Keuka Lake 10/23 + Skaneateles Lake 10/24
Keuka Lake out of Keuka Lake State Park 10/23 AM: Guided Scott and his wife Sharon (who fished for about 5 minutes) for a 1/2 day targeting lakers, starting just after 8 am. They have a place just off the lake and he's looking to do more fishing. It was COLD out this AM but beautiful with the peak of the fall foliage occurring. (Gusty winds today, on 10/24 will take out a good number of leaves.)
I checked the area near the State Park for awhile and found respectable numbers of fish here. Scott had 3 or 4 solid hits but it took a little while to get the hang of things. We made the chilly run to the bluff and found plenty of fish there. Scott nailed 4 nice lakers. We headed back towards the park and Scott hooked another. I can't say I marked any more or less fish on Keuka Lake this time out than in prior years. The Bluff was pretty much loaded, as usual with lakers.
After the trip ended I did a little casting and landed a large pickerel in short order. I had a follow or two from some bass. I did some more jigging along the north end of the Branchport arm and managed to land 3 lakers which I kept. One of them was loaded with perch fry. A lot of fish are up unusually high in the water column, likely targeting perch.
DEC Region 8 crews will be doing their "tri-yearly" (every 3 year) coldwater gill netting assessment of Keuka Lake next year. That will provide us with a lot of answers regarding average sizes of fish, forage and abundance. Fisheries are not managed by "knee-jerk" decisions, despite the desire of a lot of the bozos up on Lake Ontario who have one or two slow years and want to do crazy stuff with stocking. It was an extremely cold, then wet season in our region and that likely negatively impacted the fishing. DEC Biologists do not feel that the ice fishermen put much of a dent on Keuka Lake's massive lake trout population. Remember that angling pressure was focused mainly on some select areas! Most of the lake was lightly fished and lake trout are well-distributed throughout the length and branches of Keuka Lake.
I do think that the alewives are pretty much gone here on Keuka Lake. Whether they bounce back remains to be seen. Maybe we'll see some smelt bounce back, but that may be unlikely. It'll be interesting to see if the smallmouth bass behavior changes and they act more like Skaneateles Lake bass. Clearly we are going to see a lot more yellow perch here! That population will likely go way up.
10/24 Skaneateles Lake: Guided Wayne and Christine from Toronto for what was supposed to be a full day, but wound up being a half day after the winds got extremely gusty. The weater forecasters called for 9 to 16 mph winds today, with light winds in the AM. We had strong winds in the AM and they got stronger as the day went on. By 1 pm we had steady 18 to 19 mph winds with gusts in the mid-20s out of the south! It was harsh out there. The run south took a good 1/2 hour or longer.
Wayne fishes a bit from shore and Christine had fished once in her life a long time ago. They both did a great job today. We went with jerkbaits (the new Rapala Shadow Raps – which are awesome) and they caught a half dozen smallmouths up to 16" long. We had a near miss from a nice sized pickerel and also one perch landed. Needless to say, when we got back to the launch, ours was the only boat trailer in the parking lot. Fun day and pretty good fishing despite the brutal winds. Water temps were 56 degrees. Water level was good too.