It’s Memorial Day Weekend, and just about every area fish species is in play in northwestern Pennsylvania. Among the fish roaming the shallow waters of area lakes are walleyes, smallmouth and largemouth bass, muskies, northern pike, crappies, bluegills, pumpkinseeds, channel catfish, white bass and hybrid striped bass.
Some species are in pre-spawn/spawning mode, while others are in post-spawn but still feeding in the shallows. Whether in a boat or on the bank, anglers of all ages can enjoy the tug on the line this weekend.
“Smallmouth in Presque Isle Bay are actually in all three stages of spring spawn. Some fish are still prespawn and moving into the Bay, others are on beds, and a few fish are already in post-spawn putting on the feedbag and moving back to the lake,” explained Jake at FishUSA. “Ned rigs and dropshots are my favorite baits for this time of year.
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“Lake trout are still around the mountain but are starting to drop off the backside into deep water. Cowbells and Pro Troll flashers in Mountain Dew color by a spin-n-glo have been the ticket for me. Anglers are also catching good numbers of walleyes jigging and trolling at night along the lake shore. A shallow Bay Rat or Bomber Long A are standard for trolling right now.”
Reports from Poor Richard’s and Elk Creek Sports stressed that anglers are still having success wading at the creek mouths of Walnut Creek and Trout Run in the evenings and mornings – if the weather cooperates. There are still some smallmouths in the creeks, but most have returned to the lake. Channel catfish will be next to move into Elk Creek. No word of any walleye or perch catches offshore in the lake.
“Lots of walleyes are being caught during the daytime by anglers drifting or casting nightcrawlers around the humps on the south end of Pymatuning – although it’s about one legal for every six shorts,” stated Dave at Richter’s Bait. “The alewife spawn has started, so to catch big walleyes you need to be fishing over weed-beds at night. Black crappies are still in the shallow wood as they finish up their spawn. Smallmouth bass are on the gravel humps. And we are getting ready for bluegills!”
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Shenango anglers have reported a good walleye bite – both trolling and casting. Largemouth and smallmouth bass are active in the shallows. The exciting news is the shad spawn is in progress on the lake, and large hybrid stripers are very shallow. Casting small shad-color crankbaits, spinnerbaits and swimbaits are the best choices to connect with a striper this weekend.
Protected shallow water flats on many area lakes are filling up with spawning beds for various sunfish. Particularly pumpkinseeds at Conneaut Lake, and green sunfish and pumpkinseeds at Lake Wilhelm. Bluegills are soon to follow. The two biggest mistakes novice anglers typically make when fishing for sunfish species – too large a hook and too large a bobber. Use a size #8 hook and a small weighted foam bobber to vastly increase your catch.
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East End Angler, 4702 East Lake Road, Erie; 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