Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Final Week Of Summer... Fishing Lake Aldred With Dell (09/17/13)

Hello Folks,

My heart goes out to all those who lost loved ones yesterday at the Naval Yards shootings. It saddens me to see such a tragedy happen to those family members who have dedicated their lives to serving the general public. God bless all who's lives have been affected. 

I would also like to take a moment to remember my deceased sister-in-law, Jane Thompson, who passed away this day (September 17, 2004), nine years ago. With her passing, Julie and I assumed responsible for the welfare of her fifteen year old son, Seth, and her nine year old daughter, Ariel.

Both our nephew and niece came to live with me, my wife, and three sons. That meant, that within a blink of an eye, our family grew from five to seven. A huge, but loving, responsibility. Seth and Ariel were connected to Julie's side of the family through her brother. They were the children of her next to youngest brother, Mark. Mark passed away two years prior to Jane's death. A terrible loss for the family since Mark was only in his 40s.

Seth stayed with us for several months and never really assimilated here in Willow Street after living most of his childhood in Mt. Carmel, Pa. He was extremely close to their next-door neighbors and eventually returned to Mt. Carmel to live with them. Seth was then able to finish his last two high school years with those he grew up with and was also able to participate in high school football his senior year. He now owns his own home in Mt. Carmel, Pa. and works for a company that digs trenches and lays optic fiber lines in Northeast Pennsylvania.

During the school year that Ariel lived with us, I became quite ill and was diagnosed with liver disease. Ariel's maternal aunt from Alaska came to take Ariel for a summer visit. She had told us earlier that she knew her church pastor and family were considering adopting a young girl in the near future. The pastor's family consisted of the pastor and his wife, a biological daughter and son, and two adopted Inuit Indian boys. All the children were very close in age. In fact, Ariel was the same age as one of the adopted sons.

Well, when Ariel went to visit in Alaska with her aunt, the Rud family showed up at the Anchorage Airport to greet them. It was at that moment that they invited her to stay the summer with them. Several months later,  they adopted Ariel and she became the Rud family's fifth child... God is good!

The first week that Ariel lived with us, she turned ten years old. This was only a week after her mother passed away. This coming week, Ariel will be turning nineteen years old and is now a new freshman in college in Minnesota!

Time flies by so quickly and, despite the tragedy our family experience nine years ago, we endured and both children have grown into fine young and productive adults. I am sure Mark and Jane would be extremely proud of both Seth and Ariel and the adults they have become.

Now... For tonight's fishing adventure with my good buddy, Dell Jackson.

Earlier today, Dell texted me and asked if I wanted to go fishing later this afternoon after he was finished with work. Of course I wanted to go fishing with my good friend. Little did I know that when I awoke today that he would be contacting me. Just this past Sunday, I was in the garage going over my gear and tackle and preparing just in case I got the opportunity to fish this week... LOL... My wish came true!

The last time I was on the water fishing was with Dell back on August 25. That was twenty-four days ago!

We had such a good day of fishing on our last trip and I hoped for the same this afternoon. This outing was our first evening trip together of the year. I wasn't sure what to expect since I haven't been on the water for so long. I have, although, been keeping close track of the fishing reports on the several fishing websites I visit. But all those Susquehanna River fishing reports have come from anglers above Harrisburg, Pa. The main stem above Harrisburg, Pa. tends to present better fishing opportunities for smallmouth bass fishing... Both in size and numbers.

Gleaming information from these sites, I chose to start the evening out by tossing a 3/8th oz. War Eagle spinnerbait. In fact, my first strike came within minutes of fishing and as Dell was still tying on his first lure. "You snooze, you lose!"

Dell was able to catch several bass while casting a floating jerkbait. The fish you see below was his first of the evening. And as usual, Dell was extremely happy to have chased the skunk out of his end of the boat rather early in the outing.
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I had noticed a beautiful bald eagle flying close by when we first arrived at our fishing spot below the Safe Harbor Dam. Later, that same eagle put on a magnificent show for us as he swooped down from above and grabbed an unsuspecting catfish from the river. What a great site to see!

Our biggest fish of the night came on a crankbait tossed into 5.5' of stained water.
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I get a big kick out of Dell's poses. In the above pic, he decided to "stick his tongue out" at the smallie as if to say, "You thought you were smart, but you're not as smart as good ole' Dell!" LOL!

What a beautiful evening!
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As you can see from the above picture, we had a high blue bird sky. The air temperature was 68 degrees when we left my home at 3:40 p.m. and dropped close to 60 by the time we exited the ramp at 7:00 p.m.

The water coloration was a typical "Lake Aldred Stained Green" which is caused by the river water being agitated and oxygenated as it passes through the power plant turbines and out through the three open gates at the bottom of the Safe Harbor dam.

The water temperature was a cool 66.9 degrees according to my Lowrance depth finder.

The water dropped a good 4+ feet tonight. Although the Safe Harbor power plant was generating and dumping water, Holtwood Power Plant to the south must have been "sucking water" faster than was entering at Safe Harbor.

You would think that would make it easier for us to find the fish since it would concentrate or restrict them to smaller water. However, we worked extremely hard for the fish we caught this evening. We are in the time of year when the dams do not need to keep the water of Lake Aldred at "Recreational Levels". "Recreational Levels" fall between Memorial Day Weekend in May and Labor Day weekend in September.

We decided to use our running lights as we headed back to the ramp. I wanted to test my lights since I hadn't used them in nearly two years. The bow running lights lit up on first try, but the anchor light was another thing. It wouldn't light up. SO, we decided to head back a bit earlier to avoid any problems with the Conservation Officer.

When I got home, I usd the front lights to test the anchor light plug. The front running lights lit up on the back plug. Now I know that my problem lies, most likely, in the bulb. I'll be replacing it before my next evening run.

Another thing we anglers must be aware of is the presence of water fowl hunters this time of year. I am also a goose and duck hunter and I respect the short amount of time they have available to hunt water fowl. Please be aware that we share the water with many other users who also have a legal right to utilize our natural resources.

Take Care and Be Safe!

Update (09/18/13) - Julie and I shopped at  EM Herr Farm & Home Center in Willow Street and found a two-pack of standard light bulbs for the anchor light that wouldn't work last evening. Now we are back and ready to run at dawn and dusk!