Keuka Lake out of Branchport 9/17


I’ve been putting in some LONG hours on the water lately between guiding and doing some exploratory fishing of my own. Despite feeling like a coffee junkie, it feels great! There’s a lot of work to be done on the water deciphering patterns and I’m not about to start relenting on my quest to figure out our fisheries.

Today I guided Dave starting at 8 am; he’d joined me on Cayuga last month with his son. Today he fished with his girlfriend Sheila. Laker fishing ran from very good to downright excellent today at the Bluff. The cloudy skies kept the bite going. Many of you know that I really like sunny days for laker jigging in the fall and winter (especially,) but today was an exception. I saw more bait today than I’ve seen in a long time on Keuka Lake (though there are still NO comparisons to Cayuga/Seneca!) Around 11 am the bite really turned on with numerous fish chasing jigs. Smelt, white and purple shakers all worked well today, with white w/chart. tail being the best. We kept a limit of fish and caught and released a bunch more. The fish we kept didn’t have much of anything in their stomachs. I’m not sure if the thermocline does a job here keeping the fish away from the bait (like Otsego Lake) before the spawn, but it certainly is a factor. I don’t mark a lot of bait on bottom in this lake. Could that account for the 100% wild fish here? I dunno.

We did some dropshotting late in the trip for perch working 15′ to 40′ of water. Rockbass really hit well, as did a whitish silvery colored fish – either a salmon or rainbow, which broke off in 30′. Sheila got one perch and we called it a day. Bottom line was the hot laker bite.

I spent another 3.5 hours on the water dropshotting and doing some bass fishing – basically exploring. Rockbass are all over the place in 20′ of water. Some perch were around and I also caught a couple largemouths (one dink and one around 13″ to 14″) and smallish smallies. Then I saw some bait break the surface near the bluff! It was reminiscent of bluefishing. I know it’s a fairly common occurrence here, and on Canandaigua and on Oneida Lakes, but I hadn’t seen it much lately. We used to see it on Seneca and Lake Ontario quite a bit too. I cast a few different lures and then got two or three hits on an alewife tube before I hooked and landed a solid 18″ smallmouth. More fish came up for a few seconds and then disappeared. It was pretty wild. Laker action held up and I jigged one before I called it a day around 6 pm. Water temps are 67. A bass angler I talked to early this AM reported decent LMB but slow SMB fishing. Very little boat traffic today, but it was cloudy and damp all AM and cloudy and dry all PM!