Canandaigua Lake 3/13 PM + Lake Ontario out of Oswego Harbor 3/14 PM


Canandaigua Lake 3/14 PM:  I did an impromptu visit to Canandaigua Lake yesterday.  I had an alarm go off a couple of times over the last couple of weeks on my one-year-old Mercury 115.  I talked to Bruce at Silver Lake Marine and he told me it was probably something minor, but why don’t you bring it over so we can take a look.  It wound up being very minor – I had flushed the motor out after fishing Seneca Lake a few weeks back and didn’t put the cap on the internal hose.

You might ask, why did I flush my motor out after fishing Seneca Lake?   Good question!  My first outboard was a Yamaha 80 hp 4-stroke.  I probably put 2500 hours on that motor, which was a great motor.  When the head gasket finally went and I gave it to Bruce, he took a photo of the inside of the motor and sent it to Yamaha.  Bruce was shocked at how much corrosion was present in the motor.  Yamaha personnel thought I’d run it in the saltwater for years!  They could not believe that the motor had never touched the ocean. Seneca Lake does have some salinity, obviously not much, but to be on the safe side I am flushing out my motor with fresh water after running it on Seneca.  Funny thing is that I see more saltwater motors on that lake than on any other Finger Lake, so maybe there’s something to it.

Anyways, Bruce sold me a cool gadget.  Mercury has a “Vessel View” App, which you can download onto your smartphone.  It comes with a little device that plugs into my Mercury and gives me diagnostic information via Blue Tooth.  So now I can tell what’s going on if an alarm sounds.  I also can tell how many hours I ran the motor in a given day, along with other info.  It’s very cool!

Mercury Vessel View!

I’m sure there are some other similar devices like aftermarket stuff, but I’m pretty stoked to have this!

It was a gorgeous day out, so I figured, what the heck, let’s go to Canandaigua Lake – it’s on the way back home from Silver Lake, so it makes sense.  I didn’t fish it at all in 2023 and I had a feeling that I’d have some time, so I had packed a lunch and drinks and was ready to roll.  I had a great afternoon on the lake doing some DEEP jigging!  A couple other boats had launched out of Woodville.  I talked to an angler coming in and he’d caught his limit of three rainbows trolling – all around 2lb fish that would not be spawning this year.  He told me that the smelting had been pretty good a week or two ago.  I still get asked about smelt in the Finger Lakes on occasion.  Canandaigua, Hemlock, Canadice and Owasco seem to still have decent smelt populations.  I’m not too sure about Owasco Lake over the past few years, but a decade ago, it was doing well.  Cayuga Lake still has some, but I don’t have any recent information on them.

I was the only boat on this perfect day out jigging the deeper water.  I wound up getting into the double-digits in an hour and forty-five minutes, with fish running 25″ to 28″ long.  It was nice catching completely clean lake trout with (obviously) no signs of lamprey attacks, since there aren’t any in any Finger Lakes apart from Seneca and Cayuga.  I did not have a single wild lake trout in the mix.  I had good luck on Arkansas Shiner and Black for what it’s worth.

Shadows grow so long, before my eyes....

Trying to get an action shot while keeping my rod bent wasn't easy!

Nice lake trout onboard

I am happy to guide here for lake trout on occasion.  The extra drive time/gas would necessitate a service charge, but I’m fine to do the drive, especially on weekdays.

Lake Ontario out of Oswego Harbor 3/15 PM:  I really didn’t fish much yesterday – just over 2 hours on Canandaigua Lake, although it felt like a full day’s worth of catching.  Action was terrific over there – every bit as hot as Cayuga Lake has been.  Today was another gorgeous day and I decided to give Oswego a try.  I was hoping that maybe I’d luck into a walleye around the harbor area.  I’m sure there were some around although many might be up the river now.

Wright’s Landing is still closed for the winter.  Only one dock is in and obviously the facilities are locked, so no bathrooms.  I finally saw the results of the construction from 2 years ago – the City built a nice pier for walking – for both people and clearly dogs.  I don’t think I fished here last year.  Anyhow, I was very surprised to only see one other fisherman’s rig in the parking lot.  I completely understand that brown trout trolling in the early spring on Lake Ontario is typically an early morning deal, but I would have expected a half-dozen rigs in the parking lot on this fine day.

I had nice 44-degree water in the harbor area.  I was hoping to nab an early bass, but I believe I’m about 8 to 10 degrees of water temperature too early!  No luck whatsoever on bass or even trout around the harbor when I started.  A few years back, I caught a couple of ciscoes here, but not today.  I didn’t want to stray too far from the harbor so I only fished a few miles away.  I tried an area where I’d had some great action on the fly-rod with brown trout with my friend Eric back around 11 years ago.  It features a lot of boulders and dark rock.  I had good conditions there but never got bit.  I pretty much casted my arm off for around two hours with nothing to show.  It’s trolling time out here for the most part, but I don’t mind the challenge of casting.  As I approached the harbor towards the end of my day, I finally got pegged pretty good on a Rapala Shadow Rap Deep Runner in black/olive and gold.  Fish on!!!  After a good battle, I slipped the net under a solid 22″+ brown trout.  It had one fairly fresh lamprey wound but fought solidly.  I may have had another hit, but that was it.  I called it a day 20 minutes after catching that fish.  I fished around 4 hours out here total today.

Lake Ontario buzzer beater brown trout!

I have plenty of openings available for trips.  Deep jigging is top-notch on Cayuga Lake (as well as Canandaigua.)  Lakers are available both shallow and deep on Keuka Lake.  Skaneateles Lake is just starting to get going for perch and bass.  I almost always encounter a nice walleye or two out here in April and early-May.  We also usually get a rainbow or two.  Pike season is now closed.  Some mostly small landlocked salmon are showing up on Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock/Myers, although a few good ones have been caught.  Shallow lakers are also available in the southern portions of Cayuga Lake.  We see if the salmon fishing gets going on Seneca shortly.  I’m hopeful but realistic on this one!