Falling temperatures heat up fishing around state
The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission has begun stocking
streams statewide, as part of its fall trout program. For a
complete stocking schedule, visit www.fishandboat.com
Lake Erie and tributaries – Perch and walleye fishing remained
productive in late September, with perch hitting in 60 to 65 feet
and walleyes in 70 to 75 feet, however, high winds and rainfall at
times made the lake unfishable. Alex Takacs, 11, of Clinton, caught
a 91/2-pound, 29-inch walleye with 171/2-inch girth in 100 feet of
water off “the mountain” out of Northeast, Pa. Erica Shaffer, of
East Berlin, Pa., caught a 9.4-pound, 30-inch walleye with
183/4-inch girth and her husband, Brian, caught an 8-pound,
14.5-ounce walleye with 141/4-inch girth – both in 75 feet (second
trench). The bottom parts of the tributaries were loaded with
steelhead, but water was too low for fish to move. The US Fish and
Wildlife Service will treat Conneaut, Crooked and Raccoon creeks
with lampricide to kill sea lamprey larvae between Sept. 29 and
Oct. 13, depending on conditions. Although the service said the
lampricide is “safe,” anglers are advised to minimize exposure. For
more, call Poor Richard’s at (814) 474-5623.
Allegheny River/Allegheny Reservoir (Warren County) – Walleyes
and trout were reported in low conditions on the river, in late
September. One angler caught a large northern pike and a large
walleye around Port Allegheny. Anglers also were catching walleyes
trolling in the reservoir.
Lake Wilhelm (Mercer County) – Anglers were boating bluegills
and crappies in 10 and 11 feet, and from shore under the causeway.
Largemouth bass were nabbing buzzbaits and spinnerbaits, while
walleyes were taking Hot ‘n Tots.
Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County) – Dandy crappies up to 14
inches and walleyes, 20 to 26 inches, were hitting in shallow water
in the mornings and evenings, while muskies were striking in the
weeds. During the day, fish were dropping deeper. Greg Zawatski
caught a 7-pound, 4-ounce, 29-inch walleye on Sept. 20.
Lake Arthur (Butler County) – Low angling pressure and a few
hybrid striped bass were reported, with the best bites in late
afternoon and early evening. Channel catfish also were biting.
Lake Oneida (Butler County) – Nice numbers of crappies and
largemouth bass were reported on this impoundment that recently
reopened to public fishing.
Allegheny River – Ken Baumgardner and Mark Flament caught a
six-fish limit totaling 83/4 pounds at the recent Keystone Bass
Buddy Circuit championship out of Riverfront Park on the Southside.
Dennis Smith, of Russelton, caught the tournament lunker, a 4-pound
smallmouth. In all, 37 two-person teams caught 115 fish, including
97 smallmouths, 15 largemouths, and three spotted bass. Nine limits
were taken. Other boaters and anglers were catching walleyes,
saugers and catfish.
Keystone Lake (Armstrong County) – Some nice crappies were
reported recently on jigs and minnows in dropping water levels.
Mill Creek (Westmoreland County) – Anglers willing to walk the
stream caught brook, brown and rainbow trout in low clear
conditions in late September.
Donegal Lake (Westmoreland County) – This 90-acre impoundment
managed for largemouth bass, crappies, bluegills and stocked trout
is being drawn down in an effort to manage weed growth. A trout
stocking is slated for Oct. 6.
Youghiogheny River – Slightly low flow and decent fishing were
reported from the tailrace to Ohiopyle. The Ramcat Run area below
the Casselman River was yielding nice trout. Smallmouth bass also
were hitting. Hatches included yellow drakes, blue-winged olives
and a few slate drakes. The tributaries were extremely low in late
Pine Creek (Lycoming County) – Excellent trout fishing was
reported along with a heavy hatch of slate drakes and a huge number
of October caddisflies (size 10, orange) in the delayed-harvest
section. Although water was low and clear in late September, flow
was good for this time of year and water temperatures were around
60 degrees. Slate Run Tackle Shop recently stocked big brown trout.
Vic Ball, of Jefferson Hills, caught trout up to 19 inches on Slate
Drake spinners and a small white spinner. A few blue quills were
spotted Sept. 25, and fish were being caught in the riffles.
Little Pine Lake (Lycoming County) – A mixed bag of panfish,
bass and pickerel were reported on this stream-fed impoundment at
the end of September.
Spring Creek (Centre County) – Low, clear flow was reported, but
anglers willing to work for trout were releasing a few. One angler
landed three fish on an Adams Parachute and another on a Cressbug
on the bottom.
Big Fishing Creek (Clinton County) – Low, clear conditions were
reported in late September, along with tiny blue-winged olives
(22-24), tan caddis, slate drakes, intermittent tricos, summer blue
quills and flying ants (14-24).
Penns Creek (Clinton County) – Conditions were better than
normal for early fall, but still low and clear September 26. A few
Tan Caddis (16, 18), Slate Drakes (12, 14), Blue-Winged Olives (22,
26) and Tan Craneflies were hatching, but surface activity was
slow. Flying Ants (14-24) also were recommended. For more, visit
Raystown Lake (Huntingdon County) – A lot of big crappies, perch
and bluegills were reported. Lake trout were moving up from 50-plus
feet to around 30 feet and hitting spoons and in-line spinners.
Striped bass were in transition and switching from a nighttime to a
daytime feeding pattern. Although a couple of 30-pound stripers
were reported in recent weeks, the biggest fish typically are
caught after the lake turns over in the middle of fall.
Gordon Lake (Bedford County) – Bluegills were being caught on
crickets in recent weeks on this impoundment near the Maryland
border. Koon Lake is adjacent to Gordon.
Juniata River – Anglers were catching smallmouth bass on madtoms
and hellgrammites at the end of September. Channel catfish were
hitting at night on cut bait and creek chubs.
Little Juniata River (Blair County) – Low, clear conditions were
reported Sept. 26, with flow about 24 cfs below normal. Nymphs with
small mayfly and caddis patterns under a Hi-Vis dry fly or other
favorite indicator were recommended, fished in the deeper runs and
pools. Fishing was overall slow.
Holman Lake (Perry County) – Panfish and a few largemouth bass
were reported on this 88-acre impoundment in recent weeks.
Pohopoco Creek, Mauch Chunk Creek (Carbon County) – Anglers made
nice catches of holdover trout in recent weeks in advance of the
Oct. 5 stocking.
Mauch Chunk Lake (Carbon County) – Bass and pickerel were
reported on this 330-acre impoundment in recent weeks, although
fishing pressure was low.
Beltzville Lake (Carbon County) – Striped bass were reported in
recent weeks. Walleyes also were hitting around Pohopoco Creek bay,
with worm rigs the most productive presentation.
Lehigh River – Anglers landed smallmouth bass near Bowmanstown
and Palmerton in recent weeks.
Harvey’s Lake (Luzerne County) – Brown trout and chain pickerel
were reported in late September, with minnows or small stickbaits
trolled behind boats effective.
Susquehanna River – Channel catfish were reported on chicken
livers, crawlers and hot dog chunks. A few muskies were hitting
around Pittston and Harding. Anglers also were catching smallmouth
Francis Walter Dam (Luzerne County) – Black crappies were
hitting jigs in recent weeks. Trolling various depths was
productive. Bass were nabbing rubber worms and spinners.
Lily Lake (Luzerne County) – Bass, catfish and panfish were
reported on baits and lures on this 160-acre impoundment in recent
Lake Wallenpaupack (Pike County) – Average bass catches were
reported with live bait out-producing artificials. Catfish were
hitting in the evening hours on live bait and stink bait.
Delaware River – Eel, smallmouth bass and rock bass were
reported at the end of September. The bass were taking plastic
worms and tubes. One fly-angler landed a couple of nice walleyes on
streamers. Anglers were catching catfish on crawlers near
Hidden Lake (Pike County) – An angler caught two pickerel up to
25 inches on medium shiners from shore in late September.
Lake Nockamixon (Bucks County) – Bass were hitting in the
shallows with several reports of 3- to 4-pound bass in late
September. Water was in the mid-60 degree range. As temperatures
continue to drop, pickerel fishing should pick up. A few crappies
were reported. Catfishing quieted down.
Delaware River – The late afternoon and evening were best for
smallmouths and walleye fishing from Easton to New Hope. Young shad
were moving downriver, a seasonal indication that fishing would
pick up. Levels were down to summer pool in late September.
Blue Marsh Lake (Berks County) – Striped bass up to 9 and 13
pounds were hitting in cooler weather.
Lake Ontelaunee (Berks County) – Crappie action was expected to
heat up on jigs and minnows in cooler weather, with the water along
Tulpehocken Creek (Berks County) – Good conditions were reported
Sept. 26 with water about 63 degrees. Caddis hatches were strong
during the day and heavy at night. Tricos were also on, but
spinners were the best bet. Hot fly patterns included CDC Caddis
(adult), Trico Spinner (22-26), Trico Emerger (22-26), Trico Sunken
Spinner (22-26), CDC Soft Hackle Caddis Emerger (16-18), all colors
of Zebra Midge (18-22), and Lightning Bug Red (16-18). Visit
Lehigh River – Conditions stabilized, and the smallmouth bass
bite improved in late September with Lehigh Gap and Slatington
yielding nice fish on spinners and live minnows. Bass also were
taking wacky worm rigs. Muskies were hitting in late September with
the weed beds yielding fish on large bladed spinnerbaits.
Little Lehigh River (Lehigh River) – Trout were taking mealworms
and minnows. Fly-anglers were doing well around Lehigh Parkway on
Hare’s Ears and other subsurface flies with beadheads. The trico
hatch was ending in late September, and dry fly activity had
Delaware River (Northampton County) – Smallmouth bass were
hitting on crankbaits around exposed structure in low conditions in
Minsi Lake (Northampton County) – An angler caught two 20-plus
inch chain pickerel on shiners in recent weeks, with dawn and dusk
the best times to fish on this 117-acre impoundment.
Compiled by Deborah Weisberg