Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Trifecta... Three Days in a Row on the Juniata River (04/20/14)

Hello Folks,

Happy Easter to all my FB Family and Friends. We are celebrating a glorious Christian holiday on a bright and sunny Easter morning here in The Village of West Willow, Pa. We even had a nighttime visit from the Easter Bunny and in a few minutes, my two beautiful granddaughters will be visiting us to look for their very own hidden Easter Baskets.

We will be eating Easter dinner at my brother's home today and I believe that Denny and Judy will be having an egg hunt for all the children. We will also be celebrating my middle brother's birthday. Jim turned 62 this past Wednesday (April 16, 2014).

This past week was the week that Josh and I were suppose to head up to the North Branch of the Susquehanna River for a four day getaway. But just like our last planned fishing trip to the NB in the Fall of 2011, we had a lot of rain the night before our departure and the NB rose to "unfishable" levels. Even  our good friend and guide on the NB, Lance Dunham  of LD Guide Service, cancelled his guide trips this past week due to poor conditions. They attempted to go out on a guide trip yesterday, Saturday, April 19, and the water was still high and muddy.

We were suppose to leave for the NB on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. But we stayed home instead and rested for the upcoming three days on the Juniata River. The Juniata River did not receive as much rainfall as the Susquehanna River or the North Branch did. The NB actually got hit with two rainstorms in less than three days. The first storm skirted the northern tier of Pennsylvania. The second storm on Tuesday, April 15, 2014, dropped close to two inches of rain on the NB. That made fishing unreasonable and dangerous.

So, Josh and I decided to fish the Juniata River from Millerstown to the confluence of the Susquehanna River. We covered quite a distance in three days and fished areas that I had never fished from a jet boat. I had fished some of these areas from my kayak when I used to yak fish with friends.
Day 1 (Thursday, April 17, 2014)

The air temperature was 28 degrees when I left for Josh's home at 4:45 a.m. I arrived by 5:15 a.m. and loaded my tackle and gear into Josh's boat that he had out in the driveway waiting for my arrival. We left from his home around 5:45a.m. and headed to the Mt. Joy Diner for a good hearty breakfast and some hot coffee to warm us up.

We launched from the Juniata Ramp at Amity Hall at 7:30 a.m. The water temperature was only 47 degrees and the water was a stained green, but very fishable. The air temperature didn't rise over 53 degrees during the day and the winds kicked up from the East at 10-15 mph with greater gust. Yes, it was a pretty rough day to be out on the water.

There was a definite difference between the water coloration of the Susquehanna River and the Juniata River. The Susquehanna River had a distinct mud line at the confluence and the Juniata River was dumping nice green-stained water in on the west shoreline of the Susquehanna.

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Bridge Crossing The Juniata River at the Confluence
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We tucked in behind the bridge and ate lunch. Josh took a well deserved nap from his week long over-the-road trucking.
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Day 2 (Friday, April 18, 2014)

I arose at 4:15 a.m. and got dressed for another day on the water with Josh. The air temperature was a bit warmer at 32 degrees, but the air temperature only warmed up to 53 degrees by the time we exited the river around 2:45 p.m. The river water temperature eventually reached 50 degrees on Friday because the sun was hidden behind clouds most of the day.

We stopped at the diner once again for breakfast and then ran up Rt. 322 to the Pilot Gas Station at Duncannon to fill our truck and boat's gas tanks. Then we headed further upriver than on Thursday.

Steve Halbleib and his work buddy, Rick Baker, were also fishing from the same launch. So Steve decided to challenge us to a friendly smallmouth fishing competition. Josh and I brought 15 fish into the boat and Steve and Rick boated 11 smallmouth. However, Steve had the lunker of the day with a beautiful 20.5" smallie... Great Catch, Steve!

This was a new area for Josh and I to explore with the jet rig. We fell into the pattern quite quickly with the help of information that Sean Beaver provided Steve from an early trip. The pattern stuck, but the successful lure had changed. Our most successful lure of the day was a 3.75" to 4" tubes on a 1/8th oz. tubehead jig. I used a bit of "juice" made by "Bang" and Josh didn't use any scent.

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Steve Halbleib and Rick Baker
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Day 3 (Saturday, April 19, 2014)

We saved the best day for last... What a gorgeous day! The air temperature was in the mid-30s when I arose at 4:15 a.m. I followed the same routine and got to Josh's home by 5:20 a.m. We loaded all my tackle and gear into his jet rig and we were off for the Mt. Joy Diner for breakfast.

We decided at breakfast to return to the launch we fished from on Friday. We had a decent numbers day on Friday under the conditions that we were fishing and thought we could improve that... Which we did!

I had a better start to the day than on Friday. I'm not sure what was holding me back on Friday except maybe that I was a bit sore from fishing the day before. But as each day came along, I felt physically better and better.

The water temperature started at 48.7 degrees and rose to 52. 7 degrees! It was time to try some spinnerbait action. I had thrown a spinnerbait on Day 1, but had no luck. However, Josh was able to catch two nice smallmouth on spinnerbaits in the warmer water on Saturday. Good job, Josh!

We got to see Tim Fehr and his sons on Saturday. They were having a good day on the water. I haven't seen Tim for a number of years. Boy have his sons grown in those years! It was great seeing you, Tim.

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This was a big fish day for the two of us. We caught several that were over 19" and a few more that were in the upper 18" range...

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First Spinnerbait Bass of the Season for Josh!
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Thank you all for visiting "Fishing With Dad". I hope that you have enjoyed this report and pictures. Please return often and check to see if I've placed yet another fishing report. The last three years have been extremely difficult years for me since I had my knee replaced in 2011 and the revision done in 2013. But as time passes, I am becoming more accustomed to living and dealing with my handicaps.

Take Care and Be Safe!