Reports 6/20 to 6/22
I was all over the place over the past weekend. Here's what happened:
6/20 AM: Cayuga Lake out of Dean's Cove – I guided Alan and his son Zach for a "tutorial trip." I don't guide perch, but Alan enjoys eating them (who doesn't?) and wanted to learn some techniques and post_titleal tips. I went over that info with him and also some smallmouth bass (and general FL) tactics including working tube jigs and soft jerkbaits. Perch were scattered from around 7' to 20' FOW on both sides of the lake. No great numbers, but it wouldn't be hard to catch enough for a few decent meals. Bluegills were also active in the same depths. There are loads of alewives around as well. We saw a few shallow smallmouths but no great shakes. We finished the morning with some laker jigging and the bite was excellent with 4 fish landed in around 1/2 hour up to 26". We even saw a couple shallow pike. Water temps are in the low 60s on top, but it's very cold down 30' to 40'.
6/21 AM: Seneca Lake out of Sampson State Park: Guided longtime client Jeff and his dad Dan for pike. Jeff wanted to catch them on the fly-rod. His father tossed spoons and jerkbaits with the spoons working best. Pike fishing was very good with 7 solid fish landed and released including 2 fish @ 34". Those are solid pike! The others ran from 25" to 31". Jeff managed to land three on the fly rod including a 29" – 30" fish. He missed a few as well. Fish were shallow. They were also healthy looking. We tried some laker jigging afterwards and a few were missed, but they weren't grabbing well. Time will tell how long the pike action will be good. Pike can be caught all summer on Seneca Lake, but the bite usually gets spotty – i.e. you have to go really early and have the right conditions. There's a lot of good deep cool habitat for pike in Seneca and they use it. I expect the milfoil to start growing very, very fast this week over there.
6/21 PM: Met Bob and Ray (other repeat clients) at Sampson and we checked on pike (without action) and then ran to the Geneva area for lakers. A fish was landed in short order. The area was LOADED! Fish weren't grabbing well until the wind picked up, and that's when the fun started. The guys wound up with 7 or 8 nice fish – all wild ones in the 22" to 25" range for the most part. About 40' to 50' FOW was very good. Angling Zone friends Craig and Jim did well out deep – so the fish were everywhere. The lakers I cleaned all had alewives in them.
My buddy Mike fished Skaneateles for bass and had some superb action on fish up to 20"! Perch and lake trout were hitting in around 25' to 30' FOW. Not much encouraging news on the hatch. Not enough bugs were on top and rainbows likely picked off mayflies before they hit the surface.
6/22: Guided Mark on Otisco Lake. The goal was to get a Tiger Musky on the fly-rod. I still haven't done it myself, but felt Mark had a good chance at it. He fished HARD and is one of the best casters I guide. We worked a lot of areas without any sign of Tigers. Conditions weren't great – we had algae blooms, no wind and a lot of cut up weeds on the surface. The trouble with fly fishing Tigers on Otisco Lake is that it can be hard to trigger negative or neutral fish that are buried in weed growth. Musky lures like Rat-L Traps and various other baits can be ripped through the vegetation and you can get reaction bites. Rip most streamers through vegetation and you get a fouled fly that nothing will hit! I'll have to work on some foul proof streamer designs and better yet, pick more high-percentage days to go fishing. Mark caught a decent smallmouth.
My buddy Jarrod was out gear-fishing and caught a nice 34" Tiger and some bass. Another boat I talked to got a Tiger and a bass as well. We were checked for licenses and life vests by a DEC Conservation Officer. When you least expect to be checked, you will be checked, so make sure you have all that necessary stuff with you!
The lake was packed with pleasure boaters. I really like to avoid Skaneateles and Otisco Lakes on hot weekend days. The lake was really crowded and that certainly didn't help our fishing. We launched out of Ryfuns and the facilities there are nice. Water temps got into the mid to upper 70s on the lake. Summer is here and weeds are coming up quickly.