This trip is my third time to Lake Champlain, and I am so glad to be here. I was here to fish the Elites back in 2017 for my first trip, and then I fished a Basspro.com Bassmaster Open in 2018. I finished in the top 10 in both of those, and Ihope to do that again.
Champlain is my favorite lake in the whole country; I love this place. There might be better bodies of water out there somewhere, but the way this lake fishes makes it awesome. The fish are healthy, and there are plenty of them.
The lake is so diverse. You can fish the grass for largemouth and rock piles for smallmouth and do well doing either. It’s a cool part of the country, too, especially in the summer.
The water is lower than I have ever seen it. I would say it is down 3 to 4 feet. There is cover out of the water that I have caught fish off before. That changes things a lot.
In 2017, I had a lot of shallow places I fished for largemouth that won’t be a factor with this water level. So this year was like learning the whole lake over again. The smallmouth are affected by the water level too.
I know there will be guys running to Ticonderoga, like always. I just really love the northern part of the lake where we launch, up near Plattsburgh and the Inland Sea. Guys will probably blast the largemouth down there at Ticonderoga, but not me.
I will probably start on smallmouth and see how that goes and then adjust over to largemouth.
Drop shots, Ned rigs and small swimbaits will work well again for smallmouth. They seem to be chasing bait a lot, so the small swimbaits will be something I mix in more this trip.
There are places I have caught them before that don’t have any fish on them, and then there are fish holding on some new areas.
I am boat number four, so I should get on my starting spot — hopefully.
Some big largemouth will be the X factor this week. The winner will have to catch some largemouth, so I will spend some time targeting those, hopefully after having a good bag of smallmouth in my livewell.
One bait that’s been a reliable producer for me on Champlain, on smallmouth especially, is the Ned rig. I use a Mustad Grip Pin Ned jig head with a bait designed especially for this technique called the Ned Zone from X Zone lures. I fish it on a 6-foot, 9-inch medium-light power rod with 10-pound Vicious braid and 6- to 8-pound Vicious fluorocarbon leader.
Thank y’all for reading these, and I hope they help you catch more fish on your lake or Lake Champlain if you ever get the chance.
That’s the plan, so y’all stay tuned.