Lake Champlain in July

Lake Champlain in July

Join Troy Lindner and I on a  tour of Lake Champlain.

Lake Champlain is located mainly within the borders of the United States between Vermont on the east and New York to the west. A portion of the northern tip of the lake crosses the Canada-United States border in the Canadian province of Quebec. 

Champlain is also home to spectacular fishing opportunities and the best smallmouth fishery I’ve had the pleasure to fish.

 

 

Saugerties New York, we are a long way from home, Los Angeles. 

Saugerties New York, we are a long way from home, Los Angeles. 

While driving through New York State there are some very cool stops along the way to Lake Champlain. 

While driving through New York State there are some very cool stops along the way to Lake Champlain. 

Near Woodstock just before joining the Hudson River in the town of Saugerties is Esopus Creek and its dam waterfall.

Near Woodstock just before joining the Hudson River in the town of Saugerties is Esopus Creek and its dam waterfall.

Ausable Chasm is a stone gorge in the Adirondack region of Upstate New York. The Ausable River passes through on its way to Lake Champlain. 

Ausable Chasm is a stone gorge in the Adirondack region of Upstate New York. The Ausable River passes through on its way to Lake Champlain. 

The Lake Champlain Bridge at the southern portion of the lake spanning from New York to Vermont. Troy is shore fishing in New York; the opposite shore is Vermont.

The Lake Champlain Bridge at the southern portion of the lake spanning from New York to Vermont. Troy is shore fishing in New York; the opposite shore is Vermont.

This large freshwater body is roughly 125 miles long and 14 miles across at its widest point. So it’s no surprise that the structure and cover elements here are very diverse.  

This large freshwater body is roughly 125 miles long and 14 miles across at its widest point. So it’s no surprise that the structure and cover elements here are very diverse.  

From the very start I knew we had found a smallmouth factory. A jerk bait technique was one of the most reliable methods for smallmouth bass this trip.

From the very start I knew we had found a smallmouth factory. A jerk bait technique was one of the most reliable methods for smallmouth bass this trip.

This rocky point on Valcour Island just south of Plattsburgh New York has a shallow bay to the left and steep bluff walls to the right.

This rocky point on Valcour Island just south of Plattsburgh New York has a shallow bay to the left and steep bluff walls to the right.

A double hook up and yes you guessed it on the Umbrella Rig.

A double hook up and yes you guessed it on the Umbrella Rig.

Troy scores a solo double using the Umbrella Rig. 

Troy scores a solo double using the Umbrella Rig. 

The Umbrella Rig produced the majority of our fish that were primarily smallmouth bass.

The Umbrella Rig produced the majority of our fish that were primarily smallmouth bass.

On a couple of our days here we had 50 plus smallmouth catches. Despite the myths, we couldn’t just cast the Umbrella Rig anywhere and produce fish. We still had to find funnels with plus factors and approach them well. 

Several locations feature openings in jetties that connect islands to each other. 

Several locations feature openings in jetties that connect islands to each other. 

The opening below this bridge at Carry Bay creates a strong current condition. These current locations produce excellent funnels and excellent opportunities.

Did I mention the smallmouth fishing here is awesome? 

Did I mention the smallmouth fishing here is awesome? 

Fort Montgomery ruins, on the shoreline of Rouses Point New York, is located just south of the U.S. Canadian border. 

Fort Montgomery ruins, on the shoreline of Rouses Point New York, is located just south of the U.S. Canadian border. 

Border Patrol

Border Patrol

These boulders and the steep rocky bluff walls create multiple funnels.

These boulders and the steep rocky bluff walls create multiple funnels.

While targeting strictly bass, there is a wide range of fish species that you might run into at Lake Champlain.

A monster Perch hits a jerk bait while working the water column over a submerged island.

A monster Perch hits a jerk bait while working the water column over a submerged island.

This Crappie attacked a Keitech 4” soft plastic swimbait on a Revenge Swimbait Hedz during a pendulum cast next to a bridge piling. 

This Crappie attacked a Keitech 4” soft plastic swimbait on a Revenge Swimbait Hedz during a pendulum cast next to a bridge piling. 

I tricked this Rock Bass with a jerk bait technique.

I tricked this Rock Bass with a jerk bait technique.

Swimming a Zoom Toad on a keel weighted wide gap hook through grass and reeds in Malletts Bay produced this modest pike. 

Swimming a Zoom Toad on a keel weighted wide gap hook through grass and reeds in Malletts Bay produced this modest pike. 

A white bass is duped by the Umbrella Rig.

A white bass is duped by the Umbrella Rig.

Champlain will reward you with beautiful sunsets. 

Champlain will reward you with beautiful sunsets. 

By the way did I happen to mention this is a stout smallmouth fishery?

By the way did I happen to mention this is a stout smallmouth fishery?

There is no shortage of docks on Champlain. 

There is no shortage of docks on Champlain. 

This floating cover produces shade and always holds fish. Fishing them is always a good move especially when the sky is blue, and the sun is bright.

These docks on the Great Chazy River are just upstream before entering Lake Champlain.

These docks on the Great Chazy River are just upstream before entering Lake Champlain.

Shelburne Bay Vermont

Shelburne Bay Vermont

Marina docks at Rouses Point New York in the foreground and bridge pilings with current in the background add this to a Milk Run.

Marina docks at Rouses Point New York in the foreground and bridge pilings with current in the background add this to a Milk Run.

Did I mention the smallmouth fishing here is spectacular? 

Did I mention the smallmouth fishing here is spectacular? 

Exposure to diverse fishing venues is why I love to travel. Troy is fishing water lily pads in Missisquoi Bay just south of the U.S. Canadian border.

Exposure to diverse fishing venues is why I love to travel. Troy is fishing water lily pads in Missisquoi Bay just south of the U.S. Canadian border.

Water lilies and submerged reeds on a shallow flat, how would you fish this area?

Water lilies and submerged reeds on a shallow flat, how would you fish this area?

Troy is landing another nice smallmouth. 

Troy is landing another nice smallmouth. 

Let’s not overlook Largemouth Bass; Champlain has abundant largies, nice one too!

Let’s not overlook Largemouth Bass; Champlain has abundant largies, nice one too!

This largemouth is no giant but would certainly make its way into countless tournament live wells. 

This largemouth is no giant but would certainly make its way into countless tournament live wells. 

Take note off the Yum Money Hound (photo above). When coupled with a large wide gap hook this is an effective weedless lure that you can apply to a walk the dog technique.

Do you see the open lane in this photo? 

Do you see the open lane in this photo? 

We first approached this spot (photo above) from the other side, and the bass above blew up on the Money Hound, but I didn’t get the hook into him. When we moved to the other side a short while later, I made a cast from the opposite side and sealed the deal! That was fun!    

Speaking of largemouth bass, look at this Kicker. Troy has an awesome catch using a jerk bait adjacent a bridge piling. Nice job Troy!

Speaking of largemouth bass, look at this Kicker. Troy has an awesome catch using a jerk bait adjacent a bridge piling. Nice job Troy!

I did mention that smallmouth fishing is outstanding here at Lake Champlain, yes? 

I did mention that smallmouth fishing is outstanding here at Lake Champlain, yes? 

Another Awesome Sunset 

Another Awesome Sunset 

Since the first time I watched a television show that featured Lake Champlain, I’ve always wanted to visit and this trip did not disappoint. Smallmouth in numbers and excellent size, largemouth with size, numerous bonus catches, big water and fishing beautiful landscapes what is there not to love?

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