Owasco Lake 10/21, Cayuga Lake 10/22 – 24
Lake trout fishing continues to be fair to good. We are well into the fall and water temperatures continue to drop. Due to the cooler temperatures this fall (when compared to the above average temperatures of the past 20 years or so) many fish have been shallower at times, than in the recent past at this point-in-time. Lake trout, being fall spawners are in the spawning modes – pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn.
10/21: Owasco Lake – Guided regular client Ron for a full day over here. Fish are concentrated around spawning areas and the bite is typical for this time of year. We generally see plenty of fish around but they are neutral to negative and the bite windows are condensed.
One question I’m often asked is, “Do you use jigging spoons much for lake trout?” My answer is usually “no,” because we catch plenty of fish on plastics and the single hooks riding hook-point-up tend not to snag the numerous mussels on the bottom. The spoons also tend to be harder on the fish. If a lake trout hits a spoon while it is falling, you’ll often wind up with a treble hook deeply embedded in the gill rakes. It’s usually a bloody mess.
This time of year can be a very productive time to work spoons. Hopkins/Strata (the Bass Pro Shops Hopkins knock-off), Kastmasters and other compact heavy spoons can be productive. You can also slide a jigging spoon into a large (flipping size) plastic tube bait and work it that way. Ron had a couple hook-ups on spoons today. We had a decent number of hits and some hookups were dropped. He wound up with 4 lake trout landed today up to just over 28″ long. All his landed fish came on plastics, which he preferred to work. That being said, I have had days where I was guiding a couple of people and one stuck with the spoons and did noticeably better than with plastics. It’s all a matter of preference.
Water temperature on the surface was 56 degrees. Water level here is down maybe a foot, but still easily launchable.
10/22 AM Cayuga Lake out of Myers: Guided a 1/2 day starting just after 8 am with Dave and Greg. As was the case with Owasco Lake yesterday, we had plenty of fish below us on the fishfinder, but bites were proportionally tough to come by. The first two or three hook-ups of the day were dropped and we had a couple of “tail-hits.” After a couple of hours on the water in a few different areas the fish started hitting and we wound up having a respectable day with 5 nice fish landed to 29″ long. The chop on the lake was pretty good at times with winds gusting into the low 20s before settling down around noontime.
10/23 PM: Today I guided Randy and his friend Ed, getting underway just after 11 am. The steady, partly sunny warming weather had fish on the feed and the angling was much better today than over the past couple days. The guys landed double-digit numbers of fish. They had one double going and a couple fish over 30″ as well as “Big Fish Ed’s” 33″ mambo! Fun day! I filleted four lakers and they were all eating well. These fish are eating some large alewives this time of year. A few fish they landed appeared to be post-spawn whereas others hadn’t yet spawned yet.
Randy with a solid fish
Another solid fish
Ed with a 33"+ fish!
10/24 AM: Guided Larry and his friends Jim aka Brownie, and Jim’s son Jeff. Jim and Jeff run Brownie’s Produce Market in Jacksonville, just south of Trumansburg. Their produce is top-notch, and Larry grows a lot of what they sell. We had a terrific day of fishing – the morning started out a little slow, but within an hour the lake trout started hitting. They bit so well we had a three-person limit in around 2 hours and change. A few fish were also released.
I found some large bait in one or two of the lake trout – gizzard shad. This is a time of year when a lot of baitfish are at their largest. Shad usually are in warmer water than the lake trout, but with lake temperatures getting somewhat homothermal down to the remnants of the thermocline, lake trout can take advantage of the shad. I also had a few gobies in fishes’ stomachs. Some fish also had young-of-the-year alewives in them – little “sawbellies” that were around an inch long.
We also had one lake trout full of bass fishing plastics, which is something I hate to see, but do encounter with some regularity. My best guess is that some bass fishing slobs just throw their torn up Senkos and beaver-type baits overboard. There’s no other logical explanation for it. How one lake trout could have 4 or 5 plastics in it reeks of somebody just chucking a handful of used baits in the water. I know most anglers aren’t pigs, but I’ve seen a few that are and it’s a shame. Fortunately, most of the lake trout seem to be able to still feed despite having swollen-up salt impregnated plastics in their stomachs. Either way, it was a terrific day and we wound things up a bit early.
My updated availability is listed in another report. This Sunday remains open for trips, although I’m not sure what the weather forecast is going to be. Northern pike fishing should be heating up. I also think we’re going to see a good salmon year on Seneca Lake. Skaneateles Lake is producing some terrific mixed-bag fishing as well. There are lots of great opportunities out there! I’m looking forward to November fishing – it’s one of my favorite months to be out on the water as long as the weather holds up.