Fishing the Fifty

My Quest to Fish All 50 States


The Susquehanna River was once known for its smallmouth fishery, but, sadly, that has been declining in recent years because of water quality, with both 2012 and 2013 seeing prohibitions on smallmouth fishing.  The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is working hard to restore the health of the fishery.  Fortunately for trophy anglers, there is another, bigger fish to target on the Susquehanna that has not (yet) been affected:  flathead catfish.  I picked Joe Gunter ( because his pictures are incredible and he seems to be certifiably obsessed with trophy catfish hunting.  I drove up to Lancaster County one October afternoon for our night trip.


I was right about two things.  Joe is obsessed with catfishing, as proven by our fishing through the drizzly 36-degree Pennsylvania night from 6:30 p.m. until 5:00 a.m.  I was also right about him being the best guide for trophy flathead on the Susquehanna.  I caught 11 flathead and one channel catfish.  Three of these flathead were trophies:  a 36-inch, 19.2-pounder; a 40.5-inch, 28.8-pounder, and, my personal best, a 43-inch, 32.2-pounder caught at 3:57 a.m.

Welcome to Pennsylvania

My first Pennsylvania fish

A 40.5-inch, 28.8-pound trophy flathead, caught at 3:28 a.m. 

Dusk on the Susquehanna River

My first trophy flathead (36 inches, 19.2 pounds), caught at 2:08 a.m. 

My biggest Pennsylvania fish and still my personal best flathead, a 43-inch, 32.2-pound trophy, caught at 3:57 a.m.