Lake Champlain 7/9 – 12, Keuka Lake 7/13, Seneca Lake 7/14


I’ve been on the water a LOT during the past couple weeks. It hasn’t been easy with the heat and humidity, but covering up and drinking a lot of fluids has made the conditions tolerable. Nice breezes also help! Here’s how things broke down over the past week:

Lake Champlain: I always look forward to what’s become an annual trip up to Champ with my buddy Mike, who now lives around 2+ hours away from me. I hope to get up there twice a year in the future, but once is better than nothing!

We had a few goals on this trip. First was to relax and have a good time. Alarms were not set and fortunately we were able to get on the water fairly early every day – basically between 8 and 9:30 am. The second goal was to fish some areas we hadn’t fished before. That we did and as usual, on Champlain it paid off. Lastly was to try to catch some lakers, bass and pike as well as some bowfins, though we didn’t often target the “grindles” specifically.

7/9: We launched out of Pt. Au Roche State Park and worked Carry Bay and Pelots Bay. We spent maybe 2 hours trying lakers off Pt. Au Roche with a few hits, some good screens but no hookups. I wasn’t surprised given our late start, the cold front and relatively few fish we marked. Bass fishing started out slow but picked up as the day went on. Mike caught a nice 3lb+ largemouth and we each nailed quite a few smaller ones along with plenty of pike and pickerel in the bays. Dropshotting provided superb bass action towards the end of the day with 2 to 2 3/4lb largemouths one after another. We also hooked some nice smallmouths with Mike landing a real solid one. Mike used plastic worms like Roboworms while I fished Lunker City Ozmos and Ribsters (my Rich Z. influence here.) The fish weren’t particularly selective. We pitched green pumpkin Chigger Craws and worms.

7/10: Headed up to Mississquoi Bay and worked both sides of it – basically made the run to the eastern leg of the bay after having worked the western end. Pike fishing was excellent, with Mike (again) landing the best fish – a very solid 36″er! We both caught a lot of nice pike -though the lake is full of dinks and hammerhandles, there are still enough quality fish to make the fishing fun. Chartreuse spinnerbaits worked best, though we caught one or two on swimbaits. Found some great bass action in shallow water both on flats and weedy rocky areas. Largemouths came on plastic worms and Chigger Craws. Pitching was the key. I also hooked good bass on tube jigs and spinnerbaits. We looked for bowfins but didn’t see any. I wasn’t able to get my boat into any creek mouths or swampy areas. No sign of gar either.

7/11: Went out of the Peru launch with lakers in mind. Great shelfs and flats out there that jumped out at us on the map. The laker action was superb!!! Terrific jigging for large fish, mostly running 27″ to 30″. The first one I got was in poor condition, but most were really in good shape. We fished 85′ to 115′ FOW, with 105′ being particularly good. Any color plastic worked good! It was impossible to find something that didn’t work! We landed around a dozen or more fish in 2 hours and it wasn’t even the hot bite. One 19″ lamprey came up with a laker.

We then motored over to Mallett’s Bay where I had the hot hand with some chunky smallmouth bass using white Superflukes and tube jigs. We got a few pike over there too. On the way back we checked the lakers and the bite was smoking! I hooked 4 fish on 4 drops. We aren’t big numbers guys, but a good jigger could land 25 or more fish here in a few hours when the bite’s on. There are plenty of lakers to be had in Lake Champlain!

7/12: Got out for a couple hours out of Pt. Au Roche and fished “the Gut.” Mike had the hot hand with the drop-shot rig and even had a bowfin chase in his worm! We caught some largemouths and smallies with Mike catching the quality and me being “waist deep in dinks.” Also got pike and pickerel with Mike hooking a quality northern.

As always, the amenities were great at Marine Village (just N. of Plattsburgh.) We got lucky with the wind and weather. Just some great fishing. You can basically fish your own terms on this lake. However you want to bass fish, you can find fish willing to cooperate with your pattern.

7/13: Did 2 one-half days on Keuka Lake out of Branchport (Keuka State Park.) Had a great AM fishing with Tom and his son Terry. The laker bite was slow to start but then cranked up around 8:30 am. Kept a limit of typical 18″ to 22″ Keuka fish. An hour of bass fishing produced a few small smallmouths.

My PM trip was with Matt and his dad Ron. I was impressed that the fishing held up and actually really was good for most of the afternoon. That isn’t often the case on this lake in the summer. The guys used to have a house on the lake, so it was the likely choice. Matt lost 4 or 5 nice lakers to start, but then got into a nice rhythm. The guys landed at least 1/2 dozen nice fish. 105′ give or take was best.

7/14 Seneca Lake out of Sampson: Guided Hugh Sr., Hugh Jr. and Keith for the full day starting at 6:30 am out of Sampson. The original objective was to fish the N. end of the lake, but I wasn’t sure if the “Musselman” triathlon was happening, so we dumped in at Sampson and tried around there before running north. Seneca has been spotty this year, but the weather pattern was good and I had high hopes. Didn’t do much around Sampson save for Hugh Jr. missing a hit or two. But Geneva was awesome! The guys tripled up on their first drop!!! Something we’ll never forget! Overall 11 solid lakers to 31″ were landed with a couple big ones (maybe bigger) dropped. Released all of them today no worse for the wear. Fun trip with a lot of good jokes flying around! 90′ to 115′ was best with the deeper water better.

In case anyone’s been wondering, the boat traffic on the lakes we’ve been fishing has been exceptionally light! I’ve never seen so few boats on the water. Especially before noon! No complaints here!!!