Best Striped Bass Fishing in Pennsylvania

Man fishing for the river run of striped bass in PA.
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Pennsylvania offers freshwater anglers exceptional opportunities to catch striped bass, particularly in its major lakes. With naturally reproducing populations and consistent stockings of fingerlings, the state has nurtured these game fish to impressive sizes and numbers. Lake Arthur, Raystown Lake, and Lake Wallenpaupack stand out as top destinations for striped bass fishing. Lake Arthur, a sizeable reservoir in Butler County, has become known for its hybrid stripers, a result of almost annual stockings since the mid-90s. Raystown Lake, on the other hand, is known for its significant striper stocking program and holds the title for the largest striped bass ever caught in the state. Your fishing experiences can vary from lake to lake, with some offering chances at trophy-sized fish, while others might provide greater numbers of striped bass. Each destination presents unique challenges and opportunities, ensuring your fishing trips are not only productive but also full of excitement and variety.

Delaware River

When you’re targeting striped bass in Pennsylvania, the Delaware River is an excellent choice, particularly during the spring migration. The annual run of striped bass up this river is an event that draws anglers from all areas, with the fishery having shown a significant rebound over the past two decades.

Prime Locations for Striped Bass:

  • Tacony-Palmyra Bridge area
  • Betsy Ross Bridge vicinity

Seasonal Patterns:
In the early spring, typically March, you may find larger striped bass—some even weighing over 40 pounds—migrating through the river. As the season progresses into April and May, a mix of sizes can be caught, ranging from school-sized fish to large spawning females, following the herring along the riverbanks.

Regulations to Keep in Mind:
From April 1 to May 31:

  • You’re allowed to retain two striped bass per day, within the 21 to 24 inches slot limit.

Outside of these dates, the rules shift to allowing just one striper per day, and it must measure between 28 and 35 inches. These regulations help protect the spawning females and ensure sustainable fishing for years to come.

Susquehanna River

When you’re pursuing striped bass in Pennsylvania, the Susquehanna River should be high on your list. Renowned for its smallmouth bass, the Susquehanna also offers opportunities for catching striped bass, particularly at the Susquehanna Flats area. Fishing for striped bass in the Susquehanna has seen fluctuations over the years. In terms of the season, the spring months, particularly April and May, can be quite productive. During this time, you’ll find that the migrating stripers are more active, making it an ideal time for you to cast a line.

As an angler, you may want to focus on areas around the mouth of the river and the flats, where stripers tend to congregate. Here’s a quick guide to some spots:

  • Susquehanna Flats: Ideal in spring when stripers are frequent visitors.
  • Mouth of the River: Striped bass are often caught here as they migrate.

It’s crucial to be aware that the river’s conditions can change, and local knowledge can be invaluable. Hiring a guide could greatly enhance your chances, especially if you aim for the larger, trophy-sized fish.

Schuylkill River

The Schuylkill River offers a diverse fishing experience, especially for Striped Bass enthusiasts. Flowing through the heart of Pennsylvania, it stretches over 120 miles, presenting numerous opportunities for anglers. Your fishing journey can begin in Pottsville and extend all the way to Philadelphia.

When targeting Striped Bass in the Schuylkill River, you’ll find that these fish are opportunistic feeders. They can be caught using a variety of baits and techniques. It is reported that even small Striped Bass have been successfully caught near the Fairmount Dam using chicken livers on a size #4 hook, paired with a float.

Common Catches:

  • Flathead catfish
  • Striped bass
  • Brown bullhead
  • Common carp
  • Rock bass

Keep in mind:

  • The Schuylkill River is subject to specific fishing regulations, and it’s essential to ensure compliance.
  • Weather conditions can influence your fishing strategy, so stay updated with the latest forecasts.

The Schuylkill River is not just a venue for capturing these vigorous fish but also a scenic environment to enjoy the natural beauty of Pennsylvania. Remember, success comes to those who prepare, so equip yourself with local knowledge, and immerse in the habitat of Striped Bass at the Schuylkill River.

Raystown Lake

When you’re targeting striped bass in Pennsylvania, Raystown Lake is a premier destination. Known for its healthy striped bass population, you have the opportunity to reel in some significant catches. The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission annually stocks over 100,000 striped bass fingerlings, fostering a thriving striper community.

  • State Record: The lake is notable for producing the Pennsylvania inland state record striper, which weighed an impressive 53 pounds and 12 ounces.
  • Best Spots: For optimal fishing, explore areas like James Creek for bass and Beer Barrel Bay for stripers.
  • Species Variety: While stripers are the stars, you’ll also find brown trout and yellow perch in the mix.

Your fishing approach at Raystown Lake may vary seasonally:

  • Spring: Use live trout bait and troll to entice the stripers.
  • Year Round: Employ local knowledge or a guide to discover the most fruitful fishing spots.

Lake Wallenpaupack

When you’re aiming to reel in striped bass in Pennsylvania, Lake Wallenpaupack stands out as a premier destination for anglers. Known as one of Pennsylvania’s most stocked striper lakes, the water body has an impressive introduction of over 100,000 pure striped bass as fingerlings most years, alongside a substantial number of hybrid stripers.

Fish Population:

  • Striped Bass: Highly-stocked; active in fall with cooling temperatures
  • Smallmouth Bass: Abundant with sizes typically ranging from 15 to 18 inches
  • Largemouth Bass: Present, with some exceeding 5 pounds
  • Walleye: Common catch
  • Others: Yellow Perch, Channel Catfish, Pickerel, and panfish varieties

To maximize your chances, take note of the sizeable weed growth which provides ample coverage, potentially increasing the largemouth bass population. You’ll be more likely to encounter healthy populations of smallmouth as well, making it a balanced ecosystem for diverse fishing experiences.

Preferred Fishing Methods:

  • Casting: Recommended for active targeting of striped bass
  • Trolling: An alternative method employed by some anglers

Lake Wallenpaupack’s extensive span across Wayne and Pike Counties positions it as the third-largest lake in the state, compelling for both its size and the fishing promise it holds. Your experience is further supported by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s ongoing efforts to maintain a thriving fish population. Make the most of your striped bass fishing adventure by staying informed about the seasonal patterns and preferred habitats, which are influenced by Lake Wallenpaupack’s dynamic environment.

Neshaminy Creek

Neshaminy Creek offers you a variety of fishing experiences in Pennsylvania, especially recognized for its striped bass population. On your visit, you can explore the waters where striped bass are most commonly caught, particularly around the marina jetty and the creek’s mouth, promising you an engaging fishing session.

Main Catch:

Beyond the striped bass, your casting may also reward you with largemouth and smallmouth bass or even a muskellunge. Catfish and panfish add to the creek’s diverse angling possibilities, enhancing your overall fishing experience.

If you’re planning a trip during spring, anticipate the annual striped bass run, which is a highlight for many anglers. For the best experience, keep updated with local fishing reports, and always comply with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission regulations.

Best Practices:

  • Check the latest fishing reports
  • Target jetty and slack water areas
  • Follow all regulatory guidelines

Your forays at Neshaminy Creek can tie into a satisfying day on the water, with the potential for excellent catches in a serene environment that resonates with the pulse of Pennsylvania’s wildlife.

Tacony-Palmyra Bridge

The Tacony-Palmyra Bridge towers over the tranquil waters, surrounded by lush greenery. A lone fisherman casts his line into the river, hoping to catch the prized striped bass

When targeting striped bass in Pennsylvania, the area around the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge is a noteworthy hotspot. This bridge marks a section of the Delaware River known for its deep water holes and back eddies where striped bass, particularly during seasonal migrations, can be found in abundance.

  • Location Characteristics
    • Deep water holes suitable for striped bass
    • Strong back eddies create ideal feeding grounds

To maximize your fishing success, utilize cut bait, a popular choice for these conditions. The surrounding waters provide a variety of depths, attracting bass as they move through the area.

  • Fishing Techniques
    • Primarily use cut bait for attracting striped bass
    • Consider the time of day and tidal movements for optimal activity

Equipment Tips:

  • Use a sturdy rod paired with a reel capable of handling the potential size and fight of a striped bass.
  • Opt for a strong, abrasion-resistant line to withstand the river’s conditions.

While fishing by the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, always remain aware of boat traffic and adhere to local regulations that govern fishing seasons and catch limits to ensure a responsible and sustainable angling experience.

Philadelphia Navy Yard

When you’re looking to hook striped bass in Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Navy Yard is a venue that may present an overlooked opportunity. Here, amidst the industrial backdrop, the Delaware River hosts a variety of fish, including striped bass, which can make for an exciting urban fishing expedition.

Season and Regulations:
It’s essential that you familiarize yourself with the local fishing regulations. You’re typically allowed to keep two striped bass measuring between 21 and 24 inches during the active season from April 1 to May 31, to protect larger breeding females. Outside of this window, the restrictions change to one striper per day within a 28 to 35-inch range.

Access and Hotspots:
Access to the water at the Philadelphia Navy Yard may be more limited than at traditional fishing spots, so it’s crucial to plan your entry points and fishing locations carefully. The stretches of water along the Navy Yard can be productive, especially if you’re on the lookout for areas with less fishing pressure.

  • Equipment Tips:

Be aware of the tides, as striper movements are often influenced by tidal changes. Irrespective of your level of experience, the Philadelphia Navy Yard can be an unexpected but rewarding location for your striped bass pursuit. Remember, always adhere to the local fishing regulations and respect the unique environment of this historic area.

Trenton-Morrisville Bridge

The Trenton-Morrisville Bridge spans over the calm waters, with fishermen lining the edge, casting their lines for the best striped bass fishing in Pennsylvania

When seeking striped bass in Pennsylvania, the area surrounding the Trenton-Morrisville Bridge is a fishing hotspot that should be on your radar. The Delaware River beneath this bridge provides anglers a unique opportunity to catch sizable stripers.

Fishing Tips:

  • Timing: Visit during the peak seasons, typically in the spring when stripers migrate upriver.
  • Bait: Use cut bait such as herring; circle hooks are mandatory for natural baits to protect the striper population.
  • Technique: Focus on the eddies and deep water holes near the bridge where stripers like to congregate.

Spot Characteristics:

  • Water Depth: You will find a mix of shallow waters near the cove with deeper drop-offs in the main river channel.
  • Accessibility: The bridge area is easily reachable, allowing for comfortable bank fishing.
  • Boat Fishing: If you have a boat, the river around the bridge is navigable and can yield good results.

For the best experience:

  • Arrive Early: Secure a good spot as it’s a popular location.
  • Tide Consideration: Pay attention to the tide charts; striped bass activity in the river is influenced by tidal movements.

Fishing Creek Reservoir

The sun sets over the calm waters of Fishing Creek Reservoir as a striped bass jumps out of the water, creating ripples in the reflection of the sky

When you’re targeting striped bass at Fishing Creek Reservoir in Pennsylvania, you’ll find ample opportunities for a rewarding fishing experience. Fishing Creek Reservoir, known for its tranquil waters, is yet another spot where the pursuit of striped bass can be both challenging and exciting.

When to Visit

  • Spring: Pre-spawn period; bass move into shallower areas.
  • Summer: Early mornings or late evenings are best.
  • Fall: Active feeding before winter; prime fishing time.

Techniques & Equipment

  • Trolling: A popular method to cover more water.
  • You may want to use live bait such as shad or herring.
  • Consider heavy-action rods to handle the potential size of the bass.

Licenses & Regulations

It’s essential to remain updated on local regulations. You need to secure a valid Pennsylvania fishing license before setting out. Moreover, familiarize yourself with any size or catch limits to ensure sustainable fishing practices.

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