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MrKawfey 05-20-2021 10:15 AM

Non-fishing Dad needs help
Hey guys, heading to forked lake next week and could use some help. I have never been into fishing but my son (10) seems to be hooked (sometimes I just crack myself up).

He wants to target bass, walleye and trout both from shore and his kayak.

Anybody got any general tips on bait/lures? Technique, expectations?

On previous trips here he has just been grabbing sunnies with kielbasa as bait. Now he wants to get a bit more serious.

I let him pick some stuff up at the store (trout beads, shads, rubber worms and crayfish, spoon/spinner) but he knows more than I do.

Not looking for anyone to give up trade secrets or their hidden spot, just some steering to give him a better chance.

Wldrns 05-20-2021 12:17 PM

Start by reading and showing your son the NYS fishing regulations found here:

If you "target bass" next week, you are setting youself up for a fine. You may not be able to guide a specific species of fish on (or off) your hook, but you cannot legally catch AND keep bass next week.

chairrock 05-20-2021 04:04 PM

Lake Clear Wabblers

MrKawfey 05-20-2021 08:00 PM

I'm a bit confused about the bass season. I had previously looked at the regs and it seemed like bass was fine all year as long as you weren't keeping any.

Not sure if I needed to specify, but he doesn't keep anything.

Am I misinterpreting something?

Wldrns 05-20-2021 08:27 PM

Then you are good to go. As I said you can't prevent any particular fish from hitting your hook, when fishing in waters with multiple species present, but if it is a black bass, it will not be legal to keep until the season opens later in June. To me, "targeting" implies specifically going after a certain species which as a practice would likely raise an issue with the DEC.

To the extreme, there are cases of certain waters, mainly those with specific kinds of trout for example as the primary resident, where you are not allowed to fish at all out of season (or in some cases, not to fish there at any time).

bluequill 05-20-2021 09:53 PM

In region 5, Hamilton and Franklin counties, You can not target bass...... even for catch and release until the 3rd Saturday in June. So if you are casting a rubber worm in shallow water that might raise some eyebrows.

Viking 05-20-2021 10:23 PM

Since you are heading out shortly and time is in short supply I would recommend watching some youtube videos.

MrKawfey 05-20-2021 10:40 PM

Ok, so I think I need a little education. As a non-fishing person I assumed that everyone "targets" something. Maybe you decide you want to hook a walleye so you pick the right lure and drop your hook in the right part of the lake.

I guess I don't understand why DEC would have an issue with that. In the reg doc you link to, the word "target" doesn't show up at all.

For clarification my son fishes with his grandpa on Sacandaga all the time. On this trip, no grandpa.

St.Regis 05-21-2021 08:42 AM

I think "targeting" comes from fishermen who try for bass on their spawning beds before the start of the season (traditionally the 3rd Sat in June on most state waters).

Bass aggressively defend their eggs and fry in their nests..if they are hooked, the nests become extremely vulnerable, and are often swarmed by small pan fish like petch, bluegills, sunfish, and rock bass. In fact, that bass you're fighting on the other end of your line was probably defending its nest as the lure passed too close. It was striking out of aggression at a fish (your lure) that was perceived as a threat to the nest.

I think it would be hard to get convicted of targeting a bass before the season, if the lake you were fishing has other species that are in the same area during an open season. It would be perfectly legal to cast a lure in the shallows for pike where they and bass both frequent this time of year. Pike season is open, bass is closed. It's more of an "on your honor" thing. But if DEC was watching you catch and release bass after bass before the season opener, I'd expect you might get a talking to.

dockless 05-21-2021 08:54 AM

As long as your son is doing catch and release as a normal practice, he might as well remove the barb from the hook in order to both prevent damage to the fish and make it easer to remove the hook. It also proves to everyone that he intends to release the fish.
Simply use a pair of plyers to crush the barb. There may be better ways with a file, etc. And they even sell barbless hooks.

Also, use only artificial bait as the fish take live bait deeper so removing the hook does more damage to the fish.

You will need a fishing license if you do anything to help him such as tying the hook onto the line, putting bait on the hook, etc. as you would then be "in the act" of fishing.

Have fun.....

MrKawfey 05-21-2021 09:27 AM

Thanks for the input guys. I'll pick up a licence this year just to be on the safe side. And I'll squeeze the barbs down on his hooks. It's always bothered me when he was younger, and I had to get all the sunnies he caught off the hook, seeing how much extra damage the barb can do. I always assumed you needed the barb or fishing didn't work, but, like I said, fishing just isn't something I ever got into.

So, rules and regs aside, how about some real general tips for a lake like Forked Lake at this time of year? Is he wasting his time out in the kayak in the deep water? Or in the middle of the day (vs sunrise or sunset)?

Should he be keeping bait near the surface, the bottom, middle? (I know the right answer is "where the fish are")

I noticed that hooks have number sizes, any ballpark advice? Treble hooks?

dockless 05-21-2021 09:41 AM

NO treble hooks!

He'll just hook himself !!!

If anything you buy has more than one hook, remove it!

BTY: Removing fish from hook is "in the act" of fishing.

Jwojcik1990 05-21-2021 11:31 AM

I have not fished Forked Lake myself, but most bodies of water like that contain Bullhead right? That can be a lot of fun at night when they are hitting and is as simple as having a worm a hook and some weight.

MrKawfey 05-21-2021 11:58 AM

Boy, I think I need to eat a slice of humble pie. After all the years of tisk-tisking over hikers and campers who don't bother to read the rules much less educate themselves about LNT, or boaters who never learn the regs, I now find myself on the other side of the road.

Looks like if my son really is going to stick with fishing as a hobby I'm going to have to do some learning too. I love that he has this activity he can share with his grandpa, but my father in law is not the most reliable source of modern fishing practices.

dockless 05-21-2021 04:57 PM

Personally, I have no problem with open violation of an unnecessary, or stupid law as long as nobody is harmed in any way..... but, I also think you should know that it's a violation. So, nothing wrong with Grandpa's method as far as I'm concerned.......he's just trying to help your son.

Things were much simpler in the 50's and 60's......................
But that could lead to a whole different topic that is really not suited for discussion here.

mike 05-27-2021 08:54 PM

Sorry I was posting misinformation.

Buckladd 05-29-2021 04:11 PM

Forked is a good bass lake. Can't say I've ever gone after or caught walleyes there but a friend of mine caught some small salmon in the river once on a camping trip. If you're tossing top-water, a crankbait or wacky-rigged rubber worm, I think that constitute's "targeting" if an ECO wants to press the issue. If you're trolling a Rapalla, maybe not? A better bet might be to drive down to the carry into Raquette Lake give the brook trout a try on chairrock's suggested lure (above). Or, come back to Forked after bass season opens.

Schultzz 05-29-2021 09:15 PM

Hey, if Bluegill aren't still spawning your son can have a lot of fun using a worm or salmon egg. Aside from some restrictions, just getting some experience is a great teacher.

dpc34 05-30-2021 03:27 PM

Just a worm and a bobber will catch a lot of fish...just make sure everyone is having fun and not making it a job....enjoy

MrKawfey 06-03-2021 08:54 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Well, that didn't take long. Hadn't even finished unloading the canoe and he was yelling to me that he got one. Luckily I had already flattened the barbs so he was able to get it off the hook no problem. Snapped a pic and sent it on its way. He caught another one about the same size towards the end of the trip and he insisted that it was a largemouth instead of a smallmouth, but I didn't see it. Other than those two he mostly caught a bunch of other little stuff fishing from the canoe with my brother-in-law.

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