By mid-July the magical Lake Champlain spawn is winding down, and the fish are transitioning to their summer patterns. At this time of year, it is easy to develop post-spawn bass tactics to successfully catch large and smallmouth bass with any spinning fishing rod. Since these fish have not committed to their deeper summer ledges yet, targeting depths anywhere from 3 to 15 feet promises excellent catches and multiple mid-range baits prove effective.
Leverage the mooring blocks
Lake Champlain is filled with mooring blocks to anchor boats, and one proven tournament strategy is running and gunning those mooring blocks on the lake. Using a drop shot with a wacky rigged worm, senko or ned rig can be extremely effective and lead to a good limit.
Search for shallow weed lines
Anglers close to spawning areas can also locate productive shallow weed lines in 4 to 8 feet of water. Areas with some current are best, since they help to position the fish in predictive portions of the large flats. Spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and speed worms are all great bait choices for shallow weed lines and can produce mixed bags of both large and smallmouth bass.
The points adjacent to weedy flats are also great places to look for a top water bite. Targeting the weed line and gaps between the weeds with a walking bait, such as a spook, can lead to an exciting day on the water. In all my days out of the water, I’ve found that the slightest gust of wind rippling across the water can help produce strikes
Use the right bait for deep water
Jumping points on the main lake between 8 to 15 feet of water with a drop shot or jerkbait is an excellent tactic as well. This will allow you to zone-in on smallmouth making their summer transition. Look for points that have current and use your electronics to find rock piles that concentrate the fish.
In conclusion, the more predictable weather and mild temperature of early summer makes for the most enjoyable time of year to fish on Lake Champlain. If you find yourself struggling for catches on this memorable lake, these post-spawn tactics are sure to turn your fishing trip around. I hope you all find your way to Lake Champlain to spend some time in fishing bliss.
Jeff Melsop is an avid tournament angler who started his fishing career fishing in the TBF Ohio Bass Federation and qualified for multiple state teams, along with two national championships.