Weekly Fishing Report: Fishing during hunting season risky
I donned my bright orange hunting cap and saunters down to the stream. This stream is located in a State Game Land and usually is never fished hard. The hunting cap was to make sure others in the woods could see me. Fishing during hunting season can be a gamble. I've had spent bullets hit near me before, hence the orange cap. What's worse than bullets? Angry hunters who say I don't have any business being in the woods fishing when it's a good time to hunt. They may have a point. I really don't get peace and quiet fishing, when it sounds like World War III around me. In fact, sometimes it's a bit uncomfortable to try and be sneaky when fishing for trout ... I guess I look like a target?
Anyway, back to my story. I kneeled along a spit of rocks and peered slowly over and scanned the shallow waters in front of me. Through my polarized sunglasses I saw the flash of movement in the water. A-ha! I spied a nice sized brown trout actively feeding on the sub-surface morsels passing by through the current. I slowly advanced my nine foot rod out over the water and flicked out about twelve feet of fly line, mending once, to get a decent drift of my heavily weighted nymph. At about parallel to me I felt my fly leader and line tense. I set the hook and had a nice ten inch brown trout at the end. I quickly landed the trout, smiled at my success, and then gingerly released him back into the chilly creek. I stood upright, stretched with pride... and then was met by a round of applause from above me. Startled, I yelped a crude four-letter-word, dropped by fly rod, and almost stumbled over into the creek. Perched about 20 feet above me in a pine tree was a man clad in camouflage. Stammering, I asked; "W-w-what the hell are you doing in that tree? You almost gave me a h-h-heart attack."
The camo-clad man replied; "It's almost deer season, I'm just scouting my hunting area." He thrusted out his binoculars so I could see them and laughed. "I'm a hunter and I'm surprised to see a flyfisherman out this late in November." All I could manage to say was; "Well, I'm a die-hard angler." Then I quickly excused myself from the area since I didn't need to be startled again by anyone else hanging out in the trees? So Mr. Tree Perched Scouter-Hunter, whom I did not get your name. I apologize if I seemed rattled and a touch unfriendly... but you scared the heck out of me! I really am a friendly guy.
RIVERFISHING: Not much has changed in the way of tactics over the last week. The smallmouth on both the Chemung and Susquehanna are still a tad bit picky. Smaller subdued colored hair-jigs around three inches long have been working the best. Successful anglers have been using a lot of bear-hair jigs and marabou jigs. Letting your jigs settle to the bottom and then rising the lure slowly has been the best presentation. Anything heavier than 1/8 of an ounce takes a faster retrieve on the lift, and doing so has put off the bite. One has to gingerly lift the jig off the bottom and S-L-O-W down the retrieve. Any pause, hesitation, or feeling of a "wet leaf" on the retrieve is probably a strike instead of a snag. Concentrate your efforts to slower slack waters and current breaks. Flyfisherman must use a sink-tip or full sinking lines with bigger sized nymphs or streamers. A full floating line has become a hindrance to finding the proper depth.
LAKEFISHING: I attempted to fish at a shallower farm pond. I knew the schools of fish would be in deeper sections. I had a little success with "right-angle" fishing with a yarn-style bobber. It was almost like drop-shot fishing trying to get my micro-jig to slide off a drop-off ledge into deeper water. I caught two very small panfish for all my efforts. I'm looking forward to a bit of ice. Then the lake and pond fishing will heat back up. As the ice-fishing season progresses, I'll try and list the productive locations, thickness of the ice, and what is working for the "hard-water" anglers throughout December, January and February. Until then, my opinion would be that shore fishing in ponds or lakes is a done until ice-in time.
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. Follow his adventures on Twitter: @JJsJigs or visit his website at www.jjsjigs.com