6-23-13 – It’s Been A While

I hit the water with a few friends this past weekend. The three of us hadn’t been on the water together in quite some time but it worked out fine. We got a late start and weren’t on the water till close to 10 am. The water flows on the Connecticut River looked decent so we figured we would give it a shot.

The fishing was slow. We managed to only get one walleye into the boat and it was a small one. I brought one decent sized fish to the surface but it shook the hook before the net could get under it. The rest of the trip was relatively unproductive minus one giant rockbass that came right before we packed it up to head elsewhere!

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We found a much better result at our second stop. The fish were very aggressive and seemed willing to bite everywhere! We pulled many doubles but the triple seemed to elude us. Rockbass were holding tight to wooden docks and timber, bluegill were on sandy shores and under metal docks, and the pumpkinseed were in the curly pond weed and milfoil. Throughout the time we spent at our second stop, we located a few pods of larger bluegill. When we hit these spots, we used the electric anchor on the Minn Kota Terrova to hold us in place. The wind was working against us, but our will to keep catching fish was strong enough to deal with the wind.

By the end of the sheltered, but still windy shore, we were content with our results. The fish cooperated very well and we all had a good enough fix to head home. Not to mention that it was suppose to start raining any time. Luckily, we had a few minutes to chat outside before it started to rain. Couldn’t ask for a much better day!

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We saw a big snapping turtle too!

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6-19-13 – Champlain To Smaller Water

We started the day on Lake Champlain hoping to find crappie, bluegill, pumpkinseed, or bass. The bite was slow and we covered a ton of water. Although we managed to catch a bunch of bluegill, it wasn’t enough to captivate our attention. After Bobby pulled this bass in, we started scheming where else we could go that wouldn’t be too a big inconvenience.

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After the sad morning of fishing, we figured it wouldn’t be too hard to upgrade the status of our day. After launching the boat, we took a look at a map of the lake and tried to determine where the fish would be. Because the lake was so rough, we figured that we would start on the sheltered shore lines with mid depth water.

It took about two minutes to boat the first crappie of the day once we got rolling. The fish came off the limb of a submerged tree in 7′ of water. The second crappie came only a few seconds later. I guess we made the right decision! We were able to replicate this pattern throughout the day. The fish were very aggressive but because of the wind, staying in the right position was tough. The use of the electric anchor on the Minn Kota trolling motor was huge today!

What we were able to determine about this trip was that the crappie were right on wood. About as close as you could fish to it without snagging. Everywhere around the tree was surrounded by perch. Decent ones at times too. We split up our fishing time between vertical jigging and casting bobbers. Both methods were equally productive depending on how the structure was orientated. We fished the “Live” Baby Shad by Lake Fork Trophy Lures. We fished every color in the box and it didn’t seem to matter much. The fish were just aggressive. At one point, the most productive bait was any bait was had it tail bit off. Just the body shape was all it took!

Check out Dirty Water Crappie on our YouTube channel for more action!

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6-9-13 – Rockbass, It’s What’s For Dinner

After the spectacular day of fishing Bobby had yesterday while I was at work, I was itching bad to get out! The weather looked great and my girlfriend and I made plans to hit the water when we woke up. It was just before 7 am when we were pulling away from the boat launch. We had hopes of catching some perch but after a little of an hour without marking a single fish on the graph, we decided we had better switch up gears and look for some other fish.

We didn’t really care what we caught but along the shore line we could see a lot of fish. The next step was to figure out what they wanted and the best way to catch them. We had crankbaits, plastics, worms, and everything in between! One of the options surely had to work. The majority of the fish we could see were bluegill and rockbass. Perfect specimens for dinner tonight!

We started off tossing the “Live” Baby Shad from Lake Fork Trophy Lures. Although we were able to catch some fish, we were missing a lot more. Our next change took us to live bait. Fishing an 1/8 ounce jig under a bobber, we started a slow drift paralleling shore. Throughout the course of the day, we found that if there was wood in the water, big rockbass were holding nearby. The better sized bluegill we found were holding in weeds near their spawning areas. Particularly, open and weedless gravel bars. Most docks held fish but docks constructed of wood and lower to the water were the most productive.

We ended up keeping 10 rockbass for dinner and sandwiches the following day. Not a bad way to wrap up the weekend!

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6-8-13 – Drop Shot Bass And A Walleye

With the month of June upon us, we were anxious to hit the river for walleye on wood.  Last summer we developed a great pattern for numbers of quality fish.  We found fish on deep wood.  (Walleye In Wood Part I and Part II)  After closely watching the river flow and dam forecasts, we noticed that we would have a small window in the early morning when the dams would have been closed. That little bit of time would allow us to get in a few hours of fishing.  The current is the deciding factor when fishing the river. Too much and the fish aren’t active and the boat is difficult to maneuver. Lets not even mention the numerous jigs lots on the wood because of the current! Too little current results in no bait movement therefor no feeding by bigger fish.  The main river current would be a concern for sure. Upon arrival to the small tributary where the launch was located, we knew it was going to be a chore to get the boat in the water.  While launching, the current actually picked the boat and trailer up and pushed them against the dock.  It was going to be an interesting day for sure.

We got to the hot spot the year before and rigged up.  The presentation of the day was going to be a 1/2 ounce jig tipped with a whole night crawler.  The current always plays a role in the size jig we use, we try to use the smallest as we can get away with but I often times I like the heavier jigs when fishing vertically. It allows me to stay in touch with the jig better.  It never takes long to know if the fish are on the wood and if they are feeding.  By the 10th drop with no bite, I knew we were in for an unproductive morning.  We stuck it out for a few hours anyways, landing one small walleye, a few small perch and a decent northern.

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With plenty of time left in the day, we made a short ride to a favorite inland lake of ours in attempt to hook up on a few bass.  With the water temps where they were, we knew that the bass were in post spawn mode and should be feeding heavily.  We armed ourselves with a drop shot set up and made our way across the lake that always seemed to produce numbers of quality fish.  The plan was to fish the sharp drops with near by weeds.  The fish were there and they were stacked in certain areas.  Our presentation was slow, casting with a few bumps and bounces on the way in with many long pauses.  The pauses is what seemed to trigger the fish into biting.  We were able to have one of the better days I’ve had on this lake in a few years boating at least two dozen decent fish.

Check out Drop Shot Bass on our YouTube page for more action!

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6-2-13 – Pre And Post Storm Fishing

With a day to fish and so many places to go, we decided to head for one of our new spots and continue our search for big crappies on a  large body of water.  Hoping to catch a few fish on the tail end of their spawning patterns, we loaded up the boat and made the short drive to the water.  We arrived with clearing skies and very little wind, much better conditions than last time when we were face temps in the 40’s with a fresh blanket of snow on the ground.

Learning a new body of water requires a lot of patience.  We decided to start fishing where we left off the previous trip.  Using the “Live” Baby Shad by Lake Fork Trophy Lures under a bobber, we hit the water.  This presentation has proved successful in many different places and “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.  Right off the bat at our first stop we started catching fish, and crappie at that.  The fish were tucked right up on shore relating to any wood structure protruding from shore.  The fish seemed to be aggressive, there was a storm possibly coming through in a few hours which might have had something to do with it and it was also prime time in the morning.  We were hopeful that the rest of the day would produce a good bite.  We set the Minn Kota motor on auto pilot and set off the fish the rest of the shore line.

The bite was strange, pockets of fish would produce a quick flurry of action but then nothing for some time until you were able to locate another pod of fish.  A pattern that proved to be successful last time was to locate small flats with boulders, yes we know, this is a prime spot to look for spawning smallmouth. Oddly enough, this particular body of water seemed to attract big crappies in these same locations.  We were able to get on to a few bigger sized fish but the skies darkened and we decided to chase the storm backwards hoping to find clear skies and more fishing.

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We made our way to a small mountain lake hoping to catch a few remaining smallmouth close to beds for some quick action.  We launched the boat and received a rude welcome by mother nature. The skies opened up with big rain drops, thunder and lightning so we made a quick run for camp and cover to wait out the storm.

The worst of the storm passed and with our rods rigged with Champlain Custom Baits, we hit the water again.  Fishing wasn’t what we expected it to be.  There were a few small males left on shore guarding beds but very few larger fish (females).  We were fortunate to hook up up with a few decent fish for a quick picture.  The fish were right on shore, literally! Most bites came within a foot from rocks and docks on shore.  More good times on the water!

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6-1-13 – First Day of June

With a frustrating and unsuccessful turkey season in the books, I decided it was time to get back to the fishing.  The weather in Vermont had been about as predictable as the fishing.  Last Sunday, we hit the water passing snow plows and wearing our Clam Blue Suits. This week we saw record setting temps getting up into the 90’s in some areas of Vermont.  I decided to go and spend a few hours on a  crappie pond to check and see where they were at with the spawn.  The body of water isn’t very big and I was able to cover most of it in a short time.  Last weekend we were experiencing water temps in the upper 50’s to lower 60’s but it was also snowing, on this particular morning, I arrived to a water temp of 71 at 6 am!  What a difference a few days can make.

Being able to start fishing right at the launch I grabbed my bobber rod rigged with a Live Baby Shad by Lake Fork Trophy Lures and started to make some casts.  My focus for the morning would be the shallows hoping to catch a few fish still in spawning pattern, targeting weed edges and wood.  My first spot and also the most productive in the past was a bust, one small perch was all that I was able to get.  I went to work searching.  I was able to connect on one decent crappie along side a tree, but nothing after that.  I made a big move and headed for the far side of the pond.

The shoreline on this part of the lake was similar in design but the drop off was a little steeper.  I was able to locate a few fish but they were spread out for sure, no concentration.  I would guess that the fish are at the tail end of their spawn with many having already done their business and had slid back into a little deeper water.  All in all it was a good day on the water, any day on the water is a good day!

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5-28-13 – Cold Rain Moves The Fish

I took the day off to hang out with a buddy from college. After a weekend of heavy rain, snow, winds, and sleet, we knew the fishing would be off to a slow start until the water warmed back up a bit. Rather than rush out the door to go fishing, we hit the woods looking for some turkeys. We sat from 4:45 until about 8 with quite a bit of action but nothing to bring home. We concluded our morning when a guy walking his dog went through. My boat was already on the water so it was just a quick drive to the lake!

The morning had been dead calm and we had high hopes that it remained that way! The wind was only suppose to pick up to 6-7 mph by mid day then lay back down for the afternoon. During my trip last week, the water temperature was just shy of 62. With all the rain, snow, sleet and wind turning the water, the surface temperature had dropped to an even 54 by Sunday. By mid-day Monday, it rose to 55.7 at a max and was pretty consistent all over the lake. The only thing that we could hope for was that the few hours that had passed this morning warmed up the water because it was calm and warm.

Upon our arrival, the temperature had only crept up to 56 on the wind blown shore. We started fishing in calm water thinking it might be warmer because it hadn’t been moved around as much. The fishing started and remained slow. We found fish relating to one main feature. Large breaks from the wind. The fish we caught weren’t on beds they were holding just outside of their spawning areas. Because of this, large boulders adjacent to shallow gravel flats produced the best results. Big fish of the day went 19.5″ and was released before getting a weight.

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5-26-13 – Rocks And Wood

May in Vermont is an interesting time of the year. One day you might see blue bird skies and temperatures well into the 70’s and the next snow and sleet falling from the sky.  This was the case for us on our one day to fish for the week.  With snow on the ground, we weren’t sure if we should bring the ice gear or the boat!  We decided the boat would serve us better although on our way to the lake we did pass a snow plow pushing a fresh and heavy six inches of snow out of the road.  Our destination for the day was a new spot, a place we thought would have the target species of crappie.  We had received a tip so we decided to check for ourselves.

We arrived at the launch to a light dusting of snow, prepared the boat and off we went.  The body of water is large however we were only focusing on a medium sized secluded bay.  We set the trolling motor to parallel the shore and began casting. We were using the “Live” Baby Shad from Lake Fork Trophy Lures under a bobber varying our depths as we went. This would allow us to determine the depth the fish might be holding at.  Water temperatures were in the upper 50’s and the conditions were right to find fish in either spawning/post spawning patterns because the temperature had dropped recently.

The first cast produced a nice smallmouth which was hopefully a sign of things to come.  It didn’t take long for us to determine that the fish had slid out of the shallow water due to the sudden cold front the northeast was experiencing.  We then shifted our attention to structure between shallow shorelines and sharp drop offs.  We came to a partially submerged tree that just looked fishy.  As expected the bobber slowly slid under the water and attached to the other end of the line has a healthy crappie.  It seemed like the big fish were in a post spawn pattern, they were scattered through out the lake slowly moving towards structure.  Had we had more time it would have been a good idea to get a better “lay of the land” and search for the main basin’s with hopes of finding school’s of post spawn crappie.  As it turned out, the best concentration of crappie we could find was within spitting distance of the boat launch, and for the first time in my life it seemed that the fish were relating to the rocks and boulders for cover.  The joke of the day was “in order to catch crappie, fish for smallmouth!” We managed to have a quick flurry of action catching mostly crappie with an occasional rock bass.

We began to explore the last shoreline just as the weather began to deteriorate.  We were able to catch a few fish going back to pattern one which was shoreline structure adjacent to deep water.  The wind picked and and the sleet and rain started again so we loaded the boat and called it a day.  All in all this was a very successful day of fishing as we found a new spot.  With better conditions we would have boated more fish but even still, we now have a new location to focus and pattern crappie.

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5-20-13 – Pre-Spawn Smallies

I left work early with the hopes that I could find some pre spawn bass on a lake the I pretty much grew up on. I remember the first “big” bass that I ever caught at the age of 5. It may not be big by my standards today but that 15″ smallmouth was probably the best one I ever caught. I spent countless hours on the dock after that waiting on another one. That is where my addiction began. When I was old enough to take the boat out, my opportunities really expanded. I learned a lot about the lake and how these fish move throughout the year.

Being spring time, when it’s on, it’s on. In the past, I have never used temperature gauge to help find them but now that I have the capabilities to, I will! Upon my arrival, the water temp was 61.8 on the windblown shore where the launch is located. We motored up to where I like to start fishing when the wind is out of the north west. Finding a cooler temperature, I got out my rod and started casting. I was looking for sheltered coves so that I could escape the constant wind. I was thinking that we would find these fish off shore and hugging structure but it was actually closer to spawn conditions.

I started pounding the likely areas that these fish like to build beds. Mainly, I was looking at every nook along shore. Rocks tend to be the best locations with casts placed on both the wind blown and sheltered side. On a good year, it is likely to catch a fish every few feet but that last couple of years, there has been a movement from the larger fish to slide deeper to spawn. Now I have identified a few flats that the fish like to set up on where the bottom is not visible, it is just a matter of time until they are present.

After working a few miles of shore line over the course of a few hours, I had put 18 bass in the boat as well as a few pickerel. The bass were on clean bottomed areas and it didn’t take long to figure out what areas to avoid for the pickerel. The pickerel were relating to anything weedy with reeds being the worse spot to cast near. With all this just beginning, this long holiday weekend should produce some good numbers as long as the temperature stays warm!

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