I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable Labor Day weekend, it is hard to believe another summer has flown by! Although it will still be summer patterns for the smallmouth for a while longer and we have months of excellent fishing still ahead of us and I am finding myself starting to look forward to fall fishing. I have some dates available in November still, if you have not tried fishing at this time of year you are missing out, it is typically a great month for numbers and for big fish.
For what feels like the first time this year, the river is dropping and I could actually see the bottom of the river this weekend….although levels are still well above a “normal” summer pool. The amount of high and stained water has pretty much removed the eel and star grass this year allowing for easier running and fishing. Fishing this week was ok, we caught decent numbers of fish but most were small and those of quality size were all very lean. I wonder if that is the effect of the high water reducing the amount of baitfish and food sources, as the fish seem thinner to me than most summers. I have yet to see a sizeable May Fly hatch this year. Spinnerbaits continue to produce fish although this week the bite did die off around mid-day, the clearing water called for some color and blade changes, going from Upper Snag Remover while it was more stained to Gold Snag and Stonecat this week. Even with the clearer water slow rolling the spinnerbaits around mid river submerged ledges and shallower flats worked best. Once the spinnerbait bite slowed a number of other lures produced, Adam’s ATAK crankbait in Dirty Water Devil, STC teaser tubes, flukes, senkos, Biffle Bugs and finesse worms on shakey heads all caught numbers of fish. All of these lures were fished in the same places, off the shoreline on flats with large rock and the at tops and bottoms of submerged ledges. For me it took fishing these baits very slowly, even dead sticking in areas that looked to me would definitely hold fish. Using Seaguar Invisx on sensitive St. Croix rods paid off on these techniques as the bite was often very light. If the water continues to drop and clear I would look for a topwater bite early and late in the day in the coming week(s). Check out the difference between 18″ fish caught from the upper and Susquehanna.
This river continues to show why it is such a special and amazing fishery over the past two weeks. Although the productive areas and lure colors changed slightly over two weeks the results did not. That was numbers of quality fish caught on spinnerbaits almost exclusivly. It is such a fun day of fishing when at the end you can count on one hand how many bass you caught that were UNDER 14″! Prior to the water dropping and clearing working shorelines was most productive, particularly points and current seams along the shore. In a bit of reversal the cleanest water did not fish the best, instead it was finding shorelines where the water had a slight stain and slow rolling Snagler Tackle spinnerbaits in Chartruese Mega Snag, Gold Snag in the river series, and Mega Death in the thin wire series. We found adding a trailer hook and grub trailer improved the catch rate. This week the fish locations were similar to that of the upper Potomac, with fishing holding around current seams and submerged ledges off shore, and again in water that had a slight stain. The spinnerbait colors and technique changed, this week it was burning them subsurface in Gold Snag, Roadkill River Craw and Stonecat with no trailer, in shallow water. Usually less than 30″ of water. The walleye bite continues with a few more caught on both rivers on spinnerbaits. No matter how many bass I catch on this river on spinnerbaits I can not get over the ferocity that they will strike with, like I have never experienced fishing anywhere else!
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