Eastern Divisional preview

Competitors in the Bassmaster Federation Nation Eastern Divisional presented by Skeeter and Yamaha will have plenty of room to fish and a variety of cover to target on Lake Champlain — if the weather cooperates.

“It’s got a lot of everything for everybody,” said Frank Giner, a former New York state team member who frequently fishes Lake Champlain. Because of its vast wide-open areas, Champlain can become rough and dangerous in even a 10 mph wind, which can wreak havoc for those anglers wanting to make long runs.

Mild fall weather during the divisional could produce good action for both largemouth and smallmouth. “Usually it’s a mixed bag of smallmouth topped off with a good largemouth,” said Giner regarding mid-September catches. “You can catch a 20-pound bag of smallmouth on an exceptional day, but most stringers will run 14 to 17 1/2 pounds on the high side. To get a 20-pound bag, you need to add a largemouth.”

Giner predicts smallmouth will be biting on watermelon or green pumpkin finesse worms on drop shot rigs worked along breaks, ledges and rockpiles 14 to 20 feet deep. He said he expects flipping a black-and-blue jig and craw in the reeds and milfoil will be the most productive pattern for largemouth.

If the weather remains calm, the winning bag could come from anywhere on the lake. “It is one of the few places where different guys can fish their strengths and you don’t know who is going to dominate. If you are a largemouth guy, you are probably going to fish Missisquoi or Ti [Ticonderoga]. If you are a smallmouth guy, you will probably stay right around City Reef and the Inland Sea and fish the rock piles.”

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Lake Facts
Forage base crawfish, alewives, minnows, bluegill and perch
Surface acreage 271,000 acres
Average depth 64 feet
Shoreline mileage 587 miles
Recent winning weight Dave Wolak, 54 pounds, 1 ounce, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Open, July 22-24, 2010
Recent winning lures 1/2-ounce jig and plastic craw
Expected water clarity visibility of 10 to 12 feet
Dominant structure/cover milfoil, water chestnut, rockpiles, ledges
Predicted winning weight 53 pounds, 8 ounces
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