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Outdoors: Best fishing could be lakes, ponds

With all the heavy rain we’ve been having, stream and river fishing has been curtailed. During these times, anglers are best advised to fish lakes and ponds that aren’t affected as severely. As such, selected local waters are fishing fairly productively.

Willie Marx of Willie’s Bait & Tackle in Cementon, says the Lehigh River has surprisingly receded quickly. “I have a Hollywood block placed vertically on the shoreline below my shop, it’s my water level measurement device. There was a foot of dirt in front of it before the rains came and afterwards, the water level was covering the first hole in the block. A day later the water level was down and dirt again was a foot in front of the block. I never saw the river drop so fast. “However, it’s still a bit stained.”

Willie attributes this to less rain upriver in the Poconos.

Despite this, the river is fishing good for smallmouths, fallfish, rock bass and an occasional trout. Most river anglers, he said, are buying minnows and night crawlers and a few are using Berkley’s 3-inch, Power Trout Worm in Bubblegum scent.

Leaser Lake is fishing good for Muskies and largemouths, mostly all on large shiners. One customer said he latched onto a couple trout where the creek enters the lake at the North landing.

Willie also hears the Bethlehem Canal is producing large carp.

And although there was no official announcement, Willie heard the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission stocked Muskies in the Lehigh River in Allentown, presumably below the Hamilton Street Dam. The agency did announce it was stocking Muskies in the Susquehanna River this week, so maybe a few found their way to Allentown.

Rick, from Rick’s Bait and Tackle in Mertztown, reports Ontelaunee Reservoir in upper Berks County has been fishing good for sizable bass. Two customers picked up several largemouths in the 5-pound range while throwing 10-inch worms in black and brown colors and Culprit’s Water Dragon Lizards in dark green. Crappies are also hitting there.

Down at Blue Marsh Lake in Berks, two customers wade the shallows there and are picking up large and smallmouth bass on Salty Spider jigs, Z-Man’s and Chatter Baits.

Up north in Carbon County, there are still some trout remaining in Buckwa Creek, Aquashicola, Pohopoco Creek and Mahoning Creek, but few anglers are fishing for these leftovers.

In the northern lakes, Mauch Chunk has been offering some viable bass action, however, most are small and not of legal size. Panfishing though has been good around the fishing pier at the boat launch at Chunk and a good place to take a youngster fishing as the action will maintain their attention. A few anglers are also picking up some catfish at the boat launch during evening hours.

At Beltzville Lake, boat anglers are reported to be catching sizable stripers in the morning and evening hours when heavy recreational boat traffic is nil. A few brown trout measuring 24-26 inches are being hooked while bass action in the upper areas of the Pohopoco Bay and power lines and dam breast has picked up, according to On the Water Magazine.

Anglers should not overlook local farm ponds. Many harbor some hefty largemouths and panfish that will hit mostly anything artificial or live.

I once fished a small farm pond in New Tripoli and caught, weighed and released a 3-pound smallmouth bass. I had no idea where it came from as the water there didn’t seem conducive to a smallmouth. So these rural ponds could hold some surprises, even snapping turtles.


The Ontelaunee Rod & Gun Club in New Tripoli is hosting a Sportsman Swap Meet on Sunday, September 22, from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m.

It’s an opportunity to sell your shooting, hunting, archery, fishing, hiking and outdoor related items that you no longer need.

The meet is offering three options: Option A is outside in a 10x10 space, no table, no covering for $20; Option B is a 6-foot table outside under their pavilion for $25; Option C is a 6-foot table inside the clubhouse for $30.

To sign up go to www.ClubSwapMeet.com or contact Kathy DiCarlo at 484-554-4325.

Photo by Nick HromiakHefty largemouth bass can often be found in farm ponds with this one being caught on a golf course pond.