Reports 7/14 – 7/19 Owasco/Cayuga Lakes


The algae bloom that started around July 2nd, but really got heavy after July 4th put a damper on the Cayuga Lake fishing for us.  We had a tremendous bite on July 4th and then I had five days off the water.  By the time I got back out on July 10th, the lake’s clarity had diminished markedly.  The strong south winds of July 16th mixed up the water a bit and the bite has improved since then.

7/14 AM:  Owasco Lake – I decided to do some scouting on my own early Tuesday morning (around 6:15 am)  due to the lake trout bite getting tougher for us on Cayuga Lake.  Owasco Lake was in beautiful condition.  I had clear water with little or no signs of algae.  Fishing was excellent for lakers running from around 20″ to 24″ long.  I had a small chrome rainbow trout chase up my jig in one area.  That’s always a good sign.  I didn’t mark much bait.  I cruised around a bit and put in a few waypoints and made some mental notes.  I spent an hour trying one stretch that I don’t fish in the summer for bass and found out why I didn’t fish there in the summer for bass.  No luck apart from a hit or two that was likely either a rockbass, perch or small bass.  Thunderstorms and unsettled weather drove me off the lake around noon.

7/15 AM Cayuga Lake out of Dean’s Cove:  I used to launch out of Dean’s all the time when I lived in Trumansburg.  Rarely would I see more than a dozen rigs there.  That’s changed a lot.  This ramp gets a lot more use now than it did back then.  The parking area was loaded with bass boats practicing for upcoming tournaments along with some trout rigs.  Robert was out with me a year and a half ago for some great winter casting for lakers.  He also scored a big brown back on that February or March day.  He rented a place on Seneca Lake with his brother and their families/friends and I was able to fit him in for a trip.   I would have had him drive over to Owasco Lake, but that would have been a long haul from Hector, so we went with Cayuga.  His brother Vinny had one goal – to catch a salmon.  I told him we had about a 10% chance and if he got one, it’d likely be sublegal.

Well the fishing was tough with a capital “T” as Dick Vitale used to say.  We tried a bunch of areas with no sign of fish whatsoever.  I think a lot of fish were just dormant suspended over deep water.  The ones we marked were very negative.  The lake visibility was about 1′!   Horrible – though fish can see in the clear water below.  As fate would have it, Vinny hooked the first fish up high.  Lo and behold he nabbed a 24″ Landlocked Salmon!  Mission accomplished for him!

Vinny's first salmon

Fishing stayed tough although towards the end of the trip both guys hooked up near Aurora.  Just as we were getting ready to leave, Robert hooked and landed a laker!  So at least we were able to get a couple.

Robert's laker

Cayuga Lake out of Myers 7/17:  My AM trip was with Greg.   We went looking for non-lakers – basically browns, rainbows and salmon.  We had very cold water on the surface after the 25 mph south winds yesterday.  The good thing was that a lot of the bloom got mixed in with the deeper colder water and we now had 3′ of more visibility.  Greg managed a dink laker around 13″ to 14″ which is a rare catch to jig up on Cayuga.  He had a few other hits and came very close to hooking a big rainbow around 27″+ after it hit his jig lightly a few times (it probably grabbed the tail.)

My PM trip was with Dave, his wife Laurel and their son Erik.  With the clearing water I felt we had a chance at a halfway decent day.  We tried a lot of areas and didn’t have more than a couple light hits to show after the first two and a half hours.  Not the way I want to start a trip, but the wind was honking pretty good and it wasn’t easy fishing.  The wind died down and fortunately for us the fish started biting.  We had 5 solid lakers landed.  Another was lost when Laurel went to hand a rod to Erik so he could fight a fish.

Owasco Lake 7/18:  Guided Michael and his brother in-law Eric for a full day starting at 5:45 am (I wanted to get an early start so we didn’t miss any good bites and also to minimize the amount of time we were going to spend in the 90+ degree heat.)  Their family has a place near Aurora and we were going to fish out of Long Point on Cayuga Lake, but I decided to bump it to Owasco.  We probably would have done alright on Cayuga Lake but I didn’t want to chance it.  We had a hookup early in the AM on Owasco but then it was fairly slow for an hour as we dealt with the AM thermals.  We got around one area and the guys landed a few fish.  As the day went on, the bite got better and better.  We finished up the day at 2 pm with 13 fish and probably another 6 to 8 lost.  Top-notch July laker jigging!

The launch was as busy as I have ever seen it!  Wow.  People were parking boat trailers by the ballfield.  This Covid season has really got people back into boating and enjoying the local activities along and in the lake.

Mike's first Owasco Laker

Eric's First Owasco fish

7/19 AM Owasco Lake:  Guided David, Laurel and Erik again today – this time on Owasco.  Laurel had spent time up here before, but her husband and son hadn’t, so I thought a change of pace might be worthwhile today.  My friend and rod-maker Mike Canavan had good AM fishing on Cayuga Lake today and yesterday, but I was still concerned that the algae would re-group or re-bloom – and of course I didn’t have any idea how today’s bite would’ve been on Cayuga Lake.  Hopefully the algae won’t come back any time soon but I’m not holding my breath with the hot weather and rain forecast.

We started off around 6:15 am with everyone landing a fish.  The next couple hours were slow but the last hour or two of our fishing featured some fine action with a double hooked and I think 7 fish landed (total on the day.)  Some solid hookups were also lost.

For whatever the reason, our top colors have been white and white/chartreuse.  Chartreuse silk 3.75″ Shakers have been productive as have Money Minnows in the basic shad and (discontinued) chart/shad colors.  Owasco fish ran from 65′ to 85′ FOW.  Cayuga was around the same.