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


Transition Time at 1000 Islands

The second tournament of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division kicked off on 1000 Islands in an event presented by Mercury this morning out of the Clayton Village Ramp. The 137 pros and co-anglers are challenged with the tough task of dissecting not only the massive St. Lawrence River but also Lake Ontario in search of jumbo-size smallmouths.


About the Fishery

The 1000 Islands area is part of the upper stretch of the St. Lawrence River where more than 1,800 islands sprawl between the U.S. and Canada. The river is known for its deep humps and bars that hold big schools of smallies, while Lake Ontario supports populations of brown ones both up shallow and on offshore structure throughout the summer.

The majority of the habitat consists of rock and sand, though there is a decent population of largemouths that inhabit some of the shallow grass in the bays of the river.


Current Conditions

The weather in this region has been fluctuating a lot over the last month, from days in the upper 80s followed immediately by days when the temps barely break the upper 60s. This week is the beginning of a warm stretch with highs forecasted to be in the upper 80s for each day of competition. Later today the winds are supposed to pick up to close to 15 mph and could make things interesting out on the lake.

Friday is the wild card of the week. Winds could blow upward of 20 mph and could leave the pros who are banking on a lake bite scrambling for a new plan. Pros that survive to Saturday should have full run of the system with light winds and warm weather on deck.


Tactics in Play

It isn’t much of a surprise that when you come to this area to fish you don’t hit the water without a drop-shot tied on. Baits resembling leeches and minnows are hot commodities. A tube should also be a big factor this week. Both of these presentations will likely be worked on deep structure in anywhere from 20 to 40 feet of water.

For the guys tempting shallow smallmouths, a jerkbait, swimbait or spinnerbait could be the deal.


Critical Factors

- The wind: A lot of the pros in this event believe the winning fish live out in the lake, but sketchy conditions in the forecast could throw a major wrench in their plans. The guys who prepared for all conditions could have an upper hand in this tournament.

- Moving fish: Being that the smallmouths in this system are in that weird postspawn mode they are constantly moving from day to day. Being able to adapt with their movements will be vital.

- Largemouths: It’s crazy to even mention green fish on this fishery but the fact of the matter is there are solid 17- to 20-pound bags of them that roam these waters. Wrangle up a couple days worth of them and you could be fishing on Saturday – especially if the wind picks up and hurts the big-water smallmouth guys.


Dock Talk

The most notable gripe anglers have right now is how finicky these smallies seem to be. Granted, that still means catching 20ish pounds of smallmouths is very doable, but not the 25-pound limits that were more readily available just a week ago.

Noted Northern Division stick Joe Wood has spent a lot of time on these waters and agrees that the fishing isn’t wide open just yet.

“It’s hard to find a big school of smallmouths like you should be able to for this time of year,” says Wood. “The fish are in a transition right now from shallow to deep and are in a little bit of a funk. Normally you can find an area or two and catch a bunch of good ones off it, but now you need to hit 20 spots just to catch a couple big ones.

“The next few days of warm weather both during the day and overnight could really help these fish set up on the deep structure. If they do that it could get really good.”


Tournament Details

Format: All 137 boaters and co-anglers will compete for two days. The top 10 boaters and co-anglers based on cumulative weight after two days of competition will advance to the third and final round, with the winner determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.

Takeoff Time: 6 a.m. ET.

Takeoff Location: Clayton Village Ramp at 899 Mary Street in Clayton, N.Y 13624.

Weigh-In Time: Days 1 & 2 & 3 at 2 p.m. ET

Weigh-In Location: Clayton Pavilion 300 Riverside Drive, Clayton, N.Y. 13624

Tags: kyle-wood  morning-story  2016-07-21-1000-islands 


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