In the bright afternoon sun, we trolled on Goodyear Lake in search of walleyes. The walleyed pike is a wonderful eating fish. The white, flaky meat is as good as it gets.
Dan, my friend and owner of Reel Em In Fishing, and I had launched his boat near the old Knott's Motel about 4 o'clock the other day. It wasn't long before we reached the area we would fish.
Using a large night crawler on a spinner and worm harness, we put the first line down, letting it bounce along the bottom in between seven and nine feet of water. Before the second pole was baited and in the lake, we had a hit.
Within moments, the first fish was in the boat. It was a keeper for sure, measuring well beyond the 15-inch minimum size. We finally had two poles in the water and immediately had another hit.
Walleyes are not aggressive. With their mouths full of teeth, you'd think the contrary, but they are quite lazy.
They generally lie on the bottom and gently mouth the bait. The fishing pole sort of pulls down toward the water when you get a hit, unlike a trout or bass when they slam into a bait. If you're fast enough and don't give the fish an inch of slack, you might be able to set the hook and net the fish.
The old-timers have always told me that a thunderstorm will stop walleyes from biting. It will shut them right off. Well, we sure proved that one right that evening.
After putting a three-pounder in the live well and having another good hit in mere minutes, a noisy, thunder-rumbling lightning storm rolled across the valley just north of us. We didn't have another hit, even though we stayed out more than two hours longer.
When darkness finally drove us off the lake, we had seven nice fish ready to be filleted. I kept my limit of five and Dan took home two.
On Wednesday evening, we hit the lake again. Using the same routine and in the same general area, we started to fish. We landed two slammers within five minutes.
We have a policy that we return any fish that is more than 24 inches. These are older fish and are the breeders that will maintain great fishing in the future.
After such a great start, we couldn't believe that we both didn't limit out before dark. We had a lot of hits but only kept six fish. That's not bad, though.
In five days of fishing, we put more than 30 walleyes into the live well. Several others were released, including a couple in the 10-pound class.
That backed up section of the Susquehanna River is a wonderful fishery. We've caught dozens of crappies and blue gills and a multitude of walleyes, not counting a huge bass I caught in the past.
You have to know what you're doing. When we were back at the boat launch, people would ask, "What'd you catch 'em on?"
"A spinner and a worm."
"Where'd you catch them?"
"Out there between the umbrella and the flagpole."
Good luck. I'm not sure how many landmarks like that you'll find along the shores of the lake, but it will give you something to look for while you're waiting for the fish to bite.
Rick Brockway writes a weekly outdoors column for The Daily Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.