Susky Flatties

afishinado

afishinado

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Back in the 80's and 90's anglers came to the lower Susky to fish for smallmouth. It was rated as one of the top SMB rivers in the country. Now anglers travel there for flatheads as written in the article below.


https://www.ydr.com/in-depth/sports/outdoors/2021/02/02/susquehanna-river-fishing-monsters-flathead-catfish/5857565002/?fbclid=IwAR1LmlL4jXSe2AHw5OD37Zf-ZcS57cZqTBbEZ5MXQ06D8j5yklbpsdNrIiA

 
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blitzinstripes

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Still plenty of smallies, too. Last summer I discovered the joy of catching channel cats on the fly rod. I imagine some very large articulated streamers could catch some flatheads at night. I also imagine that would be an epic battle!
 
jifigz

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Flathead on the fly is one of my goals this summer. I'm going to get one out of the Juniata right in front of my house. I WILL.
 
Fredrick

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Flattie with a 20” smallie hanging in its mouth

https://www.facebook.com/1640812309/posts/10224129146610004/?d=n
 
Fly-Swatter

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Great, It would be easier to extract the smallie if he gutted the flathead.
 
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poopdeck

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One would be wise to run a knife into the back of the head of every flathead caught. I know this topic is usually hotly debated but the flathead has killed the SMB fishing on the Delaware river. How anybody can argue against this cause and effect is beyond common sense. I witnessed it with my own eyes and believe me it comes quick when it does come.
 
Susquehanna

Susquehanna

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Isn't the Flathead and smallmouth native to the Ohio River?
 
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poopdeck

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Yes they are.
 
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Mike

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A series of weak to below average year classes of SMB starting around 2009 corresponded perfectly with the decline in the Delaware; nothing more, nothing less. Flatheads had nothing to do with it. The weak year classes even occurred in areas of the river where flatheads had not yet been recorded or were barely present.

Edit: And now I found a recent report that verifies my comment about the Del R year classes.
https://www.fishandboat.com/Fish/Fisheries/BiologistReports/Documents/Bio2021/5-6x02-03-DelawareRiver.pdf

The Susquehanna SMB YOY problems corresponded well with high flows , as is typical, and with warm temps in the shallows producing disease problems.

The Schuylkill R SMB problems, roughly below Pottstown, are sediment related (loss of habitat). This began in the early 1980’s, first seen in the Norristown dam pool when Flatheads were not present.
 
coyoterahn

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Mike wrote:
A series of weak to below average year classes of SMB starting around 2009 corresponded perfectly with the decline in the Delaware; nothing more, nothing less. Flatheads had nothing to do with it. The weak year classes even occurred in areas of the river where flatheads had not yet been recorded or were barely present.

Edit: And now I found a recent report that verifies my comment about the Del R year classes.
https://www.fishandboat.com/Fish/Fisheries/BiologistReports/Documents/Bio2021/5-6x02-03-DelawareRiver.pdf

Mike,
First off I’d like to state that I am not trying to be argumentative however I am attempting to understand better your thoughts on flatheads and their impact on SMB. I understand the data you have included from the Fish and Boat Comm. I’m not questioning that.
However, since flatheads are well known to consume SMB quite regularly, you surprised me with you comment of “Flatheads had nothing to do with it” Would you mind explaining that a bit further?
Thanks.
 
Susquehanna

Susquehanna

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I'm having trouble understanding how Flathead are so destructive to Smallmouth when they exist in a native range together.
Baffling.
 
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troutbert

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Mike wrote:

The Schuylkill R SMB problems, roughly below Pottstown, are sediment related (loss of habitat). This began in the early 1980’s, first seen in the Norristown dam pool when Flatheads were not present.

So the sediment problem is caused by a dam at Norristown.

Is there a plan to remove the dam?

 
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poopdeck

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Susquehanna wrote:
I'm having trouble understanding how Flathead are so destructive to Smallmouth when they exist in a native range together.
Baffling.

Nobody said they don't exist together. There are SMB in the Delaware just a whole lot less than there was before flatheads arrived.

I am equally baffled at how easy the flatheads are dismissed. While I appreciate the YOY studies one has to remember the interpretation of the collected data is based on assumptions. I'm not arguing the data I'm simply arguing my personal experiences and common sense.

I have been doing adult SMB studies on the river multiple times a week for more than 30 years. A good morning of fishing use to be over 35 of all sizes. The last three four years a dozen would be a good morning but realistically you would work your arms off to catch six 10 inchers.

This I know to be fact, when the flatheads move in the SMB move out. So much so that this year my plan is to give up SMB fishing and take up night fishing for flatheads. It's just not worth going SMB fishing on the river anymore. Flooding and high water may not be the best of conditions at certain times of the year but flatheads are bad the entire year.

You guys who fish the susky are in for trouble if you keep denying the detrimental effect of flatheads on your fishery. To say they live together in the Ohio river so it must not be a problem is absurd. To dismiss the problem to flooding, high water flows and lots of assumptions is reckless.
 
Susquehanna

Susquehanna

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Completely disagree.

The two fish have lived together for much longer than there has been bass in the Susquehanna in there native range. They have lived together longer than our ancestors have been here and they still coexist in the Ohio River. This is not an absurd argument or one than can be defeated.
It is just fact.

It is almost like you are taking the PFBC approach to Brook trout. Brook Trout biologically act differently above the Mason Dixon Line the same way Smallies and Flatheads coexist differently across some imaginary line.
That is the absurd part.

All your evidence is antedotal and not scientific. However if you think the river isn't worth fishing for bass anymore I will defer.
It leaves one less on the river targeting bass.

Until someone can explain how Flathead are responsible for Disease-related mortality of young smallmouth bass that was first documented in the Susquehanna River in 2005, I don't buy it. Or how Flathead are responsible for excessive high water at the wrong time of the year causing poor YOY, I don't buy it.

In the years that followed young bass seemed to disappear and adult smallmouths had lesions, blotchy skin, and open sores.

It is obvious pollution is a far bigger issue.
There is a lot of evidence of this rather than "my experience."
 
larkmark

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Combine pollution and Flatheads and you have a heck of a lot less bass. I kill every one I catch even though our local fish warden gets furious about it.
 
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lycoflyfisher

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Lancaster Co fish warden?
 
jifigz

jifigz

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It is what it is..we aren't changing anything. Flatheads are here to stay. Keep em if you like, release em if you like.

Why is there not more concern about th flatheads impact on fallfish and redbreast? That concerns me more..two fish I very much like and two fish that are native to the river system....
 
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timmyt2

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Look at the Skuke. I realize there was other issues there, but the flat heads absolutely had a detrimental effect on the smalls. Especially when the flat head fisherman realized that little undersized smallies were excellent bait for the flat heads
 
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Mike

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From Post #9.....
The Schuylkill R SMB problems, roughly below Pottstown, are sediment related (loss of habitat). This began in the early 1980’s, first seen in the Norristown dam pool when Flatheads were not present.

Substrate is predominantly sand, coal sand, gravel, silt and Asiatic Clam shells. In fact, when one looks at the bottom from shore to shore what one typically sees is clam shells other than in the occasional riffles, occasional because of low gradient, which exacerbates the sedimentation problem. Is there any wonder why reproduction is poor?
It’s like an underwater desert. That said, there is a little bit of lower river reproduction that still occurs in one of the rare remaining rocky areas away from fast moving water near Bridgeport. If Flatheads were limiting, why would that be occurring in the very heart of Flathead country?
 
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