PLATTSBURGH - The recent flooding that has impacted the region has had many eyes on homeowners recovering from the devastation. However, the historic event has also impacted the environment for fish, though it could be to the benefit of anglers.
Chris Kinney-Hermis, an outdoor enthusiast and fishing department associate at Gander Mountain, shared mixed emotions on the flooding. "The fishing is good," he enthused. "I caught 18 small mouth yesterday."
Although fishing conditions are preferable, Kinney-Hermis noted the prevalence is mostly due to the season, rather than the flooding.
"Fishing has definitely picked up, mostly due to the warmer weather," he said.
However, the recent flooding will impact the fish themselves, and moderate fishing practices.
"The biggest thing that's going to happen because of the flood is the topography of the bottom of the lake is going to change dramatically ... the fish have more habitat to hang out in with all the flooding," explained Kinney-Hermis.
For anglers, this means re-learning fishing locations.
"Everyone is going to have to re-fish where they've been before," said Kinney-Hermis.
Increased sedimentary deposits also affects the type and prevalence of fish, he noted.
"That's a good thing; it's also going to change the habitat for the fish and make it better for some," said Kinney-Hermis, adding current fishing conditions are record-worthy. "These are the glory days of fishing in Plattsburgh. Two weeks ago, my friend caught the biggest sucker that I've ever seen in my entire life."
Despite the prime conditions, for some, the flooding has discouraged fishing.
"Sometimes our sales don't represent that 100 percent, because the weather gets people down, and the police have parts of downtown blocked off," Kinney-Hermis admitted, though stressing "the fishing itself is great."
Despite flooding, Plattsburgh and Lake Champlain, have been increasingly sought out by anglers, and hosting tournaments.
This is evidenced by Lake Champlain International's upcoming fundraiser - the 30th Annual Father's Day Derby slated for June 18-20 - which is the biggest event the organization has throughout the year.
Eric LaMontagne, an employee for the nonprofit hosting the event, noted that it will not be affected by flooding conditions.
"We have no reason to believe that the lake levels over the past few weeks will diminish the quality of the fishing," said LaMontagne. "As we stand, we have every intention of proceeding as planned with the event. It's full steam ahead."
(Editor's Note:The RotaryInternationalFishing Classic, however, has been canceled due to the flooding.)