UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Lake Champlain

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Get to Know Lake Champlain

Get to Know Lake Champlain
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.

 

Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain

Roughly delineated by the Champlain Bridge, the south end of the lake is best known for its proximity to Ticonderoga, N.Y., and Fort Ticonderoga. Often simply called “Ti,” the southern end is home to some of the best largemouth fishing in the lake.

The lake essentially starts out as a big river, bearing striking similarities to the Potomac, but without tides. Typically, the shallows are loaded with milfoil and other types of grass, and the bass are right there in the mix. The south end is also muddier than anywhere else on the lake, though clear water can often be found if you go far enough into the grass.

This year, with higher water than normal, there’s a lot more access to backwaters, and the milfoil isn’t topped out yet. Historically, you almost had to run south to do well on Champlain, but in recent years that hasn’t been the case at all, with the north end providing much better and more consistent fishing.

 

Neil Farlow

Deep and clear, the big part of Champlain begins roughly at the Champlain Bridge and stretches north past Burlington, Vt., and at least to Plattsburgh. The deepest point of the main lake is more than 400 feet, and much of it has more salmon and lake trout than bass. However, the depth and size of the main basin keeps it cooler than the rest of the lake for longer, thereby extending the smallmouth spawn. The last two Costa FLW Series events have prominently featured the main lake, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see it play again.

 

Lake Champlain

As Champlain runs north, the lake begins to broaden and is broken up by a string of big islands that essentially divide the lake into the Inland Sea, which is solely in Vermont, and the upper reaches of the main lake, shared by Vermont and New York. In recent years, it’s had the best fishing of any section of the lake, and it’s where most of the action in this week’s FLW Tour event is likely to go down.

Month to month, you can flip for largemouths on shallow cover or in grass, or you can drop-shot, fish a jerkbait or throw a topwater for smallmouths up north. From a species and cover perspective it’s certainly the most diverse area of the lake, and even during a big tournament it’s large enough to not be too crowded.

 

Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain

There are three ways to get from takeoff at Plattsburgh to the Inland Sea. The first is to run south below the islands and cross through between Malletts Bay and South Hero (the southernmost of the big islands). The other two are passages between the islands. The closest and easiest for anglers is the Gut. North of that, the Alburg Passage leads up toward the north end of the Inland Sea and the mouth of Missisquoi Bay.

Both Carry Bay and the Gut are loaded up with grass and largemouths, but the openings to the big lake also have plenty of smallmouths on them. Because of the old railroad causeway that runs up the islands, the current flowing out of the Inland Sea (east to west at the causeways and turning toward the north) is concentrated at a few gaps, and those gaps concentrate bait and bass. They’re well-known areas, but they can be pretty electric at the right times and almost always produce fish.

Malletts Bay is nestled at the south end of the islands, and it is geographically pretty unique, with more bluffs and cliffs that drop into deep water than the rest of the north end, but the fishing there isn’t too different from elsewhere up north. It’s got both largemouths and smallmouths, just at a bit smaller scale than some of the bigger areas to the north of it.

 

Lake Champlain

Another notable section up north is the area around St. Albans Bay. Though you can find all the same types of cover other places on the north end, St. Albans can be a little more sheltered than some other parts of the north end and has a pile of smallmouths and largemouths. Whether you want docks, milfoil beds or smallmouths, the area around St. Albans has it.  

 

Lake Champlain

Scott Martin

The far northeast corner of Champlain is a special one. There, the Missisquoi River flows into Missisquoi Bay. It’s home to some of the best largemouth action in the entire north end. The river delta can be very productive, and this year the water is high enough that it should be extremely fishable. The bay away from the river can also be very good. There’s a lot of shallow rock and grass, and the water is a little dirtier than the rest of the north end. All that makes it a prime place for largemouths (and some smallmouths) to live and a good place to win a derby.

 

Lake Champlain

To the west of the Inland Sea the lake is shared between Vermont and New York. Though it looks similar to the Inland Sea, there are some important differences. One of the big ones is that the water is generally cooler, with a deeper max depth and direct access to the main basin. It’s also got a reputation for some of the best smallmouth fishing in the lake. The grass is more concentrated in the sheltered bays than it is in the Inland Sea, making the largemouth fishing a bit more limited.

 

Lake Champlain

Just north of Rouses Point in Canada, Champlain turns into the Richelieu River and flows on toward the St. Lawrence. Just south of that, basically cut off by the Rouses Point Bridge and stretching south past Isle La Motte, the contours flatten out a bit, and abundant rock, grass and bait make for dynamite fishing. Year over year, the area around Rouses produces a ton of smallmouths and high finishes. Just in 2018, Brett Carnright nearly won the Costa FLW Series event with almost all his fish coming from the region.

 

Lake Champlain

Outside of the myriad different places to fish, one constant is going to be the high water. After dropping below 99 feet, the water level is back on the rise, though it will likely level out for the tournament. Currently, the lake is about 1.5 feet above average, which would be nothing on Cherokee Lake, but counts for quite a bit on Champlain. High water all spring has the lake a little dirtier than it normally is, and it also means that shallow largemouth cover is much more accessible.

 

Lake Champlain

When 168 pros take off out of Plattsburgh for the final regular-season event of the 2019 FLW Tour season they’ll have plenty of choices to make. Between stages, species and locations, Champlain can be a confounding tournament fishery. What it will surely be is good fishing. There aren’t many other lakes that produce such consistently good weights and numbers for both smallmouths and largemouths. Champlain has been the site of the season finale for the FLW Tour a few times, and it never disappoints.

Tags: jody-white-and-rob-matsuura  pre-tournament  2019-06-27-lake-champlain 

Summertime on Champlain

Summertime on Champlain

For three years running now, the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits has kicked off on Lake Champlain. The tournament, which is presented by Polaris, should offer great fishing like usual, but it’s going to be far different than the last two FLW Series tilts on the big Northern lake. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Champlain

Top 10 Baits from Lake Champlain

June is a fantastic month to be on Lake Champlain, as the FLW Tour pros showcased at last week’s season finale, which was presented by T-H Marine. Smallmouths were spawning all over the place, but the winning pattern was catching postspawn largemouths down at Ticonderoga. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Champlain

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain is the kind of fishery that forces pros to make difficult decisions about where to go and what color of bass to target. This time around, in the FLW Tour 2019 finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, on the big Northern fishery, the decision was more interesting because there were spawning smallmouths everywhere up north, but the forecast was favorable for making the long run south to Ticonderoga to catch largemouths. READ MORE »

Scanlon Wins FLW Tour at Lake Champlain Presented by T-H Marine

Scanlon Wins FLW Tour at Lake Champlain Presented by T-H Marine

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – After starting the day in second place, pro Casey Scanlon of Lake Ozark, Missouri, caught a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 10 ounces, Sunday to vault to the top of the leaderboard and win the FLW Tour at Lake Champlain presented by T-H Marine with a four-day total of 20 bass weighing... READ MORE »

Lake Champlain Day 4 Coverage

Lake Champlain Day 4 Coverage

Yesterday saw the crowning of the FLW Tour 2019 Angler of the Year (David Dudley) and Polaris Rookie of the Year (Ron Nelson). Today, there's nothing left to do but crown a champion for the Tour's last stop of the season. READ MORE »

Scanlon Wins it at Ti

Scanlon Wins it at Ti

Running south to Ticonderoga each day, Casey Scanlon weighed 19 pounds, 10 ounces on the final day of the FLW Tour event presented by T-H Marine on Lake Champlain. With a total of 76-2, Scanlon earned the win in the final event of the season and pocketed $102,700 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Nelson Wins ROY

Nelson Wins ROY

Ron Nelson blanked on the first day of his first FLW Tour event. Then he got things on track – so on track that he finished the season ninth overall in the standings and above every other rookie to earn the Polaris FLW Tour Rookie of the Year award. Winning ROY is typically a career-setting accomplishment, and to go with the hardware Nelson will also receive a Polaris Sportsman® 570 ATV. READ MORE »

Stewart Still on Top, Dudley Clinches AOY Title at FLW Tour Event on Lake Champlain Presented by T-H Marine

Stewart Still on Top, Dudley Clinches AOY Title at FLW Tour Event on Lake Champlain Presented by T-H Marine

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – Pro Tyler Stewart of West Monroe, Louisiana, caught a five-bass limit Saturday weighing 18 pounds, 5 ounces, to keep the lead after day... READ MORE »

Dudley Wins Historic 4th AOY

Dudley Wins Historic 4th AOY

Taking to the second to last day of the 2019 FLW Tour season, David Dudley finally did it again, triumphing over John Cox to win a historic fourth FLW Tour Angler of the Year title. Winning his first AOY in 2008, and then going back-to-back in 2011 and 2012, Dudley is now the only pro with four titles to their credit, surpassing both Clark Wendlandt and Andy Morgan. READ MORE »

Ticonderoga Showdown Looms

Ticonderoga Showdown Looms

After three days of the FLW Tour event presented by T-H Marine on Lake Champlain, all but one of the top five pros are turning south from Plattsburgh to chase largemouths at Ticonderoga. In the lead, Tyler Stewart of West Monroe, La., bagged up another 18 pounds, 5 ounces to boost his total to 58-6. In second and just 1-14 behind, Casey Scanlon of Lake Ozark., Mo., weighed 18-13 on day three for a 56-8 total. READ MORE »

Lake Champlain Day 3 Coverage

Lake Champlain Day 3 Coverage

We're down to 30 anglers in the FLW Tour's last stop of the 2019 season. The Angler of the Year and Polaris Rookie of the Year races are still up for grabs, and second-year pro Tyler Stewart is haflway to his first win on Tour. There will be storylines apletny today. READ MORE »

A Three-Angler Race for AOY

A Three-Angler Race for AOY

By making the top-30 cut, John Cox, David Dudley and Joseph Webster are all still in the 2019 FLW Tour Angler of the Year race. Scott Martin, who also made the cut and started the week in fourth place in the standings, cannot mathematically earn enough points to win AOY. READ MORE »

Stewart Holds Lead Following Day Two of FLW Tour Event on Lake Champlain Presented by T-H Marine

Stewart Holds Lead Following Day Two of FLW Tour Event on Lake Champlain Presented by T-H Marine

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – Pro Tyler Stewart of West Monroe, Louisiana, held his lead after day two of the FLW Tour at Lake Champlain presented by T-H Marine after catching a five-bass limit weighing 17 pounds, 14 ounces. Stewart’s two-day total of 40-1 will lead the... READ MORE »

Lake Champlain Day 2 Coverage

Lake Champlain Day 2 Coverage

Tyler Stewart weighed in 22 pounds, 3 ounces yesterday to take the lead in the FLW Tour's last stop of the 2019 season. He was one of only four anglers to top the 20-pound mark, and his 1-pound, 12-ounce lead puts the second-year pro in great shape as day two kicks off. Another solid day will give Stewart and easy shot at the 30-pro cut on Saturday. READ MORE »

Stewart Stays Ahead at Champlain

Stewart Stays Ahead at Champlain

Tyler Stewart took the lead with a whopping 22 pounds, 3 ounces on day one of the FLW Tour event presented by T-H Marine on Lake Champlain. Today, he backed it up with 17-14 to stay ahead. Running to Ticonderoga both days and boating a 40-1 total, Stewart is just 1-5 ahead of John Voyles, who’s weighed 20-7 and 18-5 from the north end of the lake for a 38-12 total. READ MORE »

Dudley Ahead in AOY Race

Dudley Ahead in AOY Race

David Dudley is unofficially in the Angler of the Year lead after one day of competition at the season finale on Lake Champlain. Dudley, who is currently in 11th place in the tournament, came into the event in second place in the AOY race and just one point behind John Cox, who’s day-one total has him in a tie for 32nd place. Dudley is unofficially in the lead by 21 points. Cox is in second, followed by Joseph Webster, Buddy Gross and Scott Martin READ MORE »

Melissa Browne’s First Look at Champlain

Melissa Browne’s First Look at Champlain

When Browne passed away last month after a difficult fight with cancer, there was one item on his list with regard to Champlain that remained unchecked. And it had nothing to do with actually competing there.  Glenn never got to take his wife, Melissa, to visit Champlain and spend time together in the Adirondack region. She’s remedying the situation this week by participating in the FLW Marshal program. READ MORE »

Stewart Leads after Day One of FLW Tour Event on Lake Champlain Presented by T-H Marine

Stewart Leads after Day One of FLW Tour Event on Lake Champlain Presented by T-H Marine

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – Pro Tyler Stewart of West Monroe, Louisiana, caught a five-bass limit weighing 22 pounds, 3 ounces to sit atop the leaderboard after day one of the FLW Tour at Lake Champlain presented by T-H Marine. Tied for... READ MORE »

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 »