Catasauqua Press

Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Press photo by Nick HromiakHuge muskies like this are being caught at Leaser Lake. Press photo by Nick HromiakHuge muskies like this are being caught at Leaser Lake.

Outdoors: Area fishing scenes are looking pretty good

Wednesday, July 5, 2017 by nick hromiak Special to the Press in Sports

With the Fourth of July holiday this week, many Lehigh Valley folks take off and many go fishing. As such, here’s a rundown on what’s been happening on local waters.

Willie from Willie’s Bait & Tackle in Cementon says the Lehigh River is fishing good for almost everything. Big trout, smallmouth bass, rock bass, perch and fallfish. Sizeable smallmouth are readily taking leeches. In fact, Willie recalls taking his grandson down to the falls in Cementon last summer and every cast his grandson took a fish with a leech.

Willie also reports Leaser Lake is hot for catch-and-release muskies in the 40-inch range. On angler last week caught-and-released a 44-incher using a large shiner. Others are catching them on big lures like Rebels, Rapalas and large spinnerbaits. Another angler reported releasing a sizable largemouth. Of course, only trout may be kept at Leaser. Willie predicts that once Leaser is open for everything, it’s going to a top Lehigh County fishery.

Mike’s Bait & Tackle in Nazareth reports the upper Delaware River has been slow and blames it on a warm-up. Before the water temps warmed fishing was good. But should return especially for stripers and walleye, the latter with leeches.

Chris’ Bait & Tackle in Mertztown reports largemouth fishing is hot at Ontelaunee Reservoir. Even crappies are starting to turn on after a couple slow weeks. For largemouths at Ontelaunee, shore fishermen (no watercraft allowed here) are throwing black and blue 5-5 1/2-inch Senko worms, Cabin Creek worms and Spider Ticks.

Down at Blue Marsh Lake the same black and blue patterns are luring crappies. Chris reported some anglers are catching 40-50 a day using fathead minnows. Half the successful fishermen are fishing from boats while the half from shore with slip bobbers, particularly around cove areas.

And up at Leaser Lake, black and blue Senkos are luring sizablellargemouthsfor catch-and-release enjoyment. Storm Twitch Strike and Red Fin lures are taking sizable musky, again for catch-and-release. Seems anything in black-and-blue patterns are working.

Bill Brinkman from Brinkman’s Bait & Tackle in Philadelphia says the only lower Delaware River striper reports he’s getting are coming out of Trenton. The few guys fishing up in the bridges and down to the Route 29 bypass have been catching 12-25 stripers a trip using small eels and live white perch. The ones that stay through the night are catching fish with poppers, crankbaits and shad bodies. Most of these fish have been 22-34 inches.

Further up the river, smallmouth bass fishing has been really good. Fishing from Washington’s Crossing up to the Water Gap most guys have been catching 10-40 fish per trip. Minnows have been the hot bait but grubs, spinners and top water lures are also working. Kevin at the Water Gap, has been doing very well but said the river has been going up and down and that has affected the numbers. But most days he’s been catching 15-25 smallies with minnows and Zoom grubs. Tom, was up to New Hope catching a few bass but crushed the big catfish with chunked baits and minnows. Off the New Hope wing dam one fisherman picked up several 13 to 15-inch smaller fish but was happy landing three stripers 26-31 inches with large live minnows and Rebel minnow lures. He also had one small walleye. A few of the drift guys picked up 20-30 fish from Upper Black Eddy down to Bryan. Again, minnows were their hot bait.