You don't have to believe those splashy ad campaigns that tell you how good the fishing is on Lake Champlain.
Ignore that Madison Avenue stuff, and listen to the best bass anglers in the world, guys who fish all over the country. Let them help make your decision on where to go fishing. Take FLW tour pro Scott Martin, for instance. He's pitched, flipped, and drop-shotted all over the country, including Lake Champlain. Here's what he says:
"You could go up there and fish for nothing but largemouth bass, or you could do nothing but target smallmouth bass all week. Or you could say to yourself that you want to try and catch a mixed bag," Martin says.
Martin calls Lake Champlain — listed No. 5 on Bassmaster Magazine's 100 Best Bass Lakes — "the best double-tiered lake in the country. And by that, I mean that Lake Champlain is absolutely incredible."
Fellow fishing pro Wesley Strader agrees. "It's unbelievable how many ways you can catch fish at Lake Champlain," said Strader. And the sprawling lake offers the kind of space every angler desires. "On Champlain, if you do find a couple of good spots, you might just have them to yourself the entire time."
"This is the best double-tiered lake in the country. And by that, I mean that Lake Champlain is absolutely incredible as both a largemouth fishery and a smallmouth fishery," Martin says.
It's been that way for quite some time, ever since the bass fishing pros first scheduled a tournament on Lake Champlain. The pros gave the big lake rave reviews as they hauled in — and released — limits of bass in events that were decided by mere ounces simply because everyone was catching their limit.
The attraction of the smallmouths — most tourneys involve largemouth bass — was even more enticing for the anglers, even though it's typically the heftier bucketmouths that ultimately lead anglers to the top prize. Many pros shirked the largemouths for the opportunity to fish for the battling bronzebacks, even though they knew it could impact their weight tally each day.
"There isn't a lake in the country where everyone catches this many fish," tour veteran Jay Yelas raved.
Craig Clayton of Rogers, Ark., said he couldn't believe the quality of the fishing on Champlain.
"It's unbelievable. This is the best fishing I've ever seen," said Clayton. "This lake is absolutely phenomenal. I probably caught three limits today, and I had my first limit by 8 a.m. I actually quit fishing by 9 a.m. to give my pro partner a chance to catch some more fish and make the cut."
Most of the pros will readily admit Lake Champlain is their favorite tour stop. You can double your fun by targeting both smallmouths and largemouths, can find unpressured fish throughout the lake, away from the crowds, and use a variety of tactics and patterns to tie into some of the finest fish around.
And you can do it right now. While the traditional Lake Champlain bass season opens June 8 (a week ahead of the statewide third-Saturday-in-June kickoff), there's a catch-and-release, artificials-only season outside the regular season. It often offers the chance for some shallow-water sight fishing for big bass.
But don't believe us. Don't take our word for it. Get out there and see for yourself.
Or listen to the finest bass anglers in the world.
Lake Champlain lodging is the first place to look when planning your trip.