Onondaga Lake 6/12


Got out on Onondaga Lake for the first time in nine years. The first time I fished this lake was on 7/22/2000 with Terry out in his boat. The lake smelled of benzene and we literally saw people doing work on the lake while wearing hazmat suits. I caught a nice pike, Terry caught a nice walleye and we both got some good bass back then. On 5/13/2009 I fished it with Jarrod. We saw a musky or two (tigers) and if I remember right, we did fairly well on bass – the report is still on this site in the archives. The lake was a little cleaner than the first time out, but not a whole lot better. Well the third time was the charm. No chemical smell. The water looked good and the lake was full of life. We saw osprey, blue herons and various waterfowl.

I realize this lake has had its up and downs in recent years depending on the overall air temps (the heat of the summer) and rainfall (which can lead to sewage overflows) but overall I came away very impressed. Within a half hour on the lake Terry had a Tiger Musky take a swipe at a fluke and we both had follows from nice bass. I caught a good largemouth. Then Terry landed his first Tiger – a thick bodied beauty around 35″ or 36″ long – probably 11 to 12lbs. It was thicker than any I’ve handled in Otisco Lake or seen out of Conesus – both in person or photos.

The lake has always held a few gar but we found a vast number of them. We set up for gar and had a blast catching 9 or 10 of them between the two of us. They averaged around 37″ long and we had zero dinks. Terry nabbed a solid drum around 6 or 7lbs on a spinnerbait. We also saw a massive Tiger musky crusing the shallows with its head out of the water, just like they do on Otisco and Conesus Lake. This fish had to be 20lbs or better. We saw a few bowfin. We also caught around 14 or 15 bass – mostly largemouths but a few smallmouths too. We saw plenty of carp, drum, a few goldfish and assorted panfish as well.

All in all a very fun day and we’ll be back here shortly! Water temp was 72 degrees on the surface. Boat traffic was light as always. Urban fishing at its finest!