Outdoor Journal: Locals pull in walleyes, pike in Quebec
“Good walleye and good pike caught every day.”
That was the opening line in the daily fishing report I got in my email from two local anglers who traveled to Berthelot Lake Lodge in the Canadian province of
The Gloversville anglers, Albi Peck and his grandson, Clarence Chamberlain, caught so many walleyes their first day, their arms hurt from bottom-bouncing jigs and reeling in fish. Grandpa wasted no time in letting his grandson know who was the top fisherman when he boated a 28-inch walleye early the first day.
Day two began slowly, but before long, both anglers had hooked up with healthy northern pikes. I saw the photos, and I believe grandpa beat him by about an inch. The fishing was good, but the highlight of the day was when their guide quietly moved the boat in toward shore to within 25 feet of a bull moose standing in the water feeding.
Day three was cloudy and rainy, but proved to be the best for fishing. As soon as they got to the first spot, they were so busy catching walleyes and northern pike that they didn’t leave it until 1 p.m. And they emphasized that every ’eye was over 18 inches. Clarence also made it very clear that on that day, he boated a 35-inch northern which was, I believe, the biggest of the trip. The actual total that day was 80 ’eyes and six pike.
The fourth day, they only got to fish in the morning before a thunderstorm arrived, but it was a good morning with more than 70 fish coming aboard.
Day five was another rod-bending day, but the highlight of this day was when they loaded on to a bush plane to visit St-Cyr Royal, which can only be reached by air. As they described it, “It was a paradise in the middle of nowhere.” They both agreed it was quite a scenic ride.
One thing I’m sure of, they ate well, because each day’s account ended with such statements as: “Huge freshly caught walleye dinner with all the trimmings,” “Chicken Alrardo over squash sauce,” and many other “good food” comments.
One thing that interested me was the camp also offers moose and bear hunts. Good for fish and fur stories. Check them out at www.-lacberthelot.com.
Last Sunday, I had the pleasure of spending the day on the upper Hudson River between Stillwater and Schuylerville, fishing with Mark Haworth and his two children, Freya, 10, and Harry, 8, from Saratoga Springs. It was a beautiful day, but the river was very high and muddy, not what you’d call the best fishing conditions. Our goal for the day was to get Freya and Harry their first bass.
The first hour was very slow, with only a few “bites” and no hook-ups. Then, while fishing some fallen trees, Mark got one. It definitely did not want to come up from the bottom, but Mark finally brought it to the surface, and I slipped the net under a healthy chain pickerel, a good one, easily in the four-pound range.
Shortly after Mark caught his fish, a south wind came up the river, just strong enough for us to drift along the eastern shoreline fishing the sunken weeds, tree limbs and scattered underwater rocks. Those shallow rocks were where our biggest largemouth bass came from.
Freya’s grape wacky worm had just hit the surface no more than about three feet from the shore when it hit. She was excited, and so was I, but she followed every direction I gave her to get the big boy to the net. It took several nerve-racking passes by the boat, but we finally got it. Her first largemouth bass had an estimated weight of more than three pounds.
It was almost time to go, and Harry was running out of time to hook up with his bass, but luck was with us. As we pulled up to the edge and a very rocky shoreline, I pointed to a spot where I wanted Harry to cast. I had caught bass there a number of times, and when Harry said, “Got one,” the action began. There were several anxious moments, but Mark finally was able to get the smallie into the net. It was a beautiful 21⁄2-pound Hudson River smallmouth. It was also the biggest smallmouth bass of the day.
The Great Sacandaga Lake bass were a bit tough in terms of size, but not numbers, as 20 of the 22 Mohawk Valley Anglers Club teams that competed weighed in five-bass limits. Most of the anglers reported catching 15 to 30 fish, but size was a problem.
Leading the way were Richmondville anglers Ryan Coulter and Roy Bilby. The winners had 9.73 pounds and received $360. Second were Schoharie anglers Michele and Randy King, 9.63 pounds, $240; third, John D. and John R. Irons of Sprakers, 9.03, $180; and fourth, the Rotterdam team of Pete Biancosino and Tim Longo, 8.99 pounds, $60. Big bass honors and $115 went to Robert and William Streeter of Tribes Hill with their 2.30-pound bass.
A survey of the anglers revealed quite a variety of lures, including grubs, senkos, tubes, Pop-Rs and jerkbaits.
Saratoga Bass Tackle’s opening Tuesday afternoon contest attracted 20 teams. Leading the way was the team of Dan Harms of Glens Falls and John Harms of Scotia with 12.14 pounds. The winners told me their outboard wouldn’t start, so they used their electric trolling motor and were forced to fish in the creek around Lee’s Campground. Not bad — they didn’t spend any money on gas and still pocketed the $450 first-place cash.
Finishing second and receiving $270 was the Saratoga Springs team of Mike Schleicher and Nick Loan with their five-bass catch of 11.56. Third place and $180 went to another Saratoga Springs team, Dave Monger and John Jenkins, with 11.08 pounds. Big bass cash of $200 went to Paul Norton of Troy and Tom Kail of Burnt Hills with their 3.90-largemouth.
This weekend, state residents and visitors can fish for free (no license required) in any of the state’s lakes, rivers, ponds and streams. Saltwater anglers may also fish in marine waters or for migratory marine fish species without enrolling in the Recreational Marine Fishing Registery.
Many readers are probably saying, “I already have my license.” OK, but what about your neighbors and their kids who’ve never tried it? What about their grandparents? Here’s your chance to introduce and teach someone just how much fun fishing can be, and it’s something that can be done at any age. I think you’ll find they’ll enjoy themselves, and so will you.
Try it, and when you do, send me an email with all the detail of this Saturday’s or Sunday’s fishing clinic. For a listing of free fishing events, go to www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/27123.html.
LONG LAKE TRIP
Last Friday, Paul Galcik of Schuylerville and I traveled to Long Lake. Our goal was to catch pike and anything else that would bite.
We left early and were on the water by 7 a.m. The beautiful morning actually lasted all day. Having not been on this lake for some time, I’d forgotten how beautiful our
Adirondack lakes really are.
It was obvious the fish didn’t know we were there when we didn’t get a bite the first hour of fishing, and by the end of the afternoon, when we called it quits, Paul’s biggest fish was a three-pound largemouth and mine was an 11-inch chunky perch that got me excited when it hit my six-inch wacky worm.
As for the pike, Paul had one follow his lure to the boat and one he hooked but that got off. My Long Lake pike story was a rod bent for a few seconds and half-dozen turns on the reel before the line floated out of the water without my chatter bait. It was cut clean by what I’m going to guess were the sharp teeth of a northern pike.
In spite of the lack of fish, we both agreed: A bad day of fishing is so much better than a good day at work.
GOLDEN PARK PROGRAM
I just received my Golden Park Program pass from the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The pass, free to those 62 and older, allows free vehicle access to state parks, boat launch sites and arboretums (except at Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park and Earl W. Brydges Artpark State Park).
It also includes fee reduction at state historic sites and state-operated golf courses. All you have to do is present your valid state driver’s license or non-driver identification card. The pass is good any weekday (except a holiday). You can call for an application at 474-0586 or at http://nysparks.com/admission/golden-park-program.aspx.