Cross Lake/Seneca River 6/25


Got out with my buddy Jarrod for a nice long day on this system. We brought gear for panfish, catfish and bass/pike and figured we’d just see how things played out. According to the homeowners we talked to, the lake had been flooding for most of the spring, and just got into shape about a week ago. The unfortunate local residents then dealt with 100 mph straight winds during a T-storm last week, which wound up uprooting some CLUMPS (!) of trees. Not a tornado – just straight winds! It was wild to see. Water temps were 75 to 76 degrees and the lake level was normal.

Jarrod had a fish “flash” for his jerkbait not long after we started fishing. He figured it was a crappie, so out came the panfish gear. We had a great time catching loads of mostly sublegal crappies using typical crappie jigs. We wound up keeping 8 fish – which were the only legals out of maybe 40 to 50 caught total. But fun nonetheless – I don’t get the chance to catch a lot of crappies in my daily fishing. A few big white perch and some scrappy bluegills also found our jigs. I saw what appeared to be a nice bowfin cruise by…

Casting the shallows yielded a chunky 2.25lb largemouth for Jarrod. We didn’t encounter many bass today, despite working some good lake areas, though we each dropped what were probably nice largies on our fluke-type baits. Salt City Bassmasters has a tournament here today and 3 or 4 boats were out pre-fishing and working some areas we wanted to fish. At around noon, one angler we talked to (from the bass club) had managed 3 bass and one “huge pike” around the docks in the AM, but overall the bass fishing wasn’t great. We saw a lot of white perch. No sign of gar, which was very surprising. Many are probably still in the river.

We worked the river and found a few areas holding crappies. It would be nice to devote an entire day to working all the potential crappie holding areas! It would take over a month to actually cover everything that looked good. A creek mouth produced a nice 26″ to 27″ pike for Jarrod on a spinnerbait. We both missed a couple other fish. I lost a big redhorse that apparently sucked in my crappie jig. We saw a bald eagle cruising overhead. It’s always nice being on the Seneca River, despite the oftentimes challenging fishing.

Back in the lake, I hooked and lost a nice 22″ to 24″ channel cat that inhaled my jig in 15′ of water! What a fight! I thought I had a 3 to 4lb smallmouth on, but the fish was head shaking more than a bass. The cheap hook on the crappie jig didn’t penetrate or for whatever reason wasn’t enough to hook the fish long enough for Jarrod to get the net under it. We went back to our crappie fishing and had more fun catching and releasing those.

There’s no really easy fishing on this lake. There are some big bass in it and we both know some people who do very well here – usually having a favorite couple docks or trees or rockpiles they work. But there aren’t any shortcuts. There’s a ton of bait and crayfish. Plenty of options for the fish when you include the river. We have caught some 21″ largemouths and know of smallies taken to over 6lbs (and nearly 7lbs!) here (during a bass tournament a couple years ago.) Huge pike made this lake famous in the 1960s. You never know what you’ll hook here and that keeps us coming back on occasion, but the fishing is almost always a grind!