Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 10/26 AM
Did a 1/2 day trip this morning with Spencer, who was out with me last week on Skaneateles Lake. He lives on Cayuga Lake and has been trying to catch some bass in the lower lake over the past month or two without much success. We used Skaneateles Lake as a “slump-buster” last week. It was a perfect lake to work some artificial baits like Superflukes, hard jerk baits, blade baits, tube jigs and swim jigs and actually get some results. Success breeds confidence.
When I bought my first boat in October of 2001, I did a bit of smallmouth bass fishing on Cayuga Lake in the fall. I had some terrific fishing at times, usually working an alewife colored (“shad”) tube jig. It wasn’t hard to catch a few 17″ to 18″ smallmouths in Cayuga’s lower lake, especially if the wind was blowing. Depending on where and how we (my buddies and I) fished the jigs, we’d catch smallmouths, occasional rock bass, northern pike and even salmon once in a while. When I fished bass tournaments for a couple of years with my old buddy/Cornell boss Phil, we targeted smallies on Cayuga Lake and found some decent mid-lake areas. Most of the times we needed the right conditions to nab fish.
Once I started guiding, on occasion, if the conditions were good, I would take people fishing for smallmouths (on Cayuga) – as a short break from laker fishing. The power plant’s warm water flow would attract a lot of bass from August through October and it was fun and easy fishing over there. We also caught them along the shoreline and drop-offs around the southern perimeter of the lake. Those days are long gone. I caught one slob smallmouth on a jerkbait a couple years ago. My clients usually catch a few from November through December working tube jigs or blade baits for shallow trout and salmon. When we get one, we never seem to find more fish with the single. My guiding for smallmouths these days is on Skaneateles and Owasco Lake to a lesser extent. Seneca has fair fishing for smallmouths but moving from spot to spot can take a lot of time. There’s also the wind and big-water to deal with over there. I don’t do much guiding on Otisco Lake, but the shallow pre-spawn bass fishing can be great there in May.
Anyways, I brought some pike fishing gear along as well for Spence to try. We started on a good pike area. He had two follows from what were likely pike/pickerel. It’s possible that one of the fish could’ve been a trout, but I don’t think it was. He encouraged me to fish a bit as well and I spent some time throwing blades and tube jigs. I managed to nab a lake trout around 18″ or so on a bladebait in around 35′ of water. On the day I had a couple quick hits in one area on a tube jig but did not hook up. I don’t think the fish were bass. I’m not sure what I had. We gave the fishing a good try today but did not have any bass action. There’s a lot of water to cover out there and the smallmouth population on Cayuga Lake remains modest. Goby fed bass tend to really bunch up in small areas and we didn’t find them today.
Just to make sure my memory is still intact, I found my fishing diary page from my 1st day fishing in my first boat on Cayuga Lake, and yes, the smallmouth fishing over here was much, much better back then!