Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 5/25, Owasco Lake 5/26


Guided two doubles over the holiday weekend.  My schedule has been screwy, most likely due to the weather and rainy forecasts.  I wound up having to cut a PM trip short due to thunderstorms on Saturday, extend my AM trip earlier on Sunday and then bump a trip from Monday on Cayuga Lake to Sunday PM on Owasco Lake.  Afternoon trips can be very good this time of year but can also be very challenging (aka “tough”) depending on the weather.  Morning trips are no guarantee either.  The best bet is generally to book a full-day, although that doesn’t always fit into everyone’s schedule and casual anglers may not want to fish that much.  A hot day can also be tough on the body – between protecting oneself from the sun and dehydration to general fatigue in the heat on the lake.

5/25 AM on Cayuga Lake:  Today was a trip with Bernie, Brandon and George starting at 7:30 am.  George may have actually hooked a sturgeon last August when we were out, which I’d forgotten to mention in my report back on 8/19/23.  It was a crazy chop and I believe Bernie hooked a laker while George was trying to move whatever he had on.  I have no idea what the deal was back then.

Brandon brought some high-end saltwater gear with him – a Van Staal reel and a nice Shimano jigging rod, which he used successfully.  All in all we had a good morning.  Friends were complaining about the bite – the fish can be scattered this time of year and finicky, but now that I have 20 years of guiding this lake for lake trout under my belt, I was able to just get us into a good area without thinking about it. The brain just stores a lot of info subconsciously and I don’t really give it much thought. Or maybe we got lucky!  Check back with me next week…  Either way, it can be a bit of a crapshoot this time of year with lakers being anywhere from 15′ of water out to over 200′.

Some very nice fish were caught today with Brandon nabbing one around 31″ if I remember correctly. The whole weekend is kind of a blur, since I had to switch out a lot of people on my PM and Sunday AM trips. We got into the double-digits this morning which is always the sign of a good trip.

Bernie hooked up

Brandon on

Good one!

A better one!

5/25 PM:  My afternoon trip was scheduled to start around 12:30 pm.  We had some ominous looking clouds in the area to our north (that were forecasted to move to the northeast) so we kept an eye on the radar and then decided to head south of Long Point.  I had David, his wife Laurel and daughter Karin onboard.  We were able to get around 90 minutes of fishing in with Laurel having the hot hand (landing a couple nice lakers) before we went in to switch out Laurel with her other daughter, Annika.  Dave may have had hold of a salmon or rainbow as well.  Unfortunately once we got in, there were some severe storms off to our west.  We studied the radar on our phones carefully and decided that this storm system wasn’t going to blow over quickly, so I pulled the boat and we decided to start our Sunday trip on Owasco Lake (where their rental was) at 7 am.  We made the right call!  Storms were very severe!  They visited a winery and were able to enjoy the rest of their afternoon.  That’s what’s great about the Finger Lakes region – there’s always something enjoyable that you can find to do.

5/26 am Owasco Lake:  I picked up David and Laurel from their rental near Wykoff just after 7 am and we made a short run and starting fishing.  Laurel started us off again with a couple of fish.  The bite was tentative in the fog/low-light.  We had lakers as shallow as 40′ of water.  David missed a few and then I think I figured out what he needed to do.  Lo and behold (on a black swimbait) he hooked into a beast!  This fish ran out a lot of line on three strong runs.  It was a well-fed laker!  Thankfully the tackle held up and Dave did everything right and we boated a solid 31″+ lake trout!  Beautiful fish!  All fish were let go today.  We picked up Dave’s daughters from the rental and swapped them out for Laurel.  Annika wound up landing a couple of nice lakers and Dave landed one more.  Boat traffic was surprisingly light on the lake for a holiday.

David on with a big one!

Owasco Lake Beauty!

Dave with another

Netting one for Annika towards the end of our trip

One of Annika's fish

5/27 PM:  My afternoon trip kicked off at around 1:30 pm with John, his wife Jenn and their 9-year-old son Odin.  I took out John’s son Hunter for a pike trip in 2013 when he was 9;  John’s son Zane when he was around the same age, and now the last of the boys that are fishermen (John has one son more into basketball.)  John knows what’s involved in my guiding so I trust his judgment in making the calls on his boys attention spans and ability to handle the equipment.

Given that it was the only nice day of a three-day holiday weekend, I don’t think things could have gone any better.  Jenn landed a couple of nice fish to get us started.  Odin had some hits.  Odin wound up nabbing the best fish of the trip!  It was a 29″ beauty.  He had a little help from John stabilizing the rod so it didn’t get torqued on the gunnel, but apart from that, it was all Odin! John also wound up hooking a couple nice lakers and landing one.

Fish are widely spread around on Owasco Lake.  I bought my season passes both for here (at Emerson Park) and Seneca Lake (at Sampson and Geneva) so I’m good to go for the year!  Owasco fish look great.  We actually had one (very rare) wild lake trout here today.  The fins were gorgeous and perfect – no clips.  I think Region 7 stopped clipping fish here over the past two years, but this fish didn’t look like a missed clip at the hatchery – it appeared wild.  Over the past twenty years I’ve only seen maybe a half-dozen wild fish on this lake.  It’s nearly as rare as a brown trout on Skaneateles!

One of the lake trout

Odin's big gal

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the 60th Annual Seneca Lake Memorial Weekend Lake Trout Derby going on this weekend.  The results pretty much say it all.  When you see brown trout pushing 7 and 8lbs, you can be pretty certain that lamprey control is working!  Salmon and rainbow trout sizes were similar.  Plenty of 8 to 10lb+ lake trout were caught.  With all of the bait in Seneca Lake, we should only see the fish sizes get bigger and bigger!  Hopefully this year’s lamprey treatments will be successful.  I think that the stream flows were optimal for a very successful treatment.  You don’t want water levels too low or too high.  The low, stagnant flows result in the chemicals just settling to the bottom and not covering water; the high flows dilute the chemicals too much to have much of an impact.  Seneca Lake will be rivaling Cayuga Lake going forward.  I’ll be on whatever lake offers the best fishing, you can bet on it!  We aren’t a barnacle when it comes to fishing location.

This week remains open for trips!   June is pretty close to being as booked up as I want it.  Open dates are as follows:

May:  28th – 31st.

June 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th (AM Cayuga only), 10th, 12th, 13th, 16th, 22nds, 28th – 30th.

If I can, I’ll book up five of those dates, then probably close the month off.  If you want a date, please let me know sooner rather than later.  I’m trying to keep my doubles to a minimum and have a reasonable schedule.