Fishing Reports 10/9 – 10/12 Cayuga + Keuka Lakes


Fishing has generally been good in the region, though high pressure systems/cold fronts have played havoc with the bite at times. I’m on the water all week long and will have reports from other waterways shortly.

10/9 Owasco Lake: Guided Chino (a guide in Kentucky for sauger, white bass and hybrid stripers) and his son Jonathon. It rained heavily at times throughout the AM. Chino and I were prepared for it, Jon was mentally prepared for it but didn’t have good raingear and got a decent soaking.

We started with pike fishing in the AM during the rain. Jon landed one small northern around 22″. He had 4 or 5 other hits and we saw a nice one take a slash at his spoon. But overall we didn’t do as well on pike as I was expecting and hoping. The laker bite was tough too. Jon landed one or two early on but then we struggled for them.

Chino does a lot of vertical jigging for hybrid stripers (“wipers”) and was right at home when we discovered a big school of perch under us in deep water. The guys wound up landing over a dozen that they kept for dinner. Chino finally nailed a laker later in the day. We also had a nice smallmouth follow in one of our laker lures. It was a tough day “catching wise” but satisfactory in that the guys saw some ways we fish up here.

BTW – there were tons of nice perch in the shallows at the south end of the lake. I see this every year! Perch can be tricky to target because they are so adaptable. Our deep perch were in 55′ to 70′ FOW – the ones “down south” were in less than 5′!

10/10 Cayuga Lake out of Long Point: Guided my old friend Chris (we go back to 3rd grade) and our mutual friend/High School chum Jim for a 1/2 day AM trip. Jim doesn’t fish a whole lot but was eager to give it a shot. We headed north and worked weeds for pickerel. Action was slow to start but picked up during the AM. Four or five pickerel were landed on spoons.

Lake trout fishing started out slow, but I found a bunch of fish in deeper water (110′ give or take) and the bite really got going. The guys kept a nice limit of quality eating sized 22″ to 24″ fish. I think we threw a couple back if I remember correctly. Good fishing!

10/11 Cayuga Lake out of Long Point: Guided Florian for a full day. I thought pickerel fishing would be good for him since he doesn’t get out much. The lake was rough with steady winds out of the south in the teens. Florian did a nice job and hooked and landed around 10 pickerel. The conditions weren’t easy and boat control was important. We kept 5 for Florian’s cooking blog:

If you get a chance, check out the many different ways he cooks lake trout! I regret not having spent more time on his blog so I could pepper him with questions! Lake trout sausage sounds good! He does some amazing stuff here!

Anyways, we spent a good part of the day going after lake trout without much action at all. We found quite a few fish, but they weren’t active. Florian did manage landing a salmon around 14″ or 15″ but that was it. Tough afternoon but the AM pickerel fishing was a lot of fun!

10/12 Keuka Lake out of Hammondsport!: Wow, have I been waiting for this trip! I’ve heard so much regarding the tough fishing on this lake from past clients and Angling Zone friends. I launched with Harry, Tony and Tony’s nephew Rob. These guys have made Columbus Day on Keuka Lake an annual event for us and they really look forward to the fishing. And it hasn’t disappointed us yet.

Word from Ron, the owner of the Keuka Lakeside Inn, is that fishing has been very slow this season. We have had some recent encouraging reports from up the main stem of the lake plus the Bluff (as usual) so we ran right to the bluff and started fishing around 9:15 am. Action was slow for the first two hours but then picked up. There are plenty of fish up there although I probably marked less fish than in past years. We had a steady but somewhat slow pick there, then ran south and picked up a few more fish in a few different areas. White and chartreuse plastics as well as Hopkins spoons did the trick. Overall we landed 13 fish and lost a few. Had we stayed at the Bluff, there’s no doubt we would have caught more, but the guys wanted to try some areas closer to the Motel where they were staying.

The negative news is that all the fish ran 17″ to 20″ long. It’s rare not to see a few fish in the 21″ to 24″ range on Keuka. The other negative is that none of the fish had anything significant in their stomachs. My guess is that these fish aren’t finding much food, because there doesn’t seem to be much around. The writing has been on the wall here for a long time regarding the poor baitfish numbers, though the last couple years seemed to show an uptick in that department. The harsh winters probably set back the alewives a bit. We may see growth rates slow down a lot here. Stay tuned! But harvesting more fish here is probably a good idea. It will be interesting to see what management action Region 8 DEC takes here, if any.