Although alewives are likely responsible for the significant size increase in yellow perch reported this season, the invaders have the potential to cause a crash in the population of this popular table fare.
As the population increases, alewives will eventually begin to feed on perch spawn. After several years of foraging on spawn, the Big Lake's perch population could be greatly reduced.
Despite such ominous predictions, I expect to spend the first few week's of the new season wetting a line along the lake's numerous tributaries.
Elsewhere, anglers should look for pools at the base of waterfalls on the rivers and streams. These areas often have hold over brown trout that remain in the area from the fall spawn. Rainbow trout will also be seeking similar holding pools, as they move upstream to spawn in the spring.
As water tumbles over rocks and or drops from a falls, the water temperature increases faster than it does in flat, calm water areas. Water temperatures at the base of a waterfall are typically several degrees warmer than the calm water above the falls. The more foam and froth created by falls, the more warm air entering the water.
Until the ice departs the ponds, locations such as The Flume Pool on the Ausable, Wadhams Falls on the Boquet River or Imperial Dam on the Saranac, will offer ideal conditions for early season anglers, especially on warm, sunny days.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org