Written by Don Lehman
The third Saturday in June used to be an unofficial holiday for fishermen and women of New York, as it had long been the day that bass season kicks off in the Empire State. But the creation of a catch-and-release season for bass a few years ago made it legal to fish for bass year-round as long as they were promptly returned to the water.
Whether you are headed onto the water in Warren County to bass fish for the first time of the year in June or in April, your chances of success are very good. Warren County has a wide variety of bass waters, from shallow ponds and lakes home to big largemouths to deep, rocky waters with prodigious populations of smallmouths.
No writeup about bass fishing in Warren County is complete without a discussion of Lake George, considered by many to be the county’s top bass lake, particularly for smallmouths.
Numerous bass clubs hold tourneys on our renowned lake every year, and it has drawn national tournaments over the years. Professional bass anglers aren’t coming to your lake unless they know they are going to catch lots of fish, and some big ones at that.
Lake George has popular public access spots from the south end to the north, so there are plenty of places to get on the water. The Narrows in the center of the lake are renowned for smallmouth bass, while the weedy bays in the south end, north end and Northwest Bay hide some big largemouths.
If you’re looking for more solitude and space than the big lake will usually provide, Warren County has a number of other smaller, quieter bass-laden waters where you can fill a stringer most days. Among them:
Schroon Lake – This nine-mile-long lake that straddles the Warren County/Essex County line has public access in the town of Horicon, off East Schroon River Road. It has extensive weedbeds in the north and south ends that harbor big largemouths, and lots of underwater rock structure for smallmouths.
Hudson River – An underrated bass fishery, the stretch of the Hudson from Rockwell Falls in Lake Luzerne to Glens Falls has public access from the boat launch off East River Drive in Lake Luzerne, off Big Boom Road in Queensbury and at Feeder Dam Park in Queensbury. The river’s place in logging history has left a lot of underwater wood for fish to use as cover, and the bass grow big in the Hudson. Upstream, the section of river from Riparius to Lake Luzerne has many spots to find feisty river smallmouths. Parts of the river are catch-and-release only, so make sure to check the NY DEC’s online rule book.
Garnet Lake – Located in the northwestern corner of Warren County, Garnet Lake is as pretty an Adirondack body of water as you will find, surrounded by mountains and its shores mostly wooded. There is also an easy-to-access car-top boat launch on state land off Maxam Road. It is also home to some big largemouth bass and a smaller population of smallmouths. Its remoteness keeps the crowds down, so it’s a great place for a quiet outing.
Brant Lake – Minutes east of I-87 Exit 25, Brant Lake has a revamped public boat launch just off Route 8 that gives great access to this picturesque lake. And the bass fishing on Brant can be spectacular, particularly off the points on the north side and around the handful of islands. Brant also has some nice weedbeds that will yield big largemouths.
Glen Lake – A small lake in Queensbury, its public access on Glen Lake Road is usable by those with kayaks or canoes. It has plenty of bays and weeds where bass seek cover, and it has given up largemouths topping 7 pounds in recent years.
Schroon River (pictured below) – Known mostly for its trout fishing, lower sections of the Schroon are home to some sizable, feisty smallmouth bass. The stretch from the dam off Route 418 in Warrensburg down to the Hudson River confluence will bring lots of actions with spinners or flies, while slower sections upstream hold largemouths and smallmouths.
The NY DEC’s website also offers a host of other suggestions for Warren County spots to wet a line for bass.
So, are there any local tricks to catching bass? Not really. The tried-and-true techniques that work on most waters, live bait such as minnows, crayfish or worms, fished around structure will yield fish around Warren County.
Artificial offerings such as softbaits and plugs will bring success as well. Early mornings and the hour or so before dusk will see the most action in the summer.
The biggest smallmouth bass bite of the year in the Adirondacks typically begins in mid-to-late July as water warms enough to kick their metabolism into high gear.
While summer is usually the best time of year, big bass are caught year-round, even through winter’s ice, here in Warren County!!