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Boating season is in full swing! If you just purchased a boat for the first time, make sure you have all your safety equipment in order. Check out the PFBC website fishandboat.com for the required safety equipment and links to a boating safety course. With the water warming up, the panfish have moved into deeper waters. A reminder that Shenango Reservoir is now designated as a Panfish Enhancement Lake. Crappie must be 9 inches to harvest and the creel limit is 20.
The Shenango fish consumption advisory is still in effect until further notice. The upper reaches from New Hamburg Bridge to the gas pipeline is now designated as Trout Stocked Waters Open to Year-round Fishing. This means you can fish year-round in this section of water, however, you must have a trout stamp. The Shenango River water trail that flows from the Pymatuning outflow to the Shenango Reservoir is being utilized heavily. Please respect private landowners along the stream. There is an increasing number of complaints about trespassing in these areas. The waterway is designated as navigable which gives you the right to float through the land on water but getting out of your watercraft and going up on the land is considered trespassing.
Anglers are currently having success fishing for Hybrid Striped Bass in the evenings. The fish are reacting very well to topwater lures during this time. Other anglers are having success early in the morning and late in the evenings trolling spoons. Looking for baitfish has been key in locating areas where the fish are active.
The creek is currently flowing below average and remains clear. The water temperature is currently in the mid 60’s. Terrestrial patterns have been working well. Ants and green weenies are still producing fish consistently. Small nymphs and caddis larvae have been fishing well in the pockets. Fish have been eating on the surface when bugs are coming off in great numbers. Look for adult caddis and blue-winged olives for dry fly activity.
Foster Joseph Sayers Lake
Anglers are currently having success fishing for Bluegill and Yellow Perch close to shoreline and around habitat structures. Nightcrawlers have been working great fished under a float. Adding some weight to your line is working the best to help detect light bites. Anglers have been having success fishing for Channel Catfish and Bullhead at night using nightcrawlers.
While on boat patrol on the Susquehanna River, Waterways Conservation Officers Benevento and Schmidt came across a couple anglers in a boat fighting a big fish. This was well after dark as seen in the photo. It turned out that the fish was so large only part of it fit into the net. It was an estimated 25-30 lb. Flathead Catfish. The men stated that they had caught several them in that same size range the evening before as well. They were fishing about 40 feet from the eastern shoreline of Weise Island, directly across from the Pequea Boat Club. Bait for these monsters using live sunfish as bait that they had caught earlier in the day. They were using medium-heavy fishing equipment, about a 2-ounce sinker and they had rigged a couple of floating beads above the sunfish to keep him off the bottom.
Panfish, such as Bluegills and Pumpkinseeds, have been caught in great numbers (and in large sizes) in the Lehigh Canal on Sand Island (Bethlehem) with simple setups such as worms, corn, and bread. This is also a great place to bring young and new anglers as its easy casting from the canal path and flat for walking. Anglers have also reported catching panfish in the Lehigh River in the area of the PA Fish and Boat RT 33 access.
As we begin to move into mid-summer boaters and anglers alike are advised to frequently check the weather before and during your trip. Intense and fast-moving storms may put a damper on a fun fishing trip or worse, you may find yourself on a boat in a flash flood scenario. A little bit of research will help you enjoy your time and may very well save your life.