In these dog days of summer, fishing normally slows down. But for those who are persistent and patient, there are fish to catch according to our tackle shop reporters.
Willie, from Willie’s Bait & Tackle in Cementon, said Lehigh River angling action has slowed, but some anglers are picking up a few smallmouth bass, fallfish, rock bass and an occasional trout, mostly on live bait. Water is warm so the fish are lethargic opines, Willie. “The best bet is to fish by the falls where the water is a bit cooler and more oxygenated,” he advises. No Muskie action as yet. Since many people returned to work, there’s less fishing traffic, he surmises. However, the Little Lehigh is still producing a trout or two mainly from fast riffles and the deep, shaded pools. But anglers must fish hard for them.
Leaser Lake has been producing perch, bluegills, crappies, nice bass and some Muskie. Beltzville Lake is yielding some stripers for anglers trolling during evening and night hours. Anglers there are also picking up some bass and walleye. At Mauch Chunk Lake, bass, bluegills and some largemouth are looking for live bait, but the bite is sporadic.
Willie received good trout reports from Pocono creeks where the water is a bit colder.
Chris’s Bait & Tackle in Mertztown says Ontelaunee Reservoir’s largemouth bass bite remains decent mainly during early morning, late evening hours. Bass are falling for plastics, like Senko worms and lizards.
At Blue Marsh Lake, where there’s a weekly Tuesday bass fishing tournament, anglers are coming up short in fact last Tuesday one contestant came in third with only three bass. Two weeks ago Chris caught nine bass there in the morning and they were all small. However, the catfish bite there is excellent said Chris. Cats up to 23 pounds are being hooked. Big ones are eating trout that Chris sells.
Up at Leaser Lake, Muskie action remains good on live trout. One customer had a 47-inch, 23-pounder last week.
Bass fishing has been good at Leaser. One regular customer caught five largemouth all over four pounds last Wednesday morning. Bass there are preferring live bait, plastics like lizards, Senko’s and one customer used a “Hot Mouse” spinnerbait and took a bunch of bass before it got bit off.
Perch action has been exceptional at Leaser with many in the 2-2.5-pound category and that goes for crappies as well. Both species are hitting minnows and shiners. Another customer took nine bass on shiners, plastics and a “Rhythm Wave” swim bait.
One lady angler in a kayak with a rod out the back of the craft, hooked a 24-inch palomino trout at Leaser. Chris saw a photo of it and said he was surprised it survived since Leaser wasn’t stocked this year and only had a partial stocking last year. This was one of the very few trout caught at Leaser. Many anglers believe the muskies ate most of them.
Mike at Mike’s Bait & Tackle in Nazareth reported decent striper action at Beltzville Lake as well as in the Delaware River, albeit small ones. Flathead and channel catfish action is good in the Delaware as is quality smallmouth in the 16-18-inch class. “Net Rig” jigs are luring smallies to hook. Lake Minsi is quiet as only trout have been stocked there since it was drained and repaired. But anglers are seeing fish rising so they’re there, but the water is warm and will be even warmer this week as temps are forecasted to be high.
Related to trout fishing, the PA Fish Commission reminds anglers to take summer weather conditions into consideration when enjoying local waterways. In many cases during very hot and dry conditions, trout will seek out the closest source of cold water to provide thermal relief. This often results in many trout congregating at the mouths of cool-water tributaries or spring seeps. The Commission asks anglers to consider that while crowded and thermally stressed trout in a pool of water may look like an easy target, these fish are typically in poor condition and difficult to catch. Anglers should avoid fishing for trout during these conditions, as it can have lasting impacts on the population.
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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.