Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 3/14


Guided Mark I. for the full day starting around 10:30 am. We were off the water by 7 pm. With Mark the goal is usually to fly-fish. We set up for salmon and browns that would be looking up, as opposed to groveling the bottom for gobies. Winds were fairly steady out of the south east to start. Our first area didn't produce. The second area we tried found a big brown taking a swirl and quick shot (and miss) at Mark's blue and white half and half. About 5 minutes later, a smaller albeit still very nice brown gobbled his fly. It was a 22.5" fish – probably 4lbs +. It wasn't a massive tank or football but was in excellent condition nonetheless. We released it. No other hits were had (that were definite) working some salmon areas.

A trip a couple weeks ago showed lakers in shallow water, so I thought Mark would have a good shot with a fly-rod, floating line and clouser type fly. We tried it but had no action. I didn't bring any LC-13 leadcore fly-line heads on count of the wind so we went with tube jigs on a spinning rod – which is a fun and very productive was to fish. Mark nabbed a 27" laker that he kept for dinner. Also landed was a 22"er and a gorgeous, perfect 29" wild fish – both of which we released. We hit a few other areas for salmon/browns during the course of the day but didn't have any activity. So we wound up with the spinning gear and tube jigs and Mark was able to land a few more nice fish.

So overall the fly-fishing could have been better, although the brown would be a solid for any fly-fisherman and it fought great. Falling back on the tremendous inshore lake trout fishing made for a very good day with the 29" fish being a very memorable bit of "icing on the cake." Lake levels are low and I bottomed out on my way back to the ramp. Funny, I'll often use trolling motor power to get out of the lagoon at Taughannock but my the end of the day I'll be too tired and not even think about doing it on the way back in. Lake should be coming up a little but it's too early to tell whether the dam at the outlet outlet will be set to allow the lake to rise to full pool. There is very little snowpack left in the area, so unless we get colossal rainfalls/snow, we should be out of the woods for spring flooding. So hopefully we'll see the lake level come up to full pool, which will allow launching lake wide. Water temps are around 36/37, but there was some 38/39 degree water at the southend. That would be more of a troller's game, since the swath of warmer muddy water was getting fairly formidable in size. But if I'm a flat liner, I'd start thinking about that area after the next couple warm days.

I have pretty good availability over the next few weeks. I will start posting open dates shortly to make it easy to schedule trips and give me a sense of how things are shaping up with my schedule. The website overhaul is underway so we'll see how that goes!

Shorefishing Report: My buddy Mike shorefished Seneca Lake on Wednesday. He reported good conditions but zero action on gear and flies. He caught a very nice 22" salmon on a fly in Cayuga Lake from shore.

I received my Region 8 Diary summaries in the mail yesterday. Canandaigua continues to be the hottest Western Finger Lake in terms of lake trout action. Rainbow fishing there was also very good. Keuka Lake catch rates went up, but that would still indicate an imbalanced fishery. Hopefully the ciscoes will take to that lake. Seneca Lake continues to provide slow fishing for the third year in a row. Let's hope we see an uptick this year. DEC predicts next year will be a significantly better lake trout year on Seneca Lake due to a fairly strong year class of young fish that will be catchable (size wise) in 2020.

If you have no lake trout fishery in a lake with sea lampreys present, you have no cold water trout/salmon fishery. In an effort to have a "balanced fishery" the lake trout stocking numbers on Seneca Lake were reduced a few times. Now we have better balance but no fishery that anyone can get excited about. People that clamor for more rainbows, browns and salmon need to understand this. On Cayuga Lake there are people shorefishing all over the lake, up and down for lake trout. Most fisherman just want to catch something nice or at least something. People are happy with lake trout in the Finger Lakes region for the most part and they don't realize how much they love them on the end of their line until they're gone. Without the great nearshore lake trout activity in Cayuga Lake now, we'd be having a fairly slow year for salmon and browns.