Cayuga Lake 5/1 + 5/3, Keuka Lake 5/2


I’ve had a busy week starting with a 1/2 day on 4/28, then a run of full-days until May 3rd.  Surface temperatures are warming up fairly rapidly with temps reaching the low-50s over mainlake areas.  By most accounts, fishing action for a variety of species is in high-gear throughout the area.  Lake Ontario has been producing some top-notch chinook salmon, brown trout and lake trout fishing.  Bass fishing is very good throughout the region and pike should quickly be getting back on the feed with warming temperatures.  It’s also a great time to go panfishing.

A handful of dates remain open in May, then we’re into June and onwards.  I expect decent pike fishing for those interested over the next month, primarily on Owasco and hopefully Seneca Lake.  Tiger Musky action should be decent on Otisco Lake.  Casting for landlocked salmon, browns, rainbows (Cayuga Lake, Seneca Lake and to a lesser extent Skaneateles Lake) will start to wind down by the middle of May.  Once we get large swaths of warm water, these fish get tougher to pinpoint via casting.

5/1:  Cayuga Lake – Guided Steve and his son Zeb for a full-day.   Steve’s wife came along for the day but did not fish.  Fishing was top-notch throughout the day.  We had an excellent double-digit lake trout day topped off with a 34″ fish that was just shy of 12lbs, a 32″ laker and also a 26″ rainbow trout.  The guys kept a limit of lake trout and as is the usual for this time of year, they were stuffed with bait.  We fished from 85′ to around 135′ today.  We had a good bite to start, a midday lull and then a very strong bite in the afternoon.


Zeb's 32" laker

Steve's 34" laker!

Another good laker

26" post-spawn rainbow

5/2:  Keuka Lake – Guided Mark I. for a full-day here.  We were hoping for a repeat of last month’s great nearshore fly-fishing laker bite.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.  Despite what we both thought were great conditions for casting and fish roaming shallow, it wasn’t happening.  Our theory is that the complete lack of cloud cover (very high sun) made the fish avoid the shallows for the most part.  They certainly weren’t swarming there like they had been over the past three months when I’d been out.  Anyways, Mark did have a couple hits on his streamer in shallow and he’s pretty sure they were lake trout (both hits were on the same retrieve.)  Other than that, he had one or two other hits casting gear and one other follow on his streamer that was likely a bass.

These Keuka Lake fish make for superb tablefare, so with a couple hours left in our trip, we decided to try to catch some lakers jigging in order to land a few fish and get some great eating.  Mark did catch and release a small 16.5″ laker early in the trip while we were waiting for the wind to set up.  Jigging in the Branchport Arm wasn’t easy at first.  Fish seemed pretty negative to neutral at best, but we did get a nice bite window and Mark managed to nab his limit of wild lake trout running 18″ to 21.5″.   I filleted them up for him and was awestruck by the bright borderline “sockeye salmon” color of the flesh of one of the fish!

Lake level here is good.  Boat traffic was light. People are catching some bass and panfish here now.

Beautiful Keuka Lake fillet!

5/2:  Cayuga Lake out of Long Point State Park – Today I guided Rob and his buddy Gene.  Rob’s been out with me around a half-dozen times, starting with an awesome casting trip during the height of the laker-goby inshore craziness going back 6 or 7 years ago.  He fishes the downstate reservoirs quite a bit and does well on the browns and lakers.  He’s shown his friends that big NYC reservoir brown trout will whack the paddletail plastic “shads” with gusto!

The guys brought their own tackle today. Gene had a cool long-handled lightweight saltwater rod designed for “slow-pitch jigging” which did a decent job today on the lake trout.  The morning bite was excellent and the guys hooked a few doubles.  It was like playing tennis for awhile – Gene would hook one, then Rob, then Gene and so on.  We had a good number of 27″ to 30″ fish today.  Our bite really tapered off in the afternoon (kind of the opposite of Wednesday’s trip) but the guys kept chipping away at fish.  Very solid double-digit day!

Rob wanted to me to take a bunch of shots today, so I took photos of his first 6 to 8 fish.  Fishing pressure has been fairly light on Cayuga Lake lake trout lately with turkey season open along with walleyes, northern pike, tiger muskies and so on.

Rob #1

Rob #2

Rob #3

Rob #4

Rob #5

Rob #6