Lake Ontario out of Oswego Harbor 5/3


I had a lot of choices today! What a dilemma – head over to Seneca out of Watkins for salmon on the fly, or maybe hit Cayuga again and try some different areas now that things have warmed up a lot. Perhaps take a run over to Skaneateles Lake and catch some big perch and a nice mixed bag. Then there’s Canandaigua Lake – perfect time to jig some lakers and cast for some rainbows. Maybe try crappie fishing somewhere. Wow. It’s not easy being a Fingerlakes Angler. My desire for some big browns on the fly and perhaps some deep jigging for lakers/Kings got the best of me, so back to Oswego I went.

It took longer than I thought to get there and I was on the water about 45 minutes after I should have been. Charters were out in force and I was about to set up when I heard a boat horn blow. Yes, sorry but I didn’t realize guys would be running about 50′ to 60′ of planer board line on each side of their boat to capitalize their spread and this guy had to make a wide turn. Wow. Once in a while I see that on the Finger Lakes, but even for the Great Lakes, this to me was pushing the envelope on what constitutes a reasonable “program” in a crowded harbor. I nearly hammered my prop backing out of the way onto some big boulders, but at least the captain did what he should have done with that spread and headed down the shoreline away from the growing number of boats in the harbor. But all in all, I guess I can’t blame him, since he was probably one of the first people on the water and no one else was likely around when he started his troll.

Fly-casting started well and within about 15 minutes I had a grab and subsequent follow from a solid brown trout. Then in warmer water I started getting hits but couldn’t hook the fish. Another pass through, more grabs and I was into a solid smallmouth, then another. What a difference from Tuesday. Add in another 4 to 5 degrees of warmth in the water temp and the bass move right in and activate. One of these days I will do an article on the similarities and differences between fishing the Finger Lakes and the Great Lakes for trout and salmon, via my style – which is casting/fly-casting (and not trolling.) In a nutshell, the Great Lakes change and change fast. Currents are stronger, the water is bigger and you must make wise decisions quickly or miss out on what is often a small bite window. That’s the challenge I love. I could catch more fish on a Finger Lake at this point in time, but making smart (or dumb decisions) and reaping the benefits (or paying the price) is what trips my trigger nowadays.

Before long, as is usually the case with spring browns on sunny calm days, the bite moved out deeper and action really slowed in the shallows. I ran out to some laker/salmon areas. I saw some interesting stuff. Piles of fish on bottom in 125′ to 135′. Bait was up high and I had a school of fish swim down, then back up for my jig. Had a hit here or there, but no hookups. Wrapped up around 12:30 pm back in the harbor. Saw a few carp but no more hits.