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Swatara Creek, Dauphin Co. 4/21/12

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2008/6/19 23:01
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Fished the Swatty yesterday. Smallies are out in force! With the lack of rain, water levels are very low. Temps were surprisingly warm for the time of year as well. Fished mostly WB's in size 6. Had the most luck with all white eztaz/hackle with a red collar. Caught about a dozen or so rock bass, and about 6 nice smallies. Left when the wind picked up around 6 or so. Suckers must be running as well, as I saw about 60 or so throughout the 2 1/2 hrs I fished. Smallmouths on a 6 weight is my new addiction. Tied about 2 dozen streamers this morning, and gonna work on some helgies and crawdads this evening.

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Posted on: 2012/4/22 12:22


Re: Swatara Creek, Dauphin Co. 4/21/12

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From South Lebanon Township, PA
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Very nice Smallie. I was out in Lebanon County yesterday...didn't run into any that big though...saw a few in that range, but they saw me too!

If I ID'd that bridge right I'm pretty sure I caught a 14 incher once right where you're standing.

Posted on: 2012/4/22 16:54


Re: Swatara Creek, Dauphin Co. 4/21/12

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From Cleona, Pa
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Very nice fish for the swattie! I love to fish it but never seem to do good, any chance of getting some tips?

Are the smallies pre-spawn?

Posted on: 2012/4/22 20:48
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Re: Swatara Creek, Dauphin Co. 4/21/12

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I think the major problem I have is finding fish in that creek, seems like they are only in certain good spots. There is alot of water that is too shallow and no structure.

Posted on: 2012/4/22 20:50
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Re: Swatara Creek, Dauphin Co. 4/21/12

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I'm pretty sure they are in pre-spawn right now. I caught 4 others that were about that same size, and broke one off that was much bigger. Only caught 1 that was small. With the flooding last fall, it helped carve out some nice pockets here and there. Most of my success on this creek comes from shoreline structure, and current breaks in the faster water. With the water as warm as it was, i was tempted to throw some poppers, but ended up staying subsurface. Look for overhanging limbs, stumps, tribs etc... Also, don't shy away from using large flies. I've had numerous great days on the creek using clousers that are close to 5" in length. Just make sure their sparse if you tie em' yourself. Location is key on this creek, as there are many stretches that are shallow and fairly void of fish. This waterway does however have plenty of different species. I've seen a few musky last summer. I've caught walleye, some catfish, pickeral, and the carp are a blast if you can sneak up on them. By far one of my favorite places to fish for WW species. The fact that its only 5-10 mins away does hurt either lol.

Posted on: 2012/4/22 23:02
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Re: Swatara Creek, Dauphin Co. 4/21/12

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Good advice from odizz. I'd agree the big thing is location. There's plenty of access points along the creek, and very little of it is posted. So if you walk a couple hundred yards from where you started and it's all wide and shallow, and you're not catching anything yet I'd cut bait and move to a new spot. It's just the nature of that creek...it will go for a mile or two of really excellent water followed by a mile or two of mostly junky water. Take a look on Google Earth...it's pretty easy to see the spots where it narrows up a bit...in general those are the better places to try. If you'd like a more specific "nudge" in the right direction, just shoot me a PM.

I don't fish it a ton in the Spring (pre-spawn) but when I do I tend to focus on mid-depth (3-5 ft) eddies and slack water adjacent to some pretty good current. As odizz mentioned, if there's some underwater structure (rocks/logs/etc) even better. It's usually tough to fish at this time of year due to higher flows and difficult wading...this year being an exception of course.

Most of my fishing on the Swatara is in the Summer...say mid June through mid Sept. Much easier wading. In Summer I focus more on the main current channel, usually in about 2-3' of water, especially in areas with large rocks/boulders on the bottom. This time of year Smallies are more apt to be out in the current seams made by the mid stream boulders. I'm sure they'd hit poppers and the like too, but I usually just swing Woolly Buggers across the main current channel. Another big thing with Summer Smallies IMO is shade lines. If you can find an area where there is a break between shade and sunshine that's an area to really take some time with, especially if some of the other features (current/boulders/logs) are present too.

In the Summer if I'm having a tough day finding the Smallies I just go smaller with my streamers and still can usually catch plenty of Rock Bass/Redbreasts along the shorelines to keep me entertained.

Posted on: 2012/4/23 7:55


Re: Swatara Creek, Dauphin Co. 4/21/12

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2010/7/31 14:41
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Nice report, and a nice looking fish! I too love fishing the Swattie, and have caught some bruisers out of there. I noticed that they key in on shade lines as well. I've found a successful method in the summer is to chuck a popper in the shade in the very shallow water near the banks, especially near rocks and other structure. I've had many big smallmouth charge through a few inches of water to grab my fly with that technique.

Posted on: 2012/4/23 11:23


Re: Swatara Creek, Dauphin Co. 4/21/12

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2009/6/10 22:20
From Harrisburg
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Hey Swattie, I live on Gravel Hill Road in Palmyra near the bridge that crosses both the Quittie and the Swattie. I have scouted along this stretch but no luck and I have not seen anyone fishing there in the years I have lived here. I would love to be able to find something on this stratch for Smallies as its so close to my house but don't have much experience with Smallies, Any advice on this stretch of the Swattie or anywhere close by would be much appreciated .If any one would rather PM that would be great.

Thanks.

Posted on: 2012/4/23 21:28


Re: Swatara Creek, Dauphin Co. 4/21/12

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From South Lebanon Township, PA
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atlantis - Yeah, that stretch is one of the "duds" IMO. I fished it once a couple of years ago from the Gravel Hill Rd. bridge on the Swattie down past the mouth of the Quittie and around that next bend. I caught a couple Redbreasts and a few small Fallfish IIRC, but definitely not one of the Swatara's better stretches, and not one I'd target to fish again probably. Last year's floods may have changed it some I guess, but as I remember it that stretch was a lot of very shallow riffles over fine gravel. There was a handful of more "bouldery" spots, but the water was still pretty shallow around them. Bummer that's what you're closest to, but you're not far from some good water...PM coming.

Posted on: 2012/4/24 7:46


Re: Swatara Creek, Dauphin Co. 4/21/12

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Thanks Swattie.

Posted on: 2012/4/24 8:41


Re: Swatara Creek, Dauphin Co. 4/21/12

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From Gamehendge
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I have been doin well on the swattie also. SMB an RB are hott right now. Might head out there this evening.

Posted on: 2012/4/24 17:27
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Re: Swatara Creek, Dauphin Co. 4/21/12

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From lebanon, pa
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you need to move upstream from gravel hill.
back by valley glen where the old dam once was it gets rather deep.
that area is known to produce tigers. above that, yet below the camp ground is another pretty good spot. although harder to get to since the farmer posted that lane back to the creek many years ago.
a buddy and i hauled out several 20+"ers back there...also several years ago.

the area below gravel hill is a waste land till you start getting down towards the rt743 bridge.

Posted on: 2012/4/25 19:30


Re: Swatara Creek, Dauphin Co. 4/21/12

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From Harrisburg
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Thanks Brain, where is Valley Glen?Is it worth trying by the 743 because that is just off Bindangle Road and that is just round the corner. Also how is it by the 39 bridge near where you come out opposite the Hershey Giant Stadium?

Appreciate the info.




Posted on: 2012/4/26 16:37


Re: Swatara Creek, Dauphin Co. 4/21/12

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2011/5/3 12:22
From South Lebanon Township, PA
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atlantis - I'll defer to Brain on the Valley Glen area as that's one of the areas of the stream I haven't explored a whole lot.

As far as around the Rt. 39 bridge...there's a fairly deep slow section there since there's a lowhead dam just downstream of the 39 bridge that backs the water up for a little ways upstream. I don't think you're supposed to come within a couple hundred feet of the dam on the upstream side, but I've seen guys fishing up there. I've only fished below the dam...there's a little park down there where you can access the stream. Pretty good from the dam wash down to the bridge on Hanover St. They just replaced that bridge (Hanover St.) though, and I haven't fished down there since. There used to be some good current holes along the pilings.

Posted on: 2012/4/26 21:29


Re: Swatara Creek, Dauphin Co. 4/21/12

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2012/1/13 15:28
From Ferguson Twp.
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That is one fine lookin smallie you got there. Very nice, congrats on a nice bass.

Posted on: 2012/4/26 21:40
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