Stoney Point/Henderson Bay 8/18 + 19


Over the past two days I dida pretty spontaneous trip with my buddy Mike. I had the weekend and Monday/Tuesday free and he was able to grab an extraday off. Usually we head up to Lake Champlain every year, but he decided to fish the BASS Northern Open on Oneida Lake as a co-angler, which took a chunk out ofhis annual fishing budget, so we made due a little closer to home. I’ve gradually been piecing together the different sections of Lake Ontario for trout/salmon and bass, so I was pretty psyched to learn a few new areas and get our own takes on them. And of course, Brandon Paluniuk’s great B.A.S.S. tournament win was also extra motivation to try HH rather than Chaumont (which he also fished, but we already had experience on.)

On Day One we went out of Stoney Creek’s boat launch. The State boat launchesin the Golden Crescent and Thousand Islands Region are superb. I wanted to try some areas south and west of Henderson Harbor – not the usual stuff. The bottom contours looked good andit’s a bit closer to home. Fishing wasn’t great for us. We worked a lot of areas fromabout 15′ out to 50′ or more. I marked fish, but we didn’t get anything apart from loads of gobies. I was hoping for some no-brainer smallmouth bass action, and it wasn’t the case. The shallows looked decent, but we concentrated our efforts out deep.

We checked the “trench” and marked tons of lake trout and likely a few other salmonids. The west winds had stacked a lot of warm water on the eastern shore of the lake and the thermocline was very deep. The hot trout/salmon action had slowed a week or two ago according to a couple fishermen we talked to. Great area structurally though, and it’s now on my list. We did have fish move for our jigs. Large trolling fleet out there too.

On the way back in we tried a few more areas. Goby numbers are still very high out in this part of the lake. They seem lower around Oswego, but I may be wrong on that. Mike wanted to hit a shallow area that we’d seen earlierso we did. We had some action on a point with a few decent bass up to17″ and one nice drum that Mike landed around 5 to 6lbs. It was all about precision andfinding the right rocky areas. Thatevening we met my swimmingbuddy andoccasional fishing buddyChris and he grilled us up a bite to eat. He has a place on Henderson Harbor and has been going up there his entire life.

On DayTwo we went out of Westcott State Park. Nice park! It’s on the eastern side of Henderson Bay. Another great boat launch there. The plan was to work theobvious shoals that more or less protectHenderson Bay. My buddy Chris motored over and fished near us with his Lund. And bythe way, is there a worse cup of coffee than that found at a “Nice and Easy?” I’ve given them a couple tries and my coffee usually winds uprinsing off the pavement at the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s not too good. At least the dark roast at the one I’ve gone to a couple times.

We found some chunky bass running 15″ to 16″ near some weeds on the first shoal we hit. It was very reminiscent of areas we’d previously caught bass in, on Oneida Lake and on Lake Champlain. That’s the great thing about fishing a lot of different waterways regularly – you learn what areas hold fish, and you KNOW they hold fish without having to fish them. Of course you want to make sure there are fish present by catching some, but overall that’s how the pros are able to break down unfamiliar waterways without even wetting a line. Just looking at the cover and structure really helps. It’s like reading a stream. A boat loaded with a half dozen anglers pulled up within eyeshot of us and they clearly had a good “spot.” They caught at least a half dozen fish in short order with live bait.

We worked another area and Mike dropshotted a fewsmall fish – 11″ to 12″ bass. Another shoal produced a 17″er for me. Chris landed a chunky 18″. We then worked yet another shoal and Mike landed a couple beauts – an 18 1/2″ and a 17 1/2″. Chris also caught another decent fish or two.But it wasn’t great fishingfor us. We caught ahandful but never got into any concentrations, like the one I’d found at Oswegotwo weeks ago. We caught fish on tube jigs and dropshotting. Adouble-swimbait rig yielded a follow for Mike. Fish didn’t hit the dropshot on the fall. Juston the bottom. Gobies were rampant and in some areas we also marked alewives.

Not sure where I’ll be heading next time. We plan on fishing Chaumont a couple more times before the season ends. I will be back at Oswego at leasttwo more times. I’d also like to fish around Pultneyville/Sodus. The bass on Lake Ontario have never been in better condition – they seem to get bigger every year, but it still requires giving forth a solid effort. The fishing generally isn’t easy and it’s not like the late 1990s/early 2000s when you could catch bass on nearly any shoal or even flat fairly easily just casting a tube jig. It’s a different ballgame now, but the rewards can be tremendous in terms of big bass.