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  1. Default The Unknown Smallmouth Bass River

    The Unknown Smallmouth Bass River

    Some of the rivers that come to mind when talking about smallmouth bass fishing are rivers like Maine's Androscoggin River, West Virginia's New River, the John Day River in Oregon and Minnesota's Upper Mississippi. Healthy populations of smallmouths and prime habitat are what characterize any excellent bass river.

    Like most destinations, they almost always happen someplace too far for a comfortable drive to a days fishing adventure. That is until you consider a river that local guides claim may be the best kept secret in the Northeast. A world class smallmouth bass fishery that is within a couple of hours drive from several major metropolitan areas and yet is pristine enough to be given special protection by the US Department of the Interior.

    In their July, 2007 issue, Field and Stream Magazine named the Upper Delaware River on the NY/PA border as one of the top five smallmouth bass rivers in the US. The four rivers mentioned previously complete the line up. These rivers all share the same common denominator; sizable self sustaining populations of river bred bass and ideal habitat for them to thrive. The Upper Delaware just happens to be real close to New York, Northern New Jersey, Philadelphia and the metropolitan areas that surround them.

    Well known for its wild trout fishery, the Upper Delaware River's reputation as an excellent smallmouth bass fishery has until now, remained mostly local knowledge. From late June to the end of October the smallmouth bass is king. More than sixty miles of prime habitat is the reason these fish have flourished and driven the river into the "top five" status.

    The deep pools, riffles, small rapids and deep runs of the Delaware provide an ideal home for these river residents. The abundant insect, baitfish and crayfish population provide the fuel to these fish that have earned them the reputation as, inch for inch, the hardest fighting fish in freshwater. Whether you are a spin fisherman or fly fisherman the smallmouth bass of the Delaware are always willing to come out and provide excellent light tackle sport.

    Soft baits seem to be the top producer when fishing with a spin or bait casting set up. Wacky rigged worms and any of a number of bait fish imitations consistently attract strikes. Each day the color schemes of you bait may be different, so as in any fishing situation don't be afraid to experiment. But, you have to start somewhere, so try dark colors first. Black, purple, and green to just name a few.

    Fly fishermen should consider the same color patterns when selecting their fly with one notable exception. White. Streamers in all white or predominately white color patterns imitate many types of bait fish, especially the baby American shad that are literally everywhere in the late summer and fall as the migrate down river on their way to the ocean. If there is a fly you don't want to be without, it would be a Clouser minnow in several different sizes and colors. Most of the time you can get by with a floating fly line and a six or seven weight fly rod, but when the fish get deep on the bright sunny days a sink tip line can add considerably to your success.

    The Upper Delaware River is under the protection of the US Department of the Interior as the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River and forms the border between New York and Pennsylvania. The river is a partnership of individuals; private landowners; and local, state, and federal governments. Almost all the land along the river is in private ownership with several access areas operated by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.

    Since almost all of the river banks are in private ownership, floating the river is the perfect way to fish the swift riffles and slower pools on an all day excursion down the Delaware. The services of a professional fishing guide will help assure your fishing trip is the best it can be. I've personally fished this river for over 35 years with more than a decade as a full time fishing guide and am amazed at how the smallmouth fishery gets better year after year. I believe one of the keys to sustaining this fishery is through catch and release angling, which almost all the fishermen I encounter practice and is the rule in my boat.
    "If people don't occasionally walk away from you shaking their heads, you're doing something wrong." John Gierach

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: The Unknown Smallmouth Bass River

    Joe;

    Another great article. One of these days I have to get out that way to visit my sister and her family. Any idea how far away Bronxville NY is. Might be able to work out a day of fishing with the brother in law. If I get the opportunity we'll go you for your guiding services for sure.
    Davo
    My worst day on the water beats my best day anywhere else hands down!!

    Upstream Anglers and Outdoor Adventures

  3. Default Re: The Unknown Smallmouth Bass River

    Quote Originally Posted by Davo View Post
    Joe;

    Another great article. One of these days I have to get out that way to visit my sister and her family. Any idea how far away Bronxville NY is. Might be able to work out a day of fishing with the brother in law. If I get the opportunity we'll go you for your guiding services for sure.

    Davo,

    Thanks for the kind words...

    Two hours max. and we can be fishing. It would be a blast!
    "If people don't occasionally walk away from you shaking their heads, you're doing something wrong." John Gierach

  4. #4
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    Default Re: The Unknown Smallmouth Bass River

    Thats great Joe. I'll talk to Billy about trying to work something out.
    Davo
    My worst day on the water beats my best day anywhere else hands down!!

    Upstream Anglers and Outdoor Adventures

  5. Default Re: The Unknown Smallmouth Bass River

    I feel I must mention the Maury River in the beautiful state of Virgina as an unknown smallmout heaven as well. It lies entirely w/in the county of Rockbridge, and while catches over 4 lbs are rare, those fish are there and when not fortunate enough to land one of these every time, the sheer numbers of bass is a wonderful thing to experience. If ever in Lexington or there about, I would strongly suggest one try it! I am fortuante to live w/in a five minute walk of the lower end of the river, and in 40-45 minutes can be anywhere on the river.
    p.s. This is my first post here, and I'm grateful for this forum, especially in light of some of the garbage I have experienced elsewhere. Take care.

  6. Likes clay tonian liked this post
  7. Default Re: The Unknown Smallmouth Bass River

    Do you know where I can find any more information on the John Day River in regards to where you can fish from shore. I have driven by there many times and have always wanted to fish it....

  8. Default Re: The Unknown Smallmouth Bass River

    Quote Originally Posted by dooolan View Post
    Do you know where I can find any more information on the John Day River in regards to where you can fish from shore. I have driven by there many times and have always wanted to fish it....
    Try: Public Ownership of Submerged and Submersible Land John Day River Navigability Study

    Fish and wildlife success stories - John Day River

    John Day River
    "If people don't occasionally walk away from you shaking their heads, you're doing something wrong." John Gierach

  9. Default Re: The Unknown Smallmouth Bass River

    I have only caught one smallmouth in my life and it was the most exciting fish I've caught, really enjoyed this.

  10. Default Re: The Unknown Smallmouth Bass River

    I grew up fishing largemouth, then when I was about 10 we started fishing a local creek and caught smallmouth. Some years later I caught one about 5lbs in the creek during high fast water and I was one of the best fights I've ever experienced. I was hooked on smallies after that.
    There is a creek near my house that get heavy action in spring when they stock it with trout. I fish it in the summer and fall for the smallies. Caught some nice ones too.

    Joe, I'm 20 minutes to the port jervis/matamoris boarder. How far are you from there?


    Johnny

  11. #10
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    Default Re: The Unknown Smallmouth Bass River

    Quote Originally Posted by da Bear View Post
    I feel I must mention the Maury River in the beautiful state of Virgina as an unknown smallmout heaven as well.
    you live in smallmouth country...

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