JACK WOLLITZ Take precautions on ice after warmer temps

Mild weather may have slushed its surface, but the eight-mile-long ice cube known as Mosquito Creek Reservoir continued to support anglers as recently as Friday afternoon.
A few folks were picking up walleyes and crappies, despite temperatures that pushed to 40 and beyond last week. Anglers reported the ice was four inches thick.
Judging by the clusters of people on the ice, the action was concentrated on the south end of the reservoir near Warren. Fishing wasn't fast, according to several fishermen who were packing their gear Friday.
One thing is certain: Those who venture out this weekend need to be extra careful and remain alert for mushy spots. And, because the snow is gone, traction is approaching zero on the frozen surface, so cleated boots are necessary unless you don't mind taking a nasty tumble.
Steelies biting: Two Youngs-towners who traveled up to Elk Creek near Erie, Pa., last Sunday found their wintery journey to be worthwhile.
While the snow piled up around them, Pat Fire and Tom Lepo hooked two dozen steelhead and landed about half of them.
Fire reported the creek was ultra clear and conditions called for finesse tactics. Best results came on1/64-ounce jigs tipped with maggots and fished on 4-pound-test line with 10-foot noodle rods. He and Lepo drifted the jigs under clear plastic floats and enjoyed great action during their three hours on the creek.
Alcohol accidents: I heard an alarming statistic last week. Some 70 percent of all boating accidents involve drivers drinking alcoholic beverages. The information came from Chuck Hudak, who works for Trumbull Lifelines, formerly known as the Trumbull County Board of Alcohol, Drugs and Mental Health.
Boating, whether for fishing or just cruising, is a leisure activity commonly associated with relaxing and unwinding. As such, boaters may be tempted to unwind too much with a few beers.
Unfortunately, some people who wouldn't think of drinking and driving throw caution to the wind out on the water.
Our lakes and rivers are treacherous enough without adding alcohol to the equation. Because boat passengers are not buckled to their seats, even a minor crash can send them careening into each other, bulkheads and other hard objects.
Then there is the harsh likelihood of getting tossed overboard into deep water. Adding to the danger is the fact that you can be cut to ribbons by a big metal propeller spinning at 5000 rpm.
So the numbers cited by Lifelines‚ Hudak translate into the potential for reducing 70 percent of the pain and suffering the boating community endures if only we could keep drunks from leaving the docks.
Sounds like a no-brainer to me.
Walleye anglers wanted: The In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail has openings in its upcoming tournament season for amateur anglers wishing to sample a big-time fishing event. Among the events on the PWT schedule is the April 17-19 Dee Zee East Division tourney on Lake Erie out of Port Clinton.
Amateurs can enter the event and be paired with professional anglers who provide the boats, tackle, bait and hotspots.
For information, phone PWT headquarters in Minnesota at 218-829-0620.

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