Keuka Lake 11/12 + 11/14, Skaneateles Lake 11/13


Just when I thought my guiding was slowing down a bit, this wound up being the busiest week I’ve had since mid-August! Nice “Indian summer” weather might be the culprit!

Did 1/2 day on Friday 11/12 with the Hermans on Keuka Lake out of the State Park. It was cold to start but conditions were right for laker jigging and that’s what we did around Branchport. Fishing was good for lakers along the ledges in around 100′ of water give or take 10′. Eleonore and John landed 5 or 6 nice lake trout. Afterwards we did some pickerel fishing. The clear skies and midday conditions made for a tougher bite, though Eleonore landed one nice one on a white X-Rap. John caught a good perch and we wound things up. I demonstrated some fly-casting to John and Eleonore while on the docks at the park and was pleasantly surprised to get consecutive follows from a nice brown trout likely around 22″ or more. I don’t see too many people trolling Keuka for browns, rainbows and salmon these days, but there are some nice salmon around along with a few browns and bows.

I motored down the lake past the Bluff and stopped off to visit an “Angling Zone Friend” who was renting a place on the lake. Mark and I have been trying to coordinate a trip for a few years now and have gotten to know each other a bit on the phone. He’d been doing some trolling near the Bluff with his brothers and picking up a few nice salmon in the 22″ to 24″ range! We wound up going out and having some great laker jigging with his brothers Duane and David. It was a lot of fun and the guys really know how to have a good time! Fun afternoon and the guys had no problem limiting out in around 3 hours.

Saturday 11/13 found me on Skaneateles Lake for two 1/2-day trips. Started just after 7 am with Kirk and Bryant. Kirk joined me early last year for some good laker jigging with his wife. I expected really good fishing on Skaneateles Lake but it was pretty tough. Bryant hadn’t done much fishing in a while and I had him learning a few techniques in a hurry. He did very well. A lack of polarized sunglasses also hurt our chances, but fishing was tough. Bryant had a hold of a nice perch in short order that got off. We tried different areas and wound up boating a couple smallmouth bass on a dropshot rig and jigging spoon. We went back to our laker area and things still seemed slow. A cast in deeper water revealed some fish, so I had the guys start working out a bit and a few hits were had and Bryant landed his first lake trout. At the ramp we talked to a troller who’d picked up a nice salmon around 22″ and a rainbow with streamers trolled just under the surface! (Yes, it’s fly-fishing time!)

My PM trip started out great. I met Craig and his son Griffin at the State Ramp and we headed north. Casting a perch X-rap and a tube jig produced a couple quick lakers for the guys in around 10′ of water. But then the wind died and the fishing slowed. We tried some different areas and techniques with a few hits. But nothing much was landed – just one nice perch. As much as I like to tout the great fishing here on this lake, it can be very difficult at times – mainly when it’s sunny and there’s little or no wind. Craig mostly does saltwater fishing, so today was a change of pace for him. He just bought a house on the lake and we fished the best areas I know, using some of the best techniques I know – so he should have some good starting points once he starts getting out on the water.

Kudos go the the DEC folks for keeping the docks in at the State Ramp! Some of the best fishing of the year on this lake is in November. There’s no need to pull them out yet. Launching a boat without the docks is tricky. Boat bumpers help. So does having a buddy around. But walking on the narrow concrete launch fixtures can be downright dangerous after being out in a rough chop! It’s like doing a tightrope act after spinning around on a merry-go-round, it’s not easy. Let’s hope they keep the docks in until Thanksgiving weekend or the 1st week in December!

Keuka Lake 11/14: I got a late email from David this week and he was happily surprised to see I had Sunday open after poor weather changed his striper fishing plans. I try to tell people – I’m often not nearly as “booked up” as people think! I also shift things around and dates sometimes open up unexpectedly. A sunny day this time of year may not be good for pike but can be great for salmon, so if someone wants pike, I usually will try to move the date. So things open up depending on what you want. Dave does a lot of fishing and is a very accomplished angler, who wants to apply the jigging to brown trout out in Lake Ontario. We had a good exchange of notes on the water today. His cousin Tom joined us. What a great day! Laker jigging was great today. The guys landed 15 nice fish to around 27″. Tom was quiet while me and Dave talked fishing like lunatics – but Tom spoke more with his fishing rod! Just a lot of fun and Tom even caught fish on a plastic that I’d had no luck with before – but both guys did great. It was clearly a morning bite today and fishing slowed down markedly when the wind came up (just the opposite of Skinny!)

I had reports of a lot of bait on Keuka Lake this year. I didn’t see a ton of it earlier in the year, but I’m seeing it now – both at the Bluff and around Branchport. Expect to see some bigger fish in the future and better survival of stocked (and wild) rainbows, browns and salmon!