Lake Ontario out of Oswego 5/3 + Seneca Lake out of Geneva 5/4

Reports

5/3 – Lake Ontario/Oswego: I was very excited to get out on the lake for some Kings and lakers Thursday. I brought fly-rods and was hoping for some spring brown trout action as well. It was very foggy out in the AM and winds were light out of the north and within an hour or two the winds had died down a bit. I had good temperatures for browns, but with little wind and crystal-clear water, it was a very low, if not close to zero percent option. Trollers were picking up browns in the harbor.

My main focus of the trip was to work the lake out of Oswego for Kings and get a more in-depth look at the structure. I pinpointed some great areas for summertime browns out there last summer. In a nutshell, I found some very good lake trout action with loads of fish along bottom within a few miles or so of the harbor. They responded well to the usual Finger Lakes plastics and jigs. I landed 3 fish, two around 19″to 20″ (like Keuka or Canandaigua sized fish) and one around 26″ and maybe 6lbs (like a typical Cayuga fish.) I had other hits and lost one or two as well. I didn’t think the conditions were great for lakers, but they were hungry.

Certain areas of the lake were clearly “activity zones” and for some reason, the Kings were there amongst the lakers. Bait is scarce on Lake Ontario. If it was around (outside of the harbor) I wasn’t marking much, if any of it. But before long I had a chrome fish gobble a Shaker on the retrieve and it was game on! Not a huge fish (around 27″ to 28″ and only 7lbs 2oz,) but I had a great time fighting it on my 7′ medium Fenwick HMX rod! Had some good runs, dogging and a couple near jumps. I thought I’d lose the fish, but after the 3rd try, I managed to get it in the net. After getting a good look at it, I’m certain that a King is what I had hit me a couple years ago out by Hamlin.

If there’s one talent I have for fishing, it’s decoding patterns and catching things that other anglers miss or overlook. They are often somewhat obvious, once mentioned, yet seem to bypass many anglers’ thought processes. But many people I’ve talked to that were optimistic about jigging Kings, really were chasing up the wrong tree, so to speak. I realize that this all sounds cryptic, but in the next few weeks, once I get a bigger, better picture of what’s going on, I’ll write a bunch of this stuff up. I’m a diehard Fingerlakes Guide and happy on the FLs, but I do enjoy a challenge. Right now, I want to get out and get more data. But I’m 100% certain that catching these fish can be done CONSISTENTLY on the big lake on some level.

Are jiggers going to get them everyday? No. And there are a lot of days when I frankly don’t want to be out on Lake Ontario dealing with heavy chop. Not in my boat, or in ANY boat!

Is jigging going to outfish trolling? Maybe on some days, but probably not everyday. And maybe not on most days. But we’ll see. It’s only one fish I caught, but it was a significant one for me.

Is it going to be more fun than trolling? (Is the Pope Catholic…) YES, YES, YES – OF COURSE!!! And how many Kings do you really need to catch? I remember fishing off the piers of Rochester during the late 1980s and early 1990s. One 25lber and my arms were shot! And that’s back when I was working out. One good fish and I’ll be happy.

But once the right conditions are pinpointed (which I intend to do this season and over the next few years) I believe they will be patterned as well as any other major specie of fish. I like easy fishing and that’s what I’m hoping to find! More coming this next week – stay tuned!

Spring Kings on the table. I kept my salmon and filleted it. The meat looked pretty good. It’s been nearly 35 years since the 1977 NYS DEC ban on Chinook salmon possession, due to Mirex, dioxin, PCBs, Ddt and all the other flavorful contaminants that our wonderful industries dumped in the Niagara River, though the ban is still fresh in my mind. Does anyone else remember when it was more or less a crime to keep a Chinook? I’m sure a few of you do! Now it is presumably safe to eat 1/2 lb of Lake Ontario Chinook salmon a month. I tried some – sautéed in butter with a little lemon and nothing else. I was pleasantly surprised – it was very good. Not as good as Fingerlakes Atlantics or lakers (especially lean ones out of Keuka or Canandaigua) but it was good. I will smoke the rest. I wouldn’t hesitate to keep smaller spring Kings in the future.

5/4: Seneca Lake out of Geneva – Guided David for the full day today. Fishing was generally good with a steady, but slow pick of lakers. They are everywhere on Seneca’s north end – from around 40′ out to over 150′. We found our best action around 90′ to 100′ today. There’s a ton of bait on the north end of this lake. Dave did a nice job with the catching today and landed 7 or 8 solid fish to 30″. All fish were wild! The lakers here are drop-dead gorgeous. Seneca’s north end this time of the year, through July is the best laker place on the Finger Lakes. Big fish, lots of them and they are mostly wild! No where else is quite like it! H20 is around 48 on top.