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Lake Wallenpaupack Pennsylvania striper fishing.
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By John Haughey
Fishing and Hunting News
Pa. — It's not surprising Lake Wallenpaupack is the Poconos
Mountains' supreme fishery. After all, the land flooded to create this 5,700-acre
reservoir was once owned by James Wilson, appointed by President George Washington
to the first U.S. Supreme Court. Built in 1927 to generate hydroelectric power,
Wallenpaupack is in Northeast Pennsylvania, about 85 miles west of New York City
and 95 miles north of Philadelphia. The 13½-mile long impoundment is framed by 52 miles
of shoreline that includes hundreds of acres of forest lands, trails, campsites
and boat slips. But what draws the most judicious of anglers to "The Pack" is
the opportunity to prosecute without mitigation hard-hitting smallmouth up to
5 pounds, walleye up to 15 pounds, and a mix of pure-strain and hybrid striped
Regarded for decades as one of the Poconos'
best smallmouth fisheries, the mid-1980s introduction of striped bass
has further enhanced Wallenpaupack fishing. Bill Allbright of Bill's
Guide Service (570-698-6035), who has fished here for 30 years, said
when the state stocked the stripers, it also planted alewives to sustain
them. "The increase in alewives
has helped (smallmouth, largemouth). Now there is more food for bass," Allbright
said. "Because of this, fishing has gotten a lot better the last few
years." Bass Not long ago, Wallenpaupack's smallmouth-to-largemouth
ratio was fixed at nine to one. However, with weed pockets and maturing
snaglands more prevalent, largemouth are finding a niche. "It used
to be about 95 percent smallmouth," said guide Ray Cichocki, who operates
Ray's Tackle Shop (570-654-9555) in nearby Dupont. "Now we have a lot
more weedbeds. The largemouth have really come on." Cichocki has seen
largemouth estimated at 10 pounds here. "I heard of one over 9 pounds
caught," he said, noting his largest was just under 8 pounds.
Marie Dombnicki caught this 19-inch smallmouth on a Hawg Hustler spinnerbait
while fishing Lake Wallenpaupack.
But make no mistake, Wallenpaupack is a smallmouth
fishery. "There are tons of
smallmouth," said Dick Wilson at Ironwood Point Sports Shop (570-857-0677) in
Greentown. "The amount of largemouth is dwarfed by smallmouth." Through August,
Wilson said, target water 15 to 22 feet deep with stickbaits such as Rapalas,
Rippin' Redfins, Rattlin' Rogues, and Junior ThunderSticks, or go with alewives.
Cichocki said catch both bass species off Calico, Boulder, and Ironwood points,
and near Wilsonville Dike and Walt's Cove on the upper end, he said. To imitate
alewives, go with clear spinnerbaits, including Hawg Hustlers. "I like them because
they have Titanium wire. They don't spread (when hit)," he said. To imitate crayfish,
Cichocki said, try Chompers' 1/8- and 1/4-ounce Hula Grubs, especially in submerged
timber. When looking for underwater structure, Cichocki suggests Polaroid sunglasses,
such as Hobies. "They make a difference," he said. Another good bet is Texas-rigged
Chomper worms on 3/0 Gamakatsu hooks and a ¼-ounce weight. Late-summer
bassing is best early in the morning and in the evenings. While shorecasting
is lucrative, Cichocki said it's best to have a boat. "I ice fished here all
my life," he said. "That was all I did before I started to fish tournaments.
That is how I learned the lake. I never won because my partner wouldn't move
around. It was his boat, what could I do? The moral of the story: Unless you're
catching fish, move." The key to fall fishing here is understanding the turnover,
Cichocki said. This exchange of less-oxygenated deep water with surface water
occurs anytime from mid-September to early October, he said. "The whole lake
doesn't turnover at once. It starts in the upper part and moves gradually downlake.
You can always run to the part of the lake that isn't turning over. It's a big
lake," he said. Striped bass Since the mid-'80s, pure-strain and hybrid stripers
have been stocked here annually on an alternating basis. In late June, a 35-pounder
was caught, breaking the previous record of 34 pounds. The most commonly caught
keepers are 8- to 12-pounders. "They go deep in summer but nightfishing is good," said
Allbright, noting by day, downrigged alewives are good while, at night, freelined
alewives from shore are productive.
||It used to be about 95 percent smallmouth. Now we have a
lot more weedbeds. The largemouth have really come on. ”
||— Lake guide Ray Cichocki
||If stripers are suspended, say in 40 feet of water, they'll
be down about 20 feet and baitfish will be about at 10 feet. ”
||— Ray Cichocki
Cichocki said a good shorecasting rig is a 6-foot
medium or heavy spinning rod, 6- to 10-pound line, with alewives
or Hawg Hustler and Luhr Jensen spoons. Light, clear line is key,
even at night. "The lighter the line, the more bites you'll
get because water is clear," he said. By boat at night, slow-trolling, drifting,
freelining alewives are good tactics, Cichocki said. "If stripers are suspended,
say in 40 feet of water, they'll be down about 20 feet and baitfish will be about
at 10 feet," he said. "That's a good time to vertical jig into them. Put a white
Super Pork on a 1/4- or 1/2-ounce Hawg Hustler or Luhr Jensen spoon. It gives
added action and when a fish takes the pork, it won't spit out the hook. It gives
you more time to set the hook." Brace yourself. "They just take off like a freight
train," Cichocki said. "And before you get them to the surface, they'll take
off again. There are other times you hook them and they're like a dead log." Watch
for stripers flushing baitfish from shallows at night. Cichocki has seen small
stripers chasing alewives from shallows into waiting bigger fish. "They gang
up on whatever bait they flush out," he said. When you see this, in addition
to bait, try medium- and deep-diving Spro crankbaits, he said. Walleye Cichocki
said target walleye with live, dead-drifted, or plastic crayfish and leeches
in deeper channels by day, off shallow points, shorelines at night. Fishing "is
real subtle" for summer walleye, Cichocki said. Look for "underwater digits and
points that come out of water," he said. Troll or downrig alewives, Phoebes or
Rebel lures off the rip rap near the dam. "They'll hit a good topwater on a calm
night or with a very slight chop," Cichocki said. "In August, they'll move in
and out, chasing bait into the shallows. They'll come along in 15 to 20 feet
of water, the shallowest." One thing to watch for, Cichocki said, is drawdowns. "When
it gets real hot, they drain the lake" and that can pull walleye and other fish
off shorelines. The reverse is true after heavy rains, when the lake can rise
a foot quickly. Wilson at Ironwood Point Sports Shop said walleye fishing isn't
complicated. "Kids are catching them at night within a dozen feet of shore, just
casting and retrieving Rattlin' Rogues," he said. Panfish and catfish Bass, stripers,
and walleye aren't the only action here. "Perch, pickerel, panfish and catfish," Wilson
said. "That's the summer venue." Target perch in 15 to 20 feet of water off Kipp
and Burns islands with small herring. Go with fathead minnows in the same areas
for crappie. Cutbait, herring or stinkbaits will draw channel cats. "There's
more catfishing here than anything else — it's loaded with catfish," said Mark
at Paupack Sport Shop (570-226-4797) in Hawley. "We've weighed them in up to
25 pounds, but there are probably bigger ones in there." At a glance What: Built
in 1927 by the Pennsylvania Power & Light Co. to generate hydroelectric power,
Wallenpaupack is on the Pike and Wayne county lines in the heart of the Poconos.
The 5,700-acre impoundment is 13½ miles long and framed by 52 miles
of shoreline. It is considered one of the Poconos' best smallmouth, walleye,
striped bass, and catfish lakes.
Bait and tackle: Ray's Tackle Shop
Ironwood Pt. Sports Shop (570-857-0677), Greentown;
Sport Shop (570-226-4797), Hawley. Guides: Ray Cichocki (570-654-9555),
Dupont; Bill's Guide Service (570-698-6035/347-4484) in Lake Ariel.
rentals: Great Lake Boat Rentals (570-226-0980), Hawley.
Birches Lakeside Resort (Ehrhardt's; 570-226-4388)
East Shore Lodging (570-226-3293),
Lakeside Greshams Motel & Chop House Restaurant (888-845-6760), Hawley.
General area information: Hawley-Lake
Wallenpaupack Chamber of Commerce (570-226-3191).
Material from Fishing & Hunting News
published 22 times a year.
Visit them at www.fishingandhuntingnews.com
Lake Wallenpaupack Elevation levels
The Wilsonville campground has some shoreline access with nice structure around it. Iit is owned by Pennsylvania power and light and located on Route 6 about a half mile from State route 590. The lake is 5700 acres.
It can rise suddenly during generation from the hydro electric plant. Pennsylvania Power and light Drawdowns are perfect conditions for shorecasting.
The boat access area at the campground charges a fee, but there is one operated by the Fish and Boat commission free of charge at Mangan Cove.
The water is real clear at the pack. Use the lightest line possible. They go deep in summer but nightfishing is best. A lot of guys use downriggers and live herring. By boat at night, slow-trolling, drifting, herring are good tactics. If your in water thats 40 feet. They will suspend at 20 and the baitfish will be at 10 feet. Verticle jigging with a 1/2 ounce luhr jenson spoon. You can freeline the alewives from shore. Or cast the spoons and plugs like Smithwicks -and Storm thundersticks. The lake is 50 feet and 20 nearer shore. Watch for stripers flushing baitfish from shallows at night. When you see this, in addition to bait, try medium- and deep-diving crankbaits. In the fall the DFG dump the leftover fry and finglings not stocked in other impoundments into the pack. This particular week the fish go nuts. The lake is pretty big and will take you a while to cover even part of it in a small boat. When i have fished it I usually fish the coves around the launch. Not the easiest place to fish for stripers unless you live across the street. The bait shop is on route 6 near 560 not far from the launch.
Wallenpaupack Sports Shop, Hawley (570-226-4797)
All Stripers All The Time!!