Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock Park 2/21


Got out today for a full day trip with Mark I. starting at around 8:30 am.  The last time I was out on the southern portion of Cayuga Lake was back in mid-December, also with Mark.  He fishes hard from start to end so it was great to kick off my 2022 guiding season with him.

The water level here is good for late February.   The rain and thaw we had last week helped to bring the lake up considerably, so launching a boat was a cinch.  We have rain in the forecast for tomorrow, then a winter storm Thursday night and Friday, then another week of cold winter weather.

Casting trips for my clients and I targeting salmonids went fairly well in November and then slowed in December.  Due to that, I haven’t been super excited about shore fishing or getting my boat out on warmer days (which nearly all have been accompanied with heavy winds.)  I do get shore reports from a client/friend of mine who has a place on the lake, and he’s done fairly well for lake trout, rainbows and occasional browns.  Salmon catches have been few and far between.

Mark’s favorite type of fishing is fly-fishing, and he gave it a great shot today without any action.  We switched to gear and changed locations after a couple fruitless hours fishing two areas.  In our new area, Mark landed a chunky 26″ lake trout on his first cast on a Rapala Flat Rap.  The fish was fairly shallow.  No other action after that and we tried some deep jigging.  Fish were around and he had a couple hits but no hookups.  We made another move and committed to working nearshore. It paid off with another nice hard fighting laker on a swimbait.  We were nearing the end of our trip when Mark hooked up again.  He thought that perhaps he had another laker, but the rod tip was “juking” a bit more.  I got a look at the fish – “Salmon!”  I slipped the net under a 27.5″ trophy landlock!   Mark’s usually a catch and release guy for silver fish, but the salmon the last couple years haven’t been very cooperative to our fly-fishing efforts, so we kept this one.  It weighed 7lbs 10oz.  Mark’s best landlock!

I wish I knew what was going on with salmon this winter.  In November and December fishing for them was very tough on Seneca, Cayuga and Skaneateles Lake.  We encountered more rainbows and browns than salmon on Cayuga then.  The fish Mark landed today was clearly a mature older fish.  We should be encountering a bunch of 14″ to 19″ fish.  Those are our “bread and butter” landlockeds, but we didn’t encounter many of them while jigging lake trout last summer.  Fish may have just been very lethargic today with the very cold-water temps (mid-30s I think – my temp sensor isn’t working great on my Lowrance right now.)  I’ve seen that happen before after a harsh winter.  Once water temperatures warm up, we’ll see what’s out there.  For now, I haven’t been too thrilled with this winter’s salmon fishing.

If you gotta just catch one...make it a good one!