Fisheries Notes


Cayuga Lake lake trout propagation netting showed a few things about the Cayuga lake trout population and lamprey wounding. Quite a few fish came up with lampreys, including many large eels from 18″ to 21″. One 10lb laker had 4 live eels attached. But with that being said, the best net hauls were on Friday and Saturday and those fish were in better shape with very few eels. It was reminiscent of past years. The diversion of one year’s stocking of lake trout to the Federal Hatchery in PA around 6 to 7 years agoapparently did make a difference in the fish numbers showing up in the nets.

We all know that lampreys on Cayuga are the worst they’ve been in the past 20 years or so, but next year will be better and the year after should be excellent in terms of fewer eels.

From what I’ve seen so farthis year on Cayuga, up until the last couple weeks, is thatthe fishinghas beensteady – really good day-in and day-out. We had very few cold fronts and blow-off days (in terms of wind) during thishot summer. I don’t think I cancelled a single trip in the summer due to cold fronts and brutal wind. We caught fishevery day, but it was rarely ever gangbusters. The hottest laker fishing on Cayuga and Seneca occurredearly in the season, inApril and Maywhen fish were deep and before the thermocline set up. Lakerfriendlywater temps were deeper than in previous years and I saw days wherethe bottomin 90′ feet of water waslethal to lake trout. On a few occasions 120′ FOW was where the 48 degree water was. That’s deep!

Many derbies had poor results in terms of laker size, butwhile the nettings showed somewhat diminished numbers of the usual 8 to 10lb fish, they did show up and fish up to 14lbs werehandled. No word on the numbers of wild fish, but it’s safe to say that around 5 to 8% of the Cayuga fish are wild. What remains to be seen is the toll these eels took on the brown trout, rainbow trout and landlocked salmon populations. Even pike get affected by lampreys. The few incidental salmonand browns we caught while jigging this summer looked to be in good shape.

Re: Seneca Lake – Some good news is that Region 8 DEC stream surveys reportthe best numbers of young (juvenile)wild rainbows in Catherines Creek since the 1970s. And this is despite the hot summer. Rainbows are now being stocked in some Region 8Finger Lakes in an effort toboost their numbers both in the lakes and the streams. (Region 7 has been stocking rainbows for years in Skaneateles, Owasco and Cayuga Lakes.)Let’s hope wesee some improved rainbow fishingdown the line! Keeping lake trout out of Canandaigua, Keuka and Seneca Lakes will help give the other salmonids a chance.