October 05, 2010
Planning your 2006 fishing vacation getaways? Here's a sampling of 36 great trips to get you started. (February 2006)
Pack your fishing tackle and charge the battery for your electric motor. Don't forget your waders. It's already time to start planning a year of great fishing in Pennsylvania.
Opportunities range from panfish through the ice to smallmouths, northern pike, muskies, walleyes, trout and catfish. There are more opportunities available than you can fit into several lifetimes, but it's always worth a try!
In case you cannot make up your mind where to go, or perhaps you want to try something different this year, here are 36 suggestions for some great fishing getaways in 2006.
Lake Chillisquaque is a 165-acre impoundment in the Montour Preserve, which is owned by the Pennsylvania Power and Light Company (PPL) and governed by Panfish Enhancement Special Regulations, which are designed to increase the number and size of panfish.
Surveys by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission last year turned up good quantities of crappies, bluegills, pumpkinseeds and yellow perch. This could be the break-out year. Results of the special regulations should start to pay dividends.
Simply stated, smallmouth bass fishing at Lake Erie during May is the best smallmouth bass fishing on earth.
This small Erie County lake is loaded with northern pike. Bring plenty of emerald shiners because the action can get fast. Jig for big bluegills and yellow perch between flags.
Schuylkill County anglers might want to check out Auburn Dam for chain pickerel this month. Bring some larger minnows to attract the bigger pickerel.
Stovers Dam in Lebanon County will be stocked with trout this month. Fishing is as likely to be in open water as it is to be through the ice.
Stovers Dam is one of the lakes covered under Extended Trout Season rules. Trout fishing is allowed through March, so you have plenty of time to enjoy it.
Presque Isle Bay
If you want good ice-fishing for yellow perch, go to Presque Isle Bay. Fishing often gets better as winter progresses. Fish emerald shiners or jigs tipped with grubs close to the bottom, but watch your sonar for perch higher in the water column and then adjust quickly.
The Shenango River Dam tailwaters will be stocked with trout Feb. 3. This is a great opportunity to get in some open-water trout fishing during midwinter in the chilly Northwest Region.
One of the top Lake Erie tributaries for steelhead is Walnut Creek. There is good public access near the mouth at the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Walnut Creek Access. Avoid congestion by scouting for access farther upstream.
The key to the best steelhead fishing is timing. Fresh schools of steelhead move upstream with each rise in the river's flow.
Striped bass spawn in the Delaware River as far upstream as the Interstate Route 80 bridge, though the best fishing occurs in the Philadelphia area. Use live bait, including blueback herring, alewives, eels and bloodworms. Numerous special regulations are in effect.
North Park Lake
North Park Lake is another of the Extended Trout Season special regulations lakes. It is conveniently close to Pittsburgh. Live shiners should give you an edge.
One of our larger trout streams, Penns Creek flows through the central part of the Commonwealth within reach of any Pennsylvanian. Portions of the creek are floatable with a canoe.
Access is excellent where Centre, Mifflin and Union counties join, thanks to state park and forest holdings.
Penns Creek is well stocked and offers the possibility of larger holdover trout.
If you want to catch some really nice crappies, many in the foot-long class, Shenango Lake in Mercer County has white and black crappies. This is a fairly large lake at 3,560 acres. Unlimited horsepower boating is allowed.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has stocked fingerling trout in the Schuylkill River between Port Carbon and Schuylkill Haven. It appears to be paying off. This trout fishery offers good action in close proximity to the Philadelphia area.
Simply stated, smallmouth bass fishing at Lake Erie during May is the best smallmouth bass fishing on Earth. If you have never caught a 5-pound smallmouth, this is the time and the place to do it.
There is good smallmouth fishing within easy reach of North East Marina. Check in depths of 15 to 35 feet for rocky humps, depressions and dropoffs.
Although this is just an average walleye lake by Southeast Region standards, anglers can expect to catch walleyes here to at least 6 pounds. Stick with live minnows until the water gets warmer, and then switch to night crawlers.
This medium-sized lake north of Pittsburgh warms a bit faster than some of the great muskie lakes farther north. It is a good choice for the early season.
|YELLOW PERCH||RAINBOWS||STEELHEAD||BROWN TROUT||SMALLMOUTHS||RAINBOWS|
|Lake Chillisquaque||Stovers Dam||Walnut Creek||Penns Creek||Lake Erie||Allegheny River|
|Tips: Try small minnows alone or with jigs for perch and crappie. Use grubs for bluegills and pumpkinseeds.||Tips: Be flexible. Use bait or flashy lures during winter. A jigging spoon tipped with baits is a good start.||Tips: March is a great time to fly-fish for steelhead. Sucker spawn patterns have been hot lately.||Tips: Penns Creek could still be cold when trout season opens, and flows may be high. Fish slow and deep till things warm up.||Tips: Shiners are good for spring fishing. Various jigs and blade baits are best when using artificial lures.||Tips: The best June bait is an emerald shiner. Also, try stick baits or spoons with spinning gear.|
|Eaton Reservoir||Presque Isle Bay||Delaware River||Shenango Lake||Struble Lake||Rose Vally Lake|
|PICKEREL||RAINBOWS||RAINBOWS||BROWN TROUT||MUSKIES||BROWN TROUT|
|Auburn Dam||Shenango River||North Park Lake||Schuylkill River||Lake Arthur||Saucon Creek|
|Kahle Lake||F.J. Sayers Lake||Twentymile Creek||Promised Land Lake||Allegheny River||Bucks County Lakes|
|Tips: Try yellow, chartreuse or white jigs tipped with grubs or minnows to ey on larger fish.||Tips: The hotter the weather gets, the more important it becomes to fish early or late in the day, even at night.||Tips: Stick baits can be effective, but carry spoons and other heavy lures when longer casts are needed.||Tips: Fish around cover when possible, and then go deep using jigs tipped with grubs, worms or small minnows.||Tips: Use live shiners or chubs to catch the biggest fish, or try jigs and stick baits for more versatility.||Tips: Bucks County's big trout go for live minnows this month. Fish lively baits under a bobber for the best action|
|LARGEMOUTHS||YELLOW PERCH||CHANNEL CATS||SMALLMOUTHS||WHITE BASS||WALLEYES|
|Koon Lake||Lake Erie||Deep Creek Dam||Clarion River||Kimzua Dam||North Branch Susquehanna River|
|SMALLMOUTHS||FLATHEADS||LARGEMOUTHS||YELLOW PERCH||PIKE||YELLOW PERCH|
|Tioga River||Allegheny River||Stephen Foster Lake||Laurel Hill Lake||Glendale Lake||Beechwood Lake|
Trout fishing in the Special Regulations section of the Allegheny River between the Kinzua Dam and the mouth of Conewango Creek should peak during early June. Both brown trout and rainbow trout over 4 pounds are common. Top-end fish reach about 8 pounds.
Fly-fishing can be excellent from mid-May through most of June. Concentrate on larger nymphs. If you want to catch trout near the surface, try caddis emergers, but do not expect to catch the bigger trout this way.
Rose Valley Lake
Rose Valley Lake, a 389-acre lake north of Williamsport, has been responding well to Big Bass Regulations. Numbers of largemouth bass over 12 inches and over 15 inches have been steadily increasing in PFBC surveys. This lake also holds some nice bluegills.
Saucon Creek has been a fine trout fishery since soon after 1997 special regulations were imposed. Starting last year, the special regulations were modified to Trophy Trout rules.
Look for nice holdover browns in the city of Bethlehem property downstream 2.1 miles to the state Route 0412 bridge.
Expect some hot early-summer crappie action at Kahle Lake. This 253-acre impoundment is on the border of Clarion and Venango counties.
Only electric motors are allowed. The lake is ringed by weedbeds. Largemouth bass, bluegills and muskies also provide action.
Koon Lake is a 268-acre impoundment owned by a water company that supplies water for Cumberland, Maryland. It is a likely place to find 5-pound bass. Boats are allowed with electric motors, but there is no launch ramp, so boats must be carried to the water.
Check out the Tioga Lake spillway for smallmouth bass this month. Use live minnows, jigs or stick baits.
F.J. Sayers Lake
Bass anglers had some hot fishing action last summer at F.J. Sayers Lake and should expect the same this year. There are plenty of fish in the 4-to 6-pound class, but these bass have seen plenty of lures. Your chances of finding the bigger bass should improve if you get away from visible cover along the shore and look for midlake structure.
Use big lures if you want the big bass. Live bait is also very productive.
Lake Erie yellow perch fishing is nothing short of fabulous. On a good day, expect a 20-fish limit of 10- to 12-inch perch. The hottest area has been west of Presque Isle and off Walnut Creek. Party boat fishing is available in Erie near Dobbins Landing.
From Pittsburgh north through Venango County, the deeper pools of the Allegheny River are haunted by big flathead catfish. Look for water that is at least 15 feet deep and fish near sunken boulders. Cut bait or live chubs work well.
Some of the most exciting steelhead fishing occurs in the Lake Erie tributary mouths just before these migratory fish enter the creeks.
Twentymile Creek flows into Lake Erie between North East Marina and the New York border. Wear chest waders and rain gear to keep dry.
Deep Creek Dam
Deep Creek Dam is a 25-acre lake owned by the Montgomery County Parks Department. The PFBC has been stocking fingerling channel catfish. The catch rate during a sample was double the average for the Southeast Region. Some fish were over 20 inches.
Stephen Foster Lake
Stephen Foster Lake in Bradford County has a good population of largemouth bass over 12 inches. It is in Mt. Pisgah State Park, which does not have a campground. Only electric motors are allowed on this 75-acre lake.
Promised Land Lake
Panfish Enhancement Regulations for sunfish and yellow perch were implemented in 2000 at Promised Land Lake. Here is a lake where you can catch a mess of slab bluegills over 8 inches. Pumpkinseeds are also doing well, with many fish over 7 inches.
If you want good ice-fishing for yellow perch, go to Presque Isle Bay. Fishing often gets better as winter progresses.
The 422-acre Promised Land Lake and the 173-acre Lower Lake are in Promised Land State Park in Pike County.
Fall is the best time for smallmouth bass fishing on the Clarion River. This small river flows past the southern edge of Allegheny National Forest. Any fish over 3 pounds is excellent, but any smallmouth in a current is great sport.
Laurel Hill Lake
A Fish and Boat Commission survey turned up a good number of perch over 9 inches and bluegills over 7 inches at 63-acre Laurel Hill Lake. This is an electric motors-only lake in Laurel Hill State Park, which has a campground.
Walleye fishing is always good in the Allegheny River, but this is the time to get the big ones. There are 15-pound-plus walleyes here.
Good walleye fishing may be found from the Kinzua Dam down to Pittsburgh. Look for the bigger walleyes above I-80.
One of the top Lake Erie tributaries for steelhead is Walnut Creek. There is good public access near the mouth at the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission's Walnut Creek Access.
Kinzua Dam Tailwaters
White bass fishing in the Kinzua Dam tailwaters is the best in this part of the country during good years. The fish are abundant and big -- average size can be 14 inches. Get them with emerald shiners, jigs or small stick baits.
Pike get cranked up when the water temperature starts dropping. Glendale Lake probably boasts the best northe
rn pike fishing in the middle of Pennsylvania.
Bucks County Lakes
What's a sportsman to do once deer season is over? Go Christmas shopping? If you are a together sort of person, you had that done long ago, and now you can tell folks you are going shopping. but what you will really be doing is grinning and giggling while you catch trout.
Levittown Lake and Lake Luxembourg are a couple of small lakes in Bucks County. They are dandy lakes, but really there is nothing special about them except that on Dec. 20, both will be stocked with trout. Several other lakes around the Commonwealth will also be stocked this month, but compared with the commotion spring stocking causes, this is mild.
Head up to the North Branch Susquehanna River for walleyes to close out the year. If the weather is passable, you might even try float-fishing. Offer leadhead jigs tipped with live minnows along current edges.
Just because it is one of the first Pennsylvania lakes to get good ice, anglers should consider Beechwood Lake in Tioga County. This tiny lake holds trout, crappies, perch, sunfish and chain pickerel. Just like your Christmas stocking, you never know what will come out next.
For more information about fishing in Pennsylvania, contact the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, P.O. Box 67000, 1601 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000; or call (717) 705-7800.