I’ve always wanted to fish the North Branch of the Susquehanna River which is known for its healthy and super strong smallmouth bass population. I planned a trip with Mike Lionetti from Mike’s Guide Service who came highly recommended from numerous fishing buddies that book multiple trips with Mike every year…and now I know why!  To start, I arrive at Mike’s guest house which is a farmhouse that was built back in the 1800’s surrounded by rolling hills and overlooking his 43 acre pond. A peaceful paradise for any fisherman without a doubt (and I’ll talk more about that 43 acre largemouth gold mine a little later in this blog). After getting the best night’s sleep I’ve had in months, Mike picks me up at 6 am, we grab some breakfast and head off to the river. With an arsenal of Craw D’oeuvres, Hammer Shads and 3.5” Food Chain Tubes, we immediately start leaning back on the beautiful Susky bronze backs within minutes after we get to our 1st spot. This was the first time I ever fished a river system with good current and let me tell you, the fish that live here are solid muscle because of it. Even a 14 inch fish in that part of the river will test your drag and you better hold on when you hook into one over 3 lbs! I had about a one hour learning curve getting familiar with dragging plastics on a rocky bottom in stiff current but Mike taught me everything I needed to know and after that it was “game on”.  It was definitely a different kind of fishing than anything I was used to because everything is constantly moving. The water is constantly moving, the boat is constantly moving in the current and the fish are constantly moving as well. But fortunately the smallies up there at the top of PA hit so aggressively it made distinguishing hits among “everything moving” an absolute breeze. This is not the kind of place where you can cast out, put your rod down to take a drink of water and expect your rod to still be in the boat when you go to reach for it again. These fish will gladly drag you gear overboard if you leave it unattended for a few seconds. How can you not love fish like that? The bass were just hammering our baits and the Craw D’oeuvre was without a doubt the superstar lure of the day fished on a 1/4oz football head. Throughout the day we experimented with multiple colors and the fish seemed to love every color we threw at them. What an exciting way to fish! To make the experience even better, the area of the Susquehanna Mike guides in is nothing less than majestic. It’s at the top of PA and has unbelievable mountain views, rock cliffs, beautiful water and abundant wildlife. It was one of those times when you wish there was 20 hours of daylight just so the day didn’t have to end. Now here’s the kicker! After a full day of having our arms completely worn out from wrestling countless Susky river smallies, Mike topped off the day by taking me out on his 43 acre pond after 4pm for some largemouth action. He told me that the main forage of the bass in the pond was bluegill so I rigged up a Green Pumpkin/light Blue Swirl 4.5” Texas-Rig Jig on my flippin’ stick and immediately got crushed by a by a beautiful 7.7 pounder on my 2nd cast. WOW! I wasn’t expecting that to happen and talk about an adrenaline rush!

We were so pumped up from what just happened we both chugged a Red Bull and spent the next 2 hours catching bass after bass in the 2 to 4.5lb range. What a way to end the day! To sum up my trip, I give it 5 stars in every aspect.  The experience with Mike’s Guide Service was everything I hoped it would be. Not only did we catch bass left and right throughout the day, but we joked around and laughed the entire day as if we’ve been friends for the past 20 years. What more can you ask for in a guided trip! As a matter of fact, I called Mike the day I got home and booked another trip, but this time for 2 days and I’m bringing my wife because I know she’s going to have a blast as well! If you’re looking for an amazing fishing trip from A to Z, Mike’s contact info is:




My one regret is that I only booked a single day on my first trip up there. So do yourself a favor and don’t make the same mistake I did…because I promise you, you’re not going to want to leave after the first day!