The bridge is open! This is good news for all of those who frequent Saratoga Lake. It opened last Thursday, and there were quite a few boating anglers who started the Memorial Day weekend early on Friday at Saratoga Lake, where they found the fish still biting frequently.
Right now, you can toss just about any lure that you have in your tackle box and find a largemouth bass that is willing to bite it. With the crazy weather conditions we have been having, it is hard to say how long these bass may be biting, but it should last through this weekend.
When fishing for these spawning bass, remember: use artificial lures only, and when you catch one, it requires immediate release. Take that picture quickly and slip it back gently into the water. I spoke with several bass club anglers this past week who both claimed to have a case of the fishing flu, and they said they had caught 25 bass in the six hours they were on the water. One was six pounds, two were five pounds and they had a number of three- to four-pounders, as well. They claimed that all were caught on white/chartreuse three-eighths-ounce spinner baits, but when I looked in their Ranger bassboat, all I saw were rods rigged with weightless wacky worms. Fishermen don’t lie, do they?
I know one gentleman who became a new fan of the wacky worm. His name is Mitch Brie of White Plains, who along with his father-in-law, Dr. George May, joined me on Saratoga Lake this past Tuesday. We caught a number of largemouths, and on one cast with a wacky-rigged BPS Stick-O-Worm, Mitch hooked up with what was quite a fighter. It really did not act like a bass, and it wasn’t. What Mitch had caught was a beautiful walleye that weighed over six pounds. These are good fish to eat, but we released him. There still are some very good ‘eyes in Saratoga.
At nearby Lake Lonely, the water level seems to be back to normal, and all species are biting. Recently, I was at Lake Lonely when 12-year-old Hunter McDermott of Gansevoort stepped out of one of the rental boats carrying a stringer of nice panfish. The fish, which included several nice crappies, were caught by Hunter and his dad, Gregg, using a bobber and a worm rig. A week earlier, the father-and-son team caught several pike, the biggest measuring 30 inches and weighing eight pounds, four ounces. Gregg also caught and released a 20-inch largemouth bass. Bill Parry, owner of Lake Lonely Boat Livery, said that the pike bite was just beginning.
Speaking of big pike, Randy Gardinier of Amsterdam pulled in a big one recently from the Great Sacandaga Lake. Randy’s big pike, which he caught on an artificial lure, measured 43 inches and tipped the scales at 19 pounds.
Randy, who is the chairman of the Great Sacandaga Fisheries Federation Inc., wants to remind you that the GSLFF’s 20th annual Summer Fishing Contest will be held on June 18, from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. All measuring and awards will be at the Sport Island Pub located on Riverside Boulevard in Sacandaga Park, Northampton. Pre-registration, which is prior to June 18, is $15, and the fee is $18 the day of the event. The three places is each of the three categories of bass, walleyes and trout will return $300, $150 and $50 respectively. For additional information, call Randy at 843-6329 or Jack Smith at 863-1062. To find out where to get an application or download one, go to the website www.gslff.org and click on application.
The big winner, one of four members of the Team Wet Net of this year’s Lake Ontario Counties Derby (LOC) was Christa Sauderson of Ransomville with a 27- pound, 14-ounce lake trout, and it earned her a $12,500 award. She caught the fish using a three-way rig drifting a silver and chartreuse K-9 Kwikfish lure on the bottom in 36 feet of water off the bar in front of the mouth of the Niagara River. It was her first time fishing the LOC Derby.
Two other members of the team also had prize-winning catches. John Shay of Tonawanda had a third place in the salmon division with a 22-pound, two-ounce catch, and Mike Barry of Tonawanda took second place in the lake trout division with his 25-pound, 15-ounce catch. The teams’ boat captain, Matt Yablonsky of Youngstown, was sixth with a 21-pound, nine-ounce lake trout.
First place in the salmon division was captured by Ken Champagne of Chillicothe, Ohio, with his 25-pound, one-ounce fish, while Mike Wichtowski of Rochester had the big brown trout with his 17-pound, nine-ounce catch. The biggest rainbow trout, a 17-pound, four-ounce fish, was caught by Steve Collier of Avoca, and a 10-pound, eight-ounce walleye was caught by Eugene Nichols of Cape Vincent.
When Tom Borchert of Middletown reeled in his 491⁄4-inch Hudson River striped bass on May 26, he took over the lead in this year’s River Basin Sports Shop Striped Bass Contest, but he had to wait 10 more days before he could officially claim his $5,758 reward. That’s just over $117 per inch; well worth the wait. If you want to see what a 49-inch striper looks like, go to www.riverbasinsports.com,
Finishing in second place was Bill Walsh of Rock Tavern with a 481⁄4-inch striper worth $1,779.90. Randy Brockett of Middletown and Vince Maiuri of Palenville tied for third, each with a 451⁄2-inch striper and will each receive $1,151.70. Steve Sigler of Catskill earned $628.20 for his 45-inch catch. There were 692 entries in this year’s contest.
Over 100 kids lined the shores of the Six Mile Waterworks in Albany to compete in the entry-free 13th annual Ryans Produce/Make-A-Wish fishing contest last Sunday. And the honorary tournament director, WTEN weatherman Steve Caporizzo, saw to it that they had a beautiful day to fish.
The Fuller Road Fire Department started and ended the contest with a siren and the shooting of water from its deluge gun over the lake. And most important, the fish were very cooperative. Winners in each of the three age group categories were determined by the total inches of their three biggest fish.
In the 7-and-under category, the winners were: Jacob Anigian of Watervliet, Kayla Zostant of Colonie, Keith Roney of Voorheesville, Karlita Karczewski of Troy and Robbie Yager of Colonie.
The 8-11-year-old winners were: Izayah McGill of Latham, Tyler Hoffman of Colonie, Shawn Clancy of Colonie, Josef Wilson of Saratoga Springs and Austin Small of Green Island.
The 12-15-year-old winners were Spenser Raymond of East Nassau, Zachary Heil of Schenectady, Kevin Ramlochan of Rotterdam, Shayne Cardarelli of Colonie and Daniel Cardarelli of Colonie.
Last month, a concerned sportsman reported a man that he saw, and photographed, fishing in Harris Bay on Lake George and keeping the bass that he caught. You are allowed to fish for bass prior to the opening of the season (the third Saturday in June), but you must use only artificial lures, and you must release the fish immediately. When the sportsman confronted the man, explained the law and asked him to release the fish, he did and quickly exited the area, leaving his fishing rod and tackle box.
After reviewing the photo and gear, the Environmental Conservation Officer (ECO) patrolled the area, anticipating he would return for his equipment. The ECO spotted the car on Main Street in the Village of Lake George and stopped him. The accused poacher, David Chan, 68 of Whitestone, when confronted with the evidence, admitted to the violation and he was ticketed for fishing without a license and taking black bass out of season. He was immediately arraigned in the Town of Lake George Court, pled guilty to the charges and paid a $225 fine.
If you observe someone violating our fish and wildlife laws and regulations, you are encouraged to report it to DEC using its 24-hour Tipp (Turn in Polluters and Poachers) hotline, (800) TIPP-DEC (847-7332).
CHAMPLAIN BASS BITING
Vermont Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Pat Berry and fisheries biologist Shawn Good recently spent some time off from work and fished the southern section of Lake Champlain, taking advantage of the spring catch-and-release bass season. With the high water and rising water temperature conditions, it did not take them long to find the largemouths in the flooded bottomlands and the back of the bays. Flipping and pitching wacky and Texas-rigged soft plastic baits, they caught and released over 40 largemouths in their five hours on the water. They report that there are still plenty of places to launch a boat, and Lake Champlain is safe and boatable.
The Northeast Team Bass tournament schedule for Sunday has been postponed and will be re-scheduled. Watch for the new date at www.andersenboat.com.