Monday, April 26, 2010

Some Bronzebacks and Some Largemouths...

It seems like for one reason or another I did not get to spend as much time fishing this past week as I would have liked to... But nevertheless, I did get out a little bit. :)

My Dad and I donned our waders and spent a beautiful morning on the Susquehanna this past week. We fought some crowds, but in the end we had a great time and we each caught a bunch of fish. It seems like the fish are in various stages of the spawn--we've seen some post spawners, some actively spawning on beds, and some that are still quite plump with eggs. Overall, the average size of fish has diminished from what we were catching a few weeks ago, but there are still some big girls mixed in. All our fish were on jigs and soft plastics... though later in the week my Dad returned to the same area by himself and caught quite a few fish on the fly.

In addition to the brozebacks... I also spent a couple hours chasing some largemouths and panfish this past week. I decided to spend the afternoon fishing with my ultralight trout rod, as I was mainly after panfish... I'm glad I did b/c I had a blast, and I was totally outgunned by a couple of the bass that I caught. The first fish I caught was the largest... I had made it a point to be very sneaky upon my arrival to my spot, and I crept up to area hoping to not scare anything away. I used my polarized sunglasses and spotted a small largemouth sunning himself near a sunken log. I quickly tossed him a small soft plastic lizard bait, and I watch him turn and swim towards it. Then I continued to watch as a MUCH bigger bass came out from underneath the log and inhaled my lizard before the small one could get it... I set the hook and it was GAME ON! She pulled hard... and it was all I could do to keep her out of the log jam with my little 6 ft., 2-6 pound test rod. Luckily, I somehow ended up winning the battle in the end. I wish I would have gotten better pictures of her, but I was by myself and admittedly a little bit excited. She measured 19 inches and was very fat. After releasing her, I continued to bass fish for a while and caught a few largemouths--mostly small ones, but I did get one more good bass that measured almost 16 inches. Then I switched over to panfish and caught a bunch of bluegills, and one small crappie that I wouldn't have been able to keep had I wanted to, ha ha.

To conclude this entry, I would like to mention an interesting article that I found this past week. The topic of the article is regarding the American eel and its role in our local ecosystem--namely the Susquehanna watershed. It seems that biologist are finding a link between the eel and a small freshwater mussel called the Eastern elliptio. Apparently this mussel gets its food by filtering the river water as it heads downstream to the bay...a very GOOD thing. Apparently, there has become fewer and fewer of these elliptio's in recent years and as a result they have not been able to clean the water as well as in the past. It has also since been discovered that American eels transported these small mussels throughout the watershed, but of coarse eels have limited travel through the Susquehanna system due to the many power dams on the lower river. So, if you made it this far through that blather of mine, and you are truly interested in the article... Here is a link: Eel Article. Check it out, if you are interested in the science and how it plays a role in the health of our local watershed you should enjoy it. Until next time, thanks for reading and I hope to see you on the water.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Still chasin' them...

With river levels beginning to resemble the low-flows of summertime, the fishing has been changing this past week. The action has definitely slowed down from its previous madness, but there are still plenty of fish to be caught. I hit both rivers on a couple different occasions this past week, and my results varied from a skunk to over 20 fish on a trip...

What was even better than the fish catching this past week, was the time that I was able to spend with a few of my very favorite fishing buddies. I got to spend a few hours fishing (and catching) with my buddy Chad one evening early in the week... My Dad and I hit the river yesterday... And just this morning, I was fortunate enough to spend some time on the water with my beautiful wife--I cherish every moment she spends in her waders! ;) I don't have all the pictures yet, but I'll share with you some of what I have.

So, if you are thinking about getting out on the water sometime soon... I'd say go for it. The bass are definitely spawning right now as we have seen a bunch of them on beds already. I am sure most of you already know, but I figure I should mention that in PA it is legal to fish for bass during the closed spawning season (which we are now in), but you must catch and release. I'd like to go one step farther and discourage anyone from fishing live bait for these fish (or at least use circle hooks if you feel you must fish live bait) during this season. I've seen it way too often where guys using live minnows are gut hooking bass during the closed season. The end result is usually a dead floater heading down stream. It's really unnecessary. Either way, feel free to take my opinion for what it's worth... But please use common sense on the water and try to do your part to protect our precious resource. Until next time, thanks for reading and hopefully I'll see you on the water.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bronze Gold! (Striking it rich w/ Susquehanna smallmouths)

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I'd like to start off by saying one of the best lessons I have learned over the years is that there is no substitute for time on the water. If you are a serious angler and are committed to spending as much time fishing as your schedule will allow, eventually your time and effort will pay off. The more time you spend on the water, the more frequently you will be there when all the stars align and you are at the right place at the right time.

This past week my Dad and I were at the right place at the right time. We fished two consecutive mornings this past Thursday and Friday, and the fishing was just as the blog title describes... We struck it RICH with bronzebacks!

I think the bass have gotten a little bit ahead of schedule with the warm weather that we experienced this past week. And lucky for us, this got them really turned on! The males are protecting the bedding areas and the fat females are loading up on food before they begin to spawn. In fact, from what we saw this past week, it's possible that a few of the fish are already spawning, or have already spawned.

Still, the vast majority of the fish haven't spawned yet... and to say they are "plump" with eggs and food is an understatement. I won't mention the total numbers of fish that we caught, because I am not sure I would believe them if I hadn't been there. But I will say at one point I caught 13 bass on 13 casts, and then lost a fish on my 14th cast, lol. All the fish were caught on jigheads with a variety of soft plastics... they were not very picky. As far as size goes, almost all of our fish were very fat, and averaged between 14 and 18 inches... a few smaller and a few larger. My Dad caught the only one that made it to 20 inches.

With the relatively slow fishing that we experienced this past winter, this is the fishing that we have been waiting for. Hopefully this will be the start to a great fishing season for this upcoming year. I hope to see you guys out there! Thanks again for reading.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Shakin' down the Kayak... (And chasing down some of the "other" green bass)

Wow... The past couple of days have been beautiful here in central PA. At my place there has been a whole lot of sun, t-shirts, flip-flops, birds in the lawn, growing grass (Booo! Hisss!)--all of the wonderful things that we associate with Spring. Without a doubt Spring has definitely sprung, lol.

Recently, one of the unfortunate side effects of Spring (for us PA smallmouth anglers anyway) has been the fluctuating water levels in our local rivers. In fact, I just had the past two days off of work and would have loved to have hit one of the local rivers for some fun-in-the-sun, smallmouth action.. But, it just wasn't in the cards for this past week. Still, the rivers aren't the only game in town in central Pennsylvania. We have some beautiful local lakes as well, and this time of the year they are waking up quite nicely. So, when I was desperately taking a break from deciding whether or not to mow the lawn this afternoon, I took a couple hours to splash my kayak in a local lake and hopefully chase down one of those 'other' types of bass.

I had a great time on the lake, and although fishing wasn't fast and furious, it was successful. I paddled around, heard a turkey gobble, did some exploring, some bird watching, some turtle watching, and engaged in some pretty serious fishing for a couple of hours. In the end, I landed three largemouths (one particularly nice football shaped bass--around 17 inches) and a brook trout. The largest bass came on a Strike King spinner bait, and the next two came on soft plastics...one on a tube and the other on a wackey rigged senko. The trout also came on the senko, which I did not expect, lol... I think the headwaters of the lake must be stocked with trout, and the fiesty little brookie got swept down into the lake with the recent high waters.

While we are on the subject of stocked trout, I'd like to close this blog entry with a reminder about the rapidly approaching opening day/s of PA trout season. This coming saturday (April 3rd) is the opening day for several counties in the southern/southeastern part of the state... including the county in which I reside--Juniate County. The remainder of the state will then open up for trout fishing on Saturday April 17th. Here in central PA it is possible for some confusion to exist about where fishing is open and where it is not during the next couple of weeks. If you are concerned about the area or areas you are planning to fish, here is a link to the fish commission website regarding season dates and stream openings. If you are heading out sometime in the next couple of weeks, good luck... and don't forget that this is a great time to get your children, or your family members--cousins, nieces, and nephews--interested in fishing. Until next time... thanks for reading and good luck on the water.