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Author Topic: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing  (Read 1202 times)

Offline PerchEyes

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Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« on: Feb 10, 2020, 08:51 PM »
Took me a long time to find this but I finally did.
I wanted to show friends at work how we caught ďice fishĒ (what we called smelt) back in the old days.
This is a 20-year old local PBS show filmed at Port Henry NY near where I grew up.
Unfortunately, these shanty towns are a thing of the past as alewives have drastically displaced the smelt.
I think Iíll break out my old smelt poles to see if I can catch a perch or two with them on Oneida this weekend.

https://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_113-52j6qdvq
The tug is the drug.

Offline mdougla1

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #1 on: Feb 10, 2020, 08:57 PM »
I only experienced a couple winters at port Henry before the smelt were wiped out .  was a great time

hard to imagine what that place would be like today if they were still there

the interference from the hundreds of flashers in such close proximity would be unbearable. 

Offline numbtoes

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #2 on: Feb 10, 2020, 09:29 PM »
When I moved to central New York 22 years ago I used the rigs for perch on Madison Res. They worked but mostly got very small ones. I didn't use flashers until just before I left but I imagine they would cause havoc with hundreds of them going. Still have a lot of the home made jigging sticks but doubt I could still use two at once and never touch the line or fish unless baiting up again. Fished some at Port Henry but mostly at Camp Dudley where 50 ft off shore and you were over real deep water. Some guys built boats with a square cut in the middle of the floor and then walls up as high as the sides so they could go out in the summer over deep water and catch "ice fish".

Offline PerchEyes

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #3 on: Feb 10, 2020, 09:51 PM »
I would catch some nice perch at Camp Dudley with those poles and use perch eyes for bait.
The tug is the drug.

Offline rapeye

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #4 on: Feb 11, 2020, 05:03 AM »
Thanks for sharing the smelt fishing video. Rapeye. :icefish:

Offline SchrnLker

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #5 on: Feb 11, 2020, 06:18 AM »
Wow that brought back memories.
Tony

Offline Adironzach

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #6 on: Feb 11, 2020, 06:31 AM »
awesome video, thanks for sharing. Love seeing how things were done back in the day and it spurred me into a little deep dive on lake champlain/ smelt  :)

Offline thor94

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #7 on: Feb 11, 2020, 06:38 AM »
Nice Video.  I did that once with my dad.  It was the morning after Buster Douglas beat Mike Tyson.  Funny, how you remember things.

So, what happened to the smelt?

Offline BeenPerchin315

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #8 on: Feb 11, 2020, 06:53 AM »
Very very cool.thanks for sharing.
Disclaimer:
For all of you who think that Iím crazy or that itís better then Iíve sated I finally bought a good spud yesterday cuz I had a feeling of need. I used the buddy system and we both had flotation and have been fishing hard water more then 15 yrs now.

Offline hunts2long

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #9 on: Feb 11, 2020, 07:27 AM »
Great video, thanks for sharing. I guess back in those days being too close wasn't an issue...h2l
Northville, NY

Offline lockdown199

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #10 on: Feb 11, 2020, 07:48 AM »
Man that video brings back memories of my grandfather that used to take us there.

Offline Adironzach

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #11 on: Feb 11, 2020, 07:49 AM »
Nice Video.  I did that once with my dad.  It was the morning after Buster Douglas beat Mike Tyson.  Funny, how you remember things.

So, what happened to the smelt?

Alewives made it into the lake. They're more aggressive than the smelt so they think it caused the smelt's habits to change, forced them further offshore and into deeper water more year round. That was from a couple of articles in the 06-09' range though. State was saying then that they were still within their healthy population range, albeit on the lower end of it. Not sure the current status on them

Offline lockdown199

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #12 on: Feb 11, 2020, 07:58 AM »
Any reports on the ice on Champlain, would love to give it a try again.

Offline Chase88

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #13 on: Feb 11, 2020, 08:04 AM »
Good memories ... we would throw in right in the frying pan from the water....

Offline hardwaterhonkey

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #14 on: Feb 11, 2020, 10:10 AM »
Any reports on the ice on Champlain, would love to give it a try again.
Itís got ice I canít say how much passed it this weekend tons of guys on South Bay and as far north as Ticonderoga had ice, buddy fished around crown point bridge on Friday and Saturday iced many perch and lakers donít know thickness tho the bays on Vermont side are also frozen for sure watch out for ferry tho

Offline lockdown199

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #15 on: Feb 11, 2020, 11:44 AM »
Itís got ice I canít say how much passed it this weekend tons of guys on South Bay and as far north as Ticonderoga had ice, buddy fished around crown point bridge on Friday and Saturday iced many perch and lakers donít know thickness tho the bays on Vermont side are also frozen for sure watch out for ferry tho

Do you know any access points on South Bay

Offline cnyiceguy

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #16 on: Feb 11, 2020, 01:42 PM »
Used to chase Perch around Valcour Island in the 80's using a short ice pole, 50 lb mono, 2 oz chrome weight, and 2 hooks with eyes. 35 to 50 FOW.  Just drop and lift as fast as you could. Only took a couple hrs to fill a 5 gallon bucket.

Offline 62&done

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #17 on: Feb 12, 2020, 05:55 PM »
Those were the days !! The late 70s and early 80s for me.   It was a 2 1/2 hour ride to Port Henry. After a quick stop at the diner on top of the hill for breakfast, (can't remember the name) we were at the boat launch renting a shanty from Mr. Christianson by 7 am. We drove out if conditions permitted or he took us out in a covered sled behind a snowmobile. After fishing till late afternoon, eating venison burgers off the coleman stove with a few beers and choking on the smoke from a makeshift wood stove it was a longggggg ride home.

We were young and tough as nails.   I'd do it again today if I could and the smelt were there

Offline bootstrap

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #18 on: Feb 12, 2020, 06:09 PM »
smelt shanty towns on vermont side too. there was a great article in vermont life magazine about them from decades ago. i used to go in the 1980s and 90s was a great time, many fond memories. about 2003 was the end of it.

Offline numbtoes

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #19 on: Feb 12, 2020, 09:33 PM »
Around 1970 it was a very warm sunny day and we were all fishing outside our shanty. Looked at a shanty town only a few hundred yards farther out and thought I'd walk over there to give it a try this nice day. About an hour later a NY DEC ranger  officer on a snowmobile comes from where I was and stops only 50 yards away. Goes back and forth a few times then back toward NY. The guys around me start saying he can't do anything on this side of the lake. Our guy over there will be here soon enough. So I picked up my gear and tried to be invisible on one of my longest 50 yard walks ever. Made it back. My fault of course for not knowing the boundary well enough but yes, there were shanty towns on the Vermont side too.

Offline DShooo

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #20 on: Feb 13, 2020, 04:00 AM »
I shared this video with my wife and kids...it brought us all a smile...and a little bit of sadness, thinking back on the years fishing the hole.  Sure had fun up there... couldn't beat it.  Thanks for sharing this gem with us!  Tight Lines and stay on top boys.
I'd rather be fishing...

Offline trapper2000

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #21 on: Feb 13, 2020, 04:15 AM »
I really enjoyed watching this  thank you

Offline PerchEyes

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #22 on: Feb 13, 2020, 07:44 AM »
smelt shanty towns on vermont side too. there was a great article in vermont life magazine about them from decades ago. i used to go in the 1980s and 90s was a great time, many fond memories. about 2003 was the end of it.

Bootstrap,
I search that magazines archives and found quite a few that mention smelt. I haven't had a chance to read yet:
=subject%3A%22Vermont+Life+Magazine%22]https://archive.org/details/vermontlifemagazine?sort=titleSorter&and[]=subject%3A%22Vermont+Life+Magazine%22

On left, select "Text Contents" and enter: smelt
The tug is the drug.

Offline hardwaterhonkey

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #23 on: Feb 13, 2020, 10:05 AM »
Do you know any access points on South Bay
Look at the thread... bridge with access right there

Offline Hess

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #24 on: Feb 13, 2020, 10:26 AM »
Very cool -- brings back fond memories -- unfortunately, this is a bygone era...!

Offline Benfishin

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #25 on: Feb 13, 2020, 11:14 AM »
Is there any place left with easy access to catch smelt. Years ago I use to go with my dad at Port Henry. We also use to go to West Port, south of the bay down by the lighthouse but the land was later posted because people left the private access a mess.   

Offline Adironzach

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #26 on: Feb 13, 2020, 11:24 AM »
Do you know any access points on South Bay

If you punch in South Bay State Boat Launch into your maps, it'll bring you right to the access point. There is parking on either side of the bridge.

Offline Icemaster19

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #27 on: Feb 13, 2020, 11:45 PM »
Is there any place left with easy access to catch smelt. Years ago I use to go with my dad at Port Henry. We also use to go to West Port, south of the bay down by the lighthouse but the land was later posted because people left the private access a mess.
.     There are a few small inland lakes near Redwood that hold smelt.  I usually go fill a small bucket every year!

Offline bootstrap

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #28 on: Feb 14, 2020, 09:39 AM »
Bootstrap,
I search that magazines archives and found quite a few that mention smelt. I haven't had a chance to read yet:
=subject%3A%22Vermont+Life+Magazine%22]https://archive.org/details/vermontlifemagazine?sort=titleSorter&and[]=subject%3A%22Vermont+Life+Magazine%22

On left, select "Text Contents" and enter: smelt

i looked too i didnt see what i was thinking of, maybe it was a pbs  / vermont public tv episode i was thinking of.

Offline buck05

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Re: Old time Lake Champlain Smelt Fishing
« Reply #29 on: Feb 14, 2020, 03:14 PM »
That was a great video. Thanks for sharing!!!! Mark :tipup:

 



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