Cayuga Lake 12/4 PM + Seneca Lake 12/6
Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 12/4: I got out on my own for around 3.5 hours and did some exploring. Tried casting for trout/salmon and some pike fishing without any action. Lakers are scattered. I did a little jigging (conditions were not good) and found a few fish scattered in a variety of depths. Water temps remain around 46.
Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 12/6: Guided Mark I. for a full day. We spent most of the day fly-fishing for salmon. I wish I had something positive to say about the salmon prospects, but it's been the slowest (worst) start to salmon fishing I've seen on this lake since I bought my first boat in 2001. The slow day we had on November 25th was no fluke – the fishing is currently very poor. Today, Mark had a follow from a salmon around 12" to 14" long right off the bat at around 8:45 am and that was it. No other hits or follows. We worked a lot of areas on both sides of the lake from Watkins Glen north to Valois. Nada.
There are decent numbers of lakers on the lake's south end but they aren't very active. We gave that a shot for maybe 1/2 hour. Mark did some fly casting for pike and landed a well-proportioned good fighting 33"er, but even that fish was showing signs of stress. He had one other solid hit from what was likely a pike but didn't connect.
I'm not sure why we have such good numbers of young salmon on Cayuga Lake this year and very few on Seneca. Obviously they are different lakes with different conditions and stocking success depends on a lot of factors. Throughout history, lakes have periods of great fishing, average fishing and poor fishing. Seneca has been a salmon powerhouse for at least 15 years, if not longer (I didn't live in the area in the early 1990s.) The lake trout fishing is still solid here and it was a pretty good year for brown trout. We'll see how things pan out. For now, I don't feel good about guiding for landlocked salmon here this season. It's a shame after seeing such phenomenal fish caught during the 2015 Memorial Weekend Derby – giant lakers, salmon, browns and nice rainbows.
Cayuga Lake has a lot of dinks and I can do trips here combining some salmon casting with either laker jigging or pike fishing, but again – it's been small salmon and very few nice ones and it's probably not a great idea to spend a full day just targeting salmon. I'll be working on some new winter opportunities over the next couple months – stay tuned!
Seneca is currently providing fair to good pike action and good laker fishing can usually be had this time of year further north.
For trout and salmon fly-fishing, Skaneateles Lake has been very solid this season (as usual.) Salmon are doing well there and the rainbow and laker fishing is very good.