Fall weather seems to be here, but from all reports, the quality of fishing is hit-and-miss. It all depends upon where you wet a line.
A good example of this is the recent South Shore Marine Championship on Saratoga Lake where 13 teams of skilled anglers struggled to get the normally bigger bass that they were catching earlier in the season.
The winners — Andrew LaMere of Colonie and Adam Geleta of Clifton Park — weighed in a five-bass team limit totaling 11.12 pounds. In the regular three-bass weeknight tournaments, winning weights were averaging almost three pounds per fish throughout the summer, and a five-pound largemouth also came to the scales.
Other Saratoga anglers also reported catching a lot of small largemouths along the weed edges and in the south end of the lake around Stoney Point in 8-10 feet of water. These fish were averaging 12-15 inches.
The largemouth bite was on the normal wacky worms, spider jigs and jig-and-pig combinations; the smallies were hitting on the surface early and late in the day, and on small plastic drop-shot offerings throughout the day.
I don’t know where the pike are, but I know there’s still a very good population of pickerel all over Saratoga Lake.
I got all the action I could handle tossing a seven-inch plastic ribbon tail, red shad worm on a quarter-ounce jig head. I let it sink about a foot under the surface and then reeled it back in with a fairly quick and steady retrieve. This also worked over the tops of some of the sunken weed beds around Mannings Cove.
I think the pike fishing will improve if the water temperatures continue to drop.
At nearby Lake Lonely, the northern pike bite seems to be just beginning.
Bobber anglers with the patience to sit and watch a big shiner set down about three feet beneath the surface and moving around the outside weed edges in the northern end of the lake usually will attract “teeth.” And the beauty of this little lake is that it holds some double-digit pike.
According to Bill Parry at Lake Lonely Boat Livery, the water temperature dropped from the mid-70s to mid-60s, and this will bring them up and biting. The bass are still fond of the plastics, and flipping the thicker weeds with a half-ounce jig-and-pig type rig should work. Try tossing a dark-colored six- to seven-inch plastic worm with a pegged weight right into the heavy weeds.
The Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federation’s Fall Fishing Contest attracted 129 entries last Saturday, and there were some very good fish brought in to be measured.
Art Georgelas of Scotia took the walleye division with his 20 1⁄4-incher, while Scott Thomas of Mayfield was second with a 18 3⁄8-incher and Rich Wozniak of Amsterdam third with his 18 1⁄4-inch ’eye.
It wasn’t too difficult to determine the winner in the pike category when Jeff Smith of Schenectady put his 40 1⁄4-inch fish on the measuring board. Jeff caught his big pike casting a CP Swing lure in shallow water.
Second and third places went to Brian Kedik of Edinburg with a 26-incher and Gary Bard of Northville with a 23 3⁄4-inch catch, respectively. Big bass honors went to Dennis Smith of Warwick with a 19 3⁄8-inch smallmouth, followed by Jeff Trojan of Scotia, who got a 19 1⁄8-inch fish and Sheri Buczek of Mayfield with a 18 3⁄4-inch smallie.
First place and a plaque from the GSLFF for the biggest trout was awarded to Dave Paniccia of Schenectady for his 17 1⁄4-inch catch. Trojan took second and third places with a 16 5⁄8- and 16 1⁄2-inch trout.
Each division paid $275, $125 and $50 for the three biggest fish, measured in inches.
Dave Allen of Mayfield spent a day on the Great Sacandaga Lake and landed four keeper (15-inch) walleye trolling the Southern Basin with No. 5 and No. 7 hot steel and fire tiger-colored Rapalas. He also boated four smallmouth bass, the biggest being just over 17 inches, working Keitech plastic baits from the rocky shore out to 15 feet deep.
Speaking of big Great Sacandaga Lake smallies, Jeff Russell of Ballston Spa and Dave Munger of Saratoga Springs teamed up to win the Greenbush Bass Association contest there with five bass weighing 12.08 pounds. Included in the winning catch was the tournament’s big bass, a 3.26-pound smallmouth. Total payoff for first place and lunker was $780.
On the Mohawk River, the bass tournament anglers also caught nice fish.
The Mohawk Masters singleman contest at Mohawk Valley Marine was won by Gerry Rosenbarker of Schenectady with a five-fish limit totaling 15.04 pounds. And several locks up in the St. Johnsville stretch of the Mohawk in the Mohawk Valley Anglers Club’s last event before their championship, Rotterdam anglers Vince Monini and Reed Poultan weighed in a winning five-bass limit totaling 15.38 pounds and collected a cash award of $164.
In both of these tournaments, a majority of the anglers weighed in limit catches and there were a number of three-pound bass caught. And in all of these tournaments all fish caught were released alive.
Apparently, the fall smallmouth and largemouth bite on the Mohawk River is beginning. Get those hard and soft top-water baits out. This is a fun time to be fishing the river.
If you’ve had a good day on the water and would like to share the experience with other anglers here in the Fishing Report send a detailed e-mail to [email protected]
SPINY WATER FLEA
The Department of Environmental Conservation recently announced that Sacandaga Lake, near Speculator in the southern region of the Adirondack Park, has been found to have spiny water fleas, an invasive aquatic species.
The spiny water flea feeds on tiny crustaceans and other zooplankton that are foods for fish and other native organisms. The tail spines of this flea hook on to fishing lines and foul fishing gear. The spiny water fleas also reproduce at rapid rates. Currently, there is no successful way to control or eradicate them, and many of the other aquatic invasive species that also exist in waters throughout New York state.
Boaters are urged to inspect and clean fishing and boating equipment and remove all mud, plants and other organisms that might be clinging to them. The equipment should also be dried for 48 hours before it is used on another body of water.
For a full description of the spiny water flea and other invasive species and how to stop their spread, click here.
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