Mild winter leads to early crappie spawn
While thousands of Pennsylvania anglers focus on trout, crappies are turning on early on some waters in the region. Call it an early spring or a mild winter, either way in waters that may be just a degree or two warmer, crappies are spawning weeks early.
At Lake Erie, crappie fishing is picking up in Presque Isle Bay. They’re under the floating pads in 2 to 3 feet of water at Pymatuning Reservoir, Crawford County, and attacking tipped jigs on warm evenings at the southern end of the lake. While Marina Bay at Lake Wilhelm, Venango County, is loaded with crappies, anglers haven’t found them yet on the causeway or shallow stumps near Sheakleyville. In Washington County at Cross Creek Lake, Andrew Augustine of Scott caught a 15-inch 2pound crappie with 13-inch girth.
White crappies spawn when water temperatures near 60 degrees, which usually is from May to June. This year, without an iceout on many mild waters, the spawn is already underway. More temperature sensitive than the whites, the stouter black crappies won’t start fanning out their bowl-shaped nests until waters reach 66-68 degrees.
You can’t blame the Pymatuning Lake Association if its annual Crappie Tournament Saturday misses the peak of the spawn. Proceeds from the $45 per team entry fees benefit the group’s fish habitat fund. For details, call 724-41-1501.
Fly guys and gals
Internationally recognized tyers and fly anglers will share their tips at the Fly Tyers Reunion 6-9 p.m. Friday at the Sporting Clays Lodge at Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Somerset County. Theo Bakelaar of the Netherlands and Harry Schoel of Belgium will demonstrate trout, bass and saltwater tying methods from Europe, and the show features as well Joe Humphreys, Bob Clouser, Bob Clouser Jr., Chuck Furimsky, Randy Buchanan, Dave Allbaugh, Tom Baltz, Scott Loughner, Josh Miller and others. For details, call 1- 800452-2223 ext. 7899.
Phosphorous is among the fertilizer-borne nutrients that can seep into streams and impact waterways such as the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay. An incorrect chemical element was referred to last week.
Helgramite and streamer patterns will be on the vice when Bob Heil Jr. demonstrates at Bar Flies, the Penn’s Woods West Trout Unlimited fly tying night 7 p.m. Monday at Grazie’s in Wexford. For details, call 412-835-6107.