Hook, Line and Sinker: September 25, 2012

The second half of September can bring good fishing, given enough water in our rivers and streams. With the trees just beginning to preview the colorful fall foliage to come, and a cold snap in the air, it’s a great time to be out of doors. This year, however, has brought unusual weather conditions, in that we started with a drought, had some early summer rain, several days of thunderstorms and showers, and then receded back to a drought. The trout fishing in most of our free-flowing waters is slowing down, as stream levels are well below average (we need some good soaking rains!) and is becoming a bit more challenging on the tailwaters of the East and West Branches of the Delaware.
Bass fishing, however, is in full swing. The statewide bass season extends through November 30.

The daily bag limit is five bass with a minimum size of 12 inches. Past November, from December 1 through the Friday preceding the third Saturday in June, it’s catch and release fishing, with artificial lures only.

Dave Budin of Del-Sports Inc. in Margaretville mentioned that the bass fishing has been pretty good this year. There have been times when there were “a lot of bass in the river,” especially when the river was up higher. And Dave found that while fishing for large trout with a Clouser Minnow, or a bead-head Woolly Bugger up under logs, rocks or stream banks with good cover, he was finding bass as well as trout.

“Often if you’re fishing for large trout, a bass will surprise you. If you are using streamer imitations, they’ll take it and then take right off in air and then you’ll know what you’ve got!” he explained.

Big bass are biting
Dave mentioned that a number of bass fishermen have been successful fishing in the Pepacton Reservoir, especially near where the Barkaboom enters, and are catching some good-sized bass. Another area that has been traditionally good for bass, at least during higher water, is near the causeway bridge across from the police barracks. He said that surface lures are a lot of fun to fish with, such as jitterbugs and hula poppers.

An interesting report came from a man who came into the store to buy a license. Dave was assisting the man, who said his son was catching a lot of bass in the Esopus Creek - near the campground area across from the Phoenicia Diner - and wondered if this might be as a result of the floods from last year. And in areas of the Esopus that harbored small young-of-the-year rainbows, anglers are also catching bass; perhaps the bass are moving in after the small rainbows? It will be interesting to see if this becomes a trend or is just an isolated event.

Al Carpenter of Al’s Sports Store in Downsville said that a man and his young son came in the store who did well and caught “quite a few bass” while boat fishing with shiners and Krocodiles, including one “monster bass” that weighed between five and six pounds that took their Krocodile lure.
Russell George of Roscoe has been doing well using crayfish and casting from shore, although “the water hasn’t cooled down enough yet.” (Traditionally once the waters cool, the bass move in to shore and provide excellent fishing.)

Some reservoir fishermen who were seeing trout at 80 to 90 feet have reported catching bass at 30 feet.