Pymatuning improvements and other outdoor news

Posted on: June 20, 2017 | Bob Frye | Comments

Porcupine Juniors like these were installed in Pymatuning Lake to create fish habitat and, ultimately, fishing hot spots.

More fish have more places to hide at Pymatuning Lake in Crawford County, on the Pennsylvania-Ohio border.

And that’s good news for fishermen.

The Ohio divisions of wildlife and parks and watercraft teamed up with Pennsylvania’s Fish and Boat Commission and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and assorted volunteer organizations to put 125 wooden fish-holding structures in the lake last week.

The structures — called “Porcupine Juniors” – were installed to replace natural woody structure that has been slowly degrading away since the reservoir was formed back in the 1930s. They attract baitfish seeking cover, which in turn draws in predatory game fish.

“This underwater habitat is critical to fish populations across the lake and they are also critical to anglers since fish can be located on these hot spots,” according to Matt Wolfe, the Pennsylvania native and Ohio fisheries biologist who oversaw the project

It’s fitting that the work will benefit fishermen, as they’re the ones who paid for it, he added.

Funding is derived from the federal Sport Fish Restoration program. No state tax dollars are used for this activity, he said. Rather, “this is a user-pay, user-benefit program.”

The structures were placed across two sites. Seventy-five structures were placed in about nine to eleven feet of water at one, with 50 placed in about six to seven feet of water at another.

A downloadable Google Earth file identifying just where they are is available by contacting the Ohio division of wildlife at 330-644-2293.

Big cats

A giant Minnesota flathead catfish.

And speaking of fish, anglers in two states recently caught some giant ones.

In Minnesota, according to the Department of Natural resources, an angler tied his own state record in the catch and release category for flathead catfish with a 49 incher.

The fish, caught on 100-pound test line, had a girth of 33-1/2 inches. It came from the Minnesota River.

The angler who caught it, Jake Robinson, offered advice to others pursuing big flatheads.

“I have 11 years of targeting flathead cats and suggest to new anglers to stay on the move every 20 minutes if you don’t get a bite,” Robinson said.

Maryland’s new record white catfish.

And meanwhile, in Maryland, an angler recently set a new state record for nontidal white catfish. Jacob Vosburgh caught the fish recorded at 8.27 pounds in the southern Potomac River. It was 23 inches long. He caught it on bloodworms.

Successful nest

Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania confirms that the eaglet in the Hays bald eagle nest has fledged and was seen flying on its own.

The nest experienced problems early on. It collapsed during a February storm.

The eagles re-nested, however, and produced the eaglet. According to Audubon officials, it will continue to return to the nest and the parents will continue to provide it with food during a “transition” time when the eaglet practices flying and learns to survive on its own.

Then, the parents will drive it from the nest in preparation for next year’s breeding season.

And as for the two eaglets in the Harmar nest, they’re currently “branching,” or moving around in the tree branches around the nest. It’s expected that they will take their first flights within the next two weeks.

Hunting licenses

Pennsylvania hunters and trappers can buy their 2017-18 licenses starting today.

The licenses become valid July 1.

Sportsmen will notice some changes.

Prices aren’t among them. They remain the same as last year.

But hunters and trappers won’t get a digest with their license this year. Instead, they’ll get a “pocket-guide” that contains general hunting regulations, hunting hours, fluorescent orange requirements, a map of wildlife management units, and season dates and bag limits.

A full digest can be found online at

Those who want a complete printed digest can get one. But that will cost $6.

That’s meant to save the commission money.

Another change is that adult and senior hunters – including those with lifetime licenses — who want to chase stocked pheasants this fall will have to buy a $25 pheasant permit.

But junior hunters are exempt.

That’s meant to help offset the $4.7 million cost of the pheasant stocking program.

And as for doe licenses, they’ll be accepted by mail from state residents on July 10. Non-residents get their first crack at them, again by mail, on July 17.

First-round unsold licenses go on sale Aug. 7, and second round unsold licenses on Aug. 21.

Over-the-counter sales for licenses in wildlife management units 2B, 5C and 5D begin Aug. 8. In all other units, it’s Oct. 2.

Unusual find

Everyone’s probably heard of finding two white-tailed bucks tangled together by their antlers.

But moose?

That happens, too, apparently. According to a story in the Duluth News Tribune, a father and son team out hunting shed antlers came across two bull such moose. They’d  gotten locked up, then drowned as a result.

At least one of these animals was something special, too.

According to the newspaper, the rack from one will likely make the Minnesota Official Measurers record book, “Big Game Records of Minnesota.”

Bob Frye is the editor. Reach him at 412-838-5148 or See other stories, blogs, videos and more at

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