Outdoor Journal: Foul weather hasn’t affected fishing bite

The heavy winds and rains that have muddied the waters of most of the area’s lakes and rivers don’t

The heavy winds and rains that have muddied the waters of most of the area’s lakes and rivers don’t seem to have had any adverse

effects on fishing.

Saturday, after the heavy rains and winds of the night before, I found the upper Hudson River both mud-stained and with a heavier current than usual, but the bass, pike and walleye bite was excellent.

The first two hours of the fishing day were rather slow — just a few 14-inch smallmouth catches — but when I moved out from the shore and started tossing my weightless wacky worm and three-inch tubes on a quarter-ounce jighead, bounced off the bottom, the bite picked up.

Fishing in the Stillwater area and working the channel edges north for four to five miles, I boated and released at least 25 smallmouths at two pounds or better. The largest was four-pound, four-ounce beauty that picked a tube off the bottom in 13 feet of water and headed right for the surface when I set the hook. And he didn’t stop until he came about two feet out of the water.

I found color made a difference in the stained water. The more brightly-colored worms and tubes — those with some chartreuse, white or orange — definitely got more attention. I even caught a few deep bass on a pink wacky worm, fished on a drop shot rig.

Later that morning, I was surprised by a nice seven-pound-plus walleye I took on the channel drop in front of the Coville inlet. Inside this inlet, worming my way along the weed edges, I found some two-pound largemouths waiting to inhale my black, metal-flaked wacky worm, and from a small underwater stump back near the Coville launch site, I pulled out a five-pound largemouth on a Texas-rigged Senko.

As I was leaving heading north just outside the inlet, I hooked up with two northerns around a large patch of lily pads along the western shoreline. I didn’t land either. Both cut my line, but I did get a glimpse of one of them, and it was definitely in the 36-inch class.

Remember, if you fish this stretch of the upper Hudson River, all fish caught must be returned to the wat­er immediately. For details, refer to the “New York State Freshwater Fishing Regulations 2006-2008.”

Fifty-two anglers proved that the largemouth bass at Saratoga Lake bite enthusiastically between 5 and 8 p.m. Fishing in the South Shore Marina’s first Wednesday three-bass team tournament of the season, the 26 two-man teams that competed weighed in 67 largemouth bass. The top four cash places were all were taken by Saratoga Springs anglers.

Leading the field were P.J. Pec­ulis and Bill Reil with 10.59 pounds. They got $245. Second was John Garin and Don Price, 9.41 pounds, $180; third, George Brown and John Burchell, 9.36 pounds, $125; fourth, Jeff and Larry Stortz, with 9.29 pounds. They got $75.

My partner, Bill Davis of Troy, and I boated at least 30 legal largemouths in our three hours on the water in this contest. All were taken on weightless wacky worms fished over submerged weedbeds in eight to 10 feet of water. The majority were in the 2-21⁄2-pound range. And talking with many of the contestants, I found this to be their exper­ience that afternoon, also.

This tournament will be held

every Wednesday from 5-8 p.m. Tournament fees are $49 per boat.

And speaking of submerged weeds, the Eurasian water milfoil weeds are continuing to disappear, according to the contestants. One comment I’ve heard several times at the tournament weigh-ins is, “What happened to Blue Gill Hill?” The Hill was a very popular spot where many a bass tournament was won by anglers dipping their lures in the pockets of the heavy water milfoil that used to be there. Apparently, the recent spraying of weed removal chemicals has worked and could be why the early tournaments on Saratoga Lake have not yet given up any giant bags of bass.

The pike bite at Saratoga has been hit-and-miss. Spinner bait anglers have accounted for some catches, but sizes haven’t really exceeded 25 inches. In fact, one angler reported catching a handful of 20-inch pike and one 27-inch pickerel.

The biggest pike caught in the last several weeks was by an unident­ified Vermont angler who landed and released a 34-inch, eight-pound fish. He was using a six-inch shiner beneath a bobber and he said he actually caught and released a half-dozen smaller pike. also. All were taken on the outside weedline in front of Brown’s Beach.

The panfish bite continues to be very good at Saratoga, especially along the shorelines in Manning’s Cove, south of the Saratoga Sailboat Club, down to China Town. Stay in the shallow water and pitch a brightly colored tiny tube set about 10 inches beneath a small bobber into the openings in the weeds. Let it sit motionless for a few seconds then jiggle it with the rod tip. The best setup I saw for doing this is the two-piece Wally Marshall Pro Series Crappie Rod by Bass Pro Shops. It’s a graphite nine-foot rod that will allow you to quietly dip the tube into the holes rather than toss or cast it. It is definitely a fun way to fish, and easy for the kids to learn. Check this rod out at www.basspro.com.

Dave’s Bait and Tackle in Mayfield reports a good walleye bite at the Great Sacandaga Lake, but it’s a late bite. “Eye” anglers are finding prime time to be from

5-8 p.m. They’ve been averaging eight to 15 hits, with fish in the

16- to 19-inch, good-eating range. The best technique and bait is still trolling or drifting with the spinner and worm harnesses between 28 and 30 feet. The biggest concent­ration of walleyes seems to be around Lanzi’s Restaurant.

The pike bite has slowed there also, but the rainbow trout bite has been very good with fish ranging from 16-20 inches. The best method has been pulling Rapalas, Michigan Stingers and Northern King DL 20s with downriggers.

The opening Lake Lonely one-fish, one angler weeknight tourn­ament Tuesday attracted a field of 25. Gary Thompson of Saratoga Springs led the way with a

4.30-pound largemouth. He won $110. Saratogian Tad Senecal’s 3.60-pound bass earned him the runner-up cash of $60. Mike

Laubach of Corinth earned $40 for his 3.10-pound bass.

Most of the successful anglers claimed that they had caught their fish on plastic baits, and there were a few who said they did best with a jig-n’-pig combination.

This tournament will be held

every Tuesday from 5-8 p.m. The cost is $10. Those without boats can still fish these tournaments. The Livery rents boats with electric motors for the contest for just $5. There is a limited number of boats and motors, so get there early.

The Lake Lonely pike bite has also slowed with occasional 20-24 inch catches being reported. This is not an unusual situation at this time of the year because the pike seem to go deep, and catching a good one can require fishing live bait at depths from 15–20 feet. It’s a slow process, and there’s no real guarantee that one willing to bite will be found down there. I’d recommend fishing for bass — they’re biting.

The panfish are in the shallow weeds and on the edges. They may also be suspended over the deeper water, so you have to run and gun until you locate the schools.

I was told that Round Lake has recently given up a few nice five-pound largemouths to anglers fishing with live bait from the shoreline, along Route 9. They also have been catching a few pike in that same area and those willing to fight the bugs at night have been catching a number of bullheads fishing night crawlers right on the bottom.

As for the Round Lake boating, anglers who have the patience to pitch and flip the east side all of the lake’s heavy cover and sunken wood, chances of catching three- and four-pound largemouth and even bigger are very good. I heard that Texas-rigged/pegged seven-inch red shad worms and heavy black living rubber jigs tipped with Zoom Jumbo Chunks are getting the most attention. Panfisherman should fish garden worms or tiny tubes beneath a bobber right in the weeds, just about anywhere in the shallows.


If you have had a good day on the water and would like to share the experience with Gaz­ette readers, drop me an email at [email protected] Please include the following: full name, where you live, where you fished, what you caught and sizes, what you used, and anything else that you think would be interesting.

Categories: Sports

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