UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Old Hickory Lake

2019 Lake Champlain Preview

2019 Lake Champlain Preview

Lake Champlain

Plattsburgh, N.Y.

June 27-30, 2019

Hosted by the City of Plattsburgh and the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau

 

About the Fishery

Capped on the north end by Quebec and running 100-plus miles along the New York-Vermont border, Lake Champlain is a true bass fishing gem, especially this time of year. Champlain is one of the most diverse tournament fisheries in the country, on which anglers have the ability to compete targeting largemouths or smallmouths, plucked from a variety of environments.

On the south end, near Ticonderoga (also known as “Ti”), the lake has big beds of milfoil and tons of other shallow cover to harbor largemouths. Up north, the lake is rocky and clear with grass beds in the bays and mixed into the main lake. On the north side, both largemouths and smallmouths can play depending on an angler’s desire – it’d be no surprise to see someone flip a largemouth out of a patch of milfoil and then drop-shot a boulder 500 feet away for a smallmouth.

 

Scott Martin

Last time

The Tour last hit Champlain in June of 2016. Then, Scott Martin won with a combo of smallmouths and largemouths caught across the north end from Missisquoi Bay to Rouses Point. The last two years of Costa FLW Series events on Champlain are also interesting indicators. Ron Nelson won them both, in 2017 and 2018, first with a combo of smallmouths and largemouths and then with strictly spawning smallmouths. In both events, the north end of the lake dominated and smallmouths played stronger than ever.

 

Austin Felix

What to expect this time

Champlain is such a fun location for a tournament in large part because of the unpredictability involved. Nelson winning last year’s Costa FLW Series tilt with all smallmouths was something of a surprise, but given the conditions, it made plenty of sense. Exactly what will go down this year is legitimately up in the air.

This year, the northeast has experienced a cool spring, and Champlain has been beset by high water levels. Peaking over flood stage at almost 101 feet at the end of April, the fishery has dropped about 2 feet since then and figures to continue to fall, at least slightly, as the summer progresses. The high water has a ton of new cover accessible up north and down south, and the cool weather may well have extended the smallmouth spawn.

In 2016, Martin and others (most notably Austin Felix) capitalized on smallmouth that were spawning. In the two most recent FLW Series events, spawning smallmouth played a major role as well – it’s very likely they’ll also be a huge storyline this time around.

Figuring out what the largemouths are going to be doing is a bit trickier. South, by Ti, many fish are likely to be just getting off beds. The same will likely be true up north, which could make pinpointing any one pattern especially difficult. Of course, with the quantity of largemouths at both ends of the lake and the history involved, it’s hard to count them out as true players.

 

Baits and techniques

Given the presence of both species, it’s not unreasonable for a pro to roll out with 12 rods on deck and catch fish on all of them.

For smallmouths, finesse offerings like drop-shots and Ned rigs will get top billing. Jerkbaits, swimbaits and some other moving baits could easily get mixed in, as well.

On the largemouth side, winding baits like swim jigs, vibrating jigs and the like will undoubtedly produce. Frogs, wacky rigs and all sorts of flipping offerings should also be popular.

 

Austin Felix

3 Critical Factors

1. Smallies – It’s possible that four bags consisting of nothing but smallmouths could win this event. It might prove impossible not to mix in a largemouth or two over four days, but there are a ton of pros leaning hard into the idea of catching spawning brown ones.

2. Kickers – Champlain is an easy lake to catch 15 pounds a day, but separating from the pack is much more difficult. Adding a few 5-pounders throughout the course of the event is a really good way to separate from the pack.

3. The wind – Known for getting wicked rough, the wind on Champlain can toss patterns out the window and make the run to Ti take hours. Good boats and Spot-Lock make the wind a lot more manageable these days, but rough weather in practice could hinder those looking for smallmouths on beds, and rough weather on derby day will no doubt change up some plans.

 

Ron Nelson

Pros to watch

John Cox and David Dudley will garner a lot of attention is this one, not just because they’re likely to catch them, but because of the drama of the FLW Tour Angler of the Year race. Cox has just a one-point lead over Dudley, and both have done very well on Champlain in the past. 

If it’s not Cox or Dudley, it could very well come down to Scott Martin, Austin Felix and Ron Nelson. Felix has never missed a top 10 in June on Champlain, Martin basically owns the lake and Nelson has won the last two Costa FLW Series events there.

Also, you should keep an eye on Bryan Thrift – he sneakily finished 11th when the Tour last hit Champlain, and he might just be overdue for another win.

Tags: lake-champlain  -flw-tour  -smallmouth-bass  -largemouth-bass  -fishing  jody-white  pre-tournament  2019-06-27-lake-champlain 

Lake Erie Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Lake Erie Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

The final day of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie is likely to change things up quite a bit. With many of the top pros making long runs, there’s a chance much of what happened on days one and two will be physically impossible on day three. READ MORE »

Erie Midday Update – Day 2

Erie Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the Toyota Series Northern Division event has been pretty slow across the board, and particularly for the leaders. Though the weather isn’t too bad and the wind is fairly manageable, the fishing in Erie is slower than it was yesterday. READ MORE »

Stokes Pulls Ahead on Erie

Stokes Pulls Ahead on Erie

One of a number of pros who elected to make the run from Sandusky to the Detroit River, Troy Stokes pulled into the lead on day two of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. READ MORE »

Big Bags on Tap at Pickwick

Big Bags on Tap at Pickwick

After a four-month hiatus, it’s almost time for the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Mississippi Division to get back after it. The season resumes on July 18 and July 19 with back-to-back tournaments on Pickwick Lake. While each tournament may fish a bit like a two-day event, each day of competition is a standalone tournament with a winner crowned after each day. READ MORE »

Lake Erie Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Lake Erie Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Day one of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie was not dominated by St. Clair as some expected. Though St. Clair did produce the lead for Scott Dobson, a hodgepodge of techniques and locations got it done for the other top pros on Erie. READ MORE »

Michigan Division Kicks Off on St. Clair

Michigan Division Kicks Off on St. Clair

There’s nothing better than clear water and big smallmouths, and that’s exactly what the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Michigan Division plans to deliver this year. The division, which is presented by ARE, is set to open the season July 18 on Lake St. Clair in what should be a heavyweight showdown of smallmouths. READ MORE »

Erie Midday Update – Day 1

Erie Midday Update – Day 1

From a weather standpoint, day one of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie has been almost too perfect. Slick and hot from the start, anglers have been able to go wherever they want and fish however they want. READ MORE »

Dobson Takes Slim Lead on Erie

Dobson Takes Slim Lead on Erie

The weights on day one of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie were about what folks expected: plenty of quality fish, but a lack of the plump 4- and 5-pounders that Erie is so known for. Weighing one of only two bags over 20 pounds, Scott Dobson put 20-12 on the scale after a day of fishing that took him as far from Sandusky as the mouth of the St. Clair River. READ MORE »

Ready to Rock on Erie

Ready to Rock on Erie

The Toyota Series Northern Division has undergone more than its share of schedule shuffling this year, but the kickoff is finally here. Taking off out of Sandusky, Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie, the time to chase smallmouths has arrived. READ MORE »

Piedmont Division Heads to Kerr

Piedmont Division Heads to Kerr

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Piedmont Division continues its season with back-to-back tournaments on Kerr Lake on July 18 and 19. READ MORE »

Hoosier Division Heads for Ohio River

Hoosier Division Heads for Ohio River

After kicking off the season on Lake Monroe with a double-header at the end of June, the Hoosier Division of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine turns east for stop No. 3 on the Ohio River at Tanners Creek. READ MORE »

Everything in Play on Mighty Miss

Everything in Play on Mighty Miss

The Mississippi River is the staple venue of the Great Lakes Division in Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine competition. Come July 18, the division will take its first crack at the Mighty Miss in what could shape up to be a diverse event. READ MORE »

Kentucky Lake Could be Won Deep or Shallow

Kentucky Lake Could be Won Deep or Shallow

As we saw a couple weeks ago at the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga, the Tennessee River is capable of churning out big bags of bass both deep and shallow. We’ll probably be reminded of the Chickamauga event on July 18, when the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine LBL Division competes on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. Conditions should be similar, with both deep and shallow patterns in the mix.   READ MORE »

Review: Strike King Popping Perch

Review: Strike King Popping Perch

The frog world is pretty stacked with good options these days, but the Strike King Popping Perch still manages to stand out. READ MORE »

Iowa’s Riceville High School Wins 2020 TBF/FLW High School Fishing National Championship on Mississippi River

Iowa’s Riceville High School Wins 2020 TBF/FLW High School Fishing National Championship on Mississippi River

STODDARD, Wis. – Iowa’s Riceville High School duo of Lawson Losee and Kooper Tweite brought a three-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 11 pounds, 2 ounces to win the 2020 TBF/FLW High School Fishing National Championship on the Mississippi River in Stoddard, Wisconsin. Riceville’s three-day total of nine bass totaling 30-4 gave them the win by a 1... READ MORE »

Northern Division Heads to Sandusky

Northern Division Heads to Sandusky

Swiftly rescheduled due to New York’s recently announced travel restrictions, the Toyota Series Northern Division is now kicking off on Lake Erie, launching out of Sandusky, Ohio, July 9-11. The event is the first of three in the division, with the others scheduled for August on Lake Champlain and on the Detroit River in September. READ MORE »

AOY Update: Lake Chickamauga

AOY Update: Lake Chickamauga

Though Jacob Wheeler won the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga in grand style, his win didn’t impact the Angler of the Year standings. Only the original Pro Circuit anglers were competing for AOY points. That means the AOY focus is still on Ron Nelson, who slipped off his blazing pace a bit, but still holds the lead heading into the final two regular-season events in July and August on the Mississippi River and the Detroit River, respectively. READ MORE »

“FLW Fishing” to Premiere on Outdoor Channel  Friday, July 3

“FLW Fishing” to Premiere on Outdoor Channel Friday, July 3

BENTON, Ky. – FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, announced today the 2020 season of “FLW Fishing” will debut on the Outdoor Channel, Friday, July 3 (7 to 9 p.m. EDT)... READ MORE »

FLW Shifts Toyota Series Northern Event to Lake Erie

FLW Shifts Toyota Series Northern Event to Lake Erie

Due to New York’s recently announced travel restrictions, FLW will shift its July 9-11 Toyota Series Northern Division opener from the St. Lawrence River at Massena, N.Y., to Lake Erie at Sandusky, Ohio. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Chickamauga

Top 10 Baits from Chickamauga

When so many anglers are throwing similar baits and running similar patterns, doing something a little different can be quite the advantage. Sure enough, the pros who made the top 10 at the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga all had techniques or tactics of their own to set themselves apart. READ MORE »