So far this spring, even with the lack of rainfall up till recently, reports are that the trout fishing has been good, and from my own limited time out there, I can't argue with that.
My trout fishing has been limited to beaver ponds for native brook trout, and, believe it or not, it is as easy to find an active beaver pond, at least where I fish, as it once was. In some of my favorite old haunts, the water level, what's left of it, is down to a few inches, the trout since long-gone downstream or winding up a meal for a great blue heron. These ponds have one thing in common — no hardwood trees to be seen, an indication the beavers cleaned out the surrounding woods.
I did find one active pond a ways back in, and the fishing was good. I used to fish these ponds the most elemental way — using a hook, a worm and bobber. In recent years, I've adapted a technique used by a friend of mine who is very successful at it. He uses an Eagle Claw spinner with four or five pink beads and a snelled No. 6 hook. This simple rig is available at most fishing supply places. The only other thing you need is a garden worm.
The trick is to cast into likely places, and sometimes that requires getting wet up to your knees to get out far enough. Old hiking boots and quick drying pants are what I prefer over lugging in hip boots or waders.
According to the Department of Environmental Conservation's Region 5 monthly report, fisheries biologist Rich Preall, while testing fish for mercury concentrations in the Saranac Chain of lakes, captured one walleye from Oseetah Lake, along with the usual pike, perch and bass.
"The walleye catch was a pleasant surprise and is further indication that walleye are establishing in the Saranac Chain of lakes after years of stocking efforts made in Lower Saranac Lake," the report states.
By now, the early results should be in for the Rotary International Fishing Derby, and there would be no big surprise if a very large lake trout was caught.
Captain Mickey Maynard of Lake Champlain Angler Charters reports his parties have landed many 10-pound-plus lakers and a number of 22-inch-or-longer salmon. Both species look to be cleaner, with fewer lamprey scars, an indication the lamprey-control program is working.
The downside may be the tremendous increase in alewives. Salmon and lake trout, like humans, don't always eat what is best for them, especially when it's tasty and fatty, even though it can cause future health problems. Alewives are a tempting choice, but in the long run, if predictions hold true, could eventually seriously hurt the salmon due to Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS), a maternally transmitted, non-infectious disease that can cause 100-percent mortality in the offspring of landlocked Atlantic salmon that feed primarily on alewives.
Lake trout have also been shown to suffer reproductive failure when they eat mostly alewives. The culprit is that female salmon become vitamin B-1 deficient from eating large quantities of alewives.
Bass Season opens on the New York side of Lake Champlain June 12.
E-mail Dennis Aprill at: firstname.lastname@example.org