UPCOMING EVENT: FLW Tour - 2019 - Lake Champlain

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

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 Champlain Day 1 Coverage

Lake Champlain Day 1 Coverage

John Cox and David Dudley launched this morning with just one point separating them in the Angler of the Year race. Behind them, Buddy Gross, Joseph Webster and Scott Martin remain just within striking distance. Given how well Cox, Dudley and Martin, in particular, always fish on Champlain, there's a very real chance of fireworks this week. READ MORE »

FLW Live Leaderboard - Lake Champlain

FLW Live Leaderboard - Lake Champlain

FLW Marshals and media staff provide unofficial weight estimates for the final stop of the 2019 FLW Tour season at Lake Champlain. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Champlain

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Champlain

FLW Live is back for the season finale of the FLW Tour on Lake Champlain. The event, which is presented by T-H Marine and hosted by the City of Plattsburgh and Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau runs Thursday, June 27 through Sunday, June 30. READ MORE »

Exploring Champlain with Strelic

Exploring Champlain with Strelic

Living about as far as possible from Champlain, Wade Strelic is looking to finish his rookie season strong at the FLW Tour finale. Hailing from Alpine, Calif., near San Diego, Strelic is sitting 28th in points and has made the check cut in three out of six events so far – another good derby will lock him in to the FLW Cup. READ MORE »

Nelson Wraps Champlain Practice

Nelson Wraps Champlain Practice

Ron Nelson is easily in the group of favorites in the event and a bonafide Northern expert, so I was eager to hop in the boat for a morning with the smallie snatcher. Champlain isn’t fishing quite like it was the years he won, but Nelson is still guaranteed to have a lot of eyes on him come day one. READ MORE »

Louisiana's Northlake Christian School Wins 2019 TBF/FLW High School Fishing National Championship on Pickwick Lake

Louisiana's Northlake Christian School Wins 2019 TBF/FLW High School Fishing National Championship on Pickwick Lake

FLORENCE, Ala. – The Northlake Christian School Fishing Team of Christopher Capdeboscq of Covington, Louisiana, and Sam Acosta of Madisonville, Louisiana, brought in three bass totaling 9 pounds, 7 ounces on the final day of competition to win the 2019 TBF/FLW High School Fishing National Championship on Pickwick Lake. The duo’s three-day total of nine bass weighing 35... READ MORE »

Bowling Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Broken Bow Lake

Bowling Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Broken Bow Lake

BROKEN BOW, Okla. – Local boater John Bowling of Broken Bow won Saturday’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Okie Division tournament on Broken Bow Lake after... READ MORE »

Lancaster’s Wilson Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Barren River

Lancaster’s Wilson Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Barren River

GLASGOW, Ky. – Boater Jeffrey Wilson of Lancaster, Kentucky, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Mountain Division tournament on the Barren River Saturday after catching five bass... READ MORE »

Virginia’s Villa Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on High Rock Lake

Virginia’s Villa Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on High Rock Lake

SALISBURY, N.C. – Boater Martin Villa of Charlottesville, Virginia, won Saturday’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Piedmont Division tournament on High Rock Lake after catching a five-bass limit weighing... READ MORE »

Social Circle’s Johns Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Lake Eufaula

Social Circle’s Johns Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Lake Eufaula

EUFAULA, Ala. – Boater Clabion Johns of Social Circle, Georgia, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Bulldog Division tournament on Lake Eufaula Saturday after catching... READ MORE »

Greene and Rosario Tie for Win at T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Opener on Lake St. Clair

Greene and Rosario Tie for Win at T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Opener on Lake St. Clair

HARRISON TOWSHIP, Mich. – Boaters Kyle Greene of Ortonville, Michigan, and Angel Rosario of Kalamazoo, Michigan, each caught five bass weighing 23 pounds, 7 ounces, to... READ MORE »

Pennsylvania’s Elizabethtown High School Wins 2019 TBF/FLW High School Fishing World Finals on Pickwick Lake

Pennsylvania’s Elizabethtown High School Wins 2019 TBF/FLW High School Fishing World Finals on Pickwick Lake

FLORENCE, Ala. (June 24, 2019) – Pennsylvania’s Elizabethtown High School duo of Anthony Cicero IV and Dakota Snyder, both of Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, caught three bass weighing in at 16 pounds, 6 ounces to win the 2019 TBF Student Angler Federation High School Fishing World Finals on Pickwick Lake. Edging their closest competitors by 1 pound, 9 ounces, the Elizabethtown High... READ MORE »

Scouting for Smallies with Felix

Scouting for Smallies with Felix

Over the years, a lot of anglers have established impressive records on Lake Champlain, but few have done it as quickly and authoritatively as Austin Felix. READ MORE »

Get to Know Lake Champlain

Get to Know Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain is a giant of a lake. It stretches 100-plus miles from its beginning down south at Whitehall, N.Y., and runs all the way up to the Canadian border between the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Adirondacks in New York. Though the competitors aren’t allowed to venture into Canada, there is still plenty for anglers to break down for the final event of the 2019 FLW Tour season. READ MORE »

High School Championship Top 10 Baits

High School Championship Top 10 Baits

June is typically ledge-fishing season in the Tennessee Valley, especially at Pickwick, but the 2019 High School Fishing National Championship was a more diverse event than most folks might have expected. Patterns ranging from junk-fishing the bank to targeting docks and other shoreline cover to working the main-lake ledges all worked. Here are the baits used by the top 10 teams during the week. READ MORE »

Check-in Time: Buddy Gross

Check-in Time: Buddy Gross

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with Buddy Gross.  READ MORE »

High School Midday Update – Day 2

High School Midday Update – Day 2

Pickwick showed off its impressive diversity during day two of the High School Fishing National Championship, which is held in conjunction with the High School Fishing World Finals. End-to-end, this Tennessee River reservoir stretches about 53 miles, and, while the offshore ledge game gets most of the attention, anglers were also leveraging the lake's many other fishable features. READ MORE »

Check-in Time: David Williams 

Check-in Time: David Williams 

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with David Williams. READ MORE »

Top High Schoolers Headed for Pickwick

Top High Schoolers Headed for Pickwick

This week, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) reservoir touching Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama pulls double duty for a joint production of the High School Fishing National Championship (Wednesday-Friday) and the 10th annual Student Angler Federation High School Fishing World Finals (Wednesday-Saturday). READ MORE »

Review: Jackson Kayak Bite

Review: Jackson Kayak Bite

In the burgeoning fishing kayak market, there’s still a pretty large gap, on the whole, between entry-level boats (think $500 or less) and the top end of the market. It’s hard to find a really good kayak that blends quality, stability and affordability for anything less than $1,000. READ MORE »