Your Best Spring Fishing in Pennsylvania
March 19, 2014
Whether you're angling for slabs, or trout fishing is more your speed, there is plenty of spring fishing in Pennsylvania. Here are the place you'll definitely want to hit.
Despite significant fishing pressure and harvest, Pymatuning's crappie fishery just keeps chugging along, producing good numbers of fish, and plenty of slab-sided ones. Crappies are one of the first species to turn on when ice leaves the lake, usually around the middle of March.
Expect to find the first crappie action in the north end of this massive, 16,000-acre lake. This portion warms first. Crappies move into shallow, dark-bottomed bays, often hovering near remaining lily pad stalks. It only takes a couple of days of warm, sunny weather to fuel the movement into the shallows. Key areas include Stewart's Bay, and the many extensive bays near the Wilson and Padanarum access areas.
Pymatuning is a border lake, shared with Ohio. Licensed Pennsylvania anglers can legally fish Ohio waters, but need an Ohio license to fish from any Ohio shoreline.
Additional March trips: trout in Berks County's Tulpehocken Creek (the Delayed Harvest, Artificial Only section below Blue Marsh Dam); and trout in Lawrence County's Neshannock Creek, the DHALO section near Volant.
Pennsylvania has lots of Pine Creeks, and many of them provide trout fishing. But the tallest 'Pine' is the one that flows through Tioga County's Pine Creek Gorge — aka the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. It would be hard to find more glorious surroundings to enjoy a springtime trout trip.
Pine Creek fishes best during the spring; by mid-summer water temperatures often become marginal for trout, the trout often seek relief in or near the many cold-water tributaries such as Slate and Cedar runs.
The canyon section of Pine Creek begins near Ansonia. Leonard Harrison and Colton Point state parks are located on the ridges. Many anglers access via the Pine Creek Trail, a rails-to-trails that runs along the river bottom. At the lower end of the gorge Route 414 crosses Pine at Blackwell. Anglers can expect to share the water with canoeists and rafters.
Other April trips include American shad on the Delaware River; and crappies in Sayers Lake.
By May Lake Erie's bubba-sized smallmouth bass will be on the move in preparation for the year's spawning activity. This means lake fish will be in shallow water, which for Erie means anywhere from 5- to 30-feet deep. Rocky humps out in 25 to 30 feet of water should hold some fish, as well as rocky flats near shore. Many of the most productive near-shore spots will be close to the larger feeder streams that enter the lake.
May is also the top month for smallie fishing within the comparatively protected waters of Presque Isle Bay. A significant number of bronzebacks spawn in 'Erie Bay,' moving back out to the lake by late June.
Bay fish can be deep or shallow. Check out the many hard-bottomed humps that lie south of the entrance to Marina Bay. The sandy flat which rims much of the north shore of the bay often holds fish, as does the northern edge of the dredged shipping channel, which is easy to locate thanks to the USCG buoys. The bay can get crowded during May, especially on fair weather weekends.
Other top choices for May include trout on Penns Creek; and bluegills on Kahle Lake.
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