Reports 3/20 – 22


Every time it appears as though springlike weather is upon us, we get another round of winter-like conditions!  The deep lake trout jigging bite on Cayuga Lake is improving by the week.  A few salmon, brown trout and lake trout are starting to show in the lower portion of Cayuga Lake.  Seneca Lake landlocked salmon prospects remain good, but conditions have been varying a lot, making for challenging fishing at times.  Yes – spring is here, at least on the calendar!

3/20 Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen PM:   Guided Ron for a 1/2 day starting at around 11:45 am.  We saw good numbers of salmon here, but the bite was tricky.  Ron managed to land a solid 18.5″ salmon on a swimbait.  He had another similar sized fish literally jump out of the water after his Rapala!  The fish stayed below the boat and kept hitting the lure as Ron jigged it in about eight feet of water.  Boom!  It hit and got off.  At one moment you might think that landlocked Atlantic salmon are one of the greatest gamefish anywhere, but a bit later you’ll catch or hook one and wonder how the species could even still exist!  The same can be said of their battles – sometimes you get crazy runs and jumps and they wind up being everything you’ve heard of, then at other times they can be a complete dud.  Either way, they keep us trying for them.

Ron’s a dedicated stream trout fly-fisherman.  Given that our fish were being tough, I spent some time with him showing him the lake fly-fishing set-ups we use.  I had him practice casting an intermediate line set-up and my shooting head.  Sooner or later we’ll be out here again or on Keuka targeting salmonids on the fly!

Seneca Lake’s water level is good.  There’s quite a bit of murky water around.  Lake temps are still cold – from 39 to just over 40 degrees.  Next to nobody is out perch fishing here these days.

3/21 Cayuga Lake out of Long Point:  The main reason Ron came up here was to do some jigging for deep lakers.  We spent a full day out on the lake and fishing was very good.  He landed double-digit numbers of solid lake trout.  He also lost a lot of fish.  We fished a lot around 130′ to 160′ FOW.  Over the past couple of years there’s been a contingent of guys really going DEEP – way out in the “trench” of Cayuga’s northern basin so to speak.  With modern electronics and the sophisticated lake charts you can find stuff nowadays that prior generations never knew existed!  Or stuff it might have taken people a lifetime to find!  There are many ways to “skin a cat” out here.  I prefer not to fish much over 165′ if I can help it.  Drops take a long time and I like keeping my guys active.  I also avoid crowds.  Sometimes you need to go really deep, but if I can find eager fish shallower, I think it makes for more fun the way we fish.  That being said, if you fish a lake like Canandaigua this time of year, if you don’t go REALLY DEEP, you don’t catch fish!  I don’t know why, but lake trout on that lake winter very, very deep. – like over 180′ to 200’+.  I think about the deepest Finger Lakes lake trout will go is about 300′.   If you aren’t finding fish shallow or in mid-depths, you know they are DEEP!   That goes with just about any species of fish.

If you’ve never fished out of Dean’s Cove or Long Point for “deep fish”, keep in mind that this portion of Cayuga Lake is LOADED with lake trout.  There’s never a need to crowd anybody or pull up to somebody randomly to fish.  There are pretty much fish everywhere on the flats out there.

We had a fun day out here and the lake levels are up around 2′ from the winter lows.  Launching should be a cinch anywhere in the Finger Lakes right now.  We have more rain coming and that will only help.

Ron hooked up!

3/22 AM Cayuga Lake out of Long Point:  I guided Jack today.  He joined me for my first trip of the year around a month ago during the February “heatwave.”  He likes to fish hard, catch his limit and maybe catch and release a few, then call it a day.  That works for me!  We got out here around 9:45 am.  By noon we were done.  Jack kept a limit of mostly 28″ to 30″ lake trout today.  His first fish was a 17″er, which was odd.  We let that one go along with a few nicer fish as well.  The bite was very, very good and seemed to get better as the day went on.  Three of his bigger fish were wild.  In general, I’m not seeing many wild fish out here at all these days.  The ones we catch are older mature fish.   I’m guessing that the lack of wild production might have something to do with the goby infestation we have.  Just a hunch!

Jack with a 30"er

Happy Camper with two of the better fish