With temperatures forecasted to be in or close to 100 degrees this week, these dog days of summer make for tough fishing in local streams, rivers and lakes. If you crave big, good eating fish, head to the Jersey shore for some saltwater action.
According to our On the Water fishing reporter, more keeper fluke were reported in northern New Jersey as anglers make the most of the dwindling summer flounder season. Boat anglers continue to get the better fish on bucktails on rough bottom while the surf anglers saw an increase in keepers from the beach. There are still plenty of shorts around, but bigger fish are biting.
Small blues, kingfish, Spanish mackerel and short stripers fill out what’s being caught from the beach. And the bluefin tuna bite goes on and on. There are also more mahi-mahi showing up.
Mark, at Tackle World in Rochelle Park, reported a definite improvement in the size of the summer flounder caught in the last week. He also said the shark fishing has been crazy good.
Capt. Phil Sciortino, at the Tackle Box in Hazlet, said boats continue to see bigger fluke coming over the rails. The biggest of the week was a 10-pound, 5-ounce doormat caught aboard the Elaine B II out of the Highlands.
Anglers fishing the rough stuff are getting the keeper fish in the 6-8-pound range and the Ambrose Channel is starting to give up bigger fish as well. Raritan Bay is loaded with cocktail blues, while plugs and sandworms are getting bass on the Sandy Hook beaches. Offshore, the Bluefin bite is still going strong around the Atlantic Princess.
Mel Martens, at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright, said the fluke fishing has seen a big improvement from the sand with a number of keepers coming ashore. A buddy of his got three along with bunch of shorts earlier in the week. Martens said he’s been having success with a floating jig head tipped with a Gulp swimming mullet. The jig head is on a dropper loop above a sinker and he fishes it close to the jetties. He said a lot of fish bite right at his feet. The crabbing, he added, is outstanding in the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers.
Bluefish and fluke are biting in the Ocean Grove surf, but the Spanish mackerel, which pop up almost daily, stay just out of reach of shore anglers. Some anglers are also waiting for the snappers to show up here in the surf.
Bob Matthews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar, reported larger fluke are moving around with more fish being caught in the 5-10-pound range. Matthews said there are still a lot of fluke in the Shark River, but shorts dominate the catch. Boats fluking in the ocean are filling out their catches with sea bass and blackfish.
In southern New Jersey, On the Water says bait is beginning to stage as peanut bunker and mullet swim up and down the lagoon at dawn and dusk. There are two weeks left in August and the fishing has improved on the big fluke front with most shops reporting fluke being caught in the 6-10-pound range. The ocean bite should get into full swing through the remainder of the season as these fish start to pull out of bays and estuaries.
The pelagic bite has continued to be “hot” offshore with yellowfin, mahi and billfish out deep while Spanish mackerel, bluefin, cobia, and bonita are hitting lures in the 10-30-mile range.
This past week a Philadelphia angler caught a rare for the area 90.6-pound Cobia, a fish normally found in southern waters like Cape Hatteras and beyond. He caught what may be a pending state record at Cape May, while fluke fishing.
There are plenty of tog off the jetties for anglers to have a great time catching, but remember you can only take one fish home at or greater than 15 inches. If you like the backwaters, the last few weeks of August are great for small striped bass on poppers or the fly, but these can only be targeted dusk to dawn.
Every spring and summer we all spend a good deal of money buying and planting flowers to beautify our yards and gardens. But there is a way to circumvent this annual expenditure by planting native plants.
Native plants, as defined by the Pennsylvania Native Plant Society, are ones that occur naturally in a particular region, ecosystem or habitat without direct or indirect human intervention. Some may think they’re mainly weeds. But they’re not.
Also called indigenous plants, native plants have evolved over thousands of years in a particular region. They’ve adapted to the geography, hydrology and climate in a region. They’ve evolved together with other plants, animals and microorganisms. And many have English and European origins.
Native plants are easier to grow, require less maintenance (like watering), and are less susceptible to challenging conditions than non-native plants.
Over the years I spent three figures on Azaleas. I started with two orange ones and they lasted one season. Then went to red. They lasted two seasons. Then switched to white for one season. And that’s after buying pine bark mulch and gathering pine needles to add to the ground to make it more acidic as advised on websites and in books. But to no avail. They all died. And we love azaleas.
As such, native plants make sense. They are generally hearty plants that require little to no maintenance. They also save time, money and offer year-round beauty, attract native wildlife like butterflies, songbirds, hummingbirds and bees.
And if a patch of native plants are in a meadow on your property, they may only require mowing once a year compared to a lawn that must be mowed weekly.
Native plants also offer a source of food, cover or shelter for wildlife. For example, and according to Millersville Native Plants, the Viburnum species, that are native to Eastern Pennsylvania, produce berries in autumn that are a popular food for a variety of birds. And berries are just the right size for consumption by native birds in the region. Plus, they offer a beautiful contrast to the foliage in a yard or a vase on a table.
At this point you may be thinking “How do I know which species of plants are native?” Millersville says this can be a challenge because many landscapes in the Lehigh Valley and America have been altered through human intervention for hundreds or thousands of years (by Native Americans and later by European settlers). Best bet is to call or visit local nurseries such as Edge of the Woods Native Plants on Route 100 in Orefield, or contact the Pennsylvania Native Plant Society.
So next spring, consider natives instead of commercials.
As written by Adriana Mendez and reported on The Fishing Wire, the Campiones's weekend family trip to Fox Lake in Wisconsin turned into a scary ordeal after the family said a fish bit their son. A.J. Campione was just about to test out new water skis when he felt something clamp down on his foot.
"I ripped it out, and I knew I was bleeding, so I screamed ‘I've been bitten!’ It was a lot of pain," AJ said.
A.J.'s mother, Wendy, didn't believe her son at first until she saw the bite marks.
"I pulled him on the boat, and we screamed. We saw his foot and all the blood coming from his foot," Wendy said.
The family rushed A.J. to the hospital, where he received sixteen stitches. Wendy said there were 40 pin marks on the bottom of A.J.'s foot. After research, they believe a northern pike or a muskie was the culprit.
"We just couldn't believe it," Wendy said.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the chances of being bit by either of these freshwater fish are rare, but muskies and northern pike are known for their aggressive feeding styles.
"Their feeding pattern is this ambush-style, and they are very effective predators," said Laura-Stremick-Thompson, with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Stremick-Thompson said she during her 20 years with the DNR she has never heard of this happening at Fox Lake.
"I never had a report like this on muskies or northern pike in Dodge County, so it's new to me, but it does happen occasionally," Stremick-Thompson said. Stremick-Thompson said A.J.'s injuries are very similar to images of two previous Muskie bites in another state.
Despite this scary incident, A.J. and the family said they wouldn't let this stop them from jumping back into the water.
"It's not going to happen again, so I'm just going to go in and have fun," A.J. said.
A.J.'s new nickname is now “Muskie Bait.”
In case you didn’t know, states like MN and PA have implemented bans on the use of urine-based scents in CWD management zones. And most recently, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources set a rule banning urine-based scents for deer hunting in their state.
According to a press release from the Wildlife Research Center and Tink’s, the scent company, these products have been widely used by hunters for many decades to help them be more successful in the field. Banning them takes away a great tradition and an important tool from hunters in those areas, per the release.
The argument made by rule makers to ban these products is that they unnaturally congregate deer like bait or feed, thereby increasing interaction between animals and possibly increasing the spread of disease. While a scent set-up can effectively attract the interest of deer nearby for a short period of time to the benefit of a hunter, putting a small amount of deer urine on some wicks is insignificant regarding the overall “congregation of animals” argument. It would cause no more congregation than using a call or decoy and is a natural occurrence of deer already in the area.
A typical deer releases about 64 oz of urine per day in good weather conditions and 42 oz in bad weather conditions which calculates to approximately 150 gallons per year. Tink’s has never verified the frequency on camera, but their assumption is that each deer urinates on average 4 to 6 times per day. That’s over 1800 times per year. The point is that deer are naturally urinating exponentially more urine in the general area already versus a hunter using 1 or 2 oz of urine that lasts a few hours to attract deer closer to his hunting location. Even with deer lure, you still have to be in a good spot where deer already exist. It does not bring in dozens of bucks from far away for extended periods of time like bait or feed might. The animals do not eat the scent and do not spend long periods of time there interacting with each other like they would at a bait pile. The animals that are attracted live and urinate all around that area already.
If you made any legitimate argument at all, it would be that you are adding scent locations to the already natural ones, per the release. But then this logic would mean that deer are actually decreasing the amount of congregation because now they are attracted to multiple spots versus just the natural ones that were going to be there anyway. Plus, the urine deposits would be more diluted because there are more of them. Most importantly, urine-based scents help hunters to be more successful, decreasing the population, further decreasing natural congregation of deer in that area over long periods of time. If using urine-based lures encourages deer to move around to these different scent locations actually decreasing congregation at the natural scent locations, thereby diluting the urine deposits in these natural locations, and increasing hunters’ success therefore lowering the risk of disease transmission, then what is the Wildlife Agency really trying to accomplish with this rule?
In the recent press release by the South Carolina DNR, it was stated “CWD research conducted in Colorado showed that mule deer were able to be infected with CWD after exposure to just the urine, feces and saliva of infected deer.” This statement is misleading and misrepresents the actual scientific finding of these studies. Many studies have attempted to transmit CWD with urine and none have been successful in deer. Later studies in Colorado used urine from CWD sick deer, concentrated it 10-fold, and injected it directly into brains of mice that were genetically altered to be 6 times more susceptible to the disease than deer. One of the 9 mice became infected. We are led to believe that urine is a risk for spreading the disease by putting a small amount, from facilities that are enrolled in a program to safeguard their deer from risk of contamination, on a scent wick or squirting it on the ground when only one mouse became infected by injecting infected and concentrated urine into its brain? Hunters are not injecting deer with urine and the urine is coming from healthy animals and not sick ones!
Moreover, the urine collection process prevents or removes nearly all contamination from feces or saliva. Based on the study referenced and other available research, it is estimated to take close to 2 fl oz of pure infected saliva from a single sick deer entirely ingested by one single deer to invoke an infection. Even with the larger 4 oz bottles, we would have to believe that half of this bottle is pure saliva, and that the saliva was infected in the first place. Then we would have to believe that a single deer would drink the whole bottle. This is ridiculous to even be a consideration.
The urine from hunting scent companies like Wildlife Research Center® and Tink’s® is collected from healthy animals and not sick ones. South Carolina wildlife officials say that the urine comes from captive herd facilities and that CWD has been found in 40 captive cervid facilities since 2012. What they don’t tell you is the collection facilities that companies like Wildlife Research Center® and Tink’s® use are from a small number (less than a dozen) of highly specialized facilities and are vastly different than the other likely 10,000 deer farms across the country. Of the 40 mentioned positives since 2012, only 16 were in a certified herd testing and certification program, and none of those were closed to importation of deer like the facilities where urine is sourced. The facilities the urine scent companies utilize are all 100% monitored, meaning every deer that dies is tested. CWD has never been found in one of these urine collection facilities.
South Carolina wildlife officials also say the scent industry is not regulated by any agency or entity and there is no testing or marking requirements identifying the source of the urine products. That is also false. The collection facilities are regulated by state and federal department of agriculture and wildlife agency rules and regulations relating specifically to CWD and to the operation of those facilities. All of the source herds are 100% monitored. The department of agriculture requires that testing is conducted before issuing the testing certifications the facilities all have and maintain.
It is also important to note, that lead authors of the most commonly referenced studies on urine and CWD agree that “the risk of urine-based scents spreading CWD is virtually zero”. See more about this at www.wdfacts.org
While hunting is generally considered a male sport with approximately 10.3 million American males, it may surprise folks to know that more than one million females over 16, annually take to America’s woodlands and waters to ethically hunt and harvest wild game.
In her newly released, first of a kind book, “Why Women Hunt,” author and hunter K.J. Houtman of Minnesota takes an intimate look at the personal lives of 18 individual females who have diverse backgrounds from across the country and who pursue humankind’s most ancient food-gathering ritual.
One of those women, Jaliliah “Jay” Williams, is from Allentown. In her book, Houtman recounts how Williams, a Jamaican immigrant, began as a product of Camp Compass, the Allentown-based conservation awareness program for inner-city kids. During her early teenage years Williams’ classmates learned of her desire to hunt and would say to her, “Oh my God? Why would you want to kill Bambi?” “A lot of my fellow students are city kids, Williams told the author, “but I tell my story and my experiences in protecting the ecosystem and wild game conservation in a way that is understandable to all audiences.”
Williams’ new-found knowledge and experience is a tribute to what Camp Compass does for young kids. It’s an education they would never receive in any public school.
Williams’ story is but one of these dedicated outdoor women featured in the book who are of all ages, professions, education and cultural backgrounds, and who make up an increasing proportion of licensed American hunters.
For any female, single or married and who may have an inkling to try hunting, be it alone, with relatives or friends, the 18 gals profiled may be just the inspiration for them to give hunting a try and to enjoy locally-sourced, free range, wild meat that is clean, delicious and without a trace of chemical additives.
Houtmans’ 243 page, hardcover is illustrated with 90 original photos that support her story.
Published by Wild River Press, the book is available now for $49.95 and can be purchased online from the publisher by going to www.wildriverpress.com. To check out some excerpts from the book, go to www.whywomenhunt.com.
ILLINOIS ALLOWING HUNTER SAFETY COURSES IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Illinois law makers passed a new bipartisan bill that allows school districts the option to teach hunter safety courses along with the daily curriculum.
As reported in Outdoor Hub, Illinois State Rep Monica Bristow (D) said, “Hunting in Illinois is still very popular and students can learn about hunting as a sport and respect for guns.” She added, “If people have to do the education to obtain a hunting license anyway, why not be able to do this in school?”
No guns or ammo, however, will be allowed in the schools. The course will teach responsibility and ethics when it comes to outdoor recreation, first aid, wildlife conservation and bowhunting.
WEAKNECHT ARCHERY’S 56TH ANNIVERSARY SALE
In celebrating 56 years in business, Weaknecht Archery in Kutztown if having a “Customer Appreciation Day” sale where sportsmen can save up to $200 on all bows and crossbows. And when purchasing either a compound or crossbow, Weaknecht is giving a free hard bow case for each.
In addition, special anniversary pricing can be realized on carbon arrows, hunter safety systems, Shotblocker archery targets, scouting cameras, crossbolts, Muck boots and more.
The sale runs from Aug. 19-24 with store hours Mon-Fri 2-8 p.m. and Sat. 9-5 p.m. For questions, call the store at 610-683-7405.
If you crave really big, good tasting fish, head to New Jersey shore points for some saltwater action.
According to On the Water Magazine, our saltwater fishing reporter, keeper fluke remain hard to come by. Anglers are getting some bigger fluke by boat fishing rough bottoms with bucktails. Beach anglers are getting a few to take home, but they’re mostly shorts.
In the meantime, the excellent bluefin tuna bite continues with sea bass limits pretty much a given as are Spanish mackerel, kingfish and small bass that populate the surf. Snappers too are in the rivers and bays and the blue claw crabs are plentiful.
Rick Hebert, at Tackle World in Rochelle Park, went fluking over the weekend and found only undersized fish. On the plus side, he believes the fluke are getting more aggressive. Now if they would only get bigger. He did say the bluefin bite remains strong with the fish now hitting jigs. Trolling them continues to work as well.
Fast talking Capt. Phil Sciortino, owner of the Tackle Box in Hazlet, said there were striped bass hitting plugs in the Sea Bright and Long Branch surf last Tuesday morning with several keepers among them. Lots of fluke are being caught but not a lot are making it to the coolers. There are also plenty of kingfish in the surf and he had good reports of Spanish mackerel farther to the south.
Capt. Phil added that snappers are all along the Bayshore and the crabbing is very good in Red Bank and Keyport. Plus, weakfish are in the Reach Channel and hitting worms and soft plastics soaked in shedder crab oil.
Mike Gleason, at Tak Waterman in Long Branch, said popping plugs and shads have been catching stripers in the surf. Tuna anglers have been picking up big epoxy jigs with a sand eel profile at the shop as they are proving very effective on bluefin tuna. Local surfcasters are suffering from the short fluke problem as well, but there are kingfish, small blues and Spanish mackerel to be had. Gleason did add that Spanish mackerel were getting a little finicky lately as to what they’ll hit. “They were jumping all over the place in Ocean Grove last Monday, but wouldn’t take the Hogy epoxy jig I was tossing. Several followed the lure right to the jetty then decided against hitting it. Include small metals like an Ava 007 or a Deadly Dick among your lures when pursuing these fish” he suggested.
Bob Matthews said Fisherman’s Den North in Atlantic Highlands, weighed in a 67-pound cobia that was caught in the Mud Hole, with a few others being caught this year. Kingfish and triggerfish are a good target as it’s been a better than average year for them as well. And the striper bite is better this week with short and keeper fish hitting small poppers, clams and sand crabs. And for the kids, the snappers are in the marina.
Capt. Pete Sykes, of Parker Pete’s Sportfishing out of Belmar, said there are keeper fluke around, you just have to work hard for them. He’s finding them on rough bottoms with bucktails enticing the bigger fish. Anglers are having no problem getting their limit of sea bass.
The only good freshwater news comes from Herb Gottshall, president of Lehigh Fish & Game Association. Gottshall informed me on Friday that they just returned from Cabela’s with 53 golden trout from their in-store pond. Cabela’s refreshes their trout stock yearly and donates those that were there to selected F&G associations for stocking in local streams. Gottschall said those 53 trophy trout were stocked in the Little Lehigh in the Lehigh Parkway section.
With the scorching hot weather, we’ve been having, and with all the weather channels telling viewers to stay hydrated by drinking liquids with water being the best, the same holds true for birds.
Water is the primary attraction for many birds. Birds are particularly attracted to the sound of moving water. So there is an inexpensive solution to this.
If you don’t have a ceramic, plastic, clay or concrete commercially made bird bath, improvise and make a shallow one out of an old bowl, deep tray even the lid of a plastic Rubbermaid trash container turned up to hold water.
There are a multitude of bird baths on the market and to go one step better, Amazon offers a solar powered bird bath insert that sprays recirculating water that’s already in the bath. Birds are attracted to the sound of moving water and a shallow basin for the birds to drink and bathe in will certainly help our feathered friends in this time of heat.
Summer is a good time to think about upgrading to a small water feature. And if you want to get fancy, many backyard birding companies have selections of water features with recirculating pumps and tubing that provide a small waterfall option or a small fountain, as do many home improvement and hardware stores. Once you’ve selected your new yard addition, and installed it with a minimum of effort the fun really begins. You can get your landscaping and design juices flowing with the idea of adding decorative rocks and plants, and other elements. It’s easy, and it will add a lot to the attractiveness of your yard, or even your deck or balcony.
Many birders opt for an artificial rock waterfall that powers water to trickle over a couple levels that lead to a shallow basin. The water is re-circulated from the basin up to the top of the waterfall via a small electronic motor – all quite lightweight, self-contained and protected in a single product. Purchasing a ready-made water feature is mostly a no muss, no fuss project.
When you have positioned your new water feature, you may be interested in enhancing the artificial rockwork to look more natural by adding a few real rocks and stones to give it a more authentic look. In fact, you can form something of a veneer of natural stone over the artificial covering. Likewise, by adding natural rocks around the water feature you can effectively expand the size of the water feature, says the folks at Duncraft, makers of bird feeders and baths.
For the next step, you may wish to add plants around your new water feature – maybe some ferns to create a tranquil setting, or some flowering plants that might attract hummingbirds. You can keep the plants you select in pots, even hiding smaller pots with more stonework, or you can accent the water feature with larger plants in decorative pots. Using decorative pots would be most impressive if you selected a water feature that is more artistic or statuary than rocklike.
Really, the light sound of a water feature is a big plus whether it’s out your window or in your yard. It’s attractive to birds, and it’s attractive to humans, at least to those who sit nearby and listen to the sound of birds that surround you. Enjoy your summer!
For those who have purchased their 2019-20 hunting licenses online instead of at a licensing agency, and if you haven’t received them as yet, you may want to contact the Pennsylvania Game Commission as the delay could affect applying for an antlerless deer license before they’re sold out in your favored Wildlife Management Unit.
“We appreciate and care about every single one of our license buyers, and it’s unfortunate that some of those who bought licenses online have experienced problems this year,” said Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans. “We’ve worked with the same license vendor for several years with few issues, so the problems that emerged this year, which likely have impacted thousands of hunters, not only were unexpected, they are frustrating for the agency.
“We sincerely apologize to those hunters who have been affected and who share in our frustration,” Burhans said. “If you bought a hunting license online and did not receive it within the seven-to-10 business day window, please contact us. We can help to get you your license, and if the vendor’s error prevented you from submitting an antlerless deer license application, we can assist you in that process, as well.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission’s license division can be reached by phone at 717-787-2084 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As of 7-20-19, antlerless deer licenses remain available in all but one Wildlife Management (2H). Locally, WMU 5C had 26,389 remaining; 3D, 8,887 and 4C, 17,383. The first round of unsold licenses go on sale, Aug. 5 and second round begins Aug 19.
While hunters are required to have purchased a general hunting license prior to submitting their applications for antlerless licenses, they do not need the general licenses in hand to submit. Applications for antlerless licenses can be found in the Hunting & Trapping Digest, as well as on the Game Commission’s website, www.pgc.pa.gov. As long as a hunter knows his or her Customer Identification (CID) Number, which does not change from year to year, they can complete an antlerless application and send it in. The nine-digit CID number is printed on each hunting license.
In most cases, hunting licenses bought online cannot be printed at home because the licenses contain harvest tags hunters must use in the field when taking big game. When buying a license online, customers are prompted that they should receive their licenses within seven to 10 business days.
Unfortunately, the contracted vendor responsible for mailing licenses to those who purchased them online has run behind schedule in some cases. Meanwhile, a computer glitch that initially went unnoticed caused the vendor to temporarily misplace some of the online sales records
Burhans said the PGC already has stepped in to fix problems for hundreds of license buyers.
“We fully recognize some of our license buyers have been inconvenienced, which is unfortunate, but we are here to straighten out any problems they might have had,” Burhans said.
With all the heavy rain we’ve been having, stream and river fishing has been curtailed. During these times, anglers are best advised to fish lakes and ponds that aren’t affected as severely. As such, selected local waters are fishing fairly decent.
Willie Marx of Willie’s Bait & Tackle in Cementon, says the Lehigh River as surprisingly receded quickly. “I have a Hollywood block placed vertically on the shoreline below my shop, my water level measurement device. There was a foot of dirt in front of it before the rains came and afterwards, the water level was covering the first hole in the block. A day later the water level was down and dirt again was a foot in front of the block. I never saw the river drop so fast. However, it’s still a bit stained.” Willie attributes this to less rain upriver toward the Pocono’s.
Despite this, the river is fishing good for smallmouths, fallfish, rock bass and an occasional trout. Most river anglers, he said, are buying minnows and nightcrawlers and a few are using Berkley’s 3-inch, Power Trout Worm in Bubblegum scent.
Leaser Lake is fishing good for Muskie’s and largemouths, mostly all on large shiners. One customer said he latched onto a couple trout where the creek enters the lake at the North landing.
Willie also hears the Bethlehem Canal is producing large carp. And although there was no official announcement, Willie heard the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission stocked Muskies in the Lehigh in Allentown, presumably below the Hamilton Street Dam. The agency did announce it was stocking Muskie’s in the Susquehanna River this week, so maybe a few found their way to Allentown.
Rick from Rick’s Bait and Tackle in Mertztown, reports Ontelaunee Reservoir in upper Berks County has been fishing good for sizable bass. Two customers picked up several largemouths in the 5-pound range while throwing 10-inch worms in black and brown colors and Culprit’s Water Dragon Lizards in dark green. Crappies are also hitting good there.
Down at Blue Marsh Lake in Berks, two customers wade the shallows there and are picking up large and smallmouth bass on Salty Spider jigs, Z-Man’s and Chatter Baits.
Up north in Carbon County, there are still some trout remaining in Buckwa Creek, Aquashicola, Pohopoco Creek and Mahoning Creek, but few anglers are fishing for these leftovers.
In the northern lakes, Mauch Chunk has been offering some viable bass action, however, most are small and not of legal size. Panfishing though has been good around the fishing pier at the boat launch and a good place to take a youngster fishing as the action will maintain their attention. A few anglers are picking up some catfish at the boat launch during evening hours.
At Beltzville Lake, boat anglers are reported to be catching sizable stripers in the morning and evening hours when heavy recreational boat traffic is nil. A few brown trout measuring 24-26 inches are being hooked while bass action in the upper areas of the Pohopoco Bay and power lines and dam breast has picked up according to On the Water Magazine.
Anglers should not overlook local farm ponds. Many harbor some hefty largemouths and panfish that will hit mostly anything artificial or live.
I once fished a small farm pond in New Tripoli and caught, weighed and released a 3-pound smallmouth bass. I had no idea where it came from as the water there didn’t seem conducive to a smallmouth. So these rural ponds could hold some surprises, even snapping turtles.
The Ontelaunee Rod & Gun Club in New Tripoli is hosting a Sportsman Swap Meet on Sunday, September 22, from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
It’s an opportunity to sell your shooting, hunting, archery, fishing, hiking and outdoor related items that you no longer need.
The meet is offering three options: Option A is outside in a 10x10 space, no table, no covering for $20; Option B is a 6-foot table outside under their pavilion for $25; Option C is a 6-foot table inside the clubhouse for $30.
To sign up go to www.ClubSwapMeet.com or contact Kathy DiCarlo at 484-554-4325.
At this time of year, a good many outdoors oriented folks head to the hiking trails, be in locally in the Pocono Mountains, Hawk Mountain or the vast Appalachian Trail that runs locally through the Blue Mountains and beyond through 14 states. As such, keep in mind there are hazards along the way. Namely, rattlesnakes.
Rattlers strike fear in the hearts of many people, especially those who believe the only good snake is a dead snake. Hikers in particular, need to know that people bitten by rattlesnakes are usually harassing them or trying to kill them. In the latter cases, the rattler will often strike to protect itself. Rattlesnakes fear humans, says the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and will do anything to avoid us. The best remedy is to give them plenty of space and leave it alone. Respect the snake and it will respect you, the PGC opines.
Since rattlesnakes’ camouflage helps them blend into its surroundings, you may pass by a rattler and never know it.
Many moons ago I, along with several members of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association, were invited to a mule riding trip over some Pocono Mountain woodlands. Half way through the day long trip and at a high point in the forest, we encountered a rattler sunning itself. Our mule team of eight, passed by it along the trail about six feet away. Since mules are seemingly calm animals compared to horses, the mules never flinched and the snake didn’t rattle or move.
When you’re out hiking, its recommended to check the trail ahead of you and look close before stepping over rocks, reaching onto ledges or sitting on a rock or log.
Here’s what’s suggested to do if encountering a rattler:
*Remain calm and don’t panic. Stay at least 5 feet from the snake and make sure to give it plenty of space.
*Don’t try to kill the snake as it increases the chance the snake will bite you.
*Don’t throw anything at the snake like rocks or sticks as rattlesnakes may respond by moving toward the person throwing them.
*Alert other hikers to the snakes’ location and keep children and pets away from the area. Keep your dog, that a lot of folks hike with, on a leash as allowing your dog to roam increases the chance the dog will find the snake and get bit.
*If you hear a rattle, don’t jump or panic. Try to locate where the rattle came from before moving so as you don’t step closer to it or on top of it.
Some time ago I played spring golf in Arizona and hit my drive into a cactus filled, sandy area. When I walked to the location where the ball went out of bounds, I noticed a sign that read, “Rattlesnake’s are coming out of hibernation so beware of walking in this area.” I dropped a new ball in the fairway and took a penalty stroke as I didn’t dare venture in there.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.