The End of the Summer Salmon Bite

With the recent cold front that has moved in, it appears that the summer Landlocked Salmon bite is pretty much over. The landlocks will now be "tight lipped" and will begin to start staging at the tributary's for their annual spawning migration. Yes, some fish will be caught, those that are aggressive and get something thrown in front of them that they feel the need to hit. Some of the tributary fisherman will get some fish, and when I hear of it, I'll post a report and hopefully have some photo's to share.
But, for the most part, it's over until late October or early November. When the time comes that the fish fall back into the lake, they'll be ravenous hungry, starved, and the fishing will be at it's best. It won't be uncommon to have a six, eight, or even 10 fish an hour day. The fishing will be non-stop, action packed, reels screaming, rods bent, silvers jumping, awesomely fun.
I'll be back after them.
Until then, if I can get on the water--I'll target yellow perch.
This year was a banner year for salmon fisherman. With Sea Lamprey Control underway and the invasion of a new food source, the Alewife, the salmon are getting bigger and healthier.
Another bonus this year, especially on the inland sea, or northeast arm of Lake Champlain, was the high number of "incidental" Walleye caught by fisherman fishing for cold water species, Landlocked Salmon and Brown Trout.
I was fortunate enough to catch one this season, a nice 6.9 pound walleye that made up two delicious meals.

Here's a few more nice fish, both Landlocked Salmon and Walleye I thought I would post. Most all of these fish were again, from the inland sea.
10.5 Walleye and a nice Landlocked
11-1/2 pound Walleye
Beautiful Brown Trout and a Landlocked
Although these next two fish didn't come from the inland sea, I want to throw them in. This is the winning Landlocked Salmon taken during the LCI Derby. The anglers name is Alan Nute and this fish weighed in at 9.4 pounds. Congratulations to Alan.
Then, this season, again during the LCI Derby a huge record breaking Lake Trout was caught by 14 year old Patrick Dupont. This fished weighed an impressive 15.9 pounds and was the over-all winner. Congratulations Patrick!
The improved quality of the fish we're seeing this year is proof that lamprey control is working in Lake Champlain. Thanks to the many organizations that care about our lake and its fishery.
Fish on, fish H8 me!



A Morning on the Melosira

The University Of Vermont (UVM) has a 45' water bound laboratory, a research vessel called the Melosira.
On Tuesday, the 18th of August I had the opportunity to spend over four hours aboard this fantastic vessel. I was one of over a dozen Lake Champlain fisherman that were invited to go out on the lake aboard this ship.
The ship is piloted by Captain Dick Furbush along with his first mate Chris. UVM's Professor of Fisheries,  J. Ellen Marsden was aboard along with one of her students Seth.
The primary species for study on this trip was the Lake Whitefish with a secondary species, the Lake Trout. Approximately three hours before the boat departed the dock, gill nets were set to net both species.
The gill nets proved successful, with quite a few Lake Whitefish caught. Some of the specimens were said to be the largest caught in gill nets to date. Several were in the four pound range.
The Lake Whitefish were measured, weighed, and dissected for study back at the lab. Scales, a dorsal fin spine, and the ear bones were removed to age the fish. The stomach and digestive system was removed for analysis of the fishes diet. The fish were also inspected for anything unusual externally, mostly for signs Sea Lamprey attack.
The Lake Trout were measured, weighed, inspected for Sea Lamprey attacks, and also fin clips were noted. It was the hope of Ellen Marsden to find Lake Trout without fin clips. Fin clips identify a fish as being stocked, a fish that hasn't been clipped, would indicate a naturally hatched fish. Ellen went on the explain that finding a naturally hatched fish is a rarity. She explained that they have found many Lake Trout fry, but when they leave the reefs, sometime after hatching, they seem to simply disappear. It is one of the many mystery's she hopes to help solve.
After the gill nets were in and the catch was recorded and properly stored, Captain Furbush positioned the boat for a 30 minute deep water trawl. I recorded the results in this video:"Aboard the Melosira"

Lake Whitefish
Brown Trout with a large Sea Lamprey attached

The "Fisherman" Crew

I felt that it was quite an honor and a privilege to be invited on this fantastic trip. I learned more about Lake Champlain, Lake Whitefish, and Lake Trout in four hours, than I would have other wise in years of being on the water.
If you love Lake Champlain and fishing and you get an opportunity like this, don't pass it up!



Missisquoi Muskie Restoration Gets a Major Boost

Missisquoi Muskie Restoration Gets a Major Boost

Please click above for article.

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Spiny Water Flea

The Spiny water flea has become a household topic as media coverage on the invasive species' potential threat to Lake Champlain grows. Spiny water fleas are not fleas at all, but small crustaceans that grow to be about 3/8 of an inch in size. These troublesome zooplankton invaded the Great Lakes in the 1980s and recently were discovered in Great Sacandaga Lake in New York. Senator Leahy secured $100,000 to conduct a feasibility study to determine if the species can be prevented from passing from Great Sacandaga Lake through the Glens Falls Feeder Canal which empties into the Champlain Canal in the Lake Champlain Basin (click here to see press release). Spiny water flea spread easily from bait buckets, bilge water, fishing line, and fishing gear.

The LCBP Long Term Biological Monitoring Program has expanded its monitoring this summer and has sampled for them in the Glens Falls Feeder Canal and the Champlain Canal four times--none has found in any of the samples. Spiny water fleas have not yet been found in Lake Champlain. Help prevent the spread of spiny water fleas and other aquatic invasive species by checking, cleaning, and drying all equipment when you move from one body of water to another. For more information about the spiny water flea see http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1102661715256&s=3712&e=001M27d7HYM602P6m0H4ohYfxm-i1I8ie6Shmzo2ExsOnJB5CPXBNoGDJrg3IMedKyUl605UyBzD4XcKvC8MgxRhL2CCvyF-bYJanV5w1tgUzADbmRU2B5cdGFuz1XGSiiphmAuH9slunk=, visit the LCBP Resource Room (top floor of ECHO at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain), or talk with one of our friendly Lake Stewards at a fishing access near you. For more information on aquatic invasive species and threats contact Meg Modley at mmodley@lcbp.org.

IMAGE: Spiny waterflea on fishing gear
PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Gunderson, Minnesota Sea Grant

This article taken from the August 2009 issue of the Lake Champlain Basin Program newsletter, titled CASIN' THE BASIN E-NEWS. http://www.lcbp.org/



Silver and Gold

This post was written by Ron, an avid Lake Champlain Fisherman. Ron's boat is called the Digitroll, a Sea Nymph, set up especially well for Lake Champlain Salmonids. The Digitroll

Here's Rons Story:
Well the mystery guests today was my High School Classmate Penny and her daughter Dayna (Grand Isle residents) and her best freind Tiffany from Virginia up here for vacation. The only way to break the streak of bad luck for me was to invite lady luck today times 3! The plan was to pick them up at Apple Bay at 10:00 and have them back on the dock by 1 pm.
Started out solo (life jacket on) with a little pre-scouting around 8:45 am and met Tony at the dock waiting for a charter and giving me some heads up stuff on the Sea. Slipped out in very dark cloudy conditions in front of the Cowbanks. I was seeing some nice bait and big hooks from 35 - 50 feet down. Hmmm, very interesting. Put down the first rod with a blue/silver speedy shiner at 50 feet with a cheater. I was starting to set the other cheater on the second rigger and the first went off. Haven't seen a release in weeks. What was this I thought? A very nice 27" Eye on the Speedy Shiner all the way to the net. Weighed 7.1 lbs on my smaller digital scales. What a way to start. Started working the fish and bait and one hour later just before pulling the lines a 17" salmon fired.
Picked the gals up on the dock. There first time fishing on Champlain and Tiffany's first time fishing period. We set up at 10:15 and I put my favorite Bomber long A silver black prism down 45 feet back 70 feet. Put out a Dodger fly on the Thumper rig out 150 feet about 50 feet down. After being set-up with 3 riggers and the Thumper. The Bomber / Rigger rod goes off and it was Tiffany's first fish ever. A beautiful 25.5 inch Eye that weighed 5.2 lbs on the scales. The next hour it was very busy with salmon during a rain shower with the best fish 19.5". We couldn't keep a rod in the water!
Once the front passed and cleared off the bite shutdown with a wind switch from the North and a 1 ft chop. We had a great day today and it felt great that the ladies had such a good time and I got rid of the funk that has been plaguing me lately with hook ups. Nothing like the Sea to turn the tables on the bite as it's been white hot lately.
We did catch about a 1/2 dozen fat stockies about 13". I attribute this to fishing higher in the water column today trying for some of those tasty Eye's.
Mark n Fish was out there and a veteran crew on the Thorny machine (Razzle / Popster) made for great company today. Heard they really put the hurt on them after we left at 1 pm. with the afternoon bite.
Some great eating for our results today and can't wait to cook that big one tomorrow night.
No blades in the water today and long leads (50-70 ft) off the riggers. The one custom taped copper Bee MP6 was really hot for us. Most of the bites from 45-60 feet at 2.7 ground speed. 4 hours fished today and fuel burn was 2.2 gallons.Nice to fish along side Mark n Fish today and Thorny and see Capt. Tony at the dock! Thanks folks!Great day to fish! The fish gods were smiling.

Tiffany with her first fish: Note the black and chrome Bomber in the lower part of the picture. We lost it with a snapped leader a few hours later. I had only one. It was the same lure that caught the 13.5 lb Lake trout 1.5 years ago.

Danya with her first salmon



Salmon on the Sea

On Monday night Rob called me to see if I was still on for the trip next week on the UVM research vessel, Melosira. http://www.uvm.edu/theview/article.php?id=886

Our conversation led into fishing, and that him and Bill were hitting the inland sea on Tuesday to fish for Landlocked Atlantic Salmon and see if they could pick up a Walleye or two at the same time.
Needless to say, I "sort" of hinted that I was free. Rob invited me, I hung up the phone and had the almighty important "schedule changing" conversation with Cathy, then made a phone call to cancel one previously scheduled engagement.

We met at Robs house at 5:30 am. The boat and trailer were all hooked up, ready to go, and all we had to do was jump in the truck, drive the ten minute route to the launch and we were on.

We set up just outside of Apple Island Resort, fog on the water, thick humid air, low clouds clinging to the hill tops. I thought it was going to be a miserable day even on the water, but I was wrong.

The weather changed a lot during the course of the day as did the fishing. It seemed the fishing and the techniques needed to entice a bite, changed with the weather. First the fish wanted tube flies on cheaters, that was during low hanging clouds, perfectly flat water, with "peeks" of sunlight. When the sun would shine bright through the clouds, it felt like the humidity level doubled or even tripled. Beads of sweat would break out on our foreheads and we would mutter minor complaints.

Then a small cell came along, just rain, no sparks. It lasted just about 15 minutes or so and we had a double on during the rain.

After the rain left fishing slowed for just a bit, then we got a nice cool North breeze which brought along a slight chop. The air felt very comfortable, great for fishing. During this period, the fish turned to favor steel. They wanted to see and try to eat steel, versus tube flies. Tamiron's http://tamiron.com/main/ BOBO finish in blue and white is what turned the fish on during this time.

Fishing wasn't hot, we had to work for the fish and change up as needed.

I learned a lot from these seasoned Champlain fisherman. Lessons I'll put to good use on my boat while out with Cathy. I thank Rob and Bill for passing the knowledge I'll put to use, try to master, and possibly pass on myself.

Rob and myself with a nice 22" Landlocked.

Bill with a nice fat Salmon, 20" and a great eating fish.
We ended up boating somewhere around 13 or 14 fish. All Salmon. Some were shorts, some were keepers. We kept 5 to share for nourishment and certainly thank the fish gods!!!



Hot August "Bows"

Sometimes the hot August Days of summer can slow down fishing.

Sometimes it's the fish that slow down, and sometimes it's the hot humid August air that thickens like pea soup that you can cut with a knife that keeps fisherman off the water.

In the case of fishing for Northern Pike and the hard fighting, tug boat pulling Bowfin, August might just be the time to target theses species in Lake Champlain.

"Northernnightmare" and his fishing buddy "Fishercat" hit the Missisquoi Bay in the Northern most reaches of Lake Champlain for a outing of Northerns and Bows. They started the day a little on the slow side and then decided to do some trolling. They set up their rods with some Mepps spinners and trolled north from the Swanton bridge to the Missisquoi River. They made several of these trips during the course of thier outing and landed 25 Northerns up to seven pounds, 5 Bass--both smallies and largemouth and these two outrageously huge Bowfin.

Monsters by any one's standards!!!



Fishing Alone On A Boat

This is a story that is floating around quite a few fishing forums lately.
I thought it was important enough to copy and post it.
This is a lucky fisherman that was fortunate enough to live to tell the story. Something to really think about!

Lesson Learned while fishing Solo
Been telling myself I really should wear that life jacket, especially when trolling all alone. I learned my lesson of a lifetime tonite.
I'm fishing solo out of Holland (went out about 6:30). Sun was down for about 1/2 hour when I decide I've been skunked and start to tear down to head back in. I'm running a dipsey, a downrigger and a full core. I start with reeling in the full core when the dipsey (with red/gold J-plug) goes off. It was a hawg, a great fighter. Put the full core rod back in the holder and work with that hawg for about 15 minutes when the full core (probably only about 5 colors was left out) goes off too (green/white ladderback spoon).
I'm excited. In 65 fow and look back to see the fishfinder is lit up with fish. Real excited. I'm managing to keep the line tight on the lead core reel while still in the rod holder while working to tire out that hawg on the dipsey rod(had been back about 225').
So I get this huge shiny silver king up to the boat finally and grab the net. Wouldn't it figure that I got just a little too long a lead between the dipsey and the J-plug to get a good placement for the net. Doing my best with rod in one hand with fish at the boat, net in the other hand, and watching that other rod slamming up and down in the holder. Really excited now.
He's in the net and then jumps...I'm not gonna let him get away... so I act real quick to slide the net out under him again and SH*T, I'm in the water. And I'm all F*****G alone. And no life jacket on. And the boat is moving. And its dark with no other boats around. SH*TGood thing I switched from a trolling plate to trolling bags last year. I have no idea how, but I grabbed ahold of the line on the back end of the trolling bag and hang there while being towed along the side of the boat. (cursing myself that I lost the fish, the rod, and the net)
So I try to pull myself into the boat. Its a 19' Sea Ray bowrider. Not too high out of the water. But no way can I get in. Maybe cuz I'm an out of shape 55 yo ... or maybe because it just can't be done.
I try till I'm exhausted.Then I see the ladder. But I'm on the wrong side of the boat and the outdrive is in between me and that ladder. And that prop is moving. I try to grab ahold of the downrigger cable. Too sharp and I'm too heavy. If I let go I know I die.So I'm towing around for what must of been a 1/2 hour. I'm guessing I'll either beach with the boat sometime tomorrow or I'm going to Wisconsin. I decided to suck it up and take my chances around the outdrive ... paddling my feet to stay high in the water and way away from that prop. I make it to the ladder and let it down without getting shredded.
Totally exhausted but I'm back in the boat. (BTW - I looked to find the fish that was on the lead core when I got back in, but alas he was gone.)Karma requires that I pass along my lesson. We should all wear a life jacket whenever we're out on the water. Especially when alone. I know I will. (maybe I'll put a rope on that net too)
Thanks for listening....had to tell someone and the wife is in bed.


Northerns On The Prowl

There are a lot of reports around of plenty of Northern Pike being caught. Fisherman are catching large numbers of pike and they can be found in all their usual places around the lake.
Pike are being caught in large numbers and some real quality fish are getting boated.
Missisqoui Bay has been producing some very nice Pike for those that are interested in battling these toothy hard fighting fish. Fisherman are doing very well in the bay and have caught quite a few fish over 10 pounds with one hitting the scales at 16.5 pounds.
#5 Mepps spinners or big Rapala's are doing the trick.



Spotty Walleye

Walleye fishing has been reported as being spotty with the exception of a few eyes being taken in Mallets Bay last week.
Most fisherman are complaining about the eyes not cooperating.
However, oddly enough, quite a few folks fishing in the Inland Sea for Salmon have reported taking "incidental" eyes this year.

Summer, A Quick Reflection

This being the first post I thought I'd back up a little.

This summer we probably haven't been on the water as much as I would have liked but we've been successful each time out. Knock on wood...we haven't been skunked...yet that is. Everybody gets skunked, everybody!!

Lets take a minute here and reflect on a few of the fish so far this year.

This is one of our target species. This is a 3.7 pound Landlocked Atlantic Salmon. A fun fish to catch. They get the idea they can fly when hooked, and sometimes they can. They leap like crazy. A real riot.

Here's my first mate with a Landlocked and a Champlain Brown Trout. These are both very good table fare. This is what we're generally after.

One day I had my daughter Ashley out driving the boat for me. She was doing such a great job she put me on two fish at once. One rod fired with huge salmon on three colors of leadcore, quite a way behind the boat. Another rod fired that was set on a down rigger only 15' behind the boat. I quickly set the lead core rod back in the rod holder and grabbed the rod that just fired. A brown I could tell by the way it was digging. "Here honey, want to take this for me?" Her eyes lit right up, she grabbed the rod and her fight was on. Soon enough, it was in the net. Her first cold water species, a Lake Champlain Brown Trout!

As everyone knows, sometimes it's not the targeted species that hits. This time while trolling for Salmon and Browns, a nice 6.9 pound Walleye hits. Nothing but pure white, fluffy goodness. Considered by most, the best eating fresh water species.

Fishing with Phil one day on his boat, The Trolling Bee's, Phil lands a real nice Brown.

A very nicely colored Atlantic here. Notice the rich blue gill plates!

On this particular trip, once again on the Trolling Bee's we targeted Lake Trout. We had a very sucessful day fishing a couple humps. We boated 24 Lake Trout with a half dozen in the 8 to 10 pound class. These fish were in deep water on the bottom, nearly 100 feet down.