Weather could be good for spring
By Bob Frye
Published: Sunday, March 10, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
This has been a tough winter for ice fishermen.
We've had wild, seemingly constant swings from periods of cold weather to — just days later — temperatures well above freezing. That's really put the kibosh on nature's ability to make ice.
If you've traveled to a local lake and seen a sheet of ice floating in its center but none reaching the shore — or worse, seen an ice fisherman walk out onto a lake, drill a hole, and scurry back because it was much thinner than expected — you know what I mean.
“We haven't really had good ice all winter, in my opinion. And sooner rather than later it will be gone for good,” said Patti Poff of Poff's Place in Espyville, a bait shop on the shore of Pymatuning Lake.
Some waters have been better than others. High Point Lake in Somerset County has had lots of ice. But things have been more hit and miss across the rest of the region.
That may lead to better fishing in the long run, though.
Take Pymatuning Lake, for example. Last year was a great one for spring and summer fishing there. Anglers did well on walleyes and even more so on crappies, with some of the best catches seen in years.
That may have been because the lake didn't have much ice last winter, said Tim Wilson, a biologist with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission based in Linesville.
“That may have led to a pretty good holdover of fish that would have otherwise been harvested through the ice but weren't,” Wilson said. “The fish that the ice guys would have taken home were still swimming come spring.”
This year's lack of ice might produce a similar warm-season bonanza.
Or maybe not. Even if fish are plentiful, they might be out of reach.
Last spring, biologists found more bass in Pymatuning Lake surveys than ever before, Wilson said.
“But with all of the dry weather we had, and how low the lake got, those bass were very difficult to catch. The usual places you might expect to have found them were either exposed or very shallow,” Wilson said.
Maybe those fish, which survived the summer then escaped anglers again this winter, will be there, and accessible, this year.
A reader writes
Word that bald eagle populations are doing so well in Pennsylvania that the Game Commission might take them off the state's endangered list prompted Jeff Cochran to share some sightings he's experienced.
“For the past three years, fishing on the second day of trout season I have spotted a bald eagle while fishing at Loyalhanna Creek. I fish the Loyalhanna from April to mid-June in just about every stretch, but only see the eagle in one area, near Darlington, on that particular week,” said the Adamsburg resident.
Cochran said a local certified bird expert told him the eagle likely is migrating and using the Loyalhanna area as a resting area.
Maybe that's a good sign.
Dan Brauning, head of the Game Commission's wildlife diversity section, has said that southwestern Pennsylvania is the one corner of the state that mostly has not seen eagles take up residence. But with birds spotted in Allegheny, Butler and Cambria counties this winter, maybe that's changing.
Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kids turning attention to archery in record numbers
- Frye: Many challenges for deer hunting
- Outdoors notices: March 8
- Frye: Questions remain for Allegheny River walleye
- Thinning hares raise concerns across Pa.