Lake George, A Bass Bonanza

Caught aboard Justy Joe Charters!

By Joe Greco, of Justy Joe Charters,

This month we are going to be talking about Lake George and it’s tremendously under-rated bass fishery. Bass have the reputation of being an “easy” fish to catch as many anglers not targeting them during the peak summer months may lack the appreciation for finding big fish when times get tough. Big bass like any other big fish are not a dime a dozen, and are not “easy” to catch. If they were, we would all be on the tournament trail professionally fishing and the unemployment rate would surely skyrocket! Lake George is no exception, however finding and catching good numbers of bass make this lake an exceptional place to fish.

So you don’t have a sparkly boat? Your boat won’t do 85mph and you don’t have 18 fishing rods strategically arranged on deck that are rigged up with a variety of heavily promoted baits that buzz, pop, snap, crank, chatter and spin? Your rig is lacking the latest in side imaging technology and you thought a power pole was something National Grid ran telephone lines on? Well I will put you and your wallet at ease when I tell you that Lake George is a great place to catch lots of bass using fairly simple techniques.

First let’s discuss the nature of the lake and how the fish relate to these conditions. Lake George is deep, cold and clear. There is not many lily pads, no expansive matted vegetation and for the most part weed growth will be found from 10 to 40 ft. This all boils down to fishing deeper structure than you typically would and using lighter more finesse-style techniques. The largemouth bass and smallmouth bass will share similar areas during the summer months however, if you wish to target strictly largemouth head to slightly shallower areas where weed growth in the 20 to 30 ft. depth range can be found. If these areas coincide with rocky points, deep water nearby or steep drop-offs make sure to fish around all the edges of these features which could potentially hold pods of fish. Look for lush weed growth with a variety of weeds growing together in the 25 to 35 ft. range. These can be seen easily on any color fish finder and will show up as reddish yellow clusters tight to bottom. Jigs, tubes, crankbaits and wacky-rigged worms in natural colors will all produce fish.

Lake George Bass + Kids = Big Smiles.

If beastly bronze-backs are what you’re after head to the main lake and start looking for points, humps, and bays that extend out into deeper water. After the post-spawn you will have populations of bass that hang on structure and you will also have bass that roam the open water chasing smelt. Use your electronics to locate pods of fish. It’s critical to use run-and-gun tactics as you will find fish, lots of fish, and often times it is the wrong kind of fish. You will run into huge schools of perch and sunfish and sometimes you will have to fish several different spots to find the bass. Begin your search by looking for areas in the 30 to 50ft. range.

Caught aboard Justy Joe Charters!

Finesse plastics and light line are the gold standard for smallmouth on Lake George. We typically drop-shot these plastics using 6lb fluorocarbon line, a #2 Daichi drop shot hook and a variety of clip-on drop shot weights depending on depth. I am a big fan of tungsten as again, it’s less bulky yielding a smaller less conspicuous profile. Bass are commonly fished in 30 to 40 feet of water and it’s not uncommon to catch suspended fish in the 60 to even 80ft. range! It’s important to understand that the primary forage in these main lake locations is juvenile perch and/or smelt. Go-to colors are perch fry-mimicking natural patterns such as watermelon, pumpkinseed and smoke-black pepper.

Don’t forget about the “craw dads”! Crayfish are also a significant forage species at certain times of the year. This is when small spider grubs such as the Keitech little spider in the 2” and 3” models shine. Rig these on a 1/8 to a 3/16 oz jig head and twitch them across rocky points making contact with bottom occasionally. You can also rig these drop-shot style for a unique presentation that sometimes turns them on when all else fails.

Give Lake George a shot next time you are looking for a great mid-summer bass fishing experience. We would be glad to take you out on one of our boats ( and can promise you an action packed trip. We will try our best to send you home with a tired arm and a big smile!