Cayuga/Seneca Reports 12/26 – 28


I had some time to check on landlocked salmon action on Cayuga and Seneca Lakes. Both lakes are providing some fair to good fishing for some nice salmon. The positive is that fish on both lakes are clean and nice-sized. Cayuga’s salmon are averaging a solid 19″ to 23″ from what I’ve seen. And they are robust! Fish are also relatively lamprey-free on both lakes. The negative is that not a lot of fish are around. They are scattered and can be tricky (or downright tough) to find.

NY State’s hatchery system (Adirondack Hatchery) has transitioned from the “Little Clear” strain of salmon to the “Sebago” strain, though I believe both strains are in our lakes now. From what I remember reading, the Sebagos tend not to stay in massive schools like the LC strain. It is hoped that they spread out a bit more. Anglers loved hammering the LC strain fish, but to the fish’s detriment, they would often just stay grouped up and not disperse. This made them very vulnerable to angling pressure. The LC strain is no more. There’s no going back even though they did well in the FLs. Whether the somewhat tougher fishing we are seeing now has to do with the strain or something else is unclear. Our weather patterns have been weird and we also had a bad lamprey year in 2013, so it’s anyone’s guess what’s affecting the fishing now.

I was encouraged by our fishing over the past couple days.

12/26: Got out with my buddy Eric on Cayuga Lake out of Myers. It is launchable there, but there’s some skinny water to traverse to get out onto the lake. My depthfinder read 2′ at times. We fished areas I wasn’t able to cover with Mike last week. The weather conditions were not good with calm winds to start. I was feeling like we should have gone laker jigging. But things changed. We tried some spinning gear and I managed a quick follow of a fish around 17″. Eric also had hits and follows from similar sized fish.

We got to one area and I got hit three times on a streamer. Then Eric hooked and landed a 19″ beauty on a tube jig. I had another hit and Eric (who had switched to fly-fishing) hooked and landed a spectacular fish just a shade under 24″! Great fight and the fish fought and looked like it was 25″ or 26″. It was thick! Eric then caught a 21″ fish. That’s the reward I get for spending a whole day out with Mike eliminating water! But things got better for me. I landed the next two fish – a 17″er and a 21″er. So we had a flurry of great activity with some beautiful fish. I kept one and all the rest went back. They were clean without any hook scars either.

12/27: Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen: Guided Mark I. for the full day of fly-fishing. We started at around 7:20 am. It was opening day of duck season and I’ve never seen more duck hunters out in my life. I don’t begrudge them, because it’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors and a short season, but their presence made it very difficult for me to find some areas to fish without being in their way. It hurt our AM pike fishing. In marginal pike areas Mark had two different pike follow him, but they weren’t committing. One large fish followed 4 times! The conditions were difficult and today would have been the day to go. We tried some salmon fishing and Mark landed a hard fighting 21″ beauty on a sinking line quite a ways up the lake. He got some great footage with his “Go Pro” camera. It’s awesome! I have to hand it to Mark, because he’s a trooper – a persistent fisherman and he is a great caster. And he doesn’t give up. If it weren’t for him onboard today, we might not have caught anything.

My buddy Mike was out on Skaneateles Lake with a friend and they had some very good rainbow trout action. The lake is fly-fishing very well right now!

12/28: Cayuga Lake out of Myers: Today I got out for 3.5 hours in the afternoon to try for some salmon. It would’ve been a great pike day, but I have landlocked salmon fever now and there’s only one cure – to get into some. I had some other things on my mind and unfortunately I forgot to double check the sinking line set up Mark was using yesterday. I’m a big believer in checking and re-checking tackle and I failed to strength test my leader after a full day of fishing yesterday. It cost me a solid fish. Conditions were very tough today with a steady north wind around 10 to 12mph. I was fly-casting in some good chop. I had a tremendous hit from what had to be a solid low to mid 20s (inch range) salmon. Had it hooked and my 10lb test tippet parted! I had one other hit and that was it. But I fished completely different areas that what I worked with Eric or Mike over the past week. So that was a good sign. So far I’m liking Cayuga Lake over Seneca Lake by a touch this year for salmon. So far that is. We shall see, but neither one is fishing very easy. You work for your fish and that’s probably the way LL salmon fishing should be.