Keuka Lake 12/1 + Seneca Lake out of Watkins 12/2


After being away for the week, it was nice to return to some warming conditions. I underestimated the mass of warm water that was created by the extraordinarily hot summer. Many fishing patterns are still lagging and fish like pike are basically in a early to mid-fall pattern. Ample weedgrowth still exists on area lakes. Fishing remains very good, but it isn’t necessarily easy, but hard “work” (i.e. fishing) pays off.

Keuka Lake 12/1: Guided Jon, Dr. Bill and Jon’s GF Crystal today for a 1/2 day. It was around 34 degrees at 8 am when we launched. I give Crystal (hope I spelled that right) kudos for being the hardiest woman angler I’ve guided thus far. She dressed right and did well. Fishing started out slow. We marked a ton of fish near the park, but they appeared to be hitting short. A lot of hits were had and a couple quick hookups and drops. A ride to the Bluff showed much fewer fish on the FF (fish finder) than previous trips here. The Bluff always seems to hold a ton of fish, so they were probably around somewhere, but we weren’t seeing them. Crystal hooked and lost a good fish at the Bluff.

As usual, the sun played a major factor in the bite today. Once the sun came out, action back near the park got fast and furious. A couple doubles were hooked. The gang managed to land around a dozen fish, including Krystal’s (I’m hedging my bets on this spelling) 27″ beauty. She did great for her first time fishing EVER!

Surprisingly, none of the dozen fish I cleaned had spawned yet!!! That’s amazing. Usually by mid-November these fish are dripping eggs and milt. Some of the fish had large alewives in their stomachs.

Launching the boat wasn’t bad, but returning to the dock with south winds hitting the mid-teens was brutal. I was a bit jetlagged and tired from a visit to AZ and wasn’t thinking clearly. We had a bear of a time getting the boat straightened out and on the trailer and my trolling motor cover/head took the brunt of it. With strong southerlies the best thing to do is launch out of Hammondsport or pull up to the mooring docks at the State Park, get the vehicle and drive it on the trailer. The lake is so low now that the dock length is in effect shortened; my boat wound up partially under the dock and the wave action did a number on the trolling motor. I bought some Gorilla Tape and was able to piece together the “cranium” of my expensive trolling motor!

Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 12/2: The amount of green and still intact weedgrowth on this (and Cayuga Lake) is still staggering for this time of year. Guided Mark I. for the full day. He likes to fly-fish pike but isn’t averse to standard gear-fishing for them. Duck season is open and we kept away from the hunters. Fly-fishing produced a couple smallish pike (22″ and 25″.) Mark lost a couple solid 29″ to30″ fish on the flies. Chartreuse Clouser minnows on a floating RIO Clouser Line did the trick.

Working some spoons produced better fishing later in the day as the wind subsided. Mark landed another half dozen fish including a couple 30″ to 32″ thick bodied northerns. We gave the salmon fly-fishing a try. Water temps were good at 46/47 degrees, but sunny days are usually much better for fly-fishing than the rainy, cloudy conditions we had today, so I’m not putting a lot of stock in what I saw today, which was nothing. A few other boats were pike fishing and a few were trolling. Not a bad day to be out. Water level is still nice here and launching is easy. Good to very good pike fishing should hold out through the winter. Now’s the time to fish them!!! My buddy Mike fly-fished Cayuga on Saturday and landed 4 decent pike to 37″.