Keuka/Seneca 4/6 + Seneca out of Watkins 4/7


4/6 AM Keuka Lake out of Branchport: Guided Mike and Jay for a 1/2 day starting at 8:30 am. It was cold to start and the guys had icing going on in their guides and line-winders. But the fishing was HOT! Things got off to a good start and only improved. The numbers of nice perfect eating-sized lake trout are staggering in this lake – especially near Keuka Lake State Park. Jay figured he caught more lake trout today than he did ever before or at least last year (I can’t remember the quote.)

After around 3 hours of jigging the guys had landed around two dozen fish to 24.5″. The fish hit all kinds of plastics from flukes to shakers and even beaver-type baits. Fish came from around 120′ to 150′. We didn’t check shallower – never got around to it, but I’m sure some were shallow. I had a good time reminiscing with Mike, who happened to be from my hometown of Penfield NY. Great trip.

4/6 PM Seneca Lake out of Watkins: Guided Lindsey and Eric – both residing in Buffalo for a half day trip. We targeted salmon and lake trout. Eric hadn’t fly-fished in a long time and had never lake fly-fished so he gave it a try. Lindsey really hadn’t ever fished much before – maybe once or twice as a child, so today was a learning experience. Eric did as good a job as could be expected “learning on the fly.” Lindsey was casting the spinning gear very well in no time. She had a few follows – one from a nice salmon in the 20″+ range. She hooked a smaller one that got off.

We tried some laker jigging and Eric landed a beauty around 26″ to 27″ if I remember right. Lindsey had one or two on that got off. Fun day and it was beautiful out there.

4/7  Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen: Guided Mark, who typically joins me for a handful of trips a year – generally fly-fishing. He’s an awesome caster and great guy to spend a day on the lake with. Today he brought a 7 wt. Sage XP loaded with an Intermediate line and was hoping for some salmon action.

Ah, the wind. We knew things would be “challenging” to say the least, but my mantra is “when in doubt, go out.” More often than not, I’m glad I went fishing when the weather was sketchy. We can always turn around and head home if conditions are dangerous or horrid, but 80% of the time if you slog it out, you get rewarded. And sometimes with some of the best fishing you’ve ever had. Today wasn’t quite that, but things have a way of working out and they did.

We worked a few typical April areas for a while. I had Mark cast all over the place without even a follow. The driving southerlies – gusting close to 30 mph, brought a lot of cold water into the south end (basically the winds pushed out what little warm water had been around.)

After hours of nothingness, I took Mark deep for lakers. He scored on a clean, fat beauty in short order and he had fun playing the fish with whitecaps rolling around us. Another laker came maybe an hour later. The first was 28″ and the second a 22″er.

Lo and behold, the winds died down and Mark went back to the fly-rod. He had a follow from a nice salmon then missed a very solid grab. We did another pass and in another area Mark hooked up and landed an incredibly FAT 22″ salmon. We kept all three fish today and the salmon weighed in at 4lbs 5 oz. The salmonids in Seneca Lake are pigging out on very large alewives right now. That’s typical in the spring, but these fish are clearly finding a lot of bait! And that’s a good sign. Lamprey wounding has not been bad this year – I’m very thankful for that!

Mark fishes hard and doesn’t give up. That’s why we were successful on a day when it would have been much easier to call it quits early. Nice going, Mark!