Skip to main content

Adventures in Canal fishing - The White Sucker (Catostomus commersonii)

When I was around 10 years old we vacationed at these cabins on a lake and while most were content to soak a worm on the lake, I knew I had to make the most of the two weeks I had to fish so I explored the stream below the lake spillway.  It was in this little stream that I saw my first "Sucker fish".  My brother and I had never seen them before so we tried drifting a worm to them but as soon as the split shot on the line hit the water they would spook and go a million different directions to later regroup and refuse our offerings.  While we caught many Bullheads, Bass, Bluegills, Fallfish, and even a couple of trout out of that section of water we never did catch a White Sucker which were the biggest fish in that stream.

This was one of those small streams that in the area didn't attract from what we could see any anglers, forgotten along with an old dump and the collapsed remains of a shack that I was told was once a Dancing Hall,  and judging by the trash this would have been around the 1950's or so maybe earlier.  It wasn't a Trout stream, the fish were not giants but it had some deeper holes and was nice and cool on a hot summer day.  I think my attraction to these smaller not so prime waterways started back then.  Fast forward some 30 years and I am still exploring these types of waters.  While I live very close the the famed Lehigh River it is the smaller man made canal that runs along sections of it that I have become interested in.  Built in the 1800's to shuttle coal some remnants of the canal remain today.  The Delaware and Lehigh Heritage Corridor , the D&L trail for short, that runs along the Lehigh River between it and the Lehigh Canal providing access.

A little exploring along this trail and I was seeing fish, not the usual Bass and Bluegills but bigger fish.  Now if there was a waterway around here that screamed Carp, this Canal is it. So on a return trip I brought my fly rod and tied on a Beaded San Juan worm.  The water is generally shallow in the area I was fishing and I could see these fish cruising back and forth, being a canal and subject to run off water, algae and low visibility it was hard to make out exactly what type of fish I was seeing.  Thinking they were small carp I cast the fly so it would drop ahead of them not spooking them but in their feeding lane.  I cast the fly and watched as it fell in front of the fish and then watched the fish attack and pin the fly to the bottom.  What came next was my surprise that the fish I had hooked on a 3/4 WT fiberglass rod was a big White Sucker.  It was a wild fight navigating around tree branches and other obstructions but when the fish slid into my hand it was a great feeling of accomplishment.
I will be back to this water, it's close, nicely situated next to where we do our shopping and the trail makes it a great place to walk the pup and for my wife to take pictures.  A quick Google Earth map check has me looking at over 15 miles of water to explore, and who knows what other species of fish to catch. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Fiberglass Fly Rod is Born

Sorry all for the lag time in between posts as I have been busy with work and have spent any spare time working on this build.  I wanted to do a pictorial of the build from start to finish on my Jann’s Netcraft Fiberglass blank build. Glass is certainly not dead.  It may have been on life support before Cameron Mortenson started up The Fiberglass Manifesto but I credit him with breathing new life into the realm of fiberglass fly rods and exposing me to them.  This is a Jann’s Netcraft 8’ 5/6 two piece blank which from my searching the most inexpensive blank for the new fly rod builder as they sell for $18.29 each plus shipping.  For a first rod build you really can’t go wrong.Your choices of reel seats are plentiful but you have to be mindful of the butt diameter of these rods, as fiberglass rods have a larger diameter then comparable graphite so some wood insert style reel seats will be too small.  I decided to go with a reel seat designed for salt water fly rods.With the cork grip y…

Budget tools $5 Cork Reamers

My intention, of this rod build is to build something I just can’t find out in the fly rod market, and to do it as economically as possible. 
One of the tools that is a necessity is a set of cork reamers.  A search of the internet will turn up a beautiful set of “Dream Reamers” for around $50.  Your other choices are a rat tail file or make your own reamers.  I decided to go the make my own route.
First part of this is find a broken fishing rod, good places to find them if you don’t have one hanging around is a garbage can by a fishing spot, that is where I got mine.  I found half a spinning rod sticking out of the trash and did the following. 
1.  Strip off all the guides, wraps, reel seat and cork.
2.  Cut to a usable length.
Being that you will need a reamer to make a much larger hole with Fiberglass rod blanks than with graphite blanks I found the butt section of the Medium weight spinning rod to be about right.  Remember a 5/6 weight glass blank will have a butt diameter of ro…

The cat is out of the bag… well the fly rod is out of the rod sock.

If anyone has been wondering what happened to the blog well here it is.  I have been working on two fiberglass fly rods, one for myself and one as thank you gift to my good friend and mentor John Wood (http://jwflyfish.blogspot.com/).  A while back John made me a beautiful landing net (number 50) as a gift and I made the comment that I would  have to  build a rod fitting with such a beautifully crafted net.  So I worked in secret, I let out a couple of pictures of the rod I was building, carefully avoiding letting the cat out of the bag on the second rod I was building for John.  Now that the rod is in his hands I can share this with the rest of the fly fishing world.

























































Rod Specs.

Johns Rod
Anglers Roost 7’ 3/4 Klassic Glass blank
Flor Grade Cigar Grip
Uplocking Lemke reel seat with Burl Madrone insert
Nickel Silver winding check
Mildrum Stripping guide
Snake Brand Original snake guides in  chrome.
Wraps are YLI 100 silk in Antique Gold finished with Spar varnish


My rod
Anglers Roost 7…