We had a full day on the water planned but with wind advisories and rain statewide, deciding where to go seemed like a daunting task. We waited until late last night to make a decision that Lake Champlain offered us the largest variety of available species and techniques necessary to take advantage of anything that would bite.
We were on the water shortly after 5 am but not much happened until close to 7. Searching weeds, wood, and rocks, we picked at mostly small crappie until Dylan caught his first catfish. What a fight it was on light weight panfish gear! After the release, we loaded up the boat due to weather report of a nasty storm rolling in on us as well as an increase in wave activity.
Chasing blue skies north, we were on the water again with hopes of a better bite in slightly calmer water and no rain. We located fish that were super finicky but over the course of an hour, identified a few sweet spots. While a handful of crappie were taken home, the majority were released for the winter months to come!
Check out My First Catfish on our YouTube channel for more action!
We hit the water today with plans of fishing until dark on a stretch that we have only seen a few times. We had a few spots in mind on where to look but planned on spending a chunk of the day searching for new areas and techniques. The weather was going to be nice but the wind was going to be whipping all day. With a good charge on the trolling motor battery and warms clothes on, we hit the water
We started off the day on a long stretch of rocky bottom with little success. Yellow perch and rockbass were the only fish holding up behind the larger rocks that the fish graph identified. With the strong wind in the teens, we figured that the fish had been blown off to their sheltered retreats
The next spot we hit turned out to be one of the top spots for the day. We located a small, subtle rise in 30 feet of water with lots of bedrock on the downstream side and steep breaks on the inside and outside. The fish were piled up on top and the first few drops resulted in walleye. After several walleye under the slot, the bite switched over to rockbass, perch, and smallmouth. We worked the area through and gave it a break to recharge.
From the next few hours we spent time searching for new locations and checking weed edges for panfish. Although nothing was overly productive, we located some great seasonal locations!
On the way back to the launch we checked the small rise we found earlier and found the same results. walleye bit first then switched to other species. While trying to locate where the walleye went on the second pass, we located a submerged tree adjacent to a deep water weed edge. We got bit our first few drops and when we got hooked up we each put our fish over the slot in the boat. With our limits complete we went back searching.
Before leaving we located a cluster of what we believed to be tires and other debris in deep water. We worked through the area picking up a bunch of walleye and rockbass. To our surprise, tires don’t snag as easily as one would think. Ending the day on a high note sounded like a good idea, plus it was just before dark. We loaded up the boat after a successful day and talked about how we could make the next trip better!
I was on this water this morning around 5:45 for the first light bite with my buddy James Vladyka. The target for the day was crappie and the weather was going to cooperate!
Up until about noon, the lake was dead calm. As we worked spot to spot, we quickly realized that the fish were finicky to say the least. At any given spot, we would catch 3 or 4 before they shut off. We tried various colors, baits, depths, and techniques with none being more productive than another. With the recent full moon, the fish are still settling back into a normal routine. It was frustrating to go over the area we were fishing only to see piles of fish sitting there!
The hot bite for the day was on “Live” Baby Shad from Lake Fork Trophy Lures and Northland Live Forage Rippin’ Shad. Bright colors seemed to be the only consistently productive selection. We were also targeting 12-20 feet of water as the smaller fish seemed to be shallower.
Regardless of the “slow” bite, we put some nice fish in the boat and each went home with a generous portion for dinner!
Another day of trying something new turned out successful. I hit the water with two buddies early this morning hoping to find walleye on a completely new section of river. Replicating the vertical jigging technique that has proven successful elsewhere, we were in search of mostly wood but in reality any irregularity that might hold fish.
Throughout the course of the day we picked up 25 walleye, a dozen smallmouth bass, some perch, and loads of rockbass. We found that white was the hot color for pretty much the entire day and a steady hand caught more fish a jigging one. Over the course of about 7 miles, we fished a few dozen spots. Of all the spots, probably 75% of them held walleye.
While that sounds like a lot of places to catch fish, we passed over so many that looked decent but had to keep chugging. The mission of the day was to explore and that’s what we did. While we didn’t fish every spot possible, we fished the obvious and ideal looking ones and just marked the others with way points.
We found that the smallest walleye were holding in deep water (30’+) while the larger fish were in between 12-20′. From 20-30′ was mostly a dead zone other than the large and aggressive pods of rockbass.
With a few hours to burn one hot afternoon I grabbed my jig rod and a few tubs of crawlers and went exploring. We had a tip of a few walleye being caught so I figured I’d check that out. My plan was to find some deep holes and jig.
Not really ever seeing this stretch of river, it took a little scouting and driving the roads to find what i was looking for. This particular section isn’t know for it’s deep holes but if you can find rock outcroppings you could usually find a decent pool. Having fished other sections of the river from shore in the spring, I knew that I wanted to fish the eddies, and slow jig my crawler working just along the current break.
My first stop looked just perfect, I made a cast and within a few seconds, I hooked up. Whatever I had it felt big, not keeping in mind I was fishing a little bit faster water then normal. I managed to land the fish and was not surprised when I saw that it was a nice keeper walleye. I re-rigged a crawler and made an identical cast, this cast ended in a lost jig, but I knew that whatever I lost that jig on (probably the rock outcropping) was holding fish. I re-tied and made another cast, hooked up again with another nice fish. Well know I had some kind of pattern going so I decided to get in the truck and keep looking. My next stop was very similar to the first. After wading out to the rocks I could see fish laying just out of the current along a slab of ledge in about 6 feet of water. Thinking that they were walleye my hunting background kicked in and I for some reason went into stealth mode. I crouched down, put on a crawler and pitched the jig just past the fish. After taking a closer look and not believing that they hadn’t hit my jig I realized that those fish weren’t walleye after all, they were fallfish. Back to the eddies and current breaks. I managed to catch two smaller walleye at this spot and moved on.
Days later I went back with the intention of finding more spots, not keeping in mind it was a weekend. Well most of the spots I wanted to fish were crowded with people swimming and tubing so I decided that was enough for that day.
It’s always nice to get out and find some new waters, and it’s even better when you find something not expected. I will being putting more miles on for sure looking for more spots.
With intentions to spend an afternoon bite for walleye dealing with shorelines tangled by thick invasive and poisonous plants, a buddy and I peeled out of work early. Sounds like a good idea right??? Being a nice day, we knew that we would be sharing water space with tubers, kayaks, and other fisherman.
The fishing started off pretty solid with lots of smallmouth committing. Even though any action is good on a new body of water, that wasn’t the species we were looking for. Targeting deep holes and eddies, we kept chugging downriver trying new spots when we could find them. On this river system, we have no idea what the depths range to but we stuck mainly to 12-15 feet of water.
Although only one spot produced walleye, they were where in the type of water we targeted for the few hours we fished. The best part of this excursion was that the fish were swimming right below us on a ledge. We could see the fish pass by before catching them! What a hoot! As different species passed by, we were able to pick and choose what we flipped to.
These fish, although no bigger than ones we usually catch in the river, put up a much better fight. They were built for strength and when coupled with the river flow, their fight was amazing! The action with these fish was tense. I am use to lifting these fish into the boat quickly or even better when they are 20″+, using a net. Dragging the fish onto shore makes for some tense moments wondering if they will flop off. Luckily, I was able to grab these fish and revive them before the release.
I can’t wait to give this a shot again when I have more time!
Trying to expand our fishing opportunities throughout the state, we figured that we would give planer boards a shot. We were after walleye with a new technique and it would be an understatement to say we felt lost…
We got on the water in the late morning. With about 7 hours to fish until we headed home, we started the learning curve. The rods went out with ease but we knew it would become more difficult from there. Other obstacles to come would be, reading the boards for bites, learning contours due to a lack of a bathymetric map, and bringing fish to the boat without tangling up the other three lines.
It didn’t take long to get into some action. Unfortunately, the majority of our action was with perch. Small ones at that. On the plus side we learned a lot about what it looks like when a fish bites. Another chunk of our action was due to weeds and boulders. This was probably the most frustrating part of the day for us. Having to bring in rods in order to not lost an expensive lure was very time consuming. Although there may be a way to get around having to bring the lines in, we sure couldn’t get it.
After a few passes, we learned a bit about what we could fish with the lures we had and not snag. After a while, we took one rod off a board because it wasn’t running right and started long lining. Wouldn’t you know it, the one walleye we caught was on the rod that had no line counter reel… Although we had a spot with fish, the action we used to catch it wasn’t replicable. Although we tried, we weren’t able to duplicate.
Though the day was not overly successful, it is far from a failure considering we were way out of out element and still caught what we went for. Since this trip, we have done some more research, worked on some more fine tuning, and are planning a second round. There certainly is a lot of potential for other species on this tackle!