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Late season smallmouths

Joined:
2013/2/16 0:51
From State College
Posts: 338
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I am trying to plan a trip with some friends for mid October. I've only ever fished for smallies in the spring and summer, will they still be active about three weeks from now on the smaller rivers/large creeks in central PA? Or should we just go trout fishing instead? I was thinking bass because I don't want to mess with spawning trout, but maybe they won't be spawning yet.

If the bass bite will still be on, what flies and techniques will work best? I caught almost all of my bass on poppers this summer, will that still work in cooler water?

Thanks in advance.

Posted on: 2013/9/24 15:10


Re: Late season smallmouths

Joined:
2010/7/31 14:41
From SCPA
Posts: 327
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October is the month that bass seem to put the feed bags on. I've had luck with all the standard smallmouth flies - clousers, rabbit zonker streamers, poppers, etc. in the fall. It seems that if you find where they're gathered in the creek/river, you can have an amazing day. Some of my best days and biggest smallies have been caught in October. I love hitting the Susquehanna when the leaves are changing and the baitfish are jumping out of the water with a big smallie chasing after them!

Posted on: 2013/9/24 15:24


Re: Late season smallmouths
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2006/9/9 17:32
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Quote:

sarce wrote:
will they still be active about three weeks from now on the smaller rivers/large creeks in central PA?


Maybe - maybe not - depends on the size of the streams you have in mind.
Smaller streams in PA that have bass during summer often don't have them in October as fish migrate out of the streams seasonally. Every creek is different and it wouldn't hurt to check the creeks in question (they may fish very well) but - if it were me - I'd focus on larger waterways or big rivers. The Susky and Juniata fish very well in October. Again, it depends. The smaller the stream, the less likely it will fish well for bass in late October.

Posted on: 2013/9/25 11:41


Re: Late season smallmouths

Joined:
2013/2/16 0:51
From State College
Posts: 338
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Thanks guys. I was thinking Penns lower C&R area, but if there is some decent wade fishing areas anywhere on the J it sounds like that would be a better option (especially considering the PFBC report that just came out). With a small group of mostly beginners I don't know how feasible/safe a wading trip to the J would be.

Posted on: 2013/9/25 12:14
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Re: Late season smallmouths

Joined:
2010/7/31 14:41
From SCPA
Posts: 327
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Wading the Juniata is most definitely an option. In fact, it's probably my favorite river to wade fish for smallies. The upriver sections (newton Hamilton, mt union, Huntington) are great spots with good access and a lot of fish. As long as there hasn't been a lot of rain recently before your trip, levels should be ok that time of year. Just watch the gauge height on the usgs site.

Posted on: 2013/9/25 19:08


Re: Late season smallmouths

Joined:
2013/2/16 0:51
From State College
Posts: 338
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The "big trip" was this past Sunday. With raystown dam releasing 1000 cfs we had to abandon plans to fish the Big J in Mt. Union. Ended up on the Frankstown Branch above Alexandria along the Lower Trail. Vis was about 2', so we were basically blind casting in an area none of us had been before. Started off in some deep, slow water but no signs of bass so I tied on a woolly bugger (hadn't planned on fishing much, just teaching) and went to work just trying to find SOMETHING. Well that something turned out to be a healthy 15" wild brown trout up in the faster water. Shortly after, two of the first-timers caught fallfish.

We started focusing on faster water after that and finished with a combined 15 fish, most were 8-12" fallfish. Did not see any more trout. We did pull a few SMB out of one slower area in the middle of a long run. One of those was close to 12". Despite the slow start it ended up being a decent day. I've never been a huge fan of fallfish but they certainly saved the trip for a lot of people this weekend!

Again, thanks for all the help!

Posted on: 2013/10/16 10:35
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Re: Late season smallmouths
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For the most part, the fat lady has sung for small stream bass fishing in my neck of the woods. While it's certainly possible to keep catching them in some places, I'm done wading creeks for bass this year.
I checked out one just briefly a couple days ago - walked along a pool where I could see dozens of sunnies and small bass in summer.......saw only one sunfish.
Time to fish rivers.

Posted on: 2013/10/27 9:29






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