Monday, February 28, 2011

Susquehanna Fishing Magazine Releases March 2011 Issue

The March 2011 issue of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine is now available for free download via

This month's issue includes:

Cold Fronts by Nathan Follmer
Elements, Part II by William Milheim
Hair Jigs by Matt Dotts
Kayak Fishing for Spring Bluefish by Jon Shein
March Madness by Lynda Morris
This Month with a Susky River Guide by Lance Dunham
Profiles with Steve Hancock
Springtime Bass Fishing by Pete Hanford
A review of Kayak Kevin's Chesapeake Bay Tour DVD

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Koinonia Guide Service Susquehanna Fishing Report, 2/19/11

From Koinonia Guide Service:

Hi Gang,

The river was at 4.0 with ????CF of flow and ?? degrees at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 4.9 with 32,500CF of flow and 34 degrees. The BP was 30.20 and rising.

We had several ramps open up this week so we had a chance to get on the water to check out several spots. We had to break some ice out of the way to get to the Walleye’s but it was worth it. It sure is nice to have a Snyder Built Jet Boat that is so versatile it even doubles as an ice breaker.

Trip #1 – Guide Scouting Trip – This was on Wednesday after noon and we fished from 12:30 to 4:00 PM and we caught 2 Carp. The largest was 18# and we caught them both on grubs. We had 4.6 – Stained – Rising – 30,000 CF and 35 – 40 degrees. It was cloudy and we had a BP of ?? and ??.

Trip #2 – Guide Scouting Trip – This was on Thursday afternoon and we fished from 2:30 – 5:00 and we boated 5 Walleye and 1 Musky. The largest Walleye was 27” and the Musky was 38”. We caught them all on a jig/minnow combo. We had 4.7 – Clear – Rising – 31,000 CF and 38 degrees. It was cloudy and we had a BP of ?? & ??.

Trip #3 Guide Scouting Trip – This was on Friday morning and we fished from 7:00 to 11:00 and we boated 50+ Walleye and the largest was 23”. We caught them on soft plastics and jig/minnow combo’s. We had 4.8 – Steady – Clear - 31,500CF and 29.7 degrees. It was sunny with a BP of ?? and ??.

Trip #4 – Guide Scouting Trip – This was Friday afternoon and we fished from 12:30 to 4:30 and we boated 2 bass and 1 carp. The largest bass was 17” and the carp was 19#. We caught them all on soft plastics. We had 4.8 – Rising – Clear – 31,500CF and 45 degrees. It was sunny and we had a BP of ?? and ??.

Trip #5 – No Trip

Trip #6 – No Trip

This was the first we have been able to fish since November. There is still ice on the water so if you go out please be careful and always keep looking up river for an ice flow that may have broken loose.

Now would be a good time to book a Walleye Trip. We will continue to try to dial in the bass as more of the river opens up to us.

Next Friday starts the Bass Pro Shops Spring Classic and it kicks off with a visit from Kevin VanDam. There will be a lot of great specials so stop by get some autographs and cash in on some really special deals.

We will have our Koinonia Booth set up during the classic and we will be doing some seminars as well. Please stop by and see us and share some of your fishing stories with us.


Strike Indicators (SFM, January 2011)

From the January 2011 issue of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine.
To download the most recent and all back issues free, visit

By Jim Kukorlo

Among fly fishermen the debate rages on about using or not using strike indicators. Most beginners, if introduced to indicators, will relish using them. Simply put, it’s easier to see strikes, to control the depth of your fly, and its fun. Old-timers or fly fishermen who learned to nymph fish without indicators are very stubborn to use indicators. Some think indicators are for beginners or that they don’t need to use indicators because they are more experienced.

Strike indicators are used when fishing with nymphs, egg patterns, and sometimes wooly buggers. This type of fly fishing has always been considered the most difficult form of fly fishing. It can also be the most productive, considering that ninety percent of the trout’s diet consists of aquatic insects that live on the stream bed.

Dry fly fishing on the other hand is considered to be the most exciting form of fly fishing, because the fly floats on top of the water and you see the trout take your fly.

Here are a few reasons to use strike indicators… Simply put, you will see more strikes, and catch more fish. You can control the depth of your fly by adjusting you indicator up or down your leader. By doing this you can put the fly where the trout are feeding, thus not hanging up on the bottom of the stream as much.

There is a misconception among fly fishermen that when a trout takes your fly you will always feel the tug or feel the strike. When the water is flowing fast you will very often feel the tug or strike in your hand. But, in lower water conditions or deeper, calmer pools that’s not always the case. If you’re waiting for a tug on the end of your fly line, you’re setting the hook too late.

A trout, especially a larger one, will feed using as little energy as possible. They will take an insect or your fly into their mouth with no indication to the fishermen other than that the fly line stops a little. If you fish in catch and release or private water areas, the trout can become very selective and will take your fly and release it quickly.

A few years ago I was teaching my wife how to nymph fish with a strike indicator. Now that is a major strain on a marriage. After a while drifting the fly through the same hole several times, she caught a nice rainbow. After she landed and released the trout, I told her I didn’t see the strike. She replied, “I didn’t either, the indicator looked funny.” I replied, “Now your learning how to nymph fish.” Not using indicators you will miss strikes like that.

Many years ago, around the time strike indicators became popular a friend of mine asked me what I thought of strike indicators. I told him “I don’t put bobbers on a $600.00 fly rod.” But I was wrong. I use some form of a strike indicator almost all the time. What sold me on using indicators was I guided fishermen who were totally inexperienced to nymph fishing, and fly fishing in general. Using strike indicators they were able to have an enjoyable day fly fishing and some became hooked on fly fishing.

That got me thinking, if someone who never fly fished before could catch trout with the help of strike indicators, what an experience fly fishermen could do using indicators. So I decided to use indicators for a whole season, in all situations. It didn’t take me a whole season to decide if I thought indicators increase my ability to detect more strikes and catch trout. In fact it took only a few weeks to convince me of that.

There are many different types of indicators on the market, varying in size, shape, color and the type of material their made of. Keep in mind that one indicator will not work in all water conditions.

The most important thing in selecting an indicator is its ability to float, and ease of adjustment up and down your leader.

I have tried many types of indicators over the years, and narrowed it down to three or four. I really like the “Thing-a-bobber” in ¼ inch and ½ inch sizes. They are a round plastic ball with a loop on top that you loop your leader through and around the indicator. They are easy to use and easy to move up and down your leader. The smaller size I use in normal water levels, while the larger one I use in higher, faster water with larger flies.

In clearer, lower water I use floss yarn, which you attach to your leader with a slip knot, or strike putty. Strike putty is a soft paste that you can roll on your leader with your fingers. I sometimes put strike putty on two or three different spots on my leader so I can see it as it descends into the water. You must treat floss yarn with dry floatant in order for it to float well.

If you attach your leader to your fly line using the nail knot like I prefer, you can paint the nail knot with a bright orange finger nail polish. I taper the finger nail polish in the form of a football so it can easily slide thru the guides on the fly rod. It’s hard for the fish to see in clear water and it’s an added aid in detecting strikes.

The best indicator to use in summertime trout fishing is what is referred too as the “Dry Fly Drop” method. You can use your favorite large dry fly that floats well, or as I prefer, a good foam hopper pattern. Attach a piece of tippet to the bend in the hook of the dry fly, making it about the length of the depth of the water that you are fishing, and attach your nymph. This is a very effective technique in summertime water conditions. If I still haven’t convinced you that you should be giving strike indicators an honest try and you really enjoy dry fly fishing, be sure to give this method a try. You have the best of both worlds. Fish your favorite dry fly and attach an assortment of nymphs as the dropper fly.

Helpful hints in using strike indicators: Remember to adjust the strike indicator to the depth of the water. As you move to deeper or lower water you must adjust the position of the indicator. The rule of thumb is that it is better to keep the indicator further from your fly than shorter. I will adjust the depth of the strike indicator and how much weight I have on the leader before I change my fly selection.

Nymph fishing with a strike indicator doesn’t change the way you present the fly. You still must use a drag-free presentation. Using a strike indicator is just an aid in helping you detect supple strikes that you would otherwise miss.

If you’re like me, I’m always looking for a new fly pattern, or fishing technique to enhance my fly fishing. Fishing with strike indicators is such a technique for beginners and veteran fishermen alike. Get on the water and give it an honest try.

Jim Kukorlo has fly fished Fishing Creek near Bloomsburg, PA and surrounding waters for over 40 years. He is a fly tier and a fly fishing guide, and enjoys taking photos of fly fishing and fish.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

LVTU Conservation Banquet and Auction (April 2, 2011)

The Lackawanna Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited is having its annual Conservation Banquet and Auction on Saturday, April 2nd at the Ramada Inn Clarks Summit, with over 100 auction items, plus a rod raffle. Raffle tickets and dinner tickets available at A&G Outfitters (Dickson City) and Angels Galeria (208 Depot St., Clarks Summit 586-3363). Raffle is for a 5wt Orvis Hydros rod, Battenkill Mid-arbor Reel, line and Luxury Travel case $800 value. (only 100 raffle tickets sold)

For more information:

or email:

Warm Water in the Winter? (SFM, January 2011)

From the January 2011 issue of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine.
To download the most recent and back issues free, visit

By Dave Pelachik

Snow, ice, cold winter days.... Really cold water fishing? Not a great combination for the fair weather fisherman, but for us die-hard anglers it can mean a good day of fishing in those cold winter months. Huh? Really? Sure! Fish around warm-water discharges like sewer plants, power generation stations, and factories that have effluent discharges from manufacturing processes.


Because at these places along a river bank or larger stream, one can find stacked-up fish that love the difference in degrees.


These places discharge warm water effluent. This effluent is usually 10-50 degrees warmer than the water in the river. When mixed into the frigid temp's of our beloved Suskie they create mini-ecosystems. For example, in one regional tributary of the Susquehanna, from the discharge pipes to roughly 100 yards downstream you will find a large "school" of brown trout that bask in this warm water delight. I have taken temperature readings at the pipes of 48F degrees with it cooling to 39F 100 yards downstream.

Now this doesn't sound like a big difference to us... That's still cold as hell! But to our fishy friends who are cold-blooded, this is the "sauna" that they have been looking for. The trout living in this micro-ecosystem of warm water will feed a touch more than their brethren located upstream and downstream from them. (They are still picky and need a perfect cast, perfect, drift, perfect bait, etc., etc, but they will respond to fisherman a bit better than fishing in 32F and lower temps)

A micro-ecosystem you say?

Well, yes! It just doesn't benefit the trout... With the warmer water effluent it creates a buffer and other organisms present in the water rely on this higher temp as well. In the previously mentioned location you actually can find very early season mayflies hatching in February when normally they would hatch in April. Not a lot.... Just the flies that found comfort living in the "heated zone" (as I call it). Just enough mayflies to give the trout some ample nutrition when they get a little hungry. Baitfish will congregate in these areas as well.

Why are you telling me about trout, Dave? And what does it have to do with the Suskie and all the feisty smallmouth bass?

Excellent question! Smallies will congregate in the same areas and same manner as the trout do. Therefore you can find some open water near these effluent pipes and the water will be at a higher temp. With the warmer water, the bass will be in that "heated zone".

Sometimes you may have to let your line/lure drift under some ice. That's okay, it doesn't mean that the water isn't warmer. Remember the temperate zones of the water. An inch or two of ice just means the outside air is colder than the water and through convection loss of heat from the air, the water will freeze. The underneath water still may be 5 to 10 degrees warmer. With that, better odds of fishing and catching fish.

So look for those sewer plants, electric generator plants, and any factories that use water to cool machinery that are found around waterways. I forgot to mention this as well, spring holes will pump up 40-50F degree water as well. Some types of mine discharge (if not polluted with AMD and iron oxides) will do the same. Just look for a little wisp of steam or fog over a section of water when it's really cold out (like now). These are the good places to fish. You may be surprised at how good the fishing is!

Dave Pelachik and JJ's Jigs of Towanda, PA can be found online at (570-265-2947).

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Keeping an Outdoor Journal (SFM, January 2011)

From the January issue of Susquehannna Fishing Magazine.
Download the current and back issues free via

By William Milheim

I don’t know at what age my memory started slipping, but man I am forgetful. The other night I made a list for food shopping, because I cannot rely on my memory (or my wife’s). I listed everything we needed; bread, milk, shaving cream, etc. I get to the store and realized I forgot my list. How many of us walk into a room and forget why we came in there in the first place? I turn 51 in a couple of months and will probably forget it before it comes.

One thing I’m glad for is I started an outdoor journal back in 1982. There is no way I can remember all of my years of outdoor experiences. I got a hard cover journal at an office supply store and my first entry was April 8th, when I went shad fishing with my Father. We caught four that afternoon. From then, I have almost the entire 800 page journal filled. Whenever I go fishing, afterwards I take the time to write it down.

Being a fishing guide, keeping a fishing journal has many benefits. It’s a perfect way to track many of the elements we as fishermen depend on for our success. An example of an entry in my journal would include the date and time I went fishing, as well as location and the weather, water conditions, bait used, who I was fishing with, and how successful the trip was.

The author on the Susquehanna.

The key points in an entry will aid in future trips; it will give you accurate times and dates. After a few seasons of entries you’ll be able to predict when the spawn will start, or when the fall bite will kick in. Is it better to fish in the morning or in the evening? A quick check on the weather before you go fishing and you’ll be able to set patterns on how the weather affects fishing. Water conditions and water temperature are very important. Note the successful bait used and the location where they were used, and you’ll have some great information for future fishing trips.

We all know fish are on a schedule, often times driven by water temperature and moon phases. Having a journal will take some of the mysteries out of next year’s fishing trips. It will give you a good base to start from. The more in-depth the entry into the journal, the more beneficial it will be for next season. After only a few fishing seasons you’ll be able to set patterns that give you a better understanding of your target fish.

Some of my entries are just a one liner, quick and to the point. Some take a half a page or maybe more. Sometimes my entries will be filled with sightings of eagles or trees coming into bloom or if your fishing buddy gave a good recipe or told a good joke. A good day fishing will be entered with how many were caught and the sizes.

I look back at some of the entries, and the memories of the day are relived. I find myself reading it on those cold, snowy nights; it’s what starts my cabin fever. I use this time of year to extract information to apply to the upcoming season, such as ordering baits, selecting the right colors, using averages to predict spring pre-spawn smallmouth, and when to start my season.

Keeping a journal is a great way to keep your fishing experiences alive and not trusting to memory. It will give you information and instil confidence for upcoming fishing seasons. You will feel more prepared and ready to get on the water.

Bill Milheim has been fishing and guiding the North Brach of the Susquehanna River for over 25 years.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Winter Paddling Safety (SFM, January 2011)

From the January 2011 issue of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine.
To download the current and all back issues free, visit

By John "Toast" Oast

While many anglers put away their kayaks and canoes for the winter, as long as there is water which is not frozen there will always be those who brave the elements to paddle to their favorite fishing spot. For those who choose to paddle in the frigid winter waters, remember that safety must come first. And even on those occasional warm winter days, while the air temperature may be quite comfortable, the water can cause one to become hypothermic in a matter of seconds.

I am not only a kayak angler, I am also an American Red Cross instructor, and for years have taught first responders how to care for those who have been unfortunate enough to be severely injured by extremely low temperatures. When it comes to kayaks and canoes, I always emphasize that no matter how stable these crafts may be, or how skilled the paddler is, paddling them is still a “water sport”. Each year we hear stories of paddlers who have gone out on an unseasonably warm winter day, wearing typical spring clothing, and upon tipping their boat become hypothermic and die. If heading out on the water during the winter, dressing properly is a necessity.

First, no matter what the season and water temperature, ALWAYS wear a personal floatation device (PFD). Even the best swimmer can drown, and if there are low head dams or submerged structure such as on the Susquehanna River, the risk is even more pronounced. And don’t think that having it tucked in the hatch will help… Ever seen how fast a kayak can drift away from you when you become separated from it? Just wear it! Otherwise, get a really nice life insurance policy, and list me as a beneficiary. Moving on…

Keith Hamlin fishing for cold water stripers.

There are several ways to help protect from frigid water temperatures. In my opinion the best for paddling in the winter is a full length dry suit. The idea behind a dry suit is to keep the body just that, “dry”. If one wearing a dry suit falls into the water, the suit keeps the cold water from getting to the majority of the body by way of waterproof gaskets around the neck, wrists, and ankles. You can even layer under the suit if the air temps are really low. Paddlers can also use a combination of a dry top and dry pants to achieve a similar attire. The top is basically a waterproof jacket, and the pants are also waterproof, each incorporating gaskets like the dry suit.

While a dry suit obviously keeps you dry, a wetsuit does the opposite. Wetsuits are not designed to keep you dry, but actually allow water to enter the suit around your body, and insulates the water, keeping the body warm. Wetsuits work, but feel a bit restrictive, allowing less body movement, and are not nearly as comfortable as dry suits. The positive of wetsuits over dry suits is that they are considerably less expensive.

Another popular method among the kayak fishing community is to utilize a pair of chest waders and a dry top in combination. If one uses a pair of waders, preferably breathable waders with a wading belt, and a dry top over it, in essence it creates a “poor man’s” dry suit. This is a more affordable option, but is not 100% reliable. The top must be gasketed around the neck, wrists, and waist, and use the wading belt with the waders to help in keeping the system watertight. The problem is that there still is the potential for water to get into the waders, and unlike a wetsuit, it lacks the insulation properties. On the other hand, you can layer under the dry top – wader combo.

No matter what cold water attire you wear, make sure that you do so matching the elements you are about to enter. Always be prepared for the worst case scenario. Just because you have never fallen out of your kayak or canoe before doesn’t mean it will never happen. And you need to keep yourself warm from the air temperatures also, so these cold water safety techniques also can help keep you warm out of the water. It is also a good idea to always tell someone where you are going, and what time you plan to return. Keeping a cell phone or VHF radio onboard is a great idea too. The buddy system is always the safest, so try to find a partner to paddle with you, just in case.

John “Toast” Oast is the publisher of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine and a member of the Johnson Outdoors Pro Staff and Ocean Kayak Fishing Team. His kayak rigging videos have received thousands of views, and been linked to websites around the world. For more information, visit and his Youtube page at

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Harrisburg Show Ends Tomorrow!

Just a reminder, the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show ends tomorrow (2-13-11) at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, PA.

For exclusive SFM discounted tickets:

And if you still have not checked out the February issue of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine, you can download it free through

Friday, February 4, 2011

February Issue of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine... Online!

In case you have not already checked it out, the February issue of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine is now online.

Download the new issue free on

This month's issue includes:

Elements by W. Milheim
No Boat? No Problem! by N. Follmer
The Bronzeback Checklist by L. Morris
Old Unsinkable by J. Kirtland
Winter Time Fly Fishing by J. Kukorlo
Profile with Lance Dunham
Hints & Tips
Cool Stuff

And remember to click the ads to visit supporting advertisers' websites.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Harrisburg Outdoor Show Starts this Weekend!

The Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show kicks off on Saturday, and runs through February 13th at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, PA.

For exclusive SFM discounted tickets:

New Exhibitors

The 2011 Show features more new manufacturers and companies including 300 companies that have never exhibited before. In total over 1,200 companies will be exhibiting at this year's event.

Those new companies include such big names as:

• Savage Arms
• Benelli
• Innerloc Broadheads
• Secret Weapon Lure Company
• Campbell Camera’s
• Nosler Custom Guns
• Lancaster County Marine/Hobie Kayaks
• Benchmade Knives
• Kodabow
• Rocky Brook Sinkers
• Grumman Boats, and many more.

In addition to these new companies many of the old favorites and the best retailers will be at the Show, including:

Hoyt USA
Thompson/Center Arms
Muddy Outdoors
Quaker Boy
Summit Treestands
Horton Crossbows
Excalibur Crossbows
Shu-Fly Fishing
Susquehanna Fishing Tackle
Kinsey’s Outdoors
Lancaster Archery Supply, and many more…

See you there...

Also, just a reminder that the February issue of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine is now online and available for free downloads via