This week’s fishing report is “crappie!”
These tasty little fillets are biting. I’m amazed each year at how many anglers are already on the water trying to get their daily limit of 25. Just remember, they must be nine inches to keep.
On my way to and from my turkey hunting woods, I have to cross the Route 9P bridge spanning Saratoga Lake’s main body and Fish Creek, and I’m seeing more and more boats every day with anglers watching little bobbers. I’ve also seen many of those bobbers disappearing from the surface.
According to Saratoga Tackle, the crappie bite is lake-wide, and that includes down in Fish Creek. The regatta of fishing boats I see several hundred yards off Fitch Road tells me there must be a good group of crappie there as well as some of the lake’s big bluegills. The regulations on bluegills in Saratoga Lake are any size, daily limit of 15.
According to the bait shop, they’re biting both two-inch fathead minnows hooked through the lip, fished beneath a small bobber, and Lunker City and Bobby Garland two-inch grubs fished on small jig heads. Drift fishing is popular, but it’s important not to move too fast.
One technique to try when drifting is setting two rods out, one just under the surface, the other just off the bottom. On the one near the bottom, place a Lindy No Snag above a two-way swivel so it slides freely on the line. To the other end, attach a piece of four- to six-pound test monofilament with a No. 3 Aberdeen thin wire hook, baited with a fathead. For the shallow rod bait, use a slip-bobber to regulate the depth and a 1/32 or eighth-ounce jig head with a grub.
And lastly, when a bite occurs, don’t run away. Crappie are schooling fish.
As for Saratoga Lake’s pike and walleye bite, it hasn’t been that productive. They’re being caught, but no one has reported any good sizes or numbers. As usual, the pickerel are there for the taking and fun to catch.
Just around the corner, on Lake Lonely, there’s a good pike bite, but the crappie bite hasn’t started. Bill Parry of Lake Lonely Boat Livery on Crescent Avenue said the crappie bite on Lake Lonely really doesn’t start until later in the season.
Those looking for northern pike, walleyes and even trout should try the Great Sacandaga Lake. How good will it be this season? Based on the results of the Great Sacandaga Fisheries Federation’s spring fishing contest on May 3, it should be very good, as usual. There were 130 adults and eight children who participated, and here are the top four in each of the three categories:
In the northern pike category, the winners were Andy Cozzolino Jr., Gloversville, 401⁄2 inches; Roger Dillenbeck, Fonda, 393⁄4; William Ostrander, Northville, 391⁄4; and David Ryder, Broadalbin, 34.
The walleye winners were Jeff Trojan, Scotia, 191⁄4; Matt Lehr, Gloversville, 19; Matt Dwyer, Albany, 175⁄8; and Dave Iocle, Mayfield, 171⁄2.
Trout category winners were Dave Ryder, Broadalbin, 211⁄4 inches; Bill Dingman, Gloversville, 203⁄4; Mark Colbath, Greenfield Center, 205⁄8; and Dave Paniccia, Queensbury, 18.
The respective payoffs in each of the divisions were: $300, $200, $150 and $50.
According to Dave’s Bait and Tackle in Mayfield the, ’eye bite is slow, the pike bite is better. For the pike, he recommends suckers beneath a bobber, and the bigger the bait, the better. Could this be the year that a 50-incher comes out of Great Sacandaga Lake?
Hudson River stripers are continuing to bite up and down the river. There’s a new leader in the River Basin Sports striper contest, Ulster Park angler Art Robinson, whose 48-incher nudged out Paul Pulver Jr.’s striper by 11⁄2 inches. Robinson’s striper was caught on herring south of Saugerties. I saw photos of these big fish on River Basin’s website, and they’re awesome.
Local anglers Jack Douglas of Galway and his son, Jeff, fished the Albany area of the Hudson River recently and were off the river by 9 a.m. Both of them hooked up simultaneously by the dam, and each hauled in a 32-incher weighing 17 pounds, and dad got a 20-pound, 34-incher. Fathers always win. Both fish were caught on herring.
Kid’s fishing contest
Mike Ryan will host his 17th annual Ryan’s Produce Make-A-Wish kids’ fishing contest June 1 at Six Mile Water Works from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. It’s a free contest for children 16 and younger. Prizes will be awarded to the top five kids in three age groups. Winners will be determined by their three biggest fish. Only one fish can be presented for measuring at a time. Lunch is available for minimal donations to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Anyone who makes a $2 donation to Make-A-Wish at this contest will receive one entry (three for $5) into a drawing at the end of the tournament for a four-hour fishing trip for two with me this year. The more tickets you buy, the more chances you’ll get. And I’ll be sure that our trip on the water will be in one of my Fish Tales columns.
Pre-register for the event at Ryan’s Farmers Market, Railroad Avenue, Albany. For further details, call Mike at 459-5775 or 281-1500. Contestants may also enter the morning of the contest.
There is only one turkey tale for this week — Nick Wolfe of Scotia, hunting the special youth weekend with his father, Brian.
They started calling at 5:30 a.m. and immediately got a response to their crow calls. They moved across a field close to the tom, but could only get within about 300 yards. Using a Flextone Cutter and a Lohman box call, they coaxed him in, and at 6:05 at 30 yards, one shot from Nick’s Winchester 1300 turkey gun put the tom down.
Nick’s tom tipped the scales at 20 pounds, four ounces, carried a 91⁄2-inch beard and one-inch spurs. This was Nick’s first long beard. He took two jakes last year.
Nice bird, Nick. I might have to call you to be my guide.