What can I say about the St. Lawrence River? It borders the United States and Canada as a natural boundary being that it’s a body of water that contains some great fishing opportunities. I have to say fishing on that river made me a much better fisherman because of the experience that I spent on a boat called The Rough Islander. The boat’s captain is Pat Snyder who I got to know very well and we’ve gone out more than just several times out on the water, both the American and Canadian sides (he’ll have day licenses for the Canada side if all you got is a NY fishing license). He taught me how to fish better especially when going after walleyes and northern pike which I didn’t know how to fish for them, but in time, I learned and caught these fish myself on other waters as well.
The boat is based out of “A-bay” as the locals call it rather than its long, official name of Alexandria Bay, New York, in upstate New York. It’s right on the St. Lawrence River and is a very popular place (known as the Thousand Islands Region) during the summer time when “city slickers” come up to enjoy the great water sport activities such as water skiing, boating, fishing, swimming, and scuba diving. It seems like the entire region comes alive during summer which Pat told me that “A-bay” doubles or triples in size in terms of population with all the tourists and boaters flocking to the region. When summer is about to end, everyone picks up and leaves, leaving all the residents for the oncoming winter time which can be brutal with its heavy snowfall and bitter cold.
I think this change of seasons is the reason why the fishing can be excellent because it allows the cold-water fish species to thrive and grow. As for me, I’m all for catching different types of fish and my main targets were Pike and Walleye. All the other species such as Bluegill, Bass (both Smallmouth and Bigmouth species), Drum, Yellow Perch, etc. were going to be extra prizes for the dinner table.
The first time I went fishing on the river, I used the jig method to catch the attention of the fish and ended up catching a ton of bass that I had to let go quite a bit of them. I didn’t get any pike or walleye as I was told that I came either too early for them (pike) or too late for them (walleye). Oh well, that was life.
When I went fishing the next year, I finally got my pike. I actually caught several of them by using the boat to cruise and then trolling the bait to catch the fish. By using this method, it would create movement that would attract fish particularly pike which were normally sitting around waiting to strike its prey (smaller fish) with its powerful jaws and teeth. I ended up catching a lot of them that I ended up throwing them in the freezer. Don’t let the bony skeletons deter you from eating them which I’ve found out that people have problems with their bones in the meat. Just filet them properly and you’ll be fine.
Later on, I did try my hand at going for walleye but didn’t get much success. It was only when I brought my friend along for good luck that I caught my first walleye! I used a bait and jig method just like I did for bass. It was only during this particular time though that I initially thought I hooked a rock and it would let it go. After my friend pulled it out did he realized that there was a fish on the other end of the line. After he returned the rod to me, I reeled the fish in and it was a walleye. After some discussion, we realized that the fish took the bait and swam around trying to get it off and somehow tangled the line around a rock. Talk about a close loss!
Several other notes: There are plenty of water sport activities that can be done in this part of the area such as scuba diving, jet skiing, boating, water skiing, relaxing on the boat, island hopping, etc.