Fishing on the Susquehanna River is a year round sport. Even though fishing conditions and tactics change by season, there is no real bad time to be bass fishing the river.
Fall/Winter Fishing on the Susquehanna River
As winter begins to move over Pennsylvania, fishing on the Susquehanna River is slowing. Smallmouth bass sense winter is not far off and must put on the feed bag to survive the long winter months. Smallies will hit almost anything you throw at them during early fall. Baits to use are large swim baits, stick baits, crankbaits and flukes. Catches can range from 30-40 fish in a single outing if you can find the bass.
As the water cools before winter, the bite gets better. It seems like the colder the water, the bigger the fish. October and November are great months to catch big fish. Lure choices include stick baits, crankbaits and tubes with the occasional hair jig. December through February is really slow on the river, that is if you can even get on it. Smallies in the Susquehanna will feed all year, even under the ice. They will dig in the mud even in the coldest water to get their favorite food, the crayfish. These little crustaceans are their main source of food, roughly 60-70% or more of the smallies diet are crayfish. These three months are long, with not much going on or to do. Being able to look forward to perhaps the best time to hook into large fish is about the only good thing winter has to offer.
Fishing the River in Spring
Just as the ice moves out (March-April), spring offers fisherman large smallies that are aggressive and hungry, seizing the opportunity to feed before smaller fish move in. Only two lures are needed for spring success, tubes and hair jigs. These two baits are about the only lures that are successful when water temperatures are below 45 degrees. Work these baits slow, the slower the better in colors such as black, blue, and pumpkinseed. As the water warms up over 45 degrees, smallies begin to chase. In comes the spinnerbait. Nothing gets you more excited than a huge smallmouth bass wacking a spinnerbait. Best colors seem to be either white or chartreuse. The nice part about throwing a spinnerbait is that if you catch one it’s a HOG!
Summer Fishing on the Susquehanna River
Summer is feast or famine on the Susquehanna with the bite usually early or late. Early morning and evening top water is where it’s at this time of the year. You can catch fish all day if you know what you are doing. Most fish this time of year will be in the deeper pools during the heat of the day, but there are always catchable fish shallow. Look for chunk rock in semi deep water, 4-6 feet, to find large smallmouths. These fish can be coaxed from under the rocks with tubes, flukes and small crankbaits.
Think about how season effects your fishing on the Susquehanna River. Change up your bass fishing tactics and fish to the season to put more fish in the boat.