Lake Champlain Giant Smallmouth

Started by Mike Cork, August 18, 2023, 08:54:29 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Mike Cork

I know I've been around the block a few times but I remember when a 3 pound average of smallmouth was a bag of giant smallmouth. Looking at day one of the Bassmaster Elite Series on Lake Champlain, a three pound average doesn't even make you into the top fifty.

So is it breeding, technology, or really just the introduction invasive species for the giant smallmouth to feed on?

The weights of Day one are just crazy, everyone is catching Giant Smallmouth and I'm so jealous, I haven't caught a smallmouth in 15 years....

Fishing is more than just a hobby

Dobyns Rods - Monster Fishing Tackle
Cork's Reel Service

Bud Kennedy

#1
The club I belonged to when I was living in New England would fish Champlain once a year.  It was always a special time up there and many of us would spend the week there to take advantage of some great fishing.  This has been a long long time ago and I too remember a bag full of three pounders would be very competitive although you usually needed a few 5 pounders if you wanted to win.  Truly a remarkable place that should be on everyones bucket list.

By the way the rest of the story is not the bag you weighed but the other 50 smallies you put in the boat that day that did not make the weigh bag.  Things could be very busy from time to time and a great time during the early fall when the top water really gets going

Smallie_Stalker

Champlain is my favorite lake to fish. I would rather fish there than anywhere else in the Northeast.

To answer your question Mike I think it is a combination of factors. ALL the things you mentioned definitely play into it. Plus the lake is huge with a wide range of cover/structure options. And northern smallies tend to be aggressive. They won't hesitate to come out of 20 or 30 ft. to blast a Topwater or shallow running crank or Jerkbait.

Like Bud, I fished with a club that made a yearly trip to Champlain. Ours was a two day event but most of us would make a vacation out of it and spend a week there. This was back in the late 90's to early 2000's and even back then we had guys bringing in 20+ lb. bags with 5 pounders showing out on a regular basis.

The same used to be true for Winnipesaukee back in the 80's and early 90's but by the late 90's a 3 lb. smallie was a really good fish.  Over-regulation and the amount of HOA and LOA pressures combined with aggressive spraying programs in certain swimmable areas have made a once fantastic lake into just an average fishery.

I sure hope they don't do the same to Champlain. 

Sent from my SM-S908U using Tapatalk

Dobyns Rods   Titan Tungsten   Abu Garcia  Berkley  Pflueger  Spiderwire

caddyjoe77

when, in your experience smallie or bud, is THE time to go up there.  It is definitely a bucket list
BeerMe

Bud Kennedy

My favorite time was in mid September.  It seems like around that time the smallies go into a bit of feeding frenzy getting prepared for the winter freeze.  Can really get cold that time of year so you just have to play the weather guesser game.  Other folks in our club tended to go up in June to catch the end of the spawn but than was not my personal preference.  September also gets you some distance from the tourist/vacation season.

Bud Kennedy

Joe, forgot to mention that we always fished the Vermont side but many will say the NY side is good also.  Vermont side was just more convenient to us was the main reason to go on that side.  Be sure to research the rule book for both areas.  They tend to have restrictions that are unlike your home Alabama waters.

Smallie_Stalker

I've only ever fished it in June July or August, but had excellent results all 3 months. Mostly fished either Missisiquoi Bay or Ticonderoga areas with some venturing out almost into Canadian waters.

Late May to early June will get you a solid pre-spawn bite and I've seen both largemouth and smallmouth on beds as late as early August. I would say early June to mid September is probably your window.

Sent from my SM-S908U using Tapatalk

Dobyns Rods   Titan Tungsten   Abu Garcia  Berkley  Pflueger  Spiderwire

D.W. Verts

Technology? Well, when you can SEE them...

Dale
Old School Bass Fishin', My Hickbilly Life, and Hickbilly Outdoors with D.W. Verts on YOUTUBE!

caddyjoe77

#8
Quote from: D.W. Verts on August 19, 2023, 01:00:53 PMTechnology? Well, when you can SEE them...

Dale

Question:  if you were in your tournament heyday, knowing that everyone else is using one to get an advantage, would you use a FFS too? 


My thoughts:  You can also see them on Side or Down too or 2D.  Only difference is you can see them react, or not.  You can definitely see if fish are "active" on 2D -- you can watch your jig/spoon on 2d to a point. 

Do I have a FFS?  Yes.  Yea I can see them.  Do they bite everything i throw at them?  no.  Am I sure every fish i throw at is a bass?  No.  Do i catch some catfish when i mistake them for bass?  -- absolutely.  Do i catch every bass I throw at?  no.    Do i catch every bass i throw at on Side after i drop a waypoint and go back?  no.  Do I think FFS helps identify if fish are active or not, more so than 2D -- yes. 

Why do I have a FFS?  because I work, a lot and my on water time is limited.  I use it to make me more efficient for the time that I do have out there.  Do I fish tourneys?  No -- too much like work.  Do I keep the bass I catch?  No.  Crappie?  yes

Personally, if I went to Champlain, would I use my FFS?  Yes.  I would be out there with my dad.  Want to have the best time possible.  I would love to catch some northern smallies, 1 pound, 2 pounds, 3 pounds, 5 pounds is fine with me. 
BeerMe

Bud Kennedy

Lake Champlain is a very large body of water.  Seems to me if you were gonna take a bucket list trip that given your home location it may be best to just fly into Burlington, VT and rent a car and drive to the lake about 1-2 hours north.  A guide on this water would be the icing on the cake if this were a "special bucket list trip"

Seems to me it would be a lot more enjoyable than dragging your boat all the way up there unless you were gonna visit a bunch of other fishing places along the way.  I assume your time off is  very limited so flying and a guide would make the best use of your available time.

D.W. Verts

Probably not a fair question Joe, considering how my thoughts have changed since EVERYTHING became techo-nuts. Or maybe it's fair enough. But it's way more than than that, for me. And since I'm getting older (every day) I hate techno stuff more every day (I don't own a cell phone). I reckon that it is what it is. I'm also against fishing tournaments in the peak of the spawn (gasp!) something that I made near a hundred grand back in the day doing.

The fact is we DIDN'T have the technology then. We barely had good sonar. And yes, I've caught many a bass fishing structure with sonar. But I've NEVER used 2D on shallow, spawning bass in off-colored water. I've NEVER used 2D sonar to pinpoint bass on boat docks. Same in the acres of thick grass and lily pad fields or timber where guys just pull in, fish the fish, catch them or not, then move to the next fish. It really can't be done, not with traditional sonar.

That's the rub. I don't like it, obviously. And I really don't judge the ones that DO (except for some of the bone-headed moves I've seen some do that remind me of folks walking into crowded streets and falling into water fountains because they're staring at the screens on their phone). As long as it's legal, it's game on. But not for me.

Everybody is looking for the easy these days. At every aspect of life. I don't like "easy" 'cuz I've never had it easy. I've always, for whatever reason, had to fight and claw for everything. And some of my greatest achievements were in bass fishing, when I put it all together, and better than everyone else. Now it all seems so cheap.

I think, and what I think is pretty much meaningless, but I think that this hurts the "sport". I think that folks are getting away from the ART of bass fishing and not learning how to get it done the "hard" way. That's all.

Wow, look at me go.

The "time" thing is interesting however. A person only has so much time on his or hers hands. Modern sonar definitely will help with wasting "time". That is a great argument for forward-seeking Radar Love. Except that I look once again back at the thousands of hours (and how many casts, a million?) in search of bass that may have never been there, or that I didn't (couldn't) catch. And I'll never know. That's the mystery that makes for the MAGIC of bass fishing. That's what made me fall in love with this 48 years ago. And that's where I feel like the sport has been cheapened.

Well, this went somewhere else. I'd love to go up north and chase those big smalljaws some day. I'd like to go SOUTH and do it too. But I'll do it "Old School" no matter what. It's the way I'm built (and I'll never use a drone to find my deer, either). Again, if it's legal, then good for anyone that wants to use it. Peace.

Dale
Old School Bass Fishin', My Hickbilly Life, and Hickbilly Outdoors with D.W. Verts on YOUTUBE!

caddyjoe77

Quote from: Bud Kennedy on August 19, 2023, 05:29:25 PMLake Champlain is a very large body of water.  Seems to me if you were gonna take a bucket list trip that given your home location it may be best to just fly into Burlington, VT and rent a car and drive to the lake about 1-2 hours north.  A guide on this water would be the icing on the cake if this were a "special bucket list trip"

Seems to me it would be a lot more enjoyable than dragging your boat all the way up there unless you were gonna visit a bunch of other fishing places along the way.  I assume your time off is  very limited so flying and a guide would make the best use of your available time.

Thanks Bud!! Definitely not hauling the dirty bird up there!! guide most certainly!! 1800 miles is a heckuva haul with the boat behind me. 
BeerMe

Canesfan


From a few years ago on Champlain. My son is a firefighter in Burlington and one of his colleagues has a guide service.

marlake

Quote from: Bud Kennedy on August 19, 2023, 05:29:25 PMLake Champlain is a very large body of water.  Seems to me if you were gonna take a bucket list trip that given your home location it may be best to just fly into Burlington, VT and rent a car and drive to the lake about 1-2 hours north.  A guide on this water would be the icing on the cake if this were a "special bucket list trip"

Seems to me it would be a lot more enjoyable than dragging your boat all the way up there unless you were gonna visit a bunch of other fishing places along the way.  I assume your time off is  very limited so flying and a guide would make the best use of your available time.

Burlington Vt. is about right in the middle of Lake Champlain. If you drive 2 hours north, you'll be fishing in Canada.   ;)

Oldfart9999

I would agree with Bud on hiring a guide, would save you some time and money, specially if you have a breakdown. I've only been on the lake a couple of times,  It was to visit Burlington with my wife and son, the ferry was navigating 5and 6 foot swells. It is a large natural lake and when the wind is out of the north or south can make for a nasty day.
Rodney

Sent from my SM-X200 using Tapatalk

Old Fishermen never die, their rods just go limp.