How to Fish for Pennsylvania Stripers

by Dan Harkins
Finding lakes with striped bass in Pennsylvania won't be difficult.

Finding lakes with striped bass in Pennsylvania won't be difficult.

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Finding a body of water in the state of Pennsylvania with striped bass, commonly called stripers, won't be nearly as difficult as catching one once you get there. To increase your chances, stay abreast of the law and use the right bait -- the stinkier the better. And though being on a boat will help you be more mobile and able to track the fish, you can be just as successful on a dock or along the shore.

Items you will need

  • Live bait
  • Bucket
  • 6-foot rod and reel with 15-to-20-lb. test
  • Sonar equipment (if fishing from a boat)
Step 1

Get your recreational fishing license from the state of Pennsylvania. The license fee proceeds go to fisheries which help populations of fish like striper stay healthy. These are available online, by mail or at one of about 1,000 authorized dealers.

Step 2

Find a Pennsylvania river, lake or reservoir nearest you that's reputed for its bass populations. These bodies of water dot the state. The best way to find one is to navigate to the Stripers 24/7 online fishing report (see Resources) and peruse the rather long list of striper hotspots. This list contains not just the general area, but specifically where and how to find the striper in each location.

Step 3

Go fishing at any time of year for Pennsyvania striper. Other fish, like trout, have seasonal bans (a list of the state's fishing seasons is available at the state's Fish and Game Department website).

Step 4

Fill a bucket of cool water with stinky live bait from your local bait shop, preferably trout, bluegill, shad or herring. You can also catch these baits once you're on the water with a cast net. Familiarize yourself with how each of these fish look before you go. That way you can keep the catches most prized as bait for striped bass.

Step 5

Hook your bait below the gills to keep them alive for as long as possible in the water. The more your bait is wriggling, the better chance you have of snagging a striper.

Step 6

Use a heavy sinker if fishing in deep waters. Stripers have a tendency to hunt near the bottom of deep lakes and reservoirs.

Step 7

Use sonar equipment when boatingto hone in on schools of striped bass. This also will help you cast for fish prized by striped bass as bait.

Step 8

Maintain your line with sufficient slack. Striped bass have a tendency to strike fast and hard, which can break even strong test line.

Step 9

Stay abreast of the law when fishing for trout. Even though there are no seasonal bans for stripers, Pennsyvania only allows a daily limit of two a day, and no smaller than 20 inches in length. Don't catch and keep any fish the state says are to be released.

Tips & Warnings

  • Specialized tackle that includes balloons and floats have proven effective in concert with stinky live fish for striped bass bait.
  • Make sure any boat you're using to catch striper is also registered with the state. This includes canoes, kayaks and rowboats if used at a state or national park.

About the Author

Dan Harkins has been a full-time journalist since 1997. Prior to working in the alternative press, he served as a staff writer and editor for daily publications such as the "St. Petersburg Times" and "Elyria Chronicle-Telegram." Harkins holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of South Florida.

Photo Credits

  • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images