The three-day ice-fishing tournament hosted by Nancy and Lou Stutzke of the Fuel & Food store on the Great Sacandaga Lake attracted 614 anglers, and the fishing, despite the snow, was excellent.
This was the biggest field in the event’s nine-year history, and over $4,000 in cash and $3,500 in prizes were awarded.
The winners in the walleye division were: Scott Baker of Fultonville, 283⁄8 inches (this fish weighed nearly 10 pounds); Mark Cole of Gloversville, 257⁄16; Jeff Holland of Johnstown, 247⁄8; Brian Joblonski of Fort Johnson, 241⁄8; Bob Zabielski of Amsterdam, 231⁄2; and Peter Geelan of Broadalbin, 227⁄8. First through sixth places returned $600, $400, $200, $100, $50 and $25, respectively.
The northern pikes that were brought in were also trophies.
Risa Shields of Mayfield, fishing in her first tournament, took top honors with a 421⁄2-inch pike. She was followed by Chris Nemec of Warrensburg, 4113⁄16; Vicky Hollenbeck of Mayfield, 381⁄2; Don Jones of Northville, 371⁄8; Al Rajter of Fort Johnson, 361⁄2; and Steve Olsen of Amsterdam and Bob Barden of Amsterdam, tied for sixth, 333⁄4. First through sixth places returned $500, $300, $200, $100, $50 and $25.
The quality of Sacandaga trout was also evident in the contest.
The winning brown trout, caught by Kyle Bundy of Broadalbin, measured 271⁄2 inches. The other winners were: Mark Hopkins of Schenectady, 211⁄2; Ira Cromling of Broadalbin, 177⁄8; Bill Purtell of Amsterdam, 175⁄8; Joe Sepko of Connecticut, 177⁄16; and Hank Ross Jr. of Mayfield, 171⁄4. First through sixth returned $300, $200, $100, $75, $50 and $25.
Big perch catches also highlighted the tournament, with top honors going to Jim Oathout of Broadalbin for his 155⁄16-inch catch. The remaining winners were: Ron Warner of Johnstown, 141⁄16; Rob Reese of Broadalbin, 133⁄4; Shawn Montgomery of Broadalbin, 135⁄8; Richard Nellis of Gloversville, 131⁄8; and Sepko, 131⁄16. First through sixth places paid $150, $125, $100, $75, $50 and $25, respectively.
The $100 prize for the longest mud puppy went to Ed Drisinski of Amsterdam for his 141⁄8-inch catch. Josh Bailey of Mayfield received $50 for the biggest pickerel — 23 inches — and Dave Skelli of
Mayfield earned $50 for his 15 bullhead.
A number of area bait shops helped in making the tournament a success. They included Dave’s Bait and Tackle, Frank’s Gun Shop, Ross’ Bait, Jim’s Bait and Mike Hauser of Twin Cities Sports Promotions.
Stutzke didn’t tell me exactly, but he said that next year’s Fuel & Food ice fishing event will offer a number of even bigger prize surprises.
I received two other big fish
stories from the Great Sacandaga Lake this past week.
Molly Brinks of Gloversville was fishing in a Dave’s Bait shanty when she hooked up with a big one. The pike measured 455⁄8 inches, and tipped the scales at 26 pounds. She was fishing a big shiner in six feet of water.
It was a nice, but slow, day on Sacandaga for Tom Budka, his wife, Michelle, and son, Tommy Jr., of Scotia, but at about 4 p.m., when only their third flag of the day popped up, things changed quickly. Fishing light tackle for perch and walleyes, it took about 20 minutes for Tom to pull up the 43-inch, 20.2- pound northern pike. Quite an accomplishment, considering he was using an eight-pound test leader.
Two girls from Schoharie also had big days on their first ice-fishing trips.
Victoria Mueller, 10, and Katelin Murphy, 11, guided by Mike Mueller, fished the Vly Pond on Route 145 south of Middleburgh. Jigging in about six feet of water with small jigs tipped with mousees, Katelin caught 20 perch and several bluegills, while Victoria caught eight perch and one nice pickerel. Mike said he managed to catch just six little ones.
Jeff Goldberg at FISH307.com reports that fishing has been very good on Lake George.
The areas around Pilot Knob, Hearthstone, Green and Crown islands are producing good salmon catches.
Fish are being caught on small minnows down three to eight feet under the ice. Also, some have been taken on No. 5 white Swedish Pimples jigged down to 15 feet.
The lake trout are also cooperating.
Most are coming right on the bottom in 70 to 110 feet of water using larger live bait with-tip ups. No. 7 and 8 silver with green prism Swedish Pimples jigged at these depths are also working. Good areas include Anthony’s Nose and Silver Bay.
Perch is still the really big bite on Lake George.
Huddle Bay, Basin Bay, around Long Island and even in some of the bays in the Narrows, the perch are holding in 30 to 35 feet of water. Jigging as well as small live bait at these depths should fill your limit.
Little Lake Lonely recently produced another big northern pike this year.
Bill Macejka Jr. of Schenectady hauled up a 41-inch, 20-pound pike, photographed it and then slipped it back into the water. He was fishing two feet under the ice in eight feet of water using a nine-inch sucker for bait.