Owasco Lake 6/4 AM


Guided Jamie and his son Hunter on Owasco Lake starting at around 5:45 am.  We were hoping to get into some pike today.  The last time we tried this together was in June of 2020 and Hunter had the hot hand.  Conditions didn’t look very good on paper today, but usually an early start can mitigate that.  We worked a bunch of areas for a good three hours with zero signs of northerns, despite good to great weed growth, decent wind and fair light conditions (a good amount of cloud cover.)  Our water temps were in the upper-60s, which can make for tough fishing on alewife-driven fisheries.  The alewives come in to spawn at night and a lot of pike actually become somewhat nocturnal.  Northern pike on Owasco will also frequently go very deep.  I once saw a nice pike caught here on bottom in 60′ to 70′ of water in June by a copper-puller – I believe it was before the thermocline set up.  A friend of mine had bite-offs here while perch fishing in March or April one year down 40′ or 50′.  Pike do a lot more crazy stuff than most anglers realize!

We had a lot of follows from perch – both average sized and large.  No bass or any other by-catch.  We spent the last 45 minutes of the day doing a little trout jigging and Hunter nabbed a nice laker.  Jamie had a good rainbow come up and swirl after his jig.  We also saw a good brown surface earlier in the day mid-lake.

Jamie is staying on Cayuga Lake this week and reports decent largemouth bass fishing, a few pickerel, lots of perch and even a few small smallmouths, which is a good sign.  His uncle Kenny caught a monster rock bass that they estimate at close to 15″!  I wish they would have measured it, because it sounds like a record-class fish.

I have spent a fair amount of time over the years talking to clients, anglers and writing on this website about round goby and the threat they pose to smallmouth bass populations.  I will do an article on this site at some point in time, but for now, if you’re interested- please check out last year’s Oneida Lake report from DEC.  There’s a little bit of Cayuga Lake goby information in the report as well.


Things are not looking good for smallmouth bass thriving on Oneida Lake.  I don’t ever see them disappearing on Oneida, Cayuga or in Lake Ontario or other goby-filled waterways, but their populations are definitely on the decline and it’s been a harsh (aka “precipitous”) decline.  If you love smallmouths, you were sold a big lie/bill of goods in believing that round gobies were good for anything apart from producing a few monsters.  It doesn’t matter, because we couldn’t do anything about it anyways but the hype from bass publications and In-Fishermen Magazine was very myopic.  The truth is unfolding and it isn’t good. The fall trap-netting for young smallmouths has been brutal! It took fisheries people a 100 years to see the truth about the impacts of alewives.  Smelt also had impacts that were unknown.  These invasive species are like medications – you may get some benefits but like my doctor friend Mark I. says, every one has a side-effect.