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NWPA Fishing Report, 1-18-18

January 18, 2018
By Darl Black , Blackwolfe Communications LLC

Brought to you by PA Great Lakes Region

Published by Blackwolfe Communications LLC


Article Photos

Yellow perch caught while ice fishing by Joshua Meyers on Presque Isle Bay. Photo courtesy of Joshua Meyers

Review of current ice conditions on individual lakes as reported by local tackle shops and anglers as of Tuesday, January 16, 2018. There is no guarantee of the stated ice thickness. Ice cover can never be absolutely safe. There is always risk entering upon a frozen lake regardless of reported thickness due to irregular freezing. Use extreme caution entering lake ice after a significant thaw & re-freeze.


Pymatuning Lake: Varies widely, 3 to 8 inches reported.

Fact Box


Review of current ice conditions on individual lakes as reported by local tackle shops and anglers as of Tuesday, January 16, 2018. There is no guarantee of the stated ice thickness. Ice cover can never be absolutely safe.

Conneaut Lake: No report; no one observed ice fishing on lake on the 15th

Woodcock Lake:Unstable due to rise in water level in flood control reservoir

Sugar Lake:6 inches reported

Canadohta Lake:10 inches of ice; some weak spots around shore


Presque Isle Bay:Varies, 6 to 10 inches reported with thinner ice in Head of Bay

Lake Edinboro:No report; no one observed ice fishing on lake on the 15th

Eaton Reservoir:5 inches reported


Lake Wilhelm:4 to 6 inches in center of lake; edges weak and entry is risky

Shenango Lake:Unstable due to rise in water level in flood control reservoir


Justus Lake:No report, but anglers reportedly on ice

Kahle Lake:No report on thickness, but anglers reportedly on ice


FRENCH CREEK - Flowing through all four counties

Editor's note: With the rapid thaw & rain followed by rapid re-freeze, French Creek has sections blown out with flooding in low area as well as broken ice jamming other sections of the creek creating ice dams. There is the potential of more flooding with the next forecast thaw/rain cycle this weekend.

Al Bell (Franklin); filed 12-19 end of year: The warming temperature motivated me to grab a few rods and head to French Creek. With one rod on the bottom rigged with a white floating jighead and tipped with a lively medium-size shiner, I began casting with a second rod. I had a Road Runner tipped with a small shiner on it. First cast I tell ya, a 24-1/2 inch Northern Pike spanked it. Thereafter another pike and then a small walleye. The other rod bounced and thinking it was a toothy critter, to my surprise I landed a hard-fighting suckerI sure do like that we're back to open water


Pymatuning Lake

Richter's Bait & Tackle; filed 1-15: A few anglers are back on the ice on South End near the Jamestown Boat Ramp and Marina. Ice is reported to be 6 to 8 inches in the area. They are having success on crappies, perch and bluegills.

Russ @ Gateway Bait & Tackle; filed 1-16: Anglers were doing very well on walleye prior to the big thaw with numerous individuals getting limits of 'eyes. Anglers were entering the ice near Stocker Island, Wexford and Snodgrass Ramp. Crappies, perch and a few 'eyes were being caught around Tuttle Point. However the re-freeze is very inconsistent, with ice thickness ranging from 3 to 8 inches. On last Monday, I broke through a hundred yards from shore with my spud bar, and abandoned my attempt to fish.

Patty @ Poff's Place; filed 1-16: Anglers were doing pretty good on crappies and walleyes before the thaw. Walleyes were coming from south of causeway. Ice cover is sketchy in some areas since the thaw & refreeze. It may firm up better by Friday, but then warmer temps and rain are expected.

Rich Sari (Kennerdell)

1-7: There is good ice at Pymie. Most of lake is 7 to 8 inches. Walleyes are slow. Got 8 in two days, but spent a lot of time on ice. Very Cold!!! The 10 pound Gamma Fluorocarbon I won works great for ice fishing but not so good when casting during fall cold water. Going to Shenango for crappies today and back to Pymie on Tuesday.

1-9: Today's catch on Pymie was solid. Barry Rose, Chuck Sari and I all got our limit. The ones I kept were between 20 and 25 inches. Great Day! Ice is nine inches thick at Snodgrass.

1-15: I just got off the ice at Pymie. Ice is 9 to 10 inches most everywhere. I did drill one hole that was only 5 inches way out in the lake. Be careful! Most people did very well last week on walleye before the thaw. Our group limited out last Tuesday and Wednesday. I talked to a couple guys who did well until Saturday. I went out Sunday and today, trying numerous honey holes did not touch a fish. These spots produced well only last week. The fish either moved or got lockjaw with the cold front.

Sugar Lake & Woodcock Lake

Tabitha @ Myers Sportsman's Connection; filed 1-16: Prior to the thaw, our customers had been fishing Sugar Lake and Woodcock Lake. Sugar may still be safe; but as a flood control lake, Woodcock is no longer safe with the influx of runoff. My husband and son had a successful trip to PIB the other day!

Canadohta Lake

Jerry @ Timberland Bait; filed 1-16: There is 10 inches of ice on Canadohta; they are catching some crappies. Customers tell me there is 5 inches of ice on Sugar Lake and they are catching some pike. Union City Dam is another hotspot if you want to walk back the road to the lake. Our annual Canadohta Ice Fishing Tournament is scheduled for February 10th check our website or Facebook page for information.


Presque Isle Bay, Tributaries and Inland Lakes

Kurt @ East End Angler; filed 1-16: Ice fishing has been very good for most anglers on the Bay. Ice is 9 to 10 inches thick just about everywhere, except off the Head of Bay from Sara's to the third parking lot it's watery along the edge. Fishing at Misery Bay has been hit and miss, with catches of perch, crappie and some bluegill. Horseshoe Pond has been good for perch, bluegill, a few steelheads and an occasional northern pike. The Fish Commission just dumped a hundred or so breeder steelhead in 16 Mile and upper end of Four Mile Creek although Four Mile is frozen, but 16 Mile is open by the water treatment plant. Also, fishing at Pleasant Lake has been very good for nice-size rainbow, brown trout, crappie and perch; ice is between 5 and 7 inches thick. Not many people fishing Eaton Reservoir; those who are fishing there are reporting 5 inches of good ice with slush underneath and catching smallmouth bass, pike and some crappies.

Dominic @ Lake Erie Bait & Tackle; filed 1-16: Anglers are back on the ice. Most places it is about 8 inches thick. They have been catching crappies, perch and gills in Misery Bay, Horseshoe Pond and Marina Lake. The best perch fishing is in the deeper water straight off Chestnut Street Ramp.

Jeff @ Poor Richard's; filed 1-16: Creeks are high and muddy, and starting to refreeze. Not many anglers trying to get on creeks. I did have one angler stop by with a 27", 9 pound walleye taken in the Bay off Cherry Street.

Dan @ Elk Creek Sports; filed 1-16: Fishing opportunities not looking good right now. Ice blew out during 2 day thaw, but now cold enough to start re-freeze. If we get the forecasted warm up going into this weekend and early next week and just some moderate rainfall, then we can get back to winter fishing. But we are also contending with piles of ice chunks from the blow out, even in parking lots on lower Elk making access difficult.

Randy Hedge @ Fish West PA; filed 1-14: We caught these fish just before the deep freeze and we were still catching fresh fish at the mouth of Walnut Creek. Rob Simmer's (pictured with me holding the dime) was as fresh as they come. Tough conditions since then made us use our better judgement and stay off the ice. Waiting for the weather to break and get back up there!

Dave Lefebre (Erie); filed 1-10: With thaw and rain coming, the ice on PIB will be out of play for a while. But I squeezed in 40 crappies and bluegills today, along with a handful of bass, before it ended.

Danny Jones (Erie); filed 1-13: We caught fish at Presque Isle Bay back on Thursday before the Big Thaw. Total of 30 crappies and a handful of bass on jigs tipped with maggots on Misery Bay. I also caught this steelhead on a Steelshad blade bait in Misery.

Jeramie Joy (Guys Mills); filed 1-13: I got this nice perch on Presque Isle Bay on January 7th while ice fishing in 8 feet of water. We caught over 100 perch in three hours between three of us. We will be back!


Lake Wilhelm

Vicki @ Fergie's Bait; filed 1-16: There is 4 to 6 inches of ice in the center of the lake, but most of the shoreline has weak ice due to the increased water from storm runoff. Anglers had been picking up crappies in the vicinity of the Three Posts.

Shenango Lake

Ken Smith (Sharon); filed 1-14: I will not be submitting a report for Shenango due to the drastic water level change as a result of the recent thaw and rain. I'll have a report next month after the lake stabilizes.


Sugar Creek

Angler Al (Franklin); filed 12-23: On the first day of winter, I sped down to Sugar Creek to see the trout might be hitting. I caught one rainbow on a #12 Price Nymph and three others on pieces of nightcrawler. The next day, Friday the 22nd my day off, buddy Stan Huefner and I fished the Cooperstown area of Sugar Creek. During a morning shower I caught several rainbows fly fishing. There were taking a bright orange salmon egg pattern. Stan didn't have any luck until the rain stopped and it warmed up. Then he caught several including a colorful brown. He kept his limit of three trout and later told me how delicious they were!

Allegheny River

Editor's Note: The middle Allegheny remains high and muddy with ice sheets pushed up along shoreline in many areas; ice blockage still in place below Foxburg.

Jeff Knapp @ Keystone Guide Service; filed 1-14: I have not been on the Allegheny since a couple days prior to Christmas for obvious reasons: extreme cold and an iced-up river. During late December guide trips, we did well on Pool 6 of the Allegheny, catching dozens of walleyes (many sub-legal 'eyes in the mix) and some nice yellow perch. Most of the fish came on leadhead jigs tipped with Gulp Alive minnows, and some on blade blades. The recent heavy rain and snow melt flushed ice from the river. Lots of water to drain from flood control lakes. I'm hoping to be back on the river after things settle down. The included photo is Sid Brown with a typical Pool 6 Allegheny walleye taken the week before Christmas.

Steve Udick (Oil City); filed 1-14: This was my Christmas present to myself on the afternoon of December 24th. I knew the weather was changing and this would be the last day of open water; caught this nice 18+ inch smallie for a present. I had not caught a bass since Nov 29 which was when the river temp dropped to 33 degrees. I'm not an ice fisherman, so I'm done until we get a warm up.



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