Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 12/4 + Owasco Lake 12/5 out of Emerson Park


Got out for a couple days of fishing with some fairly brutal weather conditions. There's a lot of upside to guiding, but the downside is that the best weather days are usually spent working. So if I want to fish, I have to take what I can get!

I have been trying to catch some lake trout for my friend/client Ed's Xmas party. It hasn't been easy finding a good day to get out. So the best I could do this week was yesterday. Here's how it went….

12/4 Cayuga Lake: It was a nice sunny day with more wind than I expected. Air temps were just above freezing. Cayuga Lake is low, as is always the case this time of year. I don't see any reason to drop the levels of this lake so severely. But it's done so we don't get much "spring flooding" – which is rare these days, given that we barely get any snow and if we do it melts off during our bi-weekly winter thaws (with the exception of last year.) But it makes it a hassle to launch a boat and doesn't help spawning for pike a bit.

There's a good chance that Lake Ontario will finally be allowed to fluctuate the way nature intended in the near future. Low spring levels have hurt fish and waterfowl production. Wetlands are not doing well. If you want to have a place on the lake, build it far enough away from the shore so the lake can be a natural lake and do what natural lakes do. They go up in the spring and drop down in the fall – but not drastically and not massively. The whole ecosystem shouldn't suffer because somebody is worried about lake front erosion. Buying a place on the lake is kind of like the stock market – it can be a risky proposition. Anyways, the lake was low, very low.

Ran up past the Power Plant and set up for lakers. Fishing was tough, perhaps due to the full moon or maybe I should've been out earlier (I started around 1:30) but whatever the reason, I struggled. Fairly decent numbers of lakers were in 85' to 115' FOW. I finally hooked up a 27" clean beauty. Other than that, I dropped a good hit and missed 3 or 4 more on both spoons and plastics. But it was a hefty fish and will suffice for the smoker.

12/5 Owasco Lake: The plan was for my buddy Mike and I to go out of Long Point State Park, jig some lakers then head north and whack some pickerel for the table or vice-versa. We also brought perch gear. We arrived at Long Point around 10:30 am with around 36 degree air temps and a strong steady south wind around 15 mph gusting to 19. Not good for a run north! We've done that kind of thing before and it's never any fun. So we set the GPS for the south end of Owasco Lake. A half hour later and we're there. And the water levels are way too low for me to want to launch my boat, plus the docks are out. We shot north to Emerson Park and saw a couple boats had gone out. Water levels obviously were low there too (duh, it's the same lake) but we were able to launch. Problem was that both boats came in and one guy said it was scary out there. I would've been scared too if I were out in his small boat. But that being said, it was nasty out, with winds around 15 to 20 mph gusting into the low 20s out of the south. It was brutal. We ran all the way to the south end and the ride was nasty the whole way down. It was whitecapping down there too – with a south wind!

Fishing wasn't easy. Had we known what the weather would've been like, we wouldn't have fished today, but we gave it our best shot. There were lakers on the south end flats and Mike had a couple hits. We worked north and he nailed a 31" beauty plus one around 25". Fish ranged from 80' to 150' FOW. Lots were around 140' to 150' but they weren't being very cooperative. I like sunny conditions and less wind this time of year for the best laker action. We tried the east shore a bit – Mike cast for perch and I cast for pike. I raised one northern. Mike landed around 10 keeper perch in very short order. They were shallow (7' to 9') and biting! Good fishing but nasty out. I felt I could've done very well on pike, but I just couldn't access the best areas. Water temp was 43/44.