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.

Koinonia Guide Service Fishing Report, 10/10/09

Hi Gang,

The river was at 3.7 with 12,000CF of flow and 62 degrees at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 3.7 with 10,900CF of flow and 62 degrees. The BP was 29.90 and Rising.

Trip #1 – Guide Trip – This was a half day PM trip on Monday and we boated 17 Flatheads and the largest was 22#. We had 4 over 20# and we caught them on live bait. We had 3.7 – Steady – Clear – 11,600CF and 66 degrees. It was clear and we had a BP of 30.50 and Rising.

Trip #2 – Guide Scouting Trip – This was on Wednesday and we fished from 2:00 – 7:00 PM and we boated 25+ bass and the largest was 19”. We caught them on soft plastics, spinnerbaits and stickbaits. We had 3.7 - Clear – 11,000CF and 61 degrees. It was cloudy and 70 degree air temperature.

Trip #3 – Guide Fun Trip – This was on Friday and we fished from 1:30 to 7:30 and we boated 25 Flatheads. The largest was 28.11# and we had 5 over 20#. We caught them all on live bait. We had 3.7 – 12,000 CF – Clear – 62 degrees. It was cloudy and we had a BP of 30.00 and steady.

Trip #4 – Guide Trip – This was a full day trip on Saturday and we boated 19 Bass and 1 Fallfish. The longest bass was 19” but the heaviest was 18.75” and weighed 3.13#. We caught them on YUM Dingers, Craw Pappi’s and Grubs and we caught some on stickbaits. We had 3.7 – 10,900 CF – Clear – 62 degrees. It was cloudy and extremely windy NW and we had a BP of 29.90 and rising.

The bass fishing has started to pick up and should continue to get better until we switch to Walleye. We are catching an occasional Walleye on almost every smallmouth 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.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Walleyes are Coming (The Daily Item)

From the Daily Item
September 20, 2009

By Ken Maurer
For The Daily Item

A lot of anglers are starting to think about fall walleye fishing. They are already starting to get a few walleye here and there. Over the next couple of weeks, the walleye bite will gradually intensify on the mighty Susquehanna.

Right now most of the action is at dusk and after dark. As the water cools, the walleyes seem to get hungrier. What really kicks off the fall walleye bite is the first rise in water level. If we don’t get a good rain, this will occur around the second week of October when the Adam T. Bower Memorial Dam is gradually deflated. For whatever reason, a rise in water level this time of year kicks the walleyes in the butt and they start scooting up to the power dam and the Adam Bower dam.

Last fall, the walleye fishing was fairly typical. They started catching them in late September and it went on throughout the winter. The better areas change from time to time. Sometimes it’s better below the Adam Bower Dam and sometimes it’s better below the power dam in the Shady Nook area. November was really good and I remember having some good nights in the bitter cold of January.

One thing that may well change the walleye landscape this winter is if the power plant decides to produce power or not. No power, no warm-water discharge. Word is that a decision may be made in December about production. That area should still be a good spot for walleye, even if there is no warm water. The walleye will likely be more spread out if there is little warm water.

How will a mid-winter fire-up affect things? We might see. October and November should be about the same as other years.

Walleye fishing on the river does not have to be a complicated thing. For live bait users, a jighead and a worm is a standby, as is a jig and minnow or a minnow with some splitshot up the line a little ways. If they get real picky, a nose-hooked nightcrawler rigged with a light slip sinker will usually take them.

On the fake bait side, a couple of one-eighth and one-quarter ounce jigheads and a handful of twisters is usually all you need. Smoke, motor oil, and chartreuse are the main colors. Variations in color and shape are endless, sometimes they like it plain, sometimes a red or silver glitter trips their trigger. After dark a lot of guys throw Rapalas or other floating stickbaits. You don’t need to drag the bottom after dark, walleye will readily come up and pound shallow running plugs. They are sneaky at times and sometimes they short-strike. Try to hesitate or drop the rod tip toward them before you set the hook. Some lures don’t have the greatest hooks. Try replacing your favorite plug’s hooks with some premium trebles such as the Mustad triple grips.

My favorite month is getting closer. Walleyes, archery hunting and trophy smallmouth. The honey-do list sometimes gets the short end of the stick and in October, there’s barely a stub left. Thank heavens my wife likes to fish.

-- Ken Maurer, Herndon, is a licensed fishing guide and a regular contributor to the Outdoors section. E-mail comments to

Friday, October 9, 2009 Video Report: Sunbury Walleye

Sunbury Walleye

Yesterday Jon Adams and I ventured to Sunbury to find some walleye around the Fabridam. Our search was successful. We each caught a number of walleye, and Jon got on some nice smallies too. My largest walleye was about 20 inches. There have been a lot of large walleye caught there recently during the night hours.

Video is forthcoming...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission wants sister agency to take close look at 'impaired' Susquehanna River

By MARCUS SCHNECK, The Patriot-News
October 05, 2009, 6:15PM

A senior staffer with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Monday called on the state Department of Environmental Protection to declare the Susquehanna River “impaired” and launch an investigation into the sources of that impairment.

“We put enough of the pieces of the puzzle together to say that the river is impaired,” said John Arway, chief of the commission’s Division of Environmental Services.

Arway’s comments followed a presentation at a meeting of Fish and Boat commissioners by Jeffrey Chaplin of U.S. Geological Survey findings on factors impacting the smallmouth bass population in the river.

The commission, USGS, DEP and others have been investigating the situation in the river since 2005, when reports of dead bass and deteriorating bass-fishing conditions began to surface.

Columnaris bacteria, which infects fish already under stress from other factors, noted on dead and dying, young bass, has been linked as at least a symptom of the deterioration of the river.

Chaplin said the USGS, using monitoring stations at several points along the river in 2008, determined that the microhabitats used by the young bass were more stressed by water quality conditions – lower dissolved oxygen concentrations in the water and higher water temperatures – than other, nearby parts of the river.

He noted that conditions have grown more stressful for the fish since the 1970s and that near-normal or lower summertime river flows appeared to exacerbate the problem.

In addition, according to the report, concentrations of phosphorus and nitrogen in the river water “were routinely within the range considered to be conducive to excessive algal growth,” which can further aggravate the stressful conditions.

In previous meetings, anglers have pointed to everything from agricultural run-off to sewage treatment plants to power plants with warmwater discharge into the river as the source of the problem.

However, Chaplin cautioned, “there is no smoking gun here,” based on the study to-date.

He said the USGS finished its 2009 monitoring just last week and is beginning its analysis of the data collected.

“It’s a combination of many factors,” Chaplin explained, including “emerging contaminants” like hormones and chemicals entering the river.

He also noted that the Delaware and Allegheny rivers, where the columnaris and die-off situation has not been noted in smallmouth bass, have less stressful environments for the fish, based on higher dissolved-oxygen concentrations and lower water temperatures in those other waters.

Arway pointed to DEP because it is the state’s point-agency for enforcement of clean water standards.

“We need to find out why we’re getting dissolved oxygen violations in these critical habits,” he said of the conditions in the Susquehanna, which is considered one of the premier smallmouth bass rivers in the country.

“There needs to be a nutrient-focused study on the major tributaries of the river,” explained Arway.


NEW Susquehanna Fishing Forum!

Check out the brand new Susquehanna Fishing Forum!
Click the link below:

This board is free and open to the public. All anglers from the Susquehanna River regions of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York are invited to participate. SFF is a great resource for meeting new friends, finding company to join you on the water, or just to brag about your recent outings!

Hosted by

Sunday, October 4, 2009

How to Rig a Sit-Inside Kayak for Fishing

With the popularity of sit-inside kayaks around the Susquehanna River region, I thought I would post an oldie-but-goodie video I put out for a couple years ago.

If you have a kayak sitting around that you only use recreationally, consider the opportunities open to you if you use it as a fishing platform... No fuel, no trailer needed, easy to fix and rig, and inexpensive. You can also sell the spouse on it being a "healthy alternative." Don't forget that it can also get to places larger boats can't.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Carp on the Fly With Susquehanna Fly & Spin Guide Service

Susquehanna Fly & Spin Guide Service is your best choice for a productive, fun-filled day of fishing on the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg, PA.

Centre Sportsman Night Fishing for Big Smallmouth Bass

Centre Sportsman, Scott Laukhuff and friend Harry Wert, night fish for big smallmouth bass on the Susquehanna River.

CBS 21 News Sportsman's Journal: Big Bass Classic

CBS 21's Mike Parker competes in a fishing tournament on the Susquehanna River.


Hi Gang,

The river was at 3.3 with 6,700CF of flow and 66.3 degrees at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 3.7 with 12,000CF of flow and 62 degrees. The BP was 30.00 and Steady.

Trip #1 – Guide Trip – This was a half day PM trip on Monday and we boated 6 bass and the largest bass was 17.75”. We caught them on Crankbaits and Spinnerbaits. We had 3.4 – Rising – Clear – 6,600CF and 66 degrees. It was sunny and we had a BP of ?????? & ?????.

Trip #2 – Guide Scouting Trip – This was on Wednesday and we fished from 2:00 – 7:00 PM and we boated 25+ bass and the largest was 18”. We caught them on soft plastics and stickbaits. We had 3.5 - Clear – 7,000CF and 62 degrees. It was cloudy and 70 degree air temperature.

Trip #3 – Guide Trip – This was a full day trip on Saturday and we boated 23 bass and 1 Walleye. The largest bass was 19.25” and 4.6#. The largest Walleye was 16”. We caught them on Stickbaits, In Line Spinners and Craw Pappi’s. We had 3.7 – 12,000 CF – Clear – 58 - 62 degrees. It was sunny and we had a BP of 30.00 and steady.

8. The bass fishing has started to pick up and should continue to get better until we switch to Walleye. We are catching an occasional Walleye on almost every smallmouth trip.

We are trying to keep our web site current with pictures from recent Guide Trips so if you haven’t checked out our Web Site lately, please do.

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.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Huge News is Coming from! will be unveiling a new project which will bring together all of the fishing communities from the Susquehanna River region! Stay tuned for this big announcement!!!

River Level has Creeped Up

With the recent rains, the water level has creeped up a bit. The northern stretches seem to have stabilized though.