Otisco Lake 7/1 Paydirt!


About a week ago my schedule in July and August was looking pretty bare. I think high gas prices and an uncertain economy have resulted in people taking a more “last minute” approach to vacation planning. I’ve been kind of excited at the prospect of having a bit of fishing time to myself. When I began “Finger Lakes Angling Zone Guide Service” in 2005 I figured that if I was lucky, by my 4th or 5th year I’d be doing 3 or maybe 4 trips a week. I always thought I’d have plenty of fishing time and time to develop new patterns and learn or “master” 😉 new lakes. But my wildest expectations were surpassed – thanks to those of you out there who book or have booked trips with me, and before I knew it I was doing 4 or more trips a week. I just wrapped up 17 trips in 14 days a couple days ago! I love doing all the guiding, but I do enjoy getting out and fishing on my own a bit. Exploration and the thrill of discovery is what motivates me as a fisherman – not just doing the “tried and true”. My July schedule is now starting to fill up pretty quickly, so my “personal fishing time” is going to be a bit limited. I’m still planning on fishing Lake Champlain/George, Lake Erie, the Thousand Islands and Lake Ontario (to jig Kings.)

A goal of mine for a long time has been to figure out Otisco Lake and the fishing there. I first fished the lake for walleyes in the daytime in the early 1990s on my buddy Terry’s boat and found it tough. We’ve always caught bass there, but I’ve wanted to catch a legal Tiger Musky for awhile. I didn’t go back until a bit later and the tiger musky population was down. They are up again now and I’ve been fishing the lake more regularly lately. Today I got up around 3:30 am and was on the lake before 6 am. I had some good ideas on how I was going to target muskies and I couldn’t wait to get on the lake! There’s nothing better than fishing with confidence!

I worked an area which produced a nice fish for my girlfriend and some action for my buddy Jared. No luck. I tried another area and had a huge bass go for my musky lure. A bit later I had my first visible follow from a musky around 28″ give or take. I worked an array of different lures on flipping sticks and my musky rod including Musky Chatterbaits, 9″ Sluggos, Giant Shad Raps, Swimbaits and other stuff. I tried some other areas but felt a strong urge to return back to the top area. After 10 minutes of casting my lure was 2 rod lengths away when in an instant a decent musky whacked my plastic! I was prepared – having checked my knots and leader thoroughly, and after a couple wild jump/thrashes and two or three runs under the boat I landed a 32″ Tiger Musky! I took a quick (bad) photo or two and released the fish. Over the past 3 trips on the lake we’ve had musky action every time, so I feel I’m starting to get them dialed in a bit. After throwing heavy baits on my Fenwick Techna AV musky rod, my flipping stick feels like a light spinning rod! Musky “hunting” is a lot of fun – it’s all about anticipation and expectation – the “thrill of the chase”. I’m looking forward to doing more musky fishing on Otisco, and hopefully Waneta/Lamoka, Chautauqua and maybe the St. Lawrence later this season. I can only hope. More new waters and experiences/patterns to come…. 🙂

BTW – if the current good musky trend on Otisco holds up, I expect to be able to successfully fly-fish these fish. I think the best fly-fishing will be in May before the weeds come up and possibly just before ice-up in November. Time will tell!