Otisco Lake 9/28
Guided Mark I. for a full day on Otisco Lake targeting Tiger Muskies. Over the past few years, Mark has had some impressive pure strain muskies grab his streamers on Waneta Lake but so far the Tigers on Otisco Lake haven’t been quite as cooperative. Some of it has been our timing – our first couple trips targeting them were on busy weekends during the summer on Otisco Lake years ago and we did not have good conditions. Last year, the gear produced some nice fish for him, but still not much on the flies.
We only saw two boats out on the lake in the morning when we launched around 8 am. One appeared to be walleye fishing and one was probably musky fishing. We set up in an area and soon thereafter heard some splashing nearby. From a distance it looked like a dying sucker or walleye. We decided to take a closer look and were surprised. It was a nice smallmouth around 17″ or 18″ “choking” on a pretty big bluegill! It couldn’t swallow it and was just going to die!
Most people into fishing have heard stories about northern pike or muskies locked in on each other. I know giant pike have been intertwined together on Keuka Lake. It’s the first time we saw this with a smallmouth. Smallmouths are generally more of a perch eater, whereas largemouths tend to eat more sunfish/bluegills, so that was an interesting change. I grabbed the bass and held it while Mark (who is a retired physician) did the bluegill removal with some pliers. It took some work! After we got it out, the bass was fairly stunned by the surface. It swam around in a few circles. We think it might have survived, since there was no apparent blood or damage but we weren’t completely sure.
Smallmouth with bluegill tail sticking out of mouth
We should've held this next to the bass....
Mark had one follow on a streamer from a decent (average) Tiger Musky. No other definite hits on the fly tackle. He gave his arm a break with some gear fishing (spin fishing) for less than an hour and landed two Tigers – a 25″ and a 30″+. He had one other fish follow and chase on a “figure 8” but no grabs. So the fly-caught Tiger will have to wait until next time for Mark and I. It was a beautiful day, but chilly and windy today. Water temp was 67 on top and the water level was good. We saw one bald eagle today which is always nice icing on the cake of a good fishing day.