Trip 1 – first week of July
We arrived at the boat launch around 8:30 am. There was a pickup in the process of bringing a trailer down the narrow path to the launch site. The boat on top of the trailer was 16′ aluminum outfitted with electric trolling motor. Me and my brother walked down behind the pickup to see if we could offer some help.
The boat ramp was in a bad shape and trailer launching was out of question, so we offered to hand launch the boat. It was easy between 4 people, so the site was clear for us to come down in no time.
I backed down the car trying to keep my tires on the paved part of the path. Bote was setup under 20 min, I left rods and tackle on the grass for my brother to load while i took the car to the parking site.
I think we were very optimistic by buying 4 dozen minnows, which were happily waiting in outboard bucket such as this one .
I will run ahead of my self and say that with water temperatures around 74 F we had no dead bait fish in 8+ hours spent on the water. Other then good survive-ability of our bait, this bucket offers a neat way of getting minnows out. This is done by lifting the bucket horizontally, which drains the water through numerous holes on the backside of the yellow top making it very easy to get next bait fish. The bad thing is that the bucket adds constant drag on the side of the boat.
With minnow bucket floating on starboard tied to the middle seat we started exploring the lake. Having some idea from NYS DEC site about Mongaup Falls Reservoir we started closer to the east shore and made our way alone with few lines out baited with minnows. I had what i though to be 1 to 1 1/2 oz egg sinker through the main line keeping it down. We moved about 1 mph on the GPS. It did not take long for me to land our first fish, which was Chain Pickerel at about 18″. It took the bait from what felt like the second strike and after a short fight it ended up in the net. It was a very clean hook-set in the corner of the mouth. I marked the location and we kept moving south. Shortly after I caught a nice 11″ Crappie on the same setup. Now we had 2 not so happy fish swimming in our bucket. Alex had few hits which did not produce.
We went all the way down to the dam, crossed over to the west side of the lake. I did not mark any interesting structures on the fish finder (I am still learning how to read it, so it could be just my bad interpretation), i did mark depths of almost 40′ closer to the dam. West side of the lake appeared to be shallower and did not produce any strikes. This could be attributed to our bad fishing technique and limited bait selection.
At noon we wanted to get out of the sun and take a brake. We picked a small natural harbor on the east side which was situated just south of the 3′ shallow bed and was very much at the point of drop off. We beached our boat and set to have lunch.
It was a great day, we really enjoyed the lake. An eagle family made this lake their home, matter a fact we were having lunch somewhere not far from their nest so we had a great chance to watch these magnificent birds go on their hunting sorties. Unfortunately we did not get to witness a successful hunts.
I took this the opportunity to check the gear, the battery was reading at above 75%, prop was clean, there was nothing to worry about.
We enjoy the shade for a few hours during which we did some float fishing. This was very entertaining as there was endless supply of small yellow perch and bluegill for us to catch and release. I did catch one small mouth bass, which could not wait to be released.
He took my worm under the tree (behind me), gave me a nice fight on super light tackle and decided not to wait as i was walking back to the water for a release, he wiggled him self out and dove into the water like a champ.
After the afternoon break we headed across to investigate west side of the lake. There were some promising spots. We did catch some more fish mostly trolling. Alex had some more bad hookups. We seen some very nice and promising sites but fish was not cooperative although I did have the fish alarm go off number of times on the sonar.
We then went towards the river mouth. On the way there Alex finally picked up his first fish trolling, it was a jumbo yellow perch.
At the river mouth there is a bridge and remnants of an old bridge. That day there were people fishing both sides of the bridge with their lines in the narrow passage the river takes into the lake. Passage appeared to be shallow on the east side, we took the center not to interfere with other people fishing.
River had more current, water level seemed to be average. There was definite activity in all the natural pike hunting grounds. What me and my brother saw next was out of si-fi. Some 50 yards from where we were we heard lots of splashes. We though it was gees or ducks landing on the water, but we did not see any where the sound was coming from. Then Alex said “It is a Pike!”. “You had too much sun” – was my reaction to his statement, but then I seen it as well. My view was largely covered by some grows on flooded patches of land, all I could see was the aft of the area where the sound was coming from. I could see a massive tail which had to belong to enormous Pike. The tail came up and down making major splashes, it appeared like the Pike was trying to get at something in shallow water, according to Alex Pike’s mouth was opened and it was trying to launch it self on the very shallow in order to catch something.
Following this display Alex was bent on hooking a pike, in which he succeeded after number of casts with a shallow diver lure. I managed another unattended catch on a live minnow, which was still hanging off my rod i used for trolling. It was almost black in color jumbo yellow perch.
Sun was about to set and we decided to call it a day. We “raced” back making just about 3 MPH, this seem to cheer up other fisherman. I think they found amusing that my Riptide was actually audible at 100% throttle. I guess it was just like watching a Honda Civic do 60 at 5K RPM.
Well, just like any other trip, this one ended. We broke down the boat and took the 2 hour trip back home.