Friday, May 13, 2011

Solo Trip On Lake Aldred, Susquehanna River (05/13/11)

Hello Folks,

I've been watching the extended forecast closely these past few days and took notice that a front would be moving through tonight. The weatherman was calling for rain tonight, tomorrow, and Sunday. In fact, the weather report is calling for t-storms and showers all the way through 'til next Thursday.

Well, I can't complain because we just had eight straight glorious days without rain!

So, upon hearing today's weather forecast, I decided to take a solo trip and the first for my home waters at Lake Aldred on the Lower Susquehanna River.

As I was driving down the back roads to the launch, I was reminded by the radio DJ that today was Friday the 13th... Oh, Boy! No folks, I do not have " friggatriskaidekaphobia" (Fear of Friday the 13th). :) 

The Safe Harbor and Holtwood Dams had the water very low. The bottom of the ramp was entirely covered in mud. I was able to get the trailer backed into the water through all the muck without getting my truck tires messed up. Good deal!

I began my outing by running up river towards the Safe Harbor Dam. As I was approaching the Conestoga channel, I could see the water swirling which is a definite indicator that the dam was generating and dumping water into the lake. How much, I couldn't tell until I was nearer the dam, but it was strong. They had five gates forcing water downriver and there was a heck of a current. The water level wasn't rising which meant that the Holtwood Dam was dumping water as fast as Safe Harbor was pushing it... Yikes!

As you can see by the video, the river was really moving and very dangerous. On top of that, there was a strong SSE wind blowing all day long and you can hear it in the microphone. Let me tell you, Accuweather was trying to report that the wind was only 5-7 mph... That was way off. There was a wicked SSE wind blowing by lunchtime. It was even strong enough to move my G3 1860 up river against that heavy current!

The air temp was 55 degrees when I arrived at the ramp and rose to 68 degrees by 3:00 pm. The water temp in the lake was warmer than upriver. I got a temperature range between 61.5 degrees and 62 degrees. That's five degrees warmer than what we had while out fishing this past Tuesday on the Juniata River.

I call the color of the water we had today on the lake "Aldred Green". It was rather clear and had that beautiful green tint to it.

So, now I'm dealing with a heavy SSE wind and a terrific current coming from the many gates that were open at the Safe Harbor Damhen... Including the Shad Ladder pushing water. As the adage goes, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!" I that's exactly what I intended to do today.

In preparing to take on this task, I changed my lures for today's trip. I love throwing searching baits at Safe Harbor in the conditions I found there today and using a soft plastic as a follow-up. My lure choices for today were a 1/2 oz Winco Specialty Smallmouth Spinner Bait in Chartreuse and White with a #4.5 hammered willow blade and smaller Colorado blade, 1/2 oz. Cotton Cordell Super Spot, 1/3 oz. Firetiger Big O, and a 3.5" mudpie with orange flake tube.

By far, the Specialty Spinner Bait" was attracting hits with more frequency than any of the other lures. I managed to catch an 18" smallie and a 19" (4.5 lb) largemouth on that spinner bait today. I was extremely disappointed when I hooked into another porker, breaking my line, and losing the only "Specialty Spinner Bait" with a #4.5 blade... Shucks!

I did have a couple with the smaller hammered blade and the fish didn't seem to mind the change at all. Good! I was now back in action.

There were no other boats on the water until afternoon. Being on the river alone is a special treat. I was able to have the time to take in my surroundings. I saw three osprey squawking over a fish that one had caught. I also saw a mature eagle flying upriver from me. A little while later, two immature eagles were circling above me. I also caught sight of many carp leaping for the sky. What a day!

In the afternoon, I spotted my good fishing buddy CHRGD and his wife. They were a bit downriver from me. It took me awhile to meet up with them because I was in and among the many rocks and boulders and had to be very careful navigating with the TM with the water so low. I did manage to contact him to see how they were doing. CHRGD and his wife were doing well tossing soft plastics... nothing really big, but  very good numbers.

I finished the day around 3:00 pm. and headed back to the ramp. There were only two other trucks and trailers parked in the lot. I had passed one of the boats heading up river when I was returning to the ramp.

What I find funny with the weather report we were given today is that they "claimed" the wind would be around 6 mph out of the SSE. However, I had major white caps and rollers heading back in. Someone missed that call today. What's new!?   :)

Sorry that I have no pics of the two nicer fish from today to share with you. I unintentionally left my camera sitting at home.

Take Care and Be Safe!