As we’re in the midst of small game and archery hunting seasons, there’s very little freshwater fishing going on. The rainy weather hasn’t helped either. But for die-hard anglers, there is some trout action according to Willie from Willie’s Bait & Tackle in Cementon.
According to Willie, the fish commission reportedly stocked a portion of the Little Lehigh Creek last week with a limited number of trout, mostly in the Lehigh Parkway stretch.
Willie added that the Lehigh River, on the Northampton and Cementon side, was fishing good for brown trout in the 20-inch range. Trout were hitting Kastmasters, Blue Fox and Weaver spinners. One river angler did good on trout by drifting night crawlers with the current. Those trout were stocked in spring by the Lehigh River Stocking Association.
He also received reports of continued Musky action at Leaser Lake plus a few bass up to 4-pounds. One customer brought in a picture of a pickerel he caught-and-released there.
But the really big fish action now is at New Jersey shore where sizable stripers are being caught.
In their latest fishing report, On the Water Magazine reported jumbo stripers in the 40-50-pound range are being caught offshore and on the beach, especially in Raritan Bay.
The fall striper run is on and stripers are feasting on large amounts of bunker. Big fish are also making it to the beaches and are receptive to poppers, shads, metal and swimming plugs. You just have to be there when they show up.
Linesiders are being taken by snagging and dropping when the fish are in the bunker pods. They’re also falling for Nichols spoons, big shads, jigs and on the troll.
Capt. Phil Sciortino of the Tackle Box in Hazlet, says the bass bite is on fire on the back of Raritan Bay, at West Bank, by Breezy Point and near the Statue of Liberty. Live eels, bunker spoons, Mojos along with dropping and snagging, have all lured fish to hook.
Other hot areas are Sea Bright and Island Beach State Park, a popular fishing spot for Lehigh Valley anglers. Fish up to 40 inches there are favoring poppers, shads, bombers and SP minnows.
Charlie’s Bait & Tackle in Normandy Beach reports a good bass bite on the beach for anglers throwing top-water swimmers. Island Beach State Park and beaches north have also seen some nice fish in recent days.
Jillian’s Bait & Tackle in Atlantic Highlands said the bass bite is hot and they’re feeding on live eels mainly at Flynn’s Knoll.
Capt. Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant Beach reports stripers up to 50 pounds were falling for sand eels off Long Branch. And offshore, the tuna bite was hot at the Triple Wrecks.
Capt. Bogan, of the 125-foot Jamaica, says his offshore runs have been producing limits of blue fin tuna, and good catches of yellow fin up to 90 pounds, predominately on bait and jigs.
NRA’S GREAT AMERICAN OUTDOOR SHOW
The Great American Outdoor Show held annually at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, has been cancelled for 2021 due to the pandemic. The announcement came from the National Shooting Sports Foundation who hosts the show along with NRA sponsorship.
NJ STOCKS ATLANTIC SALMON
New Jersey’s DEP Salmon Stocking Program has just stocked 4,325 Landlocked Atlantic Salmon in four state waters. The fish range from 12-16 inches and were stocked in Wawayanda Lake (2,103); Lake Aeroflex (810); Tilcon Lake with 12-inch size limit, (762); and Merrill Creek Reservoir (650) with a 15-inch size limit. The daily limit is two per day and anglers are urged to report their catches to the Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries (firstname.lastname@example.org). These salmon came from New Jersey’s Hackettstown State Fish Hatchery.
Ed. Note: If they haven’t done so already, perhaps the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission should consider raising and stocking Atlantic Salmon as a supplement to trout.
With the rut (mating season) going on right now among white-tailed deer, and with more hunters in the woods moving deer around, vehicle accidents with deer are common in the fall and drivers need to be alert to the danger as they do not act with their normal level of caution and wariness. Plus, they’re also moving from bedding areas to feed in the evening and back in the morning hours.
Whitetails Unlimited Executive Director Pete Gerl said, “Drivers need to be aware that deer are more active in the fall, particularly during the hours around dusk and dawn. During the fall and early winter deer need to find extra food sources to survive the winter, and they often find excellent food sources along roads and highways.”
According to State Farm Insurance Company, Pennsylvania ranks third in the country with the highest claims for deer accidents with one in 52 odds of hitting one. West Virginia is number one with one in 38 odds.
Here are a number of things a driver can do to be safer during this time of year:
• If you see one deer, assume there are others around. Deer often travel in groups.
• Deer crossing signs along the highway are there for a reason – deer are known to cross the road in that area. Be extra cautious in these areas.
• Be more cautious while driving at all times. Deer are normally more active between dusk and dawn and are crossing roads during the night, when visibility for drivers is at the lowest. But maintain vigilance during the day as well because during the rut, bucks are chasing doe’s and they throw all caution to the wind.
• Reduce your speed and watch the edges of the road, as well as tree lines along the highway. This is especially true with a good amount of standing corn we still have where a deer can pop out at any time. At night, drive within the limits of your headlights and use your high beams when you are able to. Headlights will pick up reflections from the deer’s eyes long before you will be able to see the entire deer. If you see these reflections, start to slow down.
• If a collision with a deer is inevitable, avoid swerving to miss the deer as you may go into a ditch or cross the centerline into oncoming traffic. Most experts advise hitting the deer instead of swerving sharply into the side of the road and possibly loosing control of the vehicle.
• If you do hit a deer, call 911 if there are injuries or if your vehicle is disabled. Insurance companies normally require a police report if there is damage that needs to be repaired. Do not approach a deer that is injured but still alive. It will be scared and want to flee, and you can be injured by hooves or antlers. Police officers and game wardens are permitted to destroy injured animals, but it is usually not legal for individuals to kill a deer out of season.
In Pennsylvania you can take the dead deer provided it’s reported to the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s regional office and receive a permit number. If hitting a buck, the antlers must be turned over to the PGC or may be purchased for $10 per point. Removing antlers from a road-killed deer is illegal, unless it’s being claimed by the driver.
FALL TURKEY SEASON
The fall turkey season opens Oct. 31 statewide except locally in WMU’s 5C and 5D due to a lack of sustainable turkey populations. The seasons vary in some WMUs so check your Hunting/Trapping Digest for the exact season closures.
NRA’s GREAT AMERICAN OUTDOOR SHOW CANCELLED
Due to COVID-related government restrictions in Pennsylvania, the annual NRA Great American Outdoor Show, often to referred to as The Harrisburg Show among sportsmen, has been cancelled for it’s planned Feb. 6-14 run. According to an NRA press release, the show has been rescheduled for Feb. 5-13, 2022.
There was some controversy on using deer urine scent for hunting in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Game Commission was considering banning its use but relented and only prohibited its use in Disease Management Areas to prevent CWD.
But Inventive Outdoors, based in Woodbridge, VA, came out with a CWD-free deer urine scent.
In checking with Bob Frye, PGC CWD Communications Specialist, he said, “If it’s truly CWD-free (which the company guarantees), it can be used within those DMAs.”
Inventive Outdoors was founded by Deane Elliott, an avid hunter who spent 32 years in the patent research industry and who holds several patents.
According to Elliott, his deer attractants are not cervid-urine based and are more effective than fully synthetic attractants. “Synthetic attractants do not contain the same compounds and other components as real urine. Therefore, they’re not a natural as urine-based attractants,” he explained.
Inventive’s CWD-Free deer attractant comes in four scents of Whitetail Buck, Whitetail Doe, Whitetail Tarsal and Whitetail Estrous.
The company’s second especially interesting product is their human urine-based scents. Using Elliott’s patent-pending urine neutralization and conversion system, he was able to create a “hybrid” deer attractant using human urine.
Says Elliott, “The conversion process targets “bad” or unwanted compounds found in urine, leaving the “good” or wanted compounds in it. The system also targets uric acid and neutralizes urine pH, thereby prohibiting the generation of ammonia.”
This unique product is coined Scent Relief NeutraVert System attractants and cover scents. What are they?
Scent Relief is offered in four attractants of Estrous, Buck, Doe and Tarsal and seven cover scents of Pine, Apple, Earth, Cedar, Acorn, Fox and Raccoon. All products come with a large plastic bottle and a pair of Neutralizing Powder plus Enhancer/Modifier bottles for each scent.
To make any of the attractants the hunter merely needs to urinate in the bottle then add the neutralizing powder which treats 16 fluid ounces of human urine. Once the powder has stopped fizzing, the urine is neutralized and the Enhancer/Modifier is added to provide the desired scent. The two ingredients neutralizes and converts human urine into effective deer attractants and cover scents by first targeting and destroying the uric acid that causes odor. At the same time, it retains important compounds found in both deer and human urine. According to Elliott, you’ll never run out of fresh deer attractant again. It’s a revolutionary conversion system that yields results.
The third product from Inventive is their Gut Check Arrow Wrap that’s designed for whitetail, moose mule deer, elk, hogs, turkeys and bears.
Prior to going out to hunt, merely wrap an arrow or bolt with adhesive-backed Gut Check, which will not affect arrow flight. Upon shooting and hitting an animal, if the arrow or bolt passes through the acid-containing digestive tract of the animal (gut shot), the indicator will immediately change color chemically to dark green. If the shot passed through a vital organ, the indicator on the arrow wrap will change from its original color to dark blue in a few minutes. This, says Elliott, takes the guess work out of how the hit animal should be pursued. Plus, the wrap indicator is highly reflective which aids in locating the arrow or bolt.
For bowhunters who do not want to place anything on their arrow shafts, Inventive makes an indicator wipe that can be used to wipe the surface of the arrow or bolt upon retrieving the arrow. If there is any digestive fluid present on the shaft, it will turn a bright color. If the shaft contains only blood, the red blood will show on the indicator wipe. Another innovative idea from Inventive Outdoors.
For more information on these unique products and to order, go to www.InventiveOutdoors.com. Or call 877-488-0804.
Saturday, Oct. 24 marks the opening of the regular small game season for pheasants, rabbits and grouse.
As for rabbits, I said this before and I’ll say it again, there are more of them in the city of Allentown then in the woodlands and farmlands. And that’s because the city is mostly void of their main predators like foxes, coyotes and Great Horned Owls. City rabbits usually only succumb to vehicles that hit them when the run out onto a street.
But the main small game quarry are pheasants. Long tails, as they’re often called, are non-existent in the wild. When I was a kid growing up in West Catasauqua, a pheasant or two would occasionally show up in our back yard. They emanated from what we called the West Catty woods that lay off of Pine Street and bordered on one side by the tank farm, the mall that houses Walmart, and on the other side, the Fairview Cemetery. Those days are gone and never to return.
If it weren’t for the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s (PGC) stocking of pen raised birds, there would be no pheasants to hunt. And this year, pheasants will be stocked mainly on state game lands.
Here in the Southeast Region, the PGC will have stocked a total of 21,380 male birds (m) and 7,850 females (f). This is in addition to the 2,640(m) and 990(f) that were already stocked for the early Junior Hunter season.
You may not be aware, but for the 2020-21 seasons, both males and females may be taken except in the Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas. And don’t’ forget, hunters need a Pheasant Permit ($26.90) that must be carried while pheasant hunting. Senior Lifetime license holders are exempt for this as are youths under 17 but who need a free permit.
Insomuch as where the pheasants will be stocked, in upper Lehigh County most of the birds will be stocked on State Game Land #205. There was a time when Farm-Game properties were included, but that program is no longer in existence.
The In-season stockings in Lehigh County are as follows with a four-day window date. They are as follows:
1st In-season, Oct. 27-30 with 460(m), 170 (f); 2nd In-season, Nov. 3-6, 460(m), 170(f); 3rd In-season, Nov. 9-13, 460(m), 160(f); 4th In-season, Nov. 18-20, 340(m), 130(f); Late-season, Dec. 17-18, 320(m), 120(f).
If you opt to hunt in Berks County, SGL 106, 280, Blue Marsh, French Creek – Big Woods tract, will be stocked.
In Schuylkill, which has the most with SGL 106, 160, 227, 229, 257 and Swatara State Park receiving birds.
As Pennsylvania’s state bird, Ruffed Grouse populations have been on the decline due to several reasons including disease. The PGC is managing them to maintain their survival and one method is that the late season has been cancelled. These fast flyers of the woodlands are a majestic bird and are tough to hunt.
In Lehigh County the best bets are the Blue Mountain ridge where the going is rocky and rough. A good hunting dog helps here. That, and the woodlands around Leaser Lake. The bag limit is two but hunters should be happy with one to help perpetuate the species.
Every year around this time many Lehigh Valley anglers head up to Pulaski, NY for their salmon and brown trout run as the fish make their way into the Salmon River to spawn. Although I didn’t make it there, my friend Tom Marchetto from Easton did and here’s his recent report.
Said Marchetto, “Our annual fishing trip to the Salmon River in Pulaski, NY was September 19-23. Early reports indicated very limited fish in the river due to low water, warm water temperatures and gorgeous sunny weather. The reports were correct. The water flow was a meager 185fps which is as low as I have ever seen. The main reservoir that feeds the river was dry! Videos we saw even had ATVs crossing through the reservoir. Only the lowest part of the river DSR (Douglaston Salmon Run) reported seeing any fish and even their numbers were low. Three of us chose to fish the lower end of the river known as the Staircase Hole. Sunday produced no fish although we did see two King salmon on stringers for those who made it to the river at the break of dawn. Fishing all day had no success.
On Monday morning, again at the Staircase, there was some heated action earlier in the morning that produced quite a few catches of Coho salmon and one lucky fisherman landed a prized brown trout. I did have one hook-up but had no success landing the fish. By 11 a.m., the fishing frenzy disappeared and there were no more catches for the remainder of the day. By 2 p.m. there were no fishermen on the river by our location. Tuesday morning, after a phone call from a friend indicating the lower part of the river was again slow, we ventured to another area up river known as Ellis Cove. This area of the river has lots of tributaries that split the river and often have fish resting in the little side streams. We fished until 3 p.m. but not a tail was seen.
Our original plans were to fish Wednesday morning until noon or later before departing, depending on the fishing, but we resolved that the low water had taken its toll so we headed out for home. It will take some colder temperatures and much more water to get the fishing back to normal. The week we picked just wasn't the right week. The good news, besides the beautiful weather, was that we had no issues keeping six feet separation from other fishermen.”
As of Oct. 1, a report from DSR indicated there were flurries of activity intermixed with periods of calm, with plenty of kings spotted making their way up through the run. There were reports of browns (trout) and steelheads brought to hand as well as a beauty of an Atlantic salmon. Also some Kings, Coho and a few steelhead with another Atlantic reported.
REMINGTON FIREARMS BREAKUP
What was once Remington Firearms Company, has been split up by a federal bankruptcy court.
According to my friend Jim Shepard of the The Outdoor Wire, Judge Clifton R. Jessup, Jr. ruled that approximately $155 million in funds realized from the auctions will be applied to the company’s debts.
“And with that, the final chapter of Remington, at least as a major player in the firearms industry, finally have been written. How it will all shake out remains to be seen, but there are a few things we do know, says Shepard.” He lists the following:
*The 500,000 square feet of Alabama manufacturing facility that was to house Remington’s projected 2,000 jobs will be looking for a new tenant. The jobs disappeared, along with much of the state’s $110 million capital investment.
*Everything associated with Remington, Marlin, AAC, H&R, Barnes Bullets, DPMS, Bushmaster, Tapco, including trademarks, intellectual property, and manufacturing equipment, will be disbursed across the firearms industry.
*Outdoor retailer Sportsman’s Warehouse is the high bidder for Tapco’s gun parts and accessory business.
*Franklin Armory will get Bushmaster.
*Roundhill Group, LLC, has offered $13 million for the non-Marlin firearms businesses -including the shotgun manufacturing in Ilion, New York and handgun manufacturing in Lenoir City, Tennessee.
*JJE Capital Holdings, LLC, has been designated the successful bidder for the DPMS, H&R, Stormlake, AAC and Parker brands.
*The biggest bidder is Vista Outdoors.
“Yesterday, Vista announced it had agreed to a purchase price of $81.4 million to add the familiar Remington green trademark to its portfolio of brands, along with the Lonoke, Arkansas, ammunition manufacturing facility.”
“As with each of the bids, Vista’s is subject to closing adjustments. Vista CEO Chris Metz says the addition doesn’t just mean the addition of the iconic Remington brand. The acquisition, he said in a statement, will also “protect hundreds of jobs, support wildlife and habitat conservation and ensure that hunting and shooting sports enthusiasts can continue to purchase their favorite ammunition and accessories.”
Shepard goes on to report, “In 2019, those enthusiasts purchased approximately $200 million worth of those “favorite” items. Vista says it expects to add those earnings-excluding transaction and transition costs- to their annual revenue reports beginning in 2022.
"For some of the various brands that fell into Remington’s portfolio, then essentially disappeared, the breakup might mean a second chance."
"We’ll learn if Marlin becomes a part of Sturm, Ruger. As a standalone venture, Marlin might be successful. With Ruger’s not-inconsiderable financial strength and proven manufacturing expertise, Marlin could be positioned to take advantage of renewed interest in- and demand for- their modernized takes on the lever action rifle.”
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.