Big pike — really big pike — highlight this week’s ice-fishing report.
Jeremy Lawrence of Northampton had his hands full, literally, Saturday during the Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federation’s ice fishing contest. He was over 20 feet of water in the middle of a stump field out from the Northampton area when the 46-inch, 25-pound pike grabbed his 10-inch sucker.
“It wasn’t an easy battle,” he said.
The fish actually got caught in the wood and brush, and all Jeremy could do was wait. Finally, the pike freed itself, and Jeremy pulled it carefully through the
The big pike definitely turned a lot of heads when Jeremy laid it on the measuring table at the Sacandaga Boating Club. He also brought in another pike in the 30-inch class and a perch that measured just
under 13 inches. The big pike earned Jeremy $125.
Second place in the pike category, and $50, was awarded to Arlo Klinetob of Broadalbin for his
In the perch category, Brian Winney, also of Broadalbin, took home the top prize of $125 for his 133⁄4-inch catch, and Mark Fancher of Glenville earned $50 for his
Two brown trout won the top two places of $125 and $50, respectivley. Jack Akey of Broadalbin had a 211⁄4-inch catch, and J.J. Sitterely’s brown measured 191⁄2 inches. Akey also received a special engraved plaque for his trout.
The main event in this contest was walleye, and returned cash awards for the top three biggest fish. The winner, with a 27-inch walleye, was Bruce Bartley of Catskill; second was Mike Kaslauskas of Broadalbin, 201⁄2 inches; and Rich Bradshaw of Schenectady was third with a 203⁄8-incher. First through third returned $500, $150 and $75, respectively.
I spoke with a number of the successful participants in the contest, and there didn’t seem to be any one area in particular where the fish were caught. The main channel in the Mayfield area, Scout Island, around Northampton and Broadalbin were frequently mentioned.
As for techniques and methods, most of those who caught pike were using large shinners/suckers beneath tip-ups 10 to 30 feet down. The walleyes were caught mostly on medium-sized live bait, and only a few reported catching them jigging. The ’eyes were deep — over 20 feet — as were the trout.
The perch, however, seemed to be hitting both small minnows beneath tip-ups and jigging tubes, grubs, etc. The depths varied, but the larger perch were taken from 15 feet or deeper.
Saratoga Lake has also given up some good northern pike recently.
Dave Garrison of Saratoga Springs was fishing in eight to 10 feet of water around Fitch Road when he hooked up with what he immediately knew was not a panfish. After a short battle, he pulled up a 43-inch northern that weighed 16.88 pounds. Dave was very lucky to land the pike because he was fishing with a tip-up baited with a pike shiner and only a monofilament leader. He also reported catching several nice bass that he released, and a few pickerel.
Tom Gregory of Ballston Spa was fishing in the south end of Saratoga Lake, near Stoney Point, when he hooked up with his trophy pike. He dropped a large shiner down about eight feet using a tip-up, and was rewarded with a 40-inch, 14-pound northern pike. He reported catching a few other smaller northerns and a few pickerel.
Other reports from Saratoga Lake ice anglers revealed that the pickerel are definitely biting.
For the past several years, the pickerel population in Saratoga Lake has exploded. They provide a lot of action both in soft- and hard- water fishing, and because they’re easy to catch, they can provide a lot of fun fishing, especially for kids.
Saratoga’s walleye bite is good, but most of the activity is either early in the morning or late afternoon and night. Medium shiners will usually bring up a few, as will jigging with a size 5 Rapala with a perch or silver/blue finish. They’ve been catching some 18- to 22-inch walleyes in the channel and weed edges east of the state boat launch at Fish Creek.
Judging by the crowds I saw off of Fitch Road and around the boat launch, I assume the panfish are there. Most are fishing small minnows and jigging with small, colorful tiny tubes in less than 10 feet of water. But I’m told the larger bluegills, when found, are usually in deeper water.
FISH307.com (347-4307) Tackle Shop on Route 9 in Lake George reports that they’re fishing Harris, Huddle and Sawmill bays.
Mechanicville ice anglers John Michaels Jr. and Stan Sala got into some large schools of perch recently fishing for the first time in Huddle Bay. They were fishing in 13 to 15 feet of water jigging with spikes, and caught more than 100 perch throughout the day. The perch were nine to 12 inches.
Harris Bay also has some big northern pike, as Travis Higgins of Gansevoort recently discovered when he dropped a large shiner down just over the weed tops.
He got quite a surprise when his tip-up flag went up, and he started to pull in his catch.
It wasn’t that easy, but when it was over, Higgins had a 38-inch, 14-pound northern laying on the ice. And he did it all with an eight-pound test monofilament leader.