Several groups hold events on area waterways

Last updated: June 07. 2014 10:20PM - 2224 Views
By - tvenesky@civitasmedia.com

Lynda Rosencrans with a four-pound smallmouth bass she aught in the Susquehanna River last year to win the Suskie Bassmaster's championship.
Lynda Rosencrans with a four-pound smallmouth bass she aught in the Susquehanna River last year to win the Suskie Bassmaster's championship.
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With warmer summer weather finally here, anglers are gearing up for the start of bass season on June 14 and are expected to be out in large numbers on the state’s most popular lakes and streams, including PA’s Best Bass Fishing Waters.

“Bass are one of the top two most popular sportfish targeted by anglers,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “And the Commonwealth has plenty of fantastic spots for anglers, including Presque Isle Bay and Pymatuning Reservoir, which were recently ranked 28th and 71st, respectively, on BassMaster Magazine’s list of Top 100 Bass Lakes.”

The start of bass season also falls on Father’s Day weekend, and Arway expects this to have an impact on participation as well.

“I can’t think of a better way for grandfathers and fathers to spend their weekend than outside fishing with their sons, daughters and grandkids,” he said.

The PFBC reminds anglers that “catch and immediate release” no harvest regulations apply to smallmouth and largemouth bass on the lower sections of the Susquehanna River (below Sunbury) and Juniata River (below Port Royal) and into the rivers’ tributaries to points one-half river-mile upstream from the confluence. For more information about the smallmouth bass issue in the Susquehanna River, visit http://fishandboat.com/susq-impairment.htm.

The PFBC website has a host of information to help anglers plan their fishing trips. Visit www.fishandboat.com and select from the left navigation column “Fish” and “Fishing Fundamentals” to get started. For more information about bass, visit http://fishandboat.com/bass.htm. For a guide to fishing regulations, visit www.fishinpa.com.

Upcoming area bass tournaments (If you would like to add a tournament to the list, email Tom Venesky at tvenesky@timesleader.com)

The Suskie Bassmasters will host a Wednesday tournament each week on the Susquehanna River beginning June 18. The tournament will be held at the boat launch in Nesbitt Park and registration begins at 4:30 p.m. Launch is at 6 p.m. and weigh-in is at 9 p.m. For more information, visit:




The Harveys Lake Wednesday Night Bass Tournament will run weekly, from June 18 to Sept. 10. The championship round will include the top 30 anglers based on total weight over 12 weeks and will be worth $1,200. The lunker tournament (each angler weighing one fish) will begin at 6 p.m. with weigh-in at 9 p.m. at the launch. Registration is at 4:30 p.m. Entry fee is $15 with a one-time $10 fee to be eligible for the championship round. For more information, call Duke Dalley at 991-0080 or visit http://dukedalley.wix.com/hlwnbt.

PA Bass Bandits will hold the following tournaments this summer (for more information visit www.bassbandits.com or www.nepafishing.com):

June 15 at Francis Slocum Lake, 6 a.m. to noon

June 28-29 at Oneida Lake in New York, 5:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

July 6 at Prompton Lake, 6 a.m. to noon

July 20 at Lake Winola, 6 a.m. to noon

July 27 at Duck Harbor, 6 a.m. to noon

Aug. 10 at Lackawanna State Park, 6 a.m. to noon

Sept. 7 at Lake Wallenpaupack (Mangan Cove), 6 a.m. to noon

Spet. 14 at White Oak Pond, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Spet. 28 at Promised Land State Park (Burley inlet launch), 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Oct. 5 at Lake Carey, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Oct. 12 at Lake Wallenpaupack (championship), 1 a.m. to 1 p.m.

PA Bass Casters will host the following open buddy tournaments this summer (for more information call Dan at 570-762-1469):

- June 22 at Harveys Lake, safe light until 1 p.m. at the PFBC boat launch, five-fish limit

- July 6 at Lake Carey, safe light until 1 p.m. at Frank’s Marina, five-fish limit

Pennsylvania Kayak Fishing Association will hold three tournaments this summer (for more information, visit www.pkfa.org):

June 21 - Wyoming Valley Riverfest Charity Kayak Fishing Tournament, 7:30 a.m. at Nesbitt Park

July 19 - Susquehana Jamma Kayak Fishing Tournament, 7:30 a.m. in Tunkhannock

July 27 - Second Annual Shickshinny Kayak Fishing Tournament (Suskie Slamma with separate powerboat and kayak division)

Kayak-Anglers.com will hold the following tournaments this summer (for more information, visit www.kayak-anglers.com):

- June 22 at Lily Lake

- July 12 at Tunkhannock

- Aug. 2 at Brady’s Lake

- Aug. 23 at Bloomsburg

- Sept. 13 at Shohola/Lake Greeley

- Oct. 4 at Harveys Lake

The Nanticoke Conservation Club will hold a Susquehanna River Bass Tournament on Saturday, June 28 from 6 a.m. to noon. at the boat launch on the Hunlock Creek Access along state Route 11 in Union Township. Registration begins at 5 a.m. Entry fee is $25 per person with a $10 lunker option. For more information visit www.nanticokeconservationclub.com.

A bass tournament will be held on Sunday, Sept. 22 at Blytheburn Lake on Blytheburn Road in Mountain Top from 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Entry fee is $40 per team and the tournament is limited to 10 boats. Reservations are being accepted. the tournament is the final fundraiser for the Blytheburn Lake Association’s DEP assessment. For more information call 570-868-6895 or 570-678-5261.

When Neil Marcen moved to the area from New Jersey 12 years ago, he wasn’t big into bass tournaments.

Now he runs them.

“When I came to this area the bass fishing bug got me,” said Marcen, who is president of the local bass fishing club Bass Bandits.

“I love the competition and the rush when everyone starts up their boats and idles on the lake waiting for a tournament to start.”

With bass season set to start Saturday, many area clubs will kick off their tournament seasons not long after. Anglers will have plenty to choose from, including tournaments on area lakes and the Susquehanna River.

Many of the area’s bass tournaments have become a tradition in the angling community. The Wednesday night tournament at Harveys Lake has been running strong for more than 15 years, while the Suskie Bassmasters weekly tourney on the Susquehanna River is now entering it’s 10th season.

There’s a reason why the tournaments catch on and evolve into traditions: the area simply offers some of the best bass fishing found in the state.

“I’ve been getting a lot of calls from anglers all over the area who are anxious for the tournament to start,” said Duke Dalley, who has run the Harveys Lake event for the last three years. “We’ve got a great bunch of guys and we’re getting new anglers — younger people and women who are getting into fishing. A lot of anglers are bringing their wives and girlfriends, which makes it a family event.”

Dalley said the tournament averaged 25 boats each week for a total of 50 anglers. He’d like to see the average increase to 30 boats for the 12-week tournament, which culminates with a championship offering a $1,200 payout.

The Suskie Bassmasters, which hold their tournaments each Wednesday out of Nesbitt Park, has increased the number of its events this summer from 13 to 14. The club recently formed a branch with the Pennsylvania Kayak Fishing Association and has seen it’s membership increase. Lynda Rosencrans, secretary/treasurer of the Suskie Bassmasters, said last summer the tournaments averaged 60 anglers each week plus several dozen onlookers who came to the park each Wednesday to watch the weigh-in.

Rosencrans said new members are always welcome and they don’t need to be expert bass anglers to compete. There are some safety precautions to consider when it comes to fishing on the river, however, and her husband, Rob, who serves as vice president of the club, mentors new members on how to fish the river safely.

“Fishing the river is different than a lake because of the current,” Lynda said. “You also have rapids, such as the ones near Tilbury, and shoals to avoid.

“If somebody’s new we’ll take the time to go over all the safety issues to make sure they know exactly what they’re doing. We want them to do it safely and enjoy the fishing.”

The PA Bass Bandits club is unique in that it’s Internet-based. Members communicate via a website and new members can join with the click of a button. Marcen said the club has 25 members and can accept a few more, but he doesn’t want to go over 30 to avoid having to buy an insurance policy for the tournaments.

Walk-ons for the clubs tournaments are welcome, he said.

The club holds tournaments on lakes throughout the region in addition to one out-of-state event each summer, such as Lake Oneida in New York. Marcen said the tournament schedule is chosen in November and then he applies for permits from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

“We generally schedule the shallower lakes early because they heat up faster and we avoid places like Harveys Lake and Wallenpaupack in mid-August because of all the jet skis and boat traffic. We stick to the smaller, electric motor only lakes in mid-summer,” Marcen said.

As far as what bass anglers can expect in area waterways this summer, Marcen said things are looking good.

“I was fishing Lake Carey for crappie earlier and I caught and released several smallmouth over 3 pounds and 4-and-a-half pound largemouth,” he said. “There’s big fish out there, and that’s what makes the tournaments exciting. Anybody is just one bite away from catching that big one and winning a tournament.”

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