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Susky Smallmouth Population - Latest Survey
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Here's the latest PFBC bass survey for the middle sections of the Susquehanna River:

http://www.fish.state.pa.us/images/fi ... /afm/2009/7x12_21susq.htm

As one would have expected, the population is dismal compared to historic trends. However, as one small tidbit of optimism, the Young of the Year count was considerably better than 2008 and better than what had been anticipated considering water conditions this year.

Posted on: 2009/12/21 16:30


Re: Susky Smallmouth Population - Latest Survey

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Well thats some what of good news

Posted on: 2009/12/21 21:03
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Re: Susky Smallmouth Population - Latest Survey
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I looked at the population graphs a bit more closely this evening and - while the numbers are dismal compared to the 1990s - the number of bass 15" or larger remains fairly steady this decade compared to the 1990s. Also, as anecdotal fishing accounts suggest, the populations are better upriver at Clemson Island, declining by almost half down at Rockville, and by even greater proportion in Harrisburg at Dock St Dam. Down at the Turnpike, the numbers were even worse. These are not great distances between survey sites, roughly about 10 miles. To see such drastic drops in such short distances is interesting. I wish we had some data from several sites further upriver for comparison. Of course, this is consistent with the view of many fishermen that the bass fishing gets better as one heads upstream, generally above the Dauphin Narrows.

I'd also be curious to know what the population numbers are for species other than bass. Usually, when these surveys are done, other species are noted as well (although night electrofishing might not be the preferred method for surveying others - trapnets would likely be preferred for walleyes/muskies). By most accounts, walleye, muskies, channel cats, and carp remain numerous in this section of river. Rock bass and sunfish seem to be in bad shape according to a lot of fishermen. Are the populations of these fish comparable in this section of river, with, say, the section up at Wilkes Barree? The bass population is only roughly about a quarter in this section in the 2000s compared to the 1990s. Do populations of other fishes show such drastic differences and, if so, in what parts of the river? Still lotsa questions.

Posted on: 2009/12/21 22:06


Re: Susky Smallmouth Population - Latest Survey

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Good post Fishidiot,
I was wondering the same thing.
This year, 010, I'll go as far as I have to go to find better fishing. It will be a exploratory year for me!
I would think that the Susquehanna way upstream, like NY, might be loaded with smallmouth bass. Really it's the clean water, like we used to have.
It just might be time for me to move to Canada.
I would also like the cheap pills and free healthcare!!
Any hot sexy chicks with a big bank account would be welcome to join me. Actually, any chick with a big bank account could join me!!
If interested, please send me a pic of your last months bank statement and a pic of your boat.... if you have one!!

Tight Lines

Posted on: 2009/12/22 1:17


Re: Susky Smallmouth Population - Latest Survey

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1wt..........stay in Pa. and hang a left in Sunbury , on the West branch things aren't looking too bad.

Posted on: 2009/12/22 6:40


Re: Susky Smallmouth Population - Latest Survey
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Quote:

Fishidiot wrote:
However, as one small tidbit of optimism, the Young of the Year count was considerably better than 2008 and better than what had been anticipated considering water conditions this year.



Dave, the charts you post mention are for 1 year or >

I posted the YOY survey in another thread. It was not posted by the FBC. The 2009 YOY survey was dreadful.

The SMB fishing will continue to decline since the fish from the "hayday" years are dying off (the larger ones) with fewer and fewer fish to replace them. Sad to say, it will be many years before the SMB fishing is even decent....if ever.

Here is another copy of the 2009 YOY surveys:

Attach file:



jpg  Susky yoy 2009 1.jpg (34.97 KB)
53_4b30d9fa9fc86.jpg 799X618 px

jpg  Susky 2009 yoy 2.jpg (37.93 KB)
53_4b30da091d9c7.jpg 799X618 px

Posted on: 2009/12/22 9:42


Re: Susky Smallmouth Population - Latest Survey
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Afish,
Yes, you're right - thanks for the clarification and YOY post. My comment was drawn from the summary below Figure 2 where the PFBC reporter does in fact mention a slight improvement in YOY catch rate but does mention that this survey was intended to reflect "adult" fish.

I share your pessimism about long term bass fishing prospects in this section of river. While the population of "catchable" bass (>15") remains similar to the 1990s, Figure 1 shows why this is. The overall populations were high until the early 2000s. The big bass crash appears to have been between 2001 and 2004. A 15" river bass is about a decade old, or nearly so, indicating that this population of bigger fish is a remnant from the days before the crash. As these older fish die out in the next 1-5 years, things will almost certainly get worse. One hope that I have nurtured is that fish from upriver will move down and re-populate some of the areas where the numbers are down. However, this doesn't seem to be occuring - at least not as rapidly as I'd hoped 3 or 4 years ago ("sigh"). I suppose, one "bright side way of thinking" about this is that the bass crash hasn't moved upriver. I was worried 3 or 4 years ago that, whatever the problem was that caused the mid river crash, would gradually take over the entire watershed and eventually crash the populations in the North and West Branches. Luckily, this doesn't seem to be the case (so far). Again, I wish we had more data from more points upriver.

Posted on: 2009/12/22 10:21


Re: Susky Smallmouth Population - Latest Survey

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We need to have some kind of warmwater jam this year on the susky to see if this survey is right

Posted on: 2009/12/22 11:30
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Re: Susky Smallmouth Population - Latest Survey
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Quote:

Fredrick wrote:
We need to have some kind of warmwater jam this year on the susky to see if this survey is right


If you do have one....bring a deck of cards. Its that bad. Although it could be fun during the white fly fishing for catties. I'll be doing that anyway.

But I wouldn't recommend anyone travel very far to attend. Aint worth the gas.

Regarding the YOY bass in the middle river. When targeting them the results are poor, but when targeting larger bass, the YOY results are better. Calls into question the historical site value of the YOY surveys, not that I think the results are encouraging for YOY or that changing the survey locations are meriteed but it is curious.

Posted on: 2009/12/22 14:39
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Re: Susky Smallmouth Population - Latest Survey
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Mo,
Yeah, I wondered about the same discrepancy in YOY tallies as well. Perhaps the survey method and time of year may partly explain this. I think the PFBC biologists have been consistent in their sampling methodology - I have no reason to doubt the overall integrity of these studies. If there is better data from another source, say a university, I'm not aware of it. Nevertheless, whether the margins are really statistically significant is academic. The results are poor.

Fred,
I too like the idea of a SMB mini JAM but Mo's right - the lower Susky ain't worth it. A better bet would be up on the North Br or maybe the West Br at Williamsport.

Posted on: 2009/12/22 19:17


Re: Susky Smallmouth Population - Latest Survey
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In addition to Afishinado's graph, here's the latest release of the YOY trends for the entire length of the Susky as well as the West Branch. As was predictable, the results were poor, which can be attributed to high water this summer.
For what it's worth....

http://www.fish.state.pa.us/images/re ... /2010bio/fm_01_19susq.htm

Posted on: 2010/1/19 22:43


Re: Susky Smallmouth Population - Latest Survey

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It's time to pick up your 8wt and catch some "Freshwater Bonefish" with some small size 10 buggers!
The carp are lovin' this muddy bottom polluted warm water we have now. They are breeding like crazy in the lower Susky.
Whitlock said "Carp are the last frontier for the fresh water fly rodder"
Or you can drive four hours to the North Branch or the extreme north Delaware River. Still some fish there. Not like before, but the water is a bit cleaner than down here.
All the graphs don't look very promising for the Susquehanna.
I've given up with the smallmouth, but I'm very excited about the carp in the river now.
The last couple years I've had more fun with the fallfish (chubs) and the sunfish than I did with the few sick bass that remain.
Carp are a beautiful thing with a fly rod!!

Posted on: 2010/1/19 23:11


Re: Susky Smallmouth Population - Latest Survey

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Carp are nice, but please don't give up on the smallmouth. There are actions the PFBC can take to help reduce the pressure on the remaining stock but it seams the Commissioners do not have the political will. For some reason they are owned by the tournament anglers and guides, particularly out of state guides, who come to rape and pillage the river every spring and then run back to maryland and virginia when the spawn is done.

Please write the PFBC and express your concern. Demand they declare the Susquehanna River, from Sunbury to York Haven, a Catch and Immediate Release special regulation water, close the spring season and suspend all tournaments.

Dr. Bachman and one or two others have expressed a willingness to make some changes. It seems the rest are stedfast against it, apparently due to personal reasons such as Commissioner Gavlick (7th district) being president of the largest tournament club in the Northeast part of state)

Here is how to contact the PFBC
http://www.fish.state.pa.us/dir.htm

Here is the website for finding the name and address of your local legislators. Insert your Zip Code and county in the upper right-hand box.
http://www.legis.state.pa.us/index.cfm

Here is the website that lists those legislators who serve of the Fisheries and Game Committee. Click on their names to get their email and P.O. addresses.
http://www.legis.sta...m?cde=41&body=S

Here is the contact for the Governors Advisory Council on Hunting and Fishing. Click on the “Contact Us” and send them an email. Or send a letter, fax or call them.
http://www.dcnr.stat...gsac/index.aspx

Or you can write too or email the governor’s office.
http://www.governor....ty/contact/2998

Posted on: 2010/1/20 6:21
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