One question I get asked a lot is “what’s your favorite fish to catch?” At the top of my list is Landlocked Atlantic Salmon! They hit hard, fight insanely well, jump, look cool and taste great. What more could anyone want?!
These fish were reportedly once native to Seneca and Cayuga Lakes. They grow quickly in the Finger Lakes and are considered one of the top freshwater gamefish in the world. They typically run from 15” to 22” with fish occasionally reaching 26” or more. They are surface oriented in cold water (unless there are abundant numbers of round goby around,) which makes them a terrific fish to chase on the fly. There is very little or no natural reproduction of these fish in Seneca or Cayuga Lakes, thus keeping a few for the table does no harm to the fishery. Streamers tied on #2 to #4 hooks work great, and baitfish colors are usually the best.
As I update this in mid-January of 2024, it’s looking like once again, Seneca Lake will be the better of the two lakes this winter and spring. Cayuga Lake’s salmon fishing has been spotty over the past three years, although a few nice salmon have been taken.
Skaneateles Lake offered terrific salmon fishing (including fly-fishing) back in 2020. That was mainly due to the stocking of some exceptionally large salmon that were able to avoid predation by walleyes and other gamefish in this lake. Salmon for myself and my clients have basically been non-existent here over the past three years. My clients caught a couple dinks here early in 2023.
NY State is now stocking “Sebago Strain” salmon. It is hoped and expected that they will provide better fishing than the previous “Little Clear” strain – so far it was the case for maybe 2 years. We’ll see how they do in the future.