Thousand Islands, NY
Home of the St. Lawrence River
Book a Stay in the Region
Come explore the Thousand Islands region and be sure to stop by the famous Thousand Island Bait Store for all your fishing needs.
Interested in a Guided Experience
Reach out to a local, Thousand Islands’ fishing guide for the best fishing experience.
Explore the St. Lawrence River
Rated #1 fishery in the nation by ABU Garcia in 2021 and #1 by BASSMASTERS in both 2019 and 2022.
HOME TO NEXT LEVEL SMALLMOUTH BASS
FISHING THE ST. LAWRENCE FOR SMALLMOUTH BASS ATTRACTS ANGLERS FROM ALL OVER THE COUNTRY AND IS A BUCKET LIST DESTINATION FOR MANY.
Fishing the St. Lawrence River
An Angler’s Paradise
When the season opens in May, pike can be found in any bay, but the larger bays will hold more fish. Popular offerings include a minnow below a bobber, bucktail jigs with a minnow or plastic tipping, spoons, spinners, and minnow plugs. A slow presentation is critical to early-season success. Most bays will hold pike throughout the summer, but these fish are the smaller ones. From June through September, look for larger pike along weed lines and around deep-water structure at a bay’s outside edge. Casting tipped jigs or trolling deep-diving plugs are the most effective techniques. Three prime locations for autumn pike are points, weed lines, and openings in the weeds.
Throughout the season, schools of walleyes migrate from location to location in search of feed. May walleyes are typically found near spawning tributaries and on the adjacent structure in the main river. Summer walleyes favor mainland points and drop-offs, island points and drop-offs, and mid-river shoals. Autumn fish gather in large schools in deep water adjacent to summer structures. Productive techniques include drifting crawler harnesses, casting tipped jigs, and trolling deep-diving plugs. Trollers often experience their best fishing after dark.
In early summer, look for smallmouths along mainland points, island shorelines, rocky areas, and large flats. As summer progresses these fish congregate near deep-water points, island drop-offs, and mid-river shoals. Casting artificial lures such as spinners, minnow-imitation plugs, surface baits, and tipped jigs works well in the early season. When fish leave spawning areas and move to deeper water, live bait (minnows or crayfish) and tipped jigs work well. Some anglers drift through areas while others anchor on key spots. Either way, the secret is to move from spot to spot until active fish are located. Trolling diving plugs is an effective technique throughout summer and fall.
Due to cool water temperatures and significant current flows, the river’s habitat is better suited for smallmouth bass than it is for largemouth bass. Still, largemouth are present in the system, and they are generally an overlooked species. Bucketmouths can be found in the backwaters of most large bays. Traditional offerings such as the plastic worm, jig and pig, and surface baits work well. The early morning hours offer the best action during the summer, but autumn is the most productive time of the year for largemouth.
Source: STLC Fishing
Every year anglers catch muskies that attain weights in the 30 and 40 pound classes. Fifty-plus pounders of this species are known to swim in the river. The river offers word-class angling for Musky and is home to the 69 pound, 15-ounce world record taken in 1957. Catching a musky is so demanding and specialized that using a guide service is often recommended especially for the inexperienced angler. For those fishermen who prefer to fish for this monster on their own, try tolling along the edge of shoals from Cape Vincent to Ogdensburg. Use large spoons and plugs and be prepared for a fight.
The St. Lawrence has a variety of panfish including yellow perch, rock bass, bullheads, pumpkinseeds, and black crappies. Both shore anglers and boaters pursue panfish. Yellow perch outdistance the other species in popularity, and anglers catch them year-round in all of the river’s larger bays. Panfish provide fine eating and fast fishing, even for a beginner, with ice-fishing for northern pike and yellow perch being a St. Lawrence River tradition. Bullhead fishing marks the end of winter and beginning of spring on the angler’s calendar.
People Love This River
Best known for its incredible smallmouth bass fishing, the St. Lawrence river comes in as the number one place to fish in the nation. Gin clear water, swift current, and miles of classic northern structure make this fishery a one of a kind smallmouth habitat.
VISIT THE 1000 ISLANDS
Browse our wide variety of fishing gear in order to stock up for your next outing on the River!