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Contact Information:
Jerry Skrypzak

Vice President
Ed Kissell

Don Tombaugh

John Krupinski

Mail: PO Box 3605
Erie, Pennsylvania 16508

Phone/Fax: 814-453-2270





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S.O.N.S. Sponsored Presque Isle Clean Up April 15, 2023

On Saturday April 15 over 30 volunteers from the SONS of Lake Erie teamed up with DCNR staff and over 300 more volunteers from all parts of our community to participate in the annual clean-up of Presque Isle State Park. The SONS have been proud to cosponsor this annual event with the Presque Isle Partnership for over the last 15 years. The Millcreek Coffee Co. has joined in with us during the last two years. We prepared a lunch for all of the clean up participants. The weather was the best we have seen in the last few years of the event. We would liked to thank all of our volunteers, everyone who did the clean up and especially DCNR's Environmental Educators Stacey Marendt, Emily Prichard and Ray Bierbauer for making the clean up so successful.




On Friday September 15th seventeen SONS of Lake Erie volunteers set up a truckload of equipment at the Emmaus Soup Kitchen on East 11th St. In Erie. All these logistics were in preparation for our annual fish fry that is prepared for our less fortunate brothers and sisters. For about ten years now we have produced this event at this facility. More than 100 lbs of walleye fillets were trimmed, battered and fried for serving to over two hundred clients of the soup kitchen. In addition to the walleye fillets the dinner included rolls potato salad and coleslaw. the meals are packed into take out trays and paper bags and the clients can either take away for consumption elsewhere or may be enjoyed on the premises. The walleye for the fish fry were donated by members of our fishing community who participated in three separate fishing tournaments that were held this summer. This fish fry would not take place without their generous support. Below are photos of our great volunteers at work. Out of respect for the clients we do not photograph or post them.



For over 40 years now the SONS of Lake Erie has held a fish fry for all of our partners. Our partners list includes our local, state and federal legislators, public officials, members of entities, agencies and commissions such as the DEP, DCNR, CZM, PFBC, EWPPA, PA Sea Grant, Regional Science Consortium etc. all who which we have worked with us throughout the years to promote public accessibility, protect our fishery and promote the  interests of the fishing community and our club members.

This year the fish fry was held on Wednesday September 6, 2023 at the picnic facility located at the Bay Harbor East Marina. The facility is one of the finest on our bay front but in spite of this, the event requires quite a bit of logistical effort and pre planning. We set up tents, bring in extra tables, chairs, cooking tools, coolers,  deep fryers, pans, bowls, paper plates, utensils, ice, table cloth and more. Most of the above was brought in the day before ready to set up and organize.

Over thirty SONS volunteers joined in to help set up starting at 8:30 AM. The group split into teams each led by one or more of our dedicated directors who set up the tents, covered the tables, set up the frying station, the sign in tables serving tables and the kitchen. A group of about 10 volunteers brought in cutting boards and filet knives to trim the over 100 pounds of walleye fillets. They carefully inspected each removing bones and less desirable portions of the fillet and then cut them into sandwich size pieces. This process took nearly two hours.

Bob Zawadzki who has planned these fish fry’s for over forty year arrived with the trays of salads, coleslaw and beans at 10:45. The kitchen crew led by Mary Runser with the help of Sandy Brown and Mary Kissell prepared them for serving. The beer batter which was pre mixed dry by former SONS Pres. Ralph Corvaglia was finished by mixing in the beer and eggs by former VP Bill Brown The fryer crew and runners led by Chuck Mller, consisted of Ralph Friend, John Krupinski, John Kovach, Joe Springer. Keith Cauvel, Mike Kabasinski and Mike Felege started battering and frying the filets. The serving team included Larry Lipinski, Ken Mims, Ray Halt, Bert Camp and Rich Cass. The guests started arriving about 11:00 AM but by then everything was up and running to serve them. Rich Brine, Don Tombaugh and Tom Pruzenski signed in the guests who were met and greeted by Ed Kissell and Jerry Skrypzak and Jack Klapthor. The welcome team helped 50 of the guests with renewing their memberships and many of them purchased raffle tickets while others made donations. About 110 guests came to enjoy the day.

We must point out that September 6th was the hottest day of this year with the thermometer reaching 91 deg. Thank you to all who endured the heat to create a successful event including those previously mentioned  and Dave Mikeska, Tom Nichols Dick Kelley, Paul Holtz, Sue and Steve Capella and Dave Karle who also pitched in setting up, trimming fish, filling coolers, cleaning up and tearing down. Another thankyou goes out to Heidi and Gerard and their Bayshore Marina Crew for their help and the use of the facility. Finally we owe a great vote of thanks to all of those contestants in the local summer tournaments who donated their catch so that we can hold our annual fish fry at the Emmaus Soup Kitchen which is scheduled for September 15th and for this annual Partners Appreciation Fish /fry

We apologize that due to a corrupted picture card there are not photos of the fish fry. They would have saved a lot of typing because a picture is worth a thousand words.

Below are some photos from our 2022 fish fry. The place and volunteers were the same as well as some of the guests


Holland Street Fishing Pier Project Completed

On Oct 16, 2018 - The PA Fish and Boat Commission approved a grant for an Erie Access Improvement Program grant in the amount of $382,400 to the Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority. Grant dollars generated through the sale of special Lake Erie fishing permits will fund the construction of a 130-foot handicapped accessible fishing platform at the Holland Street Pier.

Two years later the engineering is complete and the bids have been awarded. It was a bit scary for a few days. Bids for the project were open on September 22, 2020. Perry Construction Co. was the low bidder at $552,000, far more than the  $382,410 appropriated by the  grant, fearing that the project was in jeopardy. A few days later the Erie Western PA Port Authority voted to provide an additional $220,000 to complete the project. They also revealed that they are planning other improvements to the Holland St. Pier including the addition of a nearly 1000 ft long sidewalk to parallel the water’s edge on the East side of the dock.

The SONS of Lake Erie, Friends of Fish Foundation and the General Electric Community Foundation also provided funds toward the project.


Holland Street Pier Dedication

The Erie Western Pennsylvania Port Authority held a dedication ceremony for the newly completed Holland St. Pier on Wednesday June 23rd at 1:00 pm. SONS Pres. Jerry Skrypzak and Vice President Ed Kissell and our board of directors were invited to participate. The President of the EWPPA, Dave Zimmer and the Executive Director of the EWPPA Brenda Sandberg as well as as other Port Authority members participated too. County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper as well some friends and family were also in attendance. After some preliminary speeches the cover of a plaque was removed. Mr. Zimmer read the inscription on the plaque and to our amazement the sign announced that the pier was dedicated to Jerry Skrypzak and Ed Kissell.

SONS Sponsor New Pavilion For Harborcreek Township  Community Park

For several years  the SONS of Lake Erie and the Wesleyville Conservation Club have partnered with Harborcreek Township’s recreation program by providing a hands on trout fishing experience for kids and their families. We started at Whitford Park and Six Mile Creek but due to high waters we moved the event to the pond at the Harborcreek Community Park. The area is wide open but did not offer shelter from inclement weather for the young anglers.

We voted to provide the funds to buy materials to build a picnic style shelter. The work was completed by Harborcreek maintenance personnel. The beautiful and well-built structure was completed in the early Fall of 2020 and was dedicated on Thursday May 6th, 2021.


SONS directors, Harborcreek Township Supervisors and maintenance team pose for picture at the pavilion dedication on May 6, 2021

Thank You "Friends of Fish Foundation"

For nearly 20 years in a row the Friends of Fish Foundation, a Philadelphia based philanthropic organization, made a significant contributions to the S.O.N.S. of Lake Erie. Total contributions from this generous group over the those years have exceeded $200,000.00. Sadly the fund has been liquidated and  the balance in it has been distributed to other organizations like us. We are so grateful for their generous support.

Over the years we have used their generous donations to accomplish significant projects including land acquisition at Trout Run, a handicapped accessible ramp at the North Pier, fishing access at the Liberty Pier, hatchery up grades including up grades to  our electrical system and lighting and repairs to our water intake for the hatchery and last year we used it for an engineering study to build a fishing platform on the north end of the Holland St. pier which is now moving forward.  We are very grateful for their years of generosity and wish them success in their future endeavors. Our goal is to hold this last generous donation and apply it to a long lasting improvement to the Lake Erie fishery.


The Friends of Fish Foundation President, Bruce Garland, is an avid steelhead fisherman who travels all the way from Philadelphia to fish Lake Erie. He caught this 35 inch beauty while fishing on 20 Mile Creek in December of 2015.

The S.O.N.S. Receive the Prophet of Peace Award

The Benedictine Sisters of Erie presented their 2015 Prophet of Peace Award to the S.O.N.S. of Lake for their extraordinary efforts to improve fishing on Lake Erie and its Pennsylvania tributaries. Their dedication to promoting the growth and health of the Lake Erie Fishery has resulted in a contribution that is both significant and far-reaching. Their work is indeed a pursuit of justice and peace that is rooted in reverence and respect for all of God’s creation  

“This award recognizes an individual or group that embodies some aspect of the community’s corporate commitment and its concerns for prophetic witness, peace and justice, sustainability, and the needs of women and children,” said Sister Anne Wambach, Prioress. “By their very example and their efforts, the S.O.N.S. of Lake Erie stand before us as an example of what prophets do: call attention to central and pressing issues of their day.”  

The S.O.N.S. received the award at a special Evening Prayer held at Mount Saint Benedict Monastery on the feast of St. Scholastica with a reception following. President of the organization, Jerry Skrypzak, who accepted the award along with Vice President, Ed Kissell, expressed how honored the group was to be chosen: "Wow! I don’t think there are any words to express what I am feeling right now ... thank you for this great honor. It is our pleasure to accept it for doing something we love."