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jtessier

Rochester, NY Small Mouth Fishing Tactics/Target Areas

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Just moved back home to NY from TN after being gone for 5 years. I am hoping to figure out the tactics for Lake Ontario smallies. I have been hitting the largemouth in creek channels with no problem but really want to get into the smallies on the lake. I have no clue where to start on the big water. I have been doing some re-con on the lake and have been able to find massive balls of baitfish at around the 30' range. I can spot smallmouth moving arround the school, but none will take a bait. What has been a successful presentation on the lake as of recent, and what can I do to get these fish to bite with so many baitfish available? Are Goby plastics on a dropshot still producing fish? And what areas should I be targeting? (FOW, Structure, etc...)

Thanks for any valuable input! :D

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I hope so. I am anxious to get into some good numbers of smallies. I guess I should start by getting a lake map with all of the hotspots and topo info...

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The lake might be a bit tough to find them in. They don't appear to be around in the numbers they used to be.

I have been hearing the same thing from multiple people. Even if yous see them some people suggest it is much tougher to get them to bite now because they have an abundance of gobies to eat.

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     Trust me on this, dropshot a Gulp 3 inch Black Shad 24 inches off the bottom with 1/2 oz. weight and a 1/0 Gamy dropshot hook.  Hold on!!!  Not the numbers of 2004 and before but good quality fish.

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I trolled this evening for over an hour outside of port bay from 50ft in to 30 ft with no takers and nothing showing on the graph.

I've heard reports of fish lately but have yet to get into them.

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I've ran into multiple people now that are reporting getting into some 3+ pounders out there.

The reports also are that the fish are coming in shallower than earlier in the year.

I'm hoping to get out this Saturday and "validate" these reports.

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I've been getting them on a drop-shot and lipless cranks.  What part of the lake are you fishing?

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I went out Saturday and got 3 on tubes.

I'm fishing out of port bay but can get anywhere fairly quickly in calm water.

What dept were you fishing. Mine cam 18-24 feet.

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did you ever get this figured out??

if so please share what you can.

thanks

Tom

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Fish were scattered on a couple different spots with no numbers.

At our annual club banquet Sunday they had a marine biologist from Cornell speaking about Oneida Lake.

Some questions were brought up about Lake O's southern shore.

He relayed some thoughts from some colleagues that thought the smallie numbers were way down Rochester to Oswego.

He had no answers as to why.

I'm thinking vhs might have wiped out a bunch. I've heard tales of a few years ago thousands of smallies dead in the lake at a thermocline .

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the past 2 years have been good for me fishing outa pointbreeze and then johnsons creek right off the lake. like every other cast 3+ pounders me and my nephew would have races or mini matches against eachother wading the creek or the pier at point breeze. but soon as late may early june it seems like they all shrunk the numbers were there just all around 10in or less. but from april till mid may i filled a whole note pad loged with smallies in the 3+ range with 2 over 6lbs. i used tubes,cranks,mini chatterbaits and ole faithful mr twister.

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My take on what's happened. And this doesn't discount any of the issues already mentioned.

Before the gobies were so widespread, the smallies hunted in packs, using troughs made by wave action as hunting trails. These toughs were basically shelves, at 10-13, 13-17, 17-24, etc. The fish were after alewives, crayfish, smelt, perch, and other small fish. Once the gobies took over, there was abundant food everywhere. In other words, no reason to hunt, or travel. Now fish sit on definite structure. I'm not talking in terms of an underwater point, though that is a place to start. You'll need to find something smaller, more precise, that will hold fish there. It could be a little 18" ridge, a small rock pile, or even a transition from rubble to flat boulders. Basically, the fish aren't spread out in little groups like they were, moving along paths where you could literally "run into" 50 bites in a day. Lake Ontario simply doesn't have the structure, or fertility of Lake Erie, though if you start looking and thinking differently, they are there.

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Good stuff guys.

For whatever reason I only go into the lake once mid-july hits.

I'll make it a point this year to get out there on one of the first warm days after ice out and see if there is any difference in catch rate.

Has anyone went out and looked for beds to see how many spawn in your areas?

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Duane, you should contact the DEC, and get a catch diary to log your smallie catches in the lake.

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I got one last year.

Figured I would be smart and leave it in the glove box of  the boat, by the time I forgot about it then remembered , opened it back up it was pretty much useless.

-5 points for me.

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For whatever reason I only go into the lake once mid-july hits.

That is probably the toughest time on the lake because it's usually post spawn and not only are they hard to find but they don't want to eat. I have seen them on beds in mid-July out there if it's a cold Spring. If you try mid-June or late Sept/early October I bet you would do a whole lot better.

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I'm usually out there until Late Sept early October. Once the wind kicks up in the fall you get very few days you can manage out there with the wind, waves and cold.

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