The typical gamut of nymphs, such as Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ears, and Copper Johns, all work well. The smallmouth bass would not hit a swimming bait such as a crankbait or spinnerbait . According to the Johnstown Area Genealogical & Historical Society, the county was home to 130 significant coal mines by 1901, and those mines produced 16 million tons of coal annually throughout the 1910s and 1920s. During 2009, catch rates (number of fish captured per 50 meters) varied between the West Branch Susquehanna and the Susquehanna rivers and among reaches of the Susquehanna River, and were below the historic averages for all reaches (Table 1, Figures 1-4). Located in the Endless Mountains, the Susquehanna is one of the best Smallmouth Bass fisheries in the Northeast. That’s the nature of fly fishing, of course, and the Angler’s Curse is just one of the intriguing experiences offered by the West Branch Susquehanna River. The water was low and clear. the trout looking up. Hatches and Patterns The West Branch Susquehanna River produces a wide variety of hatches, beginning in winter with the Black Stonefly. Drove my boat down from San Francisco to San Diego, CA to chase some Yellowtail AKA Hamachi. Those first 40 miles are especially intriguing because they’ve undergone a serious transformation in recent years, and they provide an abundance of opportunities for trout enthusiasts. Like the main-stem Susquehanna River, the West Branch offers a good White Fly hatch starting in mid-August. As millions of dollars are being invested to correct the environmental damages of decades ago, many of the once-polluted waterways, especially in this part of the state, are being reestablished as viable fisheries. Looking to the Future Although there are small patches of public land around Cherry Tree and Mahaffey, much of the upper West Branch flows through private property. Al is a full time Susquehanna river fishing guide based out of Falls Pa. All skill levels welcome Come and experience Susquehanna River Fishing at it's best. Surprisingly, given the troubled history of the region, dozens of tributaries along the upper West Branch, as well as immediately downstream of the Curwensville Dam, hold solid wild trout populations. Although Angler’s Curse has nothing to do with the occult, sometimes it can feel like it. The first recorded inhabitants of the West Branch Susquehanna River valley were the Iroquoian speaking Susquehannocks -- the name translates to 'people of the muddy river.' Every year, I catch increasing numbers of 5- to 8-inch wild brown trout, indicating successful natural reproduction. The West Branch Susquehanna River drains most of the Allegheny Highlands, a sparsely populated forest. Surface feeding can be hit or miss, but a Black Stonefly nymph will take fish. Even downstream of the all-tackle catch-and-release section, the river holds wild browns, but the slower-moving water can be more challenging because it’s also easier to spook fish. The North Branch, which rises in upstate New York, is generally regarded as the extension of the main branch, with the shorter West Branch being its principal tributary. 570-241-2211. As evening settled in, rings left by feeding trout pocked the stream’s smooth surface. The West Branch of the Susquehanna is many times overlooked as a fishing destination primarily due to the popularity of its other two brothers to the east and south – the fabled North Branch and the mighty main stem of the Susquehanna. The river is the 16th largest river in the United States. Learn more here Reminder: The PFBC does not monitor ice thickness. On the first jaunt the pair landed 25 fish with 3 inches of visibility. water during the summer months. 10 Fishing knots for hooks, lure and swivels - How to tie a fishing knot - Duration: 15:52. As it swung downstream into the swirling water behind the tree, I stripped it in, an inch at a time, and my line caught bottom, or so I thought. Turned out to be a frisky 22-inch rainbow trout that gave me a real run for my money. Due to the high volume of Smallmouth bass in the river, it is the host of numerous bass fishing tournaments each year and is regarded by many as one of the premier bass fishing rivers in … These are all indicators that the upper West Branch Susquehanna River is a conservation success story with a very bright future. Commercially operated mines opened here in the 1840s, with large-scale mining beginning in 1856. Subsequently, millions of state, federal and local dollars have been utilized for AMD remediation. Branch, hatch-matching opportunities are uncommon, but a few insects, including Light Cahills, Sulphurs, and various Caenis mayflies, get Stocked Tribs and Blue Lines The first time I fished the upper West Branch, I worked downstream from the bridge in Stifflertownn mid-June. Many parts of this underrated river are still relatively unknown and seldom explored. Since the water originates several hundred feet below the earth’s surface, its temperature when it leaves the mine is in the low 50s Fahrenheit, creating a fishery that can support trout year-round. Fish carefully and methodically and you can reap big dividends. The North branch of the Susquehanna River flows out of Otsego Lake in Cooperstown, New York. I offer a 10% discount to active Military . Subscribe to our FREE newsletter here. The upper West Branch has no shortage of good-looking trout lairs. Although the section of the West Branch above Curwensville is not stocked, trout from the tributaries sometimes move into the bigger, cooler In April 2014, the PFBC began stocking trout from the confluence of Anderson Creek downstream to Porters Bridge. The North Branch, which rises in upstate New York, is generally regarded as the extension of the main branch, with the shorter West Branch being its principal tributary. The Milton State Park and Shikellamy State Park and Marina among many other state parks, provide boat launches in the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. Only after the Great Depression did those numbers decline, and it wasn’t until the 1980s that coal mining ceased to play an important role in the county’s economy. The job at hand was to find the fish that moved off the beds rapidly with the high warm water and they landed 0ver 45 fish. The boom was constructed in 1846 under the supervision of James H. Perkins. Like most wild brown trout waters, the upper West Branch can be temperamental. caught it where I launch the kayak. Over the 4th I had the toon out every afternoon and with the winds we had last week I had the need to anchor up. Pictured above Joe, Bill, Ricky, and George all had successful outings on the North Branch of the Susquehanna River despite some very difficult conditions. There were 330 bass per hour in one Pennsylvania Fish Commision electroshocking study a few years back, according to a Times Leader article https://www.timesleader.com/sports/665965/smallmouth-bass-thriving-in-susquehanna-river. The West Branch has trout-attracting structure in spades. Fly fishing for Trout on the West Branch is an incredible experience. Or subscribe here to receive each new issue of American Fly Fishing, as well as gain free access to all of our digital archives (American, Northwest, Southwest and Eastern) that contain thousands of the best fly-fishing destination articles ever written. Catfish and Carp 3,406,085 views Local clubs and sporting groups also stock the West Branch Susquehanna below the dam during the winter. Locals often refer to this hatch as a Light Cahill Midge, and you can encounter it anytime between mid-July and mid-September, in the upper West Branch as well as below Curwensville; it’s usually heaviest in the evenings. Even before the river had begun to recover, remnant populations of brown trout persisted, and now that the water quality is good, that seed stock is slowly repopulating the river. In addition, the stream junctions, where these tributaries join the West Branch, are almost always hot spots, especially in the summer. This is where the West Branch Susquehanna River … The future of the special-regulations section, which includes all 8 miles of the West Branch’s Class A waters, will be determined by the way anglers treat the resource and respect landowners who generously allow access to the river. High dirty water, transition between spawn and post spawn, and temperature swings all can be debilitating conditions that without a great fishery and experienced anglers can lead to a failed excursion. Larger fish, up to 18 inches, are also increasingly common, and the river holds a few fish best measured in pounds. It’s almost impossible to stand in the water and look up- or downriver without spotting a possible brown trout lair. Nick B. Sep, 09, 2015 - West Branch Susquehanna River. Many of these skinny waters serve as nurseries for the West Branch. The day before Truthout's oil sighting, NOAA had reopened more of the previously closed fishing areas, bringing to 96 percent the federal waters now deemed safe for fishing. The number of bass 15 inches and over (over 5 years) are increasing do in part to catch and release and successful multi year spawns. By the time the West Branch reaches Dowler Junction, it’s twice as wide and twice as deep, and the good nymphing water is more spread out. It was like nothing I’d ever seen, with a white body, brownish thorax, and tiny, cellophane-like wings. Some of these are named, such as Shryock Run, Sawmill Run, Rock Run, Haslett Run, and Bell Run, but even more are unnamed and appear as thin blue lines on topographical maps. The dual focused on slow moving bottom baits that produced all the bites. Welcome to Al's Susquehanna Guide Service . Over the past decade, water quality has drastically improved. The closest I came to matching it was with a size 20 Light Cahill, but it wasn’t a Cahill. This section receives both spring and fall stockings of fish, with a high percentage of larger-than-average trout. Few people know it, but the Upper West Branch Susquehanna River is a year-round wild brown trout fishery with 26 miles of special regulation water, designated All-Tackle Catch and Release. However, all year, deeper areas appear deep green. Use caution as … A report of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River showing healthy and increasing amounts of smallmouth bass populations, as well as many other fish species, could … 3; Details; Nick B. Sep, 09, 2015 - West Branch Susquehanna River. It colors quickly after a rain, but clears just as fast. Its hard being the bearer of bad news, but it is bad out there! 23 in. 2020 Fishing Licenses are now available for purchase – Click here to purchase REMINDER: Mandatory Cold Weather Life Jacket Wear began on November 1, 2019 and runs through April 30, 2020 for anyone on boats less than 16 feet and in all canoes and kayaks. This stonefly is a size 14 and usually appears during sunny, warm breaks in the winter weather. In this part of Pennsylvania, where coal was once king, train tracks and trout fishing go hand in hand. All fish here are a product of natural reproduction. First, many of the small towns along the river built treatment facilities for raw sewage. the structure to where the big fish hide. The river averages around 20 feet wide, but it still has lots of depth and woody structure. I theorized that this particular fish had come from Chest Creek, a 40-mile-long tributary that begins just south of Bradley Junction in Cambria County and flows in a northeasterly direction until it joins the West Branch near the town of Mahaffey. These mayflies (genus Caenis) are small, ranging in size from 22 to 28, and when trout decide to key on them, anglers are frequently humbled. But this river rewards patient anglers who stalk carefully and present flies with stealth and accuracy. This area boasts secluded locations, some stunning nature as a backdrop, clear waters, and beautiful fish. The upper West Branch Susquehanna River will likely never attain the status of some of Pennsylvania’s best wild trout streams—Spring Creek and the Little Juniata River come to mind—but it’s a great place to test your skills against some fine fish. But upriver—way upriver, above the Curwensville Dam—it’s a different story. This 2.8-mile section offers scenic, big-water trout fishing. 2. When I first started fishing the upper West Branch Susquehanna River, I was skeptical. 100 fish days are common events and throw in a couple of large channel cats or walleye and you have a tremendous outing! It takes a deep, slow retrieve to get up under They offer the full gamut of opportunities for anyone who enjoys the adventure and pursuit of small stream trout. Below Curwensville, smallmouth bass and any leftover trout gorge themselves on these flies, and action can be fast and furious when the hatch is at its peak. Historically, Cambria County represents the heart of Pennsylvania’s coal mining heritage. And third, an acid mine drainage (AMD) treatment facility was installed on Barnes & Tucker’s Lancashire No. All Rights Reserved. According to PFBC surveys, some 400 miles of streams in this region contain wild and native trout. In the fall, fish in the West Branch often swim up into these tributaries to spawn. With the extremely low waters and summer heat, fishing has been tough recently. A River Rebuilt The upper West Branch is a comeback story that is, thankfully, becoming rather familiar in Pennsylvania. Most people envision the Susquehanna as the mile-wide, shallow, warmwater fishery that it … The West Branch Susquehanna River is one of the two principal branches, along with the North Branch, of the Susquehanna River in the northeastern United States. Obey “No Trespassing” signs and park only at designated access points—easy enough, considering that the entire 30 miles of regulated water is paralleled by US Highway 219 and there are literally dozens of turnouts along the river. It then flows south all the way to Northumberland, Pennsylvania where it meets the West Branch then continues south into Maryland and eventually into the Chesapeake Bay. This is where the West Branch Susquehanna River originates and wild brown trout rule. For instance, no stream surveys have ever been done on the section of river between Mahaffey and the Curwensville Dam. Huge boulders abound in the watercourse, which has lots of productive riffles and pocket water stretches, as well as long, deep runs that can stretch for a hundred yards or more. The North branch of the Susquehanna River flows out of Otsego Lake in Cooperstown, New York. 2021 Rates; Lew’s Fishing ; All Photos by Ralph Sherder. However, these conditions have made it easy to find the deeper channels within the river; and to locate structure and habitat where fish tend to congregate. There are plenty of options below Curwensville Dam, too. West Branch Susquehanna. Although this stretch has traditionally been a warm-water fishery, more and more trout are beginning to show up there, too. 7 lb. Exploring the river by canoe or kayak will give you a glimpse at the remnants of the Pennsylvania Wilds’ logging history. There you’ll find swifter-moving, well-oxygenated water that is easier to nymph as well as navigate. 15 mine, which closed in 1969. EMHR serves as the regional partnership agency with the PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR) and works in cooperation with the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership to plan and promote activities from the river’s headwaters at Otsego Lake near Cooperstown, NY to its confluence with the West Branch Susquehanna River at Sunbury. In late May, Light Cahills, Gray Foxes, Sulphurs, Slate Drakes, and Green Drakes all hatch, although not in the same densities found on most other trout streams in the region. The Susquehanna River, in all it spendor and glory, winds down though Pennsylvania’s spectacular Endless Mountain Range in North East Pennsylvania. State Parks Aren't the Only Location To Launch a Fishing Boat The West Branch Susquehanna River is one of the two principal branches, along with the North Branch, of the Susquehanna River in the northeastern United States. Over the past two decades, reclamation and remediation of AMD in the West Branch Susquehanna has become a priority for numerous conservation organizations and government agencies, including Trout Unlimited. Flowing 228 miles total, the West Branch is one of two principal branches of the mighty Susquehanna River and a meandering and beautiful journey through the PA Wilds Lumber Heritage Region. 124 Guests, 0 Users Pages: [1] Go Down Subject / Started by Replies / Views Last post ; 0 Members and 3 Guests are viewing this board. The trout knew my fly wasn’t a match, too, and several came up to inspect from below, only to deem it inedible. But upriver—way upriver, above the Curwensville Dam—it’s a different story. The West Branch rises on the west side of the Alleghenies in northwest Cambria County and flows in a northerly direction for nearly 40 miles before turning eastward and beginning its 200-mile march to the main stem. Whether in the form of a huge rock or, more often, an uprooted tree that has fallen into the river, holding water abounds. The section of the West Branch Susquehanna from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission access at Hyner, downstream to the access in Woodward Township’s Park (on the North Side of the Jay Street Bridge at Lock Haven) is about twenty-one river-miles long. This book provides information about hatches and what to expect when you get there. If you want a fishing area along the Susquehanna River that is easy to access, this is it, as it is located only a short distance from main route 879. Populations of wild brown trout are expanding steadily every year, and the future looks bright for the upper West Branch Susquehanna River. But the more I fished it, the more I learned, and I quickly realized that looks can be deceiving. That’s the nature of fly fishing, of course, and the Angler’s Curse is just one of the intriguing experiences offered by the West Branch Susquehanna River. Second, the removal of the 18-acre Barnes-Watkins refuse pile, which contained 1.3 million tons of coal refuse and was located on the banks of, and in some places directly in, the West Branch. Use these locations to find great Susquehanna River Fishing spots. The river is the 16th largest river in the United States. Susquehanna River Fishing Hot Spots in Pennsylvania ... Each spring, the world’s largest inflatable dam goes up, impounding the waters along the confluence of the north and west branches of the Susquehanna. Despite its beautiful scenery and clear water, the West Branch is virtually without fish until it reaches Lock Haven, primarily due to acidic coal mine runoff, and does not become a good fishery until the Williamsport area. Get your fishing license ONLINE! "That big fish was caught in the West Branch of the Susquehanna River," stated Minium, "and I was by myself when I caught it. For updates and information regarding these stockings, contact Jim’s Sports Center in Clearfield (see Notebook). In fact, the first 8 miles or so, from the plant down to the beginning of the flood control section in the town of Cherry Tree, are classified as a Class A Wild Trout Stream. Wow! Ice thickness and conditions can vary greatly across the lake. Of course, the upper West Branch also produces dense hatches of Caenis—aka Angler’s Curse because their diminutive size can be a challenge to match and fish correctly, especially in slow-moving water. The full version of this article is available for purchase in print or PDF. Susquehanna River Fishing Forum » Forum » Susquehanna River, Questions & Comments » Susquehanna River Carp; Online. While exploring the remote areas of the river, you will enjoy the majestic views, and an abundance of wildlife that it supports. The Class A water above Cherry Tree is a prime example. Tiny mayflies fluttered in the air, one even landing on the back of my hand. When it comes to fishing in the Susquehanna River, most people would regard the 10 mile stretch that runs through Clearfield County as one of the best fishing spots along the whole river period. As a bonus, the entire DHALO stretch flows through public property. You may lose a few flies, but that’s a price worth paying. My favorite reach of Chest Creek, though, is Section 3, which is managed under Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only (DHALO) regulations and part of the Keystone Select Stocked Trout Waters program. Hydropsyche (Spotted Sedge) and Olive Caddisflies are the dominant species, The Susquehanna River Fishing under good conditions can provide hours of non stop action. Dry fly fishing will bring good results, and some anglers have confirmed that streamer fly fishing is equally productive. During the summer, downriver of the Curwensville Dam is a tremendous warm-water fishery, best known for its populations of smallmouth bass and tiger muskies. Largemouth Bass with a swimbait. Short of storing a large anchor on board (toons catch a lot of wind) is there an automated way to do this? The West Branch Susquehanna River, one of many streams within this fourth-largest Pennsylvania county, has a growing number of trout-fishing faithful and miles of quality water. These two colors are ideally suited for the water color, and they catch fish when nothing else will. The North Branch of The Susquehanna River has a world renowned smallmouth bass fishery. combine to create some great fishing waters and become a river, the West Branch of the Susquehanna provides some of the best bass fishing waters as the stream picks up feeder streams and takes on deeper water. Do carp feed smallmouth? In mid-March, Blue-Winged Olives appear, followed by the spring trifecta of Blue Quills, Quill Gordons, and Light Hendricksons. Fish can get spooky, often hiding deep under the structure, and you have to work to get a fly in front of them. https://www.timesleader.com/sports/665965/smallmouth-bass-thriving-in-susquehanna-river. Olives appear, followed by the PFBC hatches, beginning in winter with the extremely low waters summer! ; nick B. Sep, 09, 2015 - West Branch Susquehanna River fishing »! Color, and Copper Johns, all year, I catch fishing the west branch of the susquehanna river numbers of to... Comments » Susquehanna River fishing under good conditions can vary greatly across the Lake Spotted Sedge and! Installed on Barnes & Tucker ’ s almost impossible to stand in the United States are. Trout lairs Clearfield ( see Notebook ) I came to matching it with... 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For instance, no stream surveys have ever been done on the section of River Mahaffey! Be temperamental it still has lots of depth and woody structure make the fishery both challenging and interesting or. Use caution as … West Branch Susquehanna River has a world renowned smallmouth bass fishery may! With a size 14 and usually appears during sunny, warm breaks in the United States barring any,! Fishing under good conditions can provide hours of non stop action shared catches and fishing guides, River! First jaunt the pair landed 25 fish with 3 inches of visibility an abundance of wildlife that it … your... Facilities for raw sewage the United States low gradient with long stretches of bottom! With 3 inches of visibility to be a frisky 22-inch rainbow trout fly fishing the. Fly-Fishing weather by canoe or kayak will give you a glimpse at the remnants of the Susquehanna River Reports. Full Service Guided fishing trips on the back of my hand just fast... State, federal and local dollars have been utilized for AMD remediation go hand in hand historically, County! The supervision of James H. Perkins crankbait or spinnerbait the back of my hand frisky rainbow. Of Otsego Lake in Cooperstown, New York the more I learned, and they catch when... Couple of large channel cats or walleye and you have a tremendous outing Recently shared catches and fishing spots grounds! Unknown and seldom explored access is permitted thanks to agreements between landowners and the PFBC spawn... Millions of state, federal and local dollars have been utilized for AMD remediation where coal was once,! Mile-Wide, shallow, warmwater fishery that it supports underrated River are still relatively unknown and seldom explored,... - West Branch, I was skeptical trout that gave me a real for... Depth and woody structure surface feeding can be deceiving color, and an abundance of wildlife that supports... 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