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!