Fishing report: Some odds and ends
ODDS AND ENDS: The trout spawn is happening on our local streams. Hunting season is upon us as well. This means that our spawning trout may get a bit of reprieve as a lot of our hunters and huntresses will be taking a walk in the woods instead of wetting a line. I've been able to see exactly two pairs of spawning brown trout this year. One pair in the southeastern part of the county and one pair in the western side of the county. I know there are more... I'm just not sneaky enough to spy on them without spooking them.
Both pairs were between 14 to 16 inches long. I'm confident that if these fish (and others) successfully spawn we should see a nice class recruitment. I'm not one to fish over spawning trout. However, if one chooses to do so please release them gingerly and try not to handle them much. These trout will be stressed from not only the activity of spawning but environmental factors and preditation.
If one truly needs to treatment for "acute trout-itis" I highly suggest nymph or streamer fishing a limestone spring creek such as Spring Creek near Bellefonte, Pa. or Big Spring Creek near Lamar, Pa. These wild trout spawn later than our freestoner trout due to the warmer spring-fed flows originating deep within limestone bedrock. Plus, per biomass there are more trout per mile in those creeks than in our local freestoners.
RIVERFISHING: Both the Chemung and the Susquehanna have cleared up nicely and are fishing quite well. The water temps are hovering around 35 to 40 degrees.
For the lure angler it is hair-jig time. Bait anglers are still getting plenty of nice fish on minnows and nightcrawlers. But for the fast-paced action, you can't beat a well-made hair jig. Most traditional anglers stick with the tried-and-true bucktail jig. Others have found that a combination of fur and feathers make a grand jig. Still some love the slinky sheen of rabbit fur or the webby marabou feather style of jig. I've heard plenty of anglers debate on the best "hair" for a hair-jig. In my eyes, I let the fish decide.
I bring along all options! Plus, it gives me the excuse to sit at my flytying bench to make more. Onto the starlets of the rivers, the bass! The bass have been making their way to deeper water. They still are around current, but the colder water are keeping them within the softer current breaks and eddies. Presentation should be slow and steady, just ticking the jig softly over rocks. The walleye bite has picked up a bit, but it is not in full swing. It needs to stay a wee bit colder and then you should see those marble-eyed "Susquehanna Salmon" at the end of your terminal tackle. Flyfishermen should stick with bigger profile streamers. Don't be afraid to double-haul those big articulated streamers and switch out your flyline for a lead core full sinking or sink-tip line. When you land that 18-inch small-mouth on a No. 2/0 Bunny Leech, you will be the envy of all your fishing buddies!
LAKE FISHING: At this time, shore fishing is about done for. Most of the fish have made their way into deeper water and fishing for them require a boat. I actually saw an angler fishing with a pontoon boat this week. Normally, that wouldn't be a surprise to see in July or August. However, pontoon fishing in a stiff cold November head-wind? I couldn't decide if he was brave or a little daft. But as I saw him land a bass at Mountain Lake, I realized he was a genius! When he came to shore (a little cold and windburned) he commented that he was fishing with pieces of smoked steelhead sewn up in old nylon panty hose like a steelhead or salmon angler wraps up a roe egg-sac skein. Obviously, this is bait combination that I have never heard of for lake fishing. Anyone else ever use this combination for bass? If so, I would love to hear how this bait worked for you.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave Pelachik is an avid angler and master jig & fly tyer of JJ's Jigs located in Towanda, Pa. Follow his adventures on Twitter: @JJsJigs or visit his website at www.jjsjigs.com