Posts Tagged Smallmouth Bass

Good Fishing

This past weekend was one of the most unbelievable fishing weekends that I have ever experienced. It started with fishing the KBBC event at Pymatuning Lake on Saturday. My dad had practiced for the event on Thursday and was confident in his spots and what made me happy is where and how they were getting them. Plus, I had been there the previous saturday for a 1/2 day and my spots were close to his. That makes for a maximized fishing day. It took me about 3 flips and I had our first keeper and we never looked back. We had our first limit in the first hour of the tournament and had 1 good fish in the well. Then it was time to start culling. And boy did we cull a lot of fish. Switching between flipping, working soft plastic on breaks, and topwater we were able to boat between 45 and 50 keepers. The majority of which were largemouth bass. More than likely we caught 4 limits of 6 fish that would have been over 12lbs. It was a record setting day for the Keystone Bass Buddy Circuit. 81 limits were brought to the scales and over 1100 pounds of fish were weighed in. If it wasn’t for a 1/2 pound dead fish penalty we would have collected a check, but we still finished 22 with 15.11 pounds. More importantly we moved up to first in the standings. It is a long season, but this is by far the best start we have ever had.

Sunday we got up and decided to ride to Presque Isle Bay to try and get into the smallmouth bass. We got there and there was a very strong wind out of the northeast. These are not good conditions to fish the bay. Especially when the wind is blowing 20-25mph and raining hard the entire time. Unlike the weather the fishing was unbelievable. Between the 2 of us we boated over 50 smallmouth in 6 hours. A couple were over 5lbs and about 10 were probably in the 4lb range. most of the fish were in the 3lb range though. The key to the day was actually getting your lure to the bottom. If you didn’t you weren’t catching fish, but as soon as you got down you were getting bit.

If you are looking for somewhere to fish this weekend I highly recommend both of these fisheries, as this could be the best weather we have had in weeks to fish during the weekend. Good Luck.

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Allegheny Reservoir

Located in the Allegheny National Forest is one of the largest lakes in Pennsylvania. The Allegheny Reservoir spans through Warren and McKean Counties in Pennsylvania and Cattaraugus County in New York. This reservoir is part of the Army Corps of Engineers. At normal summer pool the lake is 24 miles long and covers over 12,000 acres.

The Kinzua Dam was initially built for flood control of the Allegheny River in the 1960’s.  It is estimated that the dam has prevented over 1 billion dollars worth of damage. However, since the dam was constructed many other uses have been utilized. The hydroelectric power plant located below the dam may be the greatest of its uses. Check out the Big Bend Access Vistors Center to see more information about the power plant and how it works. There are many campgrounds, water sports, fishing opportunities, and other outdoor activities possible around the reservoir. Not to mention it has some of the most beautiful scenery in the state.

Now let’s talk fishing! The Allegheny Resevoir is a very deep body of water with steep sloping banks. The water is also very clear as long as the weather has been consistent with no rain. Remember this is a river system and the water level fluctuates daily. These conditions stated there is a little something for everyone on this body of water.

Let’s start by talking about toothy criters. This body of water is know for producing giant Musky and Northern Pike. Not to mention that you can catch large numbers of both species. Like always trolling is an option and a lot of guys use this method. Just remember that the water is clear. My experience is that you don’t have to work that hard to find the Northern Pike. If you want fast results I would head up into some of the no wake bays and go to the back of the bays. Almost every bay has a small stream coming into the bay and the northern pike will move up into those areas to feed. Try some firetiger jerkbaits, firetiger topwater lures, or jitterbugs. My experience is that brighter lures attract pike and triger more stikes. However, if the sun is high try black. It puts out a great silouette. Most of the bigger pike and musky will be on the main body of the lake near the cliff faces. The best approach to fishing these areas is using a vertical style. My favorite is to use large red/white daredevil spoons and cast them parallel to the shoreline right against it. You will find that the spoon will be sinking and just stop on the fall before the lure hits the bottom. When that happens hold on because you got exactly what you are looking for.

There is also a decent walleye population. Coventional walleye tackle will be necessary. Light line and flourocarbon is a must. Trolling is probably the most effective way to fish for walleye there. However, I have had great success throwing plugs such as Rapala Shad Raps, Hot n Tots, and jerkbaits in the morning. Remember the water is clear so you will want to you natural colored lures. Some other methods that work well include jigging minnows, trolling worm harnesses, and using blade baits on the cliff faces. My favorite end of the lake for walleye tends to be towards Red Bridge.

There are plenty of panfish in the lake as well. Perch and rock bass dominate the panfish population, but you will also find crappie and bluegill as well. Shallow rock shorelines tend to hold good numbers of rock bass. Try throwing nightcrawlers on a small jig head. You will find the perch almost everywhere that you catch a walleye. Check 10-25 feet of water for you best chance. Unfortunately, you may not find the size of perch desired for keeping. This body of water is like every other body of water that I have ever fished in that when you catch one crappie sit there and work the area because you may get a bunch of them in a short period of time.

Now let’s talk bass fishing. Smallmouth are the dominate species, but there are largemouth around the lake. There are a lot bass in the lake, but it can be difficult to locate them and it can be even more difficult to find good sized fish. To me the reason for this is because the lake is very clear and there are large numbers of preditor fish in the lake. My recommendations for catching bass are as follows. First, trust your electronics for locating flats or shoals as well as bait fish. Throughout the lake there is only so much bank that doesn’t drop straight down. Finding feeding flats will greatly improve your odds. Also, you will want to head to the back of the no wake bays. The reason for this is that most of them are feed by some sort of stream or runoff area. Because of this the bass as well as Northen Pike seem to really stack up back in these areas. One of my favorite things to throw is a firetiger size 9 original floating rapala. Other natural colors work as well, but it just seems that I get more strikes on firetiger. Some other things you will want to try are tubes, drop shot, grubs, poppers, and spooks. Crankbaits can be a good option as well.

The largemouth are a little more difficult to find. In fact I only have 1 area on the lake that I consistently have caught largemouth and usually I only get a couple of them to bite. Usually, I am able to get these fish on soft jerkbaits or spinnerbaits. Like I said, the numbers just don’t seem to be in this body of water so I would spend my time looking for walleye and smallmouth.

There is plenty of camping opportunities around the Allegheny Reservoir. Red Bridge Campground, Dew Drop Campground, and Kiasutha Campground are on the Pennsylvania side of the lake. There are several areas set up for primative camping where there is no running water and no bathhouses. Some of my best memories of family camping trips were when my parents took my sisters and I primetive camping. It was on of those times in life that there were no rules and you could just have fun.

Scattered throughout the lake is hiking trials and overlooks. You will find some of the best scenery in the state at these overlooks. All watersports are legal here. There is a beach by Wolf Run Marina. Wolf Run Marina is the only Marina on the water on the Pennsylvania side of the lake.

When thinking about a weekend get away with the family you should really consider taking a trip to the Allegheny Reservoir. Make it a mid May trip when everything is in bloom and you will the some of the best senerio you could ask for. Not to mention the best fishing.

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Presque Isle Bay – Lake Erie

One of the best fisheries in Pennsylvania is located in Erie County. Presque Isle State Park on Lake Erie is home to some of the best fishing I have ever experienced. Everyone knows how good Lake Erie can be, but no one thinks about how fishing the Presque Isle Bay. There are many species of fish and certain times of year some species are more abundant than other times. The Erie area is thriving right now so there is plenty to do inside and outside the state park. It truly has something for everyone.

Let’s start by talking about all of the species of fish that can be found in Presque Isle Bay. The most abundant species in the bay depends on the time of year in which you are there. The most consistent species you can find is largemouth bass. Fisherman can experience some of the best largemouth fishing in the state from the time the ice comes off the bay until the bay freezes over. From mid April until early July you can find a huge population of smallmouth bass that move into the bay to spawn. Panfish such as perch, crapie, bluegill, rock bass, white bass, and sunfish. During the cold water temperature time of the year you can find steelhead and trout that have migrated in from the main lake. There is a healthy population of northern pike. Some other species that can be found include: muskie, freshwater drum, carp, catfish, and alligator gar. Whatever your target species there are ample oppurtunies at Presque Isle State Park.

As many species as there are in the bay there are many more ways to catch fish depending on the species. In the spring and fall months fishing aggressive tends to be the best when fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass. Spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, and topwater lures are my favorite lures. During the water summer months I tend to switch gears and pull out more of my heavy punching gear because of the abundance of weeds. Heavy weights and heavy line are a must to get fish out of the mat weeds. No matter what time of year that I there I expect to boat 50 bass a day. It doesn’t always happen, but it happens more often than not. Some of my favorite soft plastics include berkley chigger craws and tubes of various colors. Creature baits such as brush hogs are also very effective.

Early in the year steelhead move into the bay. You can effectively catch these fish on your typical lures for them. Spoons, blade baits, and jerkbaits are some of the common lures used. For muskie and northern pike you should start with white spinnerbaits and swimbaits. Everytime I fish this lake I catch a couple of these guys early in the morning while I am fishing aggressively for bass. Try fishing Misery Bay for these toothy guys. Try looking that the beginning of the penninsula for carp and panfish. However, panfish can be found throughout the bay. If you are looking to find an alligator gar you should look in the lagoons and horseshoe bay.

There are ample opportunities to fish from boats and from shore. There are e public boat launchs in Presque Isle State Park. There is the Vista Boat launch which is more for small water crafts and jet skies. Niagara Boat Launch and the Lagoons Boat Launch and handle small to medium sized boats. The largest boat launch is the West Pier Launch. It will handle whatever boat you choose to launch. There is a marina attached to the west pier launch with plenty of slips to accommodate. There is also a boat launch on the city side of the by on Chestnut Street.

Presque Isle State Park offers many more activities that just fishing. There is a paved bicycle trail that can be jogged, biked, or walked on that goes the entire way around the penninsula. At the beginning of the park there is a shop that you can rent bicycles. On Graveyard Point there is a boat rental where you can rent kayaks, canoes, or multiple types of boats. There are plenty of picnic shelters that can be rented or used on a first come first served basis. Scuba diving is permit is certain areas of the bay, but you must be a registered diver and check in with the park before doing so. Water skiing is also permitted as this is an unlimited horsepower body of water. Except for the no wake and lagoons (electric only) area.

My favorite time of year to be at Presque Isle State Park is May. At this time the trees are turning green and the flowers are blooming. Let’s not forget that the smallmouth bass are in the bay spawning or getting ready to spawn. The largemouth bass fishing is unbelievable as well.

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Oil City Open Tournament

This past weekend my dad and I fished an open tournament on the Allegheny River in Oil City. Even though I consider myself a weak river angler I decided to fish this tournament for a couple of reasons. First, it is for a good cause. It benefits the police in our area. Second, the fishing in the northern Allegheny River is amazing during the fall and for the better part of the year. Third, it gave dad and I another day on the water together before winter set in.

There are a few things that you should know about the pool. First, it is very short as far as where a regular prop motor can run. Another thing is there is deep water, up to 20+ feet in the pool. Last is that the fish tend to winter in the pool since it is so deep. This being said we thought we were in for a big day of fishing.

The morning started fast and furious. On my first two cast I caught a 14″ dink and our first keeper. The action never really stopped. All day long we got bit and caught 14-14 7/8″ smallmouth bass. Dad even caught a walleye and a musky. There were over 30 boats in the tournament. Probably 15 jet boats that left the pool and another 15 that stayed in the pool. Most guys caught alot of short fish, but couldn’t get the right keepers. Everyone caught fish on a few lures. Tubes, beavers, and drop shot rigs. Through the day I had over 50 hits, most of which dropped the lure before I could stick them. Still between dad and I boated near 30 smallmouth and 2 keepers over 15″.

I can’t wait to head back for some great fishing and some of the most beautiful scenary that our state has to offer.

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River Troubles

This past weekend I spent 2 days fishing the local river systems.  Saturday I spent the day fishing the Monongahela River.  We launched out of Ten Mile County Park because I was trying to decided whether or not to fish the upcoming KBBC event there.  I have always struggle fishing this stretch of river more than I usually struggle on river systems.  I spent the day fishing in the creek and miles of shoreline and different covers on the river itself.    Between my friend and I, we boated 2 keepers and only 10 bass. 

For years I have had trouble catching fish in this pool and keep asking myself what is the draw for a circuit such as KBBC to continue to travel there.  Few teams are successful enough to get limits, and most limits include fish that are barely 12″ in length.  Rarely have I found a quality fish in this pool.  The answer to my own question is this.  The location is a beautiful stretch of river that is a not dangerous to navigate.  Ten Mile County Park is an excellent facility that is perfect to host the event.  If it wasn’t for the insignificant size and amount of fish in this pool I would really enjoy it.

Sunday I fished a club tournament out of the Freeport Boat Launch on the Allegheny River.  Once again I had my usual struggle on the river, but I managed to get a 3 fish limit of bass.  I was able to catch 10 dinks and loose another 6-8 dinks that couldn’t fit the lures in their mouths.  The difference of this section of river was that I was able to see some nice bass in a few areas to let me know that the pool has great potential.  At one point I had a 20″ smallmouth swim by my boat with no interest in eating any lures.

I will be spending more time on our local rivers because if there is one area that I really need to improve on it is my river fishing.  The key for catching fish this past weekend was downsizing to using 3″ senkos, small tubes, and smallie beavers.  The fish seems to be suspended.  Good luck to all that are fishing the KBBC event this weekend.

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Springdale pool of the Allegheny River

Liz and I went out on the Springdale pool of the Allegheny River on Saturday to try out some of the new hand poured beavers, worms, and flukes I have been working on.   We caught a good number of smallmouth and spotted bass, with a few rock bass and catfish mixed in.   Most of the bass came off water dumps, walls, and pillars.  They weren’t really active and seemed be holding pretty tight to the bottom so we caught most of our fish dragging beavers or working the drop shot.  Liz got all of her fish dragging a small texas rigged green pumpkin beaver with an 1/8oz weight that she named “Squishy”.  I got most of my fish on a little hand poured 4″ drop shot worm.  The two colors that got me the most hits were the green pumpkin purple flake and a watermelon red flake.

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Stormy Shenago Lake

Some friends, my dad and I spent the weekend camping and fishing at Shenago Lake. The campground was not crowded at all. Which was due to the forecast of rough weather that was going to hit that area. With the recent rains the water had risen, but not an excessive amount. My estimate was that the water was nearly 1 foot high when we arrived, and rose another foot while we where there. The water clearity varied greatly. On the main lake there was 4 feet of clearity, but in the feeder creeks you were lucky to see 6″ in the muddy water.

Friday evening we started fishing around 8:00 pm and fished until 9:30. We wanted to see if the striper were active, and if we could get a topwater bite. The night was pretty successful with the 3 of us catching over 10 bass. Most of which were on top water. None of the fish were big, but topwater is fun no matter what the size of the fish is. Tony, one of my best friends, even managed to hook up with a nice walleye on a spinnerbait.

Saturday Dad and I headed out on the water and fished from 7-12 in the morning. It was probably the single best morning I have ever had at Shenago. We managed to boat 26 bass and a catfish. We caught fish on buzzbaits, spooks, multiple crankbaits, tubes, beavers, and brush hogs. Colors were wide ranged, but the ones that seemed to work best were transparent/natural colors. The depth of water we caught fish varied greatly. We caught them flipping the shallows, topwater shallow, and deep and shallow cranking. It seemed like the fish were all over the board, but when you found 1 you found multiple fish. We headed in for lunch and ended up sitting out a pretty severe storm until 3. At that point we wanted to get on the water. The three of us started fishing again. I tied a crankbait on and never put it down for the next 2 hours. I caught 2 pike, catfish, multiple bass, and a couple crappie. Then the next severe storm came through so we called it a day.

We woke up Sunday to bad weather and high winds. That being said we thought it best not to head out on the water. For the amount of time we were able to fish we were pretty successful, which makes me anxious to get back out there.

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Presque Isle and Pymatuning Lake

Saturday my dad, Dave, and myself went up to Presque Isle Bay because we heard that the smallmouth bass had started to move into the bay. For anyone who hasn’t been to the bay in the spring you have to make the trip. We started by fishing for largemouth straight across from the launch. It didn’t take long and Dave caught one on a tube and I hooked up with a swimbait. I was determined to use the swimbait because I knew the chatterbait would catch a bunch of fish. I managed to catch 3 largemouth on the swimbait through the day. that isn’t impressive, but it is a little confidence builder to keep trying them. throughout the day we caught smallmouth on jerkbaits, tubes, and drop shot worms. We spent most of the day fishing for them. I believe we caught over 20 between the 3 of us and we caught over 25 largemouth. We caught largemouth on brush hogs, swimbaits, chatterbaits, tubes, beavers, and jerkbaits. The water temperature was 58 – 60 degrees. The fish were not spawning, and the males were not making beds yet. I believe in 2 weeks there will be an explosion of fish getting on the beds.

Sunday even though there were bad weather predictions I decided to head to Pymatuning Lake to fish a club tournament. The club I belong to (West Penn Bass Hunters) was launching from Jamestown Marina. With strong winds predicted to come out of the South we were protected from the wind to some degree. I pulled up to my first tree and caught a nice 2.5lb fish. I started throwing rattletraps to my next tree and caught a nice 15 inch largemouth out of a small weed bed. I started work the tree and nothing. I decided to just keeper moving down the shore throwing the rattletrap because I have had some success for smallmouth bass there. It didn’t take long and I had caught 5 more keepers, and lost 2 on the rattletrap. Even though they were keepers I released them all because I feel that stressing 12-14″ bass is unnecessary at that lake. You aren’t going to win with one of them in the well anyways. Jumping spot to spot landed me catching another nice 2.86lb largemouth on a chatterbait. My gut told me to run north, but with building wind and aready high waves I decided to stay in the south. I caught some fish flipping, but decided to try a variety of different tatics with no success. During the last hour I decided to run around the lake and flip every tree I could find. It turned out to be the right move. I culled five bass in the last hour. I won the tournament with 3 fish that weighed 7.45lbs. I also won lunker with the 2.86lb fish. Not a very impressive day, but it was fun none the less.

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How to Rig a Weightless Rig

Here Leo gives us some pointers on how to setup a weightless rig.

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K.B.B.C – Lake Arthur #1 2010 Top 20

Results from the Lake Arthur Tournament on April 3, 2010

PlaceTeamIDNamesNet LunkerNet Wt#Fish
1176Tipler / Fox / 4.9817.086
2122Kopelic / Wade4.0216.426
3111Moran / Lambert / 3.5612.956
4205Hall / Caddy / 5.3412.533
5186Brown / Brown / 3.1910.684
6123Knis / Eck / 4.319.594
7112Keene / Zurzolo / 2.488.955
8204Parkhill / Filipiak5.118.713
9145Bruno / Kristoff / 2.718.084
10257Fordyce / DiVito / 3.586.913
11151Konitsky / Konitsky / 3.336.863
12101Galida / Barkley / 2.126.774
13208Richardson / Reich / 3.025.823
14226Doerflinger / Kinard / 2.235.83
15246Whelan / Allen / 3.755.622
16135Getsy / Shutty / 1.785.313
17244Snyder / Snyder / 2.384.862
18133Wagner / Wagner / 2.64.692
19557Harbaugh / Stiegler / 2.974.652
20141Towne / Selvoski / Belinda2.744.612

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Visit the Keystone Bass Buddy Circuit website at www.kbass.com to see the full list of results as well as pictures from this event.

If you are interest in fishing a K.B.B.C. event you can download an application from there website.

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