Reports 7/15 – 7/19 Keuka, Owasco and Cayuga Lakes


My busiest July continues and thankfully the fishing has been good to great. Even days I thought would be tough have produced. Most of my trips have been on Cayuga, though I did make it out to Keuka and Owasco Lakes. The fishing and great, fun people I’ve had onboard have made my “work” a real pleasure. Here’s the breakdown:

7/15: Guided Scott on Keuka Lake for smallmouths. Hard to believe this was my first guide trip on Keuka Lake this year. I’ve been trying to cut back on trips to Keuka. I absolutely LOVE the lake, but the drivetime is something I can do without. I still do trips here, but my surcharge is $50. It’s arguably the best bass fishery in the Finger Lakes in terms of largemouth and smallmouth combined. I think Skaneateles is a better pure smallmouth fishery in terms of day to day fishing and sheer numbers, but Keuka kills it with size. I like Skaneateles as a “teaching lake” – it’s a great place to learn tubes, dropshotting, topwater, flukin’ and more.

We started at the State Park after finding out that the Penn Yan Town Launch was being paved. A cold front came in the night before and was moving through during the AM. I was expecting a tough bite, but was proven wrong (thankfully!) I knew the pickerel and lake trout could be a viable back up plan if worse came to worse. Scott has a place on Skaneateles Lake and had heard about Keuka’s great bass fishing. Casting Superflukes resulted in one of Scott’s finest bass days on a non-Great Lake. He landed 5 fish over 18″ (between 18″ and 19″) and another 3 or 4 decent smallmouths plus a couple largemouths as well. We hit lakers for around an hour or two and they were not biting well, though Scott landed one and lost one. A lot of lakers were around the Bluff area and north, but they (as is often the case on this lake in the summer) weren’t hitting particularly well.

7/16 AM: Guided Tom and Cheryl on Cayuga Lake out of Long Point. Lake trout fishing was excellent. I don’t necessarily like putting down numbers of fish, because it can make for unrealistic expectations, but the fishing has been so unbelievably good I can’t help it! They’d never jigged lakers before and landed 33 fish to 29″!!! 4 of them were wild. I may have to adjust my optimistic wild fish estimate, but it’s at least 10%. Fun day and one that Tom and Cheryl likely won’t forget anytime soon.

7/16 PM: Lake hopping time – I met Tim and Zach out at Owasco Lake out of Emerson Park. They’re staying there in September for a week and wanted a tour of the lake in regards to smallmouth fishing. We’d done a laker trip there before. The cold front had definitely moved though and conditions were tough there with very little wind. But Zach managed a gorgeous 20″ smallmouth bass on a Superfluke. He dropped one due to a (rare) tackle malfunction that was strictly this guide’s fault. Another couple 14″ to 15″ smallmouths were landed later. We checked on lakers for 1/2 hour on the north end and found a lot of bait and Zach missed one fish.

7/17 Cayuga Lake out of Long Point: Guided Steve, his wife Ellen and son David for a 1/2 day. David has been getting more into fishing, so off we went. More superb fishing on Cayuga Lake! 36 fish were landed, including 6 wild ones. Another fun trip and they kept me very busy with the net.

My PM trip was with Dan, Wink and Brandon. This trip was a riot and as much fun as I’ve had all season. We started where we’d left off and 29 fish were landed including 3 wild ones. Most fish have come from 65′ to 85′ FOW on various colored swimbaits including white, chartreuse and blue/white. Great time!

7/18 Cayuga Lake: This was another riot with three nutcases: Andy, Tyler and Jeremy. The guys had a blast with 21 lakers landed including 2 wild fish. The AM bite was as hot as it’s been all week, but the fishing slowed a lot during the PM, then picked up again. We worked downlake as well, but find the best fishing remains around Long Point. Andy had been out with me a while back on Keuka for some early season deep jigging.

7/19 Cayuga Lake: Guided longtime client Ron, who nearly always picks a superb day well in advance. With his son, back around March 14th they landed 2 solid landlocked salmon, a big brown and hammered pike on Seneca. Today, Ron went solo and on the entire day landed 47 lake trout! Unreal!!! It was Keuka-like action (October/November) with Cayuga-sized fish. A few wild fish were in the mix. And again, I have to estimate wild fish percentages as above 10% but probably not quite 15% or 20%. DEC gillnetting done later this summer will give us the real percentages.

Lamprey wounding is LOW! We had two live eels come up on 47 fish! Ron dropped another 20. It was a trip for the ages with fish on nearly every drop of the jig this AM.