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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Suzuki's two new four-stroke, two-cylinder portable outboards have a compression reduction system for easier starting. The 20hp tiller model weighs 97 pounds the eletric-start model weighs 106 pounds. Single overhead cam, four-valve engine with Suzuki's Lean Burn Control and bat-tery-less electronic fuel injection. Built for running in skinny water, both motors come with five tilt pin positions and 15- or 20-inch shaft.
TACKLE TOTE VEST
If you wade when you fish, Fish-N-Hunt Pro Gear designed a Tackle Tote Vest that to keep gear accessible but dry when you're standing in deeper waters. It's adjustable, sturdy, has lots of pockets and a modest pricetag.
Honda Marine's BF250 outboard is a 24-valve 3.6-liter V6 that uses varia-ble valve timing and lift electronic control (VTEC). Programmed fuel injection delivers the precise amount of fuel and air to each cylinder for easy starts and instant throttle re-sponse. 20-, 25- and 30-inch shaft models.
FLEX 'N GO TACKLE SATCHEL
On-the-go anglers will find a lot to like in Plano's new Flex 'N Go Tack-le Satchel. It features adjustable built-in storage with a deep bin on one side and framework for the pair of swap-pable Plano 3600 StowAway boxes on the other, each Stowaway held with a flexible strap.
MSRP, Jacket $249.99-$269;
Cabela's Guidewear raingear now comes in four distinct series. Bass Angler (pictured) jackets and bibs are built with the tournament bass angler in mind. Xtreme parkas and bibs will help anglers fishing Northern lakes and rivers. Tidal jackets and pants offer lightweight, waterproof and breathable protection. River Runner jackets are perfect for wading anglers.
MSRP, $18.95 per pair.
The original Gear Grabbar is a unique way to hold lures and tools at the ready in boats. But the new Lure Hangar is a step beyond. This is a 12- by 16 1/2-inch plate,m ade to mount on your gunwhale, that holds 16 or more lures. There's enough room for a selection of jig, plugs, topwaters or whatever other baits you want to hang.
The new AV Micro is a complete underwater camera system that is the same size as a smart phone. On the boat or off the dock, use it to see where fish are hanging out. 3 1/2-inch diagonal display. Built-in rechargea-ble lithium ion batteries.
BERKLEY TRILENE XL
Berkley says they've improved a classic. New Trilene XL lines are now 10 percent stronger 20 percent more flexibility then they had been. Knot strength has also improved, said the company. Trilene XL has been around since 1972.
ABU GARCIA REVO SX
Abu Garcia's Revo SX baitcasting reel is now 25 percent lighter than before. The SX frame is crafted of a strong alloy while the handle sideplate are built with weight-reducing C6 carbon. Holds 145 yards of 12-pound mono.
SIMMS WEATHER GEAR
MSRP, jacket $349, bibs $299.
Simms designed its Contender Gore-Tex jacket and bibs for anglers who need reliability when they are motor-ing on the water at 70 mph in rain and wind. Waterproof and breathable. Cuffs are water tight and adjustable.
Anglers like their tools close by. And it's even better if it's connected to you so it doesn't go in the drink. T-Reign retractable gear tethers hold onto your pliers, hemostats or landing net. Several size options. Carabiner connects to D-ring, belt loop or strap, or use the stainless steel clip on belt or pack.