Downtown Small Mouth Bass fishing

Mike Bleech Outdoors Columnist

Within the city limits of Warren flows a good deal of very fine smallmouth bass fishing water. This includes both the Allegheny River and Conewango Creek. It can be fished by boat or from shore. Some places are good for wading. Warren is among the best places you can be if you like smallmouth bass fishing.

Coming down the river into Warren, at the pool by United Refinery, you should be able to determine whether the smallmouth bass are hitting. According to a reliable source, this is the most productive pool on the Allegheny River.

A dredge operated just below the old Glade Bridge many years ago. Just a collapsing wooden tower stood there 65years ago. Gravel and rocks washed from upstream have filled in the greatest part of the dredged section. Just downstream several large boulders lie on the river bottom. If a smallmouth bass does not strike your lure here, they simply are not hitting.

Nearly this entire pool may hold smallmouth bass at one time or another. A Flickr’ Minnow is an excellent lure in the deeper parts of the pool. At about the mouth of Ott Run, the pool becomes fairly shallow all of the way across, but not too shallow for smallmouth bass. Try a no. 13 Floating Rapala Minnow here. Use a twitching retrieve.

At the bottom end of the United Refinery Pool, to the left of Flare Tower Island, is the most hazardous riffle in Warren County. Just how hazardous depends on river flown and the arrangement of boulders in the riffle. Those boulders move. And if you speed through the riffle you miss some good fishing right by the flare tower. Walk your craft through the Warren Bypass side of the channel to the very obvious spot for casting. This is a good place for a heavier jig that you might normally use in the Allegheny, maybe 1/4 ounce.

The riffles by Flare Tower Island flows into a large, old dredge pool. This pool still has the typical characteristics of dredging. Water is deep. Sides are steep. Any, my, does it hold a lot of smallmouth bass at certain times. Unfortunately, far too many of these bass are harvested. If smallmouth bass fishing in Warren declines, this will have been the cause.

Most anglers use live bait in this long, deep pool. If you want to stick with artificial lures, try 1/8 ounce jigs. Curly tail bodies are fine. So are various shapes and tube jigs. Show the bass something different and use bucktail jigs. During summer, start with natural colors. In the cold water season, try louder colors such as yellow, orange and red in combinations.

This pool ends at three small islands through shallow riffles. Do not give up on the bass here, except in the shallowest places. Cast a Rapala Minnow or a Rebel Minnow.

A railroad bridge crosses the river just below the islands. Stay off the bridge. Do cast around the bridge piers with jigs.

Conewango Creek adds its flow to the river on the right. The middle of this pool is quite deep because it was dredged many years ago. The confluence with the Conewango may also have something to do with this. This short pool ends where gravel and rock washed out of Conewango Creek.

For a smallmouth bass angler to pass the mouth of Conewango Creek without swinging upstream into the creek is counterproductive. This creek is one of the most overlooked smallmouth bass creeks in the Northeast.

Boats were blocked from going up the Conewango were blocked by a low head dam by Pizza Hut until not too many years ago. Now during normal low summer flows, a small boat can motor, paddle or be dragged all of the way to the 5th Street Bridge.

But that is getting ahead of ourselves. The water from the Pennsylvania Avenue Bridge to the river has excellent smallmouth bass fishing. Several times I have launched a small boat at the ramp by the hospital and motored to the Conewango and spent all of my fishing time float-fishing from the islands above Pennsylvania Avenue to the river, over and over again.

I want three rods rigged with different lures for this float stretch. One will be a no. 13 Rapala Minnow, one an X-Rap, one an orange and brown jig. This is also a great stretch for fly fishing. Try a Muddler Minnow.

Now it’s time for me to get out of my office cave for a while. We will return to finish this project at some other time, at least until I get out in the sunlight for a while.