Friday, May 23, 2008

Late May Crappies and Northerns

Crappies are still in Sandy Pond. They've moved out of the boat channels, creek mouths and shallow bays into open water. Many of the large females are still holding eggs. They're hitting minnows, glow jigs and small bucktail jigs; fished plain or tipped with a minnow. Work 'em slow.

Another hot spot right now is the upper Salmon River Reservoir. I was out a couple days ago with local guide Stan Oulette, pictured here. We had to search for them, drifting and working buckeyes along the edges of windfalls and points, and in holes he just knew were fishy. We nailed a lot of rock bass and a few smallies that couldn't keep their mouths shut, too.

On Wednesday, Dave Wood reported the northerns in the Salmon River estuary were very cooperative and large this year. I tried my luck and nailed a 30-incher by drifting a large shiner. I no sooner landed him and another hit, but cut me off. Not bad, considering I was only out for a little over an hour.

A school of decent-sized smallmouths was hanging out around the mouth, from the lighthouse downstream. They weren't exactly jumping into the boat but some did hit on a spinnerbait, Rat-L-Trap and silver Daredevle cast under and around the docks, and parallel to the rocks.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Oswego County's River Walleye

Yesterday (May 11, 2008), walleyes were surprisingly elusive for this time of year. I went to all the popular early season spots on the Oneida and Oswego Rivers and cast crankbaits (Rapalas, Bombers and Rat-L-Traps) and YUM Walleye Grubs until my arms hurt, but I couldn't get one.

I didn't go fishless, however. At Brewerton's north public fishing access site, Cty. Rte. 37, below the I-81 bridge, I nailed a two-something pound smallie and a large Sheepshead on a grub. A little further downstream, at the north wall, a couple hundred feet east of the US 11 Bridge, an 18-inch pickerel took a nightcrawler I was dragging steadily on a spinner harness.

Here's a photo of Pulaski native Todd Frank, arguably NY's most successful walleye tournament pro, holding a nice six pound walleye caught in Oswego Harbor.

At Caughdenoy, I got a couple smallmouths and a Sheepshead. Large shad were everywhere in the fast water and everyone working crankbaits was inadvertently snagging them. No walleye were at the dam, but there were a lot of panfish.

The rapids in Phoenix didn't produce any walleyes but the floodgate pool was loaded with yellow perch, sunfish, and a smattering of crappies that were hitting tiny marabou jigs and minnows.

In Oswego, I finally saw a walleye weighing about six pounds. The lucky angler took it using the oldest trick in the book: weighing it down with enough lead to get it to bottom, casting cross current, and letting it swing back to the wall.

Walleyes should remain in Oswego, primarily below and downstream of the NY 104 bridge, for as long as the water continues running at around 6,000 cubic feet per second.