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White Flies on the Susquehanna - where are the fish?

Joined:
2011/5/25 12:15
From Dauphin
Posts: 2
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I'm a trout flyrodder who moved to the Susquehanna a few months ago. I had fished the River during the whitefly hatch years ago when there were plenty of fish and was looking forward to enjoying a beer from my deck, dressed to go, rod in hand, watching for rises in the sunset reflected from the water.

Well, everything's in place, but the fish. Plenty of whiteflies for the past few days; but barely a rise.

I'm in the stretch between Clarks Ferry and Dauphin. There's a lot of river there and I've so far restricted my evenings fishing to locations I can wade to. I have a kayak and a bass boat but have kept the search 'local."

So....I'm looking to find rising fish, and that's where my inquiry begins. I'm wondering if the fish congregate in certain areas and if so, what conditions the rising bass would favor: shallow, stucture, fast water, slow water....

Was also wondering if the fish were not yet on the hatch. It just started; does it take a little while for the fish to key in?

I'm trying to cover different ground each night. Don't really want to take the kayak to islands or the opposite side since I'll be paddling back in near dark. Not sure the grass is greener elsewhere.

So what's the answer? Any help that might lead me to rising bass will be graciously accepted!! Thanks Jim

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Posted on: 2011/7/27 11:54


Re: White Flies on the Susquehanna - where are the fish?

Joined:
2011/4/12 17:23
From Lancaster Co.
Posts: 1086
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There has been a significant decline in the Susquehanna smallmouth bass fishery and you are seeing the consequences. Numbers are down significantly from past years and the reason(s) are still not known for sure although a virus is suspect. Search this site and you'll find plenty of threads about the sitauation and I'm sure others will weigh in. Shame - looks like you're in a prime location there.

Posted on: 2011/7/27 12:30
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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: White Flies on the Susquehanna - where are the fish?

Joined:
2011/7/6 12:30
From Ephrata, PA
Posts: 5979
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I was in the Wrightsville area a few weekends ago and the white flies were EVERYWHERE, however rises were small. Every now and again I'd see a smallie come up for one, but most of my luck was on a big white popper.

Posted on: 2011/7/27 12:31


Re: White Flies on the Susquehanna - where are the fish?

Joined:
2009/12/16 11:21
From West Chester
Posts: 316
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jleeg, i can't speak much for the area you're in but it seems that most of the bass in the marietta/columbia region are dead. If i were you i'd target shallow riffly areas if you want bass. The water is already very hot (as of 7/16 82degrees) and they are prolly looking for oxygenation. Catfish on the other hand, seem to be thriving. You should be able to find them feeding on the white flies.
The future for bass looks bleak. Every year i hold out hope that this will be the year the tide starts to turn, but it looks like those hopes are already dashed for this year. Only fished the river twice so far this year but noticed some discouraging signs. first off i saw a 2inch bass struggling to swim and probably near death in the shallows with a massive lesion on his body. It hadn't rained in 2-3 weeks at the time and visibility wasn't good. Seemed like an algae bloom. water was already hot and this was before last week's extreme temps. This topic is close to my heart and is very tragic. I haven't even fished for bass in the past couple years because i feel bad about stressing the few survivors. I just hope that before i die bass fishing on my end of the river returns to it's former glory.

Posted on: 2011/7/27 14:55


Re: White Flies on the Susquehanna - where are the fish?

Joined:
2011/7/22 16:45
From Pennsylvania
Posts: 7
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I've been out on the river at night quite alot the last couple of months. Not seeing any bass feeding on mayflies but the channel cats have been gorging on them. Monday night there were 15-20 working the slack water along the bank sucking up spent spinners. The majority of them were in the 20-25 inch range. They can be quite a handful on a 4 or 5wt rod.

Posted on: 2011/7/27 16:30


Re: White Flies on the Susquehanna - where are the fish?
Moderator
Joined:
2006/9/9 17:32
From Gettysburg
Posts: 8667
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Jleeg,
Welcome to PAFF. As others have pointed out, the bass population in the area of the Susky you're frequenting is not what it used to be. Generally, you'll find better water upriver (we're talking about above Clemson Island). However, speaking as one who fished the white fly back in the glory days in the 80s/90s....I never felt this hatch was all it was cracked up to be. Even back then, most of the rises were fallfish or juvenile bass. Don't get me wrong, I had some great days (and the comment about catfish is definitely true) but - in my opinion - the Susky white fly hatch was mostly a natural phenomenon that blew the minds of trout fishermen who were intrigued by hatches and led to a lot of hoopla. The fishing wasn't always as great as one would expect considering the (literally) tons of insects on the water.

Posted on: 2011/7/27 23:04


Re: White Flies on the Susquehanna - where are the fish?

Joined:
2006/11/2 8:50
Posts: 5782
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What flies are you guys using during the white fly hatch? Back when the populations of bass were good in the Susque near Dauphin we used to fish the white fly hatch every year, but we didn't use imitations of white mayflies.

We used white poppers or Clouser Floating Minnows, and had good fishing for smallmouth that way.

Posted on: 2011/7/28 14:27


Re: White Flies on the Susquehanna - where are the fish?

Joined:
2011/4/12 17:23
From Lancaster Co.
Posts: 1086
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When I was fishing it a #10 White Wulff always worked well for me. I tied some with a dubbed body but also did well with a foam body which helped float them better. I really never got into trying the popper approach. This was down river around Wrightsville.

Posted on: 2011/7/28 16:44
_________________
"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: White Flies on the Susquehanna - where are the fish?

Joined:
2010/8/30 13:47
From Mechanicsburg, PA
Posts: 78
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North of Harrisburg I have been averaging about 10 a night, not the 20 and 30's of old but still enough action to keep me going. Fish of all age classes and they are eating poppers fairly well. Throw to the ring.

Posted on: 2011/7/28 16:47


Re: White Flies on the Susquehanna - where are the fish?

Joined:
2010/3/9 14:01
From Hanover, PA
Posts: 40
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Gotta Go NORTH! Montegomerys Ferry...Leverpool. Do not use dry flys. Must use small minnow patterns..imitate bait fish rising to flys. It will work!

Posted on: 2011/7/30 20:47


Re: White Flies on the Susquehanna - where are the fish?
Moderator
Joined:
2006/9/9 19:16
From Dallastown, PA
Posts: 6825
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Last night my daughter and I were on the Wrightsville flats for two hours from 7:30 until 9:30 pm. A good number of flies (winding down). Not many rises to speak of, managed to hook up iwth one channel cat around 9:15 along the shore.

Sam had fun helping the white flies to molt and bobbing in the river while I stalked rise forms while a hippy girl played acoustic guitar over a loud speaker at the John Wright restaurant. and there were fireworks under the route thirty bridge.

Short of the distractions the fishing sucked.

Posted on: 2011/7/31 19:19
_________________
Don't hit me with them negative waves so early in the morning. Think the bridge will be there and it will be there. It's a mother, beautiful bridge, and it's gonna be there. Ok?


Re: White Flies on the Susquehanna - where are the fish?

Joined:
2011/5/25 12:15
From Dauphin
Posts: 2
Offline
I am making some progress on answering my questions. Living on the River gives me a chance to get out most nights for the rise. I have waded up and down from my spot; from around small islands, to slow moving water, to seams, to shallow and deeper runs. Of course this is but a minicule sampling of a huge habitat; I haven't even broached the west shore, let alone the stretches more than 4 or 5 hundred yards distant.

So, the hatch, heavy last week is even thicker (I'm above Dauphin). Last night I couldnt look upstream (into the wind) without taking flies up the nose, ears, mouth.... Was wild. The hatch began close to 8:25 or so and was thickest near 9:00. I did see some sips (yes sips) and hooked into a monster....my only catch. It seems that the rises are along seams of faster water, near structure and not in the open unobstructed stretches. Could be my observation only. Figure it will take me ten years of experimenting (and a healthy fish friendly environment (NO to FRAKING)) before I can answer my questions with any credibility.

Posted on: 2011/8/1 9:08






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