Cayuga Lake out of Dean’s Cove 4/14


Guided Martin and his son Jonathon for 1/2 day today. We did a trip last year around the same time for lakers and had slow action. We resorted to some warmwater fishing at Canoga marsh. The Fish Gods owed us, and they paid us off in big dividends today. A lot of fishing knowledge comes by accident – or “accidentally on-purpose.” Read any “In-Fishermen” article and you’ll know what I mean. Using large Swim Baits for walleyes or “float and fly” for pike – clearly other species were being targeted and patterns were formed. Same with Lake Ontario walleyes – Charter guys started catching them while trolling spring browns and things took off from there. Today was no exception. I’d love to tell everyone that I motored out to 170′ of water and we started hammering lakers, but it’s not true. Here’s what happened today:

Last Thursday we did well near Dean’s Cove on a break from around 145′ to 155′ of water. There is a large flat and then things drop off. Because my handheld GPS is a piece of garbage, I left it in my truck (not that I marked our areas from last Thursday anyways!) I went looking for my break and thought I’d found it. So I set the boat up in around 155′ of water. Martin and Jon started dropping their jigs and fishing. Unbeknownst to me, we drifted off of our break! I had the guys reel up and they both got hit! Jon landed a solid laker. We were in business – first drop of the day. The guys kept fishing – Jon landed a 31″ laker and so did Martin. The thing is, I noticed Jon’s braid was into its backing while we were fishing (or catching.) I checked the depthfinder and we were in 170′! A new boat record for getting fish on bottom on jigs for me. Long story short – we found excellent laker action in water as deep as 180′.

The guys managed to land 14 nice fish. Including 2 at 31″. Smallest was 24″ and most were 27″ and up. Cayuga’s coldwater fish community is in good balance now, so we are harvesting less fish than in years past. We kept 2 of the smaller fish today. Martin wasn’t doing nearly as well as his young (I think 13 Y.O.) son, but as he reeled up his luck changed. He had a solid grab not far below the boat. I kept telling him to get the fish out from under the boat! Usually lakers will come up to the surface and bang around under the boat, and the jig will pop out. Martin just had a hard time moving the fish. It was wrapped under the motor too! I took a look behind the motor and my jaw dropped when I saw the size of the fish! It was the biggest laker I’d ever seen from a Finger Lake (though I know that plenty bigger have been caught.) It was the biggest ever hooked on my boat.

I slipped the net under the beast and we got it in the boat and the hook came out easily. It was bleeding from the mouth a bit, so we didn’t want to stress it much at all. I took a quick photo of the fish over the net, then I had Martin snap a quick shot of me holding it. He said “I got it” and I let the fish go. It took off for the depths. Once I checked the digital I found that the shot hadn’t been taken! Oh no! I had a feeling, but we were all so revved up having landed the huge fish we weren’t thinking straight. I could have put the fish in the livewell and then double checked the photos – but I didn’t even think of it. But I did get one good photo. It was a solid 36″-without pinching the tail. And it was thick bodied. Just a clean beauty. I just got done raving about the great browns and salmon we’ve seen on Cayuga this year – add in the lakers!