Oneida Lake 6/21
Got out on Oneida with my buddy Eric. We fished from around 7 am till 4:30 or so. I first fished this lake around 1987 with my buddy Terry. Over the years I’ve probably fished it a dozen to a dozen and a 1/2 times – from ice-fishing to spring, summer and fall fishing, but I really don’t know it very well. Today I started to get a feel for the lake and instead of it being an incomprehensibly huge body of water, it started to appear a little bit “smaller” to me – I could identify areas and had a feel for the shoals and islands and their proximity to each other.
We were met with east winds around 7 to 8 mph- rare on the Fingers, but more common on Oneida and not pleasant on the west shore. There is a minor algae bloom going on here – not as bad as some of the ones we’ve encountered in the mid-summer (pea-soup.) We drifted a north shore area, missed some hits then landed a pickerel or two and a perch. I caught a walleye that had more tumors than any fish I’d ever seen! Some luck there…. We had a few other contacts with walleyes – following. I managed another (clean but for one tumor) walleye around 17″ on a jerkbait. I missed a large fish off a shoal weedbed – either a huge pickerel, walleye or pike. Probably a northern.
We were really hoping for smallmouths. Eric managed to land a couple. I had some great opportunities on a superfluke – I missed/lost three good ones on the downwind side of a shoal. Also missed a couple more once things calmed down wind-wise. They are clearly done spawning – we could see the empty spawn beds. We saw some drum but never hooked any or had any follow. We wound up the day pitching jigs and casting tubes in Big Bay. We caught a couple solid largemouths and a bunch of solid pickerel. I was psyched to try my “froggin’ setup” and had a bowfin follow my frog in from the shallows. My frog casting could stand to use a lot of improvement! Water temps were in the mid to upper 70s. Boat traffic was light. We kept 6 solid pickerel, a walleye and a perch today – some good eating!
I really am starting to love this lake. Instead of taking a road trip or two to Champlain or the Thousand Islands this summer, it’s more tempting to just go to Oneida a bunch of times. There’s something for everyone here, between the large and smallmouth bass, numbers of big pickerel (which are very tasty and abundant, easily outfight the walleyes and hit harder than the largemouths,) walleyes, big panfish and so called roughfish like bowfins, drum and cats. My buddy Craig Nels guided this lake in the AM – he really knows the smallmouths here and his client did very well on some really chunky bass!