UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Erie

Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 1
Dylan Hayes

Spring and fall on Lake Champlain are the times when smallmouths shine brightest in comparison to their green brethren, and that turned out truer than ever on day one of the Costa FLW Series event presented by Power-Pole on the big Northern lake. Of the top five pros, only Ron Nelson weighed-in any largemouths, and even he had some brown fish in his bag.

Spawning smallmouths are easy targets when they are on beds, which partly explains why lots of spawning smallmouth were weighed on day one, and not just by the leaders. Champlain is evidently in a bit of a funk, and it isn’t just the south end around Ticonderoga. Even up north, most anglers say the fishing just isn’t as good as it usually is. That probably helped to boost the importance of bedding bass. You can practice for them, and you don’t need to catch that many to put together a respectable limit.

With some wet and windy weather on tap for Friday, the sight-fishing bite could be in some trouble. However, if anglers have their beds properly marked, they ought to be able to catch most of their fish. Smallmouths typically are about as dumb as the rocks they spawn around.

McFarlin’s leading pattern

Complete results

 

Chris Adams

2. Chris Adams – Shrewsbury, Vt. – 18-13 (5)

Hailing from Vermont, Chris Adams has never missed a check in a Costa FLW Series event on Champlain. There’s a reason for that: He only jumps in the fray when he feels good about it. Reluctant to divulge much, Adams weighed five smallmouths to start things off.

“I was fishing shallow, around rock, and I caught five fish all day,” says Adams. “There’s no reason for me to catch more. I need them to last three days.

“I feel good about tomorrow, even with the bad weather,” adds Adams. “On the way in I checked the five that I’m gonna catch tomorrow, and they’re all there.”

Adams says that he had his fish by 8:30 this morning, and then roamed around and let his co-angler catch fish for most of the rest of the day.

 

Ron Nelson

3. Ron Nelson – Berrien Springs, Mich. – 18-10 (5)

Ron Nelson can be found in pretty much any Costa FLW Series division you can name, but the Northern Division is where he does best. Like others, he leaned hard on bedding bass (weighing two smallmouths and three largemouths) and culled only three times all day.

“I stayed from here [the ramp in Plattsburgh] to the north, all where the water is warmer and more stable,” says Nelson. “I’ll probably start on the smallmouths tomorrow and try to catch 15 pounds, then I’ll go after big largies. I actually found my biggest largie just fishing. I saw him, poled down and got him.”

 

Thomas C Lavictoire JR

4. Tomas Lavictoire Jr. – West Rutland, Vt. – 18-9 (5)

Tom Lavictoire Jr. has won three times on Champlain with FLW over the years, including the Costa FLW Series event held there in 2013. Then, he was flipping for largemouths down south. Now, he’s sight-fishing for smallmouths.

“It was mostly sight-fishing and throwing a swimbait today. It’s no big secret,” says Lavictoire. “I think a majority of the guys used up a lot of their fish today, especially me. It’s going to be very, very difficult tomorrow for sure. I probably caught 20, but I only caught maybe eight or nine decent ones. I tried to conserve some fish, but I had a few key fish leave me, and I was forced to go to some others.”

More than anyone else in the top five, Lavictoire says he’s concerned about the weather. We’ll have to wait until weigh-in to see if it actually impacts him.

 

Neil Farlow

5. Neil Farlow – Niagara Falls, Ontario – 18-4 (5)

Bringing in 1 ounce more than the sixth-place angler and just 3 ounces more than eighth place, Neil Farlow actually stayed away from strictly sight-fishing.

“It was a little bit windy in the morning. I couldn’t really see what I wanted to see, but it calmed down pretty nice,” says Farlow of his day. “I was able to pick apart some shallow places with a spinnerbait and a jerkbait.

“I kinda knew where they were, but I couldn’t see them,” says the Ontario pro. “The bottom here is so dark. It’s not like where I’m from where you can see them from a mile away. I just sat back and threw to where I thought they were.”

Farlow’s pattern evidently worked well, and he says he has some other areas to fish, but he didn’t ration his fish as much as some of the other contenders.

“I tried to take it easy, but it’s so hard to tell how big they are,” says Farlow. “I think I culled seven or eight times.” 

Tags: jody-white  headline-story  2017-06-22-lake-champlain 

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