Smallmouth Fishing

I am looking for a few new places to go smallmouth fishing within 6 - 8 hours of Cleveland. My most common destinations are the Junita River near the breezewood exit on the turnpike and the Yauch. river in Ohio Pyle(I think I spelled both places incorrectly) both of which are in PA. The Junita river is a nice slow moving river and the Yauch is a little more challenging. I have found the fish to be a little bigger on average on the Yauch river. Does any one have any other ideas of on where there may be some good, river, smallmouth action?

Not far from the Juniata
The Juniata empties into the Susquehanna hear Harrisburg. The Susquehanna is just an enormous fishery. I can’t recommend any specific places - you’ll have to resort to maps for that. But the river is good. Plenty of hotels and campgrounds in that part of the world.

Been wanting to go check out the Yough myself for some WW action, but hadn’t considered smallie fishing. Guess I’ll have to rethink.

The North Branch of the Potomac has some WW and is known as a trout river - not smallies - but it has produced some record trout. Again, you’ll have to go with a guide or buttering up folks at a tackle shop to get some specific locales. Also again, plenty of campgrounds in the area.

Report back with what you find. I’m always looking for new places to fish and have family out that way in the Laurel Highlands.

  • Big D

Western Pa.
Have you tried the Allegheny River, Clarion River,

French Creek. All are in westen pa. and very good for smallmouth.

The last time I fished the yough river was in early October and we had 2 - 50 plus fish days several of them being in the 2 - 3 pound range. We also caught a few trout and one muskie. That was my first muskie and I am still not sure if I caught it or it caught me. It pulled me for quite a distance before I got it close enough to the kyak to release it. The Yough was easily one of the best smallmouth destinations that I have fished in the last few years. It was a fun place to kyak too with some class I - class II rapids. It is about as rough as I would want to get being a novice kyaker and fishing all day from the kyak in cold water.

Yough river
As far as fishing goes I was talking anout the middle portion of the Yough above the falls and below the dam. The white water action is on the lower and upper sections and my limmited skill keeps me away from those areas. The worst part in the middle section is about a class II at normal water levels.

Lake Erie
I have read that there are a ton of successful tour guides off the Bass Islands in Lake Erie who would love to take your money–and give you a great fishing experience. If it is anything like Grand Traverse Bay in Lake Michigan, there are football sized smallmouth in it.


– Last Updated: Feb-16-06 12:50 PM EST –

I just got a Scanoe that I'm setting up with a rowing station. Maybe I'll be able to get my dad or sister or step-brother to take a little fishing/camping excursion up that way. Class I sounds about right. It's a barge of a canoe and has a square stern, so I may want to portage if the rapids are at all technical. If they're just straight-forward chutes, no problem (or so I say now from the safety and warmth of my desk). I'll check AW to see what they say on the middle Yough.

Otherwise, maybe I'll be able to convince some kayakfishing buddies to take a road trip. That's only about a three or four hour drive or so from here. I'll drive three plus hours for a 50+ fish day anytime!

- Big D

I am still fairly inexperienced kayaker and I’m not too sure what a scanoe is but I would probably try it in a kayak first. It’s a 9 mile stretch of river and I am guessing you would have to get out and pull a lot in lower water conditions. If the water is up there would be a few places where you may take on a little more water than you would like too if it is an open deck craft.

I was there in late fall and we never saw another person fishing other than the fly fishermen by the dam. I am looking forward to another trip in the spring to see if it as good as it was in the fall. I am also curious what it will be like in the summer with the rafters and others recreating in the area.

the lower yough
Another great fishing destination is the lower yough river. Hazelbakers canoe service in Layton can take you upstream for either a 14 mile or 8 mile trip. The smallmouth fishing is great. There are also muskie, walleye, and trout. The bass are the most abundant though. Weekends in the summertime can be quite busy though and I would recommend taking the earliest trip.

Try Lake St Clair. It is a world class small mouth fishery. For you, about a 3 to 4 hour drive.

The Susquehanna River

– Last Updated: Feb-22-06 2:44 AM EST –

Is one of the best smallmouth fisheries in the country! Camp at Ferryboat campground( 30 minutes or so north of Harrisburg on Rt 15.) on the susquehanna and paddle out to islands etc from there. Tubes, grubs, and shallow water shad raps work great. Top water works well when the water warms up. Good luck!
By the way, a great paddle shop is also on Rt 15 just a few miles up from Harrisburg. It's called Blue Mountain Outfitters.

Ditto on BMO
Blue Mountain Outfitters is the friendliest and most helpful outfitter I have ever been in. They have a good selection of whatever it is you need (so long as it’s paddle related).

  • Big D

Thanks for the tips I am looking forward to trying some of them out.