Cayuga out of Dean’s 5/3


5/3: I was out on the water from 6 am till 8:15 pm today. Yes, it was a long one! Started at 6 am with Steve, Stu and Shannon. Lake trout jigging started with a bang, with Stewart nailing one on his first or second drop. After that things slowed for a while, though the guys did lose/miss a few. Steve nailed 3 nice fish and Shannon landed her first and second lakers late in the trip. Fish ran from around 22″ to 29″. They are still full of alewives. H2O surface temps are coming up – they’re in the mid 40s. We had hits from 100′ out to 175′ today, with the deep stuff producing all the solid hookups.

My PM 1/2 day was with Thomas and Jessie – both from England (and staying at Cornell for the week.) Thomas had never gone fishing before -so he’d (obviously) never caught a fish. So action was the #1 priority. So we ran up North and set up for some pickerel. Tom had no trouble learning how to cast spinning gear. BTW – Water temps were around the mid to upper 50s. Water was muddy (carp anyone?) around Canoga and further north. Action wound up being good with around 1/2 dozen nice pickerel landed. The guys also got some perch, with Tom catching a nice 12″er. He learned how to use a Rat-L Trap, X-rap and tube jig. And all produced follows/hits. We tried some laker jigging with a few non-committal hits. It was a fun evening.

Pickerel are so underrated it’s ridiculous. People tend to hate them for three reasons: they bite off baits/lures intended for other fish; they are bony and require filleting expertise and lastly they are often small and tough to handle and tend to go crazy, cutting people with their teeth and/or hooking people with errant treble hooks while thrashing.

Those are valid reasons to dislike pickerel, but there are some great reasons to like them: They hit hard and often provide good to great action when other fish aren’t active; they fight good; they taste GREAT (once you learn how to fillet them) ; they keep panfish populations in check and they respond well to numerous techniques/lures – including fly-fishing. I love fishing for pickerel, and nearly all the Finger Lakes are capable of producing “pike sized pickerel” upwards of 27″ long and better!