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Lake John Fishing Report 7/22/12
Bill Willcox Lake John Resport
I know it’s been several weeks since I’ve given an update on the action here at Lake John, however, there’s a pretty good reason. And that is, not much has changed. A few subtle differences you may notice are that the trout are a little older, stronger, girthier, and have even pinker meat than they had three weeks ago. And that the fishing (and landing) is a might more challenging because of the growing weeds. Other than that, the water level is holding its own, and both boat ramps are totally functional, although the north ramp is the only one equipped with a dock.

The main activity that has stayed consistent thus far throughout the season is the catching of fish. Using any and all legal methods of take, no matter from the shore or on the water, the Lake John bite remains phenomenal. I’ve even had a few of my customers go so far as to actually try to find a lure that they could not catch fish on. One such patron bought several cast-and-retrieve offerings that had never landed him any luck in the past. As it turned out, they all proved a lucky bargain.

The biggest problem I witness when the catching is this good is higher than “should be” fish mortality rates. Especially when bait fishing, trout released and returned to the water statistically have only about a 50 percent survival rate. Yes, almost all swim away and look fine, only to die a few hours, days, or a week later. To keep a limit of four fish is fine, however, releasing 20 to 30 to complete that limit means anglers must know proper release techniques. Some standards that I follow are :

· Unless you plan on keeping the fish, try not to handle it at all if possible. If you must touch the fish, wet your hands first.

· Do not hang the trout by your fishing line, especially if it has swallowed the bait. If it has and you can’t see the hook, cut the line as close to the fish as possible, and tie on a new hook. Do NOT dig the hook out of the fish.

· If planning on using a net, invest a little more in one with a rubber mesh – it’s much easier on the fish and your hooks don’t get tangled nearly as easily. Also, dip the net in the water first before reaching for the fish.

· Get your camera ready beforehand. Don’t keep the fish out of the water any longer than you can hold your breath.

· Throwing trout back into the water, the way bass fishermen do on TV, is a sure way to kill them. Revive them gently.

· If the fish is bleeding in the least, eat it – it’s going to die.

· Reel the trout in as quickly as possible. Do not play it to exhaustion.

· Crimp down barbs on hooks and replace trebles with single hooks.

Lake John is a great spot for the kids and family to have a fun time catching lots of fish. It’s also a great place to teach them to respect our quarry, carefully release what we can, and only keep what we eat. Several groups this summer have already been ticketed for having too many fish in possession, and trying to pass excuses with comments like “but the fishing is so good”, and “but there are so many fish” doesn’t cast well on us as sportsmen and women, and have no place in the education of youngsters.

I do recommend, however, keeping a few for the dinner table. The wife and I did just that the last time out, and found those 13 to 14 inch Rainbows that have been in John for nearly a year have firm, pink meat and are an absolute delicacy, and even though the fire ban is still in effect the gas grill did just fine. We packet-grilled our ‘Bows, stuffed with scallions, thinly-sliced green pepper, garlic, lemon, salt & pepper, served them with parmesan rice pilaf, a spinach & romaine salad with wild blueberries, toasted almonds and basalmic vinaigrette dressing, and homemade lemon/dill tartar sauce. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a morsel left for our restaurant customers!

Bill Willcox

Lake John Resort