Report from the Dock
In the state’s rivers, smallmouth bass were moving from shallow current areas to deeper water in mid-October. In many lakes, largemouth bass were hitting topwater baits and chatter baits. Walleyes were reported taking blade baits in several lakes. Long-awaited rainfall in the northwest corner of the state finally arrived in late October, to the delight of steelheaders. Although it blew out streams initially, conditions were expected to normalize and trigger steelhead runs. Late-October rains also brought up extremely low levels in streams that hold trout in many places, making Keystone Select big-trout sections fishable again. Crappies were said to be taking minnows in more than a few lakes. Both channel and flathead catfish were still biting in many rivers in mid to late October, taking cut bait, crawlers and chicken livers.
Lake Erie — A good smallmouth bass bite was reported as conditions allowed through mid-October.
Lake Erie tributaries — Long-awaited rainfall finally arrived in late October to the delight of steelheaders. Although it blew out streams, conditions were expected to normalize and trigger steelhead runs. One angler caught a 26-plus inch, 13-pound brown trout on one of the east-side “Mile” streams in recent weeks.
Presque Isle Bay (Erie County) — Anglers were fishing off the piers and docks in recent weeks. The perch bite picked up off the South Pier, Cascade Slip, Donjon and Liberty Park. Largemouth bass also were active, as were steelhead.
Shenango Reservoir (Mercer County) — Smallmouth bass were hitting in the reservoir and river in recent weeks. Crappies, hybrid striped bass, catfish and panfish also were reported. One angler caught some nice crappies on hand-tied jigs and minnows in six feet of water from shore while a boater did well in 12 to 14 feet near cover.
Lake Wilhelm (Mercer County) — Big bluegills and crappies were reported in the stumps and from the upper causeway in recent weeks. Yields were coming from shallow and deeper water. One angler reported a carp on a crappie jig. Bass were hitting on jigs, chatterbaits, spoons, and spinners.
Allegheny River (Venango County) — Smallmouth bass were moving from shallow current areas to deeper water in mid-October when water temperatures were in the mid- to low 50s. Some fish were coming around rocky, shoreline pockets in three to 10 feet of water, while others were hitting in low-current flats near deeper pools. Walleyes were starting to become active and were biting tube jigs and suspending jerkbaits. Anglers were dealing with floating weeds in mid-October.
Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County) — Walleyes were hitting on blade baits for some anglers on the south end in mid-October. This area was also yielding smallmouth bass on crankbaits, as well as panfish and a muskie. Crappies were reported, but perch were biting in higher numbers with minnows the ticket in about 13 feet of water around Andover Causeway.
Conneaut Lake (Crawford County) — Average-size largemouth and smallmouth bass were reported in recent weeks. Bluegills were in deeper water outside weed beds. A walleye and some rock bass also were reported, along with northern pike.
Lake Arthur (Butler County) — Largemouth bass up to 4-plus pounds were released on chatterbaits and plastic worms in late October.
Lower Deer Lake (Allegheny County) — The Fish & Boat Commission did not stock trout in late October because water levels were too low and instead put fish in the upper lake. The middle lake and Deer Creek also were stocked.
Keystone Power Dam (Armstrong County) — The Fish & Boat Commission advises boaters that the “Danger Dam – Keep Out” Aids to Navigation (ATONs) have been removed from both the front of the spillway and the dam breast in anticipation of freezing water conditions this winter. These areas remain restricted and boats and persons must keep out. Parking of vehicles and trailers on the lake bed is also prohibited; it is allowed only in the designated parking area.
Crooked Creek Lake (Armstrong County) — Crappies were biting in recent weeks.
Allegheny River (Armstrong County) — Catfish and muskies were reported in recent weeks. Boaters are advised that buoys upstream and downstream of the locks and dams have been removed for the winter season and replaced with smaller indicator buoys. Boats are still not permitted within the “Danger Zone” of the dams. The Freeport boat launch parking lot has been paved and can now be used.
Monongahela, Youghiogheny rivers — Smallmouth bass, channel catfish and flathead catfish were reported in recent weeks, although the flathead bite has slowed in known hot spots. The Mon in Greene and Washington counties was yielding walleyes and spotted bass as well, with late afternoon productive for anglers.
Cross Creek, Canonsburg, Dutch Fork lakes (Washington County) — Panfish were hitting in recent weeks, with minnows the top producer. Channel catfish were hitting in the nighttime hours. Bass were taking plastic lures.
Blue Spruce Lake (Indiana County) — Largemouth bass were taking topwater baits in recent weeks with early morning and early evening hours productive times to fish.
Cowanesque Lake (Tioga County) — Bass were hitting in recent weeks. Topwater baits around weed lines were taking largemouths in the early morning hours. Smallmouth bass were feeding near artificial structures in 12 to 15 feet of water. A few muskies also were reported.
Hammond Lake (Tioga County) — Largemouth bass were hitting in recent weeks. One angler caught a 6.98-pounder.
Cloe Lake (Jefferson County) — Bass and panfish were reported in recent weeks, with fish coming around artificial habitat structures on plastics and white-colored lures.
North Fork Redbank Creek (Jefferson County) — The catch-and-release, fly-fishing-only section was stocked recently with brown trout.
Parker Lake, Janesville Dam, Shagger’s Inn Pond (Clearfield County) — Anglers were catching recently stocked trout on spinners, nightcrawlers, and meal worms in recent weeks.
Holman Lake (Perry County) — Rainbow trout were hitting pastebaits in recent weeks. Panfish were reported on red worms.
Yellow Creek (Bedford County) — Trout were reported on black and tan Caddisflies, Hare’s Ear and Stonefly nymphs, Broadhead nymphs, Blue-Winged Olives, and Zebra midges. Terrestrials such as ants and Hi-Vis beetles also were effective. This creek contains stocked and wild trout.
Lower Promised Land Lake (Pike County) — Largemouth bass were hitting in recent weeks, with one angler doing well on a homemade swim jig.
Kresswood Lake (Wayne County) — Smallmouth bass were reported on live bait in recent weeks.
Tobyhanna, Gouldsboro lakes (Monroe County) — These two state park lakes were yielding yellow perch in recent weeks.
Susquehanna River (Columbia County) — Smallmouth bass were reported at the end of October.
East Branch Perkiomen Creek (Bucks County) — Trout were hitting Mepps spinners in recent weeks.
Lake Nockamixon (Bucks County) — Largemouth bass were biting in recent weeks.
Delaware River — The waters in Philadelphia were producing a good catfish bite through late October, with channel cats up to 11 pounds reported on cut baits. White perch and small striped bass, 12 to 15 inches, were hitting on crawlers. North of Philly, anglers were catching smallmouth bass on small crankbaits and swimbaits, but the bite was tough when water was low and clear
Schuylkill River — Flathead catfish up to 30-plus pounds were hitting live baits, and walleyes were active on crankbaits at night.
Pennypack Creek (Bucks County) — Numbers of fall-stocked trout were reported on small spinners and waxworms.
New Jersey saltwater report — Seabass fishing was good with limits reported on jigs and bait around deeper wrecks in 100 feet of water. A red-hot yellowfin tuna bite was reported, but angling pressure was intense. Surf fishing was slow.
— Compiled by Deborah Weisberg