Cayuga Lake 5/15, Seneca/Watkins 5/16, Owasco 5/17


Lots of guiding over the past few days makes for a tired man. I have a few days off and what’s a Finger Lakes Guide do? He takes a trip to the Finger Lakes. I’ll be fishing Honeoye and Conesus Lakes over the next couple days. We were planning on Lake Erie, but the wind forecast isn’t looking too good. Here’s what we found over the past three days:

5/15: Fished out of Taughannock with Paul and his son Doug. The wind forecast was downgraded and we were met with dense fog in the AM, which made for slow going. The strong southerlies of 5/14 cooled things off a lot, and water temps dropped to around 42 degrees. The warm water was at the lake’s south end – which was murky/muddy as well. Good numbers of browns were around, but casting for them in Cayuga’s south end can be like looking for a needle in a haystack – it was a troller’s game out there. My guys worked spoons and stickbaits and never had a hit. We saw a pike landed and had friends report some good brown trout action.

We wound up N. of AES jigging lake trout. Doug did well, hooking a few nice fish and landing 2 solid lakers. Fish were from 85′ on out. 110′ to 120′ was best for us, and there was some bait around. Paul nailed a small LLS on a spoon at AES and that was it for us. Doug also missed a LLS hit at Taughannock before we called it a day. We fished hard!

5/16: Guided Bill and his son Nathan for the full day on Seneca out of Watkins. They had some great pike fishing with me last May. We found very cold water on the lake’s south end – no doubt from the winds on 5/14. On our first drift Nate missed a salmon and Bill lost what was probably a nice pike. We tried some other areas then returned to our original area of warmer water. We found plenty of salmon and the guys wound up having a nice day with around a dozen landlockeds landed – mostly 14″ to 17″ fish. We kept the few we couldn’t release. These things just maim themselves! A big brown followed in a spoon, as did a nice pickerel. Bill lost a nice 30″ + northern under the boat when it grabbed a spoon intended for salmon. It was pretty exciting.

5/16 PM: Back out of Watkins with Jeff and Abby, who I guided 2 years ago for lakers on Cayuga one August. Back then we got blown off by torrential rains and a good T-Storm. That was nothing compared to what we experienced Saturday! The weather was getting iffy, but we decided to try fishing anyways since we weren’t working too far from the marina. We headed out and Jeff lost a salmon in no time. We kept an eye on the weather and lo and behold a wicked storm came out from the South West! We were able to take shelter while our visibility dropped to around 100′ and 57 mph winds and waves crashed around us. It was crazy. After 1/2 hour the storm blew through and we were fishing again. Salmon action was very good and around 4 or 5 more were landed including a 15″ brown. It was nice to see a brown on Seneca – we don’t catch many there these days.

5/17: Guided Steve and Albert on Owasco. Steve has a place on the lake and hasn’t really explored all the lake has to offer “angling wise” yet, so off we went. The guys wanted to learn some techniques and areas to fish. So we started north with tube jigs and jerkbaits – two of my favorites. It didn’t take long before Albert had a couple hits and was hooked up with what was most likely a laker over 22″. It got off, but it was fun. We then headed south. The guys wound up each landing 18″ chunky smallmouths, some big perch to 13″and a couple 25″ northern pike. It was fun and I think they are now believers in the stickbaits and tubes. In the PM I “traded” Al for Steve’s son Sil. He’s only 10 years old, but was casting consistently within a couple hours. Conditions were very tough fishing with 20 mph winds out of the NW. We tried some laker jigging and casting for bass, but the bite had shut down. Water temps were in the low 50s.