July 7, 2018
“Though I have enjoyed success on Lake St Francis it isn’t my favorite lake, it has changed incredibly in the past few years. Largemouth was once the dominant species and always provided you with an opportunity to win. However, the impact of invasive exotics including both zebra mussels and gobies has sufficiently changed the lake dynamics where now smallmouth is the predominant species. During the initial rise of the smallmouth populations, fishing the shallow sand flats yielded the biggest fish and was undoubtedly the pattern to beat. Shifting food source and angling pressure may have encouraged the shallow smallies to seek refuge as it now appears that the deep-water harbor both quality and quantity. Traditional techniques including both dragging a tube and presenting a drop shot continue to trigger with excellent results. And color selections are simple with natural earth tones complimenting the gin-clear waters of the St-Francis system.” – Jean Martin Landry, 2012 Team of the Year Champion, 2012 Lake St. Francis Champion.
The Renegade Bass Tour traveled to Lake St. Francis twice last season for a qualifier and the XXII Classic. Blake Orr and Matt Tooley put the hammer down on the competition last year in Q2 and put up a 21-pound, 15-ounce bag on the scales. The overall weights were down a couple of pounds in Q1, which could be blamed by the massive storm that rolled in on tournament morning.
The XXII RBT Classic went down early September last year on Franny and it was a two-day smash fest. Locals, Andy Kinstler and Scott Lecky fished to the win in their backyard with a two-day total weight of 44 pounds, 13 ounces.
Both tournaments on Franny last year saw team of the year winners, Lenny Devos and Jeff Desloges placing second, coming within a pound of the lead in theevent. Look to all three of these teams to compete for a potential win this year on Lake St. Francis.
WHAT TO EXPECT THIS YEAR
The event this year falls around the same time as last season’s Q2 event on Franny. A big difference from last year’s event will be water levels. Levels should be normal this year since there were no excessive rainfalls or flooding that wreaked havoc on the St. Lawrence Seaway last year. The fish will be just coming off of their spawns, so they could be reluctant to bite, as was the case in Q1 this year on Big Rideau. That being said, this week’s super heat wave could rush things along and potentially make those fish more aggressive compared to Q1. “If this heat wave stays stable like this, it could really turn the fish on.” Said Q1 winner, Steve Barnett.
- Heatwave – With temperatures forecasted to hit record highs this week, it will be interesting to see how it will affect the fishery. The big question mark will be what will come right after the heat. A cold front could really turn the fish off. If the temperatures stay in the mid-twenties leading up to and during the tournament, it should give fish enough time to acclimatize and get them biting.
- Post-spawn – as we saw in Q1 on Big Rideau, the post-spawn fish do not like to bite. We saw many “cruisers” that were not interested in anything you threw at them. With the late spring, a lot of fish are still coming right off of their spawn and are not actively feeding. However, if the heat stabilizes up until Q2, it may speed things along and get those finicky bass on the feed bag again. It will be important for teams to do their research and have some solid practice days to figure out what these fish will be doing come tournament time.