Bass, Catfish Rule Waters for Summertime Anglers
Washington PA Observer Reporter
10 June 2012
Maybe the old Byrds hit "Turn, Turn, Turn," was referring to fish.
Every fish has its season, right?
Springtime might belong to the trout and crappie, but summer
belongs to the bass and, for a dedicated few, the catfish.
I know the largest bass will be taken when the leaves turn golden
and red as will the Tiger of the Freshwater, the muskie. Now, most
anglers reach for a stronger rod and appropriate bait and head to
the lakes and ponds.
The light-action rod and tiny reel filled with four-pound line is
hardly suitable for dragging a six-pound bass through the
cabbage-like growth along the shoreline.
Warm June evenings will find Cross Creek Lake covered with boats
occupied by fishermen casting lures toward the shore. Isn't it
funny that shorebound anglers cast out as far as they can and
those in the boats cast toward land?
Cross Creek Lake is one of the area's best bass waters. But there
are others. While the trout waters might be few and far between,
most of the area's lakes and streams are natural bass water unless
The Monongahela River along the Greene-Fayette border offers miles
of underfished bass habitate. Look for rocks and other structures
in the river and you will probably find smallmouth bass. Find
stagnate backwaters, and the largemouth will dominate. The river
holds both. John Dino of Canonsburg and Bobby Rogers of Ruff Creek
fish the river successfully.
When looking for a hot spot to fish, never overlook the mouths of
feeder streams. The mouth of Ten Mile Creek would be a good
example of this, and many a summer walleye has been taken from the
Ten Mile basin. Incidentally, there is a county park at the
creek's mouth that makes fishing easy, even for children.
The Mon River has the advantage of offering excellent catfish
population. I remember sitting on a dock near Rices Landing and
catching a channel cat on every cast. The silvery cats were only
16 to 18 inches long, but this size channel cat is good eating,
and I did have a ball catching them. With its forked tail and
spotted silvery sides, the channel catfish is the best looking of
the catfish clan.
The real suspense of fishing the river is that you might catch the
biggest fish of all, the flathead. Just last week, a friend was
fishing the southern part of the Mon and caught two flatheads over
20 pounds. Another angler who was fishing the same area lost his
fishing tackle to what probably was a big catfish headed toward
the other side of the river. The channel cat might reach weights
of 30 pounds or more, but the flathead grows quite a bit larger.
Most fishing for big cats will be done after dark. The big catfish
will lay in cover during the daylight hours and go on a feeding
binge when the sun goes down. Remember, these are potentially big
fish, and it takes a decent size rod and reel with a good hook and
heavier line to land one. I have caught catfish on chicken liver,
night crawlers, doughballs, minnows and, best of all, medium-sized
bluegills. Few things work as well as bottom fishing with a live
or even dead bluegill. Just don't go far from the pole.
There are catfish in other county waters. I have seen 15-pound
cats taken from Canonsburg Lake. Gene Carter of Gilmore has caught
cats from waters of Cross Creek Lake, and don't forget Ten Mile
Creek. Many local farm ponds hold catfish, and I heard of a local
deputy game warden who caught a 20-pounder while fishing a local
farm pond for bluegill.
I would have liked to see the surprise look on his face as he
fought the world's record for bluegill and discovered it had
whiskers. I have never caught, nor seen caught, a large catfish
taken from any of the local water dams. I am sure someone will
tell me if they have seen one caught or caught one themselves.
The small farm ponds dot the hills of Washington and Greene
counties and offer some great angling. Stop and ask. You might be
surprised at the fishing they offer. All one needs is a few
spinner baits and plastic worms for the bass and some kind of
stink bait for the catfish. After all, it's summer, and that is
bass and catfishing time.
George H. Block writes a Sunday Outdoors column for the