Fish, deer are turning on with cooler temperatures

About 30 people showed up mid-morning on Wednesday at Kaercher Creek Lake in eastern Berks County to check out the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission in action.

Mike Kaufmann, the Area 6 fisheries manager for the PFBC, and fish biologist Greg Murphy were trapping fish and showing off their catch as part of a survey to determine the health of the channel catfish population and other species in the lake.

As they brought their traps to shore, they showed off the fish and explained the measurements they were recording to assess the catch-per-hour and population trends.

The public demonstration was meant as a way to show the PFBC in action, doing things that anglers and boaters care about. The PFBC conducted a similar public demonstration last month at Lackawanna State Park.

Kaufmann and Murphy displayed channel catfish, crappies, black perch, white perch and pumpkinseed, or pond perch, as well as gizzard shad that were caught in the netting, which allows the fish to be measured and released.

Kaufmann also noted that southeastern Pennsylvania is a hotbed for channel catfish in the state.

FRESHWATER REPORT

Mauch Chunk Lake Boat Rental and Bait Shop, 625 Lentz Trail, Jim Thorpe, (570-325-0100): This is the last weekend the shop will be open for the year, with hours Friday, Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. -6 p.m.

Willie's Bait & Tackle, Cementon (610-261-2767): Willie says it's the tail end of the smallmouth bass bite, so the bigger fish are usually being caught in the Lehigh River. This is prime time for fall trout on the river as well with the temperatures cooperating. Mauch Chunk is sill doing very well with a variety of species being caught. The little Lehigh and Bushkill have been stocked and anglers are catching fish.

Bob's Wildlife Taxidermy, 4642 Kernsville Road, Orefield (610-398-7609): Bob says the rut seems to be coming on earlier than normal. Lots of bucks that are all swelled up in the necks with dark hawks being reported by hunters with trail cams. Scrape activity is becoming heavier. Guys coming into the shop for deer urine scent cover have been hunting the cooler northern counties and are having bucks coming into rattling and grunting, following in the drag lines. Lots of reports of big bucks out there coming in from all over the area. Trophy bucks are coming into the shop daily. It should be a great year. Get out and enjoy.

Archery @ the Glenn, Allentown, (610-791-7665): Brian says he's in Mississippi hunting, but the Little Lehigh trout are scattered but active, taking fathead minnows, red worms and baby nightcrawlers. Lehigh River smallmouth are eating shiners and 3-inch Senkos. Carp are eating corn. Still no solid reports from the big lakes, however Marc from the shop was at Mauch Chunk Tuesday in the rain with his dad, and they caught a boatload of everything except the elusive crappy. On the local deer hunting scene, decent bucks are being reported, but no confirmed kills came into the shop as of Wednesday. North of the city, there is some buck chasing going on.

Heritage Fly Shop, Little Lehigh Parkway, Allentown (610-248-8836): The fly shop will re-open on Saturday and Dave wishes to thank everyone for all the well wishes over the last several weeks. The shop hours are 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. every day except for Monday and Tuesday, which are by appointment only.

Mike's Bait & Sports Shop, Nazareth, (610-759-2905): Mike says Brady's Lake has some nice perch and crappies. Crappies are being caught at Minsi. The Lower end of the Bushkill has been very good for trout. Mike's seeing deer, but too far out to shoot, but some customers are showing off nice early season bucks.

Klotz's Bait Shop, Hellertown (610-838-7970): Caroline says a lot of people are fishing the Little Lehigh.

Cabela's, Hamburg, (610-929-7000): Jake Arnold of the Cabela's Archery Department reports that with the first weeks of 2012 archery season at a close, hunters have had the most success focusing on feeding areas and transition zones between feeding and bedding areas. Stay in contact with your landowners. Pay close attention to when they will be cutting corn fields, especially those adjacent to bedding areas. In one such location, not 10 minutes after the combine left the field, deer were pouring in for the easy pickings. Also, many customers have seen buck sparring. Cabela's is holding a very special set of seminars in the second floor seminar room on Sunday. Outdoor writer Freddie McKnight will share strategies and tactics for Pennsylvania fall turkey at 11 a.m. At noon, he'll be discussing both archery and firearms bear hunting strategies and tactics.

SALTWATER REPORT

NEW JERSEY

Capt. Dave Riback of the Queen Mary, Point Pleasant, N.J., (732-996-2579), http://www.njqueenmary.com: Capt. Dave reports the action is hot with striped bass and lots of jumbo bluefish. The west wind kept them inshore and they lucked into a good area of 13-18-pound blues with some stripers mixed in. All the bass were keepers in the 30-36-inch range. Last Friday, they caught some of the largest blues he's seen in many years. The fish averaged over 15 pounds with the pool winner 20-pounds, 7-ounces, caught on an A-47 green tail. They had five fish over the 19 pound mark that day.

The Tackle Box in Hazlet (732-264-7711) http://www.striperspecial.com: Phil says they were killing the stripers with eel in the Sandy Hook channel on Wednesday. Bluefish are around, and the surf anglers are catching stripers as well.

BARNEGAT BAY

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