Tournament Fishing: Bass bite great in Lake Champlain rain

Do fish bite in the rain? They did for Mike Galcik of Schuylerville and me last week while practicin

Do fish bite in the rain? They did for Mike Galcik of Schuylerville and me last week while practicing on Lake Champlain for Sunday’s Walter J. Bujanowski Memorial Bass Tournament.

It rained — actually, it poured — all the way to Port Henry, all day on the water and all the way home. But the rain did not affect the bite. I estimate we caught at least 30-40 bass, both large and smallmouth, ranging from two to five-plus pounds.

Mike hooked up with a 3 1⁄2-pound largemouth almost immediately by tossing a crankbait in 10 feet of water. While working it in the shallows, he landed another. Drifting through the clump weeds, which there are plenty of on Lake Champlain, we picked up more three-pound bass, using chatter baits and wacky-rigged, Bass Pro Shop (BPS) red shad colored, six-inch Stik-O-Worms.

About mid-afternoon, we were fishing in front of a shoreline rock wall with heavy weed cover, when Mike caught a pair of nice three-pound smallmouths, and it wasn’t long after, I tossed the BPS wacky-rigged worm to a partially submerged log in 12 feet of water. It took a while for it to float down to the bottom, but when it got there, I felt a slight tap and set the hook. At first, I thought I had hooked the log, but this “log” was swimming. After a give-and-take battle, I brought a five-pound-plus bass to the boat. I hope he bites again Sunday.

I don’t think there’s a better time to fish Lake Champlain than right now. The largemouths are in the shallows and on the deep-water humps, and the smallies seem to be under every rock. For the best smallmouth fishing, I’d fish above the new Crown Point Bridge and head north as far as you want to go.

Speaking of smallmouths, the top three winners of Dave’s Bait and Tackle Great Sacanadaga Lake contest last month were all trophy fish. Ted Kroup of Gloversville took first and third with his

19 7⁄8-inch and 17 3⁄4-inch smallies. Scotia angler Nick Georglas was second with an 18 1⁄4-incher. The three big pikes were a 39-incher by Ken Olsen of Gloversville, a 33 5⁄8-incher by Art Georglas of Scotia and a 231⁄2-incher by George Keohan of Mayfield. Chris Barth, also of Mayfield, caught a 19 1⁄2-inch walleye to take first place, while Keohan had an 18-incher and Keith Simonds of Gloverville a 17 3⁄4-inch ’eye.

The trout fishing on the Great Sacandaga was also good, as evid­enced by Ted Kroup’s 19 1⁄2-inch catch, followed by Keith Simonds’ 18 1⁄2 and Keohan’s 16 1⁄4-incher. Keohan also took the top two spots in the yellow perch category with 13 1⁄4- and 12 5⁄8-inch catches. Nick Georglas was third with a 12 1⁄2-inch perch. In the white perch categ­ory, Simonds took all three places with 10 1⁄2-, 10 3⁄8- and 9 3⁄4-inch catches.

The 33 teams that braved the four-foot Great Sacandaga Lake swells to compete in the Joe Johnson Mem­orial fishing tournament also found the fishing very good. Leading the way in the bass division was the Indian Lake team of Tim Paraso and Matt Lieberman with a five-bass limit (all largemouths) totaling 14.46 pounds. Runners-up were Schen­ectady anglers Mike Drexel and Mark Kurtzner with 11.71 pounds. Tim Squires and Rob Brower, both of Schenectady, were third with 11.36. First through third places returned $1,250, $700 and $450, respectively. A total of $3,675 was paid out and a number of various fishing-related prizes were awarded. Most importantly, the tournament raised $1,000 for the Albany Medical Hospital Child­ren’s Hospital.

I was told that spinner baits, crankbaits and jigs had a lot to do with the money-winning anglers’ successes. These are all good bass baits when the water is rough.

At Saratoga Lake, the warmer weather has slowed the walleye bite, but late-afternoon and early- evening fishing with live bait can result in a few fillets for dinner. Crappies are huddled up in the 10-foot depths and biting on small colorful jigs and tubes. They can also be hooked on small live bait. Drift the weedlines and drop a small minnow in the weed pockets occas­ionally.

The Saratoga Lake largemouths are back on the jig bite. This would include the jig-n’-pig combo, as well as dark-colored spider grubs on eighth- and quarter-ounce jig heads. Fish the weed edges around Manning’s Cove, Stoney Point and between the Kayderosseras Creek and the Water’s Edge condos. There’s no news on pike, but the pickerel bite never ends. Just tie on a spinner bait or nose hook a seven- to -eight-inch plastic worm (no weight), make long casts over the sub-surface weeds and use a slow retrieve.


I have a suggestion for a good fishing spot in Albany County where you can catch some fantastic fish right from the shore. It’s Albany’s Basic Creek Reservoir in Westerlo. The reservoir covers 239 acres and has a shoreline of almost five miles. Boats aren’t allowed. In addition to a valid New York state fishing license, an Albany Basic Creek Reservoir photo permit is required. Cost is $10 for residents and $20 for non-residents. To get a permit, call 434-5300. This little lake contains good populations of panfish, small and largemouth bass, walleyes and northern pike.

I have not fished this lake, but after talking with a frequent Alb­any Basic Creek Reservoir angler recently, I think I’ll leave my boat at home and see if my wacky worm rig will work there. This angler, who wishes to remain anonymous, said he recently caught and released 16 largemouth bass, of which the two biggest measured 22 and 231⁄2 inches. He’s also caught some big northern pike and walleyes. He told me he’s talked to other frequent ang­lers there who told him of pike up to 42 inches and pickerel up to 26 inches. But don’t tell everybody. Keep it to yourself.

Don’t pass up October fishing. It’s by far the best season to be on the water.


The Mohawk Valley Anglers Club will host a tournament Sunday from 7:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. on the Great Sacandaga Lake. Takeoff and weigh-in will be at the Broadalbin launch site. Entry fee for this five-fish-per-team bass tournament is $80 per two-man team. Teams may enter the morning of the event.

Categories: -Sports-

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