Owasco Lake/Seneca Lake out of Sampson 8/19


I got out with my buddy Jarrod on Owasco Lake yesterday. We met at 6:15 am. The goal was to check on some (pelagic) smallmouths and lakers. We spent the first two hours working some areas for smallmouths with no takers. I might have had one hit. Then we started looking for lakers. We marked lakers, but no aggressive fish. Eventually we had a few chasers and a hit or two. Mid-Lake areas were best – basically N. of Long Point and Wykoff. We tried another area for bass and I lost one and dropped what was probably a perch on a jigging spoon. We fished until around noon. Anglers trolling reported some lakers and a smallmouth. A jigger told me he landed a couple lakers as well – so some fish are reportedly being caught. We marked most lakers in deeper water – 85′ and out.

Jarrod hadn’t fished Seneca much before, so we spent a few hours over there in the afternoon. Laker action was very good (especially for midday) and we landed around a half dozen fish. There were loads of fish around, but only a few (but enough) showed interest in our jigs. Much better fishing than Owasco – that’s for sure!

What’s up with Owasco Lake fishing? I don’t know exactly what’s happening. We know that DEC netted it for lakers and found good numbers of very healthy fish. Rainbows have been caught this season – including some beauties, as well as a few browns, plenty of bass and some walleyes. So there’s no shortage of fish. DEC found good numbers of smelt but less alewives than in previous years. We marked good numbers of alewives yesterday, though many were up high in the water column.

Here’s what I think is up: We had one of the coolest summers I can ever remember. Baitfish migrations and numbers are what determine gamefish location. If water temperature, or other seasonal factors are what move alewives into the northern portions of the lake, it’s likely that the fishing may be a few weeks or even a month behind. Lakers spent more time than they often do near the northern portions of Seneca Lake. Bass are still in the northern portions of Cayuga more so than “normal.” Cayuga gar aren’t even in their usual summer haunts yet. I’d expect Owasco to turn on at any time, though the best bet will probably be in September and throughout October. We may see the north end fishing last throughout October.