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No Place Like Home

Joined:
2006/9/9 17:18
From lancaster county
Posts: 6429
Offline
It's a saying that we have all heard and thought many times. Usually after a long trip people will kick there shoes off and finally get to sit down and it pops into the mind. It's true, there is no place like home and for me I think it really holds true. In my early years of angling I would chase stocked trout with my father all over the county. I learned the streams very well and became a local expert at a very young age. As I grew older I also grew tired of how the stocked trout would be "cleaned" out of the streams so early into the season. Also the streams are degraded badly and the aesthetics are lacking to say the least. Together we started venturing else where. The older and older I have gotten, the further and further I have traveled to fish for one of natures gems, wild trout. It has taken me to other states and all over Pennsylvania. I would drive to Centre County just to fish a half day because my home towns just were not worth the time and effort. Now I'm older and a little wiser, albeit not much.

Zane Grey once wrote in Lord of the Lackawaxen Creek:
"All its tributaries, dashing white-sheeted over ferny cliffs, wine-brown where the whirling pools suck the stain from the hemlock root, harbor the speckled trout. Wise in their generation, the black and red-spotted little beauties keep to their brooks; for, farther down, below the rush and fall, a newcomer is lord of the stream. He is an archenemy, a scorner of beauty and blood, the wolf-jawed, red-eyed, bronze-backed black bass."

God was this man wise.

Lancaster County is a special place and amongst its vast farmland, rich soil and deep heritage is a excellent Smallmouth bass fishery tangled in an interconnecting web of maze like streams. The entire Conestoga River drainage is really good, the main stem, the tributaries and the tributaries of the tributaries. I'm learning a lot about the bass in these streams over the past few years......guess I wasn't the local expert I thought I was

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I spent Tuesday and Thursday fishing a couple of these forgotten streams and I have been having a blast. On Tuesday, the sun was high and bright and it was HOT @ 91 degrees by 3:00. I got to the water around 7 am and it was already 74 degrees outside. The fishing as really good until about 10:30 and it started slowing down. Having a child, I've learned that when you get the chance to go....you stick it out until the end.

The early morning was most productive throwing size 4 black buggers. The creeks are literally infested with bass, most in the 8-10 inch range. I had picked a section of this particular creek, Hammer Creek, to fish that I remember from my youth being very well shaded and having some really deep holes amongst numerous fallen trees. Fishing my way to the target area was good having landed about 15 small bass already and one decent one, which I caught virtually on my first cast or two. When I approached this area of the creek, crawling under wire fencing and hitting the old trail, I came across a sign. It said Absolutely NO Tresspassing until my game cam is Returned! It had a number for the Green Hills Farm so I called just to check. I talked to the nice man at length and I asked him what he thought of anglers getting donations to reopen the land if we can get enough for a new game cam. He seemed intrigued by the idea and really appreciated the sentiment. He said he might reopen it next year. We both agreed there are some jerky people in this world. I head to a different section of the creek. I came to a hole loaded with some nicer bass that I spooked so I figured I would return. I came to another hole that I had a large bronze-back in all its glory miss my streamer to take off to the depths of a large hole, never to be seen again. The fish was huge. In total I caught well over 30 bass and a few nice ones. I returned to that hole with quite a few nice bass, but it was hot by now and they were inactive. Also caught some other stuff, here are some pics:

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Caught a bunch this size.

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PaperMouth!

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Another fisherman

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Day two (today) was far more favorable conditions. The sun was hidden behind clouds, it has been "cooler" two days now and the nicer bass seemed to co-operate much more.

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The fish seemed to top out at about this length, which is not a bad smallie by any means. Your not going to see to many super huge fish in Hammer but there are a few. One year long ago I did catch one in the 5lb range. Last year I caught a few 17 inch or so fish, but they are rare. Hammer is a highly degraded limestone spring that still produces some nice fish, just not trout. It sure is something to be able to get some quality fishing time in and have a full tank of gas when its over. Its funny to me, walking and fishing these creeks that I used to so long ago. I'll approach a section of stream or a hole and think, "oh yeah I remember this." Kinda makes me feel like I should turn around and see my father standing there in the blurry sun spots chucking spinners to trout.
There truly is no place like home.

Posted on: 2011/8/4 13:39
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Re: No Place Like Home

Joined:
2011/7/22 16:45
From Pennsylvania
Posts: 7
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Sounds like a couple of fun days on the water with a bunch of quality fish caught. Congrats and thanks for sharing.

Posted on: 2011/8/4 16:38


Re: No Place Like Home

Joined:
2011/2/15 17:20
From Philly
Posts: 630
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i have yet to catch a smallie bigger than my palm this year...this is making me want to get out and change that. awesome report!

Posted on: 2011/8/4 16:51


Re: No Place Like Home
Moderator
Joined:
2006/9/9 17:32
From Gettysburg
Posts: 9009
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No doubt about it! Local warm water creeks are a blast in summer (and usually fish well until about first frost). Most of the time, you'll have the creek to yourself or maybe see a couple local kids fishing. It's a really a lot of fun and something that too many trout purists overlook as they sit at home praying for rain and cooler temps or dreaming of steelhead.

Go chase smallies (and rock bass, sunnies, crappies, or whatever) in a local creek. A foot long smallie will give you a fight you won't soon forget - esp on 4WT tackle.

Posted on: 2011/8/4 18:39


Re: No Place Like Home

Joined:
2011/5/3 12:22
From South Lebanon Township, PA
Posts: 1912
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Great post Sal. Those are healthy looking Smallies, always good to see.

Posted on: 2011/8/4 20:18


Re: No Place Like Home

Joined:
2009/10/15 13:45
From Eastern PA
Posts: 10274
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your wrist is becoming infamous.

Posted on: 2011/8/5 1:15


Re: No Place Like Home

Joined:
2008/8/24 20:26
From Mount Joy, PA
Posts: 2177
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With gas prices rising ever so steadily and the economy on the brink of disaster, there certainly is a lot to be said for keeping gas in the tank! Pullage is pullage and regardless of where one lives, typically there is always fishing nearby...

That is one famous wrist, you're right Jdad!

Posted on: 2011/8/5 8:26


Re: No Place Like Home

Joined:
2008/12/12 11:31
Posts: 123
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Nice fish , and great looking water

Posted on: 2011/8/5 8:41


Re: No Place Like Home

Joined:
2011/7/6 12:30
From Ephrata, PA
Posts: 6307
Online
Hey Sal, I just hit up the Hammer on Monday and Thursday. Monday I went to a spot suggested by you in my PM. I got caught in a torrential downpour, lost two poppers, 2 wooly buggers, a crawfish, and got soaked. Thanks a lot ;)

Last night I went to a stretch that was "spotburned" in another thread on this board (since the poster knew he was spot burning and didn't care, I figured it was ok!) This was a much more successful outing. Nothing but panfish on poppers, but the smallmouth were HAMMERING (no pun intended) my wooly buggers of all sizes and colors. Most of them were fingerlings. I was glad to see healthy youths in the stream. I only had about an hour and a half to fish, but I brought to hand about 10 smallies in that time, and countless panfish.

I want to thank you for bringing this stream to my attention. I grew up, like you, chasing stockers in it w/ my dad during trout season. After we made the switch to fly fishing, I kind of forgot about the stream. My wife, when we were dating, lived RIGHT next to the stream. I tried a couple of times to catch trout on the fly, no luck. I never thought about it as SMB territory. Last night was one of the funnest nights I've had since June trout. My dad's recovering from surgery for prostate cancer right now, but once he's mended, I can't WAIT to get him out there with me. He's not gonna believe what we've been missing all these years.

BTW, if you're ever fishing the Hammer and you see a dark gray Volvo 850 Wagon w/ a Manchester United crest on the rear windshield (same as my avatar), that's me. Look for the 300lb guy in tan hip boots and a creel (I use it instead of a chest pack or vest....figured I ought to use it for something since making the switch to C&R!). I'm hard to miss!

Posted on: 2011/8/5 9:10

Edited by The_Sasquatch on 2011/8/5 10:09:37


Re: No Place Like Home

Joined:
2006/9/9 17:18
From lancaster county
Posts: 6429
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All us Lancaster guys need to have a smallmouth mini jam soon.

Posted on: 2011/8/5 19:02
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Re: No Place Like Home

Joined:
2011/5/29 23:43
From York, PA
Posts: 10
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Some beautiful looking fish there, congrats on your find!

Posted on: 2011/8/5 20:37


Re: No Place Like Home

Joined:
2011/4/12 17:23
From Lancaster Co.
Posts: 1124
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Hit a section of the lower Cocalico near my house this evening hoping to finally get in to some local smallies. As usual plenty of rock bass and a few sunnies but no smallmouth. Spotted a few carp that may be worth going back to try for. Tried black and brown buggers and a yellow marabou muddler.

Posted on: 2011/8/5 21:12
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"You might be a big fish, in a little pond. Doesn't mean you've won, cause a long may come, a bigger one."


Re: No Place Like Home

Joined:
2008/8/24 20:26
From Mount Joy, PA
Posts: 2177
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Don't be afraid to toss some Clouser minnows at them...

Posted on: 2011/8/5 21:14


Re: No Place Like Home

Joined:
2006/9/9 17:18
From lancaster county
Posts: 6429
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McSneek,

Try further upstream.

Posted on: 2011/8/6 2:09
_________________
http://cvtu.homestead.com/





Re: No Place Like Home

Joined:
2011/7/6 12:30
From Ephrata, PA
Posts: 6307
Online
Yeah yeah. Lanc Smallie mini jam! I'll be out there tomorrow morning

Posted on: 2011/8/6 21:12



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