- Paddle-tail Jigs Entice Deepwater Smallmouth Bass during PEAK Color Foliage
- October Fishing on Lake George offers Exhilarating FUN, Finesse Fishing
- Morning Fog is Part of Stirring Fishing ADVENTURE
By Forrest Fisher
The air tasted fresh. One ray of sunlight was flickering through a tall tree to the east, lighting up the top layer of fog not far from Lake George Village. We were here to fish for October bass.
The steamy vapor of hot coffee was bidding to escape my thermos lock-top cup. The morning chill and hot java was perfect for a wake-up solution that followed a late campfire with friends the night before. The coffee sparked my step as I studied the heavy fog cover on Lake George at 7:15 in the morning.
Adirondack serenity was everywhere. Nature in this Warren County (New York) location was complete with stunning foliage color. Very satisfying. It’s hard to find wilderness-perfect moments in time, but I knew this was one of those.
A blue heron was beak fishing for breakfast to my immediate left. A dozen wood ducks were bobbing the weeds along a shoreline of boat docks in Dunham Bay. Overhead, there was a flock of Canada Geese silently flapping southward high above the fog. They were not honking, they were apparently in stealth mode, except their wings created a slick-moving wind sound that had caught my attention. More to study about that species, I thought. We never stop learning. I grinned. Getting to 70 years young and still learning, life is good when you visit Lake George.
My fishing partner for the day was an old friend and fishing guide, Frank Tennity, who had brought along his usual 35 pounds, or so, of jigs, rigs, hooks, plastic worms, hard body lures, sinkers, a few fishing rods and related “other stuff” to catch fish, no matter the conditions.
I brought my coffee cup. Ready here.
We met up with a fishing and hunting friend of local outdoor columnist, Dan Ladd (www.ADKhunter.com). Moored at the Dunham Bay docks, Walt Lockhart welcomed us with a warm smile to the usual October morning fog of Lake George. One warm and hearty handshake later, we hopped aboard his very comfortable 23-foot fishing boat. The canvas cockpit made a difference, protecting from the fresh-smelling dew.
Convenience is important when the fog is so heavy you cannot see across the road. We enjoyed the wait and sat in the comfy, covered boat. We talked fishing, sipped coffee, joked about alarm clocks and after about 30 minutes, we could see 100 yards.
That was our green light.
The Lowrance sonar unit provided a split screen with a plotter and GPS coordinates using the Navionics (https://www.navionics.com/usa/) Lake George depth map. The Navionics software helped us navigate to the “right spots.”
While we came to bass fish, Lake George is more well-known for lake trout and landlocked salmon in autumn, but we were up for the challenge of smallmouth bass. Walt knew the waters from his many years of fishing experience at Lake George and we newbies to the area had high hopes to hook up with some fish.
“We have crayfish, emerald shiner minnows and smelt as the main forage here,” Walt explained. “So we’ll throw something that will sort of imitate all of those. I did also bring some live shiners if you want to try those.“
Some of the rods were already rigged with a ¼ ounce jig head that featured a large thin-wire hook threaded with a 4-inch Keitech plastic paddle-tail. I was excited.
The boat moved slowly as the motor kicked into and out of gear at Walt’s direction. We were drifting and fishing in between motor drive connections. We made progressive motion along the south shoreline of Dunham’s Bay toward Crooked Tree Point and Lake George Village. We casted our lines along the drop-offs near the weedline edge there without any response from the fish, but our first morning objective was to fish the sharp drop-offs with middle-level gravel shoals near Diamond Island and Dick’s Island.
The fog slowed us down, but we arrived after about 30 minutes of careful boat control. The rocky shoals were marked with a bright buoy line and the sonar showed fish on top of the shoals in 25 feet or so. The sun was rising and the fog was lifting. The water was VERY clear and clean, as I could see my jig down about 15 feet.
Our 6-pound monofilament was thin and clear, a necessary tool to catch fish here with the extreme water clarity. Over the next 20 minutes, we caught five bass, no giants, but the fish were so healthy looking and strong. They each jumped above the water surface and electrified the chilly morning for all of us, but Walt wasn’t happy, he wanted to find bigger fish.
The wind was calm with a slight surface movement from the south as we moved to fish the steep drop-offs near Wood’s Point and Plum Point. As we approached visibility to Lake George Village, we found fish.
Tightly packed schools of smallmouth bass were holding 40 feet down in 80 feet of water. The fish were less than 100 feet from shore, that’s how fast the bottom drops in this location. The bass were there and on a binge feed. Sheer fun! Among the three of us, we landed and released about 30 smallmouth bass, not giants, but up to 2 pounds. Fun fishing. It was one exciting hour!
For size and color details on the highly effective jig tail we were tossing, visit: (http://www.tacklewarehouse.com/Keitech_Swing_Impact_FAT_Swimbait/descpage-KSIF.html), we were using the Sun Gill color.
We carefully released all the fish as we caught them, then we moved to fish shallower water. New challenge, same lures, the paddle-tail jigs. We stopped to flip the docks along the Burnt Ridge Road boat slips on the way back “just to see” if any largemouth might savor an invigorating nibble for a freshly-delivered breakfast jig.
Sure enough, we hooked up with a few 2-pound largemouth bass to finish our short trip.
A complete morning, by 10:30 a.m. we were back at the dock with a late morning schedule to fill.
Our next destination was lunch with outdoor friends at the Docksider Restaurant (http://docksiderrestaurant.com/), a quaint little eatery with a cozy bar on nearby Glen Lake, just 10 minutes east. The food was scrumptious and while there, we met other fishing friends that had just enjoyed a great morning of fishing Glen Lake for their renowned giant bluegills.
They wouldn’t tell us their fishing hotspot until we traded our Lake George smallmouth bass news. Deal.
Tales of fishermen secrets continue every day, no matter where you are. Even among strangers, it’s half the fun of fishing!
There is one very helpful free fishing booklet with maps, directions and tips on where to fish Adirondack lakes, ponds, rivers and streams, even offering what to use, where to access and who to call for more information. The link: www.visitadirondacks.com, for Warren County see page 32. For a list of local fishing guides and charter captains, or for accommodation contacts, drop a note to Kristen Hanifin at LGRCCCVB@LakeGeorgeChamber.com.