Monday, May 5, 2014

Bass Fishing in May: A 2014 Photo Journal from Lake Chautaugua NY

My 3rd annual trip to Lake Erie and Chautauqua lake was a much different experience then the previous 2 years.. with the crazy winter we just experienced the water conditions and the fish were in a very different mood upon our arrival on the first of  May. With water temps hovering around the the 45-48 degree mark the lakes were easily 5-10 degrees cooler then the past two years.

Our first stop is usually Lake Erie, either the Buffalo Harbour or Dunkirk, but the conditions were so bad that we decided to forgo Erie entirely,  cold water mixed with high winds and ice flows made it a dangerous option, and although I love to fish, I do have my limits.

When we arrived at Chautauqua we decided to fish the North end on Day 1. This saved us a good 20-30 minuted commute from our residence and since it appeared we were the only people crazy enough to be on the lake, we had the launch and water to ourselves.

Surprisingly enough after spending a good chunk of the morning in deeper water, we decided to duck into a back channel to see if any fish were coming in shallow.. sure enough my first Bass of 2014 came off this drop shot in 3 feet of water.. who'd a thunk.

As always when on Chautauqua we stay at a nice place called "Maple Bay Get-A-Way" on the south side of the lake. The accommodations are nice and the view is killer

Day2 we decided to stick with our shallow water success from day 1 and fished my favourite area on Chautauqua.. the docks.. The bite was on and we had 3 fish by the time we finished two rows


The pattern was very easy to get on, by the time we finished 4 dock sections we could cut back to fishing only the outer 3rd of the docks and focus on the font and back comers.. no middles, and if you were not bit during the fall or first hop.. bring'er back and move on

People throw around the term "cookie-cutter" fish quite frequently, as if it's a bad thing, but when the cookie-cutters are around the 3lb mark, it aint such a bad thing.. these fish are well fed

As you can see the weather was not great, we spent the entire weekend in our rain suits trying to keep as dry and warm as we could. But when the fishing is as good as it is on Chautauqua, you don't really worry about conditions. 

A great view of the BassTek jig and Jig sling that I used almost all weekend long. Great quality bait, not once did a fish come un-stuck, and the sling keep my trailer in place for the first 10 fish of the day (and then I only replaced it do to arms being ripped off) The Jig pictured is their Football Jig in the Black/Brown and Green Pumpkin (HERE)

A pic of Kenny working his jerk-bait around the Bell tower, you should have seen him jump when that Bell started ringing to mark 12 noon.. almost lost him there.

Another nice jig fish. The bit may not have been hard, but they were sure swallowing these baits

Spinner baits have always been hot on Chautauqua, but this weekend it was not exactly stellar conditions. The fishing was really slow and low, we threw spinner baits off and on each day, but only managed one spinner bait fish... it belonged to Kenny

When not tournament fishing I could catch this size fish all day, what a blast, and even in the cold water they had some fight to'em

Not one for posing for pics, I usually have to snap shots of Kenny when he's not looking. Here he is with one of our smaller fish, nice work Kenny 

Tell me you could pass this spot up? not me, never, no way.. I'd like to tickle each piece of timber, see who's home

Man these Chautauqua lake fish are pretty, nice healthy shine and fat, fat bellies. Believe it or not this guy was pushing 4lbs.. nice work Brian

Gorgeous sunrise on Sunday morning.. that's why my church is the lake


After giving him the gears about hooking into more fish, i got cocky and tried to snap a pic while holding it up in his face, Kenny decided to reach in and attempt to make it look like his

PS: I have to show him up when I can, he taught he how to fish (really fish) and constantly beats me on the water

I don't think there is much more I can say about this one.. best fish of the trip for me

Kenny and Rick hard at it, on one of their Smallie spots. Brian and I snuck up for a visit before moving on up the lake

This weekend getaway is usually all about the smallies, but with these conditions the bite was tough. I know both Rick and Brian hooked into some nice ones, but this little guy was all I could manage.. BassTek jig in the grass

A local angler walking the shoreline let us know the 1,500 Musky are stocked in Chautauqua each year, and that it was the #4 Musky lake in the US.. we shrugged and said that we had never hooked into one.. then promptly hooked into 3.. this little guy was contribution.

Kenny hooked into the largest Musky of the trip, it would have been about 30 inches. Not having a net big enough to land it, he sent me in with the pliers to shake him off.. needless to say he spit the hook before I got in there and Kenny ended up with it in the back of his head.. I snapped this pic after offering to help remove it

A new favorite jig trailer of mine in the Berkley Havoc Pit Chunk, what a great action it they have. You may notice that this is not the same BassTek jig I was using on day 2.. remember to re-tie or you loose the things you love.

This is a shot is from Saturday, the Walleye opener on Chautauqua, I cant image no matter the conditions that a lake of this caliber would be anywhere near as empty in Ontario.

Since I only fish this lake once a year, I don't mind sharing my spots in pics, in this photo there is a a reference that you will notice in similar pics from the past two years, this spot always produces... but Ill leave the wheres Waldo"ing to you

My fellow anglers are not as photo happy as I am, but on occasion I make them stop to commemorate the times.. nice fish Brian


Home sweet home.. see ya next year Chautauqua

Weapons of Choice for this trip:

Dobyns 734c - Daiwa Tatula - Toray Finesse Braid - BassTek FootBall Jig - Berkley Havoc Pit Chunk

Dobyns 735 Coalition - Daiwa Advantage - Toray Superhard - Gann's Jig - Berkley Havoc Pit Chunk

Dobyns Dx742 - Daiwa Lexa 2500 - Daiwa Samurai Braid/Toray Finesse Fluoro - Robo Worm

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