With the Memorial Day weekend upon us, many families annually head to state parks to get their picnic and swim on.
Beltzville State Park issued a press release earlier this week regarding visitor safety and parking. Parking is not permitted on Pohopoco Drive, the road leading into the entrance of the 3,002-acre park that is home to the Beltzville Lake impoundment. Illegally parked cars will be ticketed and towed, according to park manager Kevin Koflanovich.
Gates to the park open 8 a.m. all weekend. The park has 904 parking spaces plus an additional 400 by utilizing adjacent fields. Once those spots are filled, the gates are closed. If that occurs visitors are being asked to attend other nearby state parks like Hickory Run in Carbon County and Tuscarora in Schuylkill County where swimming beaches are also available.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, meanwhile, is emphasizing the use of life jackets while boating this weekend. The Memorial Day weekend is the traditional launch of boating season and life jackets are the focus for the PFBC as National Safe Boating Week comes to a close on Friday.
All boats must have U.S. Coast Guard-approved (Type I, II, III or V) life jackets for every person on board, and children 12 and younger must wear their life jackets while under way, or in any boat 20 feet in length or less, and on all canoes and kayaks.
The PFBC also recommends you double check to make sure you have enough fuel for your boating excursion, the battery is fully charged and fire extinguishers are properly charged. Go through a boat check list to check the hull condition, rigging and sails, engines, fuel tanks, lines and mechanical components, and check for signs of wear and corrosion.
And don't forget, it's Fish for Free day in Pennsylvania on Monday, May 27. You don't need a license to participate, but you do need to follow all the legal sizes and creel limits. Check the Pennsylvania fishing regulations at the websites below.
2013 Pennsylvania Fishing Regulations: http://fishinpa.com/
2013 Pennsylvania Trout Stocking Schedule: http://pfbc.state.pa.us/pfbc_webgis/TroutStockingDetails.aspx
Wallenpaupack Sports Shop, Route 6, Hawley (570-226-4797): Mark says the calicoes have turned on and are aggressive for fathead minnows. Channel catfish are taking stink baits. Stripers are feeding on herring by the first isle. Trolling with shad wraps has been productive for trout. Smallmouth bass are going after Kai-tech lures and Cabin Creek baits on the bottom. The small ponds have been doing well for calicoes on fatheads. Shohola, Greeley and Upper Woods Lake trout are going after PowerBait. Trout in the Lackawaxen are liking Phoebe spoons, with 2-3-pound brown trout biting all the way through the stretch in Hawley.
Pecks Pond Boat Rentals, Tackle & Bait, Dingmans Ferry, (570-775-7237) firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.peckspond.com: Charlie says Wayne Zeller of Bethlehem caught a 2.5-pound bass on a nightcrawler on another hook that was in the fish's mouth from a previous catch. Pickerel and bass action has been good with buzz baits and spider tails. The shop is open the entire holiday weekend at 7 a.m. Trout have been hitting in the upper and lower parts of the Shohola Creek on either side of the lake. Greeley and White Deer panfish action has picked up. Crappies are biting on fatheads at Pecks.
Sportsman's Outlet, 205 Applegate Rd. & Route 611, Stroudsburg (570-424-5450): Ron says with the weather in favor of the anglers, lake fishing has picked up. Pickerel and bass are getting aggressive with nice catches reported from Wallenpaupack and Lake Shohola. Large panfish are being taken from Lake Minsi and Little Mud Pond, most on surface lures and live bait. Customer Joey Tontala landed a nice 20-inch Palomino on PowerBait in the Lackawaxen. Frank says that before pulling your boat to the lake, be sure to check and pack your wheel bearings on the trailer. A dry bearing can lock up and ruin an axle, making you leave your boat on the side of the road. Clean, check and re-pack those bearings before every fishing season.
Mauch Chunk Lake Boat Rental and Bait Shop, 625 Lentz Trail, Jim Thorpe, (570-325-0100): Jeremy says fishing was slow this past week, but really picked up on Saturday. The opposite shoreline seemed to be the hot spot. Bass and perch are still active with worms and minnows as the best baits. The fishing pier is active from 5 p.m. on with lots of catfish biting in all different sizes.
Willie's Bait & Tackle, 5105 Main St., Cementon (610-261-2767): Willie says Matt Fiest of Northampton caught a 27-inch, 14-pound brown trout out of the Lehigh on a Castmaster on Sunday. Michael Zemblansky of Walnutport caught four trout, each more than 20 inches long, in the Lehigh on Sunday. The river has some good trout and smallmouth action. There is some rock bass action along with catfish activity at night. The best-bet creeks are Little Lehigh and Jordan. Walleye and striper action is on at Beltzville. Crappies, perch and bluegills are biting at Shohola and Mud Pond.
Bob's Wildlife Taxidermy, 4642 Kernsville Road, Orefield (610-398-7609): Bob says that with the weather expected for the weekend, anglers are stocking up on bait. Catfish, bass and river fishermen are trying to catch leftover trout from Lunkerfest 2013 in East Penn Township. The creeks are still good for trout. Too many anglers are sight-fishing instead of casting into the holes and riffles, particularly in the Jordan. There is a big mature bald eagle hanging out near Indian Creek. Turkey hunting has been one of the toughest seasons in memory. Bob reports hearing a lot of gobbling, but then it stops. Mosquitoes and ticks are out in full force right now, so check yourself for the ticks.
Archery @ the Glenn, 7 Auburn St., Allentown, (610-791-7665): Brian says the Little Lehigh Fishing Derby had a great turnout and folks caught really nice trout. Saturday's youth day was a good time for all with lots of smiling faces. If you didn't make it this year, be sure to take a child next time. Zack and Tyler Glenn, 13, of Salisbury each caught five fish, a mix of real pretty brookies, brownies and rainbows in the first hour. Lots of leftovers are sure to get washed around in the rains. Local stockings will continue for several weeks. Hot baits are butter worms, red worms and fathead minnows. The Lehigh River has come alive with catfish hitting nightcrawlers and smallmouth and perch eating shiners and leeches. The leeches are especially large this year and are working well in lakes for walleye and panfish. Hope for some nice weather and hit the water over the holiday weekend.
Heritage Fly Shop, 2643 Fish Hatchery Road, Allentown (610-248-8836): Dave says sulfurs have arrived, but are present very late in the evening. Most activity is on the bottom throughout the day. Use pheasant tails, midges and sucker spawn. Craneflies and caddis are the top water favorites.
Backwoods Angler Guide Service, Bethlehem, (610-868-9349): Blaine says that the Delaware River read 4.3 feet at the Belvidere gauge prior to the rains, and the river badly needs some water for the smallmouth bass. The water was very low and clear as of Wednesday. The smallies are more active in lower light with clear water. Top water lures work well on cloudy days. Some smallies are found in calm water right now, but many others are holding post-spawn in the soft-to-moderate current, and are not very active. Stick worms (Case Magic Sticks) are effective. The North Branch of the Susquehanna River is clearing and receding as well. Bass are actively feeding at times in and around current, and on flats. There are lots of fish being caught during 7-hour outings right now, with many small males mixed in. The Main Stem of the Susquehanna is closed to bass fishing.
Mike's Bait & Sports Shop, 328 East Lawn Rd., Nazareth, (610-759-2905): Mike says there is some decent action at Bradys Lake off 940 for crappies. Sulfurs have begun to hatch and are triggering trout action for the fly fishermen. The Martins and Bushkill creeks are still fishing well, and the lower end of the Bushkill was stocked earlier in the week. Shad are still being caught.