Keuka Lake 9/11


Guided Mitchell and Vincent for a half day on Keuka Lake. We started around 7:15 am at the bluff area – the guys were teetering between wanting bass and wanting action; I thought the lakers would provide some good action. Fishing was pretty good in the AM, with the guys each landing a couple nice lakers (up to 23.5″.) The usual excellent numbers of fish are at the bluff. After an hour and a half of laker fishing we moved N. searching some smallmouth areas. It was pretty clear after covering a mile or two of shoreline that bass weren’t very active up shallow. Likely the weather pattern – cold front. Nothing was even following our super flukes and no hits on the tube jigs. The winds changed, so we kept at it, also working some deeper stuff. Drop shotting produced some nice sized sunfish, a small bass and a rock bass. Vince felt that the preponderance of panfish wasn’t good so we moved on. We tried a few other areas with some pickerel following and more panfish and another small bass. The last area we tried yielded one 12″ to 13″ smallmouth on a green pumpkin Superfluke. Bottom line – good laker action, slow bass fishing – though it was clear that the bass were gradually activating as the day went on (that’s why I encourage booking full day trips!)

Weather systems and day to day conditions (even hour by hour) play a huge role in fish activity levels. This isn’t an excuse for getting “skunked,” not fishing hard and not giving things 100%, but it’s just a fact. Fish instinctively turn on and off when good and not so good feeding opportunities present themselves. Fishing can be a grind when the bite isn’t on but perseverance can and usually does pay off – even in the toughest conditions.

My schedule has cleared up a little bit, so I’ve had more time and energy to fish after and before scheduled trips. After I dropped the guys off, I worked the Branchport Arm of Keuka Lake for bass. The shallow bite was null and void but drop shotting 30′ of water produced a nice 15″ smallmouth for me and a smaller largemouth. The weather gradually changed with warmer air and some cloud cover moving in. The Superflukes started to pay off with numerous small (11″ to 14″) smallies chasing and half-heartedly hitting them (this was around 3:30 to 4pm fwiw.) At around 5 pm I had a large smallmouth swim up and gobble the fluke. After 3 to 4 great jumps and tailwalks I landed a 20″ smallmouth. 15 minutes later a 19″er came to the net. Had we fished these areas in the AM, my guess is we would not have contacted these fish. The weather changed and the fish activated. Cold fronts often slow fish down – the key is to keep persevering and not to get discouraged. Some fish are always hitting. Deep fish are less affected by day to day or hour to hour conditions. I was in 30′ to 50′ of water casting up shallower. Around 30′ of water seems to be an “activity zone.” It also says a lot when the sunfish, bluegills and rock bass are in deepwater – something is happening down there!