Onondaga Lake 6/27


Met Terry out here just after 9:30 am. Originally I was going to take the long drive out to Oak Orchard Creek and try the lake for salmonids and the lower creek (basically a river) for gar.  I figured salmonids might be deep and on top of that I have a fairly full schedule of guiding ahead of me, so a 2.5 hour + trip each way didn’t seem too appealing, so off to Onondaga we went.  It’s been “gar hot” lately and I figured we’d have some good action there, plus the hot weather should have bass moving into a pre-summer pattern, as opposed to “post-spawn.” I’m a big fan of the In-Fisherman calendar periods as formulated by Al and Ron Lindner back in the 1960s/70s, so that’s where that terminology comes from.

I told Terry he was going to have the hot hand in advance and I was right.  I was pretty darn tired but it’s not an excuse.  He’s a damn good bass fisherman.  He was a Rochester Bassmaster back in the late 1970s and early 1980s and has smallmouth bass as his favorite fish.  (He is also a very creative angler and always tries different stuff. We rarely ever throw the same thing unless we are convinced it is the thing to do.) My favorite fish is the Landlocked Atlantic Salmon.  I also have a soft spot for bowfins, though I haven’t caught many in my life and I don’t target them much at all.  I did target them for a few years back in the early 1990s and had some good luck.  But they are in many ways the opposite of salmon – they aren’t pretty, the like warm, weedy marginal water, they are more primitive – the list goes on,  but they are still an incredibly cool fish.

Given that we were fishing Onondaga Lake and we had one of the first weeks of hot steady weather, we were both thinking bowfin.  Bowfin are likely one of the only fish to thrive here back in the super polluted days. With regards to “finning,”   I realize that fishing live or dead bait is much more productive than artificials in general for them.  Night fishing is also a good way to catch them.  But we were fishing a good area for them and Terry had a good spoon setup.  I started things off with a nice bass on a Fluke.  Terry nabbed the next two, then set into a big fish near a weed clump.  It took to the air and it was no Tiger musky, it was a big ‘fin!  We both knew it.  So we were psyched.  After some strong surges I netted it and we got some good photos. It was a 28″er and probably 8lbs – a very solid fin.  Terry nabbed a few more bass and I eventually caught another one on topwater.  We set up for some gar and he wound up landing three solid ones and I got one and lost one (both via fly-fishing) next to the boat.  We saw one Tiger today.  We cut the trip short at around 3:30 pm so I could get back home and rest a bit before the next slew of guide trips.  Lake temps were around 74 to 75.  Weeds look tremendous.  It’s a good time to fish the lake.