I consider brown trout somewhat of a bonus fish for us on Seneca and Cayuga Lakes during the late fall through spring fishing calendar. They don’t chase flies quite as actively as landlocked salmon do, but we catch a fair number of these fish while fly-fishing and spin-casting in the winter and spring. They typically run around 15” to 20″ long, though we’ve caught them up to 27” on flies and upwards of 30″ on jigs. In Lake Ontario they run much bigger.
Cayuga Lakes give up some monster browns on occasion – fish pushing 17lbs! Brown fishing was slow here for the most part from 2021 – 2023. Despite being “double-stocked” a few years ago, we haven’t seen the returns that we were hoping for.
For many years Owasco lake was known as “THE Lake” for big inland browns. Browns are coming back steadily on Owasco Lake. We landed a couple beauties over here in 2022 but only an average-sized fish or two in 2023.
Seneca Lake has produced its share of giant browns over the years – especially in the 1990s, 2000s and early 2010s. Getting the lamprey population under control is helping to improve the brown trout fishing here. More browns have been caught here recently including some nice fish pushing 10lbs.
During some years, we catch decent numbers of browns jigging on Cayuga Lake during the summer. The fishing is not nearly as good as the lake trout fishing, but they are a gorgeous fish and fun to have on the end of your line.
Browns stack around creek mouths in October and November on Cayuga and Seneca Lakes as they prepare to spawn. These fish are oftentimes in a negative mood, but a little wind can turn them on. I’ve had some success fly-fishing spring browns on Lake Ontario. Conditions need to be right to have success targeting these fish, but for the serious lake fly-fisher it’s a worthy challenge. Fall run browns can also be fly-fished on Lake Ontario around creek mouths.