The arctic blast hardened still waters throughout the region, particularly at higher elevations, but ice anglers were advised to remain cautious. The rule of thumb calls for at least 4 inches for one angler and gear (200 pounds), 7 inches for a small groups. Hang ice picks around the neck, anchor a rope to shore and drape it near the fishing location, and avoid ice that is pierced by structure or covering moving water or submerged springs. The state Fish and Boat Commission will conduct an ice fishing workshop Feb. 1 at Raccoon Lake in Beaver County.
Lake Erie and tributaries (Erie County): Presque Isle Bay was busy with anglers. Many panfish and jumbo yellow perch were pulled through the ice, particularly near Misery Bay. Although most tributaries were covered with hard ice and slush, and rod guides and nets were frozen, a few anglers reported dozens of hookups in deep pools on Elk Creek.
Pymatuning Lake (Crawford County): Crappies were caught through the ice on maggot-tipped jigs.
Shanango River Lake (Mercer County): Despite low water anglers pulled small panfish through the ice.
French Creek (Venango, Crawford counties): In poor fishing conditions near Franklin and Cochranton, several anglers landed or missed northern pike and muskellunge on large live chubs.
North Park Lake (Allegheny County): Several nice rainbow trout were pulled through holes in recent days using live minnows or paste baits.
High Point Lake (Somerset County): Good ice fishing was reported including catches of chain pickerel, largemouths, yellow perch, a 20-inch walleye and one northern in the 30-inch range. Shiners were the hot bait.
Cranberry Glade Lake (Somerset County): Days before the cold snap, Fish and Boat reported 3 1/2 to 4 inches of “good ice.”
Report your catch at email@example.com. Include angler’s name, age (for children), place of residence, species, size, body of water, date of catch, phone number (not for publication) and optional details.