Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rivers and lakes... HOT weather, with not-so-hot fishing :)

If you live in central PA, you know this past week was HOT! The sun was shining, the air conditioners were cranking, and my poor little puppy dog was panting. Things sure seemed like summer this week, but even though it was hot outside, the fishing didn't quite keep pace with the weather.

As luck would have it, I was able to get out and terrorize some of our local bass this past week... I hit the water 3 times--one quick trip between shifts at work, one morning on the river with my Dad, and one evening trip with Marianne and Lucy to a local lake. The good news was that all three trips were successful... Each trip was a learning experience, and I or we caught fish on each trip... As far as the fishing goes however, I think I would rate the bite this past week as a little bit slow (even though the fallfish bite on the river was stellar, lol).

Generally after the spawn you hear talk about a "post-spawn funk, " and I think that's what we were seeing this past week. I did hook and land a couple decent fish this week--including one especially nice smallmouth--but in general, it seemed like the most active fish were the little guys...which is typical for post spawn pattern. I think the larger fish just needed something a little bit extra to trigger a bite this week, and for the most part, I missed it. The one large smallie that I did land this week, came up from relatively deep water to hit a large soft plastic jerkbait near the surface... I didn't expect it as the time, but I was happy when it happened! So just FYI... keep that in mind if you hit the river in the next couple of weeks.

To close this entry, I'd like to post a link to the PFBC website involving the upcoming meetings that are being dedicated to smallmouth management in PA. The public is encouraged to attend these meetings. Personally, I'm interested in attending the meeting on Saturday June 5th in Harrisburg. So if you are interested in going, let me know and maybe we could meet up. Either way, hopefully the hot weather didn't keep you inside this past week. There are definitely some fish out there willing to bite, and hopefully things will continue to pick up as we move on from this spring season towards summer. I'll see you on the water!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Central PA mixed bag... and a pleasant surpise! :)

What a fun week of fishing! Well, in all seriousness, I really didn't fish all that much this week. Instead, I made a few quick trips that were scheduled around work and/or other household chores and weekend activities. I'll spare you the details of all the little trips... But I will mention that I did get to fish with two of my favorite fishin' buddies this past week--my Dad and my good friend Chad--and I also fished alone on two separate occasions.

Either I or we, hit just about every type of water that central PA has to offer this past week--creeks, rivers, and lakes... And we also experienced many of the fish that Central PA has to offer-- smallmouth, largemouth, rockbass, yellow perch, brown trout, rainbow trout, fallfish and even had some pretty cool encounters with a couple of tiger muskies!

Just yesterday I had a particularly good trip on the Juniata. Both of the rivers have been up a little bit and off color lately, so I haven't been all that interested in smallmouth fishing. But, I had the morning off work yesterday, so I figured I should go brave the elements (cold front w/rain) and try for a couple bronzebacks. I'm glad I did.

It was just a quick little trip to the river--that didn't last much more than an hour and a few minutes--but it was successful. I worked a long eddy that is about 75 yards from top to bottom, and fished jigs and plastic baits the whole time. I picked off 3 smaller fish in about the first 20 minutes, and then went fishless for about 45 minutes after that. I was just a couple casts away from leaving when I hooked a good fish, which I thought was a carp at first... but as the massive fish went airborn--shaking its head violently--I quickly found out it wasn't a carp. BIG BASS!!! As luck would have it, the hook stayed put where it was supposed too, and after about a minute of fighting I slid her up onto the bank . She turned out to be my new personal best lengthwise, at 21 3/8"s. But she was pretty skinny, with her concave belly... a fairly obvious indication that she was a post-spawn fish. I've caught heavier smallmouth before, but none as long as her. She was a warrior, a hard fighter, and was missing her right eye! After taking a quick pic, and watching her swim away strongly, I packed up my stuff and headed home... an awesome ending to a great week of fishing!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Short Report.... (a little bit of fishing, but not much catching.)

This will be a pretty short entry, because--unfortunately--I don't have too much to report. I have been doing a little bit of fishing lately, but there really hasn't been much catching involved.

Last week I spent a few hours (on a couple different nights) trying to catch some PA hybrid stripers. On the bright side, I did learn a good bit... but in the end, all I got was frustrated. Shad were flipping around, fish were swirling, but I couldn't get a hit to save my life. It has been my experience that on most occasions when stripers are feeding, they generally aren't extremely selective... unless their is an incredible amount of baitfish present, and they actually have trouble finding your lure. This might have been the case the other night, but I'm not sure. Also, these were hybrid stripers and my experience has been with pure-strain, saltwater fish instead of these freshwater hybrids. Either way, I'm looking forward to targeting and hopefully catching a few of these fish in the near future.

I also spent a little bit of time trying to catch a trout dinner for my Grandma last week. Luckily for my Grandma, I had a little bit more success in this endeavor. In about half an hour's fishing I managed two freshly stocked rainbows, and missed a few others. What I found interesting about this trip was that even though the water was a little bit cloudy and perfect for drifting a night crawler, the fish were not interested in worms at all. The only thing they would chase was a spinner. So that's what I fed them.

The weather has been a little bit cool and rainy recently, but hopefully you guys and girls have been able to get out there and experience the outdoors a little bit. Even when the weather is bad, Spring is beautiful here in PA-- without a doubt it is one of my favorite times of the year. If you love the outdoors, know that the turkeys are gobbling and the fish are biting... at least somewhere. Until next time, thanks for reading and I hope to see you on the water.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Something a Lttle Bit Different...

After chasing smallmouth bass for nearly a month, I could feel my piscatorial ADD creeping up on me. Don't get me wrong... I love fishing for smallmouth bass, but every now and then it just seems like it's time to try for something a little bit different. Lately my thoughts had been wondering back to my college years, and the fun I had chasing shad around the lower Susquehanna River. Shad were great fighters, and often leaped like a mini-tarpon when hooked. So, when I finally had some time off work this past week, my Dad and I decided to pack up our shad darts and our flutter spoons and hit the road south.

Our target area was the Conowingo Dam and the flowing waters of Deer Creek and the Susquehanna River as they travel through the Susquehanna State Park in northern Maryland. We both had fished this area before, and in the past have had some very good success catching hickory shad as well as a few scattered American shad. As we traveled south on Rt 83, we hoped that the timing of this trip would be right for us to hook into a few American shad along with some of the hard fighting little hickories. Fortunately we were not disappointed.

The fishing was not grand for either of us, but there was enough action to keep things interesting. By the end of the day, we each managed to catch a few members of both shad species, as well as a couple river herring and a fat little white perch as a bonus. All in all, it was a great trip...the travel was just close enough for a nice day trip, the weather was beautiful, the scenery was different, the fish were biting (and fighting hard), and we got to watch a plethora of birds--including one beautiful bald eagle--fishing for the same fish we were after. It was something a little bit different, and it was a great day!