Outdoor Journal: Sacandaga is still best spot for pike fishing
In my fishing report several weeks ago, I chose the Great Sacandaga Lake as my No. 1 destination for big northern pike, and from the reports I’ve received since then, it was a good choice.
This lake continues to produce good pike fishing year after year, which was most recently evidenced by the catches during the 14th annual Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federation (GSLFF) spring tournament the opening day of the pike/walleye season. A total of 141 adults and 15 youths participated in this event. Check out these catches.
In the northern pike division, the top three all measured over 40 inches, which I consider to be monster pike. The winner was Gloversville angler Bill Gifford with a 43 1⁄4-inch pike. George Drygula of Amsterdam proved that big bait catches big fish when a 42 1⁄4-inch northern grabbed hold of his 21-inch northern. Third place was awarded to Ron Twardzik of Amsterdam, whose northern measured 40 3⁄8 inches.
The walleye catch also was very good, the top three all over 20 inches. Jason Dolan of Broadalbin took top honors with his 21 7⁄8-inch ’eye, while Chris Lubrant of Amsterdam was second with one 20 3⁄4. John Zeis of Wells was third with a 20 1⁄2-incher.
The trout winner was Matt Burke of Saratoga Springs, 221⁄4 inches, which in addition to the money prize earned him an engraved plaque. Second and third places went to Bill Gifford of Gloversville, 205⁄8 inches, and John Paster of Monroe, 191⁄2 inches. Cash awards in each division were $300, $150 and $50. You can see photos of some of the winning fish at www.gslff.org.
Mark your calendar for the GSLFF 27th annual Summer Fishing on the Great Sacandaga Lake contest June 16 (opening of the bass season) from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. The top three bass, walleye and trout will receive cash awards ($300, $150 and $50). Headquarters and fishing measuring will be at the Sport Island Pub, Northhampton. The pre-registration entry fee is $18 per person. Tournament hours are 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Children accompanied by an adult fish for free. For information, call Randy Gardinier at 843-6329 or Jack Smith at 863-1062.
Dave’s Bait and Tackle in Mayfield reports the ’eyes are still biting on the Great Sacandaga Lake. Rotterdam anglers George Albert and Jen Whiting and their group hooked up with more than 20, the biggest of which was about 22 inches. They were trolling in the north end of the lake, pulling Rapalas in 15-20 feet of water. There have also been some good-sized pike taken in the shallows, casting spinners and spoons.
INDIAN KILL CONTEST
Over 500 rainbow trout, several of which were golden trout, were put in the Indian Kill just prior to the 20th annual Indian Kill Fishing Day on May 12, and they were hungry.
After a welcoming and pep talk by Mark Storti, 102 youngsters and their parents headed for the water and the trout. In the 6-year-old and younger category, Joey Rue of Schenectady won with a 13 3⁄4-incher, David Rue had a 12-incher and Ryley Holt of Schenectady, an 1 13⁄4-incher.
In the 7- to 11-year-old category Andrew DiMaggio of Glenville led with a 13 1⁄2-incher, Cainan Hutchings of Glenville caught one 13 inches, and Sam Rutlede of Glenville caught one 12 1⁄4 inches. The winners in the 12- to 15-year-old group were Sean Jackson, Glenville, with a 15 3⁄4-incher, Andrew Visco of Glenville, an 11 1⁄2-incher, and Scotian Tyler Cooper with an 11 1⁄4-incher. The winner of the golden trout prize of a tackle box full of lures and fishing rod and reel was Cainan Hutchings.
KIDS AT SIX-MILE
The Helderberg Bassmasters held their annual kids tournament at the Six Mile Waterworks in Albany. The winners in each of the age categories were: 1-6, Anthony Hill, Voorheesville; Ben Fugitt, Clarksville; and Skyllar Fleming, Albany. Sam Bashant of Guilderland had the lunker.
In ages 7-9, the winners were Alivia Fugitt, Clarksville; and Jacob Anigan, Watervliet; Karlita Karczewski of Troy and Booke Discipio of Latham, had lunker. In ages 10-12, winners were Joshua Fugitt, Clarksville; Tyler Hoffman, Albany; and Hanna Guidi, Latham. Jeff Kentris of Latham had the lunker.
“Everything is biting here,” said Tim Blodgett, owner of Saratoga Tackle. Bass anglers are reporting that the rise in water temperature has triggered bass spawning and the building of shallow-water nests. From the number of bass boat trailers I’ve seen in the parking lot of the launch area, I believe they’re biting. Catching and immediately releasing bass now is legal, but it would be a good idea to pinch the barbs down on your lures so the bass can be released without harm.
The pike bite hasn’t really improved, but there have been several in the mid-20-inch range, and the Saratoga pickerel are, as always, very active.
The Saratoga Lake walleye gang has been catching walleyes, but not many. The majority of those caught are early in the morning and late afternoon on into night. Lastly, if you’re looking for food fish or just a lot of action, visit the shallow water areas off the shores of Fitch Road, China Town, Manning’s Cove or along the shores of Fish Creek, and load up on panfish.
The stripers are still biting up and down the river as the spawn continues, but there appears to be fewer anglers on the water. The heavy rains have muddied the waters, but they’re fishing Catskill Creek, and clients aboard Capt. Joe DeMarco’s Upstate Charters boat have been doing well. Kevin O’Dell of East Greenbush, and his two sons, Justin and Jake, went 4-for-4, the largest weighing 24 pounds. Mark Spiers of Putnan Valley and John Trimble of Albany were 6-for-10, and their biggest was 25 pounds. Averill Park angler Kyle Blessing landed a 25-pounder. I believe all of these fish were caught trolling.
My neighbor, Mike Litvak of Saratoga Springs, and his friend, Cody Coulter of Malta, started their day on the Hudson River trying to find herring, which I am told can be hard, but finally found them in the Albany area. Using Sabiki rigs, they were able to catch what they needed. It was a cold and windy day, and after fishing in the area where they caught the bait, they headed north toward the Troy Dam, but when they arrived, there was a navy of anchored boats already there. Rather than fish in the crowd, they decided to try their luck around the I-90 bridge — a good choice. When they were actually getting ready to leave, the line started to peel steadily off the reel. Mike told Cody to grab it, and when he set the hook, the battle was on. It was Cody’s first time with a striper on the line and before he got to touch it, it made four or five runs, but when it finally came aboard, it measured 36 inches and weighed over 20 pounds.
The leaders in the River Basin Sports Hudson River striper tournament are: William Walsh, 47 3⁄4 inches, Nick Kulick, 46 1⁄2 inches, Randy Brockett, 45 3⁄4 inches, Marc Palazzo, 44 3⁄4 inches and Dan Keyser, 44 1⁄4 inches.
Some of the smaller lakes in the area are coming alive, as well. At Cossayuna Lake in Washington County, the spawning bass are beginning to bite, and there are some very impressive pike that roam this little body of water. Fish the weeds, both surface and sub-surface. Best bait to start your search with is a three-eighths-ounce, white/chartreuse willow leaf spinner bait.
Lake Lonely is another good choice that usually doesn’t attract a lot of big boat traffic. It’s beginning to produce some very good panfish, bass and pike. The panfish, including crappies and palm-sized bluegills, are attacking flashy colored tiny tubes, jigs and small minnows, all fished below a bobber. The pike bite can be anywhere. Live bait is the best choice. If there’s a little wind, let it slowly blow you around the lake while dragging a big shiner beneath a bobber. While doing this, tie on a big half-ounce Rat-L-Trap or spinnerbait.
Have a good day on the water? Why not share with other anglers here in the Fish Tales report. Include your name, city where you live, where you fish, what you caught and what you used. Send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.