Saratoga Lake is still bass place to be

Ed Noonan's outdoor's column
Jarid Colucci with his big catch on Lake George.
Jarid Colucci with his big catch on Lake George.

Saratoga Lake still is producing not only a lot of bass, mostly largemouth and five-pounders. At the Tuesday afternoon Saratoga Challenge tournament, the Stillwater team of Henry Marshall and PJ Peculis weighed in the heaviest five-bass limit, totaling 15.63 pounds, which was anchored by a 5.63-pound largemouth. First place paid $810, and big bass another $360. In second place with 15.20 pounds were Saratoga anglers Chad and Todd Brown, who received $486. The third-place team from Indian Lake of TJ Paraso and Matt Belmore registered 12.98 pounds and received $324. 

The Mohawk Valley Anglers recently found the Great Sacandaga Lake bass very active, with all 19 teams fishing the tournament weighed in a five-bass limits – and it was a VERY CLOSE WEIGH IN. There was only a .53-pounds difference between first and fourth-place. Altamont anglers Anthony Raimo and Dave Shipe won with 10.65 pounds, and received $500. In second place for $337 were Pete Biancosino and Doc Holoday of Amsterdam with 10.64 pounds. They also received an additional $90 for their 2.74-pound biggest bass of the tournament. Third place and $256 went to LeonVanwormer and Dave Litchfield of Rotterdam) for their 10.26 pounds. Low to cash was Jason Lane and Tara Poulton of Rotterdam with 10.12 pounds; they received a $100 gift certificate from Moneymaker jigs.  

Lake George trout are biting, according to Captain Jeffery Johnson (aka JJ). A 1990 graduate of Union College, JJ recently took a group of Schenectady guys out on Lake George, and boated 12 trout, with eight keepers more than 23 inches, two of which were kept for eating. When they moved out deeper, Jarid Colucci hooked up with a 30-incher.


I recently received a press release from the Vermont Outdoors Women that it will be hosting a Fall three-day Doe Camp classes Sept. 14-16 at the Wallace lake side Jackson’s Lodge & Cabins. You rent or tent camp. They are offering four sessions with over 30 classes to chose from, including Muzzleloader, handgun, rifle and clay shooting, birding. For full details, go to


This past Wednesday I spent my usual once-a-week summer day on Saratoga Lake. I tell my wife that it is just part of my “working” needed for my column. This particular outing, I was joined by Saratoga friends Hiromi Onozawa and a visitor – Jake Fritcher of Texas. It did not take long before every one of us were tossing Stik-O-Worms and catching bass. The best depth seemed to be about 5-8 feet in or on the edges of week lines. In our short time on the water, we hooked and released at least 30 bass, a few pickerel and a few panfish. We had several largemouth bass in the four-pound range. 


At 5:30 a.m. last Monday, when I had just pulled into the state launch site, I saw guy in a boat in the water at the dock. I said hello, and asked for what he was going to fish. I was surprised when he said, “We already went fishing and we are headed home.”
He said he and his partner had been out all-night bass fishing and they had been successful. He had some big ones, but did not keep any. However, he showed me a big walleye that was going home with him.

It brought back a few memories when I first joined the Capital District Bassmaster’s Club in 1974. It was with that club that I had fished their first nighttime bass tournament. And it was a ball. I remember I was partnered with John Whaley, and it was both our first night fishing adventure. Neither of us had ever been out in a boat at night, and it was really a different experience. Distances when casting treble hook lures toward shores and around docks were difficult to determine, and quite often required retrieval of the lure from the dock. When we did fish a dock, we used flipping sticks tossing a Texas rigged worm only a few yards from the dock, using only the bow and stern boat lights to see.
Moving from place to place on the lake was a bit tricky and slow in the dark, as our only light, other than our running lights, was a big hand-held battery powered light.  Now both of us agreed that Manning’s Cove always holds good largemouth, so that is where we headed. Here we just turned off the engine and let the boat float, as we tossed floating lures that included top-water frogs, Hula poppers, Heddon Tiny Torpedo, and my favorite, the Jitterbug. Now top-water fishing is VERY exciting during the day when you SEE that big bass blows up and grabs a mouthful of treble hooks – and then the fun begins. However, at night you do not see the blowup, you just hear it. And it is the few seconds between hearing and FEELING the bite that is tricky. 

At first as soon as we heard the splash, neither of us knew who was getting the bite, so he both yanked are rods. I was the first who when hearing the splash, set the hook quickly … and ended up with a Jitterbug in my shirt. John, however, yelled net and reeled in a nice largemouth. From then, on when we heard the splash we waited UNTIL we actually felt the fish before setting the hooks.  We did not win that night, but we did have a LOT of laughs.

Reach Gazette outdoors writer Ed Noonan at [email protected].

Categories: Sports

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