It's tough fishing out there. Real tough. The river water temperatures are balmy in the low 80's and the flow is barely over 1450 cubic feet per second. It's like bath water if you're wade fishing. However, if one goes out early in the morning or late in the evening the smallmouth bass are feeding very well on the surface. If you can fish a hard topwater lure or a flyfishing surface bug with the type of action which they find appealing - you can catch many large bass. But you have to be diligent and work for them!

The action you can produce with each hard surface lure/bug depends on the shape of the bug and the cut of its face. There are many different kinds of topwater lures and flies. Too many to list here and cover the whole spectrum. The different styles of topwater lures can either producing a subtle teasing action in the flat spooky water or a loud water-spitting-waking action in the strong currents and deep runs, then some topwater lures have a long tapered bodies and up-sloping faces can be made to produce a variety of actions from both a subtle action to quite a commotion on the water. Since there are so many different styles of topwater lures, I'll just list my favorite. It is from H.C. Baits, and it's called a Hub's Chub. It is a fine "Pennsylvania Product" hailing from White Oak, PA. And it's deadly when smallies are taking on the top! As for flyfishing surface hair bugs, I'm partial to soundly packed and trimmed deer-hair bugs than using foam or cork "popping bugs." One cannot get a better hand-tied deer-hair bug then from local Rome, PA resident, and retired Waterways Conservation Officer Warren "Barney" Singer. His deer hair bugs are some of the best I've ever seen… and fished! His deer-hair bugs are perfection on a hook and have given me landed fish when no other surface bug has worked.

Chemung and Susquehanna Rivers: It's a mixed bag to guess what will work for you while this heat is blanketing Bradford County. Anglers have been catching bass on standard cranks, soft plastics, even hair jigs. But the topwater game seems to be the best bet for what would be your first go-to lure style. During this hot weather, nne may not catch the usual double-digit of fish, but two or three quality smallmouths are worth the effort. The Dobson flies are out and "dive-bombing" anglers at night. This means for live bait fishing, use a hellgrammite and accept no substitutions! The bass are keyed on these bugs and at dusk, no other bait will surpass it. Catfish anglers are still taking decent fish on livers.

Pond and Lake fishing: It was a slow bite. Most of the quality lake denizens have fallen back into the much deeper and cooler waters during the heat of the day. In the very early morning at first light they have been sneaking into the shallows to feed. However, if you can brave the heat and need a quick fix of fishing, the noble blue gill will be your friend! They are concentrated under the docks and around any piece of cover that gives them a bit of shade. They have been grabbing anything that touches the water. In fact, while fishing at Mountain Lake my youngest son baited his jig hook with both a piece of McDonald's Chicken Nugget and a French fry. Not the best fish cuisine you say? Well, the blue gills loved it! He caught 20 nice panfish, one after another, using his Happy Meal leftovers! Who could have fathomed that McDonald's could corner the market in both fast-food and panfishing!

Tributary Fishing: The trout tributary fishing in Bradford County is poor right now. One may want to take a drive to spring fed trout waters of Pennsylvania such as the LeTort near Carlisle (Cumberland County), Spring Creek, near Bellefonte (Centre County), or Big Fishing Creek near Lamar (Clinton County). All of these watersheds are fishing exceptionally well even in the "dog days" of summer. If you do make the choice to drive to these fisheries (yes, its's worth it!), I have the magic fly! In a word - Trico's! They have been out for a few weeks, but this last week they have been the main morning hatch to fish! Get on the stream no later than 7 a.m. and think small, very small. A size 22 with a 7x tippet - small. When these little mayflies present in great numbers the fish feed heavily upon them. If you have never seen a heavy trico hatch please try and experience it. It is quite a sight to see the water boil with rising fish. It definitely is uncomfortable to have hundreds of these flies covering you as you fish, and it does present some demanding challenges to fish this hatch. There are so many flies on the water that your artificial fly may get ignored. So be willing to experiment with sizes and whatever it takes to get a natural drag-free drift.

These six tips that helped me in my trico fishing; try them and see what you think.

1. Use a delicate cast, preferably a 2 to 3 weight rod.

2. Use at least 9ft 7X Tapered Leader

3. Carefully evaluate the currents around the feeding trout.

4. Use a low, cautious approach to get into a good casting position.

5. Go one on one with each rising trout.

6. Don't line over the trout with errant splashly cast.

Have a great week! Good luck on the water! Please let me know how you are doing on all of our great fisheries by sending me an email at

Dave Pelachik is an avid angler and master jig & fly tyer of JJ's Jigs located in Towanda, Pa. Visit his website at