Sunny skies & light winds made for a smooth yet cool ride as we raced across the lake towards our first fishing area. This trip had been postponed from the Victoria Day weekend to the Memorial Day weekend due to the foul weather we had. Once again, as each anniversary arrives, this annual trip to Lake Memphremagog has to be undertaken, or else. It’s a small price to pay for 17 years of marriage. I’m very fortunate to be partnered to someone with the same passion & love of the sport as I have and am grateful of this each and every day. Where some husbands have to fight and argue with their spouse to go fishing, my wife requests this of me instead. Tough job eh! She has excelled in the sport over the years and thoroughly enjoys time spent on the water, as much as I do.

Normally a jerk-bait produces fish on almost every cast at this time of year, but due to the overly cold weather we’ve had lately, we could only scratch up a handful of bass. Surface temperatures barely hit 50 degrees and the air temperature wasn’t much warmer either. I knew there had to be more fish on this shallow, pre spawn flat and was determined to catch them. Vermont’s “Catch & Release” season allows bass fisherman and women the pleasure of catching these bronze beauties earlier than usual. Having had great success with Rat-L-Traps on other bodies of water this time of year, I figured I’d give them a try. It wasn’t long before I had a response from a four pound bass. Burning this crank-bait over lots of water in specific areas of the bay produced many hits, but many lost fish as well. The lure was triggering them into attacking, but they were not really feeding. Most of the ones that were landed were barely hooked on the back treble and any extra pressure on the fish would tear it loose. A 7 foot, slow action rod set up with 12 pound Berkley Trilene Inshore line and a very light drag on the Curado 200 bait cast reel, allowed more fish landed than lost. By making long casts and sweeping the hook set like a Carolina Rig set, we were able to get into more than 50 bass ranging from 2.5 to 4.5 pounds in about four hours of fishing time. We combed the bay and had constant action throughout the time we were there, catching and releasing these beautiful smallmouth bass.

After lunch, we relocated to some offshore structures and once again began boating smallies in the two to four pound range. This time however, we were fishing the deepest drops on the reefs in 18 to 25 feet of water with jigs. Once again, the Fin-S by Herb Reed of Lunker City provided us with continuous acrobatic action as the bronzebacks displayed the aerial jumps that they are so renowned for. It turned out that some of these deeper areas were just loaded with the bass that should be closer to the nesting areas inside the bay. Most of the bigger females were relating to the open water humps and shoals rather that the frigid bays. Mother nature has a way of confusing even the fish sometimes, I guess. Overall, 75 or more smallmouth bass were landed on this our belated anniversary day.

Day two turned out to be a nasty one, with the weather taking a turn for the worse. It began with a strong SW wind of 15 to 20 knots and then got even windier. This made it nearly impossible to control the boat in the shallower water, where I found most of the fish the day before. Three-foot rollers were blowing into the bay and then it began to rain. The temperature dropped 5 to 10 degrees in under an hour and the barometer did as well. Figuring that the fish had moved out deeper, I started on the first transition in about 12 feet of water. Christiane hooked up with the first of many fish of over four pounds on the Rat-L-Trap by slowly reeling it, as we drifted with the wind. I figured I’d try a Bandit 300 series crank-bait to go down a little deeper & immediately locked up with another fat female of close to four pounds. Markers were thrown and back out we went again. This time though, I threw out two drift socks from the stern and slowly worked the area once again. Many more fish were caught by both of us as we slowly drifted the deeper areas outside the bay. The bass had definitely disliked the weather change, but not as much as we did. After a few hours of this miserable hate, we decided to call it quits and head for the ramp. We took a bit of a beating on the way back, as the wind seemed to change the further we went out into the lake. Constant cross-wave action tossed and twisted us all the way back. We were sure glad for rain suits on this day. Lake Memphremagog can be as gentle as a kitten or as mean as a lion. The mountainous terrain surrounding the lake tends to funnel and swirl bad weather, causing sudden weather changes, often. If you plan a trip to the lake this season, be prepared for the worst but expect the best bass action. Size and numbers of these beautiful Smallmouth Bass were caught and released on yet another anniversary to remember.