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South Williamsport, PA
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Unforeseen Adjustments

Needless to say, for those of us who are severely “hooked on fishing,” we have somehow managed to fish during all twelve months of the year, and even the dead of winter doesn’t deter us. Normally, the spring and summer months are great for catching a variety of species from trout to bass, walleyes, panfish,

Needless to say, for those of us who are severely “hooked on fishing,” we have somehow managed to fish during all twelve months of the year, and even the dead of winter doesn’t deter us. Normally, the spring and summer months are great for catching a variety of species from trout to bass, walleyes, panfish, and several other species. I must say that this spring and early summer have been very productive. Still, as we are now moving into the dead of summer, some of our fishing has become a bit more challenging due to the heavy and frequent downpours and the resulting high, muddy or discolored waters.

Typically, by the time we get into July, much of our trout fishing has slowed, at least on the bigger streams where warmer water temperatures have slowed trout activity. Sure, there are still places where you can take trout, but low, clear, and warmer water makes that more of a challenge. If, like me, you fish for a variety of species of fish, we simply alter our thinking and concentrate more on bass, panfish, and other species that are more active throughout the summer months.

Herein lies our dilemma; with the frequent heavy rains over the past couple of weeks, the rivers and streams are running well above normal levels, and the discolored or often brown, muddy water pretty much puts an end to moving water fishing. Earlier this spring, we did well on river smallmouths, and with some changes in presentation, the action would normally continue all summer. One of my favorite summertime approaches is working with some kind of topwater lure using spinning or even bait-casting gear. If you are handy with a flyrod working some kind of small, floating popper-type fly can be a real hoot, but under present conditions, that approach may have to wait a little longer.

So, if river and stream fishing may have been a bit hampered over the past couple of mid-summer weeks, what’s the next plan of action? Time for an adjustment; while I normally mix my lake and river fishing all summer, it appears I’ll be putting more time on several lakes and maybe even some ponds. Here again, though, some thought must go into what lake you choose to fish.

Higher mountain lakes like Hunters Lake, Lake Jean, Hills Creek Lake, Rose Valley Lake, and a number of others probably don’t receive much heavy, muddy discharges and are therefore less affected by recent heavy rains. Flood control lakes like the lake at Bald Eagle State Park are fed by Bald Eagle Creek, which, like many of our streams, contributed to the eventual high flooding waters of the Susquehanna River. The creek still dumps its high, discolored waters into the lake from time to time, and the dam, of course, holds it back to help prevent worse flooding so you may experience some off-color even in that lake.

Discolored lake water is not necessarily unfishable, but here again, you may have to make an adjustment to your normal presentation. If I’m fishing for bass in these circumstances, I will probably try to work with lures that I can work at a slower pace. Carolina rigs, Texas rigs, Drop-shot rigs, Ned rigs, Wacky rigs, and other soft plastics that can be worked slowly and methodically will probably produce more action. Also, you may want something with some bright chartreuse or bright yellow. Actually, the chartreuse and bright yellow have been producing some great action on crappies, perch, and bluegills all spring long, and I’m inclined to stick with them. I certainly wouldn’t rule out topwater lures in lakes right now, especially in the morning and evening hours.

While we may have to alter our presentations and locations a bit, there’s still plenty of action to be had even with the somewhat different water conditions.

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