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Lateral view of a Male Baetis (Baetidae) (Blue-Winged Olive) Mayfly Dun from Mystery Creek #43 in New York
Blue-winged Olives
Baetis

Tiny Baetis mayflies are perhaps the most commonly encountered and imitated by anglers on all American trout streams due to their great abundance, widespread distribution, and trout-friendly emergence habits.

Dorsal view of a Skwala (Perlodidae) (Large Springfly) Stonefly Nymph from the Yakima River in Washington
This Skwala nymph still has a couple months left to go before hatching, but it's still a good representative of its species, which was extremely abundant in my sample for a stonefly of this size. It's obvious why the Yakima is known for its Skwala hatch.
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

Report at a Glance

General RegionSusquehanna River
Dates FishedAugust 14, 2007
Time of DayMorning
Fish CaughtCatfish
Conditions & HatchesTricos and shad

Details and Discussion

Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Aug 14, 2007August 14th, 2007, 10:14 am EDT
Matt and I headed out in his boat this morning for channel cats. We were afraid that we might be bothered by some smallmouth, but no thanks to the Save the Chesapeake folks, we were blessed by murky foul looking water that appears to have killed off or driven away most of the bronzebacks. We managed three hookups to strong fighting fish, but luckily only landed two. Although neither of us was impaled by the pectoral fins releasing these beauties, we declined to kiss our lovely trophies, as some TV guides have been known to do. Unfortunately we didn't catch any carp, though I am a bit surprised given our luck with the catfish. If you are avoiding smallmouth, the lower Susquehanna is a good place to do it. :)
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Mcjames
Cortland Manor, NY

Posts: 139
Mcjames on Aug 16, 2007August 16th, 2007, 9:22 am EDT
I have not been to the Susquehanna in several years, but several folks have mentioned the decline of its smallmouth fishery... what happened?
I am haunted by waters
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Aug 16, 2007August 16th, 2007, 10:47 am EDT
Way to shed a positive light on things, Louis. Sounds like it was a blast. Did Duane get to tell you about his fishing experiences in Texas? Funny stuff that reminded me of this report.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Jmd123
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Aug 16, 2007August 16th, 2007, 12:47 pm EDT
I, for one, had some terrific fishing experiences in TX. The streams of the Hill Country are spring-fed and clear, though mostly too warm for trout. Once you tie into the largemouth, smallmouth, and Guadalupe bass (State Fish!), Rio Grande "perch" (actually a cichlid that's kept in aquaria by some folks), and LARGE sunfish of several species (bluegill, green, longear, readear, redbreast, warmouth, spotted, and even a few rock bass), you won't much care. And most of these fish love to sip caddisflies off the top in the evening, sometimes feedling in large pods so you can hook one on just about every other cast. Pond fishing ain't too bad either - I found a stocked but UNFISHED pond in a natural area with 20" largemouth (caught one that size, had another suck a bluegill off my line), bluegill the size of my hand on spawning beds, and even some channel cats that hit flies (1st time ever for me). My first couple of years ther I mostly fished with spinning tackle, but in 2005 I used almost nothing but fly rods. Oh, if you like HUGE smallmouth (3-6 lb. class), check out the (remote and and little-fished) Devil's River (and a few tribs too). It's been written up recently, I believe in American Angler. Flies that worked well for me down there were elkhair caddis and chartreuse woolly buggers (plus some other streamers, a few nymphs, and deer-hair poppers of various sizes, especially SMALL for the big sunnies).

Before I moved there, I thought TX was nothing but pancake-flat cattle ranches as far as the eye could see. Much of the northern half of the state is, but the Hill Country is simply spectacular - and full of fish! Go check it out next time you're in Austin or San Antonio (or my favorite place, San Marcos). Don't forget your elkhairs and chartruese buggers!

Jonathon

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Aug 16, 2007August 16th, 2007, 1:19 pm EDT
Thanks, Jon. I'll pass that along to my brothers (I've got two down there). Both of them married Texans and are now stuck there. My older brother likes to tell people that when he wants to get away from the heat he vacations in Hell. He doesn't like it there much. But maybe if he could get into warmwater fishing a little... I know that helped me do my time in Carolina.

-Shawn

P.S. Wow, 250 posts. If Gonzo's hiatus lasts about 3 more years, I might just catch him.
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Aug 16, 2007August 16th, 2007, 1:24 pm EDT
A friend of mine told me that the "American Rivers" organization has listed the lower Susquehanna as one of the ten most polluted rivers in the USA. There was an article in their newsletter that mentioned that the urbanization on both the East and West shores and the significant housing developments that have sprung up all along the borders of this watershed have further contributed to the pollution via the frequent use of nitrogen based lawn fertilizers that leach out into the groundwater and little tributaries that ultimately feed the Susquehanna. I believe the article further mentioned that based on the conditions mentioned below there is a possibility the fishery will never return to it's pre 2005 quality levels.

The official explanation for the massive decline of the smallmouth fishery (correct me if anyone knows another cause) was that due to an unusual condition of low water levels and high water temperatures during the spawn in conjunction with a naturally ocurring fungus that is present in the ground that leaches into the river and affected not only the spawn but every year class of smallmouth. It appears to have literally decimated the river from Harrisburg down to Conowingo but there is still moderately good fishing above where the Juniata enters the river. I can attest to that as I have had a number of good days both wading and in my bass boat.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Jmd123
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Aug 16, 2007August 16th, 2007, 2:19 pm EDT
Shawn, tell them to use Wulff patterns and Clouser minnows, too. Also, tell them about the pond. It is in the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area near Fredricksburg. Enchanted Rock - four big hills of pink granite in a sea of white limestone - is so spectacular that nobody knows about the pond, except for swimming. Send your brothers there - its easy to find on a map. Make sure they have 5-weights should they hook one of those big bass.

Where in TX are these guys anyway? I hope not in the "pancake-flat cattle ranches" part of the state. I survived the heat by jumping into those spring-fed streams I told you about - or wet-wading with swim trunks and wading shoes. There are some great places to snorkle down there as well, especially on the San Marcos River - that's how I found many of my best spots! And 70 F year-round...and speaking of women (per my other thread), it was the best underwater bikini-watching I have ever seen (Texas State University is located there). With that remark, I'm sure you'll have some snide comments to make...

Jonathon :oD

P.S. There's supposed to be some great salt-water fly fishing along the TX coast - redfish, spotted seatrout, etc. I never got to check it out, but I hear LOTS about it. Chartruese (there it is AGAIN!) Clousers are supposed to be the ticket.

P.P.S. If it helps to cheer them up a bit, they could be stuck in Phoenix, where it averages 105-110 F in the summer and it's dry as a bone. There ain't sh*t for fly fishing around there - you have to drive several hours north or east to find trout. Unless you'll settle for ponds stocked with catfish. Went there last summer for my job, and will NEVER go back again!
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Aug 17, 2007August 17th, 2007, 3:27 am EDT
underwater bikini-watching
Now there's a reason to give up flyfishing and take up snorkeling. Oh, Jon, my hookups on catfish were on a chartreuse marabou clouser.

Shawn--best spin? Can you say irony?
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Aug 17, 2007August 17th, 2007, 3:59 am EDT
Not a word from me, Jon. Promise.

I'll just email my brothers this thread link and they can check out all the suggestions. I'm sure they'll appreciate it. They're in Austin, by the way, Land of Traffic.

Yes, Louis, I quite enjoyed the literary technique you used. What's it called, 'Lying'?

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Jmd123
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Aug 17, 2007August 17th, 2007, 4:00 am EDT
Martinlf, DO BOTH!! Like I said, it's a great way to see where the fish hang out. The bikini watching is just a bonus...

CHARTRUESE RULES!!!!!!!!

Jonahton
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Jmd123
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Aug 17, 2007August 17th, 2007, 4:03 am EDT
Shawn, AUSTIN ROCKS!!!!!!! I loved it down there there - only left because the job market was not good for me. Send 'em to the San Marcos River - and make sure they take their snorkeling gear!!!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Aug 17, 2007August 17th, 2007, 4:14 am EDT
Yeah, some pretty great live music down there, that's for sure. If that's what you meant...

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Aug 17, 2007August 17th, 2007, 4:28 am EDT
Shawn, I told the truth about the only thing a fisherman lies about, which is whether or not he caught anything. We both boated fish. And boy were they UGLY. :) We were, of course, looking for smallies, and the irony was there for a reason. Matt's analysis of disease as the immediate reason for the decline is accurate (though I thought it was bacterial), but as Bob Clouser notes, now that the lower river is so dirty it will be very hard for even a resistant population to bounce back with slime and filth coating everything, and it's a dirty shame. Rivers do not have to become polluted like this, and when they do it suggests all is not well in Gotham. A number of smallmouth rivers are suffering due to pollution, including the Shenandoah, as recent articles in Flyfisherman Magazine detail. Smallies are another canary in the coal mine.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell

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