Otisco Lake 7/16 + Owasco Lake 7/17


The last two days have featured tough fishing for us. Here’s how things went:

Otisco Lake 7/16: Guided Perry and his daughter Stephanie for the day. Any of you who follow these reports (and this site) will know that I generally do casting, fly-casting and vertical jigging. Perry loves to still-fish with live minnows and he’s been so busy with work he hasn’t been able to get his boat out. He’s a super-nice guy who has reached his “life’s Esocid goals” – with a 20lb+ Tiger from Otisco, a 22lb pike from Conesus and a big Chautauqua Musky. The goal was to get a Tiger on the minnows and maybe do a little casting. Some health-related issues prevent Perry from casting much, so we’re mostly confined to the live bait. Unfortunately, it’s been hard procuring large enough minnows for tigers, so we wound up with bass minnows. We weren’t able to get any tiger action – just a large perch, a small bass (if I remember right) and a few good hits (from what may have been small bass.) We did some anchoring and casting, but to no avail. We’ll try again next week, hopefully with bigger bait and better results. It was a beautiful day out there though – none of the forecast T-storms materialized.

Owasco Lake 7/17: I had a great time with Tom, Jim and Artie today. Fishing was slow – no two ways about it, but we had fun nonetheless. Things looked good from the get-go. There were loads of bait up on Owasco’s north end flats. We also marked quite a few fish nearly everywhere we tried – on both shores from Long Point north and on the north end. Jim missed a hit, then scored on a solid 4lb+ laker. He also had a hit on a spoon. But apart from that, nothing much happened until Tom hooked what appeared to be a solid fish late in the day.

The kept laker had zero bait in it, despite being caught in an area surrounded by bait. The Owasco mystery! The last few years have been difficult fishing in July on Owasco Lake for lakers. I had a report from a friend at Seneca who hammered fish, and I volunteered to relocate our trip midway through the day. The guys appreciated the offer, but decided to stick it out on Owasco.

What’s going on with Owasco in July? One theory may be that the thermocline might be fairly thick – with alewives up high and lakers down below. In effect a “thermal barrier” keeping predator and prey apart – at least until things cool in August/September. It’s plausible (my buddy Jarrod came up with the idea!) Either way, there’s bait around and many fish don’t seem to be able to get to it. Last year was a similar situation – lakers in an emaciated condition surrounded by baitfish! I’d stick with other Finger Lakes for lakers until early to mid-August, when this lake should really turn on!