Lake Ontario out of Point Penninsula 10/10
Got a chance to launch over at the relatively new Isthmus launch yesterday with Terry around 10:30 am. It's a great post_title for a boat launch and it's a top notch launch – like nearly all the state launches around the eastern Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence region. I generally enjoy fishing up here – it's where my buddy Mike landed a 7lb. 1oz smallmouth bass in October, 7 years ago, but it is a long trek (2 1/2 hours) that requires me to drive past a couple Finger Lakes, Onondaga Lake, Oneida Lake and other ports like Oswego and Stony Creek. The wind always seems to blow up here in the AM (like the Finger Lakes) and there are some massive shoals and boulders to watch out for. That being said, this area also has potential for state record smallmouth bass.
Smallmouth fishing in Lake Ontario is now mainly a size fishery as opposed to numbers. Terry and I fished the lake on virtually a weekly basis at times during the late 1990s/early 2000s and it wasn't uncommon to land 30 to 40 fish in a day per person! A 100 fish day wasn't out of the question and there were numerous areas where numbers of nice 11" to 16" smallmouths could be caught with regularity. 17" fish were around but 18" (and over) fish were scarce. The smallmouth fishing now is about 5% to 10% of what it once was. You can fish beautiful shoals and boulders for hours and not encounter a single fish. Most pros would be struggling if not for their electronics – guys spend hours searching around for marks and then drop-shotting to the marks. Top fishing often requires long runs to islands and other areas infrequented by casual anglers. Lake Ontario has not produced a strong year class of smallmouth bass in well over a decade despite favorable winter/spring conditions. I'm guessing it is due to goby predation. The key is that the few fish that survive can grow to massive proportions with all of the gobies around!
We had a fun day. Within an hour or two of fishing I landed my biggest smallmouth to date – a fish that was likely 5 1/2 to maybe 6lbs. I should have weighed it, but it was 20 1/2" long and very fat. I nabbed a couple more in the 17" range. Terry nailed one or two as well but had some tackle malfunctions on the day. We tried another area and caught some smaller fish in the 15" range. A third area yielded a few hookups. We also fished a lot of areas without any hits. So around a dozen or so hookups today and around 7 or 8 fish landed on tubes and dropshot rigs. No luck on the Ned rig or jerkbaits. Water temps were around 63 to 64 on top. Lake level is dropping and was probably a foot down from summer peak levels. Foliage up along 81 around the Crescent was in peak form.