Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 7/2 + 7/3


I guided a couple morning half days over the holiday weekend – which just how I like it.  We get out on the water early (very few boats go out early on the weekend of the 4th – most people stay up late and sleep in) and get off the water before the boater/jet-ski gauntlet which usually starts at around 11:30 am.

The latest news on Cayuga Lake is two-fold:  1.)  We are seeing the start of some discoloration in the water.  I haven’t seen any blue-green algae flecks, but it appears that we are on the cusp of what has become the “annual July algae bloom” on Cayuga Lake.  2.)  Waterfleas are also heavy.  Even with jigging, we are getting a lot of water fleas on our lines, primarily just above our jigs.

That being said, fishing has still been good to excellent, at least for a few hours early in the AM.  I consider it typical July fishing – get out early and get a hot bite for a bit, then the fish slow down for a few hours, then we see another (usually) slower peak-bite in the afternoon or evening.  During an overcast or pre-storm type of weather pattern, we can see a hot bite all day.  It always changes, but I would say hot AM/slow midday and then another bite is average for this time of year.

7/2 AM:  Guided Matt and his son Tyler for a 1/2 day trip starting at 6:30 am.  Matt’s father has a place north of Union Springs and I used to guide him a bit for bass and pickerel in the mid-2000s.  Since that time, we’ve done some trout trips.   He reports good to very good bass fishing up north – varying by the hour or day of course, but he’s been catching some 4lbers.

We had a solid AM of fishing and just reached the “double-digits.”   Matt was a bit “over exuberant” with a few trout, hence they got off.  I was going to start calling him Mr. Ed for all the horsing he was doing.  If you don’t get that reference, you’re likely under 40 years old.

Tyler hooked up!

Tyler again

No shortage of bait on Cayuga - this is second alewife Matt snagged

They look like mini-Tarpon – and that’s basically close to what they are.  My friend Shahab actually fly-fishes on occasion for alewives near his house on Seneca Lake.  They come into the mouth of a creek that feeds the point he lives on.  They are very aggressive and will hit small dries.  They jump just like a miniature tarpon if you can believe that!

Matt showing how NOT to hold a lake trout

I wasn’t going to post this photo, but Matt was alright with it.  Lake trout can be tough to hold.  Here’s how I do it (and recommend doing it):

1.)  Grab the base of the tail first when the fish is on the deck with your palm facing downwards.  Matt did that just fine as you can see.  The fish gets its power from its tail.  Grab the area above the tail (the peduncle) and you are in control.  I have large hands and can do this by using my thumb and first finger (kind of like when doing the “OK” sign but with the palm facing down.)

2.)  Pick up the fish and as soon as you can do so, get your other hand underneath the fish supporting its head and upper part of the body.  Do this with your palm facing up.

3.)  Let the fish wiggle and just keep him balanced.  This is where Matt “drops the ball” and tries to muscle or manhandle the fish.  You won’t be able to “freeze” the fish (it won’t work without hurting the fish) – let him wiggle and just keep him balanced.  The “Colinator” from last week is very good at doing this.  It just takes a lot of practice.

Some fish are very hard to hold.  There just isn’t anything to grab onto by the tail.  Some people use gloves as well.  Overall I’d say 97% of the lake trout can be held safely using the method I outlined.

Now of course the best thing is not to handle the fish much at all and dehook it boatside, but for people who want photos or are participating in the DEC diary program, you need to know how to hold them.

In this photo Matt’s fingers have worked into the fish’s gills.  He also has a death grip on the gill-plate of the trout, which isn’t good.  We catch fish once in a while that have gill plates that have been pressed in by anglers thinking they are holding a pike or something like that.  Lake trout are pretty tough fish when compared to other salmonids, but you still want to handle them gently if releasing the fish.

7/3 AM:  Guided Rich and his wife Kelly for a half day starting again at 6:30 am.  I took them right where I’d left off with Matt and Tyler and we were into fish in no time at all.  We had a good double digit first two hours of the morning and then the bite slowed down a bit.  We kept a decent number of fish and they had somewhat digested alewives in their stomachs.  Rich and Kelly were kind enough to give me a few lakers for my smoker (Matt did the same for me) so I’ll be able to get some fresh fish smoked on the 4th.

Rich recently had some great fishing on Skaneateles Lake landing some bass, perch and some nice walleyes.  One thing I love about guiding is meeting new people and hearing their approaches to various fisheries.  It was a great morning of fishing and we even had one double going before the bite slowed down.

Rich with a nice fish - see the way he is holding it! Perfect.