Here in NW PA, we have been impacted by a considerable number of thunderstorms since mid-May, dumping higher than normal amount of rain. Even going into July, all our lakes and reservoirs remain high and dirty. The Allegheny River and French Creek have been blown out several times, and both remain higher than usual for mid-summer and chocolate in color. Due to the unstable weather and other pressing matters, Marilyn and I have not been fishing nearly as often as we would like. The other night Marilyn called from work saying she really needed a fishing break when she got home. With the full moon rising, I knew exactly where we should go: Woodcock Creek Lake for smallmouth bass.
We hit the lake about 7 PM. It was high and dirty as expected. But the ramp was busy with anglers launching and retrieving boats. However among those we conversed with, no one had caught a bass all day.
Our plan was simple, forget about the usual offshore structure. Instead, stay within casting distance of the shore and throw some loud, visible baits. I started out with a Hubs Chub topwater that my buddy Steve had been catching bass on at the lake a week ago. But the topwater failed to draw a strike in the first 100 yards.
Meanwhile, Marilyn struck first with a dark colored Chatterbait. The fish hit so hard she almost had the rod ripped from her hands. It stayed down even though the water depth was only 4 feet, pulling drag in a dogfight as it made for deep water. With water so discolored, we could not clearly identify the fish until she worked it to the net. It was a smallmouth bass approximately 16/17 inches in length.
Me? I lost a 12-inch bass and missed another hit on the same point. It wasn't my night.
Interesting all the smallmouths were fat from eating well. They also lack the typical bar markings and dark shading typical of smallmouths in this normally clear-water impoundment.
We fished another another hour without a hit and headed back to the ramp as darkness set it.