Locals will take to the waters for the chance of catching a trophy large or smallmouth bass when bass seasons kicks off in Wyoming County Saturday, June 14.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) Waterways Conservation Officer Kadin Thompson, who covers Wyoming and parts of Susquehanna County, said that Saturday actually won’t fare much differently than any other weekend.
“The opening day for bass isn’t the same thing as opening day for trout,” Thompson said. “It’s not the big to-do where we need to stock a lot of fish. Bass fisherman in this day in age aren’t really waiting for opening day because they fish for bass year round. It’s just another day for most of them.”
As far as weather conditions are concerned, Thompson said that the harsh winter and recent rain shouldn’t have much of a negative effect on the waterways.
“I don’t think that we’ve had any significant weather events that will effect conditions,” he said. “The rivers and streams seem to be in pretty good shape and if everything stands I expect for some pretty good bass fishing throughout the season.”
Anglers have a good variety of locations for fishing, and can find both large or smallmouth bass at several locations.
“Most people will go for smallmouth at the Susquehanna River and Lake Carey and Lake Winola are also very popular for bass,” Thompson said. “Stevens Lake also has good big bass fishing but has some weed growth over the years and may be tough to fish in.”
Thompson also mentioned that farm ponds are great for fishing, as long as anglers get proper permission and access from landowners.
For anglers who want to keep their catch, Thompson reminds fisherman to follow proper protocol when taking fish home.
“The typical inland regulation is the smallest fish you can keep has to be 12 inches long with a six daily creel limit,” he said.
Thompson also said that big bass regulations are different, and usually allow for one kept fish per day at 18 inches..
For final numbers, anglers can consult the PFBC’s Fishing Rules and Regulations book for “Big Bass” regulations in certain areas.
As always, Thompson reminds fisherman to remember safety precautions while patrolling the waterways.
“I think the biggest safety concern is to make sure you have a life jacket if you’re in a boat and have the proper safety equipment on hand,” Thompson said. “Some fisherman will also head into the river, so they need to make sure they have good foot traction if they end up in deep, fast water.”
For any new fisherman who may try their luck on opening day, Thompson recommended the help of an experienced angler who would be able to show them the ropes.
“If you haven’t fished before you can find someone to go along with,” he said. “It’s a good idea and it will help with success to find someone with experience. There are also several guides who do fishing trips down the river who might be worth contacting.”
And for those on the fence for trying out fishing this weekend, Thompson had a simple solution.
“Any day fishing is a good day,” he joked.
Some of the new anglers on the lakes may be the sons or daughters of fathers and grandfathers, as opening day also falls on Father’s Day Weekend.
“I can’t think of a better way for grandfathers and fathers to spend their weekend than outside fishing with their sons, daughters and grandkids,” PFBC Executive Director John Arway said. “Bass are one of the top two most popular sportfish targeted by anglers and the Commonwealth has plenty of fantastic spots for anglers.
As a promotional lead-up to bass season, the PFBC also partnered with Pocono Raceway and provided free youth fishing licenses to the first 200 kids who visited the PFBC booth at the Pocono ARCA 200 at Pocono Raceway on June 7.
“We were very excited to be partnering with Pocono Raceway on this promotional event,” added Arway. “We know that a lot of NASCAR fans also like to fish and boat, and a lot of our fans enjoy NASCAR, so it’s a natural fit for us.”
The PFBC reminds anglers that “catch and immediate release” no harvest regulations apply to smallmouth and largemouth bass on the lower sections of the Susquehanna River (below Sunbury).
For more information about the smallmouth bass issue in the Susquehanna River, visit http://fishandboat.com/susq-impairment.htm.
The PFBC website has a host of information to help anglers plan their fishing trips. Visit www.fishandboat.com and select from the left navigation column “Fish” and “Fishing Fundamentals” to get started.
For more information about bass, visit http://fishandboat.com/bass.htm. For a guide to fishing regulations, visit www.fishinpa.com.