The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

May 3, 2014

Ken Maurer outdoors column: Great trout fishing

By Ken Maurer
For The Daily Item

— I’d been hearing how tough the trout fishing was on the Mahantango Creek (the one on the east side of the river), so I decided to give it a shot.

People have been catching trout on most other streams, but that particular creek has been extremely stubborn this year.

So, last week one day I gathered my gear and headed to the creek for my first serious trout fishing trip of the year.

I waded across the creek and headed upstream to hit a little hole that is often missed by people who fish that section. Well, previous high water had destroyed that particular spot, so I turned around and headed downstream.

On my way back, a nice brownie charged the little rapala and I missed him. Well, at least that’s a start, I thought.

I then combed a nice hole with a couple of spinners and rapalas. Nothing, nothing and nothing. No problem, I thought, down below here is a section of riffles and pools that always produces.

I got to that and thoroughly fished every rock and seam. Finally, a suicidal brookie engulfed the spinner.

All right ... one in the bag.

Two more and a fish fry is on the way. Two more hours and no trout later, I was way too far from the truck. It was time to head back.

I had covered a lot of water and seen only those two aforementioned trout. Where are the other 7,000 they put in there? I don’t know, but I know of very few trout caught from there.

Maybe they went to the river. Maybe they are hiding in the deep holes. It will be interesting to see later on when the water warms up if there are any number of trout caught there.

I did reassure myself that I’m no better trout fisherman than every one else. I can’t catch them on that creek, either. The trout fishing was great, the trout catching, not so.

I have been out on the river a few times. Smallmouth are still a few weeks away from spawning from what I’ve seen. Some warm, stable weather could jump-start the spawn, but that’s not likely if the weather keeps acting like it has.

We did manage to catch three nice eater-sized walleyes on Friday, the day before walleye season opened.

Those walleyes all hit on brown crankbaits, which leads me to believe that they are keying on crawfish. We caught some smallmouths on just about everything we threw.

Every day is different on the river, but one thing I noticed that was a bit odd was that we could not catch a bass on anything chartreuse. Usually this time of year they will hit that color. They did like white and brown. Regular green and green pumpkin, which are also usually good colors, also went untouched.

I wrote it off as the weirdness of the day, because you never know what will work on any given day. Ladies, that is why we need several tackle boxes full of stuff.

Here’s a tip: if you want to kill a lure’s effectiveness, just go out and buy a pile of them. They’ll never work again.

However, if they quit making the lure, it will be an absolute killer and you will have only one. They will cost $1,000 on eBay and you will be tempted to take up golf.

Ken Maurer, Herndon, is a licensed fishing guide and a regular contributor to the outdoors page. Email comments to