Cayuga Lake 3/27 + Canandaigua 3/28
Cayuga 3/27: The original plan was for me to hit Canandaigua today and my buddy Mike to fish Cayuga, then we’d compare notes. Winds were forecast as light and variable originally, but on 3/27 AM the weather people predicted 10 to 15 mph out of the South. Which should have made for some great trout/salmon action. I decided to fish with Mike instead of hitting the lakers on Canandaigua. But sure enough, we had very calm, if not glassy conditions (certainly by 2 pm.) I started things off by hooking what seemed to be a very nice fish on one of my bionic smelt patterns. I had a tough time moving it, then it dawned on us that it was foul-hooked. We got a very good look at it before the hook pulled out – it was a nice brown around 22″ to 23″! Mike was next with a follow in, then later he landed a 15.5″ salmon. It’s hard to believe a salmon that small is a legal fish in Skaneateles and Seneca – they are cylindrical at that size! At Cayuga a salmon needs to be 18″ long to be a keeper. We tried the south end – nice warm temps but no fish for us.
Eventually we decided to jig lakers since the conditions were perfect for it. We tried an area south, then shot up to AES. Mike had the hot hand nailing 3 nice fish before I landed one! He got a 15.5″, 28″ and a 30″! I eventually landed a couple around 23″ and he got one more. Fish were in around 90′ to 115′. We didn’t mark most fish at first, we’d just drop jigs and they’d show up. Best action has been in the late PM. About half the fish had alewives (fresh ones) in them. We released the small fish, which happened to be wild.
Canandaigua Lake 3/28: I fished Canandaigua Lake for lakers from around 12:45 pm to 6:45 pm (I keep track of times for the diary program.) I wish I had some encouraging news, but I didn’t. My electronics seemed to work OK for awhile, then my signal weakened. But I did a lot of fishing and searching – pretty much hitting every area I’ve ever seen a laker on, as well as some that I haven’t. Never had a hit. I never marked any bait either. I don’t believe I’ve ever fished this lake for lakers in March (winter pattern), but I’ve fished it in early April with similar results. The water was ice-cold – around 36, but it isn’t worse than other F. Lakes. I worked the south end flats for awhile, and usually it’s a no-brainer – at least as far as marking some bait and fish. I may have marked a fish or two on bottom with the Vex, but nothing that moved for my jigs.
Plenty of perch and some nice bass were cruising very shallow water on the N. end of the lake. The water was warmer there and I’m sure there was some good fishing to be had, but zippo on the lakers for me today.
Best bets for early season lakers (IMO) are Cayuga, Seneca and Keuka Lakes. Canandaigua just doesn’t have the laker population these other lakes have. Things will get easier there as water temps warm up. I think fish are probably really deep here right now. Maybe that’s where the bait is, I don’t know.