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Canandaigua Lake Trout Derby


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She was 29.25lbs and 39.5” long.  Fought her for 20 min.  Hit a stick bait on 15# floro running 25’ down over 250’ of water.  Didn’t feel like a fish till the last 40’ and she did a few monster head shakes but for the most part she was just dead weight the whole time. We are going to try and get her aged to see how old she is.  Just an amazing experience and make you realize how important a really good net man is. 

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I was in derby took 3rd in brown trout with a 10.67 lb fish caught it 20 ft down on first leader  had to fight it with 12 ft of 12 lb test got lucky with net we she turned at the boat. The winner with the 29 lb laker said he caught on a stick bait in twenty ft. of water off vine valley. A lot of fish caught in close this week end

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Congrats Justin and thanks for letting us know the story behind catching it. Truly a remarkable fish:yes:

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Posted (edited)

After a few days of thinking about the derby and the winning fish. A few speculations come to mind which could be instructional. First of all that laker is so far off the charts from the usual winner or even the previous record fish that I caught in 2016 (33 inch 16.18 lb Brown) it is hard to imagine a trout that big (nearly twice the size) being down there all these years while his peers must be long gone. He obviously was doing something different that they weren't doing. My hunch is he may be even older than Gambler estimated based on his own gargantuan laker from Lake O because of the difference in food availability, and perhaps even bait size and diversity in Canandaigua (perhaps slower growth rate?). My hunch is he may be close to 30 years old. No matter what he didn't get to that age or size by being careless or stupid:smile: Taking into consideration the area in which he was caught (near the deepest spot in the lake) and the method which was rather unorthodox for catching a laker out deep (on a stickbait trolled shallow over deep water) it made me wonder if perhaps he mainly resided out there in that deep water area near the deepest spot in the lake and maybe didn't frequent the shallower ends of the lake where much more fishing tends to occur, where he would have been more vulnerable etc. or whether perhaps he was a mainly a night feeder or something. I know on Seneca in years past I used to heavily fish the 500 ft. barge area and would frequently mark huge fish down between 300 and 450 ft. and it was always rumored that divers had seen gigantic fish down there.  I know that in that general area of Canandaigua Lake there is a pretty constant source of bait nearly all year around hugging bottom so the fish may not have needed to travel far for food or be in "risky" places. The first day I marked several very long pods of bait stretched along the bottom the first day in 156ft through 192 ft of water very little suspended. About all of the previous night fishing on Canandaigua stopped many years ago and usually it was limited to the first 150 ft or so of water at the south end and not in the area he was caught so if he was in the depths he would have avoided that as well. This brings us to the current situation wherein he was caught. There was a lot of suspended debris in the lake this weekend and lakers are great "opportunists" so I wonder if he was up higher than usual checking out the debris field for potential food and here comes this nice stickbait scurrying by and boom he makes his mistake:lol:. Obviously all supposition but fun trying to figure it out anyway:smile:.

Edited by Sk8man
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Sk8man said:

After a few days of thinking about the derby and the winning fish. A few speculations come to mind which could be instructional. Firs of all that laker is so far off the charts from the usual winner or even the previous record fish that I caught in 2016 (16.18 lb Brown) it is hard to imagine a trout that big (nearly twice the size) being down there all these years while his peers must be long gone. He obviously was doing something different that they weren't doing. My hunch is he may be even older than Gambler estimated based on his own gargantuan laker from Lake O because of the difference in food availability, and perhaps even bait size and diversity in Canandaigua (perhaps slower growth rate?). My hunch is he may be close to 30 years old. No matter what he didn't get to that age or size by being careless or stupid:smile: Taking into consideration the area in which he was caught (near the deepest spot in the lake) and the method which was rather unorthodox for catching a laker out deep (on a stickbait trolled shallow over deep water) it made me wonder if perhaps he mainly resided out there in that deep water area near the deepest spot in the lake and maybe didn't frequent the shallower ends of the lake where much more fishing tends to occur, where he would have been more vulnerable etc. or whether perhaps he was a mainly a night feeder or something. I know on Seneca in years past I used to heavily fish the 500 ft. barge area and would frequently mark huge fish down between 300 and 450 ft. and it was alwaays rumored that divers had seen gigantic fish down there.  I know that in that general area of the lake there is a pretty constant source of bait nearly all year around hugging bottom so the fish may not have needed to travel far for food or be in "risky" places. The first day I marked several very long pods of bait stretched along the bottom the first day in 156ft through 192 ft of water very little suspended. About all of the previous night fishing on Canandaigua stopped many years ago and usually it was limited to the first 150 ft or so of water at the south end and not in the area he was caught so if he was in the depths he would have avoided that as well. This brings us to the current situation wherein he was caught. There was a lot of suspended debris in the lake this weekend and lakers are great "opportunists" so I wonder if he was up higher than usual checking out the debris field for potential food and here comes this nice stickbait scurrying by and boom he makes his mistake:lol:. Obviously all supposition but fun trying to figure it out anyway:smile:.

 

Love reading your thoughts/wisdom on these scenarios Les.  I would guess you're right about it being older... I've heard a few times that Lake O fish grow much faster than Finger Lakes fish on average.  I definetly will likely find myself fishing more of that super deep water.  I usually venture out there anyway and mix it up a bunch with different depths, but now I might spend a little more time in the super deep water on all the fingers.

Btw, I saw you out there in your whaler and waved to you and saw you wave back Saturday early morning just north of the launch.  Was me in the vintage white starcraft center console.

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As I stated in a previous post, that fish is older than you think. Much older. I have talked with DEC in the past about this very thing. Hopefully there will be some enlightenment regarding this fish. I'm still thinking 40ish or older.

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One year weighing in a 12lb laker in the seneca derby the DEC in genenva, we started talking about age and he said that fish with the length, weight and being a stocked fish with a fin clipped he said it was around 20 years old. So I'm guessing this fish is over 40 years old. Congrats Justin on a fish of a lifetime out of the fingers lakes! Also Justin I have had a 17lb brown out of Canandaigua done by the Taxidermist that donates the mount, and I'll be honest I wish I had it done somewhere else. I can send you pics of that fish and another brown from Canandaigua from a different guy and they are night and day.

Sent from my SM-G973U using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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I have had a couple of fish done by Richard Benedict Jr of Angling Artisans Unlimited - his work is the best I have seen.  My son's LOC BT from this past summer is with him now and you can't beat the depth and realism in the paint on his mounts - the fish literally shimmer and change color as you walk around the fish just like the real thing.  My 2 cents.  He isn't cheap but you won't get a frankenfish either.  He molds your fish and then lays it up in glass so it lasts forever - not just some commercial production blank where you give them some rough measurements although he can do that too.

 

Link to his coldwater gallery

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20 hours ago, sawbelliesam said:

As I stated in a previous post, that fish is older than you think. Much older. I have talked with DEC in the past about this very thing. Hopefully there will be some enlightenment regarding this fish. I'm still thinking 40ish or older.

I bet it 50 yrs old

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Les,

You have way too much time on your hands, understanding this particular fish is really quite elementary, it was left side dominant, unusual in Lake Trout but it meant he was in his right mind. Much like one of your fishing buddies it knew how to get by with the least amount of effort, the proof is in its not wasting energy trying to fight the fisherman but it didn't consider that Justin was also left side dominant and well prepared for a record fish!

 

Seriously congratulations Jason and hope you get accurate aging and a beautiful mount of the beast!

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I think they claimed to have sighted that fish during the Civil War better check the papers from that time  period:lol:

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:lol: good one JJ wonder why it isn't in the history books....probably cancel crowd's doing

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3 hours ago, Sk8man said:

:lol: good one JJ wonder why it isn't in the history books....probably cancel crowd's doing

I certainly agree with all the theories on how this laker survived and it's age. Here is another theory. Say sometime in the past few years a fisherman from one of the great lakes caught a very large laker. Lives near Canandaigua lake or drives by it on way home. Kept the fish in the live well. To his surprise,  the fish survived,  and instead of mounting or eating, the fish was set free in Canandaigua Lake.

On 6/9/2021 at 8:53 AM, AnglingAddict said:

I have had a couple of fish done by Richard Benedict Jr of Angling Artisans Unlimited - his work is the best I have seen.  My son's LOC BT from this past summer is with him now and you can't beat the depth and realism in the paint on his mounts - the fish literally shimmer and change color as you walk around the fish just like the real thing.  My 2 cents.  He isn't cheap but you won't get a frankenfish either.  He molds your fish and then lays it up in glass so it lasts forever - not just some commercial production blank where you give them some rough measurements although he can do that too.

 

Link to his coldwater gallery

 

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I wonder if it had any fin clips because that could give a good estimate of at least stocking age.

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You are all over thinking this. This is an old fish that lived as long as it did because no one caught it. There's a lot of water out there. You can't catch them all, and many will never strike a lure. He just didn't get caught until he did. Again, that's an old fish.

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