The Susquehanna River
The Susquehanna River flows from upstate New York state to the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. The North Branch begins as the outlet of Otsego Lake in Cooperstown, New York. At approximately 444 mi long, it is the longest river on the American east coast and the 16th longest in the United States. The broad, shallow waters also make the Susquehanna the longest, non-commercially navigable river in the country. The Susquehanna River’s two branches merge in the Susquehanna River Valley (near Northumberland and Sunbury). With an average daily rush of 22 billion gallons of water, the Susquehanna is the largest contributor of freshwater to the Chesapeake Bay. The Bay was formed over 10,000 years ago when what was then the Susquehanna River was flooded by rising sea levels. The quality and quantity of waters from the Susquehanna and its tributaries directly affect the Bay's health and productivity.
Local River History
The river has played an enormous role throughout the history of the United States. Before European conquest, the Susquhannock, an Iroquoian tribe lived along the river and gave the Susquehanna its name. In the 17th century, it was inhabited largely by the Lenape. In the 18th century, William Penn, the founder of the Pennsylvania Colony, negotiated with the Lenape to allow white settlement in the colony between the Delaware River and the Susquehanna. Local legend claims that the name of the river comes from an Indian phrase meaning "mile wide, foot deep," referring to the Susquehanna's unusual dimensions, but while the word is Algonquian, it simply means "muddy current" or "winding current". Courtesy of Wikipedia
Susquehanna River Information Resources
The Susquehanna River is an ideal river for boating, fishing, camping and wildlife watching. For more info, check out the Susquehanna River Trail Association's website. The association promotes environmental responsible recreation on the Susquehanna River by maintaining 23 campsites on islands stretching from Sunbury to Harrisburg. Canoeing, fishing & kayaking are promoted as ways to experience this wilderness.
The Susquehanna Greenway is a landscape of parks, trails, boat launches and communities that run along the banks of the Susquehanna River and its West Branch. Residents and visitors can find trail descriptions, paddling trip itineraries, information about riverside communities and more on the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership website.
Looking for information about kayaking adventures on the Susquehanna River! Contact Bic's Watersports and Outdoor Adventures, a kayak/canoe rental business that provides transportation to designated drop-off locations on the Susquehanna so patrons can enjoy some relaxing time on the water. And when you return from your ride, relax on lounge chairs or hammocks located around on-site firepits.
Susquehanna River Fishing...An Outdoor Treasure in PA
Insider's Guide to Fishing in the Susquehanna River Valley
Within this 444-mile long majestic river, fishing opportunities abound for all levels of fishermen. Known for amazing small mouth bass fishing, the Susquehanna River supports many other fish like catfish, rainbow trout, large mouth bass, American shad, perch, rock bass, bullheads and many others. Below you'll find insider secrets to fishing the Susquehanna River.
For more information visit the SRV Fishing page.
For expert information about fishing on the Susquehanna River, consider joining Tom's Fishing Guide Service for a fun and affordable day on the beautiful Susquehanna River enjoying nature and catching fish! Tom will guide trips for bass, walleye, muskie, channel and flathead catfish.
- Top 20 River Spots
- Adam T. Bower Dam
- Lake Augusta
- McKees Half Falls
- Milton State Park
- Shikellamy State Park
- The Susquehanna River Valley Visitors Bureau offers a variety of River Trail Guides for purchase at our Visitor Center at 81 Hafer Road in Lewisburg. These waterproof maps are the perfect tool for any angler or kayaker looking to explore new sections of the Susquehanna River. You may also purchase one of these guides in advance by calling 1-800-525-7320 or emailing [email protected].
Lakes in the Susquehanna River Valley
Part of the Susquehanna River Watershed, local lakes in the Susquehanna River Valley also offer great fishing and boating opportunities.
Lake Augusta, Northumberland County
The body of water created by the Adam T. Bower Dam was named after a frontier outpost located in the vicinity of Sunbury during colonial times. When the dam is fully inflated it raises the water level at least eight feet and affords 4 miles of unhindered boating. The lake is approximately 12 feet deep at the dam, tapering off to two and a half feet at the uppermost reaches.
Access to the river can be gained chiefly through the Shikellamy State Park on Packers Island between Sunbury and Northumberland. The park offers 100 marina slips (that may be acquired through seasonal leases) and boat launching areas for day trippers. The park also offers areas for hiking, picnicking and bicycling.
Walker and Fowler Lakes, located in Snyder County.
Boating is limited to boats powered by electric motors and un-powered boats. One launch ramp is available along with associated parking facilities.
Un-powered boats may be moored at the lake in accordance with Commission property regulations. To be used at the lake, boats must be registered or have a valid launch permit (permits are issued by the Commission or PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources).
Boating and Fishing are also popular at nearby Faylor Lake, a 140-acre resource near Beaver Springs. The Lake is a shallow, 140-acre lake laying in the large valley between Jack’s and Shade Mountains in western Snyder County just outside of Beaver Springs. Fed by Middle Creek this lake is home to numerous species of warm water fish, turtles, migratory birds, song birds and frogs. There are parking lots and a gravel boat ramp. Subject to all applicable Fish & Boat Commission regulations, boating is limited to un-powered boats only.
Lake Chillisquaque at Montour Preserve, Montour County
Lake Chillisquaque, a 165-acre reservoir on the middle branch of Chillisquaque Creek, was built as a backup cooling water supply for the nearby Montour Power Plant. The name ‘Chillisquaque’ comes from the native American term meaning ‘song of the wild goose’ and is a wonderful spot for viewing migrating water fowl and other birds.
The lake is home to a naturally reproducing fish population monitored by the PA Fish & Boat Commission. It includes the following game species:
- Northern pike
- Largemouth bass
- Channel catfish
- Bullhead catfish
- Black crappie
- Yellow perch
In cooperation with the PA Fish & Boat Commission and a local bass club, a variety of fish structures have been placed in the lake over the years to enhance fish habitats, recreational fishing and provide shelter and spawning sites for fish. To learn more about the PA Fish & Boat Commission’s habitat improvement efforts, please click here.
When fishing in Lake Chillisquaque, the most effective baits are often minnows, nightcrawlers and crawdads. Anglers and fish favor some artificial baits such as jigs, buzz baits, Rapalas/Rebels, crankbaits and plastic worms.
A line of buoys, shown on the map above, designates the boundary of the Montour Preserve Wildlife Refuge. Fishing and boating are not allowed within the refuge at any time.
Look to the eastern shoreline past the bouys to spy a pair of nesting bald eagles.