Weekly Fishing Report
ODDS AND ENDS: As autumn progresses and winter arrives my fishing reports might not continue to be weekly. It's because that tactics and baits will not change as much. With cooler temperatures sustaining the area I will not have much different information to share with readers and anglers. Presently, what has been working will continue to work right up until it ices up. The biggest tip I can give is that as it gets colder you have to slow down your sub-surface presentations (sometimes achingly slow) since the fish will be on the sluggish side. For a lot of outdoor enthusiasts hunting season is upon us. Hunting season means two things to me. First, the rivers and creek become less crowded and I have more areas to fish by myself. Second, the wildlife activity has been increasing!
Case-in-point: at roughly three in the morning I was awoken from a blissful sleep to someone shouting; "Brownie, Brooownieeee, Brownie. C'mere Brownie." At first, in my half-sleep daze, I pictured some mutant chocolate fudge dessert wandering around. Then the yells become more intense; "Brownie, NO! No, no, no... Don't go near that Brownie! That's NOT a cat!" Now I just had to see what was going on. I peaked out the window and noticed an apparent early morning hunter chasing after his chocolate Labrador retriever that was going after a large skunk. Of course, the inevitable happened. I heard the dog yelp just once. Then a sad lament; "Oh no... Brownie. That smell will never come off you." While most of the anticipated wildlife activity is for hunters, we all can take a lesson from poor Brownie. Be careful of all animals, especially those that might appear to be cat. You made get a surprise that you don't care for.
RIVERFISHING: The cooler weather has really turned the fish on. Presentation is key. The river is starting to clear and visibility will improve. The lament of flyanglers is that most of the bug life (hatches) have left us. On sunny days one will always find a small localized hatch of midges. The river fish pay no mind to them. For fly and spin anglers the game is now streamer-style patterns. Bait fisherman cannot go wrong with live minnows and fresh cut-bait. Currently the young-of-year minnows will be at their largest size. This is the go-to profile for catching the trophy bass. I have been on the river during the early morning fog and the bite has been tremendous. That is, until the sun directly hits the water. The bite slowly tapers off from the late morning into the afternoon. I've used minnow-esque profile flies and jigs in natural colors and the picked up a lot of hefty bass. It seems the first three feet of water has been holding the most fish. They eagerly take top-water and short sub-surface flies and lures. After it warms up and the sun breaks through they tend to sulk near the bottom. I have not had much luck with bottom bouncing flies but other spin-anglers have been having banner days with heavier 3/16 and 1/4 ounce jigs presently near or on the bottom. Now granted, I have been only wade fishing in the shallower areas. Those anglers with a boat have been doing a lot better with catch rates since they can fish the deeper holes and runs. If you got a buddy with a boat... it's time to cash in a few favors and get out on the water! Just mind the leaves in the current. Every other cast I have to take off a leaf or two that gets caught on my hook point. Sometimes that subtle "weight" on the line is a fish, but for me, most of the time - it was a super sized waterlogged maple leaf.
FLYFISHING: I love fall. This is truly my time of the year. The tributary trout fly-fishing is on fire. Not so much "hatchmatching", during the day, unless you like to cast teeny tiny size 20 Blue Winged Olives or size 24 midges. The evening October "Pumpkin" Caddis has been coming off at around 6pm and lasting for about thirty minutes. However, where I have been fishing on the Loyalsock and Lycoming Creeks I have not seen a lot of risers. I must confess that in the fall, I relish throwing larger streamer patterns. "Bank-Bombing" is my favorite game to play on our local creeks. I find a nice undercut bank and lob streamers into that little deep pocket. I may get a trout, or a bass, maybe even a walleye who has taken up residence in a creek. It's a mixed bag of fishy goodness. I assure you that in a few creeks the spawn hath commenced! I witness many pairs of brook trout doing the "spawn dance" in a few rocky cobble areas of Muncy Creek. I watched with wonderment as a female brook trout dug the beginnings of a redd near Tivoli early last week. Flies that have worked well for me: Pheasant tailed soft-hackles, yellow glo-bugs with a blood dot, king-sized olive woolybuggers, and white crystal buggers with a grey marabou tail.
LAKE FISHING: Our area lakes and ponds are all now in the throes of "turnover". Currently, our larger lakes are still clear and fishable. A few of the smaller farm ponds have had a minimal fish kills with the turnover (a dozen or so smaller panfish that are localized to shallow areas.) This is normal for the fall. The bite has slightly waned on our lakes and ponds but with a deeper presentation you still can catch some great panfish. In some of our cold-water lakes the trout will be moving into the shallower areas for a few weeks in pre-spawn mode. One will find some aggressive takes during this time and it is exciting to land a large trout in full spawning colors. Hamilton Lake in Tioga County was stocked with rainbow trout on 10/10/12. This will be your best bet for good fishing. Anglers have reported a "mixed bag" of panfish, a few bass, and lots of trout on smaller marabou jigs, Cleo style lures, paste-baits, and good old canned corn or worms on a hook.
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. Visit his website at http://www.jjsjigs.com