Monday, November 30, 2009

Susquehanna Fly and Spin Guide Service Fishing Report for the Susquehanna River, November 29, 2009

The Susquehanna River came alive today with Musky, Walleye, Smallmouth Bass, and Channel Catfish making it to the boat today for my angler who caught his first Musky on the fly. Congrats to him for a job well done! If you've never seen a musky take a fly while feeding on the surface its an awesome thing to see. The action should continue through december and into the new year. Book a trip to get in on the action! Get bent and sling some string! ------<*)}}}}}}}}><

Check out for full fishing report and pics!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

New Video from Susquehanna Fly and Spin Guide Service

A cool one from our friend Steve Hancock...

Check him out on the web:


Hi Gang,

The river was at 4.1 with 17.000CF of flow and 50 degrees at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 4.7 with 27,000CF of flow and 48 degrees. The BP was 29.90 and rising.

Trip #1 – Guide Fun Trip - This was on Thanksgiving Morning and we fished from 6:30AM – 9:00 AM and we boated 10 Walleye, 1 Flathead, 1 Bass and 1 Crappie. The largest Walleye was 19” and the Crappie was 12”. We caught them all on soft plastic jigs. We had 4.6 – Steady – Clear – 24,700CF and 49 degrees. It was cloudy and mild with a BP of 30.10 and Falling.

Trip #2 – Guide Scouting Trip – This was on Friday and we fished from 2:00 – 4:30 PM. We boated 8 Walleye, 1 striper and 1 Bass. The largest Walleye was 18.5” and we had 4 legal fish. The Striper was 24” and the Bass was 18”. We caught them all on Soft Plastics and stickbaits. . We had 4.7 – Falling – Stained – 20,700CF and 49 degrees. It was cloudy and windy with a BP of 30.10 and falling.

Trip #3 – Guide Trip – No Trip

Trip #4 – No Trip

Trip #5 – No Trip

Trip #6 – No Trip

Now would be a great time to book a Smallmouth Trip and the Walleye should be starting soon. The catfish are continuing to cooperate.

We are planning on adding another adventure to our services next year. We are willing to fish with you in a tournament. You will be partnered with one of our guides and you will get the experience of fishing a tournament with us. The price will depend on the cost of the entry fee. Any prize money will be split 50/50 between you and our guide. This will entitle you to a couple hours of pre-fishing with us as well providing you meet on our schedule. Get your request in early as the tournament dates are limited.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Hi Gang,

The river was at 4.9 with 32,000CF of flow and 45 degrees at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 4.2 with 18,100CF of flow and 50 degrees. The BP was 30.10 and Steady.

Trip #1 – Guide Trip – This was a half day PM trip on Monday and we boated 30+ Bass. The largest was 19.25” and we caught them on Soft Plastics. We had 4.6 – Falling – Clear – 25,000CF and 45 degrees. It was sunny and mild with a BP of 30.65 and rising.

Trip #2 – Guide Trip – This was a Full Day Trip on Tuesday and we boated 50+ bass. The largest was 19.25” and we caught them all on Soft Plastics. We had 4.4 – Steady – Clear – 22,000CF and 45-49 degrees. It was cloudy and windy. We had a BP of 30.65 and steady.

Trip #3 – Guide Trip – This was a full day trip on Tuesday and we boated 50+ Smallmouth and the largest was 17.5”. We caught them all on soft plastics. We had 4.4 – Falling – Clear – 22,000 and 45 – 49 degrees. We had cloudy skies with a strong north wind and we had a BP of 30.65 and steady.

Trip #4 – Guide Scouting Trip – This was on Wednesday and we went to a lake looking for Walleye. We fished from 6:00 – 8:00 PM and boated 4 Walleye and the largest was 18”. We caught them all on stickbaits.

Trip #5 – Guide Fun Trip – This was on Saturday and we fished from 7:00 AM to 1:00 PM and we boated 27 Flatheads. The largest was 27.7# and we caught them all on live bait. We had 4.2 – Falling – Clear – 18,100CF and 60 degrees. We had cloudy skies and a BP of 30.10 & Steady.

Trip #6 – Guide Scouting Trip – This was on Saturday and we fished from 3:30 – 5:30 and we boated 10 Smallmouth. The largest was 15.5” and we caught them all on soft plastics. We had 4.2 – Falling – Clear and 50 degrees. It was cloudy and we had a BP of 30.10 and steady.

Now would be a great time to book a Smallmouth Trip and the Walleye should be starting soon.

We are planning on adding another adventure to our services next year. We are willing to fish with you in a tournament. You will be partnered with one of our guides and you will get the experience of fishing a tournament with us. The price will depend on the cost of the entry fee. Any prize money will be split 50/50 between you and our guide. This will entitle you to a couple hours of pre-fishing with us as well providing you meet on our schedule. Get your request in early as the tournament dates are limited.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Susquehanna Fly and Spin Fishing: Report for the Susquehanna River, November 21, 2009

The bite was good today for walleye and especially the smallmouth bass as we boated some nice size ones in the afternoon hours. Congratulations to my 8 year old angler and his father for their 1st river walleye and largest river smallmouth they caught on spinning gear. Job Well Done! If you want to get in on the action give us a call to book a trip or email me at Our web address is

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

2010 Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show Features More Than Ever (

From; Tuesday, November 17th, 2009 at 2:35 pm

2010 Eastern Sports & Outdoor will Feature More Seminars, Outfitters, New Products and Manufacturer Demonstrations

HARRISBURG, Pa --( The Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show, the largest consumer event of its kind in North America, will be bigger and better when it comes to the State Farm Show Complex, Harrisburg February 6-14, 2010.

“Building on last year’s success, we are again bringing in some of the biggest names in hunting and fishing to present seminars and meet our guests. And, of course, we continue to bring in more manufacturers, retailers and outfitters from around the world than any other show in the world,” says Chris O’Hara, Manager, Strategic Accounts Eastern Sports & Outdoors Show.

The Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show attracts outdoor sports enthusiasts from across the country to view the latest and best hunting and fishing products, plan and book hunting and fishing trips, shop for the latest gear, boats, ATVs and RVs, and enjoy a wide range of contests and family entertainment.

This year’s Show includes more than 1,100 hunting- and fishing-related vendors including a wide range of hunting-related, archery, outdoor-apparel, fishing, and game-call vendors and over 500 outfitters from around the world.

Thompson/Center Arms, one of the world’s most respected designers, manufacturers and marketers of premium hunting firearms, is bringing their full line of products and factory representatives to the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show. Thompson/Center Arms, a Smith and Wesson Company, is widely recognized by hunters as a manufacturer and distributor of innovative firearms that meet the highest precision, performance, craftsmanship, and reliability standards.

Hunting Seminar Speakers and Special Guests.

Michael Waddell
In the world of outdoor television, Michael Waddell is huge. Since joining Team Realtree in 1994, Waddell has gone from cameraman to producer to host of Realtree Road Trips. Waddell also hosts the very popular, Bone Collector’s.

Lee and Tiffany Lakosky
Many people have already gotten hooked on the success of Gettin’ Close with Lee & Tiffany, one of the highest rated shows in outdoor television. Now Lee and Tiffany Lakosky, star in the reality based outdoor program, The Crush with Lee & Tiffany on the Outdoor Channel.

Stan Potts
Stan Potts has hunted whitetails for 40 years, harvesting numerous whitetail bucks with a bow, three of which scored over 200 inches. His hunting successes have been featured in North American Whitetail magazine and several other media sources. He has appeared in several hunting videos and television shows, including Realtree Outdoors and Hunter’s Specialties Prime Time series. He is a co-host of North American Whitetail Television on the Outdoor Channel. He is also featured on Whitetail Country on ESPN and Hunt Masters on the Outdoor Channel.

Chuck Adams
Chuck Adams is the world’s best known and most widely published bowhunter, authoring 4,550 magazine articles and 10 full-length books. He appears 25-30 times each year on ESPN, WGN, and TNN television networks and stars on ESPN’s Whitetail Country and Advantage Adventures shows. Adams is the first archer to accomplish the “Super Slam” by taking of all 27 species of North American big game. He also has 111 Pope & Young record-book trophies and 181 Safari Club International records to his credit—the most in history.

Ralph & Vicki Cianciarulo
Vicki Cianciarulo, of Lanark, Illinois, is an experienced bowhunter, an enthusiastic nature photographer, the better half of North America’s Favorite Hunting Couple, and co-host of the award-winning Archer’s Choice and The Choice television shows alongside her spouse, Ralph Cianciarulo.

Bobby Hart
Bob specializes in Long Range Shooting and Hunting, Custom Rifle Building, and reloading. He also offers an ‘accuracy package’ that has been proven to greatly increase the reliability of many ‘factory’ rifles. This combined with a Hart designed muzzlebrake are a few of the general gunsmith procedures done in-house.

Dan Whitmus
Dan Whitmus grew up hunting and fishing in Washington State where his knowledge of the outdoors landed him a manager’s role at a 20,000 acre duck and goose lease. In 1999, Dan moved to Idaho to continue his career in the hunting industry, concentrating on elk hunting. Since that time, Dan has won two world elk calling titles and nine state and regional championships.

Fishing Seminars Speakers and Special Guests

Bob Clouser
Bob’s love of the outdoors, especially fishing, led him into the fishing business. He is the creator of the famed “Clouser Minnow” fly pattern, known world-wide and has caught more varieties of fish than any other fly. He continues to guide, teach and share his enjoyment with others. He will present casting demonstrations, using visual aids and casting weighted flies and lines, as well as lectures on “fly fishing for Smallmouth Bass”- (Catching smallmouth from top to bottom using flies and) “fly fishing Adventures”, about various species that can be caught on fly rod and flies.

Mark Menendez
There are few bass fishing professionals on the national scene like Mark Menendez. On the water, the 44-year-old Paducah, Kentucky angler has spend the past 17 years earning the reputation of a warrior on tour. His career earnings of more than $900,000.00 along with success in individual tournaments (three wins and 18 top-ten finishes) and season long point standings are testament to his passion and skill for competition.

Aaron Martin
Missouri native Aaron Martin is quickly becoming a fixture in the bass fishing universe. As the host of the Bass Edge television show, he reaches millions of viewers through the Versus Network and World Fishing Network HD in the U.S., and on WILD TV in Canada. He is also a co-host on The Edge, the #1 bass fishing podcast on iTunes, and is a frequent contributor to and the “Inside Edge” monthly e-newsletter.

Other Seminars
Albert Wutsch, Director of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Academy of Culinary Arts, will again share his butchering skills during daily deer butchering sessions. Sessions will include: fabricating one side of a hanging carcass; breaking down carcasses into sub primal cuts; fabricating cuts into steaks, roasts, stir fry, butterfly and other cuts. Wutsch’s presentations were some of the most popular seminars at last year’s show.

Tim Flanigan will present a daily seminar on “Tips for Successful Outdoor Photography.” Flanigan has been shooting wildlife photos for the print media for more than thirty years with photo credits in numerous books, magazines, newspapers, greeting and post cards, calendars, travel brochures, phone books and advertisements. His photography can also be seen on the covers of the Pennsylvania Game News Magazine and their annual calendar.

Daily Attractions

Randy Oitker
At age 21, Randy Oitker has already established himself as a professional archer, hunter and exhibition shooter. Oitker travels the country as a precision archer and is known for shooting multiple arrows and hitting multiple targets simultaneously. In 2007, Oitker broke all archery history records by shooting 4 arrows striking 4 individual targets (lifesavers) simultaneously at the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Expo in Harrisburg, PA. Oitker recently traveled to London, England for the Guinness Book Of World Records TV show called Guinness World Records Smashed to make archery history! On April 7, 2009. Oitker shot 6 arrows with one shot 6 arrows at a time and simultaneously hit 6 separate balloons!

Raptors Up Close, a program designed for all ages to educate and teach conservation through an entertaining demonstration with live birds of prey, will present demonstrations on February 9-13. “Raptors Up Close” is filled with visually exciting displays illustrating the power, skills, and beauty of raptors including owls, falcons, hawks and other birds of prey.

Taste of the Great Outdoors
On Tuesday, February 9, from 5 to 8 PM, students from the culinary school at Harrisburg Area Community College will present a variety of delectable game and fish recipes in the Small Arena to the hundreds of attendees who can’t wait to sample unique game recipes and learn new cooking techniques from cooking professionals. During the event over a thousand free samples will be consumed.

Other entertainment includes:

•Keystone Regional Duck Calling Contest
•The Duck Decoy Painting Contest
•Northeastern States Elk Calling Contest
•Kids Fishing Contest
•Dog Training Demonstrations
•turkey calling and Owl Hooting Contest
•Knife & Tomahawk
•Professional Taxidermy
•Amateur Wildlife Photography
•Antler Scoring
•Fly Tying
•PA 3-D Bowhunter Challenge
•Susquehanna River Gunning Decoy Contest
•Capital City BASSMASTER Casting Kids®
•NEW! Predator Hunting Contest

Show Dates & Times

•Sat. Feb. 6 10 am – 7 pm
•Sun. Feb. 7 10 am – 5 pm
•Mon. Feb. 8 10 am – 7 pm
•Tues. Feb. 9 10 am – 7 pm
•Wed. Feb. 10 10 am – 7 pm
•Thur. Feb. 11 10 am – 7 pm
•Fri. Feb. 12 10 am – 7 pm
•Sat. Feb. 13 10 am – 7 pm
•Sun. Feb. 14 10 am – 5 pm
The Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show is proud to have the following partner/sponsors: Cabela’s, the official retailer; Thompson/Center Arms, the official firearm; Outdoor Channel, the official network; and Realtree, the official camouflage.

For more information, or to order tickets online visit our website at .

Originally posted on

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Hi Gang,

The river was at 4.9 with 32,000CF of flow and 45 degrees at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 4.2 with 18,100CF of flow and 50 degrees. The BP was 30.10 and Steady.

Trip #1 – Guide Trip – This was a half day PM trip on Monday and we boated 30+ Bass. The largest was 19.25” and we caught them on Soft Plastics. We had 4.6 – Falling – Clear – 25,000CF and 45 degrees. It was sunny and mild with a BP of 30.65 and rising.

Trip #2 – Guide Trip – This was a Full Day Trip on Tuesday and we boated 50+ bass. The largest was 19.25” and we caught them all on Soft Plastics. We had 4.4 – Steady – Clear – 22,000CF and 45-49 degrees. It was cloudy and windy. We had a BP of 30.65 and steady.

Trip #3 – Guide Trip – This was a full day trip on Tuesday and we boated 50+ Smallmouth and the largest was 17.5”. We caught them all on soft plastics. We had 4.4 – Falling – Clear – 22,000 and 45 – 49 degrees. We had cloudy skies with a strong north wind and we had a BP of 30.65 and steady.

Trip #4 – Guide Scouting Trip – This was on Wednesday and we went to a lake looking for Walleye. We fished from 6:00 – 8:00 PM and boated 4 Walleye and the largest was 18”. We caught them all on stickbaits.

Trip #5 – Guide Fun Trip – This was on Saturday and we fished from 7:00 AM to 1:00 PM and we boated 27 Flatheads. The largest was 27.7# and we caught them all on live bait. We had 4.2 – Falling – Clear – 18,100CF and 60 degrees. We had cloudy skies and a BP of 30.10 & Steady.

Trip #6 – Guide Scouting Trip – This was on Saturday and we fished from 3:30 – 5:30 and we boated 10 Smallmouth. The largest was 15.5” and we caught them all on soft plastics. We had 4.2 – Falling – Clear and 50 degrees. It was cloudy and we had a BP of 30.10 and steady.

Now would be a great time to book a Smallmouth Trip and the Walleye should be starting soon.

We are planning on adding another adventure to our services next year. We are willing to fish with you in a tournament. You will be partnered with one of our guides and you will get the experience of fishing a tournament with us. The price will depend on the cost of the entry fee. Any prize money will be split 50/50 between you and our guide. This will entitle you to a couple hours of pre-fishing with us as well providing you meet on our schedule. Get your request in early as the tournament dates are limited.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Susquehanna Fly and Spin Guide Service Report (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania)

November 2, 2009 Susquehanna River Fishing Report: Some large smallmouth and walleye brought to the boat this week under a full moon despite high water conditions. 23" walleye was taken on fly and smallmouth as well. The end of this week will be a great time to get out with us for a guided trip, as river levels will receed and clearer water will should bring strong numbers of smallmouth bass and walleye to the boat.
Tight Lines-------<*)}}}}}><

November 2, 2009 Fishing Report for Chesepeake Bay/Susquehanna Flats: The Susquehanna Flats and furnace bay were productive today as we boated several largemouth bass in the 15-18" range, and some perch as well. Had two stripers on today and both managed to work their way off the hook close to the boat. Other anglers out on the water were reporting much of the same especially the striper bite being good in the 15"-25" range and one earlier in the week was reported at 40 1/2" near port deposit area. Fall fishing is at its peak and cooling water temps are pushing the fish to feed up for the upcoming winter months. Give us a call to book a trip and get in on the action!
Tight Lines!-------<*)}}}}}><

Check out the Susquehanna Fly and Spin Guide Service on the web:

Monday, November 9, 2009

River Level Slowly Falling

From the National Weather Service, Middle Atlantic River Forcast Center:


The river was at 7.0 with 74,000CF of flow and 51 degrees at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 4.9 with 32,000CF of flow and 45 degrees. The BP was 30.65 and Rising.

Trip #1 – Guide Scouting Trip – This was a PM trip on Wednesday and we fished from 1:30 – 5:00. We boated 12 Bass and the largest was 18”. We caught one on a stickbait and the rest on Soft Plastics. We had 5.4 – Falling – Stained – 42,000CF and 50 degrees. It was cloudy and cool.

Trip #2 – Guide Trip – This was a Full Day Trip on Friday for Catfish and we boated 28 Flatheads and the largest was 29.7#. We caught them all on live bait and we had 6 over 20#. We had 5.0 – Falling – Clear – 42,000CF and 55 degrees. It was clear and we had a BP of 30.65 and steady.

Trip #3 – Guide Trip – This was a half day trip on Saturday and we boated 30+ Smallmouth and the largest was 18”. We caught them all on soft plastics. We had 4.9 – Falling – Clear – 32,000 and 45 degrees. We had clear skies with a strong south wind and we had a BP of 30.65 and Rising.

Trip #4 – This was a full day on Saturday and we boated 50+ Smallmouth and the largest was 17.75”. We caught them all on Soft Plastics like the YUM Craw Pappi, Kalin Grub, YUM Dinger and Salty Spider Jig. We had the same conditions as noted above.

Now would be a great time to book a Smallmouth Trip and the Walleye should be starting soon.

We are planning on adding another adventure to our services next year. We are willing to fish with you in a tournament. You will be partnered with one of our guides and you will get the experience of fishing a tournament with us. The price will depend on the cost of the entry fee. Any prize money will be split 50/50 between you and our guide. This will entitle you to a couple hours of pre-fishing with us as well providing you meet on our schedule. Get your request in early as the tournament dates are limited.


The Koinonia Guide Service can be reached through their website:

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Central Pennsylvania Fishing Report (The Patriot-News)

By MARCUS SCHNECK, The Patriot-News
November 06, 2009, 12:43AM
From The Patriot-News, which regularly offers a look at fishing on waters throughout central Pennsylvania in the Sports section.

Performance Marine, Etters: Before the heavy rains last week, anglers were hammering walleye and smallmouth bass of considerable size on the Susquehanna River, but then “the river just jumped up and the fishing fell off,” said Greg Bachman. Shiners were the big producer among baits and lures. Some anglers have continued to connect with walleye downriver of the Dock Street Dam at Harrisburg, despite river conditions. River levels have been falling in the past few days, and action can be expected to pick up once again.

Ron’s Wholesale Bait, Harrisburg: The downriver areas at dams all along the Susquehanna had been producing well before the river level rose, with Twister tails and shiners generating most of the action. Anglers also have been traveling to area streams and lakes that were stocked recently with trout.

Black’s Bait and Tackle, Selinsgrove: Donna Brown said local anglers are “waiting for the big walleye surge that always happens at this time of year” on the Susquehanna River, but appears to have been temporarily delayed by high river levels. As those levels have been falling, anglers have been connected with walleye and smallies on Rapala Husky Jerk lures and six-inch plastic minnows in smoke and motor oil colors.

Koinonia Guide Service, Carlisle: Recent trips on the Susquehanna have produced eight walleye, the largest 17 inches, on stickbaits; three flathead catfish on live bait, the largest weighing six pounds, and a smallmouth bass on a stickbait: more than 25 smallmouth bass, the largest 20 inches long, on stickbaits and soft plastics; and 17 flatheads, the largest weighing 23 pounds, on live bait.

From PA Sportsman -
Pennsylvania hunting and fishing news

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

PPL receives FERC approval to expand Holtwood hydroelectric plant

Press Release from PPL Corporation:
November 3, 2009

Approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of a request by PPL Holtwood, LLC, is a significant milestone in the plan to increase generation of clean, renewable energy and improve migratory fish passage, the company said Tuesday (11/3).

“Expanding the Holtwood plant is part of PPL’s commitment to make sound financial investments while increasing the proportion of non-fossil-fuel resources in our strong generation portfolio,” said Victor N. Lopiano, PPL’s senior vice president-Fossil and Hydro Generation. “We appreciate FERC’s timely action on our application.”

About 40 percent of the electricity PPL generates annually comes from nuclear, hydroelectric and renewable sources that do not emit carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, he said.

The expansion project, with an estimated cost of $440 million, will add enough renewable energy to power 100,000 typical homes. PPL’s planned 125-megawatt increase in generating capacity will more than double Holtwood’s existing generating capacity of 108 megawatts. In addition, in approving this application FERC has extended the existing operating license for the Holtwood hydroelectric plant through August 2030.

PPL resubmitted the Holtwood expansion application to FERC in April 2009 after withdrawing the original application in December 2008, citing economic conditions. In refiling the application, PPL said incentives in the federal stimulus package could make the project feasible again by offsetting the factors that caused the company to withdraw its original application.

“We continue to work with the U.S. Department of Energy to obtain loan guarantees for the Holtwood project from the federal economic stimulus package. The loan guarantees will enable us to reduce the overall financing cost for the project to develop additional clean, renewable energy,” Lopiano said.

Additional benefits of the project are improved passage for migratory fish along the Susquehanna River and its tributaries, and improved recreational opportunities.

PPL has selected Walsh Construction of Chicago as the general contractor for the project, which is expected to create more than 200 construction jobs. Some pre-construction work has begun. Construction is expected to start in the first quarter of 2010.

PPL purchased the turbine generators for the project from a Pennsylvania company, Voith Hydro of York.

FERC’s approval of the Holtwood project comes just weeks after PPL’s official start of redevelopment at its Rainbow hydroelectric plant near Great Falls, Mont. The Montana project, with an estimated cost of $230 million, will increase the amount of clean, renewable power generated there by 70 percent and improve fish passage when the project is completed in 2012.

The Holtwood plant has been generating electricity since 1910, using the power of the water held back by a 55-foot-high dam across the Susquehanna River between Lancaster and York counties in south central Pennsylvania. The dam creates Lake Aldred, an 8-mile reservoir that provides opportunities for boating, fishing and other public recreation.

PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL), headquartered in Allentown, Pa., controls or owns more than 12,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the United States, sells energy in key U.S. markets and delivers electricity to about 4 million customers in Pennsylvania and the United Kingdom.

Contact: George Lewis, 610-774-5997

Monday, November 2, 2009


Hi Gang,

The river was at 7.8 with 98,000CF of flow and 51 degrees at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 7.0 with 74,000CF of flow and 51 degrees. The BP was 30.20 and Rising.

Trip #1 – Guide Trip – This was a PM trip on Friday and we switched from a Walleye Trip to a Catfish Trip due to conditions. We fished from 2:30 – 630 PM and we boated 17 Flatheads. The largest was 22.7#. We caught them all on live bait. We had 7.1 – Rising – Muddy – 76,000CF and 54 degrees. It was cloudy and we had a BP of 30.20 and Steady.

Trip #2 – Guide Trip – This was a PM trip on Friday and we fished from 2:30 – 6:30 PM and we boated 7 Flatheads and the largest was 25# plus as we pegged the 25# scale. The fish was 38.5” long and had a 20.5” Girth. We had two citation fish on this trip. We caught them all on live bait. We had 7.0 – Rising – Muddy – 76,000CF and 54 degrees. It was cloudy and we had a BP of 30.20 and steady.

Trip #3 – No Trip

Trip #4 – No Trip

Please send your friends and family to our web site.

Kermit Henning had a little segment on Channel 27 News and Koinonia
was featured on this segment. You can check it out at the Channel 27 web site if you missed it.

We are planning on adding another adventure to our services next year. We are willing to fish with you in a tournament. You will be partnered with one of our guides and you will get the experience of fishing a tournament with us. The price will depend on the cost of the entry fee. Any prize money will be split 50/50 between you and our guide. This will entitle you to a couple hours of pre-fishing with us as well providing you meet on our schedule. Get your request in early as the tournament dates are limited.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

River Level Coming Down

Join in the discussions on Susquehanna Fishing Magazine's forum:

The Skinny on Middle Susky's Bass, Launch (, 2005)

This is an older article from, but I thought I would repost it...


The Skinny on Middle Susky's Bass, Launch
By Vic Attardo
Fishing and Hunting News
July 21, 2005

SELINSGROVE, Pa. — After two years of mostly un-fishable conditions, the middle Susquehanna River is back, and really, really, really hot.

High waters brought on by the droppings of hurricanes and some unnamed torrential storms made the Susquehanna and its stepsister, the "Rio Wanita," too high to work.

Unfortunately the amount of time you could spend on these flows over the last two bass seasons was negligible. Heck, the last story I wrote for this magazine about middle Susquehanna smallmouth — one of my favorite subjects — was back in 2003. And that's a long time between takes for this world-class smallmouth fishery.

You'll find good access to great smallmouth bass fishing on the middle Susquehanna River.But this year, things are entirely different. Already we've had weeks and weeks of excellent fishing on the central Pennsylvania duo and unless another hurricane comes along and puts egg — or heavy rain — on my face, at least we should get the remainder of July and August.

What happens in Pennsylvania in September, only the Atlantic and the Caribbean know.

As for the bass, well they've apparently sustained two years without being pestered by anglers in perfect order.

This season the bass are big and plentiful, and plenty sassy. It's the kind of fishing I loved on the rivers before Ivan and Isabel and all the other nasty storms came our way.

At a glance
Fishing and Hunting News

What: Great bass fishing on a river hit hard by heavy rains.

Where: The middle Susquehanna River, from Sunbury downstream to Duncannon.

Improved access

There is another factor to consider.

About two years ago, road contractors finally finished rebuilding and paving the portion of Route 11/15 that runs approximately from the Duncannon bridge north to Sunbury, on the west side of the middle Susquehanna. In doing so, some of the old boat ramps and access points got upgraded, at least at the driveway entrance, and some got changed a bit.

Unless my eyes have been wide shut, I haven't seen a new publication or a listing of the complete access points that are in the 60-mile stretch between Sunbury and Duncannon.

So you know what I did? I drove the whole darn thing and visited all the access points and graded them. Please send contributions to the Vic Needs Gas Money Fund, care of F&H News.

Anyway, here's what I found. Keep this for your reference because there isn't another listing like it that I know. And don't talk to me about the state publication that doesn't give directions and goes so far to as to list an "unnamed access" in Snyder County with an "unknown" owner. That's really helpful.

Haldeman Island: Above the bridge the first public access is the Pennsylvania Game Commission ramp at Haldeman Island.

The access is on a little sliver of Dauphin County that stretches across the river — it should have been joined to Perry County — so even many old access listings forgot about Haldeman Island, part of SGL 290.

Clemson Island: About 10 miles north of Haldeman is another access that is not on every map, Clemson Island in Perry County.

Again, this is a PGC-owned access as it's meant to connect the western shore with Clemson Island, SGL 294.

The thing about the Haldeman and Clemson Island ramps is that they're built on very flat pieces of land, with flat water beyond, so when the river is low, you need to drag your boat out across rocks and gravel.

It isn't easy trailering a boat here when the river is so exposed, but, oh the bassin'.

Half Falls: A few miles up the line is a spot with no official name, at least at the access.

Some locals call it Half Falls, because of the way the ledges stretch across the river, while other folks in a local bar, who really didn't seem like dedicated anglers, called it the Point.

In any case, the Point at Half Falls does not have a launch ramp, but there is a parking area and the parking area leads to some very popular shore fishing.

Those folks out in a boat at Half Falls came down from the next ramp at Montgomery Ferry.

Montgomery Ferry: Montgomery Ferry Access is an excellent facility operated by the PFBC with both good parking and ramp.

The access is located near the village of Montgomery Ferry that has a lot of history and is worth a walkabout. Like most of this 60-mile stretch, this access leads to some excellent water in a very wide stretch of the river.

You'll be able to work ledges, rocky runs, pocket pools, tiny islands and main currents here. In fact all sorts of wonderful structure await the angler in this region.

And it's also got nice pools to take on the white fly hatch later this summer.

Millersburg Ferry: Upstream it seems like they've turned the old Millersburg Ferry landing site into a public/private ramp.

I checked it out, but because no one was there, I wasn't sure what was going on. Still, I think this site is now open and you can shoot me if I'm wrong.

Liverpool: A few miles above this site is the Liverpool access. This is a newish PFBC access in Perry County and a good one.

Liverpool is a nice thick piece of the river with islands all over the place. You'll find a lot of good pockets below the ledges in this region and it is definitely a spot where the big smallmouth like to hang.

Every bit of the river north of Liverpool is about the same — great, so let me just give directions.

Sweigert Island: About 3 miles north is the Sweigert Island access, another PGC ramp. This is near Route 104 and 11/15. The island game land is SGL 258.

Port Trevorton: An access at Port Trevorton in Snyder County did not look for good launching, but did entertain wading anglers.

Mahantango: Jump the little distance through Juniata County to Snyder County and the next major access is the PFBC Mahantango site. This is also fine facility with ample parking located downstream of McKees Half Falls.

Hoover Island: Upstream is the Hoover Island Access at the mouth Penns Creek. This spot also goes in the category of small but nice.

Parking is limited and the ramp can be problematic, but once you get past the shallow tongue that extends down from Penns Creek you have nice water.

The PFBC was scheduled to reopen the ramp June 30 after wrapping up rock and tree work.

Isle of Que: The Selinsgrove Isle of Que access is located above the town, off Route 11/15. Be sure to head to the railroad trestle to fish.

Shady Nook: Shady Nook is part of the old utility company access with an upstream boundary of the good dam. This spot is located east of Route 11/15 at Hummel's Wharf off the shopping center highway.

And that, I believe, is it for the west side river in this great smallmouth region.

Material from Fishing & Hunting News
published 24 times a year.
Visit them at

Friday, October 30, 2009

Susquehanna River: Low Oxygen/Warmer Water are Likely Factors in Fish Disease (

From U.S. Geological Survey:
Released: 10/29/2009 3:16:11 PM

The USGS report is available online.

Smallmouth bass in the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg, Pa. are exposed to oxygen levels that are low enough to cause stress during the first few months of their lives. Low oxygen and the relatively warm water of the Susquehanna River are likely contributing factors in the die offs of baby smallmouth bass since 2005.

These are among the key findings of a new federal study to understand why baby smallmouth bass have been dying of infection, while older smallmouth bass and other fish have been largely unaffected. The infection is caused by Flavobacterium columnare, a bacterium that typically afflicts stressed fish. Public concern has been raised about the long-term viability of the smallmouth bass population on the Susquehanna, a river known for sport fishing.

Shallows with slow-moving water along the river margins are considered nurseries for baby smallmouth bass. “Nursery microhabitats are places for young fish to avoid predators and avoid the swift currents of the main channel of the River. Our work demonstrates that these nursery areas often have oxygen levels that are lower and more stressful than those in the swifter-moving and deeper waters of the main channel where the adult fish live,” said U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientist Jeff Chaplin, who led the study in partnership with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC), and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP).

There are many other water-quality factors and pathogens that were not evaluated in the study that may be putting additional stress on the fish in the Susquehanna River leading to the bacterial infections.

“This is the first time nursery microhabitats in the Susquehanna River have been instrumented with continuous water-quality monitors. Previous studies have focused on the main channel and have not measured oxygen concentrations during the critical nighttime hours,” said Kent Crawford, USGS water-quality specialist and coauthor of the report. “This study has been expanded in 2009 to include additional water-quality monitoring and fish-pathology examinations.”

“We have not found the smoking gun, but the results from this study and additional ongoing investigations provide us with a better understanding of the water quality of our rivers, said John Arway, Chief of the Environmental Services Division at PFBC. “Research studies such as these provide us with the science that we need to revise and update our laws, regulations, and public policy so that we can best manage and protect our sensitive fisheries.”

This study included continuous monitoring at seven sites from May – October 2008, to characterize water–quality conditions in some of the affected reaches of the Susquehanna River.

Selected Study Highlights

Nursery microhabitats had lower oxygen than the main channel:

•Oxygen levels fell below the applicable national criterion (5.0 mg/L) for up to 8.5 hours on more than 30 percent of days at one nursery microhabitat, compared to no days in the nearby main-channel habitat.
•Oxygen levels at a second nursery microhabitat fell below the criterion in about 20% of days, compared to only 6% in the nearby main channel.

Conditions in 2008 were more stressful than they were in the 1970’s:

•In the Susquehanna River at Harrisburg, daily mean dissolved oxygen levels averaged 1.1 mg/L lower and daily mean water temperatures averaged 1.4°F warmer in 2008 compared to historical datasets from 1974 through 1979.

The Susquehanna had higher temperatures than nearby rivers in 2008:

•During the monitoring period of May through September, the average daily mean water temperature of the Susquehanna River at Harrisburg was 3.2 °F warmer than the Delaware River at Trenton, N.J. and 6.1°F warmer than the Allegheny River near Pittsburgh, Pa.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

DNR Biologists Use New Technique To Look For Rare Fish (

From the
Maryland - 10-27-09

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) biologists started a search for one of the rarest fish in the world, the Maryland darter. This particular species has only been found in three Maryland streams, was last seen in 1988, and many biologists fear it’s extinct. Biologists started the search on Friday, but suspended the rest of the search this weekend due to foul weather and plan to resume in November.

“Having such a rare fish sets Maryland apart from other places,” said DNR Biologist Scott Stranko. “If we’ve lost this species, it will be the first darter species (of over 180 species in the world) to go extinct. And, we will have lost a real natural landmark.”

In 1988, Richard Raesly of Frostburg University was one of the last people to see a live Maryland darter. Dr. Raesly and DNR biologists are making a last ditch effort to see if any Maryland darters remain. Along with surveys of the places where the fish was seen before, Tom Jones of Marshall University in West Virginia will be assisting Dr. Raesly and DNR with a new fishing technique to sample the bottom of the Susquehanna River.

“Aquatic organisms are still declining,” said Dr. Raesly. “They’re some of the most endangered groups of organisms. Fishes, freshwater mussels, crayfishes, amphibians; they’re one of the most endangered groups of animals in north America, and the common threat is they’re all aquatic.”

DNR biologists suspect Maryland has lost at least seven other stream species from the Baltimore area including: 2 salamanders, a freshwater mussel and three fish, and many of the stream dwelling species that remain are highly imperiled. Specifically, 14 of Maryland’s 16 (88%) native freshwater mussel species and 41 percent (29 of 71) of native freshwater fish species are on Maryland’s list of rare, threatened and endangered animals. Most have declined to a point where their future existence is difficult or impossible to guarantee, often because their habitats are shrinking and barely supportive.

“While Maryland has been losing native stream species, we’ve gained widespread non-native species like carp and snakeheads that can be found all over the world,” said Stranko. “If this trend continues, no streams will be special like the Maryland darter streams once were.”

Stream animals are more prone to extinction compared to terrestrial species. They live in a confined space, with no way to escape the harsh conditions. It only takes a small amount of asphalt or concrete near a freshwater stream to create enough runoff to harm the animals that live in the stream.

DNR biologists say there is good news. Many Maryland streams still drain relatively undeveloped land, and many rare species still live in the cleanest remaining streams. Protecting these areas from development and pollution can and should happen. Over the last two years, DNR has included rare species habitats as one of the criteria for deciding where to spend time and money on land conservation. It may not be too late to include Maryland darter streams on the list of important areas to conserve.

Learn more about Maryland’s rare, threatened and endangered species at

Learn more about land conservation in Maryland at

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Report from the Koinonia Guide Service

Hi Gang,

The river was at 4.0 with 15,000CF of flow and 51 degrees at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 4.2 with 18,000CF of flow and 53 degrees. The BP was 30.20 and Falling.

Trip #1 – Guide Walleye Scouting Trip – This was a PM trip on Tuesday and we fished from 4:30 – 7:00 PM and we boated 8 Walleye. The largest was 17”. We caught them on Stickbaits and one on a Spinnerbait. We had 4.4 – Steady – Stained – 31,200CF and 51 – 73 degrees. It was clear and breezy we had a BP of 30.50 and Rising.

Trip #2 – Guide Scouting Trip – This was on Wednesday and we fished from 4:00 – 7:00 PM and we boated 3 Flatheads and 1 Bass. The largest was 6#. We started out looking for Walleye but switched to Catfish when the Walleye fishing was not working out. We caught the Flatheads on live bait and the Bass on a Stickbait. We had 3.7 – Rising – Stained – 19,000CF and 51 degrees. It was cloudy and 68 degree air temperature.

Trip #3 – Guide Scouting Trip – This was on Thursday and we fished from 2:30 to 6:30 PM and we boated 25+ Bass and the largest was 20”. We had 4.2 – 17,900CF – Stained – Steady – and 55 degrees. We caught them on Stickbaits and Soft Plastics. It was clear and warm and we had a BP of 32.00 and Steady.

Trip #4 – Guide Fun Trip – This was on Friday and we fished from 11:00 to 3:30 PM and we boated 17 Flatheads. The largest was 23# and we caught them all on live bait. We had 4.3 – Falling – Stained – 18,500 CF and 52 degrees. It was cloudy and extremely windy and we had a BP of 31. 20 and falling.

Please send your friends and family to our web site.

Kermit Henning had a little segment on Channel 27 News and Koinonia
was featured on this segment. You can check it out at the Channel 27 web site if you missed it.


NEW Susquehanna Fishing Magazine Out in 2010!!!

Susquehanna Fishing Magazine will be a free resource for anglers throughout the Susquehanna River regions of New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. This print publication will be released in early 2010, and will be available free at local retailers. Our goal is to inform the angling community of the most productive fishing techniques, while promoting responsible conservation of this vital resource.

Submit your photos, articles, and letters.

Now recruiting advertisers and distribution locations.

Join Susquehanna Fishing Magazine on Facebook: Blog:

Susquehanna Fishing Forum:

Contact Email:


Office: 570-441-4606

Mailing Address:

13 York Road
Bloomsburg, PA, 17815

Monthly Printing Objective: 30,000 copies

First print issue coming in 2010!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chesapeake Bay Kayak Striper Seminar, October 28, 2009

John "Toast" Oast from,, and the Ocean Kayak Fishing Team will be conducting a seminar on striper fishing from kayaks around the lower Chesapeake Bay. The seminar will be held on Wednesday, October 28th at 7pm at Kayak Fishing Stuff in Mine Hill, New Jersey. The session will cover light line fishing and the ever-popular Kiptopeke cows!

For more information contact Kayak Fishing Stuff:

3 Iron Mountain Rd
Mine Hill, NJ 07803
(973) 659-1114

45 min from Manhattan

75 Min from Allentown, PA

50 min from the Throgs Neck Bridge

3-1/2 hours from Baltimore MD

4-1/4 hrs from Washington DC

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sunbury, PA River Level Fluctuations

I have been watching the fluctuations in the river level around the Fabridam in Sunbury, PA. They are raising and lowering it as they take it down for the year. It is interesting to see how the levels go up and down.

Here's the link:

Data: Polluted Waterways in Pa.

This is a follow-up to the river report. You can check to see what kind of pollution is in the water you fish (Listed by river and creek).

From (Scranton Times Tribune)
Published: October 22, 2009


Fall 2009 Susquehanna Waterways Report

This is the report which was just released by the PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center. Just remember, if we want to continue to have the Susquehanna as a productive fishery for ourselves and our children, it is vital to be responsible about this beloved natural resource.

Just some food for thought...

Wasting Our Waterways
Toxic Industrial Polution and the Unfulfilled Promise of the Clean Water Act


More Water Worries in Wyoming County

From WNEP16,0,2434612.storyBy Peggy Lee
9:59 PM EDT, October 20, 2009

Concerns were raised in Wyoming County Tuesday night about the future of the Meshoppen Creek after a company petitioned to be allowed to dump treated wastewater from gas drilling into the stream.

The Meshoppen Creek cuts southwest through Wyoming County, feeding into the Susquehanna River and is known as a popular place for fishing.

A water treatment company is now asking the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to use the creek to discharge treated wastewater from gas drilling.

At a public meeting with DEP officials Tuesday night, residents in Wyoming County sounded off against a proposed treatment facility which the company, Wyoming Somerset Regional Water, wants to build just south of the creek in Lemon Township.

"It's going to create a dead zone in the streams," said Tunkhannock resident Joanne Fiorito. "So as far as I'm concerned, there goes our tourist attraction for fishing, game, you name it. It's going to affect everything."

The company is petitioning the DEP to dump up to 380,000 gallons per day of treated wastewater into Meshoppen Creek.

The president of the company, Larry Mostoller, said any water discharged will be safe.

"We're going to use the best technology available to clean this water," Mostoller. "Any discharges that we may incur will be monitored."

As for making the company adhere to those standards, officials with DEP said that will be their job.

"Our role is to make limits for that discharge to Meshoppen Creek so that it doesn't impact the water quality, aquatic life, uses of the stream," said DEP representative Mark Carmon.

DEP is still reviewing the discharge permit application. No decision has been made.

This is the second company to petition the DEP to discharge treated wastewater in water ways in Wyoming County. North Branch Processing, LLC is asking for permission to dump up to 500,000 per day of treated waste water in the Susquehanna River so it can build a treatment facility at a site near the Skyhaven Airport in Eaton Township.

Waterways Burdened by Pollution, Report Says

From (Scranton Times-Tribune)
by laura legere (staff writer)
Published: October 22, 2009

More than 2.6 million pounds of toxic chemicals were dumped into the Susquehanna River in 2007, making it one of the 20 rivers in the country most inundated by industrial releases.

The same year, 10 million pounds of chemicals were discharged into Pennsylvania's waterways, more than all but five other states.

Those numbers, compiled by PennEnvironment in a report released Wednesday, reveal a bleak picture of the sources of pollution that continue to burden state rivers tainted by centuries of industrial use.

"Nearly 16,000 miles of Pennsylvania's waterways are already unsafe for fishing and swimming," PennEnvironment field organizer Adam Garber said during a press conference on the steps of Scranton City Hall on Wednesday morning. "The report today shows more and more pollution is getting dumped into our waterways and streams, and that's unacceptable."

The report examined the federal government's Toxic Release Inventory for 2007, the most recent year available, which tracks releases of certain toxic chemicals from industrial facilities. The PennEnvironment report highlights discharges of cancer-causing chemicals, those that persist in the environment and those that have the potential to cause reproductive problems.

The federal data provides a snapshot of industrial pollution at its source in a specific waterway, Mr. Garber said, but it does not account for historical pollution in the rivers or the accumulation of pollution across a river basin.

For example, according to the report, Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. in Wyalusing Twp., Bradford County, discharged 1.5 million tons of toxic chemicals - most significantly nitrate compounds from animal waste - into Wyalusing Creek in 2007, making it the second worst polluter in the state. Osram Sylvania Products Inc. in Towanda, dumped 1.4 million pounds of toxins, including nitrates and ammonia, into the Susquehanna River during the same year.

"Wyalusing Creek flows into the Susquehanna River," Mr. Garber said. "They get even more polluted down the road. So the situation for the Susquehanna is much worse than it looks here."

Bernie McGurl, executive director of the Lackawanna River Corridor Association, pointed out legacy pollution is a major problem for local waterways.

"Along the Lackawanna River, we're still dealing with the legacy of 150 years of the anthracite coal mining industry," he said. Even now, "the water runs through piles of very acidic, very toxic coal waste."

Local rivers are also strained by antiquated municipal sewage treatment plants that cause toxic discharges but will cost millions of dollars to upgrade.

"They don't have the resources to do the job," he said. "We need more funding on the state and federal level to support the local sewer upgrades."

PennEnvironment's recommendations to curb pollution include pressing industrial facilities to use safer alternatives to toxic chemicals; tightening permit controls and increasing enforcement "with credible penalties, not just warning letters"; and making sure small streams and headwaters are protected under the federal Clean Water Act.

Mr. Garber said PennEnvironment plans to release new reports in the coming weeks about another pollutant of concern in the state: wastewater from natural gas drilling operations.

Contact the writer:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fly-fishing legend enters Hall of Fame (


The Middletown man who gave the fly-fishing world the Clouser Minnow is inducted at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum.

Sunday, October 18, 2009
Special to The Patriot-News

Bob Clouser, Middletown's legendary fly-fishing innovator, on Saturday was inducted into the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum in Livingston Manor, N.Y.

Internationally known as the creator of the Clouser Minnow fly pattern, reputedly used to catch more species of fish than any other fly, Clouser also is a sought-after fishing guide, particularly on the Susquehanna River, and fly-fishing instructor.

Clouser has created many other fly patterns that are used around the globe, including the Half and Half, Clouser Crayfish, Swimming Nymph, Crippled Minnow, Mad-tom, The Darter, Hellgrammite, E-Z popper and Floating Minnow.

He also designed the Clouser Taper fly line, manufactured by Rio Products, and recently inspired a line of fly rods by Temple Fork Outfitters, all intended to make casting heavy, wind-resistant fly patterns easier.

Clouser has written many magazine articles and books, including "Clouser's Flies" and "Fly Fishing for Smallmouth on Rivers and Streams."

Sunday, October 18, 2009 Video Report: 10-18-09 Shamokin Dam, PA video report for October 18, 2009, from Shamokin Dam, Pennsylvania:

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Hi Gang,

The river was at 3.7 with 10,900CF of flow and 62 degrees at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 4.0 with 15,000CF of flow and 51 degrees. The BP was 30.35 and Rising.

Trip #1 – Guide Trip – This was a half day PM trip on Monday and we boated 24 Bass and the largest was 17”. We caught them on Stickbaits and soft plastics. We had 3.7 – Steady – Clear – 11,000CF and 55.8 degrees. It was cloudy and we had a BP of 30.50 and Rising.

Trip #2 – Guide Scouting Trip – This was on Tuesday and we fished from 1:30 – 6:30 PM and we boated 15 Flatheads and the largest was 15.6#. We caught them all on live bait. We had 3.7 - Clear – 11,000CF and 55 degrees. It was cloudy and 68 degree air temperature.

Trip #3 – Guide Fun Trip – No Trip

Trip #4 – Guide Trip – No Trip

The weather turned bad and we cancelled our Friday and Saturday Trips.

Please send your friends and family to our web site.

Kermit Henning had a little segment on Channel 27 News and Koinonia
was featured on this segment. You can check it out at the Channel 27 web site if you missed it.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Flathead Catfish, Susquehanna's Invasive Species

I was just reading over this on the PA Fish and Boat Commission's website...

If anglers catch flathead catfish in the Susquehanna or Schuylkill River basins, they are encouraged to take them and not release them, regardless of size.

August 2009 -- A flathead catfish is caught at the Dock Street Dam (Susquahanna River) in Harrisburg, the 1st confirmed catch at this location.

July 2005 -- Flathead catfish have been confirmed in the Susquehanna River downstream of the tail-waters of the York Haven Dam.

July 2002 -- Flathead catfish, which are native to western Pennsylvania waters, have been caught in the Susquehanna and Schuylkill river drainages in recent years. In July 2002, a number of small flathead catfish were caught downstream of Safe Harbor Dam. Based on the observation of flathead catfish populations observed thus far in the Delaware River Basin and Schuylkill River Basin, it is expected that these fish will become part of the fish community in the Susquehanna. Their populations should not be overwhelming. The source of the flatheads found in the Susquehanna River is unknown.

Flathead catfish populations were identified in Southeastern Pennsylvania in 1997 at Blue Marsh Reservoir. Based on the age and size of the fish taken at Blue Marsh, it likely they had been in the reservoir for some time.

Flathead have also been seen in several other impoundments and in the Schuylkill River and Delaware River. Reproducing populations of flathead catfish have been documented in the Schuylkill River Basin. A few flathead catfish have been reported from the Fairmont Dam fishway on the Schuylkill River each year since 1999. The current populations in the Schuylkill River Basin and Delaware River Basin are sparse, but a directed fishery is developing on sections of the Schuylkill and Springton Reservoir.

The flathead catfish is not a new species of fish to Pennsylvania, but the presence of these fish in river basins where they have not occurred in the past is a matter of interest and some concern (view our Aquatic Invasive Species page for more).

On western Pennsylvania waters where these fish are native, anglers find flatheads an attractive sport fish and good table fare. Although angling is not expected to eliminate or control abundance of flatheads in the eastern Pennsylvania waters where they have now been found, anglers can help. If anglers catch flathead catfish in the Susquehanna or Schuylkill River basins, they are encouraged to take them and not release them, regardless of size. Flathead catfish are subject to the same regulations as other catfish covered by Commonwealth Inland Regulations -- no minimum size limit, 50 per day creel limit and no closed season.

River Level for October 16, 2009

Holding steady...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Susquehanna River water gaps are re-recognized as a 'Natural Landmark' (Public Opinion)

Staff report

DAUPHIN COUNTY -- An ancient river got a brand new plaque Sept. 9 when the "five gaps" area north of Harrisburg was recognized once again as a "National Natural Landmark."

In a ceremony in Marysville, the river provided a scenic backdrop for a reminder of the Susquehanna's beauty and the gaps' singular geologic features.

"Over the years, I have paddled the entire 444 miles of Susquehanna from Cooperstown, N.Y., down to the Chesapeake Bay, 104 miles of the west branch and also the entire Juniata," said DCNR Deputy Secretary Cindy Dunn. "There's nowhere on the Susquehanna or its major tributaries as spectacular as this gap."

In 1968, the National Park Service officially designated the five water gaps along the Susquehanna River from Liverpool south to Harrisburg a "National Natural Landmark." The area was recognized for its unique geologic heritage and its outstanding natural beauty.

A plaque was installed at the time of the designation on the south side of Berry Mountain along U.S. 11-15 to commemorate the occasion. A number of years ago the plaque was stolen, and this area's designation as a National Natural Landmark largely forgotten.

The river is much older than the mountains, and the water gaps' formation still remains a bit of a geological mystery. The water actually cuts through five mountain ridges to form the gaps. Those ridges from south to north are, Blue Mountain, Second Mountain (known as Cove Mountain west of the river), Peter's Mountain, Berry Mountain, and Mahantango Mountain, (known as Buffalo Mountain west of the river).

"I grew up right across the Susquehanna in Fishing Creek Valley," Dunn said. "Like a lot of people, I'm afraid I took this view for granted. How would I know, or how does anyone know, that this place we call home is truly remarkable, and stands out as a national resource?"

Through the efforts of the Susquehanna Water Gaps Coalition, the National Park Service has been able to provide a replacement plaque. The ceremony's host, The Susquehanna Water Gaps Coalition, was formed in January 2007 by individuals, organizations, and agencies who are committed to protecting the natural, scenic, and cultural resources of the Susquehanna Water Gap's ridges, valley lands, and river islands.

"I want to congratulate Paul Zeph, Dana Lomma, Nina Ertel, the Save the Gap Coalition, the Borough of Marysville and all others who had the foresight to recognize the value of the Susquehanna Water Gap through a re-dedication of the gap as a National Natural Landmark, and to create a special place to note the designation, and create the opportunity for people to view the gap, and learn of the value, and to note the importance of its protection," Dunn said. "Our actions today to rededicate the Susquehanna River gap as a 'National Natural Landmark' designation will only be as significant as the actions we take to go forward and protect this treasure."

Also speaking at the event were Paul Zeph, co-chair, Susquehanna Water Gaps Coalition; Mayor Deborah Troutman, Marysville; Deborah DiQuinzio, National Natural Landmark coordinator, National Park Service; and Gary Fleeger, geologist, Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey, DCNR.


Ride the river

Maps for canoe and kayak trails for the Susquehanna River Trail, Juniata River Trail and Conodoguinet River Trail are all available at

Gearing up for Smallmouth (Fly Fisherman Magazine, Part 2)

(Continued from previous post)
From Fly Fisherman Magazine

For the extended article, visit

Waders and felt-soled shoes, Stream Cleats, or Korkers are the usual wading attire, but in summer many anglers wet-wade with the above footwear. A boat can certainly enhance your mobility, but there is no lack of productive easy-to-wade public water. In many places you can wade across the river during summer, especially in drier years.

You can use whatever line-weight rod is most comfortable for you, but most experienced fly casters on the river say a 7- or 8-weight outfit is standard. In the downstream stretches, where most of the fishing is done by boat, and in the middle areas, from Marysville north to around Liverpool, which contain most of the better wadeable stretches, many fly fishers use floating weight-forward lines.

Mike O'Brien, who guides on the river's upper stretches and especially on the West Branch, says sinking-tips and sinking lines are important alternatives for his anglers. The river in those parts is narrower with long deep pools, and floating lines often may not get flies deep enough. Clouser also uses sinking lines to get deep.

Evening dry-fly action on 4- to 5-weight rods can frequently translate into 30-fish days. Most of the fish range from 10 to 13 inches long, but they are wild free risers, and strong. In riffle water even small fish often make fantastic leaps to throw the fly.

Casting sinking baitfish and hellgrammite flies will net more bass over 15 inches, but truly large bass are rare. Some of the deepest pools, especially in the series of impoundments below Middletown or in some of the deep holes of the North and West branches dish up occasional trophy bass.

Any standard trout reel will work, though it helps to have a quality drag to prevent backlashing. Only occasionally will a fish take you into your backing; they are more acrobats than distance runners.

In all his years of fishing the Susquehanna Bob Clouser has seen few fish over six pounds and has himself landed only seven over the five-pound mark. Yet the consistency and widespread action rate high with most anglers, and the river's reputation has been built on numbers of smaller fish regularly interspersed with two to three-pounders.

(Continued on website:

The Susquehanna's Fabulous Smallmouth (Fly Fisherman Magazine)

From Fly Fisherman Magazine

The Susquehanna River, which flows from central New York through Pennsylvania to northeastern Maryland before emptying into the Chesapeake Bay, is today one of the best smallmouth bass fisheries east of the Mississippi. Its smallmouth bass, introduced into the river from the Ohio River in the 1800s, have adapted well to the watershed, and today the big river--nearly a mile wide in some places--is a popular destination for fly fishers who have discovered the joys of catching feisty smallmouth.

The Susquehanna is a geologic wonder. Ninety million years ago, perhaps even much longer, before receiving its Algonquian Indian name (meaning literally "muddy stream"), its sedimentary and volcanic base was laid. While most rivers and highways in central Pennsylvania follow the southwest to northeast orientation of the mountains, the Susquehanna curiously bisects the ridges, because it predates the old Appalachians and has maintained its course as the mountains formed. The ledges and ridges that slice across the river create the river's remarkable bottom structure and ideal habitat for smallmouth bass.

In 1990, special trophy smallmouth regulations on the stretch from Harrisburg's Dock Street Dam downstream to Holtwood Dam, helped improve the Susquehanna's fishery dramatically. Since those initial changes, anglers demanded more protective regulations and today nearly 90 miles of the river are under special regulation--from Holtwood to Fiber Dam in Sunbury. As of January 2000, the special regulations are: January 1 through mid-April--two fish per day, 18-inch minimum; mid-April through mid-June--immediate catch-and-release; mid-June through October 1--four fish per day, 15-inch minimum; October 1 through the rest of the season--two fish per day, 18-inch minimum. These regulations have helped increase the average size and number of bass in the trophy areas.

Middletown resident Bob Clouser, a guide and fly-shop owner known as "the Commodore of the Susquehanna," and fly fishermen are spreading the catch-and-release ethic to those who have traditionally killed limits of fish. They have created a fishery based on quality, a turn around from the quantity-focus of old.

Because it drains an enormous area, the river generally runs high until well into June, but from then through October one can find stretches to suit his sport.

Ed Jaworowski, author of The Cast, is a casting instructor and fly-fishing tackle consultant, and chairman of the Classics Department at Villanova University. He lives in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Researchers Study Crayfish Threat to Watershed

From the Carroll County Times
By Carrie Ann Knauer, Times Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 13, 2009

DETOUR — Researchers are testing Maryland streams and rivers this month to see if an invasive crayfish that is a competitive threat to native crayfish has spread.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is in the middle of its third annual crayfish sampling in the Potomac River watershed, which includes the northwest section of Carroll. The rusty crayfish has been found for two years in a row in Piney Creek, said Jay Kilian, a natural resources biologist with the DNR, and researchers plan to go back to see just how far upstream it has migrated.

The rusty crayfish is native to the Ohio River watershed, Kilian said, and is slightly larger and more aggressive than other native species of crayfish found in Central Maryland. The rusty crayfish was found in Southern Pennsylvania more than a decade ago, Kilian said, and scientists believe it was introduced there accidentally by fishermen emptying their bait buckets with live specimens at the end of a day.

Kilian said the DNR sent surveys to 10,000 Maryland fishermen at the end of 2008 and found that the majority use live bait and dump their bait at the end of a fishing day. Kilian said fishermen may believe this is the most humane thing to do, but it causes bigger problems for the environment.

“We have a lot of anglers really doing the wrong thing, without realizing it,” Kilian said.

The DNR is trying to publicize the message that it would be safer if fishermen dumped their bait at home or froze it for use next time, Kilian said.

To prevent the further spread of invasive crayfish, DNR put out a temporary emergency ban last summer on catching or possessing any species of crayfish in the watersheds where rusty crayfish had been found to prevent the possible spreading of the species to any other Maryland bodies.

But the department realized that some people like to catch the crayfish for food, and that the regulation was preventing them from being able to do that, said Sarah Widman, a regulatory administrator with the DNR.

The DNR has altered the regulation to allow people to catch and possess crayfish in these watersheds if the head is removed behind the eyes — thus ensuring the invertebrate is dead. The ban is now in effect in the Middle and Upper Potomac River basin and Susquehanna River basin.

Once the rusty crayfish is established in a new water body, there’s little that can be done, Kilian said. The best thing you can hope to do is prevent the spread through educating the public about not dumping bait or moving animals, and study them until they are better understood, he said.

“The hope is eventually we’ll be able to learn whether it’s possible to stop them,” Kilian said.

Three different professors at Hood College in Frederick and one at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, along with some students, are working on research projects revolving around rusty crayfish.

Sue Carney, an associate professor in biology at Hood, said she has been looking at the genetic code of rusty crayfish caught in the Monocacy watershed. She is hoping that the study will help them learn whether the crayfish in Central Maryland are from a few or many introductions, whether there is a particular strain that is surviving better than others, and what makes the rusty crayfish such a good competitor.

Eric Annis, another assistant professor of biology at Hood, said he is trying to study the impact the rusty crayfish are having on their new environment.

“One of the things they’re known for is actually clear-cutting the bottom vegetation,” Annis said.

That’s of particular concern because of fear of the crayfish making their way into the Chesapeake Bay, Annis said.

The results of the DNR’s October stream surveying will help the researchers learn how the species is spreading. Annis said that from what he saw this summer, he believes they may be moving a mile each year.

“We don’t really know what’s going to happen in the Monocacy or other streams,” Annis said.

Reach staff writer Carrie Ann Knauer at 410-857-7874 or

Monday, October 12, 2009

Water Treatment Worries Residents (WNEP 16)

From WNEP 16,0,5094831.story
By Jennifer Borrasso
6:34 AM EDT, October 7, 2009

Concerns over what could be dumped into the Susquehanna River as a result of natural gas drilling in our area brought people out to a public meeting Tuesday night.

A company in Wyoming County wants to build a facility near Tunkhannock that would treat and get rid of wastewater from gas drilling.

Officials with Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection held a public meeting about the proposed facility that would dump hundreds of thousands of gallons of treated wastewater each day into the Susquehanna River.

Some people we spoke with worry it's going to ruin the river.

The land near the Skyhaven Airport in Eaton Township, outside Tunkhannock may soon be the site for a facility that treats wastewater from natural gas drilling.

Officials with the DEP are reviewing a discharge permit application from North Branch Processing LLC. The DEP said the company based in Wyoming County proposes dumping up to 500,000 gallons of treated wastewater a day into the Susquehanna River.

Concerned residents packed Tunkhannock Area Middle School for the meeting held by the DEP.

"I'd like to know the effects on my skin and the fish that I get from the river that I consume once or twice a week. That's what concerns me," said Richard Fitzsimmons of Exeter Township.

"I'm afraid it's going to kill our river, the aquatic life, the vegetation, the fish. It's just too much, too fast," said Thomas Kazokas of Eaton Township.

"The Susquehanna River is going to become a dead zone and it's going to affect anything in its path," said Joanne Fiorito of Tunkhannock Township.

DEP officials heard the concerns of residents and promised they are working on tougher standards on these types of treatment plants.

"If the facility is built, it's our responsibility to inspect it, make sure it's in compliance and it operates properly," said DEP official Mark Carmon.

Getting the discharge permit from DEP is only the first step for the company. It will then need to get a permit for the construction and operation of the wastewater treatment plant. That would also come from DEP.

There is no timetable for a decision.

Copyright © 2009, WNEP-TV

Referred by Dan Hubbard at Anthracite Outfitters.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

2008 Survey Concluded River in Decent Shape

From the
By Rory Sweeney
Staff Writer

WILKES-BARRE – Around 9 on a late September night, five friends are still fishing at the River Common park. Though the park is officially closed, darkness isn’t about to stop their semi-daily ritual.

And they’re not alone: Lights and motors reveal about nine water craft skimming up and down the Susquehanna River. There was a time not too long ago that fishing was unheard of on the river in the Wyoming Valley.

Now, however, George Yanchuk, Kenny Kalinay, Rob Crossley, John Scafidi and Carl Bartizek – the college-aged friends who are from the Back Mountain – say the on-water activity is fairly common every night.

The fishing? A bit uneventful, to be honest, but that doesn’t matter because one thing’s certain: No one’s going home with their catch.

The boys agree the fish seem healthy, and eating one “is not gonna kill you,” says Kalinay. “I think people hype it more than they have to.”

“Doesn’t mean I’m gonna try,” responded Yanchuk.

In 2005, the environmental group American Rivers named the Susquehanna “America’s Most Endangered River,” ostensibly because of sewage flows into the river and reduced funding to address the nutrient overloads.

The same year, Bassmasters Magazine named the Susquehanna one of the five best smallmouth rivers in the country, right up there with the prolific Columbia and Snake rivers out west.

The condition of rivers has been a national environmental issue. The Susquehanna has its own problems – waste disposal and runoff—and qualities – recreation and natural resource. Rivers such as the Susquehanna mean different things to different people and have value to everyone.

That’s why their health is important. “Judging a river’s health can inform the public and policy makers on the appropriate uses of a river,” Wilkes University professor Dale Bruns said. “It can also help the community market the river as an asset.”

But to market anything requires a public perception, and the Susquehanna’s in decidedly mixed.

Highlight positives
River commission and environmental officials acknowledge the damage, but prefer to highlight the positives. “That (the degradation) doesn’t affect the fish very much, and, overall, the river’s still very clean,” said Norm Gavlick, a commissioner with the state Fish and Boat Commission’s board and president of the Wilkes-Barre-based Suskie Bassmasters tournament fishing group.

The late mayfly hatch this year was a prime example, covering the River Common so completely it was nearly impossible to walk without crushing a few. “It was like a snow blizzard out on the river, and that’s an indication of a very healthy system, so I think it’s doing very well,” Gavlick said.

Waterways don’t have a specific overall measurement system, which might explain some of the confusion over the river’s quality. The Fish and Boat Commission designates waterways on their habitat, while other agencies rate them on scientific factors.

For a report it plans to release in 2010, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission is focusing on seven characteristics: water use and development; flooding and drought; storm water; mine drainage; sediments and nutrients; human health and drinking water protection; habitat and aquatic resources.

The SRBC’s 2008 water quality survey for this region concluded that the river is in decent shape and isn’t getting worse. It measured from Towanda to Sunbury.

“Overall, the majority of the streams in the Middle Susquehanna … were good with non-impaired and slightly impaired (biological) ratings assigned to 74 percent of the sites sampled. There were also numerous extremely degraded streams, mostly impacted by” acid mine drainage, the report said.

Wyoming Valley area
But in the Wyoming Valley specifically, the study found less positive signs. Of the 18 sampling sites in the river and tributaries around Wilkes-Barre and Scranton, only three had unimpaired biological conditions, and two of those were in the rural headwaters of the Lackawanna River.

Seven sites had the highest rating in water quality, and five had “excellent” habitat conditions.

Four sites had “severely impaired” biological conditions and five had the lowest level of water quality, almost all thanks to mine drainage. The only site in the survey with “non-supportive” habitat conditions was on Toby Creek upstream of Route 11 in Edwardsville. It had lots of sediment and poor stream bank conditions, plus it lacked riffles and cover in stream.

Ken Klemow, a Wilkes University biology professor, called the creek “a perfect example of mismanagement.”

On the river itself, no sample site scored the highest marks in all three categories because all nine were middling water quality. Most, however, weren’t impaired biologically and had supporting or better habitat, including sites in Wilkes-Barre and Shickshinny.

But whatever the river’s current condition, it’s not getting worse.

A comparison to a nearly identical survey completed in 2001 indicates similar conditions, however, all levels of biological impairment decreased and unimpaired samples increased 7 percent.

The SRBC keeps long-term trend data for seven sites, the closest of which downstream is in Danville. While flow has remained constant since 1984, the SRBC reports that total nitrogen, phosphorous and sediments suspended in the river water have decreased in concentration.

Iron pollution
“The Northern Anthracite Field, which surrounds the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area, may be one of the largest sources of iron pollution in the entire Susquehanna Basin,” SRBC spokeswoman Susan Obleski noted in an e-mail relating comments from the commission’s mine-drainage expert Tom Clark.

The mine outfalls are often close to the river, Klemow said, “so the creeks don’t have that much opportunity to clean themselves up. … As a result the river itself is impacted.”

Beyond that, cracks in the ground allow the water to leak into underground cavities left by mining, leaving streambeds dry. “So what you have then is a length … where there’s no water flowing in the stream channel … (and it) comes back up in a polluted form,” he said. “It’s sort of like a double whammy.”

To address the issue, he suggests preventing the water from getting contaminated in the first place. By sealing off the cracks and making it easier for rainfall to percolate into the groundwater or be evaporated, he said mine pollution in the river could be avoided altogether.

“If you do a quality restoration project miles away from the river, that could actually have really good impacts on the water quality itself,” he said. “What people do in their own back yards … that’s going to make its way, eventually, into the river.”

• Aside from mine pollution, the river is threatened by releases from combined-sewer overflows, a century-old design that sends excess storm water into the river – along with the raw sewage mixed with it. Late last century, sewage authorities began the tedious and expensive work of digging up the combined sewers and separating them so that sewage isn’t released. A separation project to Ross Street in Wilkes-Barre has been ongoing since it was announced in 2002.

There are more than 50 such overflows needing separation in the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority’s service area, for which municipalities are responsible for finding the funding to fix them, according to Rob Krehely, the WVSA’s director of administration and planning.

Slowly, they’re doing just that. Pittston and West Pittston each recently received more than $9 million in state PENNVEST money for separation projects.

Effluent discharges
Sanitary authorities have their own discharge challenges to meet. A state program to reduce nutrient flows into the river calls for point sources like the WVSA to meet effluent limits designed to restore the Chesapeake Bay.

Bernie Biga, the WVSA’s director of operations, said the first compliance year begins next October. The authority, because it is already removing about 60 percent of the phosphorous and nitrogen from its effluent, is far closer to meeting its limits than other facilities. Krehely estimated that the upgrades would cost more than $7.5 million, but some of that might be offset in later years by selling nutrient-trading credits. If the authority can keep its discharges below its cap limits, Biga estimated it could have as much as 200,000 pounds of credits to sell.

Values won’t be known until the market exists.

As problems are addressed, though, others continue to pile up. With a new demand on water for natural-gas drilling, water consumption has increased. At the same time, so, too, have demands on the river’s ability to dilute pollutants. At least two proposed facilities have asked the state Department of Environmental Protection for permits to dump treated drilling wastewater into the river.

But there are responses under way. The Fish and Boat Commission discussed the river’s condition at its quarterly meeting last week and is working to classify waterways by their aquatic bounty so that the DEP has a guideline, Gavlick said.

“If the streams aren’t classified, DEP doesn’t have any guidelines and they pretty much assume nothing’s there, so they permit things,” he said. “The drilling’s not going to stop; it’s going to go on. We’re just trying to do what we can do from our perspective.”

Gavlick said the commission is gathering money to fund biological assessments led by colleges along the river. The SRBC is working with Bucknell University to create a “State of the Susquehanna Report” due out next year, Obleski said.

Beyond a cleaner river, Gavlick said the goal is to return some of the treasures that have been lost, such as a robust shad run in the spring.

“If we bring that shad run up to Wilkes-Barre, that shad run will do more to provide a huge economic impact to that valley than just about anything you can do there,” he said, envisioning a festival tied to the annual event. “There won’t be enough parking in Nesbitt Park.”

But first, he acknowledged, the problems have to be addressed. “That basically goes back to the sewage overflows, the mine overflows and the farm runoff,” he said. “We know they’re all bad; we just don’t know which one is worst.”

Watching the river flow
The axiom is “the solution to pollution is dilution,” and that’s often exactly the process regulators follow. But just how much water is left for dilution? According to the SRBC’s estimates, a peak day in July, with all facilities and users operating at capacity, consumptive use – water that’s taken from and not returned to the Susquehanna River – would approach 135 million gallons per day in the Wilkes-Barre area, said Drew Dehoff, a water resource engineer.

That represents as much as 20 percent of the total river flow during a severe drought. However, peak usage doesn’t actually occur, and 85 million gallons in a day is more realistic, he said. That’s about 12 percent of the flow during a severe drought.

Use levels are significantly lower outside June through August, he said, but noted that, thanks to grandfathering of centuries-old water-use rights and the fact that the SRBC ignores uses below a certain threshold, only about half of the use is accounted for in this region.

Jeff Knapp: Susquehanna's North Extension Provides Solid Fishing

From Indiana Gazette Online
Published: Sunday, October 11, 2009 1:14 AM EDT

Perhaps the state's greatest angling resources, our major rivers furnish outstanding, and often overlooked, opportunities. In the northeastern portion of the state, the North Branch of the Susquehanna River features an outstanding smallmouth bass fishery, as well as solid numbers of other warmwater gamefish.

Initially formed at the outlet of Otsego Lake in New York, the North Branch initially enters Pennsylvania in northern Susquehanna County, only to curve northward back into New York. After a brief east-to-west flow, it again turns to the south into Pennsylvania, this time in Bradford County. From that point to its merger with the West Branch near Sunbury, the North Branch provides a fine multi-species fishery.

``I've found the North Branch to be a consistent producer of fish - spring, summer and fall,'' said Jason Venesky, a highly experienced and well-traveled river angler. ``I've fished it in all three seasons, and it always seems to produce not only good numbers of fish, but enough quality-sized fish to keep you on your toes.''

Venesky added that while smallmouth bass are the premier species, one is never sure just what will be on the end of the line.

``It might me a bass, but then again it could be a walleye, a nice northern pike, or a big muskie,'' he said. ``The river is in a beautiful setting, flowing through some wonderful valleys and terrain of northeastern Pennsylvania.''

The fishing is of high enough quality to make guiding on it a viable venture, something North Branch Outfitters guide Greg Smith has done for several years. And while the Susquehanna River basin, as a whole, has been considered an outstanding smallmouth bass resource for decades, the habitat within the North Branch differs from what anglers experience on the river's main stem.

``We don't have the ledge, boulders and rock outcroppings that are so common on the main stem,'' explained Smith. ``It's more of a riffle-pool situation, more similar to sections of the Allegheny in western Pennsylvania than the main Susquehanna to the south. Also, we haven't had the problems with smallmouth bass spawns that they've had on the lower Susquehanna. We've had pretty consistent spawns over the past eight to 10 years which has resulted in some pretty good fishing.''

The problem Smith speaks of is die-offs of young smallmouth bass in both the main stem and the West Branch (which originates in Cambria County) over the last four years.

Research by the Fish and Boat Commission and other agencies identified the culprit as the bacterial infection columnaris.

Since the bacteria that causes the infection is commonly found in waterways, extensive work has been done to determine what other stress factors are allowing the disease to infect young-of-the-year bass, why the event occurs only during certain years, and why the main stem of the river is more highly affected than the North or West branches.

Mortality from columnaris within the Susquehanna watershed has occurred in 2005, `07 and `08 during the spring of each year. Only young-of-the-year smallmouth bass, which would be 1- to 2-months old, have been involved.The ongoing multi-agency research is examining factors such as dissolved oxygen levels, nutrient concentrations, pH levels and fluctuation, vegetation and algae growth, and variables in water temperature.

The survey work done in 2008 on the North Branch by PFBC Area 4 Fisheries Manger Rob Wnuk show catch rates for one year and older bass at 85.5 per hour of electrofishing, just slightly below the long-term

average (for that river section) of 91.6. The rate for 12-inch and larger smallies was 2.5; for 15-inch and larger the rate was 1.02.

Columnaris only affected 2 percent of 2007's young-of-the-year bass, and 2 percent the following year. Similar survey work on the main stem of the Susquehanna - between Sunbury and York Haven - has shown rates of columnaris-diseased young-of-the-year smallmouth bass as high as 36 percent (in 2008).

Good smallmouth bass fishing currently remains in the main stem of the Susquehanna, as adult populations haven't been affected by the disease. But well-warranted concern remains regarding the future of those waters as the older fish leave the population, with little coming in behind them.

Smith said excellent smallmouth bass fishing is available on the entire length of the North Branch. Access sites are plentiful.

Fall is an excellent time to target all of the North Branch's species as bass, walleyes, pike and muskies migrate into slower wintering holes that will hold them until the following spring.