9-27-12 – First Day Targeting Pike

Having only caught a few northern pike in my life, I jumped at the opportunity to go out for a few hours after a day of clipping fins. Calling it a day right around 3 pm put us on the water shortly after 3:30. We decided to fish right off the launch rather than make a run looking for fish. Good thing we stayed! My very first cast I hooked into a pike but lost it only a few feet into the battle. Seeing my excitement, my fishing partner made the same cast I had and hooked into it again only seconds later! I figured that was a good start to the day!

A few casts later, I spotted the silhouette of a fish trailing my spinner bait only a short distance from the boat. I slowed my retrieve a hair and watched the big fish, close to 40″,  suck my bait into its mouth only a few feet from where I stood. I set the hook and as the fish turned it shook free so I could watch it swim away.  Fishing around this bay we caught several other fish and had a good time watching the abundance of perch and pumpkinseed cruising around. We also saw a couple of bowfin and bass holding tight in the weeds.

After fishing the majority of the large weed patch we were on, we made a move north to another well known producer of pike. The water went from being crystal clear sight fishing to blind casting in mud ridden water. The fishing was tougher but the strikes were more unexpected. We managed mostly bass at this spot with a good mix of smallmouth and largemouth. This was the spot where I caught my biggest pike of the day. It was right at 32″ and fairly thin.

The rest of the shore fished well allowing us to boat several more pike, bass, and perch. As the available amount of pike habitat diminished we ran across the lake to fish an area that I frequent during the ice fishing season.

In this area we found that the pike were more active with most bites coming as soon as the baits hit the water. The surface activity on the lake from other species also increased as the evening wore on. Unfortunately, with the setting sun the pike bite died. We managed to catch around a dozen pike, lost several, and had many followers. We closed the night off with some bass and perch. I think a new addiction was born today and pike will now be seeing more from me!

9-25-12 – Cold Day On The River

I took a day off of work to fish with a buddy who I haven’t seen in a while. We made plans to get on the water early hoping that the fish would bite right off. When we arrived at the launch it was 32 degrees and still dark. We couldn’t see more than a few feet because of the fog. We were forced to wait for a bit of daylight to come so we could see what we were working with. The launch is very narrow through some posts so you have to be spot on to hit it right. To top it all off the water was down a few feet from what was predicted!

After battling through the fog for a few miles, we were finally at our first spot. After a quick explanation of how to fish, set the hook, and read the current, we made our first drops. On the third drop of the day, my buddy hooked into his first ever walleye and the biggest of the trip!

With a quick learning curve in progress, we worked several areas over fairly well before realizing the fishing was poor. We caught several walleye, a few rockbass, some perch, and a lonely bass. With our hopes of a good day on the water diminishing to just enjoying the nice weather, we moved into some calm water looking for some panfish.

The calm water didn’t produce too well other than some pumpkinseed and perch. After spending an hour beating the shore and some structure we called panfishing quits and headed back our for some larger fish. Unfortunately, they were still not there. We worked thick cover and bottom bounced the deep holes that fish usually hold up in. We decided to fish only three more spots before heading home.

The first spot was a dud but we decided to work the second spot a bit different than normal. We fished shallower water working towards the deep. To our delight, the shallow water produced a variety of fish! We caught pike, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, perch, rockbass, and walleye. All in the same vicinity and back to back. After the success at this location, we decided to call it quits and get home before all the daylight was gone.

We tried every single color in the jig box but caught the majority of our fish on orange and white. I don’t think color mattered we just had to find fish in order to catch them!

9-20-12 – Deep Water Panfish And Shoreline Bass

We had a few hours after work to get out on the water. The weather conditions were ideal with temps in the mid 60’s, high sun, and just enough breeze to keep the boat moving. We were planning on searching for jumbo perch but had a feeling that the bite would die as the sun set, so we were prepared with our bass gear.

It didn’t take us long to find fish. We were cruising along the 28′ contour but finding mainly bluegill and pumpkinseed. The perch that we did find were smaller than usual coming in around 10-11.5″. After a bit or looking around the school of panfish in all directions, we went to a completely different section of the lake. We found about the same results but a few larger perch.

With the sun hitting the trees, we looked hard to find any fish that were willing to bite but not much luck was coming our way. We began to pack up our bottom bouncing rigs and vertical jigging rods in order to make room on the main deck for casting bass gear.

The main lure selections for bass were light colored crankbaits and senkos. We pounded the shores for about an hour before we decided it was too dark. Most of the fish we found were right close to shore or suspending over deep water weed beds.  Although none of the bass were big it was good constant action.

Check out Deep Water Panfish And Shoreline Bass on our YouTube page!

9-14-12 – Perch And Bass

I got out on the water around 5:45 am Friday with a good buddy from college. We went out after jumbo perch and when the bite slowed we decided to bass fish until we left around 10am.

When we first started fishing, the fish were hungry but they were nipping the tails off of the crawlers. Whenever we would get on a good pod of active fish we would use the anchor function on the trolling motor to sit in place above the fish and pick at them little by little. Getting the fish to commit took to eating the whole presentation took a bit but we figured out to give them a good amount of slack in the line when not moving. Once this pattern was figured out it got better.

We stayed loyal to the 28-30 foot contour while fishing for the perch as there seemed to be none on the last trip outside of that depth range as well as right off when we started fishing on this morning.

So lately, I have been doing well catching the bass in deep water on a drop shot but we decided to cast to docks with senkos. We spent a little over an hour pounding shore and found that all activity was close to anything that offered cover. Docks, trees, and boats that were adjacent to deep water and weeds were the best bet. We boated 9 bass in the little time we spent fishing for them.

Great day on the water!

9-12-12 – Drop Shot Panfish And Bass

I had an option to work on Wednesday or take the day off and fish. Tough choice right? HA!

I was on the water around 5:45 am and found fish to be pretty thick. It took me a bit to find them because the fog was so dense. I had an idea of where I wanted to start but not being able to see I had to go slow just to find it with electronics.

At first I was catching a mix of bluegill and perch favoring more heavily towards the perch but as the morning wore on it switched over to bluegill, bass, and pumpkinseed. I was these fish using a drop shot, tipped with a half crawler and trolling around at a speed of 0.5 mph. I found that the best action was when I was working against the wind. I was using my trolling motor because the slight breeze wasn’t moving me fast enough.

Around 8 am the fish shut off abruptly. I checked a few more spots with no luck before I started heading towards the launch. At my last stop I found a pile of perch in 29 feet of water. They were aggressive so I caught a bunch more before I figured I should head home to clean up for the day.

In the end, I kept 7 perch for dinner and threw back about twice that. All the perch were 11-13″. Solid fish! The bluegill and pumpkinseed ranged from 7-9.5″ and my largest bass was 18.5″. Good day on the water that sure beats work!

Check out Drop Shot Panfish And Bass on our YouTube page!

9-7-12 and 9-8-12 – Recycled Fish 24 hour Fish-A-Thon Conclusion

On Friday September 7th through the 8th we participated in the Recycled Fish 24 hour Fish-A-Thon.

Dylan made the trip down to New Hampshire Friday morning to pick up his new boat and by early afternoon we were putting the final modifications on it to prepare it for the Fish-A-Thon. We hit the road around 5 pm so we would have time to make a few pit stops before launching the boat to make the 7pm start time.

We spent the evening battling strong currents that are frequent on the Connecticut River. The rain we had gotten earlier in the week was still being released in batches from the dams upstream and the flows made fishing efficiently almost impossible. After the sun had set and the moon started to risem, we dropped the Hydro Glow Fish Light in the water to let it soak hoping it would draw in bait for the fish we were after.

A while after the light was deployed, the first bite of the night came. The first fish in the new boat was an 11″ bullhead. For the remainder of the evening the only action we had was several more bullhead and a mink that wanted to check out the inside of my new boat!

As the morning started coming closer, we started trolling crankbaits over areas that frequently hold fish. We couldn’t do anything right. It seemed like the fish had just disappeared. They were no where to be found! As we continued our path towards our first destination for daylight, we found some fish that were holding on sandy shoals. As we ripped our crankbaits over them, the bass took the bait.

We beat around the usual stomping grounds for a few hours after the sun came up picking a few walleye, rockbass, and perch. Overall, as far as the daytime fishing went, it wasn’t much better than the night. The fishing was so slow we contemplated moving the boat a short distance to jump a dam and search out some other fish that we have located previously. In the end, we decided to stay put and keep pounding the areas we had caught fish and to bottom bounce through some of the deeper holes that we had caught fish in recently.

We made a move up river to search for new spots. We found one where there was an abundance of fish but we kept losing them trying to get them up and out of the timber. After we realized we had hooked every fish that was willing to bite, we ran back to fish more structure as it seemed like the fish were turning on. We were rewarded with a few quality fish.

We found that the best way to fish this day was to fish quick and move. After we would catch a few fish we would move on and then go back only a short time after. The majority of the fish would bite right off or not at all. We caught the majority of our fish on black and orange 1/4 ounce jig heads tipped with a whole crawler.

9-3-12 – Fishing Lake Champlain For Crappie

We hit the road around 3:30 to make the two hour trip in order to be on the water for sunrise. Our plan worked out and we were at our first spot on time. The fish must have stayed up late because they turned on slow but as the sun started to peak above the trees, the fishing heated up.

We were vertical jigging and making short casts over structure. We mainly used 1/8 ounce jigs tipped with a “Live” Baby Shad by Lake Fork Trophy Lures. Although we found just about any color to be working once the fish started biting, pearl, chartreuse glo, black/pink, and bluegrass were the main colors we utilized.

We worked mainly on the bottom to pick at the fish but when we couldn’t get a bite we would work up and down the water column. Some fish seemed to be just under the surface of the water while others were down 12-14 feet. Other than the depth selection, we found that some fish wanted constant jigging while others wanted no movement at all. By not settling on just one depth and action to target, we were able to make the trip successful. We caught a pile of fish with a solid average of around 11″.

Check out A Quick Limit Of Crappie on our YouTube page!

9-1-12 ,9-2-12 Labor Day Searching

We have been having some consistent success on the river this summer jigging vertical timber for walleye on the river.  I spent my labor day weekend searching out more spots that were productive.

The portion of the river that we fish mostly averages 8 feet deep.  This part of the river also has many sharp turns or bends in the river.  These are the places I focus my attention when searching out new locations.  When the water is high in the spring, or there is a big storm causing a lot of debris to flow down river, a lot of it piles up on certain sections of the river.  These areas can be hard to find without the right electronics, we run the Hummingbird 998c on both of our boats and we also have it set up as a portable unit for ice fishing.  This unit has down and side imaging making spots like these a little more accessible.

What I look for exactly is a sharp turn that has a small point that jets out into the river.  This acts a a cup for debris and timber to stack up in.  There are a few things that make this cup productive that you need to keep in mind.  At this time in the summer a lot of the walleyes in the river have searched out the deepest holes to wait for cooling water temps and fall.  I have seen holes on the river as deep as 40 feet deep.  Once I’ve found a deep hole I check all the turns up and down stream of that hole using the electronics.  The most productive spots have had debris in at least 10 feet of water with the spots that have at least 12 feet of water being the most productive.

Once we have located a spot we search for the fish.  Using a 3/8 – 1/2 once (depending on the current) jig tipped with a crawler we pitch to the “dark spots”.  These dark spots are shady spots that often times hold the fish.  It’s also a plus to have a good pair of polarized sunglasses to help you on a sunny day follow the debris back down towards the bottom.  It takes a certain level of imagination skills when fishing this sort of structure.  The best locations, once in the timber are at the bases of the tress and directly down current of anything breaking the surface of the water.  Another thing to remember is that these spots often get better as the day goes on.  Especially on a sunny day the shade from the timber will draw in he walleye in search of shade, while at the same time they still have many great ambush points to feed.  We have found that the best pattern is to fish multiple locations quickly running between maybe 5 to 6 spots in a small window of time.  This keeps the fish less spooky.

I covered a total of 15 river miles and was able to find some more spots up river.  Just because a spot has all the criteria doesn’t mean it holds fish.  Be patient and you will be rewarded.Many of these locations hold great numbers of rock bass and perch, as well as some nice bass.

This Eye was caught in 14 fow vertical jigging a cup of timber.

Recycled Fish 24-hour Fish-a-Thon

On September 7th and 8th,  we (Dylan Smith and Robert Booth D & B Ice Adventures – an organization formed to promote fishing in the Northeast) both of Barre, Vermont will be participating in a 24 hour fish-a-thon on the Connecticut River. The event is organized by Recycled Fish to raise awareness to the numerous issues that exist in our waterways throughout the county. Today, Recycled Fish leads the way in a national movement of fisherman who want to live a lifestyle of stewardship on and off the water. The fish-a-thon will be catch and release and time will be spent cleaning up garbage along shores. Throughout this event, we will be collection donations that will be split 50-50 for use by Recycled Fish (nationally and locally) and Trout Unlimited (locally). The Trout Unlimited donation will be dedicated to the Upper Connecticut Home Rivers Initiative. This project is focused on replacing culverts that will increase connectivity in otherwise segmented spawning stream sections due to impassible culverts as well as  increasing habitat for cover. To donate to this cause visit: Here

We will be launching in the evening in search of a night walleye bite on the river.  This is a relatively new adventure for us and some might think we are a bit crazy for fishing a large river at night but I think we’re prepared.  We are all set try use many different methods in search of some eyes including trolling shallow cranks, bottom bouncers, vertical jigging(our bread and butter) as we will be floating the Thill Slpash Bright bobber .

For more information and questions contact:

Dylan Smith – 802-272-8351 or Dylan8351@gmail.com

Robert Booth – 802-461-5593 or fishinmusician@gmail.com

Teeg Stouffer – Executive Director/Recycled Fish (402) 933-3443 or fishrecycler@recycledfish.org