UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Where to Catch Bass on Lake Champlain

Stretching 100-plus miles from its beginning down south at Whitehall, N.Y., and running all the way up to the Canadian border between the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Adirondacks in New York, Lake Champlain is a giant of a lake. Though the competitors aren’t allowed to venture into Canada, there is still plenty for anglers to break down for the opening tournament of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division. From south to north, here’s how the lake lays out.

 

The south end

Roughly delineated by the Champlain Bridge, the south end of the lake is best known for its proximity to Ticonderoga, N.Y., and Fort Ticonderoga. Often simply called “Ti,” the southern end is home to some of the best largemouth fishing in the lake.

The lake essentially starts out as a big river, bearing striking similarity to the Potomac, but without tides. Typically, the shallows are loaded with milfoil and other types of grass, and the bass are right there in the mix. The south end is also muddier than anywhere else on the lake, though clear water can often be found if you go far enough into the grass.

Ticonderoga is a long run from takeoff in Plattsburgh, but it can be worth it. Many wins and checks have come from its fertile waters.

 

The main lake

Deep and clear, the big part of Champlain begins roughly at the Champlain Bridge and stretches north past Burlington, Vt., and at least to Plattsburgh. The deepest point of the main lake is more than 400 feet, and much of it really isn’t good for bass fishing. In particular, most of the New York side hugs the mountains and is very steep with little shallow territory for bass to live. The Vermont side of the main lake is more similar to the northern stretches, with some grass in a few of the bays and river mouths and shallower flats that can hold smallmouths. Even so, it isn’t as productive as the north end and even more subject to being ravaged by the wind.

Usually the main lake doesn’t play much in bass tournaments, but this time of year fishermen will often run north from a takeoff in Ticonderoga to target spawning smallmouths (this week’s event is out of Plattsburgh up north). It would be no surprise at all to see that be a bit of a factor this week.

 

The Inland Sea and the north end

As Champlain runs north, the lake begins to broaden and is broken up by a string of big islands that essentially divide the lake into the Inland Sea, which is solely in Vermont, and the upper reaches of the main lake, shared by Vermont and New York. Mallets Bay is nestled at the south end of the islands, and it is geographically pretty unique, with more bluffs and cliffs that drop into deep water than the rest of the north end, but the fishing there isn’t too different from elsewhere up north.

Throughout the Inland Sea, the water is generally shallow, and there is a legit chance to catch a 4-pounder of either species within about 100 yards of each other. With big flats of grass and rock and lots of grass in the bays, the Inland Sea is a great area to fish and a really good place to escape from the wind and the waves a little bit.

 

Plattsburgh

Takeoff at the Plattsburgh City Marina makes Plattsburgh, N.Y., a critical location, but it isn’t likely to be too key for the actual fishing. Though there are plenty of bass around Plattsburgh (mostly smallmouths), it’s roughly positioned on the transition between the steep New York shoreline of the main lake and the flatter, more productive north end. While tournaments have been won near Plattsburgh, it certainly doesn’t have the pedigree of some of the other parts of Champlain.

 

The Gut, Carry Bay and the Alburg Passage

There are three ways to get from Plattsburgh to the Inland Sea. The first is to run south below the islands and cross through between Mallets Bay and South Hero (the southernmost of the big islands). The other two are passages between the islands. The closest and easiest for anglers is the Gut. North of that, the Alburg Passage (pictured) leads up toward the north end of the Inland Sea and the mouth of Missisquoi Bay.

Both Carry Bay and the Gut are loaded up with grass and largemouths, but the openings to the big lake also have plenty of smallmouths on them. Because of the old railroad causeway that runs up the islands, the current flowing out of the Inland Sea (east to west at the causeways and turning toward the north) is concentrated at a few gaps, and those gaps concentrate bait and bass. They’re well-known areas, but they’re sure to produce plenty of bites this week.

 

Missisquoi Bay

The far northeast corner of Champlain is a special one. There, the Missisquoi River flows into Missisquoi Bay. It’s home to some of the best largemouth action in the entire north end. The river delta can be very productive, though this year some parts are super-shallow and difficult to access, and the river itself holds fish as well. In fact, in last year’s Costa FLW Series event on Champlain, both Gerald Spohrer and Otis Darnell finished in the top 10 with bass caught at least in part in the river.

The bay away from the river can also be very good. There’s a lot of shallow rock and grass, and the water is a little dirtier than the rest of the north end. All that makes it a prime place for largemouths (and some smallmouths) to live, which will for sure attract a bunch of anglers.

 

Rouses Point

Just north of Rouses Point in Canada, Champlain turns into the Richelieu River and flows on toward the St. Lawrence. Just south of that, basically cut off by the Rouses Point Bridge and stretching south past Isle La Motte, the contours flatten out a bit, and abundant rock, grass and bait make for arguably the best smallmouth fishing on the lake. There are largemouths as well, but places such as Point Au Fer (pictured) have hundreds of yards of prime offshore rock and grass that are perfect for smallmouths.

From possible spawning smallmouths up shallow to roaming bass eating a topwater or big ones on deeper offshore rock piles, you can expect a lot of brown weight to come from this part of the lake. 

Tags: lake-champlain  jody-white-and-jesse-schultz  pre-tournament  2016-06-23-lake-champlain 

/news/2019-02-06-roaming-kissimmee-with-douglas

Roaming Kissimmee with Douglas

Hailing from Minnesota, Josh Douglas is in his third year on the FLW Tour and looking for his first FLW Cup qualification. Were it not for a disqualification in the final event of the year at St. Clair in 2018, Douglas would have sailed into the Cup. After a tough start to the year at Rayburn, he’s planning to get back on track at the FLW Tour event presented by Ranger on Lake Toho. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-05-burghoff-checks-out-toho-on-day-2

Burghoff Checks Out Toho on Day 2

FLW Tour rookie Miles “Sonar” Burghoff kicked off his freshman season with a strong performance on Sam Rayburn, where he just missed fishing the final day with a 12th-place finish. Now, the Tour is on a system he is more than familiar with, having spent countless hours on Lakes Toho and Kissimmee while attending college at the University of Central Florida. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-04-a-look-at-lake-toho

A Look at Lake Toho

Stop No. 2 of the 2019 FLW Tour takes us to Lake Toho and the several other lakes strung along the Kissimmee River. Presented by Ranger Boats, the tournament will take off from Big Toho Marina on the north end of the namesake lake, but competitors will be able to spread out down the Kissimmee River into Cypress Lake, Lake Hatchineha (Hatch), Lake Kissimmee, and perhaps even Tiger Lake and Lake Rosalie if they’re feeling adventurous. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-29-spawn-on-the-horizon-at-okeechobee

Spawn on the Horizon at Okeechobee

Florida is a familiar place for FLW competition, and Lake Okeechobee is probably the best-known fishery the Sunshine State has to offer. So there shouldn’t be many surprises when the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division kicks off the season Jan. 31–Feb. 2 on the Big O with an event presented by Power-Pole. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-29-by-the-numbers-lake-toho

By the Numbers: Lake Toho

The FLW Tour season opener on Sam Rayburn was a slugfest for sure. Fortunately for fans and anglers alike, the second stop of the season could be just as good, as the Tour heads to Central Florida and Lake Toho and the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes in Kissimmee, Fla., on February 7. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-25-2019-lake-toho-preview

2019 Lake Toho Preview

Lake Tohopekaliga (Toho for short) is the first of four lakes on the menu for pros in the second stop of the FLW Tour. At the south end of Toho, a lock and a series of canals leads to Cypress Lake, Lake Hatchineha (Hatch) and Lake Kissimmee, which are all fair game for the pros. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-09-cecil-s-final-morning-of-practice

Cecil’s Final Morning of Practice

Russell Cecil is one of a number of standout Texas anglers fishing the FLW Tour opener this week on Sam Rayburn. After a lackluster rookie campaign in 2018, fishing near home is a great opportunity for the Willis, Texas, pro to get the year started off strong. Though the conditions are far from normal, a few hours on the final day of practice reveal that Cecil certainly has a read on the bass. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-08-flw-live-schedule-for-sam-rayburn

FLW Live Schedule for Sam Rayburn

The 2019 FLW Live seasons kicks off on the big bass factory of Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Brookeland, Texas. Watch your favorite stars such as Scott Martin and Bryan Thrift weigh-in at the FLW Tour season opener, and then follow the weekend action live with the top pros. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-07-figuring-out-rayburn-with-powell

Figuring Out Rayburn with Powell

Hensley Powell has quickly and quietly amassed quite a record with FLW. In just three years fishing the Costa FLW Series, he’s earned over $90,000, and he got a win at Table Rock in the Central Division in 2018. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-07-sam-rayburn-lake-tour

Sam Rayburn Lake Tour

This year, the FLW Tour kicks off in Texas with a showdown presented by Polaris on Sam Rayburn. Big Sam hasn’t hosted too many FLW Tour events in the past, but it’s loaded with bass and bass fishing history. The lake is much higher than normal right now, which will no doubt produce different fishing than is typical for winter on Rayburn. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-06-practice-starts-at-rayburn

Practice Starts at Rayburn

Day one of practice for the FLW Tour presented by Polaris on Sam Rayburn started this morning. We hung around takeoff to see friends we haven't seen in months and to get the season underway.  READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-05-childs-holds-on-for-co-angler-win

Childs Holds on for Co-angler Win

Jay Childs caught two giant largemouths on day one, along with a smaller keeper, to take the early lead at Lake Amistad. Then he survived today for the win with a pair of keepers that included one smallmouth. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-04-high-water-will-factor-at-rayburn

High Water will Factor at Rayburn

Typical winter fishing on Sam Rayburn would call for a lot of lipless crankbaits, Carolina rigs and a focus on offshore structure and submerged grass. However, for the FLW Tour opener January 10-13 a lot of that may be out the window – or at least a lot different than many of the Rayburn sticks in the field are used to. Sam Rayburn has risen steadily since December 10th, and as of January 3, the lake is at 171.43 feet, which is 7 feet over full pool of 164.4 feet. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-03-by-the-numbers-sam-rayburn

By the Numbers: Sam Rayburn

The 2019 FLW Tour takes to the waters of Sam Rayburn Reservoir Jan. 10-13 for the opening event of the new season. Rayburn can produce some absolute giants in January, and if the weather cooperates, there’s potential for an abundance of massive bags. READ MORE »

/news/2018-12-28-big-bass-expected-at-opener-on-amistad

Big Bass Expected at Opener on Amistad

Lake Amistad might not kick out quite as many massive stringers of largemouth bass as it used to, but the legendary south Texas border reservoir is still a factory for big fish. According to local guide and always tournament favorite Ray “Hanselmania” Hanselman, there are some real giants to be caught at Amistad, but they’ll be at a premium when the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division rolls into Del Rio to kick off the 2019 season on Jan. 3 READ MORE »

/news/2018-10-31-guntersville-lake-tour

Guntersville Lake Tour

Winding through Tennessee, north Alabama and Kentucky, the Tennessee River is studded with some of the most legendary reservoirs in bass-fishing history. Many would argue that Lake Guntersville is the best of the bunch, and though that is up for debate on any given year, Guntersville’s place in fishing history is undeniable. This week, the lake is under heavy pressure from a local championship event, anglers out to have fun and the 198 pros and co-anglers in the Costa FLW Series Championship. Here’s a look at what they’ll encounter on the water. READ MORE »

/news/2018-10-30-guntersville-showing-out-for-costa-finale

Guntersville Showing Out for Costa Finale

Few things are certainties in life, but you can certainly count on anglers catching a ton of huge fish when the Costa FLW Series Championship rolls into Guntersville this week. With bass settled into fall patterns and gobs of vegetation still giving plenty of cover to fish feeding in the shallows, there’s a good chance the lake produces 20-plus-pound limits early and often in the championship event. READ MORE »

/news/2018-10-30-costa-championship-fact-sheet

Costa Championship Fact Sheet

Up to 430 of the world’s best bass anglers will descend on Alabama’s Lake Guntersville Nov. 1-3 for the no-entry-fee 2018 Costa FLW Series Championship. READ MORE »

/news/2018-10-10-dock-talk-all-about-docks-at-ozarks

Dock Talk All About Docks at Ozarks

Greg Bohannan, the 2017 Central Division Angler of the Year, believes the warmer-than-usual weather as of late will make the topwater bite a secondary tactic. In his opinion, it’s going to be docks that deliver the winning fish this year. READ MORE »

/news/2018-10-02-question-marks-abound-at-fort-gibson

Question Marks Abound at Fort Gibson

Fort Gibson Lake has the quality and quantity of fish to churn out massive bags nearly all year long, but finding those fish might be harder now than it’s been all year. That’s not great news for anglers ahead of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division tournament on Oct. 4. READ MORE »