Keuka Lake out of Hammondsport 4/17 + Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 4/18


After a nice long winter with lots of relaxation, I’ve been ready for some full-out guiding, and that’s what I’ve been doing. Here’s the latest:

4/17 AM: Guided Keuka for a full daywith my friend Dave and his buddiesCraig and Scott. Cayuga at Taughannock had been very slow for them and they weren’t having any luck tossing minnows off the dock of their rental, so we decided lakers would be the best way to get some rods bent. Action started out slow at 7:30 am, but picked up markedly after a couple hours, despite the presence of a few bananas on the boat. Winds were up and it was cold out in the AM with ice in the guides. I had 23 degrees on the ride over!

Fishing wound up very good by Keuka standards (which would be “excellent” anywhere else) and over 20 fish were landed, pretty much equally by everyone. We had a few doubles and almost had a triple going!The lakersare still eating a lot. Fish are throughout the south end with concentrations around 110′ and 130′. But as most of you know, everyday is a new day and you need to check things out without too many pre-conceived notions re: depth, especially this time of year.

PM: I did a 1/2 day trip afterwards with Bob and his sons Andrew and Chris, who have joined me nearly every spring over the past 3 to 4 years. We were originally scheduled for Wednesday, but a day out in the boat with very cold, windy conditions sounded more like we’d be fishing for a case of the flu, rather than a good fishing experience, so I bumped the trip to Thursday. I work with people, not against them with my guiding. Fishing started off good with Andrew nailing a laker 1st drop. Then things slowed. But before long action picked up and the guys landed over a dozen fish. Another great Keuka trip in the books and we didn’t have to pull anyone out of the lake!

4/18: I was excited with a capital “E” as Dick Vitale would say, to finally get out on Cayuga Lake! How are the trout doing? What’s up with the lampreys? What’s the lake look like level and debris-wise? These questions were racing through my mind. Plus add in a reasonable drive! Yes, as much as I like fishing Hammondsport and Keuka Lake, I can do without the long drive!

The winds were up more than forecast when we headed north of AES for lakers. The lake is high and there’s some debris out, but most debris is on the shoreline. Cottage and homeowners love to pick up debris and pile it up. It makes for good bonfires.

It was gusting into the low 20s and steady around 14 mph by my estimation. Thor had never caught a laker and he was ready to learn how to do that, as well as some approaches and areas for catching browns and salmon on Cayuga via casting – the only way to go as far as I’m concerned. Laker fishing was tough. We marked a few but only landed one around 19″. Thor’s buddy Mike hooked and lost 2 and Thor had a couple other grabs, but they weren’t super active. 110′ to 130′ was where we found them.

Casting was what I was most interested in. We worked a lot of areas. In one area, Thor had a follow from a very clean, chunky salmon around 20″. Conditions were good at the lake’s south end but no fish for us – though they had to be there. Water temps lake-wise were 37. We had up to 46 “down south.” I had the guys hit one small area on a whim and Mike nailed a chunky 19″ brown. In another area he landed a salmon just shy of 18″.

The good news is that the fish looked great. ZERO lamprey marks on any of them and they were well-fed. Don’t write off Cayuga Lake this year! It’s going to be good. Maybe not great, but solid!