You don’t have to go far for good fishing

Eric Davis

Mayhood's Sporting Goods

CHENANGO COUNTY – While Chenango county is known for having one of the highest areas of state forest land in New York, it also holds some pretty good places to fish.

From trout streams to bass ponds, to rivers with walleye and pike, you can fish for just about anything without leaving the county.

There are multiple places that you can go in hopes of catching trout. The NYSDEC stocks trout in Bowman Lake, Guilford Lake, Mill Brook Reservoir, Jeffrey Pond, and Pharsalia Y Pond. The Genegantslet Creek and Otselic River also are stocked with trout annually.

When fishing in the ponds or lakes, many fisherman like to use live minnows fished below a bobber. Another good option is to use dough baits or pellets fished similarly. For the majority of their lives, the trout have been fed pelletized food in the hatchery so a ball of dough can trigger them to eat it out of habit. Try using bright colors to catch their eye from a distance but have a more plain color, such as dark green or brown, available in case the bite is tough. Trout can be caught using artificial lures as well. Small inline spinners, such as Panther Martins or Roosertails, are very effective.

These are the king when fishing in moving waters, like streams and rivers, unless you are using flies. Fly fishing is popular for trout as you can imitate the extremely small invertebrates that trout eat in stream environments.

Long Pond outside of Smithville can produce some big crappie, bluegill, and pumpkinseed sunfish. Once in awhile I even get into some good sized yellow perch when I’m ice fishing there in the winter.

Other fish species in the pond include brown bullhead, largemouth bass, pickerel, and tiger musky according to the NYSDEC website. Only motors that are 25 horsepower and smaller are allowed. The large amount of cover that is provided by rooted vegetation in most of the pond make it a good pickerel and bass lake as it provides plenty of cover for them to ambush prey.

With a decent predator population in place, the prey species tend to have large older individuals because they are able to use more resources – like food – since the predators keep their numbers somewhat limited.

Balsam Pond in McDonough has a large panfish population. The last few times I have fished there, specifically for panfish, I seem to catch about 5-10 pretty small ones for every ‘keeper’ sized fish.

Balsam Pond however is one of my favorite places to fish for bass and pickerel. It mostly is due to my love for using rubber frogs and the combination of woody cover and vegetation growth makes most the pond a great location to use frogs – next week’s article will have some in depth advice for gear and techniques for frog fishing.

While I’m not a huge fan of pickerel because their large number of teeth typically ruin baits lightning fast, you can’t beat how aggressive they usually are when they go after a lure.

I’ve talked to a few fisherman that like to catch crappies early in the spring just as the weeds are starting to grow from the bottom of the lake. From a fisheries standpoint, Balsam Pond is the perfect panfish body of water as it is a shallow, warm pond that is very productive in terms of plant growth.

Mill Brook Reservoir is located outside of New Berlin. I started ice fishing there this winter and am pretty impressed with it. While it is stocked with trout, there are good perch and crappie in the reservoir. Look for trout deep in the summer and fish the shallows for bass, crappie, and other panfish. The reservoir itself is pretty deep overall and grows good perch since they prefer cool bodies of water and semi-deep weedbeds and rocky cover. The large shallow flat will hold bass and other panfish.

Chenango Lake outside of Norwich is a popular ice fishing spot and is used by many throughout the year. The lake hosts the Perch Derby on years when there is enough ice, which suggests the perch fishing is good.

I’ve only tried this lake once so I have limited experience to go on. Other fish listed on the NYSDEC website include largemouth and smallmouth bass, pickerel, tiger musky, pumpkinseed sunfish, bluegill, rock bass, and brown bullhead. Chenango Lake is fairly deep with somewhat steep drop-offs around the majority of the lake. Similar to Mill Brook Reservoir, this lends itself to being a good lake for yellow perch to thrive in.

There are three rivers that are popular for fishing in Chenango county: the Unadilla, the Chenango, and the Susquehanna. Each river has public access launch sites as well as fishing access locations.

The Unadilla River south of New Berlin holds smallmouth bass, walleye, carp, and multiple species of panfish. The upper portion of the river holds brown trout.

The Chenango river is popular for smallmouth bass, walleye, and northern pike fishing. Live bait is pretty popular, especially using shiners. Panfish and perch can be found in the Chenango as well.

The Susquehanna river is well known for smallmouth bass fishing, but also holds walleye in the portion that runs through Chenango County. Baits fished on the bottom of deep holes can produce both bass and walleyes. If you head to any of the rivers in the evening, you can find yourself catching the aggressive smallies on topwater baits such as buzz baits or poppers.

With all of the different places you can go fishing in Chenango County, you can set out to catch a wide variety of species without spending a lot of money on gas to get there.

– Mayhood's Sporting Goods

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