Reports – Cayuga Lake/Long Point 4/30 – 5/3
The fishing on Cayuga Lake has amped up a few notches over the past few days. Boat traffic has diminished with the opening of walleye/pike/pickerel/tiger musky season as well as turkey season. I’d rate the fishing as very good to superb – basically downright “stupid fishing” at times. Plenty of fish are around and throughout most of the day they are feeding heavily. It’s almost like perch fishing where you have to keep moving with the fish. Fish I’ve filleted are absolutely full of bait. They are spitting up alewives and crapping all over the boat! This is when vinyl floors and a washdown system really come in handy. (Of course, if you’re not doing the DEC diaries, you can keep the fish in the water and unhook them there without making a mess of your boat deck – but then again, most of the fans of this website should be keeping a book for DEC. If not, shame on you!) Hard to believe in the mid-2000s I was guiding this bite using my old Crestliner with carpeted floors. The lake trout won that battle in short order.
Water temperatures remain colder than what we’ve averaged for this time of year in recent years but are really not that unusual for this time of year historically. This cold water has kept most of the action deep.
The big news over the past weekend was the appearance of small lampreys, which have probably just entered the lake from spawning streams. These primitive fish will spend the next two years feeding on trout and salmon. They will scar up many fish as well as kill a lot of silver fish – browns, rainbows and salmon. I feel it is very important to net lake trout with lampreys on them, bring them onboard and remove then kill the lampreys. I either use a pair of scissors or a fillet knife to cut them in two. You can also just let them dry up onboard. Each lamprey can kill upwards of 40lbs of trout in its 2 years in the lake. If you fished Seneca Lake in the 1980s, 90s, 2000s and early 2010s, I don’t need to tell you what lamprey can do to a trout population.
Most fish still remain lamprey free, but over the past two days probably 15% of the lakers we landed had attached eels. We had two fish that each had two attached eels. Again, these are low rates of attack. We’ve had such great lamprey control on Cayuga Lake in recent years that we barely ever see ANY lampreys on fish, so there’s no need to panic, but we clearly have some sources of lampreys near Long Point. These are unlikely to be pests spawned in Cayuga Inlet. Lamprey have too many available hosts on the south end of the lake to swim up 20 miles to find trout. I emailed Emily (the biologist who manages Cayuga Lake) and she told me that they had reports of small lamprey from around Sheldrake last year and over by Aurora. She said that Yawger Creek has suitable spawning habitat for lamprey. There are at least two streams that DEC will be surveying for larvae this summer. There’s nothing that can be done about the lamprey currently out in the lake now, except for anglers to try and get them onboard so they can be killed.
On the brighter side we have seen some larger fish over the past few days. It may have just been where we’ve been fishing, but who knows? Overall, most fish are running 24″ to 26″, with good numbers of 27″ers and a few larger fish. We’ve also seen a few below 23″ but not many.
The information I wanted to convey is above – so I kept the daily reports very brief.
4/30 + 5/1: I did two full days with Mike, Mark and Zhong. Mike was onboard with me during the Keuka kayaker rescue back in 2015 or thereabouts. I still cringe a bit when I see kayakers out a mile offshore with surface temps in the low 40s. Anyways we had a couple great days of fishing with Zhong ruling the roost. All of my trips over the past week have been double digit days and we’ve had decent numbers of doubles at times.
Mark and Zhong doubled!
5/2 AM: Guided Adam and his father in-law Steve for a half day starting at 7:30 am. Fishing was slow for the first hour to 90 minutes then picked up. We wound up having a very solid day. Very few boats were out on the water today.
5/2 PM: Guided Ed and George for a PM half day starting just after 12:30 pm. We weathered a rainy front that blew in from the west and then calmed right down. The fishing got pretty insane for a while. Lots of fish were landed and plenty more were lost. The guys had a great time.
5/3 AM: Today was morning #2 with Adam and Steve. I started at the area where we’d left off on the prior day and the guys got right into the fish. The bite pretty much continued on non-stop in the AM. It might have been the best half day I’ve seen all season. We had one solid 31″ fish with a dorsal clip – that clip isn’t used anymore and hasn’t been for a while. That was an old fish!
Adam with a big trout!
Steve with the dorsal clipped fish
Today was ridiculous fishing. Lots of doubles and it seemed like every time that Adam would hook up, Steve would hook up a few seconds later. It’s great to see, but I always make sure that my clients understand that it was a top-notch day. If you make days like today an expectation, you will often be disappointed! These trout are a majestic native gamefish. Back in the 1990s I was thrilled to jig up ONE LAKER on Cayuga Lake! We’ve come a long way since then. But it’s important to keep perspective.