Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 5/20 – 5/22, Owasco Lake 5/23
Guided last Thursday through Saturday on Cayuga Lake for lake trout and then fished Owasco Lake with John Sander yesterday.
5/20 Cayuga Lake out of Long Point: Guided Johann and Mike for a full day starting just after 7:30 am. Water temps on the surface are rising rapidly. Quite a few lakers have moved fairly shallow. We had a pretty good flurry of activity in the morning and then a bit of a lull for a couple hours then another quick flurry. We tried some different areas and depths and weren’t able to get anything solid going. All in all it was a decent day of fishing with around a dozen nice fish landed.
FYI, Johann and Mike were onboard along with one other person on the day we pulled that kayaker out of Keuka Lake around 7 years ago give or take.
Johann took a bunch of photos of our fishing both today and on the 21st. When I receive them, I will post them.
A nice fish of Mike's
Johann with a nice fish
Michael with another
Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 5/21: Back out with the guys (Johann and Mike) today for another full day. We had another similar day – kind of spotty fishing throughout the day. As a side-note, the midges have been super-thick lately. At least the things don’t bite! We had fish on both sides of the lake mostly north of Long Point up to Levanna. Another day with around 10 fish or so landed.
Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 5/22 AM: Did a half day trip starting at 7 am with Denis and Rich. Denis was out with me on the 14th with Russell. I hadn’t seen Rich since the early 2010s, back when he fished with Denis on Seneca Lake and we had a good day on some large lake trout. The Barney’s/Bear Derby was going in full swing and there were a LOT of boats out on the lake. I saw a photo of the leaderboard on Saturday and top lakers were around 10lbs, there was a 12lb brown and a salmon close to 10lbs along with a solid rainbow. Cayuga continues to impress!
We had one fish within 90 minutes or so of starting. The bite was pretty tough for the first couple hours and then we got onto some shallow fish. The guys landed another 7 fish in around 50 FOW give or take. Other anglers I know stayed shallow throughout the day and did better, both today and on the 23rd. It can get tricky when fish stack up in particular depths. In April and early May fish are scattered throughout various depths and it isn’t too hard to catch some no matter what depth you’re in, but once the water warms up and especially when the thermocline sets up, precision becomes important. The thermocline usually doesn’t set up solidly until mid-June, but there are some large warm water plateaus out there now.
Rich with a laker
Rich with another fish
Denis with a solid
Owasco Lake 5/23: Got out here with John Sander, whom I hadn’t seen or fished with in a long time! Anyone who fished in Central or Western NY back in the 1980s and 1990s certainly doesn’t need a refresher on that name. Back in the mid 1980s and early 1990s, he published the most comprehensive fishing guides relating to these parts of NY State that have been printed before or since. So much of what I learned about the Finger Lakes and the various fishing patterns here came via his books. Throwing hair jigs on Skaneateles for rainbows – check. Smallmouth bass migrations – check. Northern Pike fishing throughout the year – check. Lots of great information to help jumpstart an angler. John used DEC biologists, area guides and other experts for information.
He has spent the last decade plus working on developing a comprehensive website that will be an essential resource for all NY State anglers, wildlife enthusiasts and outdoors aficionados. He hopes to have it up and running by 2022, so stay tuned!
John is a super smart guy who loves to fish. He doesn’t fish as much as a lot of people would think he does, but we aim to change that in the future. His knowledge of NY State and its outdoors is unparalleled. He can tell you about minerals found in the area, rare studies on trout behavior and detailed information on virtually any stream or lake in the region – just to name a few things.
Anyways, he doesn’t have a whole lot of pike fishing experience, so I thought we’d go after some northerns today. We met at Emerson Park at around 6:3o am and were soon underway. Very few boats were out. We were the second boat to launch, which surprised me for a nice Sunday.
Conditions were changing quite a bit as the morning went on. Our first pike area didn’t produce anything. We probably would have been better off targeting lake trout, but we kept at the northerns. In our second area John had two consecutive follows from what appeared to be a walleye(s). We kept working around that general area and I got clobbered near the boat maybe 20 minutes later. John got the walleye into the net. It was a beauty – my personal best Finger Lakes Walleye – a 29″er.
We kept working around different areas without any action. Conditions changed for the better for pike fishing and we tried a stretch that John thought looked good for bass. I knew it was also a good pike area as well. John wound up nabbing a nice 29″ northern pike here on a Rapala.
29" Owasco Northern Pike
I had just finished up detailing to John some pike info I had learned from a DEC Biologist I used to chat with a bit about. Basically some big fish theory and how we were coming up on a potential “big pike area” when my lure got clobbered! After a quick but strong battle, John slipped the net under my personal best Owasco Lake pike! A 40″+ fish (my boat measuring tape only goes to 36″ – time for the double tape measure!) And as I always have to qualify – I’m 6′ 4″ and around 225lbs (on a good day), so unfortunately big fish tend to look smaller juxtaposed to me.