fishing opportunities outside of rainbow trout in the Erie tributaries.
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One possibility concerns flow areas under dams. Walleye season doesn’t end until March 14, and these glassy-eyed game are currently moving through river systems; numbers increase in the reach of flow below a dam. Investigate Woodcock Creek Dam, Shenango River Dam, Pymatuning Dam, and the Linesville Spillway Stream at the north end of Pymatuning. Try a hair jig, jig-n-minnow, shad-body jig, hard hanging jerkbaits or a blade bait. Attempting to keep a hooked walleye invites a fine.
Advisory: PFBC has issued a “do not eat” advisory on all species in the Shenango River below the dam, but fishing is permitted.
Erie RV and Sport Show
The Erie RV & Sport Show Expo will run Friday through Sunday at the Bayfront Convention Center. The show is a combined version of the Erie RV Show and the Erie Sport Show.
Tickets are $7 at the door and can be purchased online at erierv.com. Parking is free. The website also includes a map of attractions and a schedule of seminars. Hours are noon to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
East End Angler, 4702 East Lake Road; 814-898-3474
FishUSA Pro Shop, 6960 W. Ridge Rd., Fairview; 800-922-1219
Poor Richard’s Bait & Tackle, 6821 West Lake Road, Lake City; 814-474-5623
Elk Creek Sports, 10543 Old Lake Road, Lake City; 814-774-8755
Tudor Hook-N-Nook, 10079 Cross Station Ext., Girard; 814-323-5886
Richter’s Bait & Tackle, 2936 Williamsfield Road, Jamestown, PA; 724-932-5372