Reports 5/11 – 5/15
Guided 5/11 and 5/13 – 5/15, while I fished on my own on the 12th.
Here’s the breakdown:
5/11 Cayuga Lake out of Long Point: Guided Dean and his brother Scott for a full day. Scott lives in Canada, so due to border restrictions he wasn’t able to join us on trips over the past two years. This is always one of my favorite trips of the year – the guys are great guys and on top of that, Dean brings terrific homemade jerky, sandwiches and some top-notch cigars along. The guys rented a place on Keuka Lake and I was willing to guide them over there, but they would be fishing up there all week, so they were up for Cayuga Lake.
We had a terrific day of fishing with a day that topped the first time I had them out on Owasco Lake , maybe back in 2006. A very solid double-digit lake trout day. Fish came from fairly deep water for the most part. The mid-morning through mid-afternoon bite was great. As an aside, the guys had fairly slow fishing on Keuka Lake on the 12th. I haven’t touched base with them yet on how the rest of the week played out for them, but overall fishing is still pretty slow on Keuka Lake for lake trout.
5/12 Lake Ontario out of Oswego Harbor: I wasn’t sure where I wanted to fish today or what for, but I knew I wanted to get out somewhere. Calm conditions with a light east wind aren’t my favorite for most of the area lakes. Anybody who has followed this website for awhile, or at least dug back into my older reports would see that over the past two decades I’ve managed to fish a whole lot of water bodies on different times of the year in different conditions. Some things change a bit (like Skaneateles Lake’s coldwater fishing) but overall many things are the same. I know what I’ll be dealing with in calm conditions, whether I’m on Conesus Lake, Otisco, Seneca Lake, Owasco, Irondequoit Bay and so on. I’ve been there and done that so to speak over the past 40 years (yep I’m getting old!) So I wasn’t expecting much at Oswego today.
At the launch I ran into a DEC Region 7 biologist and one of the fish techs – actually the one that enters my diary data every winter. They were as surprised to see me as I was to see them! We had a nice chat for a bit and I was updated on some of the projects they’re working on. I told them I wasn’t expecting much today – I just wanted to get out for a change of pace. They had seen some birds working around the harbor diving for bait. That is a regular occurrence this time of year with the warm river water. Certainly some gamefish were around somewhere but it was a large expanse of water that would be better covered by trolling. I worked a few of those areas without any luck apart from a couple hits from bass. It was pretty much dead calm out. The river was low and water was fairly clear. I had some pretty fair fly-fishing conditions in one area and I gave that a good shot for a good hour and a half using an 8 weight rod with an intermediate line with a Dave Skok Clouser I had. No luck there either. Had the sun been a bit lower, I think I could have scored on some browns.
I went offshore and worked my way from around 50′ out. In a couple depths I had what were probably lakers chasing my jig. Unfortunately, it was like a Seneca Lake circa 2017 – 2022 situation; the fish chased a little but didn’t want to hit -at least not what I had on. On one drop I had three lakers chase. I’ve caught lakers out here before and oftentimes they are smaller fish. I also find that they favor the opposite conditions compared to what typically activates Finger Lakes fish.
On my way back in the birds were still working bait aggressively. The water was a bit choppier. These were the conditions I was hoping for! I set up and within a couple casts had a fish chase in a tube jig. It looked a bit like a bass but I saw the tail and knew it was a brown. After trying a few different lures I settled on a deep running jerkbait and hit paydirt. I could have probably had my three fish limit in three casts! They were chomping bait. Untangling the lures from my landing net took time and I had some other issues crop up. But I landed three nice browns and missed a few others. I tried fly-casting but my intermediate set-up wasn’t getting deep enough. Next time I’ll have a couple different outfits out. So at least I wound up having some action. There’s almost always something you can fish for around Oswego – whether it’s in the river, harbor, inshore areas or offshore. There are some diverse opportunities out there – Trout and salmon, bass, walleyes, perch and even roughfish like gar, drum (which I consider a gamefish), catfish and bowfins.
5/13 Cayuga Lake out of Long Point: Guided Anthony, Luigi and Joe from NJ. Anthony had been out with me a fair number of times; Luigi did two days a few years back and it was my first trip with Joe onboard. Fishing started out ok but we dealt with some pretty good winds. I moved us shallower and we got into fish in short order. After that we worked some other shallower areas and wound up with a very solid double-digit day.
Joe hooked up
5/14 Cayuga Lake out of Long Point: On Day two with the guys we had good fishing in the morning which hit another level by around noon. We wound up shallow again and the guys hammered lake trout for a couple hours straight. This time of the year lake trout can be found from 10′ of water out to over 200′. Baitfish are the key determinant to where you’ll find the lakers. It was sunny and hot out and despite the great bite, we knocked off an hour and half early, leaving them biting.
5/15 Cayuga Lake out of Long Point: Today was a 6-hour trip with Jennifer and her husband Scott. We were slated for a 7:30 am start but Jenn had to head back home after forgetting an item. Once we got underway, I was pretty surprised to see a cluster of 5 boats working the area we’d left off in yesterday. Clearly the word gets out quick and my guess is that anglers are networking. In all my years guiding the Finger Lakes, I’ve never seen this type of thing before for lake trout (you see it all the time for perch), but we are now in the social media age plus with Navionics chips, a first timer on the lake can now find areas that used to take years to find prior to mapping. It is what it is. It’s been happening all spring long on Cayuga. We moved off and fished away from the pack and wound up landing a few fish. We fished another couple areas and Scott dropped a few hookups. I helped him with his technique (it was their first time out with me) and he did better. Eventually the crowd cleared out and we moved back to our original destination. We had a crazy bite for a couple hours before we wound up the trip. Great day and Scott’s best fish was a 32″er. We had numerous doubles on the last two trips.