Spring Fishing Dreams

Ice out, fish up


So many fine things get more active in the spring. Like fish. And the anglers who love to catch them.

If fishing is your passion, you are going to appreciate Tupper Lake. We have some unique geography, even for the wild landscape that is the Adirondacks, which makes our fishing pretty darn special.

Here's how all of our elements work together for that next dream fishing trip.

Lots of combinations

The Adirondacks are known for its glacier-formed waterbodies, which channels and catches all that snow melting from our mountaintops. But the area around Tupper Lake combines them in rare ways. For instance, there's the lake known as Big Tupper.

Large mountains dumping lots of pristine snow melt into rugged shorelines with islands. Fish love that.

You can see the deep channels and extra shoreline that happens when there's a lake with two rivers flowing into it and two ponds attached to it. Fish are not minimalists; they like a lot of variation in their habitat. It creates support for a lot of different kinds of fish and a thriving ecosystem.

Having islands and a rugged shoreline accompanying a body of water is like folding a piece of paper to create more surfaces. Every fold and wrinkle means more room for small fish to hide and eat, for long enough to become big fish.

With so much territory to cover, a canoe is a bit slow. You really are going to need a bigger boat.

There's still plenty of the classic Adirondack ponds for fishing from canoe or guide boat, but the waters around Tupper Lake are much bigger in scale and complexity. At the southern end, the Bog River roars into the lake at Bog River Falls. At the northern end, the Raquette River flows under the Moody Bridge to create Raquette Pond and Big Simon Pond. In between is 9 miles of lake, 6,000 acres in size, with 28 miles of shoreline.

That's a lot of folding.

We don't stop there. There's fantastic lake fishing, but there's also the joys of river fishing. So much of Raquette River twists through our territory that there's two sections: one for marsh habitats, and one for the more turbulent waters near Setting Pole Dam.

Find out more about Big Tupper Lake and Raquette River.

Dedicated stocking

Since we know how much you like fishing, and you might be getting an idea of how much we like fish, we keep up with demand by stocking from Department of Environmental Conservation fish hatcheries.

In 2015, stocking included approximately 10,000 lake trout and 3,000 landlocked salmon. To quote fishing television host and Tupper Lake fishing blogger Don Meissner:

"...there aren't many lakes that can support these kinds of fish. The lake has to be deep, it has to be cold, it has to have the right amount of oxygen, and Tupper Lake has it all. It has over 28 miles of shoreline and it reaches depths of over a hundred feet. To have these lakers lurking in the depths, while you are fishing for bass and northern (pike) along the shoreline — my goodness, the opportunities and the fishing enjoyment you can have here I don't think can be rivaled by many places in this country."

Off they go to dreams of fame and fortune. One of these may someday be a trophy fish!

Fish are raised in special hatcheries in nearby Lake Clear. With the help of local knowledge they are released in the right places and depths these little guys should land in. This means more fish grow big enough to be thrilling to catch.

Our secret to the big ones is also in what we feed them. They feast on smelt. Lots and lots of smelt.

The sweet smelt of success. (photo 12840227 © Valeriy Kirsanov |

For spring fishing, smelt run up the Bog River to spawn, and are stymied by the roaring water at the falls. Game fish then hang out there for the buffet. So to speak.

While this helps the walleye, salmon, or lake trout get to trophy size, it also makes them challenging to catch. Because they are at the buffet already. They wind up so well fed they present a mental challenge to the wily angler. But the effort will pay off. It is not uncommon to catch 10-pound walleyes, Northern pike that run 15-20, landlocked salmon of 8-10, and 15-pound lake trout.

Listen close: rumor has it that there is a state-record walleye in this lake.

Our walleyes run big anyway; we have the cold lakes they like. This makes them a very popular spring catch. This is their spawning time, too, when they are a bit distracted. They love deep waters like Big Tupper, because they are very light sensitive. So savvy walleye fishermen go out on overcast, windy days, which are more abundant in the spring. These factors lessen the sunlight reaching into the crystal waters of Adirondack lakes. And lure walleyes closer to the surface.

If it's not The Big One, ah well. They are also exceptionally good eating.

Find out more about Tupper Lake's annual fish stocking.

Support team

You can fish with confidence when you have the right gear, the right spots, and the right advice. Here's another reason to fish with us. We have Adirondack guides.

For people climbing Mount Everest, the guides were so useful and important they made the name "sherpa" famous throughout the world. Likewise, there are outdoor guides, and then there are Adirondack guides.

These Wizards of the Woods have long been the standard by which all outdoor guides can be measured. At the very beginning of visitors exploring the Adirondacks, they were there, helping the visitor in choosing equipment, arranging transport, ensuring a great experience, and then building a fire, cooking the catch, and telling stories into the night.

Just hanging with them is a good time by itself.

Cast with confidence when you are working with expert advice.

For a place as high stakes and tricky as Big Tupper waters, we can increase the odds of getting our heart's desire by calling on some expert advice. Little things can make all the difference, and their specialty is knowing the little things.

Speaking of little things, we are also a wonderful destination for those smallest anglers, the ones who will always remember their first worm and first perch.

Sometimes, it's the simple things in life you treasure.

If you would like to introduce a child to the fun of fishing, remember that New York state DEC makes it even easier by having free fishing days. All participants can try it without needing a fishing license.

We have the gear and bait shops, the marinas, the experts, and the geography that adds up to a great day on the water. And will make it even more likely that you have a spectacular day!

Check out our Adirondack guides to better those chances.

Stay a while with our fun lodging. You can always catch a great meal at our dining spots, including two craft breweries. Check out our Quick Start Guide to Tupper Lake fishing for more basics like bait, gear, and marinas.