UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Lake Lanier

Summer Not Over at 1000 Islands

Summer Not Over at 1000 Islands

It has been the year of the smallmouth in the Northern Division of the Costa FLW Series this season and the third and final event on the 1000 Islands will certainly showcase that. The event, which is presented by Navionics and hosted by the Clayton Chamber of Commerce, is expected to have big weights especially due to the recent results of the Bassmaster Elite Series event and the Renegade Bass Tour Thousand Islands Open held back in early August. No doubt it’ll take over 20 pounds a day to win, however, conditions aren’t as ideal as anticipated for a major smallie smackdown to happen.

 

About the fishery

The 1000 Islands region consists of the eastern side of Lake Ontario and the western stretch of the St. Lawrence River and aptly gets its name from the more than 1,800 islands dotted across the area between the U.S. and Canada.

Though both largemouths and smallmouths can be found throughout the river, smallmouths receive the majority of the attention since they are not only numerous, but have potential to push over 6 pounds. The St. Lawrence is known for its deep humps and bars that hold big schools of smallies, yet the numerous flats nestled against the islands can be just as productive given the right conditions. While they aren’t as targeted, there are solid populations of largemouths that call the shallow bays and grass of the river home and for those willing to put the time in can produce solid limits to grab a check.

The eastern end of Lake Ontario is the primary destination for a shot at some of the biggest bags in the area. From year to year it seems as though the majority of the top weights come from the lake and for those that choose to battle big water it can pay off in a big way. The clusters of islands found on the eastern basin of the lake provide plentiful opportunities both deep and shallow.

 

Current conditions

There are a few conditions to note. The first, is that the water is about a foot lower than it was a month ago leaving some to question if reduced flow in the river has fish less willing to bite. The second, is the algae bloom that is more than noticeable in the lake. Visibility in areas where you can normally see down more than 15 feet is limited to just a few feet. Finally, the water temperatures in the lake are in the upper 70s – several degrees higher than they would normally be in September. All of these combined have put the smallmouths in a bit of a late-summer funk.

The bright side is that the weather should be excellent this week. Earlier in the week there was no shortage of wind and heat, but the highs for the tournament are forecast to be in the mid-70s, dropping down to the mid-60s by Saturday. Come the weekend, it will really feel like fall in the north. For at least a few days, the wind should be tame by Great Lakes standards until Saturday when it could blow 15 miles-per-hour or better.

 

Tactics in play

The deep bite should be the name of the game this week. Fish should be caught from 20 feet or deeper both in the river and in the lake. Of course, there are shallow fish to be had, but word on the street is that they lack size compared to the ones that lurk out deep.

For both deep and shallow fish, a drop-shot with a goby or minnow-style bait will be a critical tool. You also can’t count out a good old tube either. If anyone dabbles in the shallow game, swimbaits, jerkbaits and spy baits will see a lot of action.

The river has some excellent largemouth fishing, and while it rarely has the juice for a win, good bags are available. Frogs and soft plastics are go-to options for largemouths.

 

Critical factors

  • The wind – Wind direction influences the current and how the fish bite, both in the river and the lake. Even more importantly, the waves can dramatically impact run times in the river and especially on Lake Ontario.
  • The weather – Smallmouths love sun. They bite better with it (especially in areas with reduced visibility from the algae), and its presence or lack thereof will be a major factor in some game plans and perhaps the outcome.

 

Dock talk

As with any tournament there is no shortage of sandbagging. The fact is, guys are going to catch fish – and big ones to boot. It may not be Lake Champlain where you can catch fish until your arms fall off, but there are no shortage of bass in this fishery and there are too many hammers in the field to not catch ‘em. Don’t be surprised to see the leaders only catching a handful of quality fish each day.

Curtis Richardson is no stranger to cashing checks at the 1000 Islands – and recently took second in the Thousand Islands Open back in August with 74 pounds over three days – and he agrees that a lot has changed over the course of a month.

“We’ve had such a warm year up here and the water temperature reflects that,” says Richardson. “Normally by now the fish are grouped up, but they are scattered all over the place. It seems like the fishing is more like how it is in the end of July with fish all over instead of stacked in certain areas.”

While warmer water may have an impact on where the fish are set up, the biggest issue in Richardson’s mind is the algae.

“There is a huge algae bloom on the lake right now,” Richardson explains. “I haven’t seen it like this in 20 years of fishing out here. I should be able to see gobies swimming around in 15 feet, but I couldn’t even see bottom in 4 feet.

“The fish seem harder to catch than usual and I bet that’s due to the water color. Normally you can drop on a spot and they’ll swim over to eat it, but now it seems like you need to hit them in the head.”

With quality fish to be caught in both the river and lake the field will certainly be spread out. Though, if you ask most of the hammers from around here the lake is still the place to be.

And as far as winning weight predictions go, most believe it’ll take around 70 pounds to claim the title.

“I got to believe it’ll take around 69 pounds to win this week,” Richardson says. “Back in the Open we got second with 74 pounds and it took over 68 for the top 10. I don’t know if it’ll be as good as it was then, but you’re going to see some big bags of smallmouths.”

 

Tournament details

Format: All 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: 6:30 a.m. ET

Takeoff location: Clayton Harbor Municipal Harbor, 301 Webb Street, Clayton, N.Y.

Weigh-in time: 2:30 p.m. ET

Weigh-in location: Clayton Harbor Municipal Harbor

Complete details

 

Tags: kyle-wood  morning-story  2018-09-06-1000-islands 

Fall Showdown Starts at Rayburn

Fall Showdown Starts at Rayburn

Takeoff for day one of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division finale on Sam Rayburn was about as perfect as it gets. Light wind paired with crisp, comfortable temperatures and plenty of sun provided an auspicious beginning to the Toyota Series event on the sprawling Texas reservoir. READ MORE »

Fall Junk Fishing Jam Starts at Norman

Fall Junk Fishing Jam Starts at Norman

The third and final Toyota Series Eastern Division event is off and rolling this morning on Lake Norman near Charlotte, N.C. While Norman has hosted a couple of past Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit events and is a popular stop for the Phoenix Bass Fishing League, this is the first time the Toyota Series has taken a crack at the large Carolina lake. READ MORE »

Plains Division Kicks Off on Dardanelle

Plains Division Kicks Off on Dardanelle

All the major bass tournaments Lake Dardanelle has hosted since 2004 have followed different scripts, and the Toyota Series Plains Division event that kicks off today will be no different. With a schedule full of changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first event of the Plains Division season, and it’s the last division to kick off in 2020. READ MORE »

High Water on Tap for College Open

High Water on Tap for College Open

By mid-September, Kentucky Lake can be absolutely lights-out when you find a big school up on its many shallow bars. This week, during the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open, that’s probably not going to be the case – instead of locking a topwater in their hands, college teams are likely to take a much more varied approach. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Potomac

Top 10 Baits from the Potomac

Some of the top 10 pros chose a power approach to cover vast stretches of grass, while others slowed down with some of the finesse tactics that always seem to play on the Potomac. READ MORE »

Maupin Takes Potomac Title

Maupin Takes Potomac Title

The dock talk all week at the Potomac River for the Toyota Series Eastern Division event was that fishing was tough. That rang true again today as the wind help stall the tide making things tough for most of the top 10. James Maupin, however, kept his streak of consistency alive as he weighed his third 13-pound-plus limit of the week to move from second to first with 40 pounds, 11 ounces overall. For the win, Maupin earns his first FLW trophy and over $24,000.  READ MORE »

Potomac Midday Update – Day 3

Potomac Midday Update – Day 3

Clouds have lingered throughout the morning, which most of the top 10 were thankful for as the bite has been better than it was during practice when conditions were calm and sunny. READ MORE »

Roten Best from the Back on the Potomac

Roten Best from the Back on the Potomac

James Roten has had a phenomenal year as a co-angler on the Toyota Series. He started it off with a top 10 in the Central Division event on Lake Chickamauga back in February. Then, weeks later he finished second on Hartwell to kick off the Eastern Division. Now, the 53-year-old mechanic claimed the top prize in just his fourth Toyota Series event ever. READ MORE »

Vaughan Cruising at the Potomac

Vaughan Cruising at the Potomac

The leaderboard definitely saw some shuffling on day two of the Toyota Series Eastern Division event on the Potomac River, but Wayne Vaughan managed to keep the top spot thanks to another solid day. Weighing 14 pounds, 10 ounces today, Vaughan’s total now stands at 31-10 and gives him a nearly 5-pound lead over second place. If he can put it together for one more day, Vaughan will take home his second Toyota Series title in just as many years. READ MORE »

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Saturday’s final round will feature drastically different weather with sunshine in the forecast and with it being a weekend there will be plenty of people out enjoying the resource. READ MORE »

Potomac Midday Update – Day 2

Potomac Midday Update – Day 2

Clouds once again greeted the field for day two of the Toyota Series Eastern Division event on the Potomac River and the fish were biting this morning. With low tide this morning around 8:40 a.m. ET – about an hour and a half later than yesterday – more anglers had time to capitalize on the strong bite revolving around that window today. READ MORE »

Vaughan Out Front on the Potomac

Vaughan Out Front on the Potomac

Taking the lead after day one with 17 pounds, Wayne Vaughan separated himself from the rest of the tightly-packed top 10 thanks in large part to his 6-5 kicker. Vaughan’s past experience on the river is playing a role this week, but a bite like that helps the cause almost anywhere in the country. READ MORE »

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

September is a tough time to fish almost any body of water and while the Potomac River may not be showing its true colors for the second stop of the Toyota Series Eastern Division the top pros are making do. Wayne Vaughan dropped 17 pounds on the scale to take the lead thanks in large part to his 6-5 kicker. Behind him, however, is a pack of hungry pros – some locals, some not – separated by just a few pounds with their sights set on fishing in the championship round. READ MORE »

Potomac Midday Update – Day 1

Potomac Midday Update – Day 1

It was a gloomy start to the first day of competition for the Toyota Series Eastern Division event on the Potomac River, and though it seems like a fishy day, so far the fish don’t seem to think so. READ MORE »

Southwestern Division Hits Fort Gibson

Southwestern Division Hits Fort Gibson

The Toyota Series Southwestern Division rolls on with the Toyota Series at Fort Gibson Lake. Hosted by the Wagoner Area Chamber of Commerce, the three-day tournament will feature the region’s best bass-fishing pros and co-anglers casting for a top prize of up to $65,000, plus a $35,000 bonus if the winner is a qualified Phoenix Boat owner. READ MORE »

Southeastern Div. Wraps on Neely Henry

Southeastern Div. Wraps on Neely Henry

The Toyota Series Southeastern Division is wrapping its 2020 season with the third and final stop at Neely Henry Lake out of Gadsden, Ala., this week. While Neely Henry is often a perennial stop on Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine schedules, this is the first time the Toyota Series has visited the winding reservoir along the Coosa River in northeast Alabama. READ MORE »

Top 10 Locked for Championship Round

Top 10 Locked for Championship Round

The Knockout Round of the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota was a good one, with plenty of fish caught by most everyone, especially the anglers in the top 10. Winning the round, Spencer Shuffield caught 25 bass for 86 pounds, 10 ounces. Behind him, Joey Cifuentes tallied over 77 pounds, and Grae Buck, Bradford Beavers, Casey Scanlon and Rusty Salewske all banked over 60 pounds. READ MORE »

Mitchell’s First Look at Sturgeon Bay

Mitchell’s First Look at Sturgeon Bay

Having fished as a pro on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit for five years now, Kurt Mitchell started coming into his own during the 2019 season. That year he qualified for the FLW Cup – for the first time in his career – by finishing 24th in the points. This year, Mitchell kept rolling along cashing checks in five of the six Pro Circuit tournaments to settle at 31st in the points and now finds himself in his second straight championship. READ MORE »

Curveballs Ahead for Cal Delta Field

Curveballs Ahead for Cal Delta Field

The California Delta is a frequent stop for anglers in the Toyota Series Western Division. The storied fishery has hosted countless FLW tournaments over the years, but this year is different, as the event was rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of the traditional May or late-September dates for the stop, the rescheduled date is this week, right in the middle of August. The new time of year will surely make things different than previous years. READ MORE »

Another Erie Battle Begins

Another Erie Battle Begins

The Toyota Series Northern Division is going out of Sandusky Bay on Lake Erie once again. This week’s event takes place on August 18-20, and it is the second stop of the Northern Division. Like the last event out of Sandusky, Erie is in play, as well as the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair, with all Canadian waters being off-limits to fishing. READ MORE »