Reports 5/8, 9, 11,12th Various Lakes


Fishing was all over the map over the past week. Most issues have been ironed out on my website (some of it being my own incompetence,) so reports in the future will be back on time. Conditions continue to be challenging in many ways, especially with lake trout fishing. Here's how things shook out:

5/8 Cayuga Lake out of Dean's Cove: Guided George and his future son in-law John for a full day on Cayuga Lake targeting lake trout. That sounds pretty easy, right? I've only spent the last 12 years or so vertically fishing lakers on a consistent year-round basis (and it's over 60% of my guide trips.) But it wasn't. George was worried about forecast rain/T-storms, so we started later in the AM – around 9. In hindsight, the weather was great and it probably hurt us, but in 8 hours starting ANYTIME in May we should be able to find and catch some fish.

Action was slow. We started shallow around Dean's and we had a few follows from fish from around 70' on out. Deeper water had good numbers of lakers, and like my trip on Seneca Lake a week or two ago with the Hermans they were following but not committing well. We moved around a lot and worked areas from the Silos/Crescent down to Aurora. A couple hits/momentary hookups were had, but no solid fish. Everytime I thought the lakers would turn on, they didn't. The good news is that there were a lot of fish around – Cayuga doesn't have a laker shortage, that's for sure. But nada. That's my second skunking of the year – both on Cayuga coincidentally.

Some of my clients are big fans of Butterfly Jigs when the lakers won't move for the plastics. Johan (one of the lifesavers) and his friend Mike and Koen like them for days like we had. The late Toby Wood's had a tackle rep friend from New Jersey, who's a huge fan of them. It's a big investment in gear, but likely one I will have to make if I see many more days like this.

5/9 Seneca Lake out of Geneva: Fishing is nearly always good from Sampson to Geneva this time of year on Seneca Lake and today was no exception.

AM Trip: My morning trip was with Jim and Andrew – who actually drew a blank last year around this time with me on Seneca Lake. But that was a downright brutal day with 25 mph west winds (SW at times) and a cold front hampering things. Conditions looked better today, but things started ominously slow. Working deep water as the skies cleared a bit turned everything around and the guys were really tickled with how they did – landing some (4 plus 3 dropped) big lakers up to around 28". For a couple Keuka Lake copper-pullers, seeing fish in the 8lb range was quite a thrill (as it would be for just about anybody.)

PM Trip: My PM trip was with Todd and it was good to see him for the first time this season. He's excellent with the jigging and was ready to fish. The bite remained decent and Todd landed three solid fish – again up to around 27" to 28". Plenty of bait is available on Seneca Lake. I'm very encouraged about future fishing on this lake.

5/11 Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen: Mark had an opening in his schedule and was up for different types of fly-fishing. The winds weren't what I wanted for anything, so we played things conservatively and went with a 1/2 day out of Watkins with a very early start (for my guiding this time of year anyways) at 6 am. I figured the pike would bite good early no matter what the forecast was for later.

Fly-fishing for pike didn't disappoint! In short order – using an Intermediate Line and Double-Bunny (Scott Sanchez) pattern Mark connected with a solid 34" fish! I was expecting mostly smaller males in the 25" to 29" range, so it was a pleasant surprise. The fish was a little beat up, but was healthy condition-wise (it was hefty.) A little while later Mark nailed a 32"er. But it wasn't quite like a regular pike – it was a hybrid pike-pickerel. I've seen these fish detailed on the Lake Champlain (Capt. Mickey Maynard) website and we've been catching them for years in Seneca and Cayuga, but I never quite knew what they were. I call them pike-eral. I will put up a photo soon, along with links to some other ones we've caught. But they have light green base colors, pike-like markings and some vertical marks. Big head too! No doubt a hybrid.

We wound up doing the full day. Salmon were around but skittish. Mark had a hook in a nice one around 22" to 23" but it got off somehow – Mark did a great job, sometimes the hooks just pull out. He also had a few other hits and follows, but no more landed. We laker jigged a little bit and had one hit and again – the fish were skittish. Salmon are scattering rapidly on Seneca Lake now. With the big rain storms pushing loads of warm water into the lake, it will get trickier for us non-trollers to locate them.

5/12 Conesus Lake: Met bobberman Perry and his friend Dave at the State Ramp at Conesus Lake just after 8 am. Conesus Lake is a favorite of mine, but it's a long haul so I do charge a $100 surcharge to guide there. Obviously I'm not on the lake a whole lot, but I do know it pretty well from years of fishing it when I lived in Rochester.

Perry wasn't doing well health-wise with some sudden symptoms. But he hung in there. Dave nailed a 23" Pike casting a spoon. I was happy, cause it was dead calm out and sunny – not the best pike conditions. Things started looking up with some cloud cover and wind and we set up on an underwater point I like a lot. In a few minutes Perry's bobber shot down. "Bobber down!" I enjoy the bobber stuff since I can kick back and light a cigar. Perry landed a solid pike – a 32"er that we released unharmed. In year's past, Perry's caught pike in the 42" to 44" range on Conesus. The live bait can be deadly. The winds died and sun came out and we gave in another couple hours but Perry was in agony. We pulled out and things didn't improve. We planned on fishing on Tuesday as well but Perry went home and checked himself in the ER where he received some much needed treatment and relief.

Water temps were in the high 50s and low 60s. Had I not known we weren't going to fish on Tuesday I would've brought my nighttime walleye gear. Conditions were PERFECT for walleyes with very little weedgrowth, steady weather and loads of baitfish including alewives, bluegills and baby bass moving inshore.

As an added note, I got to meet Rochester Bassmaster Jim Bianchi, who wound up winning the Northern Open BASS Event on Oneida Lake last year. He beat out numerous pros! We were very happy for him as were most, if not just about all fans of professional bass fishing in NY. He's a great guy and I hope to get out with him sometimes this year.