Oneida Lake 5/31 PM
Got out on Oneida Lake starting around 1 pm. After a busy run of trips I often like heading to a fishery I don’t fish often. I also like doing different things and for me, the part I enjoy most about fishing is learning different water bodies and how to pattern them. I’m starting to get a pretty good grip on Oneida Lake.
This lake can be darn tough at times, so I’m enjoying the walleye population peak here. When I get a day off these days, I just want to relax and enjoy myself. I don’t care if I catch fish or not. Getting up early is pretty much out of the question, since I need to catch up on sleep from the past run of trips. I also often have errands and other things to take care of. One thing I have noticed at Oneida Lake is that most people fish mornings and evenings. Show up here at noon or 1 pm and most people are getting off the lake. When I come back into the launch around 6 or 7 pm, a significant number of anglers are just heading out.
The surface temps here ran from 72 to 75 degrees. It was a brutally hot day with decent humidity too. Thankfully there was a nice breeze. As I often do, I will start off by fishing a stretch of water I either have never fished before or haven’t fished in a long time (which may as well be the same thing.) That’s what I did without much luck other than a follow or two.
I worked some deeper water with a bladebait and foul-hooked two walleyes, landed a dink that hit and also a perch that gobbled my BPS lure. Overall that tells me that the walleyes were probably fairly inactive.
I fished shallow and lost a nice walleye just as I was reaching for my net. In another area I picked up a good walleye in around 27′ FOW on a big deep featureless flat – kind of a lucky fish. Working shallower again I managed to get a pretty good little pattern going on a jig and landed a few more walleyes and some nice bass. The bass always fight great here, but I was impressed with the fights on the walleyes. I kept thinking I might have been hooking drum or something else and nope, it was just another hard fighting walleye. I went home with four legal walleyes – 3/4 being in the 19″ range. I would’ve loved to keep fishing but driving home after dark in Tompkins County is like walking through a field of landmines when it comes to deer/car collisions.
On a hair jig I caught a small goby. My guess is that a lot of the walleyes I caught shallow were keying in on gobies. Similar to Cayuga Lake’s landlocked salmon back in 2015/2016, these fish seem to be going against the grain of what most of us picture walleyes to do – feeding in very shallow in the middle of the day with a high sun in clear water. I’m sure hardcore walleye anglers have seen stuff like this over the years, but I think it’s becoming more commonplace on Oneida. I didn’t encounter any of the cabbage weeds that people like to fish yesterday – it’s probably too early for a lot of it. I did see a lot of nice drum but didn’t hook any. Fun day and I’ll continue to fish here on a regular basis as long as the fishing stays good.