Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 1/1/2011


Got out on the water around 1 pm today. I was sure we’d have strong winds and rain, but today was probably the best day I’ve seen in over a month to fish. Light south winds, air temps hovering just under 50 degrees and a falling barometer. I should have gotten on the water around 8 am!

Around 1/2 dozen rigs were in the parking lot at Taughannock along with the usual shorefishers. A couple anglers were pulling up as I was launching and they concurred with my fishing report for yesterday. They had some nice fish. This year we’re looking at very good salmon action – lots of small fish, but enough sizeable ones to keep things interesting and make fishing well worth it. My plan was to fish pike today, but I’d have been crazy to not try a salmon area or two.

I fly-fished our productive area from yesterday and within around 20 minutes I managed to land a chunky brown trout around 18″ long that I kept for the table. The fish hit on an intermediate line in around 20′ of water. I kept casting and eventually had a follow from a solid salmon – likely around 20″ to 22″. But that was it. By then it was around 2:15 pm and I decided to make the run south to some pike areas.

Pike fishing really was exceptional. The wind was starting to kick up and the fish were pretty active. I made a long cast with a large deceiver streamer on my sinking line, walked to the console as the fly sank and felt a hard hit. I set the hook into a very, very solid fish. Just a beast! I got a glimpse of it and could tell it wasn’t a 40″er, but after a strong battle I landed the 37″ fat northern. The fish was in incredible condition – not a mark on her and fat. After releasing her, I kept fishing and during my initial drift I picked up two more on the fly – both very solid fish. A 32″ and a 34″ fish – both incredible fighters and both in excellent condition. They were hitting ridiculously hard – it was like stripping a fly into a boulder! I had one more follow, then around an hour later landed a 24″ pike. That was it on the day.

If I had to pick one Finger Lake to fish the rest of my life, it’d be Cayuga. Solid lake trout action from year to year, albeit mostly hatchery fish. It produces massive brown trout, plenty of great landlocked salmon and some rainbows as well. The lake has consistent, if rather unspectacular pike action, but it doesn’t fluctuate nearly as much as Seneca. Terrific pickerel year after year. Great largemouth bass fishing on the N. end despite heavy tournament fishing. Nice smallmouths too. Then there are loads of perch. Add in oddballs like channel catfish, bowfin, freshwater drum, longnose gar, monster carp, big bluegills and smelt – and if the lake’s once great crappie fishing ever comes back, you’d never need to fish another lake. Plus it’s a pretty “wind friendly lake” for being such a big body of water. Fortunately we don’t have to fish only one lake! Each one has something great to offer between the fish community, scenery and intangibles!