Cayuga out of Taughannock 11/5 + Skaneateles Lake 11/6


Cayuga Lake 11/5: I was kind of surprised when I got an email from Beth inquiring about November fishing this past week. Her 12 year old son Sam loves to fish and they were in town for a visit. Most trips I’ve done in November are booked with hard-core fishermen – guys that ice-fish or steelhead fish. The Carhart gang! I rarely book trips with mom and her son – period, and never for a cold day in November! But there’s a first for everything.

Beth got the trip offto a great start IMO by offering me a burger and some fries from 5 Guys (a place I’ve wanted to visit since it opened in Ithaca.) The weather was cool and rainy to start. Sam has fished on party boats before and was a very good caster. I showed him a couple jerkbaits and he had no trouble learning to fish them. He was a little bit impatient but he stuck with the program. It didn’t take long before he caught a northern pike around 29″ long! I was very disappointed to see the fish looking pretty beat-up. The fish was thin and bleeding from its tail and body. Very reminiscent of the viral infection (likely VHS) that we’ve watched decimate Seneca Lake’s incredible pike fishery.

In a different area, Sam landed another pike around 30″ – a nicer looking fish, but it still had a couple red blotches on its side. More VHS symptoms. I’m not saying we definitely have VHS in Cayuga and Seneca Lakes – but it was apparently detected in a fish in the Seneca-Cayuga Canal a few years ago. It’s pretty obvious to me that we have it, and it’s affecting the pike in both lakes. What’s the saying – if it smells like $%&@, looks like #$%@ and – you get the picture. But the 2nd pike was a nice-looking fish overall – not as thin as the first one.

As soon as we released the 2nd pike Sam hooked another one on the very next cast! And what a fish!!! I knew it was big, but it barely fit in my Super Magnum Cabelas rubber net! Actually, it nearly jumped out! It was a 37″ HEALTHY looking thick bodied pike! What a beauty!  We took some photos and released the fish. And that was it on the afternoon. The ride back was brutal – a front came in and air temps were frigid plus we got pelted with rain that felt like BBs. Nasty! I received an email from Beth – Sam is still in disbelief that he caught such a large fish and Beth still feels cold from the trip….

Skaneateles Lake 11/6: To say it was cold this AM was an understatement. Skaneateles had white-outs last night and there’s still snow on the hills overlooking this gorgeous lake. Ron and Matt (who’ve fished with me twice before on Seneca Lake) joined me for a full-day on the lake. They are outdoorsmen and were dressed for the weather. Fishing started out slow. We had one follow from a rainbow and some missed opportunities. At around 10:30 (we started at 8) the fish started hitting for us. Ron caught some very nice 12″ to 14″+ perch. Bass too. One rainbow followed Matt’s stickbait. Then the lakers started hitting. By the time the day was over, Matt had landed 11 nice lakers – from at least 4 to 5 different areas of the lake. The best fish was a drop-dead gorgeous 24″ rainbow trout that Matt nailed on a tube jig. We released the fish after taking one very quick cell-phone photo. It was a picture perfect bow! Great fight too. One other rainbow was hooked. The docks are out and launching isn’t super easy, but it’s not too bad. I use boat bumpers and do some tightrope walking. Water temps ranged from 48 to 51. We saw one other boat on the lake all day long! It’s quiet out there and will only get quieter once shotgun season for deer opens up.