Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock State Park 11/29
Guided a full day with Ron and his son Matt starting at around 8:45 am. It was COLD out. Not brutal, but pretty darn cold. It never got above 32 degrees today and we had a steady north wind all day long, making for a “real feel” around 23 degrees. Very few people were out fishing today. We saw one other boat just cruising around late in the day and maybe one or two shore anglers at Taughannock.
The weather may have been cold, but the fishing was hot. We had an excellent day with 18 lake trout landed including a couple at the 30″ mark and a few wild, beautifully colored fish. Ron also wound up catching an 18″ brown. Lake trout are pretty much everywhere around the lake. I’d have to believe that we are experiencing some world class lake trout fishing here. Ron has a lot of experience up in Alaska and he feels Cayuga is the next best thing, but it’s much closer! Fish came on bladebaits, tube jigs and stickbaits. The lakers are thinner than I remember for this time of year. Fish are clearly post-spawn but my guess is that goby numbers in shallow might be low. It doesn’t appear that the trout are gorging themselves on anything yet. Today was all catch and release apart from one mortally injured fish which Matt was going to clean later. So I have not been able to check stomachs. But I cleaned some fish Wednesday and didn’t find much in them.
Late fall to early spring salmonid fishing on Cayuga Lake has really transitioned to being a lake trout bite. Over the past 5 days that I’ve been on the lake we’ve had a bonus 20″ salmon, today’s 18″ brown, a 19″ smallmouth and a 29″ northern pike. I have cast and have had clients tossing presentations that should work well for salmon. We have also fished “salmon areas” a bit. I rarely take clients to the same areas two days in a row, unless those are the only areas that have produced, so we’ve been fishing a lot of different areas around the lake and are not seeing salmon.
Over the past few years we’ve seen this scenario play out over and over. Poor to fair salmon fishing in the lake during what is traditionally a great time for them and then fair to good runs of salmon up the local tribs. There are decent numbers of salmon around the lake. We caught and marked them, as well as saw them follow our jigs to the surface throughout the summer and fall while vertically jigging. It is entirely possible that the large numbers of ravenous lake trout roaming the shallows are keeping some of the salmon away. They could be suspending over deep water just outside of the drop-offs. I don’t know. It’s a theory. Over the past few years I’ve seen salmon turn up in a lot of unpredictable places/depths. Certain weather patterns also seem to help move salmon in. A lot of them may be further up the lake. Who knows? But I’ll gladly take this superb lake trout fishing. It is downright excellent, the fish fight very well, they look cool, taste good and are able to be targeted consistently.