Carpocalypse on The Juniata River

I’ve officially become addicted to catching carp on the fly rod. This weekend I wanted to fish bigger water in the hopes of finding some larger carp and I was on the fence about where to go. I was considering either the Schuylkill River north of the Auburn Dam, or the Juniata River. When faced with a dilemma like this I’ll reference the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission’s Best Fishing Waters website and see which location is ranked higher. I figure it makes sense to trust what the regional fisheries specialists think because they are out on the water a lot, talking to people and seeing pictures all the time. The Juniata is second on the list of carp waters. I’ve spent a lot of time fishing the Juniata for smallmouth bass, but I’d never been there to specifically target carp.

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PA Smallmouth, Rebounding But Not Rebounded

Over the past two weeks I’ve started to focus all my fly fishing energy on warm water, specifically for smallmouth bass. I’ve been on the Juniata River twice, I headed east to fish the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers, and most recently I did some exploring on the Conestoga River in southern Lancaster, County. While all of these bass fisheries are slightly different in size and habitat, there was one similarity—the number and size of the bass. I was impressed with the number of smallmouth that each one of these bodies of water held. Fishing in the heat of the afternoon isn’t going to net you a large number of fish, but get there early or stay for the last two hours before dark and you are in for some action (with the right pattern of course).

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Juniata River Channel Cats on Buggers

Yesterday I decided to do some warm water fly fishing for smallmouth bass on the Juniata River. A majority of my smallmouth bass fishing experience on the Juniata has been in the parts of the river that flow from Newport, south to the Duncannon junction with the Susquehanna River. I wanted to explore some new water further north. I downloaded the Juniata River Water Trail Map that the PA Fish & Boat Commission released and found an access point at Mifflintown. On Google Maps it looked like there was some good structure in this part of the river so I figured I’d give wet wading a shot. I arrived at the Central Juniata Park around 3:00pm. This is a great access point right off of Rt. 35 on the western side of the river. When I arrived I rigged up my 9’-7wt Winston Nexus that I use for bass fishing. When fishing for smallmouth in rivers I use a sinking line with a 9’-3X leader straight to the fly.

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