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CaseyPNovember 14th, 2006, 7:03 pm
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653

how big and how ferocious do "chub" get?

using something bright and leggy on a sunny october day, i attracted few of the mostly-newly-stocked brown residents of my local stream. however,under one good tree my day was rescued by the fiestiest creature under a foot i've ever seen. looked like a great big chub, fought like a wee tarpon, jumping high and running hard, and bit anything that moved on the surface. hard. no matter how ratty. in one pod, i pulled out 7 fish, each marginally smaller than the last--went right down the pecking order. the biggest ones were just under a foot. the little guys were more like 5 inches.

only the last went airborne, and he only because i expected more resistance. they looked like "chub" but maybe these were something else. or maybe they'd been taking lessons...
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
TroutnutNovember 14th, 2006, 10:33 pm
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2553
Where are you fishing? That makes a big difference.

If you're anywhere in the northeast USA, you were probably catching fallfish. You can Google them and find plenty of pictures. I caught a few of them up to almost 20 inches on the Beaverkill this September.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
CaseyPNovember 15th, 2006, 7:24 pm
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
oh, sorry...this was on a stream in south central PA in Fulton County. we've run into these in another smaller stream nearby in a different watershed, but not so big.

checked out "fallfish" on Google. wrong shape. what i caught was much more slender with a very dark top and silver sides and bottom. they had a "goldfish" type mouth instead of two jaws, as well.

is there a site that arranges fish by shape and color, like a flower guide?

"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
TroutnutNovember 16th, 2006, 12:26 am
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2553
Sounds like a type of redhorse maybe.

Google "Fishbase" and you'll find a pretty good reference to all the fish species of the world, although it may be a bit technical in places.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
CaseyPNovember 19th, 2006, 2:27 pm
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
All Hail

they had not only a picture of the little guys, they had all the scientific terminology i needed to go to fishbase and ask about it. and indeed, Fishbase informs me that they have a maximum size of 30 cm, as well as looking exactly like what I found.

so i will add that when they ARE that big, creek chub are quite a fun substitute for trout. they eat mosquitoes, so that might explain their size at the end of the summer on that stream, which ran so low and clear for so long.

release those wee chubs to grow big and prosper, and we all might have more fun...

"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
GONZONovember 19th, 2006, 3:56 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Hi Casey,

If it was a group of large creek chubs you encountered, I can't wait to hear your reaction to a pod of decent-sized fallfish! Both fish are commonly called "chubs," but the fallfish (Semotilus corporalis) is larger and more aggressive than the similar and closely related creek chub (Semotilus atromaculatus). The next time you go "chubbing," look at the base of the dorsal fin. A dark spot will identify creek chubs, no spot on fallfish.

A big fallfish is only disappointing when you bring it to hand and realize that it's not the nice trout you imagined it was. And they have the charming habit of complaining in a low series of grunts when you try to unhook them. When I was a kid and a fallfish-catcher par excellence, I thought they grunted because I was squeezing them too tightly. Turns out they just like to talk. :)
LittleJNovember 19th, 2006, 6:53 pm
Hollidaysburg Pa

Posts: 251
I have had some similar experiences w/ fall fish. On Bob's Creek in bedford county they litter the slow water. IF you don't lift your line as soon as it leaves the riffles you'll hook fall fish, and a 16-18" fall fish can be fun to land.
TroutnutNovember 19th, 2006, 7:06 pm
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2553
I had a fun evening on the lower Beaverkill late this summer during a rise to tiny size 24 flying ants. It was disappointing from a trout perspective (no sign of one), but I caught several 16-19" fallfish, a little smallmouth, and a red-breasted sunfish, all on a tiny ant pattern. The fallfish were quite fun.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
GONZONovember 19th, 2006, 9:12 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
It truly does my heart good to see such praise and respect for such an unsung fish! And some people say that fly fishers are snobs. I say that any angler who can appreciate chubs and fallfish is a true man of the people. See what I mean, Casey? Chubs and fallfish may not be trout, but they beat a visit from the skunk any day!!! :)
JADNovember 20th, 2006, 9:57 am
Alexandria Pa

Posts: 362

That reminds me of a chup that I caught on a stream called the Driftwood Branch of Sinnemahoning Creek last spring. The fish was every bit of 12 inches maybe more and I was admiring it ,and thinking how long it had been in the stream.One of the fellows said to thumb it that it was a rough fish. I looked at him and said rough fish don't eat dry flies( we know better) so I released it unharmed. now the sad part.

The highly concentrated chemical, which is used in drain and oven cleaners, killed tens of thousands of trout, bass and other game fish, plus tadpoles, aquatic insects and waterfowl in 35 miles of those streams extending from southern McKean County through Cameron County and into Clinton County. At the derailment site the chemical was concentrated enough to cause skin burns.

He swims no more.

They fasten red (crimson red) wool around a hook, and fix onto the wool two feathers which grow under a cock’s wattles, and which in colour are like wax.
Radcliffe's Fishing from the Earliest Times,
LittleJNovember 20th, 2006, 12:12 pm
Hollidaysburg Pa

Posts: 251

I had heard rumor of spill. I was hoping it was just a rumor.
We used to have a camp along the stream, but i haven't been back to the area in three years. That is/was one of the most beautiful areas in pa to fish. I would assume that it won't rebound in my lifetime, if ever.
Hopefully the chemical didn't make it very far up the many small brookie streams that empty into sinnemahoning.
CaseyPNovember 21st, 2006, 10:23 am
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653

that's the saddest story i've heard in a very long time. when did this happen? nothing worse than losing a good place. we fish there a thousand times in our minds for every once we make it there in person.

two thoughts: one, if the salmon can return to the River Thames in London, then miracles can happen anywhere. it's the time it will take that none of us can afford personally. just have to get out our activist hats and hope the next generation will thank us.

two: there's talk that the Gallatin in Montana will be under this kind of threat when the speed limit on the road that runs beside it is raised. large trucks carrying you-name-it race down those mountains anyway and fall into the river...

your signature says it all: better we knew the place when it was wonderful than never knew it at all.
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
JADNovember 22nd, 2006, 6:02 pm
Alexandria Pa

Posts: 362
Hi guys
For some reason the PM I sent did not go through to LittleJ
CaseyP ,and yours did not go through to me. soooo I will post pm here so you can read about spill.

Ps-- got skunked at Erie today Humbling


They fasten red (crimson red) wool around a hook, and fix onto the wool two feathers which grow under a cock’s wattles, and which in colour are like wax.
Radcliffe's Fishing from the Earliest Times,
GONZONovember 22nd, 2006, 6:41 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Hey John-

After the huge numbers of steelies you've been racking up lately on the Erie tribs, I wouldn't be too humbled. I don't wish a skunking on anyone ( one here anyway), but you were overdue, pal! :)
JADNovember 23rd, 2006, 6:36 am
Alexandria Pa

Posts: 362

The fish Gods were frowning on me yesterday, don't know why???. I really didnt care great day , I watched a crappy fisherman sitting on a bridge catch fish after ( I'm not kidding ) with a bare chrome jig head, no costly rod & reel no super cloths no 5 mil boots but he had the smile---that I needed.

Very warm Regards
Watch that desert today:)

They fasten red (crimson red) wool around a hook, and fix onto the wool two feathers which grow under a cock’s wattles, and which in colour are like wax.
Radcliffe's Fishing from the Earliest Times,
CaseyPOctober 11th, 2010, 4:58 pm
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
went back to that creek today after more than a year. found only 6" chub, but did actually find 3 held-over trout. frankly amazing after that summer we had!
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Jmd123October 11th, 2010, 8:54 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2398
I don't find creek chubs (Semotilus atromaculatus, here in MI) to fight hard at all compared to trout. I can always tell when it's just a bigger chub and not a smaller trout, the latter of which inevitably fight much harder. I did once get a pretty good fight out of a 10" chub species, either a hornyhead or red-spot, down in Crane Creek in MO once. Maybe it was the nice cold spring water...he took a nymph, I think it was a Gold-ribbed Hare's Ear, that the wild rainbows were passing up, and I noticed his coloration was rather different as he was taking the fly. Still, I've never had a good fight out of creek chubs, so maybe hornyheads/red-spots fight harder, and perhaps that's true of fallfish as well...

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
McjamesOctober 15th, 2010, 11:20 am
Cortland Manor, NY

Posts: 139
ha funny! I grew up near Crum Creek in southeastern PA, a slow, sluggish unremarkable stream... we used to call chubs "Crum Creek Trout" because the always seemed to hold in the trouty-looking stretches and responded to flies.
I am haunted by waters
OldredbarnOctober 15th, 2010, 12:16 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2599

Your post reminded me of a river I use to fish near my grandmothers old farm near Cadillac Michigan. My aunt would follow me over in her car and I would leave mine on a bridge. She would then drive me way upstream and I'd hike way across a farmers field and fish back to my vehicle.

The river was filled with shiners/chubs and they were a real hassle. If I tried to match the hatch and that hatch happened to be a fly a size 16 or smaller they were constantly getting hooked. Out of frustration I would fish a larger dry fly. It was funny watching it float downstream and getting bumped about as they tried in vain to hit it.

The corn fields came right up to the edge of the stream in spots. One night I was there just after dark and a big old buck was a few yards in to the corn. He didn't know what I was but was really upset that I was there. He was snorting at me and crashing back-and-forth through the corn ripping it out and tossing it over his head...It was a hoot!

It was a real interesting river. It ran through some nice habitat, sometimes wooded and in other spots farm land. I saw quite a bit of wildlife on that stream. At some of the bends there were electric fences that ran across the bend so the milk cows could drink from the stream and not run off.

There use to be a "flies-only" stretch but for some reason the state changed their mind about this and removed the restriction. Maybe they were tired of always replacing the "flies-only" signs after the locals blasted them over with shotguns...

I was fishing this stretch one evening and it was wonderful out. No wind what-so-ever and so quiet...I had the stream to myself. All of a sudden all hell broke loose just about two rod lengths from me. The ruckus jolted me awake and I saw all these baby Mergansers huttled together and heading upstream at a frantic rate. I looked to my left to see the mother going nose-to-nose with a mink.

She was just about to straighten him out when he decided to back down and she moved off after her young. This mink had an expression like "oh well...I'll just get me one later...after dark"...I almost thought I saw him shrug his shoulders.

Pretty neat stuff!

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
MotroutOctober 15th, 2010, 5:50 pm
Posts: 319
I have to admit that I enjoy catching chubs too. I can't say I've ever targeted them specifically, but they are fun to catch for sure. And they provide some stream-side conversation too with their grunting sounds before you release them:)

"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach

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