COLCHESTER, VT. — The vast waters of Lake Champlain make it an equal opportunity fishery for the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Eastern Divisional anglers this week.
The lake borders Vermont and New York, but Sean Alvarez, Vermont Federation Nation president, claims most of the waters are on the Vermont side, so his team might have the edge in this event.
“Being on your home lake doesn’t always give you an advantage though,” he said.
His team is filled with anglers who frequently fish the lake, but not all are familiar with the northern section of Champlain.
“There are some guys who are specialists down on the southern part of the lake and there are some who are specialists on the northern part of the lake and there are some who do well at both,” Alvarez said.
One of the “northern boys” on the Vermont team is 32-year-old Skip Sjobeck, an eight-time divisional qualifier from the Just for Fun Bass Anglers club. During July and August, Sjobeck had trouble catching smallmouth deep but he noticed in practice this week the fish are starting to show up on his off-shore structure spots.
Practice has been spotty for the New York team, according to team captain Matt Martin. “Most of our team is built this year out of central New York, but any lake in New York we consider our home lake,” said Martin, who believes his team has a good chance to win the event. “It is really anybody’s game. Connecticut and Massachusetts are very strong here. Those guys only have one or two lakes in their home state so they fish here quite a bit too.”
The lake is slowly recovering from the effects of Hurricane Irene, which caused the waters to rise about 1 foot a day for three days.
“That cold water rising water threw everything into a spin,” said Alvarez, who noticed this week the fishing are starting to adjust to the conditions. “We were finding smallmouth in the largemouth spots and largemouth in the smallmouth spots and that is not what we are used to. Some of the guys on the team are on to the stable fish and some are still trying to sort out the fish that are a little confused. “
Today’s weigh-in at 2:30 p.m. will be an indication of how well the fish have adjusted to the conditions.