Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Late June Walleyes on Oneida Lake

Todd Frank holding a 20 inch Walleye. Wantry Island is behind him to the right.

I fished with Todd Frank on Wednesday on Oneida Lake. For those of you unfamiliar with the professional walleye circuit, Frank happens to be NY's brightest star in this highly competitive and challenging game.

And he proved it -- in spades.

Having just gone through a couple of global warming-type days pushing into the 90s, a cold front moved in, all but shutting the walleyes down. We spent a good two hours searching for the beasts.

Oh, we found them all right, but they were shut down like city hall on Sunday. Luckily, we happened on schools of smallmouths ranging from 1 ½ to 3 pounds, sunfish and rock bass big enough to write home to Mother about, and white perch that hit so hard, the planer boards shuddered.

We nailed all these fish in weeds between 10 and 15 feet deep. Frank caught the majority-and the biggest-on an Orange/Yellow Northland jighead tipped with a worm; I got mine on the same color jighead tipped with a Gulp Alive 3-inch leech.

After a little while, we took off in search of walleyes again, running in all directions, checking out every transition zone, rock pile, and weed bed in the Oswego County piece of the lake.

Known nationwide for his trolling skills, Frank put them to work. We flatlined a Tail Dancer and Bomber on either side of the boat, 100 feet out, off planer boards; a Smithwick Rogue dragged down by a snap weight and a Tail Dancer on lead core, four colors out, ran directly behind the boat.

Frank watched the Lowrance LCX-113 hd for fish, and his intuition kept tabs on the rods (either that or he has eyes on the side of his head).

Between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. we reached his goal; two limits of tasty walleyes ranging from 15 to 20 inches long; all taken 15 to 18 feet down in water 30 feet deep.

Frank seemed mystical, able to get walleyes to hit in the brightest time of day -- when just about everyone knows they're not supposed to, but - this is Oswego County, so why was I surprised that the fishing was far beyond the ordinary??

Frank holding two Oneida Lake Pumpkinseeds

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Early June Yellow Perch and Walleyes

David Oulette unhooking a juicy Salmon River jack perch.

Brothers Dave and Stan Oulette invited me to go for perch in the Salmon River last Thursday.

Launching at Pine Grove, we headed downstream. Just past the bend in the river, we anchored 10 yards from shore, in 12 feet of water and cast upstream between the two islands.

Using a 2-inch YUM grub, I caught perch ranging from eight to 11 inches in each of my first 10 casts, and then it was every other throw after that.

The brothers kept pulling in perch in rapid succession on minnows. In less than two hours, we had enough to feed us and our families a couple times over; and that's after releasing the 20% that was less than eight inches.

"Spring perch fishing used to always be like this," claims David. "Then the cormorants did a number on them. The DEC's cormorant controls reduced the birds' numbers to the point perch populations are coming back."

Stanley says they'll be here as long as the water is relatively cold, for another week or two.

While we were getting the minnows, Karen Ashley, employee at the local bait shop on NY 3 in Port Ontario, told us she and a some family had good luck with walleyes ranging from 18 to 22 inches in Sandy Pond last week. As proof, she showed us the fillets.

"Troll worms on Stico Spinners in front of Carnsey's Wigwam restaurant," she advises.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Oswego Harbor's Late Spring Bite

Capt. Gerry Bresadola and I fished Oswego Harbor May 28. Figuring the early bird gets the first worm, we left the dock at 6 a.m. By 6:20 we were trolling between the detached wall and west wall. Running three Michigan Stingers off downriggers in depths ranging from 14 to 20 feet, and flatlining another on lead core three colors out, we moved around the harbor in a circular pattern, heading a little further north with each pass. I watched the rods with great anticipation.

At 10 a.m. we landed two browns simultaneously; both small. Agreeing that gas was too expensive to waste chasing little fish, we called it a day. Curious why the bite was so meager, I asked Gerry if he could come up with an explanation. After all, in 1997 he led a client to a 33 lb. 2 oz. brown that still reigns as NY's record; so I figured if anyone knew something about the species it had to be him.

Quick as a chinook striking cut bait, he replied, rather poetically for an old salt: "The answer is blowing in the wind."

And that's it in a nut shell. The wind was blowing out of the east, scattering warm water, and the browns, all over the place. If it had come out of the northwest, blowing cold water inshore, the trout would have stormed in to bask in the mild temperatures the Oswego River pours into the harbor.

But all wasn't lost. Before heading home, I went to Wright’s Landing to try my luck with a grub-tipped jig. I nailed a few palm-sized Bluegills, a 10-inch rock bass and some yellow perch ranging from eight to 10 inches.

Local tackle shop owner Larry Muroski says panfish, including some crappies, have been hitting well at Wright’s Landing and he expects they'll continue to for a little while. He also reports that some huge walleyes are being taken near the H. Lee White Marine Museum by guys tossing grub-n'-jigs for panfish.

Strange but True: Capt. Bresadola tells me the client he led to the state record brown trout was himself named Brown; and cleverly adds: "The next day I went looking for someone named Chinook to take fishing."

Scott Brown holding an Oswego Harbor Brown. Photo by Captain Gerry Bresadola

Andy Brown holding a sheepshead. Photo by Captain Gerry Bresadola