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Offline zelmo

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Winter fishing
« on: December 13, 2020, 02:11:38 PM »
I know winter doesn't officially start until 12/21 but with water temps around 37 degrees I consider going out now winter fishing.

Now that I have a boat that will get me to some of the well known winter holes I need to figure out how to catch them this time of year.  I have paid attention to Dry's posts and have gleaned a lot of information from them, but applying it on the water is another matter.

I went out of Ft. Hunter for the first time by myself on Friday.  I went much later than I usually go (10:00) in an effort to lessen the activity at the ramp, plus reports were that the bite didn't turn on until the afternoon.  Launching was a breeze as I didn't have to contend with any other boats while I was launching.

I traveled up to the popular spot and found about 15 boats there already.  Two were anchored in a prime spot and were using live bait.  They pulled in many SM, but I didn't see anyone else catching.  Somebody once told me that when you see guys fishing with live bait get as far away from them as possible as you don't have a chance with that scent in the water.  True or not it sure played out that way as I never saw anyone else catch one while those guys continued to pull them in.  Sometime around 12:30 they stopped getting SM and starting pulling in flatheads from the same spot.  That continued until about 2:15 when I headed back to the ramp to beat the rush.

I only managed one of those flatheads on one of Dry's favorites - the cabin creek smoke tube.  I tried everything including three sizes of Willies.  I still consider it a successful day as I had been nervous about using that ramp by myself and I had no problems.

I will be going back and will try to piece more of the puzzle together.  I need to lower my standards about what is a good day to go.  Cold is in, I just need to pay attention to wind.

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Winter fishing
« on: December 13, 2020, 02:11:38 PM »

Offline DRY

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Re: Winter fishing
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2020, 09:48:36 PM »
When I read your story I could only think of the last line of that famous poem by Rudyard Kipling..."You're a better man than I am Gunga Din."

I have never launched my boat after the second week in December. Too cold and too many variables to be out on the water in a boat in below 40 degree water...especially alone.

All my winter fishing (and that covers over 40 years) has been done wading or bank fishing. And many years of wading were in very cold weather but in an area affected by a warm water discharge.

Right now there are 3 variables that have me stymied in my quest for winter smallmouth...low water, cold water and clear water (vodka clear)  ;D   When the three work together things get very, very tough.

The area you were in is famous. I only fished it twice with artificials in late fall without much luck. They say it is overrun with flatheads now and has fewer smallmouth. Clearly you learned both fish are still there.

Hope you get them dialed in...be safe.

Bill

The hours spent fishing are not subtracted from the lives of men!!

Offline zelmo

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Re: Winter fishing
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2020, 10:56:00 PM »
When I read your story I could only think of the last line of that famous poem by Rudyard Kipling..."You're a better man than I am Gunga Din."

I have never launched my boat after the second week in December. Too cold and too many variables to be out on the water in a boat in below 40 degree water...especially alone.

All my winter fishing (and that covers over 40 years) has been done wading or bank fishing. And many years of wading were in very cold weather but in an area affected by a warm water discharge.

Right now there are 3 variables that have me stymied in my quest for winter smallmouth...low water, cold water and clear water (vodka clear)  ;D   When the three work together things get very, very tough.

The area you were in is famous. I only fished it twice with artificials in late fall without much luck. They say it is overrun with flatheads now and has fewer smallmouth. Clearly you learned both fish are still there.

Hope you get them dialed in...be safe.

Bill

Thanks Bill.  I hear what you are saying about going out in cold water.  As the air temps drop I will be able to wear my survival gear without roasting.  I realize that will only extend the time I could manage being in cold water for a little bit but it is better than nothing.  I got a tank of a boat to bounce off the rocks without damage.  I also donít plan on going out when the river is raging or even close to it. 

I know that none of those precautions guarantee my safety.  I have a friend who lost his father to hypothermia when he went in cold water in a work related accident so I also understand the seriousness of the issue.  If I feel that the risk is too great I will get off the water (or just stay home.)

After all that if I catch some fish all the better.   I have quickly found out that just because a place is famous doesnít ensure success.  That is why it is called fishing and not catching.

Offline Pawatch

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Re: Winter fishing
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2020, 08:59:03 AM »
Zelmo
Glad you are still getting out. Just have to be careful with the water temps in the winter.
And it sounds like your taking precautions.
I also would imagine with your boat it would be pretty hard to fall out.
Surprised you have that much boat traffic. It sure does suck to have a plan and then already have boats fishing in your fishing hole.

My experience for me fishing is, it's usually hit or miss in the winter.

Looks like with this snow storm coming Wednesday, fishing might get put on hold.
As Dry mentioned I certainly would like to get more water. Getting low again. 1.2"  I would prefer 5' of water for the winter.

Good Luck!
The only fisherman you should try to be better than.
Is the fisherman you was yesterday.

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Re: Winter fishing
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2020, 08:59:03 AM »

Offline zelmo

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Re: Winter fishing
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2020, 11:40:30 AM »

Surprised you have that much boat traffic. It sure does suck to have a plan and then already have boats fishing in your fishing hole.



As Dry mentioned the place I was at is famous, so finding other boats there was not unexpected.  As a matter of fact 15 boats is a slow day!  Add to that there is no etiquette followed there.  I actually had someone motor through a spot that I was casting to. 

Offline Phil Sweeney

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Re: Winter fishing
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2020, 09:51:28 PM »
I know winter doesn't officially start until 12/21 but with water temps around 37 degrees I consider going out now winter fishing.
I might add this to my collection of cold weather gear!
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZB3RXJ8/?coliid=I1VHLCHDZXR8S2&colid=1FM7F1QQEH7DV&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

Offline Pawatch

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Re: Winter fishing
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2020, 05:54:36 PM »
Phil
I could have used that hat a couple of them 26 degree mornings running up the river.

Zelmo that would have ticked me off someone doing that.

Looks like fishing is on pause. 24.5" of snow and cold temps.
The only fisherman you should try to be better than.
Is the fisherman you was yesterday.

Susquehanna River Fishing Forum

Re: Winter fishing
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2020, 05:54:36 PM »

 

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