Launching the boat seems to be the biggest fishing problem right now, but once on the water, the fishing should be very good.
One launch that has been getting a lot of use is the state site at Saratoga Lake, and it is free.
I recently spoke with Mike Greenslade, park manager of the New York State Office of Parks, Historic Preservation, and he said there is currently no launching fee at Saratoga. However, they will soon be introducing a new “Pay and Display” machine where boaters will drive up to a machine at the entrance, insert the exact amount of cash or swipe a credit/debit card and receive a ticket that must be displayed on their vehicle’s windshield.
There will be an OPRHP employee at the launch on weekends to monitor traffic flow and help first-time boaters. As someone who spends a lot of time putting my boat in and taking it out of the water, I think this monitor/helper is a great idea.
As for the bridge construction update, they intend to open it to crossing vehicle traffic this week, perhaps even by today. The new bridge is 635 feet long with five piers and two, 11-foot-wide travel lanes. On each side of the bridge, there are five-foot pedestrian walkways, and the new bridge will be three feet higher than the old one.
For fishing on Saratoga Lake, the presence of many bass boats indicates that the bass are spawning and it’s definitely a fun time to be out there wetting a line. I talked with several anglers who had just come off the water at the state launch site and they said that in the five or six hours they’d been on the water, they hooked up with and released at least 50 bass, the majority of which were largemouths. Most were smaller males guarding the bed, but they also said they caught a five- and a six-pound largemouth using a variety of lures.
As a reminder, it’s catch-and-release only until the regular season opens the third Saturday in June. And right now, live bait cannot used, only artificial lures are permitted. Live bait is easily swallowed and when it happens, the belly-hooked bass can die. But even when using artificial lures, you must be careful. Here are a few do’s and don’ts rules to follow when catching and releasing bass.
To insure a quicker release, pinch down the barbs on your hooks. Avoid touching the body of the fish wherever possible because it will remove some of the protective mucous coating that covers their bodies. Many anglers use soft gloves they wet before touching fish. For bass, the normal grasp is using the thumb in its mouth with the first finger below. That’s fine for smaller fish, but bigger (heavier) bass should also be supported under the belly with your other hand. When returning bass to the water, don’t throw them. Gently place then back into the water. The best release is to leave the fish in the water while removing the hook. By all means, take those photos of the trophies, but do it gently and quickly.
Speaking of big bass, 14-year-old Mackenzie Galcik of Schuylerville did a little CPR (catch, photo, release) when she hooked up with a 4.85-pound largemouth in the pouring rain. Fishing with her dad, Mike, on a four-acre farm pond in Stillwater, Mackenzie hooked her trophy using a pumpkinseed Z-Man Chatter bait on a six-foot Loomis spinning rod spooled with six-pound test fluorocarbon. Dad said she is eager to return to the pond and fish it again.
The Hudson River is flowing, very muddy and has all types of things floating on the surface, but the stripers are still biting, as evidenced by the leaderboard of the River Basin Sports Shop. Right now, there’s a first-place tie between Vince Maiuri of Palenville and Randy Brockett of Middletown who both brought in 45 1⁄2-inch stripers. One fish was taken on a large, live herring fished in six feet of water and the other was deep on chunk bait. Apparently, the peak of the run is right now, so get out there and have some fun.
KIDS TOURNAMENT RESULTS
There were 105 young anglers who competed in the 19th Schenectady County Indian Kill Fishing Day earlier this month, and they were eager to hook up with some of the 500 rainbow trout recently stocked in the stream. The winners in the 6 years and younger group were: Dustin Crandall, 3, Schenectady, 11 1⁄8 inches and Ryley Holt, 4, Schenectady, 10.75 inches. The 7-11-year-old winners were: Alexandria Wolfe, 11, Scotia, 14.75 inches; Tyler Toth, 10, Rotterdam, 12.5 inches; and Whitteny Crandall, 9, Schenectady, 12.25 inches. The 12-15-year old winner was Nathan Correll, 14, with an 11-inch trout. The winner of the out-of-the-hat rod, reel and tackle box was 14-year-old Justin Crandall of Schenectady.
In the 31st annual Helderberg Bassmasters Kids Fishing Contest at the Six Mile Waterworks in Albany, 68 young anglers lined the banks of this popular little lake. The winners were determined by the combined inches of all the fish they caught.
The winners in the up to 6 years old were: Aliva Fugitt, Clarksville, 172 inches; Benjamin Fugitt, Clarksville, 146 inches; and Jacob Arigian, Watervliet, 116 inches. Lilliana Jourdin of Albany had lunker, a 10-inch fish.
The 7-9-year-old winners were: Josh Fugitt, Clarksville, 189 inches; Brooke DiCipio, Latham, 118 inches; and Daniel Barry, Ravena, 87 inches. Maria Anderson of Albany had lunker with a 11.75-inch fish. The 10-12-year-old winners were: Hannah Guidi, Watervliet, 56 inches; Nana Cerniglia, Rotterdam, 31 inches; and Austin Browe, Averill Park, 21 inches. Jeff Kentris of Latham, had lunker with an 11-incher.
If you would like to see photos of these kids and their catches, go to www.helderbergbassmasters.com.
If you’ve had a good day on the water and would like to share your fishing results with fellow anglers, send an email to, [email protected]. Be sure to include your full name, where you live (city), where you fished, what you caught, what you used and anything else you think would add to the tale.