Brandon Lester details smallmouth fishing in the Saint Lawrence River
Over the past five years fishing the Bassmaster Elite Series, I have visited a lot of really cool places. I have been about as far as a man can go north, south, east and west in the United States. Visiting new places is actually one of my favorite parts of fishing professionally. Don’t get me wrong, I miss my family when I have to leave and they don’t get to travel with me, but I do enjoy traveling. I’ve met a lot of great people and seen some really cool sights both on the water and off.
Although I haven’t visited anywhere that I completely disliked, I do have a few favorites that I look forward to every year. One of my favorite stops is the Saint Lawrence River in Waddington, N.Y. Yes, that’s right, a Tennessee boy just said he loves New York. When most people think of New York, they immediately think of New York City and all the hustle and bustle that goes with it. Upstate New York couldn’t be further from that. Waddington, and really the whole thousand islands region, is very rural, quiet and beautiful. Row crop fields and dairy farms are mostly what you see along the roadside.
Aside from the scenery in Waddington, the fishing is absolutely phenomenal. I finished third in our Elite tournament up there this year and actually caught my biggest smallmouth ever on the final day of the tournament. She weighed 6-8. I also caught my biggest five-fish limit of smallmouth ever that week, as well. It weighed 25-13. This year was my third time being there with the Elite Series and the fishing has gotten better every time we’ve been.
The Saint Lawrence River flows out of Lake Ontario and in a lot of ways it sets up like the Tennessee River where I fish back home. The current there runs a lot more than I am used to, but that just sets those fish up in likely areas a lot longer each day. The smallmouth are growing extremely large because of the presence of gobies. Smallmouth love them, and the X Zone lures Slammer mimics them perfectly. Rig it on a Mustad Titan X Wacky Neko hook and an MHX rod and you’re good to go.
You’ll find a lot of people up there don’t even fish for smallmouth but instead chase walleye. That’s one reason the fishing for smallmouth is so good. Give the Saint Lawrence River a try and I think you will see why it’s one of my favorite places.