Learning From Time Away From Champlain

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Learning From Time Away From Champlain

By Justin Brouillard


Last fall, after a good spring and summer of fishing Champlain, I moved out to Rochester, NY. It may not seem like a long ways, but 6 hours away from one of the best lakes in the North East is too far! Over the winter I spent my time boat shopping and upgrading tackle and my Dobyns Rods. I ended up buying a 2013 Phoenix 618 Pro and was looking forward to the spring. I installed two new Humminbird Helix 10 units and was excited to fish the finger lakes region of NY. Little did I know it would be a difficult season of bass fishing. The spring came later than I expected but I got some time on the water getting used to the Phoenix and I had some new Dobyns I was anxious to make some casts with. I made several trips back to Champlain to fish and spent some time running new water and was successful. I still can not understand how I could not translate anything to the Finger Lakes. The fishing was tough, and I certainly did not have many good days on the water, but I used the time to become more familiar with the lakes and spent more time learning how to read the electronics.

I had one date on the calendar for events I wanted to fish and the BFL on Lake Oneida was it. I was busy at a new job and due to my living situation, I was storing the boat 45 minutes away which made after work trips impossible. With the limited time fishing, I studied maps and did some research on the local lakes. I planned to have one day of practice on Oneida and then the event on Saturday. I spent a lot of time preparing for a July event in the north and expected to catch fish in the summer pattern. Practice day Friday was not good for catching fish, but I used my Humminbird to find some bait and ended up getting one big bite which clued me into an area. We caught 3 fish all day on Friday and I had no idea what to do during the event. The wind was blowing pretty good that next morning and I decided to run 3/4 of the way across Oneida to my one area and spend some time there. The morning was slow and I managed one 12″ keeper smallmouth on the edge of my shoal. The first thing I noticed was the bait was gone and I was not marking any fish. The wind was blowing into the grass on the top of the shoal and after messing around for two hours, I decided to get in the grass and quit fighting the wind with no luck. I knew the bait and quality fish were there but I had to find them again. We moved through the grass flipping tubes and small jigs around with no luck. I had a dropshot rigged on a Dobyns Champion¬†702 Spinning Rod with an x-Zone Swammer swimbait rigged up. I quickly switched the hook over to a small EWG and rigged the swimbait weedless. I figured the bite was terribly tough and I wanted a smaller more subtle approach. We quickly caught some of the quality smallmouth in the milfoil from the day before and the Dobyns was sensitive and powerful enough to land any of the bites I had. The day was slow but my co angler and I covered the shoal and ended up getting enough to both get checks. It was a relief to find some fish and catch some quality after a tough spring.

After all of that, I decided to move back to Vermont and I am looking forward to fishing some events on Champlain this fall. The time away and the struggles taught me to slow down, and avoid talking to people for advice. If I spend the time learning the lake with my Humminbirds, and cover water and fish the conditions with the Dobyns rods, good things will happen. I hope to come back to Oneida next year and expand on what I have learned. The fishing has been tough on the lake for a lot of people but the weights are still there. Thanks to Phoenix Boats, Dobyns Rods, Humminbird Electronics, and X-Zone Lures for helping me out this year!