Reports – Cayuga and Skaneateles Lakes 11/19 – 11/21


11/19 Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock Park: Did a full day trip with Mark I, who has joined me on several trips over the past 5 years. Mark’s a devoted fly-fisherman, so that’s what we did. Conditions were cold (air temps around 28 to 30) and cloudy at 9 am when we met. Water temp on Cayuga was around 50 degrees. We tried a lot of different areas for pike with slow fishing. For whatever the reason – the nearly full moon, weather system, our strategy or whatever – the pike fishing was slow. Mark had maybe a hit or two after 5 or 6 hours of fishing. We had one follow on a large deceiver of a fish around 27″ or so. I also spotted a large pike appearing fairly dormant. Mark fished hard as always, and late in the day his efforts were rewarded with a very solid largemouth bass around 20″+ long – maybe 4.75lbs or so. After that he had another hit and that was it. We tried some salmon fishing w/o any action. I know we had a lot of pike around us today – they just weren’t on the feed.

11/20 Skaneateles Lake: Guided Tom for the full-day today. He rents a house on the lake for much of the winter and wanted to learn some approaches and areas to fish. The weather was fairly brutal (again!) today. We had westerlies gusting to well over 20 mph and very cold conditions to start (in the upper 20s.) We met at around 8:30 am and launched the boat. As always, I was happy to see the docks still in at the State Launch!

I had him working the N. end of the lake to start with a stickbait and a green pumpkin tube. Tom got a phone call and I took a look at his tube jig – I saw silvery scales on it – most likely a salmon or rainbow that took a swipe at the tube and missed. It was a good sign. It didn’t take long before we had our first fish on board – a typical 16″ to 17″ Skaneateles Laker. There are plenty of lakers in shallow now due to the amenable water temps for them and the presence of food. We worked down the lake and it was very rough – plenty of whitecaps. Tom wound up landed 3 big perch – all from 12″ to 14″. He hooked a strong fish that drifted under the boat. I was able to net the big 18″+ smallmouth bass. A very solid fish! It took a combination of 2 driftbags and my high-powered trolling motor to “control” the boat today. Tom did a great job working relatively light jigs in fairly deep water with a lot of extraneous variables! Not easy for someone that doesn’t fish a lot. A satisfactory day. We were the only boat on the lake today out of the State Launch!

11/21 Cayuga Lake out of Dean’s Cove: I received an email from Ryan who’d joined me on Skaneateles Lake earlier in the season for some fantastic smallmouth bass fishing – would I be able to take him and his 9-year-old son out for some pike? I suggested pickerel on Cayuga’s north end, since they are more abundant, hit hard, are fished with the same techniques and fight good amongst other qualities. I also LOVE fishing Cayuga’s north end in November. It’s uncrowded and big largemouth bass are hungry!

The run from Dean’s up north was chilly at 8 am. It was below freezing. I picked Dean’s over the State Park because I wasn’t sure how far N. we’d be fishing. Once we set up it took a little while to find some fish. The pickerel bite was good and the guys landed around 1/2 dozen nice pickerel. Plenty of perch were around and Noah wanted to try for them. But the alewife tube came through in a big way as Noah set the hook on a large fish. He’s a very talented fisherman – great feel for working lures and he doesn’t complain or give up. “It’s pulling drag!” He was excited. I slipped the net under the bass and we were all impressed. It was barely hooked! We took some photos of the 20″ fat largemouth bass then Noah let her go. Not long after, Ryan hooked a big bass. I was going to land it by hand and Noah went for the net, but it got off. It was probably a 19″ fish. Noah was joyful that he managed the biggest bass of the day, so Ryan’s loss wasn’t seen as a bad thing (by Noah!) Ryan picked up another bass further south. We saw a lot of bass today and the water clarity was a delight to fish – we could see lush green weeds everywhere. Cayuga Lake is really firing on all cylinders for largemouths these days.

My buddy Mike had great rainbow trout fishing on the fly today on Skaneateles Lake. He encountered nearly a dozen fish, landing five to 22″- 23″ long! Just a great time! Picking the right day is the key to late-fall fishing success.

After my AM trip I worked the Long Point to Aurora area with some flies and alewife tubes. I didn’t encounter much, but had one good hit. After a long-distance surface/partial jump I thought I had a brown trout on, but after getting the net out the fish turned out to be a very fat 18″+ smallmouth bass – probably in 10′ to 12′ of water.