Section: Sports,  Page: B5

Date: Friday, June 3, 2011

The lower section of the Mohawk is a lot different than the section west of Schenectady which we discussed last week. The section of the river from the western edge of Schenectady, eastward to Lock 7 is a bit of a transitional area. For example, there are some largemouth bass there, usually in the shallow, weedy areas. There are also some pike there.

Smallmouth bass are also present in good numbers there. There are a lot of rocky areas and creek mouths that hold smallmouths in the Schenectady area.

The biggest change in the fishing on the river takes place at Lock 7. There is a permanent impoundment on the river between Lock 7 and the Crescent Dam near Waterford, commonly called the Crescent Pool. This section of the river behaves a lot like a lake, and as such the species found there are different than the rest of the river. The Crescent Pool has largemouth bass as the dominant bass species, and like any good largemouth "lake" there are plenty of panfish, including crappies and bluegills.

The Crescent Pool area of the Mohawk also has a good population of northern pike and some tiger muskellunge, including a couple of monster-sized tigers that a handful of lucky anglers catch each year.

Once you get below the Crescent Dam, the river banks become pretty rocky and the species change again. Smallmouth bass are found below the dam in good numbers, along with carp and other fish species similar to those found in the sections of the river without permanent dams.

The lower section of the Mohawk is a great place to fish by boat. There is a lot of water with fish-holding structure that is only accessible by boat, but there are enough places to launch to make fishing there pretty easy, including the state launch at Freeman's Bridge Road in Schenectady.

While the lower river is a great place to fish from a boat, there are also shore fishing opportunities in the lower section of the Mohawk.

One of the fishing trips I've had on the lower Mohawk was a European-style carp outing with Rick Walker of Waterford. We fished in the Cohoes area from shore, and it was very interesting to get a view of the sport of carp fishing that was founded in Europe, and has made its way here. We ended up landing a couple of nice carp on the trip and had a lot of fun. Big carp battle as well as a big salmon, and we've got loads of them right in our area, including specimens up to 40 pounds.

Peebles Island State Park offers some good shoreline fishing, and some areas that can be safely waded during the summer months for bass and carp. There are some fly anglers that I know of who enjoy fishing in that area.

Further upstream, the Lock 7 Barge Canal Lock is a popular shoreline fishing area. In Niskayuna, there is a town park on River Road where you could launch a canoe or a kayak. This is a pleasant section of the Crescent pool, with plenty of bays and fish-holding cover away from the main navigational channel on the river.

Most people take for granted the things that are easiest for them to enjoy, and fishing on the Mohawk right in the Capital Region is one of them. For example, one of the things that amazes me about fishing the Mohawk is that unlike my favorite trout streams, I'm usually the only angler on the river with a fly rod. I have caught my biggest smallmouth bass on fly tackle on the river, and I also tinker around with fly-fishing for carp there, without a long ride to get there.

So if you are looking for some quality fishing close to home this summer, you can't go wrong with the Mohawk River.

Reach outdoors columnist Rob Streeter at rstreeter@nycap.rr.com, or send items to 961 Stoner Trail Road, Fonda, NY 12068.

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