Imbit

Just got back from Clayton ... arggghhhhhhhhh

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Just got back from Clayton ... arggghhhhhhhhh

Been fishing Clayton area since the early 80's - several times a year.  Used to fish tournaments up there, so lets just say I'm not a novice at fishing the bays and islands for pike and largemouth - never learned to fish deep for smallies like alot of guys do nowdays.   I'm old enough to remember how much better the fishing was before the clear water.   

So fished 5 days, covered a ton of water & the grand total consisted of 2 little smallies under a foot, no largemouth, no pike.    No exaggeration - worst fishing I've seen ... EVER.   I can't recall getting flat skunked ever on the river - happened almost every day.   Wouldn't touch the usual money baits such as topwater, spinnerbaits of all shapes & sizes, senko's off/under docks, crankbaits, twister tail grubs.    Fished all the usual weedy spots a mile or two in all directions from Clayton - from a foot to 15 ft deep.    Weather was perfect first 4 days of the trip.   It's been a bit colder than average last couple weeks, so it's NOT like a big nasty cold front came in right before I arrived in NY and shut the bite off like a switch - fish should have acclimated to the slightly colder temps.

Just curious if anybody has an explanation for this historical lousey fishing ?    I really don't know if the fish have all moved to deep water now that the zebra mussels have made the entire seaway crystal clear (I'm sure this applies for smallmouth, I just can't believe pike and largemouth have moved out of the weeds/bays to deep water); or perhaps the historic high water this spring/summer has messed up the entire ecosystem (thus, killed the bite); or has the goby infestation completely changed the food chain; or if I just need to change my ways and start fishing deeper (if thats the case, I'll take up golf - I've always hated fishing deep).

I don't think I could take it if a bunch of fellas here respond that it has been the best fishing in years up on the St. Lawrence - please, for my sanity ... say it isn't so  shocked

Edited by Imbit

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I hear Lake of the Isles has been better for LargeMouth lately.   Drop shotting seems to be the go to method of late.    Tournament guys are catching good bags and no longer running to the big lake so they are in the river somewhere.

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I did well the last 2 days drop shotting in 15 ft of water around Clayton. Landed 9 smallmouth and 2 pike in about 4 hrs worth of fishing. I have noticed though that they want the drop shot more than lures that are retrieved. Could be the cold front that just moved through too


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My uncle was up for 2 days with 2 others they were up around the Odgensburg area and got skunked. So they headed over to their Oswegotchi camp and did well with the smallies. Very cold had frost Thursday evening, since things have been less than stellar. I talked to them tonight, if things don't pick up their headed home Tuesday. 

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Talked to a friend and the guide he fished with a week ago and their group caught 100 smallmouths fishing worms on the Canadian side across from Alex Bay. (They actually lost count at 80) Another friend caught about 10 smallmouths one morning in deep water on worms, one over 5 lbs near Alex Bay. Lots of walleyes also being caught.


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The River has changed, the fishing has changed, you must change how you fish. There might be less bass but they are now bigger than ever. The walleyes are also improving. Clear water means a change in tackle and technique. 

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I noticed a big drop off from past years as well.  I could not find any consistency with the bass.  The ones i caught i had to work hard for, almost all on drop shots.  But the ones i caught have been reel big.  I had my worst year ever with the pike.  Im mostly down closer to cape vincent and i noticed the large weed beds in the bays never really established.  I also fish the clayton area and alex bay area with the same poor results.  I believe (and hope) this year was effected by the cool temps and record high water levels.   Hopefully next year gets back to normal.

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THanks guys - sounds like i'll have to change my ways & resurrect the carolina rig - haven't used that since my tournament days.    Fishing deep with the potential of catching something is better than getting skunked.

 

Now, I'm the complete novice at fishing deeper than 20 ft - so I hope some of you guys in the know could help me on how do you fish a carolina rig or slip shot rig from 40-50 ft deep - do you bother to cast it out or just vertical jig it at those depths ?

 

Thanks again -

 

John

Edited by Imbit

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Drop shot crabs this time of year.... 15-35fow.

Worms can be very effective but it can be hard to keep the gobies off.

 

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You can vertical jig them or simply drag them across the bottom.   I would stick with drop shot rather than carolina rig.   Not sure what slip shot rig is....   The drop shot will also help keep the gobies at bay.

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I think you just hit a bum week. I'm in Clayton now and have been crushing the pike. Some nice bass mixed in. Spoon bite so far.


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I am heading to Clayton area end of Sept weekend with wife.  We have never been there.  We want to do some fun fishing.  I usually fish Lake Erie central basin and troll spoons, crankbaits with inline planer board, weights or dipseys for walleye.  Do these techniques work around the weed bed edges or deeper water for walleye, pike or smallmouth?  Looks like we may have to learn dropshot fishing.  I'm not good at jigging or using the paddle tail swim baits but have little of everything. May venture out to beach or dock at dusk and throw a few cranks or jerkbaits.  We will be sight seeing most of the visit, but have a boat available for a day and can shore fish.  Just looking for what works to have some fun catching what ever will bite.  Not looking for a cooler full or wall hangers, just fun.  I see on map that Picton Island, Grinder Island, Eel bay and couple other locations mid river on US side are reasonable boat ride from our cottage.  Any advice on how to spend one day for fun fishing would be appreciated.  Thanks in advance for ideas.  Chris

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I fished here all week. The only slow day was Tuesday. I caught a ton of pike and a fair number of lmb casting near shore in weeds. Real near shore,like within a cast. Early and late was the best. During the day I picked off a few pike trolling crankbaits over 20-30 fow. I fished from round island to cedar point.IMG_4750.PNGIMG_4728.JPGIMG_4742.JPGIMG_4745.JPG those two baits caught all the casting fish. That shoreline is the first bay past cedar point heading to clayton. I caught fish in front of that for sale sign a lot. About 5 feet from shore.


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Is that non spinning lure a O'L Red eye, lord I haven't used one of those in years!! The old standby is still making the money!!:yes: congrats old man!!

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1 minute ago, old man said:

Red eye still the best pike bait ever.


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Gold, silver does it matter some days??  Just curious... PAP

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Give em' the old evil eye!! Nice Gator and thanks for sharing. Great work


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