Reports 10/1 – 10/4


Water temperatures continue to cool down throughout the region.  Lakes are running around 62 to 64.  Fall foliage looks amazing and is only getting better!   Crowds are gone – many sportsmen are in the woods.  Yep – it’s fall in the Finger Lakes!

10/1 Skaneateles Lake:   Did a mid-AM half day with Dean, who had joined me Sunday for a trip on Owasco Lake.  He’s camped and rented places on Seneca, Cayuga and Keuka Lakes, but he’d never been on Skaneateles before, so I thought giving it a shot would be a good idea.

Fishing was fair to good.  I’ve been so “Cayuga-centric” all summer that I haven’t really been in touch with any other water bodies on a regular basis, so we had to fish history.  I had Dean work a bunch of different areas.   He landed some smallmouths – albeit mostly small ones; he also got some rockbass as well.  He had a good chase from a landlocked salmon too.  Fish came on jerkbaits, flukes, tubes (I think) and dropshot rigs.   Towards the end of our trip we got on some deeper smallmouths and had some good action on fish around 12″ to 13″.

Gorgeous day!   We hit the rain on the way back in and really got pelted, but the double rainbow we got to see afterwards made it all worthwhile.  The lake is transitioning into a fall pattern and will fish better by the week if all goes as it should.

10/2 Otisco Lake:  Guided Greg here for a half day starting at 8 am.  We had a big full moon on 10/1 and unsettled conditions greeted us as we motored out.  The new DEC State Launch is very nice!  The car parking area is completely separate from the boat trailer area.  The launch is pitched perfectly and goes out into deeper water.  The docks float and adjust themselves depending on the lake level.

Greg was hoping for a 10lb+ brown this year on Cayuga.  In the past, that hadn’t been a problem – oftentimes he nabs one on the first or second trip of the season, but this year it wasn’t to be.  We came close but no cigar.  Another fish on his bucket list has been a big pike or musky and he wanted to see if I would give Otisco Lake a shot.  I said “sure”.  I set up a baitcasting rod for him last night with 40lb braid, a 25lb test flourocarbon leader and some 50lb TyGer wire bite leader.   We used a tried and true Rapala lure.

Tiger Muskies are weird fish.  They are half northern pike and half pure-strain muskies.  I spent a lot of time on this lake from 2009 to 2016 guiding the late “Bobberman Perry” and watching as he still-fished big shiners and suckers for these fish.  Prior to and after that – I targeted Tigers here from around 2005 onward on an occasional basis.  I’ve seen Tigers so active that they literally have bitten off and swallowed his bobbers (it happened more than once!) and would chase just about anything.  I’ve also seen them so lock-jawed and inactive that you’d swear the lake didn’t have any.

I felt good about today when Greg had a follow from a small one within his first few casts with his spinning rod.  He then switched to the outfit that I’d set up for him.  We worked a stretch for about an hour when I walked over to my cooler and went to grab a snack.  I was thinking about moving us in around ten minutes when Greg hooked up!  He set the hook three times on this fish and the sharp hooks had no trouble penetrating the fish’s mouth.  (In the winter, if I’m on my computer or listening to music I’ll often grab a lure box and sharpen hooks while I listen.)  Greg did a great job fighting the fish and I had brought my big musky net, so we were able to land the fish with ease.   We got some great pics and released the 39″ fish to fight again.  Over the next hour Greg nabbed a 26″er and also a 13″ bass that hit the same lure.  Great day and incredible fall colors surround the lake.

Greg's 39" BEAUTY!!!

Otisco Valley Foliage = Awesome!

10/3 Cayuga Lake:  Had a late booking for a half day laker trip from Tyson last night.  He has a camp on Waneta Lake and enjoys getting over to Cayuga Lake for trout.  He’s been a troller and was looking to get into jigging.  We had a terrific day today.  Perfect conditions led to a good bite with fish running 25″ to 29″ with most from 27″ to 29″.  He landed and kept a limit and then we called it a day after a little more fishing.  Can’t beat that!

10/4 Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park:   Today I did back to back half days starting just after 8 am with Jack.  We’d booked a day back in April but the covid stuff hit and since then we’d had to reshuffle a few times.  Jack does a ton of fishing on Oneida Lake and has fished a lot of places throughout the north east, both fresh and salt water.

He did a terrific job with the laker technique and managed a quick limit in around 2 hours.  It was cold out this morning so we headed back to the dock for some photos and called it a day.  We had one wild fish and one fish that appeared to be spawned out.  Propagation netting starts tomorrow!  It should go well.

My PM trip was with the Hermans, whom I hadn’t seen in a while.  I had around an hour and a half to fish before picking them up from Taughannock and I managed to land one laker and lose one.   The bite definitely slowed down around noon.  That being said, I had a good trip with John and Eleonore.  She landed two nice fish.  A lot of hits were had all the way around but the fish weren’t super-aggressive.

Bite windows continue to shrink as is normally the case this time of year.  Low-light can conditions like early AM and late PM can provide some good action.  Sun and stable weather can really turn the fish on too.  Cloudy days with lots of wind and/or cold fronts can be very tough.  But there are so many factors to consider that it is still worth going out if it’s something you want to do.



Jack with a beauty!