Otisco Lake 5/11 + Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 5/12


Otisco Lake 5/11: I didn’t fish this lake at all last year and the time seemed right to give it a go, especially with the high water levels on Cayuga. I was finally able to coordinate a fishing day with my friend Eric (who’s seen holding the pike on my homepage,) whom I hadn’t fished with in around 2 1/2 years! Time sure flies…. He’s a devout fly-fisherman and that’s mainly what he did today. I had a couple things in mind for our trip 1.) Pinpoint some crappies- since I do need a good Finger Lakes crappie photo for this site and species profile and 2.) See how the Tiger Musky fishing is. We were able to accomplish both of those things yesterday.

It wound up being Eric’s day. I did a lot of casting for pans and caught plenty of sunfish and bluegills along with a few perch. Eric stuck with the assorted flies. I did about 50% fly-casting for Tigers and 50% gear. Early on I was casting a tube jig and had a follow from a nice musky – maybe 32″ or so. The fish followed up my tube and then likely saw Eric’s fly, because he hooked up a split second after I raised the fish. So he hooked the first Tiger either of us (or anyone on my boat) has hooked fly-fishing. The fish surged out a lot of line and Eric’s fly-rod dipped under the boat. He was gaining on the fish when I had him move to the front of the boat in order to get some leverage on it to net it. But the musky wound up wrapping Eric’s line up in some weeds and the fish got off. The right tackle is important and I think Eric regretted not hooking the fish on his 9 weight, rather than his 7! We had a couple other tigers either loosely follow stuff up, or we’d see them laying on the lake bottom. Eric had a follow on a tube later in the day, but it didn’t grab my fly! Overall I felt good about the musky encounters and I’ll be back on this lake in the next few weeks. Maybe even chasing some walleyes.

We found some crappies in some heavy brush. Eric managed a couple 11″ers and we each caught a dink too on jigs. Bass were pretty active and again, Eric did well with the fly-rod on some solid16 to 17″ smallies and couple similarly sized largemouths. John at Otisco Lake Marine showed me a couple shots of a largemouth recently caught and released from Otisco that reportedly weighed 7lbs 10 oz!

Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 5/12: Guided Jacek, a surgeon from Poland whom I also guided last summer on Seneca’s north end. He was in the U.S. for a conference. We went after salmon today. He started things off right by hooking one around 4lbs on a stickbait. It jumped and got off. He had quite a few follows. A 26″ northern made it to the net – landed on a Cleo. Jacek wound up hooking more salmon, having a ton of follows and then finally landing one around 17″. He had some big ones follow, but we just didn’t get them to commit. Fish were scattered and we found salmon in areas on both shores up and down the lake. I don’t like glassy calm conditions for salmon at all, but I felt we did well today given that that’s what we had. Those conditions may have contributed to their skittishness.

After the trip I was going to try some salmon fishing, but decided to go after pike -again, given the conditions. I found some great pike action in a small area; the only negative was that the fish were on the smallish side – running from 21″to 26″. But I landed around a dozen (in an hour and a half) and pulled my lure away from a few others. I wouldn’t recommend a special trip here for pike, but it was encouraging to see some healthy fish. We also saw a few large dead ones too! But that’s the way it goes. I used stickbaits and jerkbaits for the pike and they were in less than 10′ of water.