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Saranac Lake Fishing Adventure

September 2004

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Well, the 6th annual trip may have been  the best yet. The weather was awesome! Yes, Roger did come along, I guess the curse has been broken. I think this was the most relaxing trip as well. The first day was cloudy and a bit windy but tame by Saranac standards. Days 2 and 3 couldn't have been better if we hand picked them with sunny cloudless skies and no real wind to speak of. I even caught a bit of a sunburn. The foliage had just begun to turn so the scenery was beautiful.
The water level was the highest it's been thanks to a very wet summer and the remnants of 3 recent hurricanes. This made for easy navigation on the river and getting into and out of Weller pond. Just another reason why this trip was so relaxing. After setting up camp on our island, we hit a few favorite fishing spots. The fishing wasn't great the first day but picked up nicely (for me anyway). Roger kept his crown as the Perch King, he always seems to catch a few nice ones.
His highness, the  Perch King
We enjoyed a few great nights in camp. There's nothing like sitting around a camp fire rehashing old Adirondack adventure stories and believe me we have plenty of them. Now that's a fire !
Now that's a fire !
On the second day we awoke to a beautiful sunrise and there wasn't even any fog as I recall. After a hearty breakfast we headed out on to the lake after the mighty Northern Pike and whatever else would bite. Mostly though we headed out to relax, and we did. We spent some time in a creek mouth and Jon scored on a few nice bass. Roger managed to land a decent pike.
Nice Smallie !    That's a little better fish   
But the best thing of all was the Bald Eagle encounter. We normally see one every year, but usually at a distance. This year we were treated to a lesson in how to catch fish the raptor way. The eagle cruised by us at a fairly low altitude which is cool enough in itself but then folded his wings, lowered his landing gear and swooped down on the creek and snagged some lunch. IT WAS AWESOME ! He later came back and landed high in a pine tree and graced us with his presence for over an hour. I had to zoom in quite a bit so this picture is not the clearest.
Who's the man ? !
After having an early dinner back on the island, we headed back out to our secret hotspot that normally produces some great pike action in the afternoon. Well, it wasn't so hot this year. I'm not sure if it was the water level change or what but it wasn't like it has been the last couple of years. As I recall, we got a few bites but didn't land any fish. So, before it got too late we headed back into the creek mouth where we did so well the first day. I landed a nice pike and then when the sun began to set, I tried a bit of surface fishing for bass and it paid off. I caught 4 nice largemouth's in less than an hour. I love it when a fish blows up the water going after a lure. You should have seen the guys scrambling for something that resembled what I was using after I landed the 3rd fish. 
Good one    Bigmouth ...... not me, the fish    
That evening on the way back to the island, we were treated to an awesome site. The sun had set but a red orange glow remained on the western horizon. The moon had risen right over Ampersand Mountain and was nearly full. The sky was cloudless. I attempted some photos but I required a very still set up and we were on the boat so they didn't come out. You'll just have to use your imagination. The moon kept us company all night and the chilly air made for great outdoor sleeping weather. The next morning we awoke to an eerie fog that lifted quickly and revealed another cloudless day. 
What a place to be in September
Unfortunately, we had to start the process of packing up after breakfast, it didn't seem like it was time to go already to me. We made quick work of breaking camp and had some time to do a little more fishing so we headed back out on the lake for a while. We saw a loon and watched him as he watched us and called to his mate with no answer. There's something about the call of the loon, it really speaks of wild America to me. I love it ! Well, we would have loved to visit with him all day, but we wanted one last crack at the fish so we headed to the creek mouth that had produced so well. I decided to try the bass again and had a nice smallmouth on the line momentarily but he got off. I actually got to see him come from the depths and make the strike, that was very cool. The water was very clear this year so we saw many of the strikes on this trip as pike would chase our lures, hit them, get off and come back and hit them again. Very exciting ! Jon had a nice pike do this on the last morning but didn't land him. I switched places with him so he could cast over the weed bed that had produced pike the day before. Honestly, that was my intention ! I was still throwing my surface lure for bass. Well, wouldn't you know it, after a few casts and slow retrieves a nice pike hammered that surface lure and I landed my best fish of the trip. It could very well have been the same fish Jon just missed. Sorry buddy.
He slammed a topwater bait - awesome
The ride back to the launch was deliberately slow. The scenery was awesome and we didn't want it to end too quickly. The mountains were watching over us as usual, the occasional kayaker would cruise by and greet us as they headed toward their own adventure.
Hey, isn't that ...... no wait, that's McKenzie I think    Awesome boat dude
Another year is in the records. I can't express how much I love the wild places in upstate NY, especially Middle Saranac Lake. I look forward to this trip every year and I can only hope that we will be going for many years to come.

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