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Thousand Islands Fishing 2023

We just spent six days fishing up on the St. Lawrence River out of Chippewa Bay. This is now the twelfth year in a row of fishing up there.

Last year we really dialed into the bite in that specific first week of July. Last years blog ->(

It felt good once we got into the rhythm. On the third day we had our trip with Captain Randy Yager of Guided Bass Trips. (

We have been booking him for one or two days for the last six or seven years. He has done a great job of always edjucating us on the river and helping us to craft our skills. We get him early into our week up there in order to build confidence and start off on a good note.

Here is the fishing log from one of our days out. We were out for half a day. Where it says "Cookie" it refers to catching a fish around 3lbs. Where it says "Rat" that refers to the "River Rats" as Randy calls them, those ones are about 1.5-2lbs.

7/5/23 July

St. Lawrence River

Fun Fishing w/ Dad

Air temp: 72°-87°

Water temp: 67°

Wind: SW 5MPH- W 6MPH

Conditions: Mostly Sunny

Depth fished: 6’-23’

Time fished: 8am-12pm

Water clarity: 10’+

Pattern: Spawn -> Post Spawn

Best Zone: 9-14’

Total bass caught: 12

8:30am: First Fish; 3/16 Ned

9:47am: 1/8 Ned

10:02am: Double; Ned, Hair Jig

10:07am: Cookie; 1/8 Hair Jig

10:21am: 5-3; Hair; Big Fish (Pictured below)

10:39am: Cookie; Hair Jig

11:16am: Cookie; Hair Jig

11:34am: Rat; Hair Jig

11:45am: Cookie; Ned (burning it back)

11:55am: Rat; Hair Jig

11:57am: Rat; Spinnerbait

12:10am: Lost one on Spinnerbait

Species: Smallmouth & Largemouth

Technique: Drop Shot, Ned, Hairjigs

Terminal: 1/4oz Pencil Weight, JDO 1/8oz Ned Head, 1/8-1/4oz Hairjigs

Lure: XZone Finesse Slammer and Deception Worm, Zman TRD, Berkley Flat Worm

Color: "309", Watermelon Red Flake, Canada Craw, Black

Rod: BPS Carbonlite 2.0 7’2” ML XF

Reel: Daiwa Legalis 2500

Line: 15-pound Cortland Braid->8-pound leader

The pattern was pretty simple. Fishing near and around shoals/islands. Light Ned rigs, like the JDO 1/8oz Ned Heads and light hair jigs 1/8-1/4oz. Another player for the week was the drop shot. For the drop shot it was the exact setup if we were targeting largemouth or smallmouth, all we would change is the plastic. We were either using an XZone Finesse Slammer for smallmouth or an XZone Deception Worm for largemouth. Colors were "309" and Watermelon Red Flake respectively.

The JDO Lure Co. Ned Head paired with the Zman TRD in Canada Craw was absolutely magical. In certain areas there was a lot of "rock moss" or slime and you'd have to clean the bait often. But once out of those zones you would catch fish. The retrieval was pretty simple. Cast it out down current, let it fall, slowly bounce it and reel it back.

The hairjig was a really fun bite and super easy retrieve. We would thread a flatworm on the back. The only color we used was black for both the hair and worm. You'd make a long cast into shallow water 1-3' let it sink slightly and SLOWLY reel it back. At times we we're catching them in deeper water on them just by letting it sink a few more feet, although with how clear the water was they would come pretty far for a bait.

Overall the quality of smallmouth was great. Several at or close to the five-pound range. The biggest ones seemed to eat on the fall with the Ned. The hair jig they would eat it halfway to the boat roughly. Fun fight on lighter action rods. The largemouth were all caught on inside weedlines near shore or directly in weed patches. Also managed to catch one on the frog late one night.

Thank you for reading about our trip. Stay tuned for more articles to come. Check out the JDO Lure Co. Store to pick up some of the tackle we use on our outings. Check out Captain Randy's website to and book a trip with him up on the St. Lawrence River!

Tight lines!

Hunt, Fish, Fitness.

Peace and Love


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