Saturday, August 9, 2008

Bass Update #3: Delaware River

Last Thursday I scouted out potential Delaware River fishing spots online. I was looking for a couple of things: 1. Good access, 2. Not too far away, 3. Potential tributary streams. In the end I choose Bull's Island State Park, located about twenty miles north of Trenton near the towns of Stockton and Lambertville. It was a beautiful drive that took a little under an hour. Bull's Island is unique because it's situated in between the Delaware and the Delaware-Raritan Canal. It also maintains a foot bridge to Pennsylvania. (Image of Delaware-Raritan Canal (left) and Delaware River (right))

Once I arrived and took a few pictures from the foot bridge, I began working my way south along the canal. However, as soon as I began fishing, a state park employee raised the water level in the canal by releasing significant discharge out of the Bull's Island lock. This flooded the canal with mud/debris and rendered it nearly unfishable. Undeterred, I continued to walk south. At one point I encountered my fourth bald eagle of the year. Eventually the canal and river run parallel and all semblance of a path disappears. I, however, continued to walk on. (Image of the Pennsylvania Canal bed)

The narrow strip of land (no wider than ten feet) between the canal and the river is very difficult to access; this isolation has subsequently turned it into a bastion of wildflower growth. I snapped pictures of numerous identifiable flowers on the island and three of unknown ones. The known were as follows: blue vervain, boneset, bouncing bet, fringed loosestrife, goldenrod, groundnut, jimsonweed, pokeweed, purple hibiscus, purple loosestrife, purple phlox, white phlox, skullcap, spotted touch-me-not, and woodland sunflower. Additionally, after I had walked across the foot bridge into Pennsylvania, I encountered monkeyflower, cardinal flower, and black-eyed susan growing in the old Pennsylvania canal bed (long since abandoned). That adds up to 18 different known species and 3 unknowns: a total of 21 wildflowers. Admittedly, I spent more time photographing them than I did smallmouth fishing.

I did, however, catch four smallmouth bass in the Delaware River using black and olive green wooly bugger streamers. I technically caught three on the New Jersey side and one on the Pennsylvania bank; I will thus update my state totals accordingly. It was a wonderful, hard-earned day. (Image of my largest smallmouth of the day)

A note: I will follow this post up with a photo-only post of all the wildflowers.

Overall Total
: 16

River Breakdown
Stony Brook - 5 (4 Rock, 1 Smallmouth)
Delaware River - 4 (4 Smallmouth)
Potomac River - 3 (3 Smallmouth)
Bushkill Creek - 2 (2 Smallmouth)
Difficult Run - 1 (1 Smallmouth)
Millstone River - 1 (1 Largemouth)

Species Breakdown
Smallmouth Bass - 11
Rock Bass - 4
Largemouth Bass - 1

Type of Fly
Streamer - 10 (4 Rock, 6 Smallmouth)
Popper - 4 (3 Smallmouth, 1 Largemouth)
Nymph - 2 (2 Smallmouth)

State Breakdown
New Jersey - 9
Maryland - 3
Pennsylvania - 3
Virginia - 1

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