Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Adventures On The Juniata River (04/11/11)

Hello Folks,

We have had a lot of rain this Spring and the rivers have been filled to "Action Stage" on several occasions. Just this past week, the Susquehanna River had reached 11 feet and the North Branch of the Susquehanna River (NB) topped out at 23 feet.

The rise on the NB kept Josh and I from taking our annual Spring jaunt to smallie haven this past week. Josh was off work and he "needed" to fish somewhere. So, we decided to take a trip to the Juniata River yesterday to explore new waters and have some fun.

The Juniata River had crested at 9.25 feet after the last rains and was now holding at 8.25 feet. Josh mentioned a new ramp about 45 miles west on Harrisburg, Pa. that he passes on his trucking run every week and he was eager to try it out.

We met at his apartment at 7:00 am. and headed to one of our favorite restaurants for breakfast. The weatherman was calling for temperature to rise into the 80s yesterday and possibly set heat records throughout the county. This was one of those days that you dress warm in the morning and slowly shed clothing as the day progresses and the heat moves in.

It was 55 degrees when we left the restaurant and the temperature quickly rose into the 60s as we passed through Harrisburg. However, as we traveled northwest along 322/22, the temperature started to drop. We were traveling up into the mountains and entering foggy conditions. These conditions were keeping it rather cool and when we arrived at the ramp, it was once again in the low 50s.

This new PFBC ramp is rather dangerous at high levels. Whoever designed it failed to protect the macadam from being washed out by high-water episodes. Instead of a gradual slope on the sides of the macadam, they decided to just cut the macadam off and now it's being undercut by the water during high water... It is inexcusable to have spent this amount of money and created this situation. A little better planning would have corrected this mess.

Unloading and loading the boat was quite the experience. I backed Josh into the river and he made sure the motor was in good working condition before I unhooked the boat from the trailer. I needed to back him in quickly and exit with the trailer even quicker. As the boat came of the trailer, the trailer began to float and be washed downstream. But I got on the gas quickly and the boat was back on the ramp and heading into the parking lot.

In order to trailer the boat, we had to angle the trailer sharply downstream so that Josh could approach it on only a slight angle. We had attempted two other times to load it, but the current was way too strong and would turn the boat completely sideways as he came onto the trailer... Not good!

Rookie River Rats should never try this! Even Josh said that it was one of his most scary moments on the river when that boat turned on him.

Take a look at this video and you will see the current we had to contend with yesterday.

But once we had the boat off the trailer, it was time to go fishing and exploring on our adventure to new spots of the Juniata River.

The weather was just perfect, but the river was running heavy. So, we started to look for eddies behind islands and mouths of small creeks.


Our first stop behind an island didn't yield any fish. However, we located the mouth of a small creek which had a lot of wood and rock. My first cast with the Chillee Willee brought this beautiful 17" smallie to hand.


We traveled further upriver and saw a neat site just up the mouth of a creek. So, we went exploring.




This is a restored piece of history. The Stone Arch Bridge was built in 1813 as part of the Harrisburg to Pittsburgh Turnpike. We had to get out and walk over it and take a few pictures. Can you just imagine what this area looked like close to 100 years ago and the traffic that passed over this bridge.

I get a big kick out of seeing old pictures and relics like this from our past.

Here's a little quiz for you all... What is the name of the creek that passes under this historic Stone Arch Bridge?

We ended the day by being chased off the water by an approaching thunderstorm.

Here is our tribute to one of our favorite anglers... DRY 1!


What a great trip! We even caught sight of three mature bald eagles take off from their perch as we headed back to the ramp.

A big thanks goes out to Josh. I was super impressed with his boat handling today... and nobody even got hurt! LOL! :)

Take Care and Be Safe!