This week’s Erie-area fishing report from Randy Leighton, deputy waterways conservation officer for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission:
Along with most of the northeast part of the country, Erie has finally been able to dig out from the recent snowstorms that hit the area. Cold temperatures continue to strengthen the ice on most of the areas waters although some areas are still a bit unstable and in some areas the ice is still relatively thin. Presque Isle Bay remains ice covered with reports on thickness from 4 inches to 6 inches in most areas. Some areas in the center of the bay remain thin and there is still slush in some areas. Anglers coming off the bay this past weekend reported moderate catches of perch although bluegills and smelt seemed to be plentiful. There were no complaints, though; just being able to finally do a little hard-water fishing seemed to be enough to bring out the smiles.
Anglers have had success targeting steelhead through the ice at the Walnut Creek basin and in the channel just outside the basin. Broken drift ice has built up along the Lake Erie shoreline. This ice is not solid or stable and should be considered unsafe. The Manchester Hole is mostly ice covered, although fast-flowing water under the ice in this area is a recipe for danger.
A number of anglers found good ice fishing at the Upper Gravel Pit pond in Fairview this past weekend bringing in a few nice perch and a a few leftover stockies. Shiners were the ticket. The Gravel Pit pond is somewhat sheltered from the high winds that often blow on Presque Isle Bay and can be a good place for those without a portable ice shanty. The Gravel Pit, although not a large body of water, is quite deep.