Tupper Lake Fishing: Tips and Techniques

Angler holding a large walleye while Tupper Lake fishing
Bobby Helms, owner of Tame the Trout charters, holds a trophy size walleye caught while enjoying some Tupper Lake fishing.

Abundant Game Fish

Imagine a large scenic lake conveniently located near a major highway that offers good water access. Now, further, imagine that this Tupper Lake fishing spots offer good fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass as well as yellow perch; but they all are frequently ignored. Then you come to the realization that the bass receives minimal attention because the place offers great Tupper Lake fishing for trophy-sized walleye, northern pike, landlocked salmon, and lake trout.

The Topography of Tupper Lake Fishing

Nestled in the northwest corner of Franklin County, big Tupper Lake is an angler’s dream. Tupper Lake consists of 3 bodies of water. The 6,000-acre lake with nearly 30 miles of shoreline has all kinds of habitat that hold lake trout, landlocked salmon, northern pike, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, yellow perch, and walleye. The variety of habitat holds deep basins of 80 – 100 feet, islands with drop-offs, shallow weedy flats, shoreline points, and two major rivers entering it.

The Village of Tupper Lake: Diverse Habitat and Fishing Guides

The Village of Tupper Lake NY, located at the intersection of Routes 3 and 30, provides:

  1. Accommodations
  2. Services
  3. Rentals
  4. And Tupper Lake fishing guides

There is a DEC boat launch along Route 3 south of the village near the intersection of Simon Pond Road. Two other smaller shallow bodies of water, Simon Pond and Raquette Pond, are connected by navigable water through well-marked channels. Both Raquette Pond and Simon Pond have gravel boat launch areas.

Tupper Lake Walleye Fishing

The lake has a strong population of smelt that most of the game fish feed on. This sometimes makes it challenging to catch the walleye, salmon, or lake trout because they are so well-fed. Because the smelt provides abundant food, the game fish commonly grow to trophy size. Walleye over 6 pounds are common and skilled anglers or guides will often catch 10-pound fish. Great northern pike populations of 15 – 20 pounds, landlocked salmon of 8 – 10 pounds, or lake trout of 15 pounds are not uncommon.

Smallmouth bass is found in all the usual cold water fishing spots, especially along the underwater rock piles, bluffs, or drop-offs along islands, or along the edge of deeper underwater drop-offs. Largemouth bass will be found in the shallow weedy flats and along the swampy areas where the Raquette River enters the lake in the northeast section.

Tupper Lake Walleye Fishing Techniques and Guide Service

Bobby Helms, the owner of Tame the Trout Charters, regularly guides walleye, salmon, and lake trout on Tupper Lake. He said that all the bays along the west side on the southern end are good for walleye and northern pike. In the spring when smelt try to run up the Bog River to spawn and are blocked by the Bog River falls, the walleye and salmon will concentrate there to feed on smelt. At that time he does well with jigs and swim baits in natural shad color.

A boat off of Big Tupper Island with anglers trying their hand at Tupper Lake Fishing

Helms mainly trolls for lake trout and salmon in the summer using sophisticated electronics to target the fish. He said that weekend anglers can also be successful using lead core line and fishing the thermocline or deeper structure. He trolls about 1.9 to 2.3 mph, which is faster than most people. However, he has the numbers of big trout and salmon to back up his technique. He uses spoons like Dreamweaver WD or Luhr Jensen Needlefish that flutter and shine like an injured baitfish (smelt).

Bobby Helms is a native Adirondacker who knows the lake and its fishery well. You will usually find him out fishing of varios fish species: brook trout, landlocked salmon, lake trout, walleye, or northern pike when he isn’t guiding in Alaska. For information on Tame the Trout Charters call (518)-637-6046.

Year-Round Tupper Lake Fishing and Local Attractions

Tupper Lake map

Tupper Lake is a year-round fishery, and ice fishing is very popular there. Simon Pond and Raquette Pond are shallow and harbor nice largemouth bass, perch, northern pike, and an occasional walleye.

The Village of Tupper Lake was historically a center of the logging industry and logging is still an important activity. This year the Woodsman’s Days will be held on July 11 and 12 and provide demonstrations of skill, competition, and fun. In addition,  the village is home to the Wild Center natural history museum and the nearby Adirondack Public Observatory. For a complete list of attractions, accommodations, etc., contact the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce at (518) 359-3328.

Just make sure that whenever you go there to save plenty of time for fishing!


This Article originally appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of Adirondack Outdoors Magazine.

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