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Re: Lower Susky closure for spring bass fishing rescinded.

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Yep, could catch the fish of a lifetime, break a leg or possibly stumble upon a dead body.

Posted on: 3/8 10:40
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Re: Lower Susky closure for spring bass fishing rescinded.

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Sounds like a Deliverance-level adventure.

Posted on: 3/8 11:47
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Re: Lower Susky closure for spring bass fishing rescinded.

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Rusties were first found in two Lancaster Co streams in the early to middle 1980's. It is unclear to me when they first appeared in the river, but I think by the early 2000's they were abundant. That is not to say, however, that there were not plenty of crayfish in the SMB diet prior to that. There were. Most SMB adults that would be measured during surveys would be defecating crayfish parts or else the processor could easily feel the hard edges of crayfish carapaces, claws, etc through the body cavity as the fish were being measured.

As for flatheads, they too consume a lot of crayfish based on stomach "analyses" by anglers. Fish, like all predators, are opportunistic, consuming whatever is most available that is also most biologically and energetically efficient. To suggest that flatheads would key in on SMB in the rivers when other species are much more abundant that flatheads are known to consume with a preference, such as other catfish, probably gizzard shad, sunfish, and rock bass (perhaps not individually but as a group) would not be consistent with what is known about flatheads from other river systems where research on diet has been extensive. Likewise, it would not fit with the selectivity for what is most abundant and palatable that is seen in other predators. That is not to say that flatheads never eat SMB; they do.

As for the decline of SMB in the lower Schuylkill from about Linfield downstream, this has been progressing since the early or middle 1980's, starting with the inundation of good habitat in the Norristown pool with sand transported by the river. Sedimentation (sand, gravel, Corbicula shells)is the primary culprit in the decline of SMB in the lower Schuylkill.

Even coal fines could be traced during storm events from the upper Schuylkill to the lower Schuylkill over time as the dams along the Schuylkill filled with sediment or nearly so by the early to mid-1980's. This observation came from a USGS study of sediment transport in the Schuylkill in the early 1980's in which core samples were taken and analyzed in Fairmount Dam, Phila. At that point in time the dams were no longer efficient in holding back the river's sediments and sediment deposits were spreading throughout the lower river.

A critical look at the miles of very poor SMB habitat in the lower river tells the tale, really from Gibralter downstream with occasional intermittently occurring areas of fair SMB fishing that still remain. One only realize that long, desert-like expanses of sand and gravel with summer weed beds mixed in that cause silt to settle onto the substrate, especially in near-shore areas, are not good habitat types for adults. Without appreciable numbers of adults there are no appreciable numbers of YOY and without YOY there are no appreciable numbers of adults. River gradient declines below Gibralter and as a result sediment deposition increses.

The Schuylkill SMB problem is not a flathead problem; in my view it's a habitat (substrate) problem for the most part.

Posted on: 3/8 21:05

Edited by Mike on 2019/3/8 21:26:04


Re: Lower Susky closure for spring bass fishing rescinded.
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Quote:

timmyt wrote:
I think both can be true also, flatheads may have had a negative effect on the skuke and not the river that Surf Cowboy mentioned due to other differences in the eco system and/or other factors.

On the skuke for sure a favorite tactic of the slobs who chased flatheads was using smallies for bait. That tells me two things, a lot of smallies are probably being removed illegally and the flat heads in the skuke like to eat smallies

I was hoping to hear Mikes take on the Skuke too


Found this article about flathead impact on the lower Susky >

https://www.bayjournal.com/article/fla ... ears_now_raising_concerns


Posted on: 3/12 8:29


Re: Lower Susky closure for spring bass fishing rescinded.

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^Maybe what happened to all the Rock Bass?

Posted on: 3/13 14:42
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Re: Lower Susky closure for spring bass fishing rescinded.

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I once searched through all of the available PFBC data on the lower Susquehanna R from York Haven downstream to Pequea in order to determine whether the Redbreast Sunfish and Rock Bass populations were clearly greater at anytime during the past 40 yrs than they are today in that stretch. I could find no evidence that they were more numerous in the late 1970’s, for example, than they are today in that specific stretch.

Posted on: 3/14 11:51


Re: Lower Susky closure for spring bass fishing rescinded.

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Mike,

I appreciate that.
I do find it interesting, even through my own anecdotal experiences that my catch rate of them has gone way down in the last so many years. I have also heard other anglers say the same thing. Obviously it could be us, timing, techniques, locations that day or whatever.

Still thanks for taking the time.

Posted on: 3/14 14:40
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Re: Lower Susky closure for spring bass fishing rescinded.
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Quote:

salvelinusfontinalis wrote:
Mike,

I appreciate that.
I do find it interesting, even through my own anecdotal experiences that my catch rate of them has gone way down in the last so many years. I have also heard other anglers say the same thing. Obviously it could be us, timing, techniques, locations that day or whatever.

Still thanks for taking the time.


I catch far fewer rock bass and sunnies in the Susky today as compared to the 70's. But I fished with bait way back when and now fly-fish; as well many if not most spin fishers use more artificial baits than live bait. That could explain why many report catching far fewer panfish today.

Although if you go back to the mid 90's, Bob Clouser wrote many times he observed the disappearance of panfish in the lower Susky and warned that things with the River have changed. I really don't know what the answer is about the population.

What's alarming to me is nothing has really changed or improved with the River and the 2005 die-off can happen again anytime in the future. So while I too rejoice that the River is back to fishing like it was two or more decades ago, we must not get complacent. We must continue to try to do things to protect and improve the water quality and habitat in the Susky to assure the fish populations remain at high levels and the river runs clean.

Posted on: 3/14 15:16


Re: Lower Susky closure for spring bass fishing rescinded.
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I can attest that the common claim that rockies and RBS have completely disappeared from the lower Susky is not true. I have seen and caught them in recent summers. They're not numerous (the Juniata has a lot more), but they are around in the lower Susky, at least I'm seeing them here and there around Dauphin/Duncannon.

Next time you're wading a grassy, slack water area on the lower Susky this summer, keep an eye out - you'll see sunfish.

Posted on: 3/14 18:41


Re: Lower Susky closure for spring bass fishing rescinded.

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Well I wasn’t the only one, at least at one time.

Rock Bass 1

Rock Bass 2


Edit: Links fixed

Posted on: 3/15 4:47

Edited by afishinado on 2019/3/15 6:18:57
Edited by afishinado on 2019/3/15 6:27:54
Edited by afishinado on 2019/3/15 6:29:48
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