I was able to get back out on the rivers after being on a family vacation in Canada, a little more on that below. While fishing a lake was fun and enjoyable I always miss being on the river and those hard fighting river smallies! Don’t forget fall is an amazing time to be on the water, I have two open dates in October, send me a message if you would like to get out for a fun day of fishing.
The unusual weather and river conditions continue with the river still running several feet above a more typical summer pool, with stained water and temps much lower than usual. Despite what seemed like ideal conditions the river fished tough this week over several 4 hour trips. This week the Maryland side was running a little cleaner, but that did not translate into better fishing, with most of the fish we caught coming from mid river and the Virginia side. Snagler Tackle spinnerbaits in Upper Sang Remover were by far the best producer as far as numbers and size of fish, but we did catch some on STC tubes as well. We slow rolled the spinnerbaits on current seams by weed beds, isolated rock, wood, tops of islands, and submerged ledges, with the key being slow and covering lots of water. Luckily the higher water levels and lack of eel grass make getting around very easy. I was able to catch an absolute giant over the weekend with this technique, a beautiful 21 1/8″ smallie, as well a number of walleye. The tubes we fished mostly along submerged ledges, and along current seams of large isolated rock, and the bite was very light. It is these times that a quality, sensitive rod really makes a difference in detecting those bites. I have almost exclusively use St. Croix rods for almost 30 years and absolutely love them, paired up with Seaguar Invisx and it makes for an awesome tube fishing machine! Also have a new boat record with Mike boating a tree we estimated at 40lbs and 12′ long, congrats Mike! The higher and stained water seems to be keeping a lot of people off the water, boat and kayak traffic has been drastically less than the past several years.
The Susquehanna and Juniata have fished very well this week, but with the sharp rise and drop on the Susquehanna we opted for fishing the Juniata on Sunday. We caught a lot of bass, with many being good sized fish as well as a couple walleye by slow rolling Snagler Tackle spinnerbaits along shoreline features. As with on the upper Potomac, I covered many miles of river and caught fish on current seams, wood, edges of weed beds and submerged ledges near the shoreline. Several colors performed well on the day, including Chartruese Mega Death, Upper Snag Remover in the thumper series and Mega Death, it was important to fish them as slowly as possible and still keep the blades thumping. Some other tips that were helpful on this outing is to add a grub trailer, and a trailer hook for those short striking fish. There are some days when color, blade profile, color and size make a difference so it is always good to experiment with different combinations. I have been asked a number of times recently what set I am using for fishing spinnerbaits, I use 12lb mono with a St. Croix Legend Tournament rod, the sniper spinnerbait model. It allows for long casts but still has the power to set and penetrate the larger hooks on the big fish. This, for me, is one of the most thrilling ways to fish for river smallies, there are days when they absolutely crush them so be prepared to re-tune and straighten out the wires on the spinnerbaits.
As mentioned, I spent a week on family vacation in Canada at Fernleigh Lodge near Cloyne Ontario. Although my fishing time was limited this trip other than when my kids wanted to go, I have been to this lodge a handful of times now and enjoy it each trip. It is a relatively easy drive, about 9 hours from Hagerstown, MD. but still has the “Canadian feel” with all of the creature comforts we are used to. Nice cabins, meal plans and of course a large lake with huge variety of different structure for fishing. I am going to do a write up on the lake (Kashwakamak Lake) and some of my fishing experiences there in a different blog coming up soon.
As always, thanks to these companies for making such great products and their support!