Tag Archives: Lake Champlain

2-17-12 And 2-18-12 – Lake Champlain

2-17-12

The last two days I fished on Lake Champlain. The weather was amazing and it was great to be out there. I may have even gotten a tan! The bite was slower than it had been but I still did quite well. There were some quality pumpkinseed and plenty of hungry perch below me. I managed to ice two decent crappie and lost a real nice one due to equipment malfunctions!

Yesterday, I fished from 12 until 5. I was using the same set up presented in my 2-15 post. As a reminder, that was a chartreuse/orange tungsten jig tipped with a pink or red polli by Maki Plastic and a maggot. The fish were hitting it just as well as anything else that I could find so I went with it. I like tungsten because it sinks so quick… It gets me back in the action fast. The biggest issue I find with it is that it is hard to fish smoothly. The best way to counteract this is to use a spring bobber as it slows the jigging action enough to have it entice the fish. I ended up catching a bunch of pumpkinseed, a few bigger bluegill, and a loner 9″ crappie.

2-18-12

Today, I got on the ice shortly before 6am. The fishing was slow until it was light out but it was a nice calm morning with no wind. Once the fish started biting it was good for quite a while. Whenever it did slow, I would use my Aqua Vu camera to find a hole where there were fish and try to catch them. Mid day, we had holes spread out quite a ways. Whenever the fish would disappear it seemed like you would find more on the far end. I put on some miles today!

As for the big crappie that I lost today it was a disappointment! I was sight fishing in 9 feet of water. I checked my Vexilar and saw a fish coming in so I quickly looked back down into the hole. As soon as I found my jig, I watched it disappear so I started to raise my rod. I saw a flash from a fish mouth so I set the hook. I felt the weight of the fish and it rolled sideways so I had a clear view of the whole thing. It was the biggest crappie I’ve ever seen! As I raised it to about the 3 foot mark I felt the tension release and the fish swam away. Upon inspection of my jig I realized the hook had straightened out. I guess that’s what keeps me excited to get out every day!

Headed out tomorrow morning bright and early to the glory hole to see how things are going. Its been a while since I’ve been there. Not sure what the plan is for the afternoon but I’ll be on the water somewhere!

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2-15-12 – Champlain Before Work

I had to fish today before I went to work in order to stay sane! I was out on Lake Champlain punching holes at 6am but the bite started slow. I got some company around 6:30 and we worked together some what punching holes and searching attempting to stay on fish. The weather today was pretty nice. It started sunny and bright and not overly cold. By the time I was leaving, it started to rain so it was a perfect time to be going to work!

There were plenty of fish in this bay today but they were not super active. They were being very picky on what they ate and how they ate it. The big pumpkinseed are still there but seem to be a bit more spread out. I was able to pull a few decent crappies today. It was nice to see them coming out of the weeds… Their colors are so much better that way! There were lots of perch cruising around but only a few jumbos.

The best part of fishing at this hole is the seagulls. They are not timid at all. If you put a fish on the ice to go grab your bucket there’s a good chance they will steal it! Quite a few times today, I would be sitting on my bucket only to turn around and see a seagull creeping in seeing what he could grab without me noticing. Breaks up the day a bit when the fishing is slow!

I’m glad I fished earlier because as I sit here at work I’m itching to fishing! Is it the weekend yet?

Here is the best bait I was able to find today. With a red spike the fish held on longer. When I used a white spike I got bites but missed far more of the fish because they weren’t holding on as well.

2-14-12 – A Slow Day On Champlain

Headed south on Lake Champlain first thing this morning. I had never been to the area before but was planning to meet up with some buddies. I used Navionics on my phone to put myself on a 6-7′ depth contour and started to get set up for the day. After punching a bunch of holes and going around with my Aqua Vu camera I only saw two fish… Great start right? Right… Luckily, I got company shortly after! We fished through the bay and found nothing promising so we packed it up and headed a few bays north.

When we got to the next bay, we quickly started catching fish. Unfortunately, the majority of the fish we caught were very small. We did find a few slab perch and I managed to catch the smallest bluegill I have ever hooked! I couldn’t take a picture of it because it was so small… Just kidding. I didn’t want to take the time because I had more fish on the screen! Just a few drops later I caught the smallest pumpkinseed I have ever caught! Needless to say, we didn’t stick around there too long. Once again, we packed up but this time drove a little over an hour north.

The third and final stop of the day proved to be the most productive. We fished it until it was almost dark then left because the bite quickly slowed. At this spot, we caught some really nice pumpkinseed. Fishing shallower water we caught bluegill. On my very last drop of the night I caught an 8″ crappie.

Overall, it was a good day. I fished two spots that I had never been to before. I will be heading back to where I finished out the night to make an attempt at sight fishing crappies at daybreak! Stay tuned!

2-7-12 – Lake Champlain

Fished Lake Champlain today from 7am until 5:20pm. Started in the islands with high hopes. After punching holes, I fished three of them with no bites and then bam, first fish… short crappie! To make it better, I saw fish on the Vexilar so I threw my jig back down and bam another crappie!  This one was a keeper. In the near distance, I could hear my buddies getting pumped up as well as they ripped specks as well. I said to myself “oh boy, this is going to be a good day!” From there, it didn’t get much better though. The fishing started slow and progressively got worse. They were there but they had lock jaw. It was a mixed bag of perch, bluegill, pumpkinseed, and crappie. To top it off the wind blew harder than predicted and the snow was blowing sideways. Not idea conditions for fishing without a shack! We stayed there until just before noon then headed a bit more south. I left with 3 crappie in my bucket but caught 8 total.

When we got to the second spot the sun was shining and the wind was a bit more calm. It didn’t matter at this point how the fishing was because the weather boosted moral! When we got out to the cove, I could see weeds through the ice. Best part was, the water was clear enough to sight fish. After sight fishing Sunday, I have been craving more! Without my flip over, my visibility was limited but I was still able to make out parts of the fish. I put quite a few fish on the ice here including some quality bluegill and pumpkinseed. The rest of the day was fairly consistent with certain holes producing far more fish than others. Using the Aqua Vu camera, I got to see large pods of fish hanging out waiting to be caught! I also was able to locate weed edges where fish were ready to ambush their meals.

Bright colors seemed to be the ticket today. Red maggots were very productive but white ones were more visible in the clear water. I tended to mix colors but always had white on the outside so I could see it flap as it was twitched by the rod. The fish stayed tight to the bottom all day with the exception for holes that held weeds. Those fish were suspended significantly more.

One more day of fishing left to wrap up this week. I’ve put in some hours and gained some new knowledge in both technique and locations. Stay tuned for my total hours for the week and a report from the river!

Oh and sorry, no pictures! I stayed too busy today!

2-4-12 – Tournament Day

Tournament day… Could have gone better! No much to say other than I couldn’t find the crappie. I caught plenty of bluegill and pumpkinseed throughout the day as well as a few nice perch and bass. It seemed like the people that did well stayed put all day with a few exceptions. Some days you catch them some days you don’t. There’s always next time! Lake Champlain has its ways!

For those of you interested, here’s the link to the website – http://www.vtsportsman.com/2011_Tournament_Schedule.html. and here is the link to the forum http://vtsportsman.proboards.com/index.cgi?. Check it out and get in on the info with some input of your own! The next tournament is at Larabees Point on March 3rd.

1-31-12 – Champlain Again!!!

After a sad showing yesterday attempting to night fish pathetically lethargic crappie, a few of my buddies and I decided it was a good day to make up for it and chase flags on Lake Champlain. Of course, we would pass the time between flags by jigging panfish. Overall, we had a fairly successful day. The weather was decent but it didn’t take long to change to snow though. Better than rain I guess!

We stopped at Dockside to pick up bait and headed for the ice around 7am. We got three dozen medium/heavy shiners and were set up with about 20 tip ups out by 8. The flags didn’t take long to start popping. I forgot how much action there can be fishing like this. I wish I had wore a pedometer! At the beginning of the day we were pretty civil approaching our traps that had been tripped. We took turns and walked fast at best. By the end of the day it was an all out sprint with plenty of stiff arms to be had. We all had plenty of chances at fish in the end.

We had two different set ups on our tip ups. One set was rigged with steel leaders the other had straight 8 pound fluorocarbon. None of us noticed any difference in the number of flags on one style or the other. The only difference was break-offs. Obviously, when fishing the toothy critters of the Esocidae family (northern pike and pickerel), line durability is a big concern. The fluoro had several break-offs while the steel leaders had none. Makes sense right? I have read stories and articles about how in certain locations using a steel leader will completely shut off the fish from biting while some times they prefer it. Obviously, the fish today were not too worried! Perfect!

Throughout the day we landed quite a few bass, pickerel, and northern pike. Although none of the fish were huge, two of the pike were over 30″. Jigging pannies was decent all day but they never seemed to school up like the did the last few days. Lots of hole hopping was necessary! At the end of the day, all the guys jigging were spread out far more than normal in a large area.

I could think of a million worse ways to spend a Tuesday! If nothing else, we provided entertainment for all the guys out there as we ran for flags!

1-29-12 – Champlain Trip Part II

Got back up fishing on Lake Champlain this morning. We fished from 7:45 am to 4pm. The fishing was about on par with yesterday but the thicker concentrations of fish had moved slightly south. There weren’t any special lessons learned today other than reinforcement to not fishing an unproductive hole for too long. Most holes still held fish but they weren’t always in a feeding mood. There was the potential today to waste a lot of time on fish that you would have to work very hard to catch if you weren’t proactive in pursuing them.

One technique that I had great success today was fishing right on the bottom with slack in the line. The last few trips I have taken on Lake Champlain have had me trying to perfect this way of fishing. Lots of the fish I have pulled recently have had small snail like shells in their mouths so I assumed that they were feeding right off the bottom. I drew this conclusion because there are very few weeds in the area and there are so many fish… They have to be feeding locally.  Basically, I lay my jig right on the bottom and wait for the line to move from a fish swimming away. Every once in a while, if the fish don’t take it, I pound my bait a few times to stir up the sand/muck which rings the dinner bell. I caught 8 of my 11 crappies and a decent number of the gills/seeds this way today. If you are going for numbers this technique is less productive but it is great when the bite gets tough.

The majority of the fish today were caught using a vertical Caty jig tipped with a J & S Plastic. The color didn’t seem to matter much as the fish were always active in at least one hole.

Here’s our catch for the day