Thursday, December 31, 2009

Brrrrrrr.... Happy New Year!

It has been COLD lately... I wish I had a decent report for you, but I don't. As for me, fishing has been very slow. But I really do not have much to report as I haven't had a chance to get out in almost two weeks.

When I did get out (a couple weeks ago), I fished for 2 or more hours on two consecutive evenings. My grand total for the combined 4-5 hours of fishing time was 1 small walleye. Since then, I haven't been able to get out at all... Either the weather has been just too dang cold or the river conditions have not been fit when I have had the opportunity to go.

I did talk to my Dad today, and received a positive report from him. He and my nephew Bailey hit the river for a few hours this afternoon. They didn't catch a lot, but my Dad did manage a couple quillback carp and a big sucker. My nephew Bailey also scored a nice 22 inch walleye, which I think is his first walleye... not a bad way to start out! Dad emailed me a picture, so I'll post it for you.

Bailey and my Dad also witnessed another gentleman land a small musky this afternoon. So, obviously, there are still some fish out there that are willing to bite. I'd say if you don't mind the cold and you get a chance to get out there and fish before things ice up, definitely go for it! Good luck, and maybe I'll see you on the water in 2010... Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

There's still a couple out there...

But fishing's been kind of slow. Between work, deer season, and the holidays coming up, it has been tough to find enough free time to spend on the water. Luckily I was able to spent a little bit of time at the river this morning with my Dad...

The fishing wasn't great but we did see a little action. We only managed one gamefish today (a decent smallmouth), but there were a lot of quillback carp in the hole we were fishing and that made for some fun action to pass the time.

I haven't been able to fish much lately, but my Dad has been hitting the river some, and from what I can gather fishing has been rather slow. He has been picking up a couple bass here and there and an odd walleye or two, but the action is nothing compared to last year at this time. Hopefully things will pick up soon. The river conditions are pretty good right now, but with the COLD weather forecast for the next week, it's hard to say what might materialize.

It has been a slow winter so far on the river, but from the reports I have been reading online, it sounds like this has been a great fall/early winter for those fishing the salt water in the mid-Atlantic states. For the most part, we've had reasonably mild temperatures so far which has allowed ocean temps to remain high enough for decent fishing to continue. Unfortunately for me, I haven't been able to do any saltwater fishing since late September, but for all of you guys that have been out there chasing them, I'm envious and I hope you had a very successful fall.

I have a couple days off work coming up this week, so I hope to spend some more time on the river soon... If there is anything good to report I'll be sure to post something. Good luck to you all! Maybe I'll see you on the water.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

It's deer season... and the fish ARE still here!

Even though it's the middle of deer season, I decided to make a stop by the river today... I needed to see if the fish were still here. As most of you know, the majority of outdoorsmen in central PA would just as soon forget that there actually are fish in our local waters during deer season. But, I am here to tell you that the masses are mistaken--the fish are still here... And they will actually bite! You just have to go fishing instead of hunting to catch them, ha ha.

Actually, my original plans for today were to spend a few hours in the woods hunting this morning before work... But, after a last minute change in schedule, I decided to spend an hour or so hitting the river instead. I'm glad I did. I didn't catch a lot, but I did have a few hits and managed to land a nice 19" walleye and a pretty smallmouth bass around 17". Both fish were caught on swimbaits that were rigged on jigheads.

Conditions were good today, and I wish I would have had a little bit more time to fish the area more thoroughly. I think if I would have had a little bit more time I probably would have caught a few more fish this morning. A storm front just moved into the area and began dropping the season's first snowfall. A lot of times, fishing the beginning of a storm or unsettled weather condidtions can be very productive, and today was no different.

Still, even though I didn't get to fish as much as I wated to today, I know the fish will be around somewhere the next time I get a chance to hit the river. Hopefully you have had a chance to get out to enjoy the woods or the water recently as well. If you are planning an outing in the not to distant future, please don't forget that fall and winter is not just a time for hunting... there are still plenty of fish to be caught. Be safe and good luck. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

On the river bank... smallies, walleyes, muskies, pike, and perch :)

Unfortunately for me, I don't have any great success stories of my own to share with you this week... But, I would like to take a little bit of time to congratulation my nephew Gabe on a couple awesome catches he made recently.

Gabe and my dad had a great trip to the river this past week. They didn't catch a lot of fish, but it was quality over quantity. Gabe caught 2 walleyes, a northern pike, and his first musky! All in one morning... incredible! Gabe spends a lot of time fishing throughout the year, and has made some excellent catches. He has a lot of patience and fishes hard. Needless to say, he earned these fish. I have a couple of the photos from their trip, so I'll post them for you here. Enjoy.

Personally, I did get out a couple times this past week. Dad and I hit the river one day and caught a few walleyes and a couple of bass. I also caught a nice, fat yellow perch, which was a first for me from the river. I also found an exciting new spot to fish, and I was lucky enough to land a few fat smallies there one afternoon before work. This spot should be a producer for both bass and walleyes when the conditions are right, and I'm excited to spend some time fishing it in the near future.

PA antlered deer season starts next Monday, so this week I will most likely be spending most of my spare time getting prepared to whack a big buck, ha ha. Still, I'm never sure when the fishing urge might strike... So hopefully I'll have some good stories and reports to share with you soon. I wish you all good luck if you get out there, and maybe I'll see you in the woods or on the water. Thanks for reading.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hot fishing...Cool Weather... :)

With the awesome weather that we have been blessed with lately, I have been chomping at the bit to get out on the river. It doesn't help that my daily commute takes me along both the Juniata and Susquehanna Rivers, so I am constantly watching the water conditions and observing anglers fishing at various locations.

Over the past couple of weeks, the water levels have been receding from previous high flows. And as the levels have dropped, I have noticed the number of boats (and anglers) on the water increase exponentially. Last week, every day on my drive in to work I couldn't help but think, "It's November, the water is cooling, and fish are fattening up for the winter. Lots of guys are out there and I haven't been... Something special is going on and I'm missing it!"

Needless to say, after working 7 days straight, when I finally had a couple of days off this past week it was time to fish. Dad and I had been talking about hitting the river, so I knew he would be up for it also. This past Tuesday morning we headed out to the river, with high hopes of finding some bass and maybe a couple walleyes.

The morning started out a little bit slow, but before long we were picking up a few fish. After we reached the end of the stretch that we typically fish, we decided to head a little farther upstream to see what we could find... Luckily, we found a very nice looking hole. The hole was made up of a deep eddie against the inside bank and a strong current seam on the outside that pushed up against (and then around) a floating dock/log-jam at the bottom of the hole. It was a beautiful spot, and we were both pretty sure it would hold a couple fish. Sure enough, on my first cast I was on. After a short struggle, I landed a nice mid-teen length smallmouth... We both took a few more casts with only a couple bumps (but no fish) to show for it. Then, BAM, I had a nice hit as I bounced my jig along the current seam towards the back of the hole. Immediately the fish took off fast, and headed for the logs at the bottom of the hole. I put some extra pressure on the fish and luckily it turned and came back upstream to the upper end of the hole for the remainder of the fight. I knew it was a good fish, but not until I saw it did I realize it would turn out to be my new personal best smallmouth... When I finally grabbed her, I couldn't believe how big she was... She was colored up beautiful, and was thick and very long--measuring 21 inches in length. If I had to guess a weight I would probably say 5 lbs or a bit better. We took some pics, and then got her back in the water and watched her swim away. Dad and I each took a couple more casts after that, but we quickly decided it would be tough to top what just happened... so we decided to call it quits and go check out a different spot.The move turned out to be a good one. It wasn't long before Dad hooked up and landed a beautiful 18" smallie at our new spot. A few minutes later, I had a good hit that ended up with a wiff on the hookset... my leader was bitten off! Musky! I re-tied (put a plug on this time) and began fishing some more. About twenty minuted later I had another strong hit, followed by a wiff, and another bite off. This was getting frustraiting, lol. Next I bumped up the strength of my leader in case this were to happen again. Luckily, on my next strike the hooks found their mark and my line did not part. I fought the fish for a few moments and when I first saw the fish I though it was a small musky.... but I was wrong. The fish turned out to be a nice northern pike. The first one I've ever seen or caught in the river.

After the pike, our attention was quickly turned to walleyes as I picked up a couple small ones and then my Dad landed a hefty 20 1/4 incher. We fished a bit more, but we were both very satisfied with how the day had turned out. So we decided to head home in the early afternoon.

With the excitement from our trip on Tuesday still fresh in my mind, I had to hit the river again before I headed back to work Thursday night. Thursday morning I woke up early and couldn't get back to sleep... I was thinking about Muskies. I called my Dad to see if he could hit the river with me, but unfortunately he couldn't make it. So, I packed things up and headed out by myself armed with my rod and camera.

As most of you probably know, muskies are supposed to be the fish of 10,000 casts... But as luck would have it, I hooked up on my first cast this morning and landed a pretty, little, hammerhandle musky--about 22 inches long. I was excited to land the musky, but was also kind of worried about catching a fish on my first cast... which has almost always provern to be a jinx in my previous experience, lol. Lucky for me the jinx didn't stick this morning. After about another hour of casting I hooked up again, but this time the fish was larger. It was long and broad, and as soon as I caught a glimpse of the fish in the water, I got nervous. It was an awesome fight. The musky took line fast, and it even leaped completely out of the water and did a flip...twice! After a couple of minutes and a lot of praying that my hook would stick and my flourocarbon leader wouldn't part, I slid my musky up onto the bank. She taped out at 33 1/2 inches and was very heafty for her length. I would have guessed 12 to 13 lbs. at the time. After a quick photo, she made a quick flop and was back in the water and gone in a split second. I was extatic, and after a deep breath I could feel a little quiver in my knees from the anxiety of the fight. It wasn't a big musky by any means, but it was the first nice one that I have caught in a long time.I fished a little while longer after landing the second fish, but I knew that it would basically be impossible for the morning to get any better, fish or not. So, I headed home a little before noon. I had caught the fish that I wanted to, and even got a couple pics... I was a happy, lucky fisherman.

As always, thanks for reading and enjoy the pics!

Couple more steelies...

I just wanted to take the opportunity to congratulate my nephew Bailey on catching his first two steelhead last week... Bailey made a trip up to fish the Erie tribs with my Dad. They had a lot of fun, but with the crowds, and no additional rainfall to boost flows in the creeks, the fishing was a little bit slow. Still, Bailey persevered through the crowds and tough conditions and came through with 2 very nice steelhead. In fact, I think he outfished my Dad on this trip... Not an easy task. WTG Bailey! You are a natural, I'm sure there will be many more to come... :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fishin' but not much catchin'... (again)

Well... Unfortunately, I don't have much success to share with you since my last blog entry, but it's not for lack of trying. Last weekend Marianne and I took a little trip to Erie with my Mom and Dad. We were hoping to really get into the steelhead, but the steelhead had other plans, ha ha.

I'm not exactly sure what went wrong as far as the catching goes... but I have my hunches. The weather was good, as were the flows in the creek. But there were a lot of fallen leaves in the creek, and the water was stained brown--tea colored. I'm gonna blame the lack of our success on the unfavorable water conditions in the creek, and possibly a foul taste (or bad pH) in the water due to all the tanic acid from the leaves. One thing was for sure, there weren't quite as many fish in the streams as I had expected (with the biggest concentrations farther up the creeks). Worst yet, the fish that were there had a pretty bad case of lock jaw. Between the four of us, we only landed 3 fish. I caught 1 and my Dad caught 2. I'm generally a fairly optomistic person, so I would look for fishing to improved a bit after the next couple high flow events rid the creeks of their dead leaves. Look for some fresh fish to enter the stream at that time and the bite to pick back up.

Still, inspite of the slow fishing, we had a very nice trip. We stayed in a nice hotel, ate some great food, and enjoyed spending qualitly time with family. Unfortunately I don't have many pictures downloaded yet, but I will add them as a I get a chance to download some more in the next couple of days.

As far as fishing goes locally... I haven't hit the river in about two weeks, but water conditions are just about perfect right now. So I'm hoping to get out soon and do some searching for some walleyes, smallmouth or whatever other critters feel like chomping on one of my lures. Till next time, thanks for reading and good luck on the water!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Wet weather, walleyes, and some bass...

With the weird weather we've been having lately, it's been a little bit tough to find a decent opportunity to get out and fish. Still, my Dad and I were able to get out for a few hours on Friday morning this past week, before the rain began...AGAIN!

With the front moving in, we decided to hit the river with hopes of picking up a couple cool water walleyes and some bass. Action wasn't fast, but we each caught a couple. Dad started out the morning with a pretty little smallmouth bass. Not long after, I hooked into a decent walleye. After that, our rolls were solidified for the day. He would be the bass catcher (with 3) and I would be the walleye catcher (with 2), lol. Though it wasn't a great day in terms of productivity, but we did have a lot fun and enjoyed a beautiful, fall morning on the river.

Here's a few pics...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Watching the weather... (and some steelhead fishing :)

If you are an outdoorsman, there is a very good chance that you are also a weather watcher... As you know, weather conditions dictate so much about what we do in the outdoors. They help us decide where to go, what activities (whether fishing or hunting) to pursue, and also determine the endeavors that will most likely prove to be successful for us. For me in particular, this past week turned out to be a prime example of weather watching.

I had off work this past Tuesday and Wednesday and had made plans (some time ago) to do some saltwater fishing with my good buddy Pete. Unfortunately, the weather forecast looked terrible... Calling for rain and strong winds coming from the wrong direction. Pete and I both wanted to go striper fishing very badly, but in the end we decided it would be best to postpone our trip in hopes of trying again under better conditions next month.

Still, after a quick check of the forecast, and a phone call with my father... my Dad and I decided to head out on a last minute trip to Erie, PA--where the weather looked more favorable and with any luck, the steelhead would be biting.

We arrived to the Erie area in the early afternoon on Tuesday, and found the creeks to be low and clear. Conditions were not great, but at least they were fishable and it seemed that there were good numbers of fish in the streams. Our first stop was at Poor Richard's Bait and Tackle, where we picked up some goodies, and then headed off to Elk creek in search of some fish. We ended up fishing Tuesday evening until dark, and then again Wednesday morning until about 10 am, before we decided to call it quits. It was a very quick trip, but we both had some fun and caught some decent fish... about 15 in all, with most coming on the drift rods using either live shiners or single eggs, for bait. Dad, scored a nice brown trout on the fly rod though, which was a special treat for Erie.

Even though condition weren't optimal in Erie the past couple of days, they were much better than along the coast. Likewise, we were fairly successful steelhead fishing--probably much more so than if Pete and I would have decided to brave the elements and head out to the beach.

I am certain that most of you guys and girls do follow close attention to the weather conditions, but if you do not, there really is no better time to get started than now... It will help you pick and chose the best opportunities for your outdoor endeavors. I have a lot of links listed along the left side margin of this blog, and one section in particular is dedicated to the weather, stream flow data, tides, and sun & moon phases. If you get a chance, check out the links in this section... I do not get paid anything for you to click on them. I have them listed purely for your own reference and to help you out with whatever you chose to do. I find the US GS stream flow link to be particularly interesting and helpful, and I hope you find it and the other links useful as well. Also, if there are any sites that you know of that might be better than the ones I have listed, please let me know and I'll check them out. Thanks again for reading and I hope you enjoy the pics from this past week's trip!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fishing... But not always catching :(

If you've done much fishing in your life, I am sure you have learned that spending time on the water does not always equate to catching fish. This past week I had another hard-earned lesson in fishing... But not catching.

This past Tuesday night my Brother-in-law Chad, and I, made a quick trip down to Point Pleasant, New Jersey to spend the next day fishing on the "Cock Robin"--a party boat that sails out of Manasquan Inlet. Our objective for the day was to fish for false albacore, and catch as many as we possibly could. The previous Wednesday the boat ran a false albacore special trip and had and outstanding day... crushing the fish! Needless to say, we had high hopes for our trip.

Unfortunately, the weather was a little bit messed up and albies didn't come out to play... at least not on our lines. A few people on the boat did catch fish, but we were not among them. We got the skunk, and it wasn't for lack of effort. We fished hard the entire trip. On the ride home we decided that it's trips like these (meaning skunks) that make the successful ones seem even sweeter. So even though our spirits were low, there was still hope for the next time.

Luckily, I had yesterday off of work and was able to get out on the water to make up for the slow albie fishing trip. My Dad, my nephew Bailey, and I took a trip out to do some wading and fishing in the Susquehanna. The action wasn't hot and heavy, but we were all able to jig up a couple of fish. We caught mainly smallmouth and fallfish, but Dad did manage to snag a small walleye. We were hoping for a couple more walleyes, but I'm afraid we were fishing a little bit too early in the day for how bright the sky was. We'll get more next time. Thanks again for reading.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It's fall on the Susky...

Welp, it is without a doubt now officially fall. With the cooler air and water temps that we've been experiencing lately, I decided I had better get to the river to do a little bit of wet wading while temperatures still allow. So, I spent a couple hours one evening this past week splashing around the Susquehanna.

It was my hope that I would find a couple early season walleyes, as well as some smallmouth bass. As luck would have it, I did. I didn't catch a lot, but ended up with 2 walleyes, 3 smallmouth, and a big fallfish. The largest walleye was about 16 1/2 or 17 inches. He would have been a nice one for the pan, but I let him swim away.

I did not have my regular camera along for this trip, but I did take a couple pics with my cell camera. I apologize if the images aren't quite what they should be, but this really is just the start of walleye season and its my hope to get lots of good pics in the months to come.

I guess that is all I have to share for now. If you are reading this, I hope that you have been able to get out and enjoy the outdoors recently--and maybe catch a few fish as well. Hope to see you on the water!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Thoughts on fall...

I don't know about you, but I am excited about fall. This is one of my favorite times of the year--the days grow shorter, the evenings cooler, and before you know it the leaves are changing color. In fact, with the cool evenings we have had lately, I've been thinking about firing up our pellet stove at the house. It won't be long until the smell of woodsmoke is in the air, and my wife is snuggling just a little bit closer to me on the couch... I can't wait! Still, in addition to the cooler temps, the beautiful foliage, and better snuggling weather--one of my favorite things about fall is the fishing! If that wasn't obvious enough, ha ha.

In fact, probably the toughest part about fishing the fall for me is deciding what type of fishing I want to do. Saltwater fishing is going off all along the coast! River fishing is excellent... Our local trout are coloring up for the spawn, and huge Great Lakes' trout and salmon are starting to enter the tributaries up north. So many options, and so little time! Bummer... Well, not really. :)

Lately, I have been fired up about steelhead fishing one minute and then engrossed in thought about striped bass and false albacore the next. Or I'll be thinking about how I'd love to catch a king salmon from my kayak, but then I realize that I haven't gone fishing for red drum for a couple of years... The list goes on and on and so does my confusion.

One thing is for certain however--at some point this fall (and Lord willing--many points) I'm gonna get out there and do some type of fishing. And no matter what type of fishing it is, I am gonna love it. Just because I love to go fishing. If you are reading this blog there is a good chance that you love fishing too. So whenever you or I get out this fall, I wish us both luck, beautiful weather, and tight lines. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Vineyard '09

It's been a while since I posted, but lucky for me I have a good reason... I've been FISHING! Okay, not just fishing... Actually, I've been vacationing--with a little bit of fishing mixed in of coarse. ;)

Due to this past Monday being Labor Day, we had some extra time to have some fun this past week. So, Marianne and I took the opportunity to spend a few days with my parents on Martha's Vineyard. Fortunately for us, the good Lord blessed us with awesome weather. The air temperatures were cool, the water was warm, and we did not have to deal with a bit of rain on our entire trip. We did experience a decent amount of wind at times, but that is basically par for the coarse on the Vineyard.

As always, the Vineyard never disappoints... The scenery was beautiful (as always), the fishing was good, as well as the company and of coarse the food was excellent. I have never visited the Vineyard and returned disappointed, I simply don't think it is possible.

As far as fishing goes, we had a very successful trip. We were targeting mainly striped bass and false albacore. As luck would have it we struck out on the albies (with only one decent opportunity), but the striper fishing was good and each one of us took our turn at catching some nice fish. In fact, the ladies did awesome on this trip! It was exciting to watch Marianne hook and land her very first striped bass and her first bluefish as well--I am so proud of her, she did great! Not to be outdone, my mom did awesome on this trip as well. In true motherly fashion, she let the rest of us catch our fish first--waiting until the last outing when she decided it was time to show us how it's done. She caught 3 nice stripers and the rest of us caught zero! She skunked us!

I could go on about the places that we fished and the tides and baits we used, but this was a very refreshing trip and I don't want to kill this report with too much verbiage. Instead I would rather let the pictures speak for themselves. So here you go, these are some of the best pictures from our trip. Enjoy, and thanks for reading!