Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 3/21


I heard birds chirping for the first time this year a couple days ago. Photoperiods are getting noticeably longer. We witnessed thousands of snow geese on Cayuga Lake today – it was an awe-inspiring sight! Spring is definitely in the air but it may still take a few days before it actually feels like it.

Guided Mark I. for the full day today starting around 10 am. We started with some salmon fly-fishing but then quickly went to laker jigging. The jigging was good with Mark landing three nice lakers in around 2 hours. We then switched back to salmon flyfishing. The bite has been off and on for us pretty much all season. The fish are around just about everywhere but the bites can be tentative. Mark wound up doing very well with four solid Landlockeds landed – all in the 20″ to 22″ range. The fish were in nice plump condition for the most part and fought great. We used intermediate and full sinking lines with flies in various colors – white, gray and chartruese/orange.

I had Mark keep the lakers for me for my smoker or maybe chowder and we harvested two of the salmon that had some serious lamprey hits. One very small live lamprey came up on a fish. The parasitic eel like creatures are definitely a factor this year in Cayuga Lake, but there appears to be enough hosts around so that the lampreys are acting more “parasitic” than “predatory.” They are basically attaching to fish for awhile then moving onto another host rather than killing the fish and then moving on. That’s good. With fewer hosts they will stick with a fish until they kill it.

The reason I started this report with comments on the coming of spring was that the salmon I cleaned had been gorging on alewives. Fish we’ve kept this winter for the most part had been feeding on a mix of alewives and gobies with gobies dominating in certain parts of the lake. When we’ve found alewives in fish, there weren’t many in their stomachs. Alewives are likely gradually moving up due to the lengthening photoperiods. After all, the water temperatures really haven’t warmed up that much.