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Smallies likely to dominate at Champlain

Smallies likely to dominate at Champlain

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – Major League Fishing returns to Upstate New York this week for the fifth Invitational of the season at Lake Champlain. Competition days are Saturday through Monday.

The tournament marks the 73rd MLF (and FLW) tournament that Champlain has hosted over the past 30 years. The scenic venue is a bucket-list destination for many MLF anglers, as the fishery is known for its plentiful largemouth and smallmouth bass populations. Expect to see smallmouth reign supreme, as most of the fish will likely still be in their spawning and postspawn phases, according to local pro Ryan Latinville of Plattsburgh, who'll be among the 150 competitors on the water.

“Typically this time of the year, they’re spawning, and I expect mid-lake to the northern end to really be a dominating factor,” Latinville said. “The smallmouth should play pretty big and it’s going to be crucial to mix in the occasional largemouth.

“That’s going to be the real key to doing well in this one – figuring out how to catch the random big largemouth,” Latinville continued. “The weights are going to be stacked. Lake Champlain is loaded with 3-pounders, so a 5-pound largemouth is going to go a real long way in separating yourself from the pack.”

Latinville said that due to recent warmer temperatures, some fish may be further ahead in their seasonal progression than others.

“We’re going to see guys catching them on beds and we’re going to see guys fishing offshore,” Latinville said. “The bed fish are typically smaller, but they’re attractive because you can see them. But with the fish that are further along, we might see some patterns and areas develop that we normally wouldn’t see this time of the year.”

Latinville predicted that the majority of anglers will be fishing typical Lake Champlain baits – dropshot rigs, Ned rigs, topwater baits, flukes and spybaits.

“People have the northern end figured out, and I expect that is where the majority of the anglers will be. But Ticonderoga absolutely has the potential to go off. If someone can figure the largemouth out down there, they could absolutely win the tournament there.

“With the field of anglers that are competing in this one, it’s going to be a really competitive tournament,” Latinville went on to say. “I predict at the end, the three-day winner is going to have 60 pounds, 12 ounces.”

Anglers will launch at 6:30 a.m. ET each day from the Plattsburgh City Marina, located at 5 Dock St. Weigh-ins will also be held at the marina and will begin at 2:30 p.m.

The MLFNOW! broadcast team of Chad McKee and Rob Newell will break down the extended action live on all three days of competition from 7 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. ET. MLFNOW! will be livestreamed on and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.

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