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Vudak



Joined: 02 Jun 2010
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:52 am    Post subject: Lake Champlain 6/4--6/5 Reply with quote

Lake Champlain 6/4—6/5

My father, wife, and I all headed up to Lake Champlain this weekend to enjoy some fishing. We had booked the weekend with our friend and guide, Captain Mickey Maynard of www.lakechamplainangler.com. Saturday and Sunday would be our third and fourth trips with Captain Maynard, who has never failed to show us a great time!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

We met Captain Maynard on the outskirts of Plattsburgh early Saturday morning, and decided that we would head to some rock cliffs and target smallmouth bass. I don't want to give away all his secrets, but suffice to say we were ripping lures hard for eight hours and I do think my wrist will take a week or two to recover! The smallmouth ate it up, and the day was a smashinc success with the four of us boating 100 fish, 88 of which were smallmouth bass. My wife, Crystal, (as usual) seemed to have the Midas Touch, landing 48 of them. I had to laugh when she quickly caught her first fish and all Captain Maynard could say was, “Crystal's back!”

The day was filled with good-sized, hard fighting fish such as this one:



We called it a day around half past two, made arrangements to meet up the next morning, and then headed home to our house in a sleepy town on the south end of the lake. Since it was still early, and since I got my butt whooped so badly by Crystal, I decided to take out a few of our heavier rods and toss out some chicken livers. It didn't take long for our company to arrive, as one after the other, three giant (for the area) channel cats tore the line of our reels. I didn't have a scale, but having recently caught an 18lb cat, I can say in good faith that these were easily 20+. At any rate, they put up a tremendous fight, tested the limits of the tackle, and made me wonder why I decided to target these monsters after 8 hours of assaulting my arms and wrists on the charter!





In addition to these three cats, we caught a chunky white perch, and my favorite species, the Bowfin. I was especially excited about the latter as I haven't managed to catch one yet this year on account of the higher water, and feared that my favorite spot might take a year off while they hang out elsewhere. I'm glad to see they're making their way home Smile



The bowfin bite coincided with that of the mosquito, so we quickly packed it in, settled into our bed, and awaited the second half of our charter weekend, but not before we received heartening news: on one of the best fishing days of my life, my good friends had the greatest day of their lives, welcoming their first child onto this earth! Congratulations to the Burris family! Their daughter must be a lucky charm Smile

Sunday, June 5, 2011

We woke up (sore and almost second-guessing ourselves haha) early Sunday morning and once again made the trek to Plattsburgh. Drunk with the success of the first day, we decided to switch things up and target largemouths and northern pike on the second. The risen water has made going after these fish a bit more difficult, as much of last year's woods are this year's shallows. This made for a lot of promising cover that we had no hope of reaching. Nonetheless, Champlain is a huge lake, and there were plenty of coves and shoreline for us to work.

Being colder than Saturday, the fishing started a bit slower than the first, but quickly heated up. We weren't as strict with counting (we weren't going to top the 100 fish of Saturday), but a fair estimate is that we put a few more than 50 in the boat, probably about a third of which being black bass, another third being some member of the Esox family, and the last third being yellow perch or rock bass. Crystal again caught the largest fish:





Everyone got their fill of pike and largemouths, with a few decent smallies thrown in as well. As always, Captain Maynard produced for us, and we had a great trip! If you ever want to experience Lake Champlain in all its glory, I highly recommend giving him a call. He can put you on any sort of fish you'd like, from largemouth to lake trout, at an extremely reasonable rate (last I checked, the lowest in the region, but don't quote me on that).

I do think Lake Champlain ranks right up there with Lake Fork and Okeechobee as one of those places you must fish before you die. There are various species that will give you a great time and you'll do it all surrounded by the natural beauty of the Adirondacks and Green Mountains. It is a breathtaking natural wonder and one I've been privileged to call my second home since I was a very young kid.

I personally think Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks are the place to be for the Fourth of July. The weather is great, the fishing is great, and you are within a short drive of Saratoga, Ticonderoga, and Plattsburgh – three key locations in the Birth and early years of our our great nation. Not to harp on too much about it, but I love the place and am grateful I've had the opportunity to spend so much time there. I'd love to see you all get that opportunity as well Smile
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PECo



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 4836
Location: Avon, CT

PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Damn, J.P., now I gotta head back up there! I'm glad that you, Crystal and your dad had better luck with the weather than Derek, Tim and I. We went too early for this year, I guess. But, thankfully, Captain Mick really knows the lake and put us on some fish, anyway.

I think Derek told me he read somewhere that Mike Iaconelli picked Lake Champlain as the lake he'd fish if he could fish only one for the rest of his life. I definitely understand why.

Hey, on what did you catch the bowfin? A catfish rig?
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DirtyDawg10



Joined: 27 May 2009
Posts: 2235
Location: Granby, CT

PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like you guys had a great trip!!

Yeah I was reading in Field & Stream...they asked a bunch of pro fishermen and women if they could only fish one place where would it be and Ike picked Champlain for the smallies. It is a great resource for sure.
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Vudak



Joined: 02 Jun 2010
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heya Phil,

Yeah, the weather FINALLY was good. I've been going up there pretty much 3/4 weekends a month, and this was the first time it was consistently nice. The wind picked up a bit on Sunday, but nothing we couldn't manage.

In my experience, if you want to catch a bowfin, the absolute best way to do it is dead bait (some sort of shiner, preferably 4-6" range). The trick is to put and keep it in such a place where it will not foul on the bottom (not always easy where bowfin like to live--shallow, weedy), but if you can do that and wait awhile, you'll get them. You might even consider paddling out the bait to a good spot via your kayak before returning to shore.

This particular fin took a chicken liver. I've also caught them on hotdogs. Pretty much any meat and you're good to go!

If you want to catch them on artificial lures, I've had luck with larger poppers while Maynard mentioned he catches them from time to time on spinnerbaits. Neither method is as sure-fire as dead bait, however.

Normally, I could count on catching 4-5 large fins by sitting on the shore for a few hours, but with the water as high as it is, that just hasn't paid out this year. The fishing is definitely different, but that can be fun sometimes too!
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Fishface



Joined: 02 Jan 2008
Posts: 308
Location: New Britain

PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great trip. I look forward to getting back up there. The high water we had to deal with was tough. Capt. Mick still puts on fish.

Tim
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Vudak



Joined: 02 Jun 2010
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, the water is still very high. It really hasn't gone down much since you guys were there (I was on the southern lake the same weekend). Maybe 6" or so. Still a long ways to go to put us on normal. We probably won't even get a chance to put the dock in this year.

I wouldn't normally say that May would be a bad time to go (in fact, it's usually great). This year was just such an anomaly--who could have seen it coming? Assuming we don't get creamed by the snow next year, I would have no problem signing up for a May charter.

At any rate, I hope the high water doesn't scare people off. The fishing is good, and should get even better as everything normalizes. And on the bright side, perhaps the increased area available for protected spawning will make this a very strong year class? We can hope...
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rjskeeter



Joined: 28 Jun 2008
Posts: 80
Location: uncasville

PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

awesome hope to fish there this year
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therieldeal



Joined: 20 Oct 2010
Posts: 245
Location: Thompson, CT

PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow that is an incredible number of fish, great job! The charter sounds like a great time, potential vacation idea… hmmm. My brother lives in Burlington…

Do you need a Vermont fishing license, or are you covered because it’s a charter?
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Vudak



Joined: 02 Jun 2010
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

You will need a fishing license. The kicker is, the part of the lake you'll likely fish is the section that is divided between NY and VT fishing licenses, so you may need both.

If you contacted Captain Maynard, it may be possible to arrange to only stay on one side or the other (most likely VT) to save you some money. Of course, this also reduces your options...

VT 3-day non-resident fishing licenses are currently $22 while one day are $20.

NY 7-day non-resident is $35, while one day is $15.

IMO, it's well worth the money.
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PECo



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 4836
Location: Avon, CT

PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We talked about fishing license reciprocity with Captain Mick when we were up there last month. A Vermont fishing license entitles you to fish almost all of Lake Champlain. It does not entitle you to fish the South Bay or over the Canadian border. A New York fishing license does not entitle you to fish most of the bays in Vermont or over the Canadian border. Here's a map from New York's Department of Environmental Conservation website:

http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/fish_marine_pdf/nyvtfishlic.pdf

This agreement is obviously not very equal. Captain Mick said that Vermonters are smarter than New Yorkers. Shocked

The bottom line is that a Vermont fishing license is the way to go.
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Last edited by PECo on Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Vudak



Joined: 02 Jun 2010
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep, looks like the VT one is the one you're gonna want. Also looks like next year NY isn't getting my money. I can live without the south bay Smile
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TurtleKiss



Joined: 09 Mar 2010
Posts: 1200
Location: central CT

PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow...I'd absolutely love it there. BOWFIN! <3 <3 <3
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*~ "Not everything about fishing is noble, reasonable and sane..." -Henry Middleton ~*
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