Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Walleye, Salmon, Bass, Oh My!

Our good friend, Bobby Helms of Tame the Trout Charters is officially a published writer. He helped setup the excellent fishing section for the "Official tourism resource of Franklin County, NY" up in the Adirondacks region, and wrote a phenomenal article at that! Check it...

Via Adirondaks Lakes Region:

By: Bobby Helms, Tame the Trout Charters

Walleye, Salmon, Bass, Oh My!

Franklin County is full of great places to fish year-round, though I don't think there is another fishery that rivals the diversity of species found in Tupper Lake.
Located near the Franklin and St. Lawrence county line, the main target species are Lake Trout, Landlocked Atlantic Salmon, Walleye, Northern Pike, Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass. To land a trophy catch, I'm going to spotlight a few tried-and-true techniques and lures that I have used to catch the majority of my fish on Tupper Lake.
Click below to read the rest of the article...

Spawn of the Smelt

Every spring, one of the largest and most astounding spectacles in the Adirondacks occurs in Tupper Lake – the annual spawning run of the Rainbow Smelt. These small 3-5" baitfish reside in the deep, cool waters of Tupper Lake for 9-10 months out of the year. But when the spring thaw starts, generally in late February, these little guys move into the shallower waters of the southern end of Tupper Lake.
At the southern end of the lake, the smelt meet with a massive, impassable barrier – Bog River Falls. The smelt try their hardest for 2-3 weeks to swim up the falls to safer waters for spawning, usually at the end of April through the first week in May, however their attempts to find safer waters usually end in futility. Often, the smelt become food for larger fish species, and without a doubt, this is the best time to land trophy catch in Tupper Lake.
Last year, in one seven hour day alone, I put 27 walleyes (none under 6lbs and two over 12lbs) and two above average Lake Trout in the boat. The end of April through the beginning of May is the time of year that trout and Walleye chasers dream of!

Tools of the Trade

During the spring, my go-to lures are jigs. Generally I use 1/4-3/8oz jig heads with a 3" swim bait body, and the only issue I’ve encountered when with using jigs at the falls in the spring is that I lose many in a short period of time. My advice – be prepared and bring 2-4 dozen jig heads and a few packs of swim baits.
My personal favorite swim baits are Mister Twister Sassy Shads in a natural color. For rods, a 6-7ft medium action rod is all you need, along with a good spinning reel that has a decent drag system. The reason for this: you have a good chance of hooking a 10lb+ Landlocked Salmon, and if you do they are capable of making a few runs of 50 yards or more during a battle.
For fishing line, I use and prefer Berkley Trilene XL in 6lb because even if I snag it in the rocks, I can break off my jig and tie on as quick as possible. Eight-pound line is also a good line to use during this time of year, but I wouldn't go any heavier.
On Tupper Lake in the spring, fishermen of all skill levels, from novice to a guide such as myself have an amazing opportunity to catch the fish of a lifetime, be it a 10lb Walleye, 20lb Pike, 8-10lb Landlocked Salmon or a 15lb+ Lake Trout!

Check Your Thermocline

Spring isn't the only time when fish are plentiful in Tupper Lake. Once the water warms up, typically around mid-May, the smelt begin to migrate to the deeper, cooler waters of Tupper Lake. From June through mid-September, the smelt spend their time in what's known as the "thermocline,” where the water temperature and water pressure are optimal for the smelt to live.
In June the thermocline is usually 25-35ft down in the water column. As the summer continues the thermocline slowly reaches deeper depths, and by July and August, the thermocline is generally 35-50ft down.
I specialize in summertime deep water fishing for Lake Trout and Landlocked Salmon, aided by the use of some pretty high-tech electronics. But the casual weekend fisherman doesn't need to spend thousands of dollars to have success fishing for cold water species in the summer.
"Old school" tactics such as lead core line works surprisingly well for trout and salmon, and the new styles of lead core line come in different colors that change every 10 yards to keep track of your lure.
If you let out "three colors" off of your reel while trolling your line should be down 25-30ft depending of trolling speed.
The majority of the trout and salmon I catch during the summer months are caught while I'm trolling 1.9-2.3mph, faster than many other people fishing this time of year, but I've found that I catch more fish this way.
My lures of choice for this style of fishing are "spoons," pieces of metal that flutter and shine in the water and imitate a baitfish. They are a crucial part of your arsenal! If you don't have lures that imitate baitfish, you're going to end up having a pretty dismal day on the water. The spoons that produced the best for me last summer were Dreamweaver WD spoons in blue melon with copper backs and my old go-to, Luhr Jensen Needlefish in blue/nickel. These spoons are small, 2 3/4 inches long and about 3/4in wide, but man do they have the profile of a smelt!
As you all can see Tupper Lake holds a great place in my heart. I've lived and grown up on the beautiful shore of Tupper Lake my whole life, and now I get to share my passion of the lake with many other people. I'm a NYS Licensed Guide, and if you're a diehard fisherman, a novice or just looking to take in some amazing scenery....Tupper Lake and Franklin County have it all!

Other Gems

There are some pretty amazing bodies of water and rivers to explore if you're planning on making a trip to Franklin County in addition to Tupper Lake.
The Salmon River near the county seat in Malone is a little gem in northern Franklin County. If you're a fly fisherman, you'll want to fish there mid-May through June as it boasts one of the most prolific Hendrickson hatches in Northern NY. The serenity and intimate nature of the River is almost unmatched.
The St. Regis River is another beautiful little river in central Franklin County. It offers trout fishing in the upper reaches and stellar warm water fishing once you get below the village of St. Regis Falls.
Smallmouth Bass and Northern Pike abound below the village, as well as the occasional surprise Brown Trout. Meacham Lake, which is also in central Franklin County, is another body of water you might want to explore if you're in for a little adventure. Every year it gets a generous stocking of Splake, a lake trout/brook trout hybrid species that is absolutely gorgeous!

Best Fish Stories Found…

After a long day on the water you'll probably be wondering where to get some grub in the area. My favorite place is the Lumberjack Inn in downtown Tupper Lake. The breakfast is amazing and the small-town-feel of this little mom-and-pop will have you coming back for more year after year.
Saranac Lake boasts one of the best deli's this side of the Big Apple! The Lakeview Deli on RT. 86 is awesome; everything is homemade, from the salads to the breads.


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