Labor Day Weekend Short Report – Chemung River Update
I got out yesterday evening for a few hours to fish a stretch of the Chemung River that Staff Hydrologist Dan recommended to me. This area is roughly a mile downriver of the access near Dan’s house, and one he used to fish more often when he lived in the town of Athens.
Dan’s directions were great, and his recommendation was a good one. The Chemung was crystal clear and wadeable and the water was a perfect 70 degrees F. I parked on a side street that dead-ended at the river dike. And what I saw once I rigged up and climbed the dike was a welcome sight after such a high-water summer.
I waded upstream to the bridge, hunting for a nice riffle and deep pool. I found some interesting cuts along the bases of the bridge trestles – and started hooking small and very chunky bass. After working the trestles, I waded downstream, casting across and down with an olive Whitlock’s Near Nuff Scuplin. This pattern has worked well for me on the Chemung, and I use it because of the numerous sculpins the river holds.
I found a deeper run in the middle of the river – 2 to 4 feet in depth – and I continued finding fish. The bass gradually got better in size as I moved downstream. I finally reached a nice riffle that was about even with where I had parked. Here there was even better depth and it showed in my results.
I continued fishing down and across, and had a steady pick of decent bass. Partway down, while stripping my streamer across the pool, I felt the classic “stop” take of a nice fish that cartwheeled out of the water with the hookset. This smallie jumped several times and at one point made a short strong run that practically jerked my rod down to the water. Unfortunately, what might have been my nicest bass of the season simply pulled off’ leaving me a little disappointed, but nonetheless heartened that this river indeed had potential.
All told, I may have caught 2 dozen bass. Most of these were small but stocky scrappers, a few more were quality, and then there was the big guy. Throw in about a half dozen fallfish, and you could say it was a fine evening of fishing, and one that makes this spot well worth another visit.