Friday, September 4, 2009

The post that got me fired aka Fishing @ Conowingo on a Friday

All week long as I’ve driven to work in the morning, the voices in my head have nagged at me, “It sure is a beautiful morning. It would be a great morning to be fishing up at Conowingo.” All week, logic has prevailed over the voices, however this morning I must have been off (new coffee maybe?) and was suckered in by the final blow of “come on, you know a bad day of fishing always beats a good day of work.” And with that, the tackle was loaded into the jeep and off I went.

It’s been a long time since I fished below Conowingo Dam on a weekday. I was sure there would be other fishermen, but I was glad to see it was not really crowded. In the couple of hours I was there, the fishing was a little on the slow side (meaning I didn’t catch anything). I saw about a dozen rockfish caught with only one keeper. The only guys catching rock were the guys willing to crowd shoulder to shoulder to reach the dam tailrace. There were about 6-10 guys fishing that way this morning using inline weights and either a small spoon or a chartreuse jig. Although most of the guys fishing at the dam appear well weathered by life, they are real nice for the most part and usually more than glad to show you what tackle they are using and explain how they are fishing it. You’ll get a better response if you strike up a conversation when they are stringing up their line as opposed to during their cast and retrieve. There’s definitely a camaraderie among the regulars.

There were plenty of catfish being caught by the guys (and a few kids, has Cecil not gone back to school yet?) fishing further downstream from the tailraces. Most of the catfishers were using cut bait on bottom rigs. There were also a couple of fishermen in kayaks fishing the current breaks by the island, but I didn’t watch them long enough to see how successful they were. I enjoyed seeing a decent group of guys fishing for cats from the new fishermen’s wharf built by Exelon.

The new wharf is really nice and handicap accessible. To say it is solid would be a gross understatement. If water flow from the dam is low, the wharf isn’t quite at waters edge, but still fishable. It is very well constructed and offers much better access to the shoreline both for fishermen and for spectators. I know I speak for a lot of people when I say I really appreciate the effort Exelon has gone to in keeping the area below the dam accessible and fishable. If you go there, please respect the place and take your trash out with you!! Don’t leave line, broken tackle or packaging on the rocks.

As I ate my late morning lunch before heading out I sat and watched the birds, another popular past time at the park. I was pretty sure I saw one eagle, but it disappeared from my view behind the island before I was sure. There were plenty of turkey vultures circling overhead. The sea ducks were pretty successful at snagging minnows from the tailrace. And I saw a heron perched about midway at the base of the dam for a bit.

The best way to get current information on the fishing at Conowingo is to either catch one of Mr. Hayward Putnam’s articles in the Aegis or just go up there and see for your self. I’ve not found any other reliable reports for the dam, but if you know of any please leave them in the comments or send me an e-mail (e-mail address is on the top right side of the page).

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