Fishing Reports 4/22 – 4/24
The cold nights and heavy rain has made for some challenging and unpredictable salmon fishing. Here’s how things went down over the weekend:
Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 4/22: Guided the Hermans for a full day, looking for landlocked salmon and trout. Fishing wasn’t easy for us by any stretch. It was our first casting trip of the season (for the Hermans) and it took a little time to get the casting rhythm going again. We had the usual swirls and hits but little to show for awhile. But we persevered and a nice brown and two salmon made it to the net. The browns have really made a comeback on Seneca Lake this year and the Herman’s brown was a fat fish around 18″ or 19″, and their salmon was in the low 20s inch range. Hard to remember since this weekend’s a blur due to some fatigue. Two pike also made it to the net. The pike are the usual post-spawn fish showing some signs of lamprey attacks. I wanted to fish after our trip but the rain started and I was too tired….
Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 4/23: The weather forecast for Saturday looked absolutely heinous in the AM. As I drove down to Watkins Glen the air temps were 39 degrees and the rain and wind were pounding. Rain was pouring down and the winds were gusting hard. I met Ken at the launch and we headed over the Glen Mountain Bakery and waited out the hard stuff. I would have cancelled the trip, but the weather map showed a lull in the rain and the forecast was for sun and calming winds after the front poured through. After around 1/2 hour, the rain slowed and we were ready to roll.
Our first few drifts resulted in some nice hits and swirls. But swirls don’t bend a rod! Ken is a superb caster – probably the second best fly-caster I’ve ever guided, next to a former competitive caster. He did everything well but we just couldn’t connect on the fish, save for a salmon just under 15″. A better fish or two were hooked but got off. Our fishing area blew out with the mud from the rain and we worked some areas uplake. The winds were brutal. We never had any sign of fish uplake and went back south. Another fish was landed and a few more hits/follows had before we called it a day. I urged Ken to stay, because conditions were getting better by the minute, with the warm sun and lighter winds, but he had to go.
I wound up fishing on my own until dark. I worked an area I hadn’t fished with much success in a few years and within 15 minutes hooked a nice salmon around 23″ that got off. Then I had a follow from a monster around 26″ or better. Never got it to hit. Did some more passes with light hits and follows but no grabs. These salmon can be frustrating at times and that’s all part of what makes them great and challenging to fish for. Eventually I landed a couple 16″ to 17″ fish and found some active browns (!). I landed a fat 17″ to 18″ brown and a bigger one. Kept the small one for dinner. Fish were really active and the water was close to the magical 48 degrees. I kept swearing I’d leave after “one more drift” but wound-up fishing till dark.
I spend a lot of time on the water, but I still know that there’s a lot to learn and keep doing my “homework” in order to maximize the number of successful trips we have. I figured out some good stuff on Saturday that I think will go far to ensure more successful outings in the future.
Cayuga Lake out of Dean’s Cove 4/24: Guided James, Bob and Carl from Hobart today in conjunction with my friend Craig Nels – who guided a couple other Hobart guys. James started a fishing club at Hobart and we’d been in touch for at least a year. We targeted lakers in the depths of Cayuga and wound up with a productive day. Carl got things underway with the first fish, and then Bob got one. James had the last laugh after some kidding around when he hooked and landed a monster 31.5″ FAT laker after a long hard battle. This fish was at least 11lbs! Great fish and his next one was over 30″. Then Carl landed a 30.5 incher too. Bob wound up with one more and then lost one. Fishing was a little slow to start but then picked up. Craig’s boat did well too. All in all, a fun outing with the usual rain to contend with. I haven’t seen such a cool, rainy spring in years. Wow. Three fish in total were kept for the table and they were all loaded with alewives. We did well from 140′ to 165′ today. Bigger fish were deeper for what it’s worth.