Reports 6/17 – 6/20


My schedule is starting to get very busy.  I decided to check Seneca Lake out (again) on Thursday and then it was back on Cayuga for a heavy weekend of guiding lake trout.

Seneca Lake out of Lodi State Park 6/17:  It had been a long time since I fished out of Lodi Point but I decided to give it a whirl.  My first time fishing around Lodi was back in 1980, when I was 14 years old.  My friend Gary’s (whom I went hiking with last Saturday,) father moved out here from the Rochester area in the late 1970s.  He taught me his style of tributary fishing using egg sacks and more or less systematically dunking them in every possible place a trout could be as we worked up the creek.  We fished Lodi Creek, Catherines Creek and also a tiny tributary or two for rainbow trout in early April.  We also did some smelt dipping, which was excellent here in the early 1980s.  The rainbow fishing was fantastic and it was amazing how far up these slate bottomed, shallow creeks these rainbows could go.  I literally could not believe the waterfalls and “glides” or “slides” these fish could traverse.

The rainbow fishing isn’t nearly what it used to be.  Our water tables are lower and the winters haven’t been as harsh.  Hotter temperatures in the spring play havoc with the groundwater.  Smelt are virtually gone now in Seneca Lake.  They were never native and really didn’t have a very long tenure in the lake.

I wanted to check some areas out that I used to fish and on occasion guide for bass when I first began Finger Lakes Angling Zone.  I was happy to see some some smallmouths here and there, but the numbers and quality weren’t what I remembered fifteen years ago.  There were a ton of bullheads around all over the place.  I also saw some carp.   The lake looks good weed-wise.  There was a minor die-off of alewives and bullheads but nothing out of the ordinary.  I had a few follows from small bass and a quick hookup in one area.  I gave the whole thing about 90 minutes then went checking for trout/salmon.

I didn’t have much luck with the trout/salmon.  I had one hit.  I did mark a ton of bait and some fish but my conditions were pretty tough.  I was happy to get out here but didn’t see anything to “write home about” quite yet.  I will be keeping tabs on this lake.  Most bass would be further north but I have my memories from the early 2000s to compare the mid-lake numbers with.


Park Facilities are much improved here (the launch is still too shallow sloping)

6/18 Cayuga Lake out of Long Point:  My AM trip was with Tom and his son Willy.  Last time the guys were out with me was maybe 6 or 7 years ago and the fishing was ridiculously great.  I think the guys landed 24 lakers.  This time the bite was tougher.

By the way, anybody who uses their best day fishing for a given species as a metric in which to measure all future trips is doomed to having a lot of disappointment.  It’s a dumb thing to do and there’s no point to it.  Take a good day for what it is – a good day, and keep in mind that those days are exceptional.

Given the strong southerly thermals in the morning, we all thought that we had a pretty good day.  The guys landed 5 solid lake trout.  We kept all but one smaller one.  Fish continue to feed on alewives.  Fish came deep – in around 80′ to 100′ FOW.  Black Shakers were the ticket for us.

Tom with a nice laker

My PM trip was with Dave and Keith.  The morning bite had slowed down for us, so I ran us to a bunch of areas I hadn’t been to in awhile.  The PM bite was tough.  The winds we were supposed to get never materialized.  It was flat and overcast out.  Keith managed one laker in short order.  Some fish were missed.  Eventually the guys got two more but we had to work hard for them.

6/19 AM:  Guided Dave and Keith again.  Dave’s crew usually includes “Dapper” Dan and sometimes “Dismal Dan,” but not this time.  We had a better day today with 7 fish landed.  A fair number were dropped as well.

The thermocline is just starting to form.  Oftentimes when this happens the bite will get a little tougher for a few days.  Fish were scattered.  I talked to Ed from “Fin-Tastic Charters” and he reported doing well trolling out over deeper water – like around 150′ and running lines down around 50′ or so.

6/20:  Did another double today with my AM trip being with Al and his son Gabe.  Gabe is currently attending my Alma Mata St. John Fisher College.  The guys fish Oneida Lake a fair amount and also troll Cayuga Lake on occasion.  We had some solid fishing today with 8 nice fish landed.  We had some cold water in close to shore and took advantage of it.  A few fish were dropped as well, which nearly always happens with all of us.  Fun morning and productive.

Gabe with a solid trout

Fish on!

Another solid

6/20 PM:  Picked up Dave from Dean’s Cove and we headed out for my PM trip.  When I used to launch out of Dean’s Cove back from 2002 to 2012 (when I lived in Trumansburg) it seemed that very few people used this launch, and apart from occasional bass tournaments it was always fairly empty.  Those days are gone.  Some of it is probably the poor lake trout fishing on Seneca Lake.  At least half the Seneca guides I know are fishing Cayuga Lake for now.  Some of it is probably just awareness – this isn’t a regular State Park per se, so it didn’t get much publicity back then.

Dave is a top-notch angler who used to guide muskies and also does some musky seminars (or Musky University as he described it.)  Needless to say, we had a nice exchange of information and he was kind enough to offer me some interesting insights on musky fishing that should help my future angling.  He’s also a big striper angler as well as saltwater fisherman and had previously had some great laker jigging in Lake Champlain.

Of course no matter how good the fisherman is, we are all still at the mercy of the fish and their bite.  Dave landed his first laker in short order and then we had another one not long after.  We had follows from salmon and rainbows as well.  But the PM bite was pretty tough until the last 20 minutes of so of the trip, when the bite picked up nicely again and he nabbed two more.

So the overall takeaway from the past few days on Cayuga was a tougher lake trout bite with a thermocline formed in some areas and absent in others.  Fish are fairly well distributed throughout the lake.  Pretty much every coldwater port is producing trout and salmon.

Dave with a nice laker

Dave's second fish

Hooked up!

My availability going forward is as follows:

June is all booked up – thanks!

July:  8th, 10th, 11th, 17th, 24th ,25th, 31st.

August:  1st, 2nd,  4th,  7th, 8th, 15th, 21st, 22nd, 25th – 31st.

September and onwards – my calendar is wide open.