JACK WOLLITZ Fishing warms up
Fishing is on the upswing throughout the area as anglers dust off their equipment and travel to their favorite waters.
The relatively dry week just ended enabled the water to settle a bit in the rivers and reservoirs, but most remained stained to the point where angling has yet to really peak. A few more days without heavy rain and the fishing should improve markedly.
Muddy water did not deter bass anglers last weekend at Mosquito Creek Reservoir, where competitors in the Greater Ohio Tournament Trail's event brought lots of largemouths to the scales. Some nice limit catches were scored. Big bass for the tourney was 4.5 pounds.
Brothers George and Nick Prvonozac of Warren won the event with 15 pounds of bass. Many anglers reported success flipping the shallow flooded bushes with jigs and Texas-rigged tubes.
Walleye, meanwhile, continue to be caught shallow at Mosquito and Pymatuning as anglers work jig-and-minnow combos. Some nice post-spawn fish are being taken in shallows up to one and two feet.
At Berlin and Lake Milton, the walleye fishing is beginning to warm up as well. Fish are being taken on points and flats, mostly on jigs and live bait.
All of the local reservoirs are over their banks. To find the fish that typically spend spring time in shallows - like bass and crappies -anglers should move right up with the fish. Those who concentrate on the shallow cover that is close to the "new" shoreline, and avoid the tempting cover well away from the bank, will have the best success.
Once the water begins to clear up and recede, the fish will start moving back to the cover off the bank.
Trout season, in the meantime, is in full swing in Pennsylvania, but the streams are swollen and off color, making the fishing difficult.
Baits that give off a lot of smell will work best in such conditions, as will flashy baits like spinners.
At Pine Lake south of North Lima, the last of the 2002 trout are cruising for meals, but many folks are now switching to panfish and bass and catching lots of them.
Pine's season is set to continue through May 22 and then resume June 28 and run through July 31. Evans will open May 24 to June 26 and again Aug. 2 through Sept. 2.
Hamilton Lake will be open May 3 through June 30 on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Memorial Day.
Anglers looking to test their bass skills may want to check out the open tourneys organized by Girard Lakes manager Jim Stacchiotti.
Daytime events are set May 11 on Lower Girard (formerly Liberty Lake) and Aug. 24 on Upper Girard. Night tournaments are June 21 and July 19, both on the upper lake.
Hours will be from 6 p.m. to midnight.
Competitors will be limited to electric motor power only. Outboards can remain on the boats, but can be used only in the event of emergency.
For information, phone Stacchiotti at (330) 545-9712.