Landlocked Salmon

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 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.

Cayuga Lake currently has the best salmon prognosis.  A few fish over 30″ long were taken here in 2016, 2017 and in 2018!   All signs point to another solid year on Cayuga. The fishing over the past 2 or 3 years really starts to improve in late-February and March.

Seneca Lake has had its moments where it was better than Cayuga for salmon.  Those days are gone for now.  There are ample baitfish available for them but lamprey issues have been bad here.  We’re seeing some nice young fish here but not much over 17″/18″ thus far in 2020 heading to 2021.

Skaneateles Lake has offered steady fishing for salmon over the past few years. Actually I’ve probably encountered them every season here since I bought my first boat back in 2001/2002.  Fish have been running from around 15″ to 23″. Any fish over 24″ is a real trophy on Skaneateles!  Thus far in 2020 we haven’t seen many fish, but they should be out here.

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 seems to be the case.


They don't get much nicer looking than this one!

Bonus Salmon caught jigging

Nice Cayuga Salmon