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Where do the brandywine smallies go?

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2011/11/14 18:05
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Once late fall sets in and water temps fall below 50 degrees the smallies are almost impossible to find. This is my second season trying to locate them in winter. I've floated the brandywine over 40the trips and feel like I know every square foot between lenape and rockland. There are 6-8 text book wintering locations over those 10 miles. They're all crowded with carp and suckers no smallies can be seen. I conclude they are either excellent hiding in winter or they travel many miles to a location I'm not aware. I guess they could be there but I can't see them and can't get them to bite any artificial presentations. I'd love the read what others on this board think. Appreciate any help.

Once you fought a current cut smallie a strange thing happens and you don't care to target any other fish. Pound for pound the best fighting fish in fresh water. It s an addition.

Posted on: 2011/11/14 20:25


Re: Where do the brandywine smallies go?
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Numb,
Welcome to the PAff forums.

Smallmouth bass in small streams are transient populations. They migrate downstream into bigger rivers. In my experience, this usually happens around first frost. They'll be back next summer.

Posted on: 2011/11/14 20:50


Re: Where do the brandywine smallies go?

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they spawn in the streams in the spring thats always a good time to get them

Posted on: 2011/11/14 20:58
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Re: Where do the brandywine smallies go?

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In the case of the brandywine there are numerous dams that will prevent a long migration to a large river. I also have caught a few in mid winter suggesting some hang around. Where does the bulk of the population go?

Posted on: 2011/11/15 17:55


Re: Where do the brandywine smallies go?
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Numb,
I don't fish the Brandywine so can't offer a specific answer. As for winter smallies, I do see some winter over in creeks to be sure. Going off my own experience, these are usually yearling or two year old bass. Big bass (10"+) almost entirely migrate. Back in the winter of 2009 I spent some time watching some deep pools in a local creek that were loaded with smallies all summer. I could even look through the ice. There were a couple small bass that stayed in the pool all winter - during summer there were dozens of fish with several large ones. The big fish were all gone by the third week in Oct.
This migration is an odd phenomena - there doesn't seem to be a transition when fish can be "followed" like migrating salmonids. Instead, one day the fish are just gone. They re-appear just as suddenly in springtime.
With regards to dams blocking migration - this does, of course, happen. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd imagine that bass in the B-wine are mostly schooled up in the deepest water directly above the dam. They will stay in this winter hiberncula until the point in the spring when water temps hit about 40 degrees at which point they will start to move (this is usually around the first half of March), sometimes for distances of many miles. Studies done on river SMBs in WI have documented this mass migration to dam pools.
SMBs can be caught in winter, although it's mighty tough with a fly rod. I'd find those deep spots and fish 'em.

Posted on: 2011/11/15 18:38


Re: Where do the brandywine smallies go?

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2009/5/26 8:36
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Fishidiot brings up some interesting points. During the summer I sometimes fish the Susquhanna from Bainbridge to the Marietta launch and down to the Columbia launch as well as some wet wading and it is hard to find any SMB over 12". Then as the water starts to cool down from the hot summer water temperatures I start to pickup some really large SMB in the 18" - 20" class all near shore or in any section where soft water seams with swift water. However as soon as the water gets a couple of nights of a solid frost all those bigger bass just seem to disappear overnight.

They were both released and swam away with vim and vigor.


Attach file:



jpg  Bass Double.jpg (38.95 KB)
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Posted on: 2011/11/15 22:03
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Re: Where do the brandywine smallies go?

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I really appreciate the info. Definitely a helpful board. I do agree that they are probably in the largest broadest pools above the dams. I also believe smallies are very capable of finding good hiding spots in their semi hibernative state. This may be why I can't see any. Its just strange to see an empty stream that seemingly happens overnight, when so much life existed everywhere just weeks earlier.

Posted on: 2011/11/16 8:00


Re: Where do the brandywine smallies go?

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Fish: Do you believe the Brandywine to be a small stream? If what you say is true the only place the fish could go would be where the Brandywine empties into the Delaware outside of Wilmington. I do not feel as if the Brandywine is a small stream especialy when the east and west branch meet.

Quote:

Fishidiot wrote:
Numb,
Welcome to the PAff forums.

Smallmouth bass in small streams are transient populations. They migrate downstream into bigger rivers. In my experience, this usually happens around first frost. They'll be back next summer.

Posted on: 2011/11/16 9:51
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Re: Where do the brandywine smallies go?

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Quote:

Numb3rs wrote:
In the case of the brandywine there are numerous dams that will prevent a long migration to a large river. I also have caught a few in mid winter suggesting some hang around. Where does the bulk of the population go?


I am unaware of any dams in the "main stem" until the river flows into Delaware.

"In 2003, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), led by support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), awarded a grant to the Brandywine Conservancy to study the feasibility of bringing back shad and other fish to the Delaware portion of the Brandywine River. During the first phase of the study, Robert Lonsdorf, senior planner for the Conservancy's Environmental Management Center, established relationships with the 11 dam owners in Delaware to assess their willingness to be involved. The owners of the dams range from private individuals to the City of Wilmington and State of Delaware. The Conservancy also undertook extensive research on available options for enhancing fish passage, successful fish restoration efforts in other rivers, and related environmental and permitting issues."

http://www.brandywineconservancy.org/shad.html

Posted on: 2011/11/16 10:00
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Re: Where do the brandywine smallies go?

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I think that's pretty typical of many smallmouth streams. There are creeks near me that are loaded with bass but you'd never see them if you didn't fish these creeks during the warmer months. As soon as the weather breaks in the spring the bass fishing picks up again and it seems like they are everywhere.

Kev

Posted on: 2011/11/16 11:27


Re: Where do the brandywine smallies go?
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Quote:

fadeaway263 wrote:
Fish: Do you believe the Brandywine to be a small stream? If what you say is true the only place the fish could go would be where the Brandywine empties into the Delaware outside of Wilmington. I do not feel as if the Brandywine is a small stream especialy when the east and west branch meet.

Quote:

Fishidiot wrote:
Numb,
Welcome to the PAff forums.

Smallmouth bass in small streams are transient populations. They migrate downstream into bigger rivers. In my experience, this usually happens around first frost. They'll be back next summer.


Fade,
I'm not really familiar with the Bwine. When I refer to "small streams" I'm thinking about trout sized creeks. I suppose the Bwine would more likely fall into the category of "small-medium sized river" - something in the range of 20-50 yards in width with some depths over 7'(?) In a river this size, it's more typical to see bass migrate to deeper pools rather than completely out of the river (as you see with small creeks).

Posted on: 2011/11/16 12:14


Re: Where do the brandywine smallies go?

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Thanks Fish..never though of fishing pools for smallies this time of year. Will give it a shot if the weather holds.


Posted on: 2011/11/16 13:17
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Re: Where do the brandywine smallies go?

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2006/9/14 8:58
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Fade,

You know the part of the Brandywine where I fish reguarly has some nice smallies. You should try there, the other week there was a big one in a deep pool by one of the large boulders. Oh there were some rainbows flashing a few yards away too. Plus some big carp if you are into those.

Now ya'll got me wanting to go see if this guy is still in a large pool where I found him this summer.

Resized Image


Dot


Posted on: 2011/11/16 13:35


Re: Where do the brandywine smallies go?

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2009/3/6 19:21
From Chadds Ford, PA
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Actually, the Brandywine does not dump into the Delaware, but rather the Christina. There are at least three dams in PA - two near Lenape and one downstream near Wyeth's property. I don't believe the Brandywine smallmouth go anywhere in the winter. They simply become inactive.....very inactive.

Posted on: 2011/11/16 14:04






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