In this interview, we talk to Brandon Brown (pictured on the left) about spring bass fishing Conesus Lake. For those of us in the Northeast, we are bracing ourselves in the cold and mentally preparing for the spring. No better way to do that than getting the lowdown on spring bass fishing Conesus Lake, an outstanding New York bass fishery in the Finger Lakes region.
Overall, how was your 2017 fishing season?
My 2017 season was amazing. I learned alot and had a ton of fun. I have been fishing recreationally since I could walk, but in 2015 I really got into bass fishing and it has consumed me since. I know I still have a lot to learn which keeps me going!
One highlight of my season was catching my personal best bass on Lake Erie in early Spring. I didn’t have alot of experience on Lake Erie and a buddy and I went out for some smallmouth. It was an incredible day. We caught over 20+ fish over 5 pounds and I landed a 6 pounds 4 ounces smallie which was amazing.
Another highlight was during the first tournament of the year on Conesus Lake when I caught a 6 pounds 1 ounce largemouth. I had made a cast on a spot that I almost drove past and gave two twitches with my jerk bait and he crushed it! These two moments stand out for me because not only were they the biggest fish I caught all year, but they gave me confidence going into the 2017 season.
You catch a lot of impressive fish on Conesus Lake. How would you describe this lake for an angler who has never been there?
Conesus Lake is cool because not only can you catch a good amount of fish, but it can produce some big fish as well! Conesus doesn’t have many features as far as brush piles or rock piles, but it has a lot of docks that fish like to stack up on. For someone fishing Conesus for the first time, I would tell them to target docks. If you catch a bass off a dock, be sure to give it a few more casts as you could catch multiple fish off one dock.
What I like about Conesus Lake in the Spring time is you can catch smallmouth pretty easily. The smallmouth are very aggressive in the Spring and when they move up into the shallows to begin their spawn, they become extremely aggresive!
Conesus also has a large population of northern pike, which for some can be very entertaining. But they also tend to steal a few baits every now and then. The lake also holds a small population of tiger musky. I was lucky enough to land one and get a cool picture with before releasing it.
What is the mix of largemouth vs smallmouth on this lake?
There is definitely a good mix of both largemouth and smallmouth in this lake. The smallies basically shut down after their spawn in the spring. So if you want to target smallmouth, you have to hit them hard in the spring or wait until late October.
If you want to win a tournament on Conesus Lake, you better plan on bringing 20 plus pounds to the scales. There are a lot of great anglers in the Finger Lakes region who know how to really catch them on Conesus. They consistently bring 19 to 21 pounds to the scales.
My best day on Conesus was catching just under 19 pounds on my own in late summer in 2016. The craziest part is I hadn’t caught a fish until 1pm. By 1:45, I had my limit and made a cull to get me to almost 19 pounds of largemouth. I never gave up and just kept throwing what I knew was going to get me a big bite. I eventually got into a few good ones.
When do you start spring bass fishing Conesus Lake?
I’ll start fishing Conesus after all the ice is gone. Since the lake doesn’t have much structure, I will target the 5 to 10 feet of depth with a jerkbait or a lipless crankbait, targeting the fish in those areas. I’ll also throw around a swimbait for some smallies. Once the water warms up, I’ll start to target docks.
What is your favorite largemouth bait when spring bass fishing Conesus Lake?
I love to throw a jerkbait so naturally I will have one tied on from when the season starts till midsummer. Most people think that a jerkbait is only a smallmouth bait or only a cold water bait, but I have caught a great number of largemouths on a jerk bait, especially on Conesus. The key to the bait is once you get bit, figure out how they want it presented. Long pauses, no pause, etc. etc. Let the fish tell you how they want it and continue that trend.
What are your favorite smallmouth baits when spring bass fishing Conesus Lake?
Along with a jerkbait, a small tube can really catch the smallmouths in the spring. When the conditions are right, sunny with no wind, you can sight fish for smallies with a tube and have your best day ever!
What structure/depth do you concentrate on for smallmouth bass in the spring as the water warms up?
For spring bass fishing Conesus Lake, you will have about a two week period when the majority of the smallmouths will move up to spawn. This will happen in depths ranging from 1 to 5 feet of water. If the water clarity is good and the weather conditions permit, you can find fish on beds and target them. After this period, the smallies move deep and become extremely hard to catch until the fall.
Out of your favorite springtime baits, I am going to only let you tie on one bait for big largemouth and smallmouth. What are you throwing?
Megabass Vision 110 jerk bait hands down. I will be using my 7’ Favorite White Bird rod, Favorite Sick Stick reel, spooled with 12lbs Seaguar florocarbon line. Fish it until you figure out what depth the fish are at and how they want it presented and you will catch a lot of fish.
What are 5 overall pieces of advice that you have for anyone fishing Conesus Lake for the first time?
#1: Target docks. Docks are the main source of cover for the fish in Conesus so they will be there.
#2: In the Spring, have a jerkbait tied on. It’s a magnet for big fish in that lake.
#3: In the Summer, pitch a jig in the weeds and hang on!
#4: The pike in Conesus are abundant and always hungry. Don’t be afraid to use a heavier line if you want to keep most of your baits!
#5: Dont get frustrated. If you fish Conesus and have a bad day, don’t give up on it. Sometimes the bite isn’t as hot as it is on other days. This can be applied to almost any body of water. I have had bad days, came back the next weekend, fished the same techniques, and crushed them!
Who are your current sponsors?
My current sponsors are Favorite Rods, Line Cutterz, Woo Tungsten, and Trapper Tackle. Each sponsor has their own way of helping me, not only on the water, but in promoting myself as an angler. I can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am today without Favorite and Line Cutterz. I have a chat with the guys from Favorite and Line Cutterz on a weekly basis. They have made me feel as though I am really a part of the family. You don’t get that from a lot of sponsors out there.
So many places to fish…so little time! Thank you Brandon for getting my thoughts racing about spring bass fishing Conesus Lake. I don’t mind the toothy critters either. Even if I don’t get there in 2018, I will be following on Instagram @bboutdoors24.
Learn about Another Spring Bass Fishing New York Hotspot: Lake Oneida Fishing in Different Conditions