Leon Archer

The Sportsman’s World: June 16, 2012

Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

My boat has been calling to me for the last week or so.

A fishing friend of mine in Central Square was telling me that the walleyes have been biting really well in Oneida Lake.

He had been getting limits regularly and almost too easily jigging near buoy 121. Dean had invited Sweet Thing and I to join him and his wife, Ann, for lunch, and we readily accepted. The main course was perfectly cooked walleye — and it was superb.

A worm tipped purple or black jig has been the ticket for Dean, but the fish are also reacting favorably to other offerings, and the old favorite slow trolled spinner and worm combo can put a limit of fish in the boat with relative ease.

I used to fish Oneida every once in a while with Frank Maurer and some days we would come home with a limit and some days with only three or four apiece.

Seldom did we ever get skunked. Now that the daily limit is only three fish, the limits are easier to come by.

Ontario has been beckoning also, and the bass have been cooperating with most bass fishermen. Lures are working well with the small mouths and they don’t catch gobies. If you are going to fish with bait, be sure to keep it up well above bottom or the gobies will grab it.

They don’t seem to care much about chasing a bait hanging away from the bottom, probably because the bass are alert to any of them that leave their sanctuary. Bass can catch them on the bottom, but they are much easier prey once they get into the open.

When the gobies first started showing up in the lake, they definitely did have an immediate detrimental effect on some native species.

There were dire predictions about them which seemed to be coming true for a few years and forage fish such as the sculpins have declined drastically due to their competition for food and living space. Still, the tide seems to have turned.

Gobies were not utilized as prey by native game fish when they first popped onto the scene, but eventually they were sampled and apparently enjoyed by bass, walleye, trout and salmon, and probably by other smaller fish before they grow too large to be eaten by them.

When one catches a bass today in the lake or St. Lawrence River, the likelihood is that it will spit up a few gobies.

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