Cayuga Lake out of Myers 4/28 – 4/30


Normally by this time of year I’ve made a few trips to Seneca, maybe one to Owasco or Keuka and a couple to Skaneateles and Lake Ontario, but Cayuga Lake has been fishing so well it’s been tough to go anywhere else. Another consideration is that I’ve really had to relearn the lake this year. Fish have been in different areas, mostly due to the abundant goby population, so it’s been a lot of fun “recalibrating” my view of the lake. Another factor has been all the high water. So on Friday instead of going to Skaneateles Lake (which I really wanted to do) I headed back to Cayuga Lake with my friend Silene to do some scouting/pre-fishing for a fly-fishing guide trip I had scheduled for Saturday. The lake has been a muddy, debris-filled mess for the most part over the past 3 weeks, especially from Ithaca north past Taughannock.

4/28: Spent Friday afternoon doing some scouting and fishing with Silene. I did a lot of motoring looking for clear, warm, relatively debris-free water. I finally found some and we started fishing. She has had a lot of slow fishing on her own in the past and her comment to me after a 1/2 hour of no sign of fish was “I don’t think there are fish here.” About 5 minutes later she landed a 24″ salmon on a rebel minnow. Needless to say, she got a bit of ribbing for that comment. She landed another fish or two a little bit later and then a few more on the day. I was scouting with some jigs. We both caught some nice smallmouths – one being a 20″ fat pig that had to be close to 5lbs. (Keep in mind that we are dealing with goby-fed brutes now, not the typical 20″ Fingerlakes smallmouth that might be 3.5 to 4lbs.) I got out my flyrod and had some hits and landed a nice salmon as well around 19″. So I was in good shape for my trip on Saturday.

4/29: Did a PM 1/2 day with Gordon and Barry, both originally from Toronto. These guys have fly-fished all over the globe and had some good stories of cool fish they’d caught. We pretty much found the fish right where we’d left them and Barry landed two or three within 45 minutes – all nice 19″ range salmon/browns. Gordon had a lot of follows and short hits and eventually nabbed one or two on the fly. The wind came up a bit and they guys wanted to give their arms a break so we switched over to gear. They did great and even had a double. We wound up with at least 7 salmon and 3 browns plus a bonus smallmouth. A couple really big browns and salmon followed in the guys flies and lures at times! There are some very nice fish in Cayuga this year!

I keep the boat limit at two browns or salmon per angler, so they kept a total of four fish. When I cleaned the two salmon and two browns I found a mix of alewives, gobies and insects – mostly the latter two. Some salmon were doing a little feeding up top. Great day and the guys were both surprised and impressed with how good the Fingerlakes fishing was – actually “great” is probably the key word. I did let them know that the lake is really fishing about as good as I’ve seen it over the past 20 years.

4/30: Got out for just over 4 hours on my own to get in some fly-fishing and do more scouting. In a nutshell, I had great fishing but slow catching today. I landed a couple chunky browns – one 14″er and one 17″er. I probably should have gone early this AM but wanted to see how the weather shaped up. I didn’t throw any stickbaits which would surely have procured more fish for me – I mostly stuck with the flies, but it was great fun – I had a lot of short hits and plenty of follows from solid fish. For some reason they were tentative. Some of it may have been me, most of it likely the conditions.

Looks like more rain this week. Stay tuned….