You know how sometimes you suddenly get that itch where you feel the need to catch a fish? As most anglers would probably admit, I am guilty of having that itch almost all the time. Having been busier than ever guiding for trout this summer, I was not able to spend near as much time as I wanted on the Juniata River for smallmouth bass.
I’m by no means complaining because this summer presented some of the best summer trout fishing conditions I’ve ever experience. Cool temperatures and better than average flows kept the trout fishing very good all summer long, but that did not satisfy my itch for the smallmouth that I hold close to my heart. The same conditions that helped make the trout fishing so good this summer put the bass fishing on hold for the beginning of the summer. All the extra rain that make the small streams great to fish, kept the river high and off-color. This makes me feel a bit better about not having as much time as I’d like for smallmouth this summer.
Over the last 3 weeks, things slowed down enough for me that I was able to get out in the boat a few times each week. The smallmouth fishing has been on FIRE lately. Some of my fellow “river rats” have doing really well on poppers and boogle bugs as of recent. I like to fly fish for bass too, but my real passion is hitting the river with the spinning rods and soft plastics (I know, I’m setting myself up for hate mail by fishing the “dark arts”). Fish have been eating a variety of baits such as stick-o’s, hellgrammites, flukes, and tubes. That’s of no surprise because its hard to go wrong any time of year with that arsenal of baits. That being said, I have noticed the stick-o’s to be working more so than the rest, but that could be me tending to fish them more now that the water is low and clear.
I have got to spend a good number of days the past few weeks with Bryan on the boat with me. It seems I always catch the nice one’s when he is not around with his Nikon (stage freight I’ll call it). Anyways, I have to thank him for capturing these two images for me. The fall is one of my favorite times of the year to be out on the river for smallmouth. Get out there and take advantage of the September smallmouth fishing, we definitely will!