Keuka Lake 7/14 + Sodus Bay 7/15
Guided Tad and Barry for the past two days. Tad joined me 3 years ago for some great fly-fishing. Our fishing back then was probably better than it should’ve been (he had a 26lb carp beeline for his bugger – which hadn’t happened before and hasn’t happened since, amongst other things…) and it was slower than it should have been this time. But that’s how things go. The guys wanted to fly-fish so I figured smallmouths and gar would be the way to go – here’s how things went….
7/14: Keuka Lake – I was hoping to meet the guys at 8 am but by the time the guys had breakfast and got rigged up it was closer to 9:30. We caught the tail end of what was likely a decent bass bite. The guys landed 4 or 5 decent (12″ to 15″), but not huge smallmouths in fairly short order on flies. Type 2 and intermediate lines did the trick. We saw some big smallies show up after the flies, but they weren’t grabbing. We worked a few different areas and more smallmouths were caught – but nothing big. A couple perch also showed up. One pickerel followed. That was about it. We raised quite a few fish, but they weren’t hitting great. The cold front certainly slowed things up a bit.
Barry makes some nice bamboo fly-rods and I got the chance to cast a bamboo 8 weight! It was interesting to say the least. These guys have fished all over the world and it was fun chatting with them.
7/15: Sodus Bay – I knew that the air temps would be hotter today and I felt today would offer the best shot at some gar on the fly. Tad has been wanting to catch a gar on the fly for years – it was on his “to do” list for species.
We tried an hour of bass flyfishing without any action – I was hopeful, but not expecting too much with the flies on top and slightly subsurface. Fish are often in the weeds this time of year and with hot sunny weather. We did see a few caught later in the day (in areas we fished Monday) by some guys likely practicing for a bass tournament. They were pitching and working plastics deep into the weeds.
BTW – I think this bay is getting fished a bit too hard by area clubs. I met a Flower City Bassmaster member at the launch and he said their club moved their tourney last Sunday to Port Bay after arriving at Sodus and seeing that there were 3 other tournaments happening there. Add in the Avon Tourney with around 50 boats on Saturday and I think that’s a bit much. Strictly opinion here – but with all the educated fishing pressure on the bass in this small waterbody, the fishing really takes a dive. It might take a day or two after the weekend for the fish to really get back on the feed. I’ve fished the bay for over 30 years overall and for bass sporadically over the past 25 or so – I’m still impressed by the bass fishing, but I think clubs need to diversify a bit.
Fortunately I don’t have to worry about the gar. Nobody fishes for them and that’s fine with me. But the cold front had the gar in a negative to neutral mood at best. The guys did each catch one – but that was it. The fish followed well from around 11 till 12:30 pm or so, but then they shut down. Tough day but it was cool seeing the guys get their first gar. Overall it was tough fishing – or maybe I should say “catching” the past two days on the fly. I expect better. The catching was slow, but the fishing wasn’t bad – at least we knew we were on the fish. Making them hit was the challenge.
I made my semi-annual stop at Orbakers on the way home. It’s about 7 or 8 miles west of the bay on Rt. 104. They’ve been around since 1932 and make a great burger, onion rings and shakes. Kind of like Don and Bobs, Vic and Irv’s, Bill Grays, Tom Wahls and Bill Wahls in the Rochester area. Better than Five Guys or “In and Out Burger” in my opinion. The place was packed as usual. Awesome stuff!