Tag Archives: juniata river

Landry hauls in a big catfish

Last Friday Elijah, Landry and I decided to take the boat out on the Juniata to see if we could catch a stringer full of panfish.  Of course, while we were out there, we’d stay a while after dark and see if there were any catfish around.  As it turned out, the bluegill and rock bass were not cooperative.  The bite was slow and the fist were mostly too small to be worth taking home.

Once it got dark, our bad luck continued with a number of dinky bullhead catfish.  Then Landry’s rod bent over.  By the time he got it up to the boat several minutes later, we knew it was a good fish.  It turned out to be a 25.5 inch channel catfish, probably 7 or 8 pounds. After years of fishing the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River, my personal best catfish there is still just 24 inches, so Landry did pretty well for his second time out for catfish on that river.

Camping Along the Juniata River

We had a great time this weekend tent camping along the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River near the town of Hopewell.   Landry, Camden, and I had camped at the same location for a night last year, but this time the whole family went.  We were also joined by Seth & Jennifer Elliot and their family.  My only complaint was that it wasn’t long enough.

We got there in time for some hot dogs over the fire on Friday afternoon, and then some of us took a canoe upstream to my favorite fishing spot.  Landry and I did the majority of the fishing.  Between the two of us we pulled in about 25 bluegill in an hour or two.  That made for a great bedtime snack after we got back to the campsite.

We headed for home after breakfast the next morning.

Fast Action on the Juniata River

Juniata3On May 9, Elijah and I took the boat out on the Juniata River for the first time this year. Normally we’d have gone out sooner, but the long and cold winter this year delayed the start of productive fishing this spring. Elijah had gone out a few days earlier and had reported that the bite was starting to pick up, so we decided it was time.

The forecast called for possible showers and thunderstorms, but the water level was perfect for the spot we hoped to fish, so we took the  chance on the weather.

This was my first time fishing since I made a few upgrades to my boat last fall.  The first was to fix the transom and add a trolling motor.  I choose the Minn Kota Endura C2 30, which was the smallest and least expensive Minn Kota I could find.  For a 12 ft. row boat, I figured we didn’t need a lot of power.  I was very pleased with the performance of the motor.  It sure was a whole lot easier than rowing upstream.

I also rigged up a makeshift camera mount for the front of the boat using an aluminum tube I had laying around.  Unfortunately, it didn’t perform all that well.  The whole thing wasn’t sturdy enough and sometimes would sway back and forth, making for some low quality video.

Elijah with his dollar store special

Elijah with his dollar store special

However, there was no disappointment in the fishing.   A few seconds after Elijah tossed his line in the water for the first time, he pulled out the first fish – the first of the 50 he caught in a span of about two and a half hours.    For gear, he was using a purple rod and reel combo that looked like a dollar store special.   To his main line he tied a snap swivel and then used a pre-snelled leader with a size six hook.   He used pieces of nightcrawler for bait.

Elijah with part of the evening's catch

Elijah with part of the evening’s catch

I started out the evening using a fly rod and a black woolly bugger.  After Elijah had caught about ten fish to my one or two, I decided to get serious and I switch over to my spinning reel.   However,   it wasn’t enough to keep pace with Elijah and his dollar store special.  By the time he caught his daily limit of 50, I only managed about 20 of which I took home the 12 largest ones.

Almost all the fish we caught were rock bass with a few bluegill and white perch mixed in.

I was able to get some footage in spite of the problems with my camera mount.  If I’m able to put together a decent video I’ll post it on YouTube and add it to this post on a later date.  Until then, you can watch the video I made last year of fishing at the same location.


20 inch Juniata River smallmouth bass

20-inch Juniata Smallmouth
The cell phone camera really doesn’t do justice to this fish. I caught it around the middle of April in 2011. A few days later I pulled out an even larger 21-inch smallmouth from the same spot. Both fish were returned unharmed to the water. I’ve been back to that spot every April since then hoping I could have the same luck again. Maybe 2014 will be the year I hook into another big one!

Skunked at the Raystown Lake dam

Pavillion on Raystown dam

Pavillion on Raystown dam

For the last several winters, Elijah and I have made a trip the Raystown dam to fish for rock bass.  For one reason or another, these fish congregate in the channel below the power plant in the winter.  During the day you can normally see the bottom of the channel, and there are no fish in site. However, once darkness falls, a strong flashlight can reveal many rock bass just a few feet from the shore.  At least, that’s how it usually is.  This time, it took a fair amount of searching to even catch sight of a fish, and it proved nearly impossible to get one on the hook.  Elijah was able to coax a couple of them into biting, but neither of us were able to hook one.  So for the first time ever, our wintertime trip to the Raystown Lake dam produced nothing. Was our visit too late in the year?  Has the secret of the rock bass below the dam spread to the point where the location is over fished?  We don’t really know, but I suppose it was good to get the lines wet again. If you want to see what fishing below the dam is all about, you can watch the video from last year’s trip. Oh yeah, that fish in the picture is false advertising – it was one of last year’s catch.