Report from the Dock
Cooler waters have heated up smallmouth bass fising, both in rivers and lakes. The following stand out: Susquehanna River, taking jigs and live bait; Juniata River, on surface lures; Monongahela River on finesse baits; Justus Lake, live minnows; Clarion River, late evenings; Sugar Creek, slower, deer holes; French Creek, some big ones in recent weeks; Delaware River, on crankbaits; and the Allegheny River, on soft jerkbaits. Lots of largemouth bass have been caught in the following lakes: Kahle, Arthur, Cross Creek, Blue Spruce, Cloe, Kyle, Memorial, Raystown, Octoraro, Blue Marsh, Speedwell Forge, Winola, Holman, Nockamixon, and the Shenango River Reservoir. Fishing for muskies and pike has improved. The best spots are Pymatuning Lake, Canadohta Lake, Tionesta Lake, Monongahela River, Youghiogheny River, Yellow Creek Lake, Susquehanna River and Delaware River.
Lake Erie — In late September, walleyes were in 75 feet west of Walnut Creek, with large numbers suspended 10 feet off the bottom. Anglers were catching limits on stick baits in purple, chrome and black behind dipsy divers and by downrigging. Steelhead were staging near the creek mouths, although lack of rainfall was preventing their movement into streams.
Presque Isle Bay (Erie County) — Perch were reported in the deeper water along the city side and off the north and south piers in late September. Northern pike and largemouth bass were in Misery and Thompson bays.
Lake Erie tributaries (Erie County) — Steelheaders were catching fish at the mouths of some streams, with the early morning hours productive.
French Creek (Erie, Mercer, Crawford, Venango counties) — Smallmouth bass up to 19 inches were reported.
Lake Wilhelm (Mercer County) — The largemouth bass and crappie bites were challenging in late September.
Shenango Reservoir (Mercer County) — Hybrid striped bass, walleyes, and largemouth and smallmouth bass were reported in late September. Crappies were hitting in about 16 feet around offshore cover. White bass also were reported.
Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County) — Walleyes were becoming active in late September, and anglers were catching them on humps. Shad raps and other plugs were effective. Perch also were reported, with some 11 to 13 inches. Anglers were catching them on crawlers and minnows off the causeway. Some anglers were catching crappies over deep brush. Muskies were moving shallower. The winning catfish in a recent tournament was a 26.7-pound flathead.
Canadohta Lake (Crawford County) — Cooler water temperatures in late September had northern pike and muskies feeding.
Justus Lake (Venango County)
Smallmouth and largemouth bass were reported on live minnows and crawlers, trolled slowly, in late September. Trout also were reported.
Sugar Creek (Venango County) — Smallmouth bass were released in recent weeks, with fish coming from the slow, deeper holes. A couple of holdover rainbow trout and a perch also were reported.
Allegheny River (Venango County) — A good smallmouth bass bite was reported in late September when water was low and very clear. The best yields were from the shallow current areas. Soft jerkbaits and crankbaits were effective as were finesse plastics. Water was around 60 degrees. Some floating weeds were reported. In a recent tournament, the winning weight was five bass totaling 20.92 pounds, and second place was 13.5 pounds.
Kahle Lake (Clarion County) — Largemouth bass, bluegills, yellow perch and crappies were hitting in recent weeks. Catfish were reported at night.
Clarion River, Piney Dam (Clarion County) — Smallmouth bass and walleyes were reported in the early morning and late evening hours in the upper Clarion. In the lower Clarion, smallmouth bass and a few walleyes were hitting near the confluence with the Allegheny River. The same area was yielding catfish at night.
Allegheny River (Clarion County) — Smallmouth bass and walleyes were reported through late September. Catfish were hitting at night.
Beaver Creek Ponds Project (Clarion County) — Bluegills and largemouth bass were reported through the end of September.
Allegheny River (Forest County) — Perch were hitting in low, weedy water in late September.
Tionesta Lake (Forest County) — Muskies were hitting for anglers trolling the lake, and in the outflow on artificials and live bait.
Lake Arthur (Butler County) — Largemouth bass were reported in late September.
Monongahela River (Allegheny, Greene, Washington counties) — Nice catches of muskies were reported through late September by anglers trolling in 3 to 5 feet near weed beds in the early morning hours. Smallmouth bass also were reported on jigs, finesse baits and other lures. Anglers were catching walleyes on crawler harnesses near Point Marion.
Keystone Lake (Westmoreland County) — One angler caught a nice-sized carp on a hot dog at the end of September.
Virgin Run Dam (Fayette County) — Yellow perch were reported at this 33-acre impoundment in recent weeks.
Youghiogheny River (Fayette County) — Anglers reported muskies following their baits.
Blue Spruce Lake (Indiana County) — Panfish and largemouth bass were hitting in recent weeks.
Yellow Creek Lake (Indiana County) — Low water opened up more shore access for anglers during much of September. Catfish and northern pike were hitting live bait.
Cross Creek Lake (Washington County) — Largemouth bass were hitting in late September with rattletraps and other baits effective.
Kinzua Creek (McKean County) — A spate of cold weather in late September had anglers targeting trout in the Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures only section.
Rose Valley Lake (Lycoming County) — Chain pickerel were taking minnows in the weeds along shore and near the causeway. Soft plastics with 1⁄8- to ¼-ounce jigs fished near the bottom were productive.
Cloe, Kyle lakes (Jefferson County) — Largemouth bass were hitting near structure, with soft plastics and slowly-fished crankbaits effective.
Quittapahilla Creek (Lebanon County) — Anglers were catching brown trout on minnows through late September.
Memorial Lake (Lebanon County) — Largemouth bass were coming on plastics from the middle of the lake to the breast of the dam.
Susquehanna River (Dauphin County) — Smallmouth bass were active in late September, especially just before dark. Catfishing remained strong.
Juniata River (Juniata County) — Catfish were reported on cut bait and live bait in recent weeks.
Holman Lake (Perry County) — Largemouth bass were biting stick baits, plastics and live shiners, and panfish were hitting small worms and minnows in recent weeks.
Susquehanna River (Wyoming County) — Smallmouth bass were taking jigs and live bait in low, clear conditions through late September, but fish were average in size. Channel catfish were coming on crawlers and other baits fished on the bottom.
Lake Winola (Wyoming County) — Bass were hitting in recent weeks. Trout were in deep water and taking live minnows and spoons, trolled.
Octoraro Lake (Chester County) — Jim Neary’s Bait and Tackle reported Sept. 26 that bass were starting to go after fast moving baits, like crankbaits and spinnerbaits. The catfish bite was picking up. The winning weight in a recent tournament was a 15-pound total for one channel cat and two small bullheads, and the shop reported the most channels ever caught in one of its tournaments. Crappies and white bass were showing up on shorelines and hitting small minnows.
Lake Nockamixon (Bucks County) — Largemouth bass were reported on nightcrawlers through the end of September.
Speedwell Forge Lake (Lancaster County) — Largemouth bass were hitting shoreline areas with habitat and shade in recent weeks. Crawlers were working, as were artificials.
Blue Marsh Lake (Berks County) — Channel catfish were reported on nightcrawlers.
Delaware River, Schuykill rivers (Philadelphia County) — Brinkman’s Bait and Tackle reported Sept. 26 that catfish and carp in decent sizes were hitting. In the northern parts of the Delaware, smallmouth bass and muskies were reported.
New Jersey saltwater report — Brinkman’s reported that yellowfin tuna were running and fish in the 70- to 80-pound class were being caught; Mahi mahi, tog and porgies were biting. Sea bass season opens Oct. 8.
— Compiled by Deborah Weisberg