Tournament Fishing: Lake Champlain best destination for bass fishing

If I had to choose the best bass fishing lake in New York state, it would have to be Lake Champlain.

If I had to choose the best bass fishing lake in New York state, it would have to be Lake Champlain. In fact, I’d even say it may be the best in the Northeast.

In 2007, it was the Bassmaster pros’ choice lake for bass fishing, and since then, they’ve been hosting national pro-level tournaments there every year. And the bass fishing reports I continue to receive about fishing this 125-mile-long lake with 490 square miles of surface, continue to be exceptional. Here are just a few recent bass catches on Lake Champlain.

Dan Stadler of Schenectady has been vacationing at Point Au Roche for a number of years, and this year, he reported his best bass catch ever. In the two weeks he was there (and I know he fishes every day), he caught 40-80 bass daily, most of which were smallmouths caught in New York waters. He estimates his daily five-bass limit, would have easily weighed 18-19 pounds. Although most of his catch was smallmouths, he also caught 37-40 largemouths from 17-21 inches, one of which was over five pounds.

For largemouths, Dan primarily used a Texas-rigged worm in the weed/wood/rock structure areas. His most productive smallmouth technique was a light drop-shot rig early in six feet of water, moving out deeper, 12-15 feet, in the afternoon. His main line was 10-pound test Pro Power with a five-foot fluorocarbon leader, small hook and eighth- or quarter-ounce split shot. Weight was determined by wind conditions. His bait choice was Berkley Gulp four-inch emerald shiners. I bet this drop-shot technique will also work on some of our local waters, espec­ially the Mohawk River.

Tale No. 2 of Champlain’s good fishing occurred last Saturday in the Ticonderoga area, where the Greenbush Bass Association hosted its open bass team tournament. How would you feel if you caught five bass in this tournament that weighed a total of 20.04 pounds and did not make the top six cash positions? But it actually happened to one team. Here are the winning weights and cash awards.

Jeff and Jarred Chandler of Hudson Falls, 22.16 pounds; Dennis Andreas of Rensselaer and Gino Biel­awa of Wynanskill, 21.50; Mike Garbo and Shawn Nolan of Ballston Spa, 21.47; Justin Liptak and Ted Spiezio of Saratoga Springs, 21.44; Forest and Chip Woodruff of Vermont, 20.76; and Jeff Russell of Ballston Spa and Mike Towner of Saratoga Springs, 20.73 pounds. Grabo and Nolan had the lunker, a 6.03-pound largemouth. First through sixth places returned: $870, $460, $365, $275, $180 and $135 respectively. Big bass cash was $460.


The fish were also biting on the upper Hudson River at Stillwater last weekend. Marc Holliday, visiting from New York with his 9-year-old son, Sammy, joined me on that 95-degree day, and we hooked up with some nice largemouths, a few smallies and a pickerel. The father-and-son duo teamed up and landed a nice 20-inch-plus largemouth that tipped the scales at five pounds. I was very impressed with Sammy’s fishing and how well he handled having to wear that lifejacket in that oppressive heat. Children under the age of 13 must wear lifejackets when the boat is under way.

Several days later, fishing in the same area of the Hudson River with Dr. Don Correll and Aaron Lancaste of Tennessee and Mark Battise of Mississippi, the smallmouths were really biting. In our seven-plus hours on the water, the last two in the pouring rain, we caught and released 115 bass, 100 of which I estimate were smallmouths. All were legal size, 12 inches or better. We caught them in shallow water (two feet) and out deeper in nine feet of water. The primary lure was a shad-colored jig on a quarter-ounce jig head. We also caught a few on a quarter-ounce willow leaf white/chartreuse spinner bait. All of the bass were released alive, and we all got very wet.

On the Mohawk River, Jim Wilson of Troy won the Mohawk Master Singleman event at Kiwanis with five bass totaling 11.12 pounds. Also included in his bag was the tourn­ament’s big bass, a 3.11-pound smallie.

In Saratoga Lake weeknight bass tournament action, the big largemouths were biting. Wednesday’s South Shore Marina winners were the Burnt Hills team of Greta Brown and Tom Kail with a three-fish catch totaling 11.65 pounds. This is their second Wednesday night win of the season. Big bass was won by Tony Pascucci of Saratoga Springs with a 4.98-pound largemouth.

Jim Paraso of Indian Lake and Matt Lieberman of Saratoga Springs won the Thursday Saratoga Tackle Bass Challenge with a five-bass catch totaling 12.12 pounds. Big bass honors went to the Saratoga Springs team of Ed Begin and Joe Mooaski for its 3.68-pound largemouth.

The Mohawk Valley Anglers Club traveled to Canadarago Lake for its bass tournament, where 11 of the 18 teams weighed in five-bass team limits. The winners, with 13.34 pounds, were John Damphier of Johnstown and Mike Marzullo of Amsterdam with 13.34 pounds. Randy and Michelle King of Schen­ectady had the tournament lunker, a 4.38-pound largemouth. All 73 bass weighed in were released alive.


The Department of Environmental Conservation recently reported changes to rules for a portion of the parking and waterfront at the state-owned site that had been managed by the Town of Broadalbin as a swimming beach under an agreement with DEC. The town has dec­ided it will no longer operate the swimming beach.

DEC has announced that the swimming beach is now closed and it will manage the parking area for fishing access and car-top boat launching and retrieval only. Boaters without trailers are encouraged to launch their boats in the former beach area and park in the nearby parking area, rather than use the main section of the Broadalbin Boat launching site. This area will be open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. and will be patrolled by DEC Environmental Conservation police.

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