Reports 5/18 to 5/20
Despite the mild winter and unseasonably warm March, the water temperatures remain cold for this time of the year due to the cold April and early May. Fishing remains good to excellent throughout the region for a variety of species.
5/18 Cayuga Lake out of Long Point: I guided Bruce and his wife Laurie for a 1/2 day of lake trout jigging. Fishing wasn't easy for us. I checked deep and shallow and we had scattered fish in both areas. Bruce wound up having a good day with 3 solid lakers landed and another 4 or 5 hits missed. Laurie just wasn't able to connect today although she had a few hits. We found action from 110' or so out to 150'. Gorgeous day on the water.
5/18 PM Lake Ontario out of Oswego Harbor: I looked at my schedule and with pretty much wall to wall trips booked I figured it was now or never for a run up to Oswego. I was tired and certainly paid the price in sleep deprivation. I know the conditions I want up there and after the 3 day brutal blow (west winds to 30 mph and 7'+ waves) I would've rather waited until Thurs, Friday or this weekend, but either way I enjoy getting up there for a change of scene.
As I launched the boat, a local reported to me that he'd lost a decent laker and caught a nice spring King in 38' of water. I weighed it for him and it was a well-proportioned solid 12lber. I worked a bunch of areas and lost one fish that I'm sure was a lake trout. I also had a hit or two from what was likely an immature salmon. In the harbor I nailed a fat smallmouth that fought very hard. That was it. I'm not complaining – I only had around 3 hours to fish if that. Other anglers (trollers) I talked to didn't report much – a brown or laker. Spring brown fishing was not too good here from what I gather. I'm not marking any bait, though there's certainly some around.
The amount of denial amongst some of the Lake Ontario Charter community regarding the State of the Lake never ceases to amaze me. All someone needs to do is look at how the migratory patterns of Kings has changed over the years. A few years back large numbers of Kings started showing up earlier than normal. People thought it was the warm winter. Then it was the cold winters. I have a different answer: they are hungry and bait is scarce! They are roaming the entire lake in search of bait. Clearly there isn't enough to keep them over around the west end of the lake for long.
5/19 AM: Seneca Lake out of Geneva – Guided Dave and his friend Mike for a 1/2 day AM laker trip. Action started out slowly but then picked up good. Mike claimed to not have much luck fishing but he changed his tune after a couple hours and he landed back to back 33" lakers! One had to go 13 to 14lbs! The other was a little thinner – probably around 12. They are both still swimming around out there waiting for derby weekend! Dave got everything rolling with the first few fish. Great day!
5/19 PM: Cayuga Lake out of Long Point – Met George and his son Andrew at Myers Park only to find the launch temporarily closed due to the lot being paved. I should've met them at Taughannock since it was on my way home from Seneca. We drove up to Long Point and launched with calm conditions that soon got windy out of the north. The laker bite was tough to start. Eventually we found fish shallow. It wound up being a solid 1/2 day with George landing 3 fish and Andy landing one big one.
5/20 AM: Cayuga Lake out of Union Springs – Guided Pat for a 1/2 day for some pickerel action. We both have a fondness for these "younger brothers" or "red-headed stepchildren" of the Esox family that dates back to our respected youths! I'm always amazed at how some anglers – namely walleye anglers on Oneida and bass fishermen on Cayuga Lake despise pickerel. Yes, they are often easy to catch. What in the world is wrong with that??? Do you prefer hard to catch fish? If you want those, try to get a burbot in Canandaigua Lake or a whitefish on Lake Ontario. Good luck and 10 years from now let me know if you've caught one yet.
(Actually, the local I talked to at Oswego caught two whitefish while trolling last month. He thought they were ciscoes, but 20" ciscoes as far as I know would be too large to be one. They are the same family and the cisco has an underbite and the whitefish an overbite – but they look alike from what I understand.)
Anyways you can get nasty cuts from pickerel, they are bony and they do bite off expensive imported $25 bass plugs so I do understand some of the dislike. But we had fun. We checked a bunch of areas out and one produced the best fishing with around a dozen or more landed up to 24". Perch and bass anglers were out in droves. I might have even seen a boat or two fishing for crappies. At least 30 boats were on the northern end of Cayuga. Gorgeous day out there!