Susquehanna River Guide Service
Wild East Outfitters Susquehanna River guiding season runs from July 5th until the late fall. The smallmouth fishery on the Susquehanna is arguably one of the best in the country with most days averaging anywhere between 20 to 85 fish boated give or take. We run our trips on the river between Sunbury all the way down to the Harrisburg area. We target smallmouth bass on this very large and scenic river. You will be hard pressed to find a better species of fish to target with a fly rod than a smallmouth bass. They are eager to eat a well casted streamer and offer some spectacular surface takes when fishing surface patterns.
The Susquehanna River has a long and troubled history of abuse and in the early 2000s the smallmouth bass population crashed but over the past 5 years the fishery has appeared to rebound and is fishing as good it did in it's golden years. You don't know what you don't know and you won't know how good of a fishery the Susquehanna is until you fish it.
Most days on the river produce great fIsh in good numbers. We target them mainly throwing streamers and topwater flies. Occasionally we drift nymphs and throw dry flies, especially during the whitefly hatch. During the whitefly hatch it is not unusual to look across the river and see hundreds of smallmouth bass sipping the whiteflys the same way a trout sips a Mayfly. Late July through mid August is primetime for the whitefly hatch.
Our favorite streamers are the Clouser Minnow, the Drunk and Disorderly and the Swinging D but on most days the Clouser Minnow in different colors is all you need. The Clouser Minnow was created by Bob Clouser and it was designed specifically for Susquehanna smallmouth. I'm certain no other fly has put more fish in the net than the Clouser Minnow on the Susquehanna River. We also throw Boogle Bug poppers a bit too much... sometimes we don't change flies for a few days at a time because those poppers keep fooling the bigger fish.
The Susquehanna is a very large river so we bring out the 7-8 weight saltwater rods. We don't necessarily use the heavier rods because of the fish being larger... we use the larger rods because it is easier to pick line up and throw it further through wind. Many people are surprised though at the bend in the fly rod created by a small 10 inch bass let alone an 18 inch or larger bass. They are very "hard fighting fish." The Susquehanna is a very unique fishery in that it is different enough by PA standards that it will definitely improve your fly fishing game in regard to casting and how to swim a fly properly. There is much more to this game than just "throwing" a fly out there and lazily stripping it back. Whether it be picking apart some deep ledges with a heavy clouser fished on an intermediate line or coaxing a 20 inch smallmouth out of a grass bed you will become better at fly fishing.