While the majority of my time in the fall is spent in the woods chasing whitetails, I was able to squeeze out a “cast and blast” trip on Lake Champlain recently. The plan was to hunt until the waterfowl action slowed down then switch to fishing. With high winds predicted to come as the day progressed, we knew that fishing might be limited.
The morning started strong. While we were setting out our decoys, we had ducks coming in wanting to land in our spread. As legal shooting hours drew near, the action got hotter. Within a minute of daybreak, we had a duck on the ground. A few minutes later another. This one, however, caused some problems. While the bird folded and hit the water hard, it swam out to open water causing us to have to motor out and chase it down. Although we successfully retrieved the bird, a fair amount of time was wasted and we spooked a bunch of incomers. The rest of the morning followed suit.
While we all shot a few, with no other hunting pressure on the water, the birds were not moving steadily after the morning rush. Also the wind didn’t pick up so the fishing looked very enticing! After ditching the hunting gear, we made our way out to fish for some crappie in deep water.
The fishing was decent but we were getting a lot of short bites. We caught a bunch of crappie in all sizes, quite a few smallmouth bass, but only caught the small fish when we downsized and went to ice fishing gear. All those small fish that I mentioned were bluegill and pumpkinseed. The key to catching crappie seemed to be color and a very slow action. The brightly colored “Live” Baby Shad by Lake Fork Trophy Lures, mainly white and chartreuse glo, are simply irresistible to these fish! By using a slow jigging action of only an inch or two then pause, many fish fell victim.
At the end of the day we were ready for a feast!