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Map highlighting counties in the Southeast RegionREGION COUNTIES -- Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Schuylkill (County Guide)

Reports compiled by Andrew Desko (adesko@pa.gov), Southeast Region Education Specialist, using information provided by Waterways Conservation Officers, Area Fisheries Managers and other PFBC staff.

Fishing and Boating Report – July 16, 2014
S. Berks County

If the heat and humidity is finally getting to you, then there are plenty of places to cool off and try some night fishing. All area lakes are open 24/7 for fishing and boating, and the Schuylkill River is a prime spot for Flathead Catfish.

Big fish feed at night, and you will have a good chance at hooking into a trophy Striped Bass, catfish or Walleye. Worms, liver and large minnows work just fine, and do not forget to leave the drag loose or bail open to avoid having a rod going airborne. Artificial lures are a sure bet. Work edges of weed beds and other structure with surface plugs to have fish ambush your lure. A small lantern or headlamp is essential, and a strike indicator or lighted bobber will increase your chances of hooking that fish.

Blue Marsh Lake report: Bass fishing was a little spotty over the weekend with the on and off thunderstorms, but catfish and crappie fishing continues to be good. A reminder to boaters to reduce speed around docks and other restricted areas, and to obtain and carry Boating Education Safety certificates when required.

Enjoy the summer!

S. Chester County

If you have been waiting for your big break into Bass Tournament Fishing, this may be it. Captain Jim is having a Bass Open Tournament at the Octoraro Reservoir on Sunday, August 10 from 6:15 AM until 12:15 PM. To get to the lake, simply get on Rte. 1 in Southern Chester County and get off on the Rte. 472 Exit. Turn West on Rte. 472 West and you will go over the Rt 472 Bridge and at the top of the next hill, you will turn left on to Spruce Grove Road. You will go about a mile and at the bottom of the hill; you will see the lake and the Fishing Headquarters on your left. The physical address for the Fishing Headquarters is 212 Spruce Grove Road, Kirkwood, PA 17536, Call Captain Jim, phone 717-529-2488 or visit his website at http://www.jimsbait.net/.   Only fishing from a boat is permitted, limit of two persons per boat.

Struble Lake is located in Honey Brook Township in the more scenic half of Chester County; the Southern half. The most direct way to reach Struble Lake is to drive to the intersection of Route 322 and Route 10 in Honey Brook. Head East on Route 322 at this point for 4.6 miles and then turn left on to Chestnut Tree Road. Go 2.9 miles and you will come to the second stop sign on Chestnut Tree Road, turn left on to Morgantown Road, and drive for 1/2 mile. Turn left into the Struble Lake launch area and parking lot. If you have a GPS unit, the co-ordinates are 40.1118 x -75.8630.

Here is some history and general information on this underutilized fishing and boating resource. The lake was first proposed in the 1960's as flood control and a watershed storage supply. Ground was first broken and construction of the lake began in 1970 and was completed in 1971. The Struble Lake property itself is 386 acres, while the lake is 146 of that. The drainage area of the lake is about 1600 acres; it has a shoreline of about 1.8 miles and an average depth of 6 feet, with a maximum depth of 21 feet near the center of the dam. The dam is about 1480 feet long and is 31 feet high. It was built by Water Resources Authority of Chester County and functions as an area for recreation, flood control and watershed storage. Capacity of the Struble Lake watershed storage is 528 million gallons. The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission controls Struble Lake.

The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission stocked Panfish, forage and fingerling game fish. Boating on Struble Lake is limited to unpowered boats and electric motors only. Swimming is not permitted and no swim aids, sailboards, etc are permitted. Anglers from boats usually outfish shore anglers when fishing at Struble Lake; however, there is plenty of shore angling access available.

A dock, boat ramp and ample parking are all available. All boats, powered or unpowered must have either a launch permit or registration. A rest area is available at the boat ramp. Dogs must be on a leash and the owner is responsible to clean up after the dog.
 
Regulations for Struble Lake fall under Commonwealth Inland Waters. See your fishing summary for more specific information on fishing and follow all seasons, sizes and creel limits when fishing, which gives the fishery a chance to improve. Most anglers practice catch and release when fishing at Struble Lake and you should at least consider doing the same to keep the lake’s angling state improving.

Fish structure was placed in the lake on a number of occasions and times. The lake provides good fishing opportunities for both warm water and cool water species. You can expect to find crappie, Yellow Perch, Walleye, bass, sunfish, catfish & carp at Struble Lake. Recent fish surveys of Struble Lake by the "Fish Whisperer" Mike Kaufmann and his staff have shown that while the Bass population at Struble Lake is lower than average, the Bass at Struble Lake are larger than average, so anglers looking to target larger bass should consider a trip to Struble Lake. While Walleye populations are only average, the number of large Walleye were larger than average. The largest Walleye was 25 inches long and weighed 6.6 pounds. Anglers report that fishing at night from a boat with a shad dart tipped with a minnow can be productive. Bluegill and Perch numbers were in the average range but the size of the fish were below average. The Channel Catfish population is excellent with the largest fish taken in the survey being 32 inches long and weighed 14 pounds. Walleyes and catfish can both be easier to catch at night.

When fishing from a boat at night, make sure that you have the correct lighting configuration for your boat between sunset and sunrise. Information for lighting requirements based on your boat type can be found in the Boating Handbook. You should also always wear a properly fitted personal flotation device equipped with a waterproof light and whistle. This wear is now mandatory from November 1 to April 30 on any boat underway or at anchor less than 16 feet in length or any canoe or kayak.

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Fishing and Boating Report – July 10, 2014
S. Berks County

A perfect holiday weekend kicked off with many people enjoying Fish for Free Day on July 4 to catch their first fish or just to “wet a line.”

Bass fishing continues to be good at Blue Marsh Lake with most fish taken on plastics and crank baits worked deep. Fishing structure and downed trees is the key to catching crappie; best time is at dusk using live minnows for big fish.

A reminder to carry boating education safety certificates if operating any personal watercraft, or operating a motorboat exceeding 25 horsepower if born on or after Jan. 1, 1982.
If you are looking for other good bass lakes, Hopewell Lake in French Creek State Park and PFBC Kaercher Creek Lake in Hamburg are worth a try. Both are smaller lakes (electric motor only), but are perfect areas for fishing poppers and other surface lures for catching big bass.

If you prefer shore fishing, Lake Ontelaunee near Leesport is another prime bass spot, especially in the Peter’s Creek arm of the lake.

Good luck!

E. Berks / N. Montgomery Counties

Anglers on the Schuylkill River are reporting nice size Smallmouth Bass around the Pottstown Area. The bass in this area mainly feed on crayfish so try using similar baits. Carp and catfish are also being caught in this area late at night. Pottstown Riverfront Park is a great place to fish this section of the river with adequate parking and a trail along the water that stretches ½ mile.

S. Montgomery / W. Philadelphia Counties

Hot weather in the area brings with it increased boating activities on the Schuylkill River, especially around the Flat Rock Park/Access Area.  Boaters are reminded to maintain a safe distance between boats, rowers and skiers.  Be safe. Jet skiers and motorboat operators need to exercise caution when approaching kayaks, rowers/rowing teams and other watercraft.  Utilizing common sense is a good practice when sharing the waterways with other boaters.
Smallmouth Bass and Largemouth Bass fishing is heating up in the Schuylkill River around the Fairmount Dam/Art Museum area. Catfish action from Fairmount Dam to Flat Rock Dam is very good. Channel Cats and big Flathead Catfish are seeing the most action. Live Bluegills fished at night is the preferred method for catching large Flatheads.

Striped Bass are biting below the Fairmount Dam, but the majority of these fish are below the legal limit of 28 inches.  Catch and release is the name of the game for juvenile/under sized stripers. Don’t get caught with an undersized Striper - the penalty can be significant. 

On the Delaware River, there are still plenty of short/juvenile Stripers, Channel Cats and White Perch. The catfish are being caught on night crawlers, bagels and chicken livers, while the short Stripers have been hitting on Bloodworms.

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Fishing and Boating Report – July 2, 2014
This Friday, the Fourth of July, is the second Fish for Free Day in Pennsylvania. Adults do not need a license to fish, so get out there and catch a few! All other fishing regulations apply, and anglers can review them here: www.fishinpa.com.

S. Berks County

It was a great weekend for fishing and boating at Blue Marsh Lake.
As temperatures increased, many boaters opted to anchor up in the no-wake arms of the lake and go for a swim (a great idea!). Swimming is permitted in most areas, but please do not attempt to swim across channels, especially on the main lake to avoid being struck by a boat. Sun glare and boat wakes limit visibility. Be safe, avoid high traffic areas, and wear a lifejacket while swimming.

A reminder to boaters to reduce speed around docks and other congested areas, and be sure to check required safety equipment prior to launching. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary often conducts boat inspections at the launches, they are a great source information, and they will be more than glad to check your boat.

Fishing was very productive throughout the weekend at the lake. The hot bait for bass was plastic lures worked deep starting near shoreline. Some decent size crappies taken on minnows and jigs around structure. Do not forget, July 4th is Fish for Free Day with no license needed. Enjoy the Holiday!

N. Chester County

Marsh Creek Lake: Bluegills and crappies are taking mealworms and wax worms, minnows and small jigs. Bass are taking live bait (worms & minnows) as well as jigs, spinners and crank baits. Best colors to use, are large black, purple or dark green rubber worms and pumpkin seed. Best live baits are crayfish, minnows and night crawlers.

Streams: French Creek, Pickering Creek, East Brandywine Creek and West Valley Creek have good water with plenty of trout and very few anglers fishing for them. Water temperatures were in the mid high 50s to low 60s.
Fly anglers reported taking trout on blue wing olives, midges and a few taken on sulfurs. Small pheasant tail and hares ears nymphs are a good bet for nymph anglers.

Remember, you may never have bait in your possession in any of the Special Regulation Areas. The Fly Fishing Area is Catch & Release Only. In addition, you may not possess bait in the Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only Areas.
 
Schuylkill River: Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass fishing slowed a bit around Black Rock. Catfish anglers have reported catching several large Channel Catfish and are getting into Flathead Catfish as well.

Notice! Stay clear of the fish ladder at the Black Rock Dam. Respect the river, and wear a PFD while onboard a boat.

Lehigh County

The Lehigh County Conservation District, in partnership with PA Fish & Boat Commission, Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy, and Perkiomen Valley Trout Unlimited received Growing Greener Grant funding to restore a 415 linear foot section of the Hosensack Creek in the Perkiomen Creek Watershed. Project partners will be installing fish habitat structures, removing existing dams, and stabilizing streambanks on July 7, 8, and 9 starting at 8AM each day. The project site is located at the PPL Substation on Palm Road, Lower Milford Township, Lehigh County. Machines will be used to conduct most of the hard labor, but volunteers are needed to do hand labor including rearranging rock, getting logs in final position, driving rebar, seeding, and mulching. If it rains on Monday, then the project will be pushed back to Tuesday. Please contact Laura Hopek, Watershed Specialist, at theLehigh County Conservation Districtvia (610) 391-9583, extension 25or LHopek@lehighconservation.org if you would like to volunteer. Restoration efforts such as this will enhance fish, aquatic, and wildlife habitat, while expanding wild trout populations in this watershed. Sediment and non-point source pollutants entering this section of the creek will be reduced, therefore improving the overall water quality in the Perkiomen Creek watershed.

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