Christopher Smith

Susquehanna River Fishing In Trouble

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Susquehanna River fishing may be in trouble.  Once thought of as one of the top smallmouth bass fisheries, and also home to Walleye, Musky, Catfish and numerous other game fish, it may be in big trouble.

For the past decade, fishermen who have been fishing for smallmouths over the past 40 years have noticed a change in the numbers of young smallmouth and the health of the adult smallmouth in the areas of the West Branch and Main Stem, near, above and below Harrisburg.  The North Stem, up towards Scranton, appears to be not as affected.

Susquehanna River Fishing

Susquehanna River Fishing

The Susquehanna has amazing amounts of rock and the crayfish are unbelievable.  If you are wading, you can literally see hundreds of crayfish scurrying around.  For this reason, tubes are often a go to bait here.  With the amount of sick fish being found.  Many fishermen are concerned and there are numerous studies showing the effects of pollutants of the reproduction and immune systems of the fish.

The PA Fish and Boat Commission are aware of the problems but don’t have the resources (or desire?) to push hard on this issue.

Here is an excerpt from the Patriot News and follow along to the original article.  It is a big concern for all fishermen.

By John Arway

Sick fish. Sick river. It’s that simple. Once considered a world-class bass fishery, the Susquehanna River is plagued with disease that has been killing young-of-year smallmouth bass for almost a decade and has most recently resulted in unsightly lesions and open sores on adult bass. It is time for the Department of Environmental Protection to acknowledge the facts and add the river to the federal list of impaired and threatened waters, commonly known as the 303(d) list.

View the original article here.

The biggest concern is that with so many fish showing lesions, are we too late to save the fish that are there.  We know from other rivers, including the Connecticut River, Schuylkill River, Lake Erie, etc., that polluted fisheries can recover but it takes years.    Take a look at the map.  The Susquehanna feeds the Chesapeake Bay.

Lets not wait any longer to take action and get these contamination problems under control.  With The Susquehanna River fishing in trouble, who knows what else is affected by the pollution that is affecting these fish.

My full time career is as a veterinarian. As part of an effort to identify the black spots that are being seen with increasing frequency, once bass season is open again, I will collecting several smallmouth bass and biopsying and testing them with the help of a veterinarian that specializes in fish.  We will be trying to come up with some answers outside of the “system” and politics.

We will publish whatever results we get. You can follow us on Twitter for updates in the months to come. You can also sign up for email updates and other news, tips and special deals here: sign up here

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