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The bass report
By Jerry McKinnis
Bass fishing analyst

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Finally, the much awaited bass fishing report.

No, not from Lake Toho in Florida.

No, not from Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Texas.

It's not even from one of the Great Lakes.

This report comes from Saranac Lake in New York's Adirondack Mountains.

So who cares about Saranac? The whole bass fishing community should, because 10 of the absolute best bass fishermen in the world have made their way to Lake Placid for ESPN's Great Outdoor Games.

These anglers were invited to compete in the bass fishing portion of the competition and the Saranac chain of lakes, 20 minutes from Lake Placid, is the setting.

Breaking down the chain

Let me start by explaining what the chain consists of, beginning with Flower Lake, where the competitors launch. Flower isn't a large lake; it seems like its only use is for the boats to have a way to get to the next lake. However, last year's winner started in Flower and caught several keeper bass there, which were later culled for larger fish from Middle Saranac. I'm doubting that anyone fishes there this year, and if they do, they'll be targeting largemouths.

Flower turns into Oseetah without you knowing it, and from Flower to the end of Oseetah is eight miles. Oseetah can offer some serious largemouths, but they hang very close to the small clumps of grass, and if the sun doesn't come out or if it's windy, these clumps are very difficult to see.

We're about two or three weeks from this grass growing to the right height.

From Oseetah you can idle into Kiwassa Lake, where two or maybe three boats could fish without bothering each other. This is maybe the deepest lake on the chain, with great banks, rocky points and boat docks to fish. However, it offers productive topwater fishing right out in the middle, away from the banks, where smallmouth bass are constantly chasing baitfish. Most of these fish are small, but if you're patient, you can end up with five smallmouths weighing a total of 10 to 12 pounds.

The other path out of Oseetah is the lock into Lower Saranac. The current at this very small lock is fishable. I guess that if any of our 10 pros have the nerve to do it, they could fish this spot all day long every day and win.

When you leave the lock you're in the Saranac River. Last year one of our competitors fished only in this three-mile-long river and did very well. I'm told that the local anglers caught onto this and really hurt this small piece of water. Don't look for much fishing to come from the Saranac River.

Now you're into Lower Saranac and its classic-looking northern smallmouth waters — lots of boulders, sunken islands and rocky banks. Anywhere you throw you could catch a smallmouth.

The next lakes up are Middle Saranac and Wheller Pond. These, along with Lower Saranac, have that look that smallmouth fishermen drool over.

Now we're talking about where the majority of the fishing will be done, and there's plenty of room for everyone here.

Recent behavior

The fish in all these waters are from five to 12 feet deep and jump all over a green or gray two-inch tube bait. There are lots of fallen trees around the water's edge that can be flipped as well.

Here's a real bummer though: In order to catch a winning stringer, you need one or two good largemouths. Smallmouths alone won't do it, and the largemouths are going to be hard to locate because the grass that was beneficial to our event last year isn't available this year. We're about two or three weeks from this grass growing to the right height.

Because of this little snag, I'm guessing that fishing will be down some from last year.

Weather is a big factor this year also. It's terrible right now with lots of rain. I don't think that will affect the fish as much as the anglers' practices. Again, it's a little tougher this year, and these guys, good as they are, might need all the time they can get on the water, and the weather has hindered that.

So here's the actual fishing report from the Saranac Chain:
Bass — fair to good
Lures — tubes, Zara Spooks and white spinnerbaits
Depths — 5 to 12 feet
Water temperature — 65 degrees

These are 10 of the best bass fishermen in the world. Watch them prove everything I just wrote bogus.

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