Last weekend, five of us camp regulars completed our fourth annual summer float down the Allegheny River, and this year we experienced unusual fishing success.
I arrived early Friday to cut grass and do camp chores. By the time Todd and Brad pulled in at 2 p.m., I was ready to go fishing. Those two were committed to building a new camp shooting bench that afternoon, though, so I went solo, down the road a mile to Magee Run, a hatchery-stocked stream with wild trout in its upper reaches. I had noticed on the way in that Magee’s waters were medium-high and touched with color, and that meant brown trout opportunities to me. Sure enough, I caught seven hefty holdover stocked brownies in the lower half-mile and two wild brookies upstream.
Next morning the five of us – Todd and me in my old 14-foot Sportspal canoe, Matt and Brad in kayaks, and Brett in his fly-fisher’s float tube – put in at Dunn’s Eddy under a hot sun and into a strong upstream breeze, and began our eight-mile trip. Usually we just toss lines in casually and concentrate more on paddling and sightseeing, but this year we consciously hit the smaller side channels around big islands, where currents and eddies form promising fishing pockets. We caught fish early and often and ended up casting lines seriously all day long.
Brett got us started by catching a nice smallmouth on a streamer only 100 yards from our launch point, and then Matt started catching fish on a small Rapala minnow lure and Todd began getting action on an orange shad Frenzy Minnow. I switched from a crankbait to a small jointed Rapala and ended up catching four smallmouths myself, all in the 10-12-inch range. By days’ end we had caught 16 smallmouth bass, a camp record for the Allegheny, and missed or lost at least 20. Summer river fishing doesn’t get much better than that.
Good luck out there. And have a great week outdoors.
~ Don Feigert, 7-24-08