When three generations of Amsterdam’s Auriemma family — Nick, Mike and grandson Nicholas — venture out on the ice on Otsego Lake, they usually do quite well.
In two recent trips there, they’ve had exceptionally good catches — all of which they released. On the first trip, Mike and son Nicholas were joined by Mariaville anglers Joe Bananto and Doc Holiday for what they thought would be a good day of walleye fishing. Well, apparently, the walleye were not biting, but in the beginning, the pesky pickerel were setting off plenty of flags in the shallows. Moving out into 94 feet of water, Nicholas hooked up with a nice 27 1⁄2-inch lake trout on a sucker 24 feet beneath a tip-up. Shortly thereafter, he caught a 25-incher and Joe hooked up with a 24-inch laker. The fishing slowed from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and they moved to deeper water. Setting bait from their tip-up 100 feet down in water 126 to 146 feet deep was the right thing to do because “things got crazy.” Nicholas and Joe both hooked and released two lakers in the 24- to 25-inch range, and each had four flags without hookups. All the fish that day were caught on live suckers.
On the next trip to Otsego, Mike was joined by his dad, Nick, and Amsterdam angler Dick Andrews. Their first set-ups were north of Five-Mile Point, where they had three good runs, but each time the fish spit the bait without getting hooked. Bob Ladue, a friend who lives on the lake, came to their rescue with his Vexilar depth/fish finder. The first hole they cut was in 142 feet of water, where they marked fish holding on the bottom. Mike lowered a blue and black swim bait to them, but they could see on the Vexilar that the fish didn’t seem interested. Mike continued to try to get them to bite for awhile, and then noticed on the Vexilar one fish down only 100 feet beneath the ice. Reeling up to that level, and then slowly retrieving the swim bait, he saw the fish chase, catch and head off with the bait — a snap of the wrist to set the hook, and the battle was on. The fun was just beginning. Mike was using an ultra-light smelt fishing rod because he had broken his lake trout jigging rod the week before. It took 15 minutes to land the 30-inch, 10 1⁄2-pound lake trout.
The Great Sacandaga Lake continues to produce some big fish, as evidenced by the results of Dave’s Bait & Tackle Shop’s monthly fishing contest.
Here’s a list of the winners and their catches:
Walleye — Noah Bailey, Northville, 23 inches; DJ Jones, Northville, 21; and John Hodgson, Mayfield, 20 1⁄4. Yellow perch — Jones, 14 inches; Hodgson, 13 1⁄4; Justin Coopey, Mayfield, 13 1⁄8. Northern pike — Jeff Smith, Gloversville, 43 3⁄4 inches; Jay Gander, Northville, 32; John Spiak, Broadalbin, 19. Pickerel — Jones, 21 3⁄4 inches; Ryan Gander, Northville, 18. Trout — Jones, 18 1⁄2 inches; Dave Miller, Northville, 17. Both were rainbows.
The big ice fishing tournament in the North Country, the Northern Challenge Fishing Derby, sponsored by the Tupper Lake Rod, Gun and Sports Club, attracted a field of 1,006 and returned a total of $34,900 in cash and prizes. All fishing was done on Simon/Tupper Lake. This eight-hour event paid $800 every hour ($500, $200, $100) for the heaviest top three northern pike.
Here are the top three weights each hour: first hour — Bill Ehrinerch, 10.12 pounds; Dave Gevo, 5.83; and Dick Dory, 4.88. Second — Tom Boyer, 12.07; Lindaey Burguyne, 9.17; and Bill Atkinson Sr., 6.18. Third — Harry Hubbard, 12.25; James Myers, 4.10; and Debbie Dicaprio, 3.56. Fourth — Bill Nemier, 3.93; Mike Kennedy, 3.18; and Jeff Beach, 1.15. Fifth — Jared Ellis, 4.45; Glen Coon, 4.33; and Jim Temper, 3.66. Sixth — Bill DeLapp, 5.71; Oscar Parmenter, 5.51; and Stew Padsol, 5.05. Seventh — Bill Nemier, 4.33; Cathy Shaheen, 4.21; and John Muzzy, 2.17. Eighth — James Myers, 6.63; Katrina LaJoy, 3.82; and Dan Herron, 3.55 pounds.
ATV four wheelers were won by 10-year-old Reece Howard and Van Morrison. The 50-50 raffles returned a total of $9,000. A total of 109 fish were weighed in, 103 released alive.
VERMONT WALLEYE RECORD
Richard Levesque of West Swanton, Vt., caught a 321⁄2-inch walleye through the ice on Lake Champlain Feb. 10 at 9 p.m. that tipped the scales at 14.55 pounds. The big ’eye had a 20-inch girth, and was caught on a tip-up with a golden shiner. The previous record was 13.44 pounds, caught on the Clyde River in 1977 by Doug Niles of Newport Center, Vt.
— The Lake George Ice Fishing Championship will be held Saturday at Veteran’s Park in Bolton Landing. Pre-registration fee is $20 per person, and $25 the day of the contest. Tournament hours are 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cash awards will be given to the three heaviest pike, lake trout, landlocked salmon and perch. For details, go to www.lakegeorgeicefishing.org.
— Also Saturday, the Speculator-Lake Pleasant-Piseco Fish & Game Club will host its eighth annual Lake Pleasant Ice Fishing Contest from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cash awards will be given to the top three longest trout and pickerel. A cash award will be given to the two longest perch every hour, and the longest perch of the day will receive a cash award. Entry fees are $25 for pre-registered, and $30 the mornijng of the contest. For details, go to www.slpp-fishgame.org.
— The Schenectady County Conservation Council will host its second annual Ice Fishing Tournament on Collins Lake in Scotia. The event is for Schenectady County youths 15 or younger. Registration begins at 9 a.m. The contest will be held from 10. a.m. to noon. Entry is free. For details, call Ray Gawlas at 372-2357.