While attending sportsmens shows in Syracuse and Oneida this past winter, I had the chance to visit with Captain Bob Dick, who had a display for Moby Dick Charters, his sport fishing charter service out of Henderson Harbor.
Dick and I are fellow members of the New York State Outdoor Writers Association, but our conversations were not about writing. Instead, the dialogue focused on two interests we have in common: Syracuse basketball and fishing out of Henderson Harbor.
Dick and I are avid followers of SU hoops, and since the team had Saturday afternoon games during the Syracuse and Oneida shows, the two of us constantly consulted Dicks wife, Dawn, who was monitoring the games on her cell phone. Syracuse then was in a bit of a slide, but Dick and I agreed that downturns were common over a long season and that the team would turn things around. The Orange did, as evidenced by its recent performances in the Big East and NCAA tournaments.
What I found most interesting in our conversations about Syracuse basketball was that coach Jim Boeheim is a regular client of Moby Dick Charters. The brochure for the charter business includes two photos of the SU coach.
He and former SU star guard Gerry McNamara display an impressive catch of walleyes in one photo, while the other shows Boeheim with a mixed catch of brown and lake trout.
Commenting on the coachs fishing skills, Dick said, Boeheim is a really good fisherman.
Henderson Harbor Fishing
In addition to being fans of SU basketball, Dick and I are fans of Henderson Harbor fishing, and we have sung the areas praises in many newspaper and magazine articles over the years. Henderson Harbor is a gateway to world-class fishing.
Dick is a fan because the waters have allowed him to operate a successful charter service that puts plenty of big fish at lines end, and big fish translate to happy customers.
I am a fan because I love to experience good fishing, and on my numerous trips with Captain Bill Saiff III of Saiff Charters, the fishing has been great.
Dick has an intimate knowledge of the fishing out of Henderson Harbor because he spends six days a week from April through September on the water there.
I asked him to give an overview of the spring fishing opportunities out of Henderson Harbor so that I could share the information with readers of this column. Heres what Dick had to say:
Henderson Harbor may be No. 1 in the nation for catching trophy walleye. We have been blessed with a fishery that produces 10-141/2 pounders consistently.
Some of the best places are Campbells Shoal, Gull and Bass Islands, the Stony Creek area, and most of the areas around Pillar Point in Black River Bay. Popular stick baits for trolling include Bombers, No. 18 Rapalas, Thundersticks, Husky Jerks, and Reef Runners, and the best colors are black-silver, blue-silver, and fire tiger. Worm harnesses and crawler tipped jigs also produce excellent catches. In order to help protect the fantastic walleye fishery, more anglers are practicing catch and release.
Brown trout fishing has been fantastic the past few springs. Some of the best areas are the sand beach from the mouth of North Sandy Creek and South Sandy Creek to Stony Creek and continuing north anywhere in Sawyers Bay, Rays Bay, and the shoreline continuing off the trench in to Henderson Harbor. Best trolling depths are between 3 and 30 feet, and favorite lures of the charter captains include Michigan Stingers spoons, Jr. Thundersticks, Smithwicks, and Rapalas. What is nice about targeting browns is you can also catch a lot of lake trout some days as well as the occasional steelhead.
The northern pike is the bread and butter fish off Henderson Bay in the spring. Just about any spoon or stick bait will catch fish, and popular colors include black, blue, orange, chartreuse, and silver. Some of the best places are the sail boat moorings, Whites Bay, Lime Barrel Shoal, Gull Island, Bass Island, Horse Island, Campbells Shoal, and the east shore from Treadwell Point to the Gill House. The best depths are 8 to 35 feet of water. Use floating lures in the shallows and deep divers or weighted set-ups for fishing deeper.
Henchen Marina is the center of fishing in Henderson Harbor. The marina has everything to meet an anglers needs, and since the marina serves as the location where most guides pick up their clients, the folks at Henchen have access to the most up-to-date information on the fishing action.
Today and Monday: Hunter Education Course at Massena R&G Club (In-person registration with Massena Town Clerk).
Friday and Saturday: Hunter Education Course at Duffanys Body Shop, Watertown (Pre-register at 788-2161).
April 12-14: Hunter Education Course at Fishers Landing Fire Hall (Pre-register at Clayton Library).
April 12-14: Clayton Boat Show at Clayton Arena (686-3771).
Saturday: Hunter Education Course at Beaver River F&G Club (Pre-register at Buckingham Hardware, Croghan).
April 13-14: Massena R&G Club hosts annual Sportsmens Expo.
April 20: Hunter Education Course at Moose River F&G Club (Pre-register at 351-6673).