Let’s talk about deep water trophy walleye.. Since the first European explorers journeyed here, Henderson Harbor has provided a safe harbor and recreation to travelers by land and by water. Samuel de Champlain first witnessed the area’s beauty in 1615, and it still stands as one of the elite natural scenic areas in the United States.
A Bit of History About Henderson Harbor
Fishing trips from this harbor have been a way of life for centuries with early fishermen targeting lake trout, black bass, white fish and sturgeon. In the last 40 years king salmon, brown trout and steelhead have entered the picture. Now, nearly every other freshwater species known can be found in the Henderson Harbor and surrounding areas.
Trophy Walleye in this Area
One nationally known fishery that has stood out over the past 25 years is trophy walleye. This area is known for its exceptionally large walleye. It is not a fishery that has a reputation for producing big numbers of fish, but it is known for producing trophies.
In the past there have been many articles on where and how to fish shallow water around points and shoals in the Black River, Chaumont Bay and Henderson Harbor area. I thought it would be helpful to cover some of the deep water areas that we fish in May and June and what we use.
The Best Places to Fish Deep Water
Without a doubt, the best places to fish deep water are southwest of Black River Bay, out of Chaumont Bay, off Pillar Point, off Point Peninsula toward Stony Island, and the “trench” near Henderson Harbor. Some of the best depths are anywhere between 35 to 70 feet of water. Many like to concentrate on the 40 to 60 foot depths, especially in the month of June.
Why are these nomads roaming this area at that time of year? We all understand it is about “food”. After the spawn, walleye love to feed on the fat, rich alewives that are abundant in this whole area, making for some easy meals without having to expel much energy.
For Novice Fishermen
Many novice fishermen ask how to fish and what to use for these elusive giants. We like to use planer boards and downriggers while some veteran captains like in-line planers. Running planer boards gets your lines out away from the boat.
Most captains like to run their lines back 130 to 260 feet behind the boat.
- You can run an average of two to three rods per side. Line counter reels are a must.
- If you are looking for planer masts, you cannot go wrong with contacting Great Lake Planers.
I believe they have the strongest systems on the market with rugged aluminum planer reels with super cranking power.
Downriggers take many fish by being able to put the lure exactly in the fish’s kitchen. We like to run lures at the 18 to 28 foot depth area for suspending fish while keeping an eye on our graph for fish close to the bottom. It’s amazing the amount of baitfish that we mark that time of year. This presents a problem of trying to outduel the real meal with artificial bait.
It can get very frustrating trying to get those finicky trophies to bite. When you are running planer boards, downriggers, flatlines, or in-line planers, many anglers like to add extra weight to get lures deeper. Split shot, keel sinkers, or drop sinkers are just a few of the options.
What are the Best Lures to Catch the Trophy of a Lifetime?
Our favorite is the deep-diving Husky Jerk in size 12. Every local fisherman or guide has their favorites and they all work. We use a lot of #18 Rapalas, especially off the downriggers. Reef Runners are our next favorites along with Bombers, Thundersticks and Smithwicks.The three colors that you should always have are:
- Fire tiger.
Your lures should have 3D laser eyes, high definition scales and gills, and internal holographic foils. A novice can add more colors as they go along. Gold, green, copper, orange, and chartreuse are also excellent colors.
Map of Golden Crescent Walleye
To help those new to fishing for trophy walleye in the area, I have included a map. If you are looking for some deeper water trophy walleye fishing spots, try where the Xs are marked. They are typically the most consistent spots.
There are a couple of places you can get information and tackle before you head out on the lake. Henchen’s Marina in Henderson Harbor (315-938-5313) and B&J Bait in Dexter (315-639-3686) on the Black River can assist you with almost any of your fishing needs.
Good luck and I hope you get one of those 10-14 pound trophies of a lifetime!
Original Article By Bob Dick
About The Author
Captain Bob Dick owns and operates Moby Dick Charters out of Henderson Harbor on Lake Ontario. Captain Bob specializes in sport fishing for trophy walleye, browns, lake trout, king salmon, northern pike and smallmouth bass. He has lived and fished the eastern end of Lake Ontario and tributaries his entire life and is a member of the NYS Outdoor Writers’ Association.