Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 3/22 PM


I hadn’t been paying a whole lot of attention to the weather lately when today’s forecast caught my eye. I’m teaching on Monday and Wednesday afternoon/evenings, so Tuesdays are good fishing days for me. Now’s a great time of year to fly-fish for browns, salmon and rainbows throughout the region. And my busy season will start soon, so now’s the best time of the year for me to fish on my own. So with flyrods in tow I was on the water around noon and within an hour I had located some fish. I kept the first fish I caught, a FAT 16 1/2″ brown that had a small lamprey attached. Despite the successful treatments of the past year, some lampreys are definitely around. This brown turned out to be loaded with gobies and it weighed 2lbs. 2oz. That’s a fat fish!

I caught a dink salmon and managed to pull my fly away from some other “shorts.” I did have some follows from bigger (20″ to 23″ range) fish – likely browns. Suddenly a very large salmon appeared and chased in my fly a bit. It kept hovering around a rocky area and I made a few more casts and had him (or her) show some interest, but then the wind picked up and I lost sight of her. It isn’t often that I can sight-fish to salmon, but it can be fun. When I first saw the fish, I thought it was huge – at least 28″. But my brain tried to convince me it was smaller. Anyways I kept working my way up the lake. Another brown hammered my fly – it was a 16″er. These small browns are heavy and they hit and fight like 20″ fish! They are fun!

I made a few short runs with the big motor and set up with a sinking line. After a few casts my line tightened up hard and a big salmon took to the air three times before surging strongly into deep water. The ensuing battle was one that I’ll never forget. I had sinking line wrapped around boat seats, my windshield, my net and my body. This fish ran under the boat a few times. It should’ve broken my rod at least 4 different times with the pressure I was trying to put on it. The wind was blowing my boat north and the fish was upwind of me. It was a huge mess. I nearly broke another fly-rod I had laying around when it got tangled in the net. I made a few attempts at netting the fish that didn’t go too well. I finally managed to get the fish in the net. I put it in the livewell while I regained my composure and got my camera out. I measured it carefully twice and had 30 1/2″. A Landlocked salmon of a lifetime on the fly. I took a poor shot of it in my well (that didn’t come out because I think I only pressed the button half way.) The fish had a lot of vigor as I prepared to release him. I stretched out for my camera (for a release shot) just as the fish gave a good kick with its tail and took off. Oh well. I wouldn’t have been able to get a great shot anyways. My previous best salmon was a 27″er caught from shore on Seneca and at least 4 or 5 different 26″ers mainly from Cayuga. I wasn’t expecting a fish like this one at all!

I mentioned it before in my reports, but in years when legal (aka “keeper”) salmon are scarce, usually a few trophies are caught. It happened on Lake George this winter with a 15lb Landlocked salmon caught through the ice. It will happen this spring/summer on Seneca and it will happen here – the small number of fish that survive longer than the rest (whether it was the “lamprey gauntlet” or poor conditions when stocked or what,) will get bigger than usual.

There is no greater fish in this region than the Landlocked Atlantic (or just plain Atlantic) salmon in my opinion. I had a recent email from a past client who has caught some good ones on Seneca. He found out that if you catch one good fish you’re hooked for life! They are everything a top game fish should be: they are gorgeous, they hit hard, they fight hard and crazy, they jump a lot (not all of them, but at their best they do,) they actively chase flies, they taste great and they require clean cold water. They don’t survive in poor conditions. If you want good Atlantic Salmon you need to take care of your waterways. Anyways I probably won’t need to visit a cardiologist any time soon, since that fish gave me a great stress test and it took me a couple hours to get back to feeling normal. I’ve been fly-fishing for salmon in the FL region now for over 20 years – I hope I don’t have to wait another 20 years for the next trophy!