Cayuga Lake 4/17 + 18
We had two very different days on Cayuga Lake. Things are finally settling after the flood conditions. There's some nice warm water around creek mouths and in the southern end of the lake, but north winds have also periodically been mixing and pushing water plateaus all over. We also have salmon that are taking advantage of two very different food sources – alewives (which are moving into the marinas and likely elsewhere) and the ubiquitous gobies.
4/17: Guided Stan and his boys Andrew and John for a 1/2 day. We were originally going to salmon fish for a full day on Sunday and switch the boys out (do 1/2 day with Stan and one of the kids..), which would've been good in hindsight – but there were forecasts for very high winds, so we went with Monday. Lake trout didn't seem to be an option with the strong north winds forecast for Monday. (FYI- I know these guys well and Stan knows the deal with my 3 person rule, but he wanted to give the casting a shot for salmon, so I made an exception to my usual policy.)
Fishing was very tough for us. I did the first cast to demo what we'd be doing and show a few things that I like to see regarding the tackle (e.g. closing the bail on the spinning reels by hand, not by cranking) and lo and behold I got a solid strike. I figured we'd wind up having some good fishing but it was not to be. Andrew probably had 3 hits/follows but nada. 11 year old John did a good job with the casting but never had any action and Stan had a hit or two then a follow from a solid salmon in the low 20s inch range but that was it.
Water was high and quite a bit of debris was still around. (For what it's worth, my buddy Mike fished the PM and also struggled.) But two tough salmon trips in a row! Ouch…
4/18 AM: Today wound up being the opposite case. The water levels dropped a bit more and most of the debris washed up onshore – it's just about gone. I had Bill and George work a lot of the same stuff we used yesterday in different areas but we never saw a fish. We had to fish some different areas using different lures and hit paydirt. Within 2 hours the guys wound up landing 9 salmon up to 26" and one solid spawned out rainbow at 23". Two of the salmon were 12" dinks and it was good to see them around. The rest were legal sized fish. My boat limit for anglers targeting salmon is 2 per person. So the guys kept 4. One was a bleeder that had no chance of making it and one of the others wound up with a messed up eye. So that was two of them. Fish fought great. George is no spring chicken and he told me it was "…one of the best fishing days I've ever had." After two skunkings in a row, it was quite a relief.
I received my DEC Region 7 Diary Results/Reports in the mail last week. Lots of interesting info is on the reports. I was disappointed to only see around 25 cooperators on Cayuga Lake. There used to be upwards of 70 to 80 or more! That's not a lot of information for DEC to base (in part) their management decisions upon! Whether you troll, cast, fly-cast or still-fish your assistance really helps DEC. Even if you only get out a handful of times a year or just shore fish or kayak fish. So if you've never done it, or used to – please consider keeping a book this year. For example, DEC will be fin-clipping the two strains of rainbows stocked on Skaneateles Lake to see which one performs better. The diary results will probably be the main way this is assessed, so it isn't something to be taken lightly. I wouldn't want DEC to have to go back to doing "Spring Brown Trout Assessments" and setting up lethal gillnets to check on how the trout are doing. It's much easier and better for the fish if YOU do your part!