HJS

Big hatch of smbass on the Susky, spring 2022

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Mid-August,2022, I fished the Susky for the first time this year.  Launched my canoe a few miles upriver from Harrisburg.  It was a Sunday… a bad day for fishing. Lots of people on the river.  River flow at the Harrisburg Gauge read 3.06’.  That’s as low as I have ever seen it.  My canoe took a beating from all the exposed rocks.  Only caught a few smallish SMBass <12”.  I knew before I arrived that fishing would suck, but just had to get out of the house.
Only good thing about this trip was there apparently has been a huge hatch of smbass.  3”-4” YOYs were all over the place, especially in the vast beds of eel grass.  I’ve been fishing this river for well over a decade and have never seen a hatch this big.  Soooo, its looking good for the future, just gotta wait 5 or 6 years for them to get up to a decent size.  Anyone else see big numbers of YOY elsewhere in the Susky???
 

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Just fished lower Penns for smallies this weekend. Not Susky but quite close and dollars to donuts once penns cools back down half of them will head down river. There was sooooo many smallies. I mean everywhere. The youth of year were as abundant as minnows. Very impressive and a very good sign. Also caught a pretty good bass on my 6wt. 

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PAtroutbum – Thanks for responding with your observations elsewhere.  It’s as I suspected.  Perhaps every stream, creek and river in the mid-Atlantic region that has a history of supporting smbass, also had a strong hatch this year.  Every spring and early summer I keep track of the USGS flow graphs for the Susky at their Harrisburg gauge location.  Seems almost every year the Susky has a major rip roaring flood during the spawn and hatch of smbass that washes out all the eggs and tiny fry.  But not this year.  The river certainly had a few mid-grade floods but no big gully washers.  For the most part the Susky behaved itself during most of the spawning, incubation, hatching and early grow of smbass YOYs this season.  And you and I saw the results.  Generally weather patterns that provide good conditions for spawning smbass in one state (PA) can be wide spread across multi states.  I’ll be checking other rivers, mostly in MD, to see if they too had a good hatch.  Thanks again for the Intel.       HJS

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I fish the Delaware between Trenton and Frenchtown. Same thing in my area. Tons of YOY smallies buzzing around. I really hope it’s an upturn for them. I love fishing for them.

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On 8/26/2022 at 8:35 PM, HJS said:

Mid-August,2022, I fished the Susky for the first time this year.  Launched my canoe a few miles upriver from Harrisburg.  It was a Sunday… a bad day for fishing. Lots of people on the river.  River flow at the Harrisburg Gauge read 3.06’.  That’s as low as I have ever seen it.  My canoe took a beating from all the exposed rocks.  Only caught a few smallish SMBass <12”.  I knew before I arrived that fishing would suck, but just had to get out of the house.
Only good thing about this trip was there apparently has been a huge hatch of smbass.  3”-4” YOYs were all over the place, especially in the vast beds of eel grass.  I’ve been fishing this river for well over a decade and have never seen a hatch this big.  Soooo, its looking good for the future, just gotta wait 5 or 6 years for them to get up to a decent size.  Anyone else see big numbers of YOY elsewhere in the Susky???
 

Yes you are correct last week I ran into that couldn't keep them off my fly I had to put on a large streamer to keep them off so I landed a half dozen 14 to 16 inch range after about 25, 6 inchers 

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Onthefly and others – Thanks for all your YOY smbass intel.
Onthefly – Based on your report sounds like the YOYs have grown a good bit since I encountered them back in mid-August.  When I saw them I also saw large schools of tiny YOY minnows maybe ¾” long at the biggest mixed in with the YOY smbass.  All of them were hiding in the vast growths of eel grass.  So there is plenty of food available for quick growth of the baby smbass.
Onthefly - Where the YOYs you encountered living in any kind of rooted vegetation?  Or had they moved out to more open water???
BTW – eel grass is an exotic.  Apparently it escaped some time ago from the aquarium trade.  Lots of exotics can have significant negative benefits but many can have positive benefits too.
Goggle says:  Unlike some invasive plants, eelgrass (Vallisneria americana) grows vertically without branching, leaving room for fish to congregate among its leaves. Use weedless baits to flip into holes or fish a buzzbait just over grass growing a few inches from the surface.  Goggle also says: Eelgrass provides a number of important ecosystem functions, including foraging areas and shelter to young fish and invertebrates, food for migratory waterfowl and sea turtles, and spawning surfaces for species such as the Pacific herring.Nov 7, 2014
 

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On 9/22/2022 at 10:26 AM, HJS said:

Onthefly and others – Thanks for all your YOY smbass intel.
Onthefly – Based on your report sounds like the YOYs have grown a good bit since I encountered them back in mid-August.  When I saw them I also saw large schools of tiny YOY minnows maybe ¾” long at the biggest mixed in with the YOY smbass.  All of them were hiding in the vast growths of eel grass.  So there is plenty of food available for quick growth of the baby smbass.
Onthefly - Where the YOYs you encountered living in any kind of rooted vegetation?  Or had they moved out to more open water???
BTW – eel grass is an exotic.  Apparently it escaped some time ago from the aquarium trade.  Lots of exotics can have significant negative benefits but many can have positive benefits too.
Goggle says:  Unlike some invasive plants, eelgrass (Vallisneria americana) grows vertically without branching, leaving room for fish to congregate among its leaves. Use weedless baits to flip into holes or fish a buzzbait just over grass growing a few inches from the surface.  Goggle also says: Eelgrass provides a number of important ecosystem functions, including foraging areas and shelter to young fish and invertebrates, food for migratory waterfowl and sea turtles, and spawning surfaces for species such as the Pacific herring.Nov 7, 2014
 

A long while back I read that a whole ecosystem pops up around the eel grass beds.  Some FW crustaceans I think. Long time ago I read that but thanks to you I’ll be off on a googling tangent instead of working this afternoon, lol. 

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