Reports 7/11 – 7/15


It’s been hard to find time and energy enough to post an update.  With this new website and the ability to add photos, it is much more time consuming that it was on the old site.  And the longer I procrastinate, the more work I wind up having to do and the foggier my brain gets!   With some of the crazy wet weather we’ve had, I’ve moved a few trips around and finally appear to have a couple days off (we’ll see how it pans out….)

Over the past year, a lot of people have been concerned about a potential drought.  Our water tables seem to fluctuate from one extreme to the other, with Lake Ontario at record highs over the past few years and then heading back to  low water levels that are considerably below average.  Well we are back on track with another very wet season featuring some cooler days which appear to be alternating with very hot, humid ones. This stuff is taxing – I did a double yesterday and was whipped due to the 90+ heat index and humidity.  Hard to believe that 10 years or more ago I’d do 4 days in a row like that, sometimes driving from one lake to another in between trips.  That was insane.

Debris and water clarity have been factors on Cayuga Lake over the past few days, starting after the night of last Sunday the 11th.  What has become our “annual algae bloom” has started around the marina at Long Point and reportedly over by Taughannock/Myers as well.  Most of the lake remains fairly clear with around 4 to 5 feet of visibility.

Debris "line" on 7/12 off of Stony Point (N. of Long Point)

It goes without saying that bass boats were still motoring around the lake at 60 mph after the rainstorm.  It was somewhat entertaining watching them encounter this mess and then maybe realizing that it isn’t a great idea to run full blast around the lake after a few inches of rain – that is unless you enjoy being ejected from your boat and losing your lower unit.

7/11 AM out of Long Point:  Guided Jim and his friend Gene for a 1/2 day of laker jigging.  Jim was out with me last April taking advantage of the hot deep laker bite. He has trolled the lake for years with his friend Gene.  Fishing has been tougher for them as of late.  We had a somewhat slow start to our day with a couple smaller fish caught.  I did quite a bit of running around.  A lot of boats were on the lake (Salvation Army Derby) and we had a good chop.  We finally got into a good bite towards the end of our trip and the guys wound up with 9 solid lakers on the day.

Not a great shot, but Gene with a fish

The guys have caught their share of trout over the years, so they weren’t too concerned about taking any photos.

7/12 Cayuga Lake out of Long Point:  Guided Steve, his wife Wendy and their Grandson Noah for a half day starting around 7 am by the time we got out.  Noah resides in Phoenix Arizona and when it comes down to driving is used to flat terrain.  Between the hotel breakfast and the winding road up here from PA (and Ithaca) he managed to get carsick.  You don’t hear much about carsickness any more, but it happens.  I’m not sure whether his “chum” helped the trout bite, but it may well have 😉

We wound up having a terrific lake trout bite topped off by a late rainbow caught by Steve.  Everyone caught plenty of fish and the action stayed hot throughout the trip.  We knocked off just before the rain came in.  If I remember correctly, I think we wound up with around 15 nice fish.  I kept a bleeder for supper that engulfed Wendy’s jig.  And yes – I’ll be preparing it exactly like I explained in my most recent Article post on “Lakers for people who don’t think they like them” (click on “Articles” if you didn’t read it.)

Steve and Noah doubled up

Wendy hooked up

7/13 Owasco Lake out of Emerson Park:   Did a guided trip with Scott and his nephew Steven, who both have joined me on numerous occasions going back to the early 2010s.  Scott’s dad has a cottage on Skaneateles Lake which the guys fish regularly.  When up here, they enjoy sampling other waterways.  Last year Scott and I had a tough day on a low Onondaga Lake but we unlocked a pattern towards the end of our trip that resulted in Scott catching a beautiful largemouth.

Over the past decade Scott has been “haunted” or at least bothered by a few lost fish.  Around 7 or 8 years ago there was a giant lake trout that got off just as it got up to the leader.  It had to be at least a 32″er or better.  Then there was a massive smallmouth at Owasco Lake maybe 3 years ago that he hooked and then lost.  Well we added in another big smallmouth today – at least a 20″er that got off.  We targeted bass for half the day without a lot of action.  Of course we were dealing with debris and some murky water, so conditions weren’t great.  Scott dropshotted one fair smallmouth later in the AM.  The guys also had a few perch and rockbass.

The lake trout bite was on fire, even though we didn’t spend too much time with it.  The guys hooked 3 doubles!   Fish ran 24″ to around 29″ and the bite was spectacular.  Had we done that all day, we would have really added a lot of data to the DEC Diary!

The lake level was high.  Water was fairly clear.  Boat traffic has been minimal on most of the lakes over the past week. Scott made up for his bass loss by dropshotting a 5lb+ fish on Skaneateles Lake!   When he first started fishing that lake in the mid 1970s, a 14″ bass was rare.  DEC actually had a 10″ size limit here for years, due to the growth rates being so slow.  Now it has improved markedly.

7/14 midday out of Dean’s Cove:  Guided “Pepperidge Farm Tom” for the first time since around 2012.  I have a sweet tooth and he used to work at the premium bread/cookie manufacturer.  Being handed a 4lb bag of Milanos is quite a treat!  Add in a bunch of other goodies and I was like a kid locked up afterhours in a candy shop.  Tom has since retired and we always have a lot of fun hanging out chatting while he fishes.

We had some serious rain moving through the region and were dealing with a murky lake.  Fishing was tough for the first few hours then the bite got going.  Tom managed four nice fish, one of which he kept for dinner.  Fun trip and we got off the lake just before some deluges hit the Ithaca area.

Tom with Dinner

You can see the green color of the lake in the photo.

Tom hooked up with a better fish

7/15 AM out of Long Point:  Guided Michael and his two boys, 10 year old Henry and 12 year old Teddy for a half day.  Needless to say, with the tougher bite of yesterday and an algae bloom on the way (most likely) I was wondering how we wound fare today.  I had a good game plan and it worked out.  Mike wound up landing three nice fish and Henry caught two.  Teddy had one on for a little bit but it got off.  I was hoping he’d catch one but it wasn’t to be.  I was still very happy with how we did given the conditions.

Henry hooked up

The kids I’ve had onboard over the past week have had their hands full trying to fight these lakers to the boat!  It’s been a lot of fun watching them catch fish.

7/15 PM:  My later trip was with Gabrielle and her boyfriend Greg.  The last two hours of the morning trip were very slow.  We tried a different area to start my PM trip and Greg had a good hit that got off.  They just wanted to enjoy a day on the water and weren’t too worried about the “catching,” which is always nice to hear.  Sometimes the more worried people are about “catching”, the fewer fish they catch!  The bite picked up later in another area and 3 very nice (28″-29″) fish were landed. Greg dropped another as well, but he wound up with one and Gabrielle, who was quite the fisherwoman nabbed two.  It was hot and humid out there.  People who think guiding is some kind of dream job really are naïve.  On days like today it is tough and an endurance fest.  When I used to do long runs of trips in a row including doubles in crazy heat, I would get shredded – and I was much younger then.

Gabrielle making sure she doesn't drop her laker

We didn't get many, but the ones we got were big!

Hooked up....

Greg with a solid!

Availability is as follows:

July 31st.

August:  1st, 7th, 8th, 22nd, 29th – 31st.

September:  1st – 12th, 15th – 16th, 18th – 22nd, 24th – 30th.

October and onwards are wide open.