Fly Fishing for Brunner Island Smallies

I wanted to fly fish for smallmouth bass all summer and due to either high water or being distracted by trout, it turned to fall and I didn’t make it out. On Sunday I had an opportunity to get out and fish in the afternoon. I checked the USGS gauges on the Susquehanna River (“Susquehanna”) and the flows were perfect for wading, I finally had my chance. I’ve fished many different parts of the Susquehanna for bass throughout my fishing career, but Sunday afternoon I decided I’d focus on familiar water.

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Summer Smallies & My Favorite Crayfish Pattern

When I wasn’t chasing carp in early August, I was chasing smallmouth bass on the Schuylkill River and the Juniata and Susquehanna Rivers. A majority of the bass I’ve been catching have been in the 8"-10" range, and their numbers are surprising. Like I mentioned in a post back in July, I think there’s a lot of promise for smallmouth fishing in Pennsylvania, specifically on the Juniata and Susquehanna. One recent trip that went against the small bass trend was one I made to the Susquehanna just south of Selinsgrove off of Rt. 11/15. There are many great access points along this stretch of river that follows the highway from Duncannon to the split of the river in Northumberland. One of these access points is the Hoovers Island parking lot at the confluence of Penns Creek. There are hundreds of yards of wadeable river here that don’t see a lot of fishing pressure.

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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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