It occured to me on my way to the river yesterday that I didn't bring my camera. I always carry a camera along just in case I catch a real lunker. I guess you'll just have to take my word for it!
I keep my kayaks at a friend's house on the river. He lives about 2 miles south of the confluence of the Susquehanna and Juniata. It's a beautiful stretch of river with no ramps or public access nearby. Fished from 1-3:30PM. Aside from a few kayaks floating by, I was the only fisherman on this part of the river. I was using a full, slow-sink 6 weight line with a clear head. All fish were caught on a #4 susquehanna shiner clouser minnow w/ bead chain eyes and a #4 baby bass clouser minnow with lead eyes. Weather was cloudy, cooler mid 70s and light wind.
I paddled straight across to the middle of the river and waded down along the west side of a large island. The day started slow. I was fishing structure in 2-3 foot of water. Only caught one fish in the first hour, a small 10 inch bass. Worked down to a long, slow pool, so switched over to a baby bass clouser. I let the fly swing long and deep. At first, I though I was snagged on the bottom, but I soon saw a huge smallmouth go airborn. After a short fight, I brought a fat, healthy, 18 inch bass to hand. That pretty much made my day.
After catching a few more bass, I walked back upstream towards my kayak. I was wading through really skinny water and spooked a HUGE bass. This got me thinking. When I got back to my kayak, I decided to fish down a channel inside the island. This was shallow water. I was walking in calf-deep water and casting downstream against a grassy bank. I had seen a few fish busting bait in some slightly deeper water in this area, but I assumed they were mostly smaller fish. After catching a few smaller fish, I decided to make a few more casts before calling it a day. At this point I was using a bead-chain eye susquehanna shiner clouser minnow. On what turned out to be my last cast of the day, I had a fish SLAM the fly the moment it hit the water. It was so shallow, the bass was having a tough time jumping out of the water. Although smaller then the big fish I caught earlier in the day, this bass was nearly 17 inches.
I ended up catching 6 fish, maybe 7 and missing a handful more. As I was wading back up towards my kayak, I noticed a number of YOY smallies rising to small insects. a good sign. 6-7 fish may not seem like a great day on some rivers, but it's a marked improvement over results in recent years on the Susquehanna. I'm confident I could have gotten into double figures if I stayed and fished longer. This is my 3rd trip on the river this year. I've caught about 22 bass and a handfull of fallfish. Despite the issues facing this river, I am hopeful that fishing will continue to improve. It appears that there was a very good spawn on the river this year. We've had some YOY fish kills in recent years, so I'm hopeful these fish will survive a second year.