Having fished the 14 miles of the upper Hudson River between Stillwater and Schuylerville at least a dozen times this summer, I’ve learned a bit about the dredging and its effects on the fishing.
Based on the numbers and sizes of fish I’ve caught and released, primarily bass, everything is normal. Since 2009, when the GE dredging began around Fort Edward, they’ve worked their way down to the stretch between Locks 4 and 5. Dredging is around the clock, and when out there you’ll see a number of barges and work boats, both moving and anchored. Give them the right-of-way and keep on fishing.
Last Friday, Dante Ronka of Schenectady and I spent about five hours fishing the upper Hudson, and despite the hot, sunny, humid day and a slow bite, we caught fish in the shallows (three to four feet), but you really had to pay attention to watching the line and feeling for that “tick” when they engulf your bait. This is why I highly recommend the use of graphite rods and good braided line.
As for the fish, we hooked up with both large and smallmouth bass, and I had an “almost” when a 30-inch-plus northern followed my wacky worm back to the boat.
I did find something new that bass like — a new plastic. Tim Blodgett of Saratoga Tackle gave me a sample of the Gene Larew salt-impregnated six-inch Tattle Tail Worms.
Just before we left the river, I threaded one on a eighth-ounce jighead and tossed it out over some shallow rocks. I let it sink about six inches, then started reeling. I don’t think I made five full turns of the reel when a tail-walking two-plus-pound smallie grabbed it. I wished I had more. Mohawk River and Great Sacandaga Lake anglers might want to try them (www.genelarew.com).
The Saratoga Lake largemouth bass bite is good, but the size is still in the 14- 15-inch range with a few four-pounders showing up at some of the bass tournament weigh-ins. The wacky worm is still the best choice fishing in eight to 12 feet of water. Try some of the swim baits along the weed edges. As for the smallies, Stoney Point is a good area for the tube and spider grubs on quarter-ounce jigheads, and I’d definitely try the Tattle Tail Worm.
This week’s afternoon Saratoga Tackle Bass Challenge attracted 24 teams. The winning team was Saratoga Springs anglers Mike Schleicher and Nick Loan with a five-bass team limit of 13.48 pounds. First place returned $540. Second and $324 went the Saratoga Springs team of P.J. Peculis and Bill Riel with 12.84 pounds. Third and $216 went to Chris Dempsey of Saratoga Springs and Don Ruddy of Galway with 11.34 pounds. Big bass honors and $230 went to another Saratoga Springs team, Jessica Moore and John Burchell, for their 4.42-pound largemouth.
The walleye bite on the Great Sacandaga Lake is still deep, and the worm harness trolled slowly down 15 to 25 feet is catching keepers with an occasional one in the mid-20 inches. The smallies are still biting, as evidenced by the recent Schenectady Elite tournament at McMurrays. Of the 21 teams that competed, 18 weighed-in six-bass team limits.
The top three winners were the Alplaus team of Larry Andres and Ed LeBron, 14.39 pounds, first; Amsterdam anglers Jason Lane and Floyd Squires, second, 13.95, which included the tournament lunker, a 3.43-pound bass; and third, Schenectady’s Brian Keith and Kevin Laraway with 13.85. There were 117 bass weighed in, and all were released alive.
Oneida Lake continues to give up big bass. Greenbush Bass Association traveled out there and held an open tournament that attracted 21 teams. It took more than a three-pound average per fish to make the money.
Stillwater anglers Carl Paquette and Mike Towner took home $540 for their 18.01-pound winning five-bass team limit.
Adam Bielawa of Ravena and Jerry Gibson of Averill Park were second with 16.54 pounds, which included the tournament big bass weighing 4.94 pounds. The runners-up received $340 plus $210 for their lunker. Third and $240 went to Ted Spezio of Greenwich and Nick Bromirski of Cambridge with 16.16 pounds.
On June 14, 2014 James VanArsdall of West Henrietta caught a record-breaking freshwater drum from Irondequoit Bay, Lake Ontario, that measured 33.5 inches and weighed 26 pounds, nine ounces. This was more than two pounds over the previous state record.
There was a big fish caught recently in Skaneateles Lake. Harry Hurst and his granddaughter, 15-year-old Kearstyn Sweeting, were on the water at 6:30 a.m. trolling a homemade, hand-painted spoon down 75 feet over 175 feet of water when one of the rods bent, almost touching the water. It was definitely a big fish, and proved to be quite a battle.
Harry worried about the 15-pound-test line, but managed to work the fish in after about 30 minutes. He then handed the rod to his granddaughter and stepped out on the swim platform — only half the fish would fit in the net! But they got it — a big lake trout — 41 inches, and it weighed 24.3 pounds. The state record was taken in August 2003 at Lake Erie. It measured 42.75 inches and weighed 41 pounds, eight ounces.
If you’ve been on the water, share your fish tales with other anglers here. Send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.