Reports

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5/25/2017
Skaneateles Lake 5/24 PM

Got out for a few hours (3.5) for a quick "catch 'em and eat 'em" mission out on Skaneateles Lake.  Despite good fly-fishing water temps, I left the fly-gear at home and just grabbed a few perch setups as well as some hair jigs.  I had some halfway decent perch action - usually after the spawn there's a week or two of good fishing before fish scatter. I caught plenty of small males but managed to get a few nice females and enough fish to make it worth my while.  In one area the lakers just wouldn't leave my perch rigs alone and I had lakers hit for nearly 3 or 4 casts in a row and they pretty much destroyed my perch rigs. I thought maybe they were keying in on perch eggs but in the one laker I kept there was a nice 6" perch in its stomach!  A few of the lakers were the oftentimes emaciated Skaneateles fish - they would make Keuka anglers feel good about the plumpness of their fish!  The one I kept was in reasonable condition.

I had a hit and felt some good weight and figured I hooked a good laker or rainbow, but nope - it was a sucker!  The sucker hit my perch jig.  I was pleasantly surprised at the good battle.  While stream fishing I never thought a whole lot of the fight of suckers - compared to steelhead they don't do much.  (Redhorse have always been another story. They are a strong fish!)  So that was interesting.  Water temps remain around 52.  I even saw a guy paddleboarding today.  No wetsuit but at least he had a lifejacket on.  Yahoo season will soon be in full swing.  

5/24/2017
Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 5/23

Went out to check out lower Seneca Lake with my buddy Terry.  I saw winds forecast to be south 3 to 6 mph.  Unfortunately we had dead calm conditions for most of our day (which started around 10:45 am.)  That made for good fish watching but tough catching. Water temps ran the gamut from 49 to 55 on the surface in a lot of areas.  

The lake looks great (much better than last year at this time for obvious reasons - we don't have the drought and have had ample cool weather and rain. )  It's crystal clear and the weed growth hasn't really gotten too far underway yet.  We saw a few nice pike, perch, bass, carp, bullheads and even lake trout cruising by in various areas. The lake has got solid numbers of salmon and browns in it this year, though lamprey numbers are high.  I had a few reports thoughout the winter of fair to good salmon/brown trout fishing.  It doesn't come close to what Cayuga Lake was putting out this past winter. But the analogy is more like Charles Barkley playing great basketball - he was just unfortunately overshadowed by Michael Jordan.  Seneca has been decent on salmonids apart from lake trout.

Fishing was tough. In one area we saw an aggragation of probably 20+ brown trout and salmon.  But it was crystal clear and even fly-casting tended to spook the fish.  We came back a little later with light winds and I managed a gorgeous 21" brown (I kept it - 4lbs) on a gray winged bionic smelt fly.  Terry was casting a jig and got hammered.  He set into a large fish (I am guessing brown trout) that ran out a lot of line and dug deep.  Then he lost the fish for no apparent reason.  His jig came back with a huge half-digested alewife on it! He probably never had a hook in the trout - he'd just snagged a baitfish hanging out of the trout's throat/mouth!  We had never seen that happen in our combined 90 years of fishing experience!

5/21/2017
Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 5/21

Guided Ryan and Jay for what wound up being a long 1/2 day.  Started at 8 am with Ryan nabbing a 27" laker on his first drop with the jig!  That was great, but then we didn't have another hit for hours later.  Eventually Jay picked up a nice wild fish around 23".  Bite was a lot tougher than yesterday - mix the slow bite in with 14 to 20 mph south winds and it was difficult fishing and boat control.  Same deal as yesterday with depths - we had that first fish around 80' and the second in around 120' to 130'.   Looks like most of the rain tonight will miss us.  We'll see.

5/20/2017
Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 5/20

Did a full day trip with John and Rob with Drew and Drew following us in another boat.  The guys have fished Otsego Lake and usually fish Cayuga.  They were in for a treat today with plenty of healthy fat lake trout making it to the net throughout the day.  Between both boats over 20 solid fish were landed and probably that many were missed/dropped too.  Rob was dead-tired and spent most of the day asleep so John did most of the fishing on my boat. Fish mostly ran 25" to 27".  I did some dropping while the guys took a break and managed a 29"er as well. They were strong fighting fish as well - many diving back down towards the bottom after being worked upwards.  50' to 130' was the range.  Water temps are creeping up on the surface.  I saw a salmon cruising the shoreline when we dropped Rob off to get a bite to eat by the Aurora Market.  Salmon truly are all over the place on Cayuga.

5/19/2017
Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 5/19

Guided Mark I. for a full day of fly-fishing.  Winds were weird with dead calmconditions to start at 9 am, then a hard northerly.  The forecast morning cloud cover never materialized.

Fishing was good to start with Mark nabbing a big chunky smallmouth (18"+) in short order.  Then he caught a nice 23" laker.  A brown around 17" and fat came a bit later as did a decent landlock.  Fishing got tougher for us as the wind kept getting stronger.  Eventually the breakers forced us to try some more sheltered areas.  We wound up further south and Mark picked up a solid salmon around 21".  That was pretty much it for the day - he had some follows and hits but the action was pretty sporadic.  Hard rain pushed more muddy water into the lake, but it wasn't too bad.  Water level is still high.  Surface temps range from 51 to 53, though I expect colder water up north in areas like Long Point. 

5/18/2017
Skaneateles Lake 5/17 PM + Cayuga Lake 5/18

Skaneateles 5/17:  Met Don (whose family has a place on the lake) at the launch at 2 pm.  New postings by the NYSDEC make it clear that the limited parking at the launch is just for users - not for people meeting up with boaters.  I'm not sure how much this is being enforced at present.  I would expect heavy enforcement during weekends and during weekdays around peak boating times, like the month of July. We'll see how it goes.  

Today was a fly-fishing trip.  I'd call the fishing really good (while the wind stayed up) but the catching ok.  Don had some good opportunities but some fish were a bit tentative.  We had one knot failure (that stuff rarely ever happens and is on me) where about a 20" rainbow or salmon hit twice and the line broke at the set.  I use 10lb thin diameter tippet and really check my knots well.  But sometimes this stuff just happens for whatever the reason.  Don had a nice laker follow him in - maybe a 23" to 24" fish.  He landed a 20" salmon that appeared to be a dropback.  This fish had an elongated head and it was clear that it was a male.  I'm guessing it had spawned last fall.  It was a little thin and survived the vigors of spawning not too worse for the wear.  He had hits/chases from a several other fish too - two nice rainbows/salmon and one small one.  

Beautiful day to be on the lake.  Water temps on the surface were 48/51. Boat traffic was very light.

Cayuga Lake out of Myers 5/18:  Met my buddy Terry at the launch around 10:30 am. The forecast called for strong southerlies and we were anticipating having to hide behind various points today.  The wind was basically dead out there - nothing until the storms hit the area around 5 pm and we were both home or on the way home.  Go figure!

We had some mixed bag salmonid casting today.  I never broke out the fly-rod, but casting resulted in my losing a nice brown and a laker (that had some beautiful colors.)  I dropped what had to be a solid salmon and wound up landing a laker shallow.  Not quite the day I was hoping for!   Terry really had the hot hand - and he is an excellent angler;  he landed 4 nice salmon and dropped some good ones as well.  We had numerous hits and follows as well today.  Water temps ran from 49 to 53.

Expect quite a few boats on the water this weekend on Cayuga Lake for the Bears/Barneys Spring Derby.  I don't enter that contest but we will be out fishing lakers in all likelihood. I'm looking forward to seeing what the leaderboard looks like.  

 

5/16/2017
Cayuga Lake out of Myers 5/16

Guided longtime client Gordon for just under a full day today starting at 10:30 am.  Some parts of the lake are still producing top notch salmon action and I had Gordon working those areas today, both with conventional gear and his favorite method of fishing - fly-fishing.  Action was excellent for much of the day despite the calm, flat conditions.  He landed over a dozen mostly legal fish up to around 21.5".  Great fights all the way around with plenty of jumps.  Plenty of other fish showed themselves.  Water temps have stayed down around the 48 to 51 degree mark, which is making a big difference.  The next two days will spike temps a bit, but we should see decent casting and fly-casting for salmon over the next two weeks with a little luck.   All fish released today.  We had two live lampreys come up on fish.  Most had scars.

5/13/2017
Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 5/13

Guided Duane and his son Chris for a full day today.  Cayuga's level is still high and water temps are around 48 to 51 degrees on top.  Lake trout jigging was a bit slow to start and then really picked up.  The guys landed 5 solid fish with a couple 28 inchers.  Casting stickbaits shallow resulted in a 27" hard fighting beauty for Duane.

We made a run south and did some casting for salmon. Chris had a few follows and hooked what appeared to be a solid fish - it may have even been a smallmouth. One dink was landed.  As I mentioned before, salmon really seem to be scattering. Baitfish are also gradually moving in shallower.

Stable weather should really get the laker bite up to par.  One large fish was wild. No lamprey activity on any of the lakers - the parasites are probably finding enough fish further south to keep a lot of them down there.  

5/12/2017
Cayuga Lake 5/10 -12

Salmon fishing has been good to excellent here this past week, even in spite of the calm conditions.  Most debris has blown to shore or settled out, water temps on the surface are ranging from 48 to 50 degrees, which is perfect salmon/brown trout/lake trout temps.  The only drawback is that these temps are everywhere and the fish are all over the place - shallow and out from shore and up and down the lake.  Expect alewives to start moving in shortly.  They are already around some of the marinas.

5/10:  Guided my friend Silene and her father Dave for a half day.  It was calm and clear out - basically finesse time for salmon.  They did well landing 7 or 8 fish including a couple nice ones.  A lot of fish were following and hitting.  We did see some smallmouth bass and a few perch in shallow in one area.

5/11:  Got out with my buddy Mike for some salmon fly-fishing.  We started with some good action near shore in one area.  Mike really had the hot hand.  I was experimenting with a shorter leader (on my intermediate line) and my new "Bionic Bozo" fly.  I had a fish or two hookup but nothing special.

As the day went on, Mike kept landing fish while I kept missing them.  I don't think I was doing anything wrong - it was just one of those things.  I switched out flies and leaders and still missed fish.  I finally had a nice fish circle my fly and grab it.  It was game on and without a doubt the biggest salmon I'd seen all day, if not all season. I knew that from the start.  After a terrific fight with a great jump Mike netted a beauty - it measured 29" long and was probably in the 10lb range!  My 2nd best all-timer!   Mike almost had a 19"er break his flyrod today.  They really can fight!   Awesome day and we got great photos this time, unlike last year's 30.5"er when I was by myself.  It's swimming around Cayuga as we speak, ready to make someone else's day.

My webmaster wanted to do some serious upgrades to this site, but he got busy just before we were ready to roll, so I didn't put up any photos yet from last year.  Sooner or later they will go up.

5/12:  Guided Eric and Jim today for a half day.  They are both very good anglers - Eric does a lot of BASS tournaments.  They had terrific fishing today landing over 20 salmon and browns.  Many of the salmon were in the 17" range, but they had some good ones in the low 20s.  Eric landed his first solid brown - a fat 17"er.  All fish released today which is always nice.

My favorite way to catch salmon is with the fly-rod, so after our trip I headed back out for around 2 to 3 hours.  My favorite way to fly-fish is topwater.  And today I managed a nice 21" salmon that crushed a Gartside Gurgler.  I also missed 3 other hits.  Just awesome stuff!   

5/7/2017
Cayuga Lake out of Myers 5/7

Despite the ample rainfall, Cayuga Lake continues to provide good to excellent casting (and trolling) for Landlocked Atlantic Salmon, brown trout and occasional lake trout.  The weather forecasts have been a little bit daunting for this time of year with cold temperatures, rain and wind but those willing to dress up a bit have had enjoyable action.

Today I did a 6 hour day with Florian.  He was hoping for salmon and brown trout and the fishing wound up good. The weather wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be - the north winds over a 46 degree lake actually made the day feel warmer than it was temperature-wise.   We were underway around 9 am and within 45 minutes he connected with a 21" salmon.  Then came a 17"er.  Both fish were scarred up a bit. Fishing stayed good throughout most of the day apart from the last hour.  He wound up landing a 17" brown and a couple more good 20" to 21" salmon.  He also lost a nice salmon and had follows from quite a few salmon as well as some nice browns. Stickbaits did the trick today. Water temps ran around 45 - 46 degrees.  There's a lot of muddy water around. Debris was fairly minimal considering the rainfall we've had, but there are still some massive logs (some floating VERTICALLY) that could easily take out a lower unit if you're not careful with the boating.

Memorial Day Weekend remains open for trips. I am taking a break from the Seneca Derby this year.  I don't feel like camping or getting a motel and commuting daily is a lot more like work than fun, so I'll watch from the sidelines.  I expect a tough laker bite but pretty good browns, rainbows and salmon.  But if you're looking to get out, Memorial Weekend is a very low boater traffic weekend on most lakes around here.  Cottage/Homeowners are usually just opening up their houses for the season.  So only a few boats tend to be out for much of the weekend.

4/30/2017
Cayuga Lake out of Myers 4/28 - 4/30

Normally by this time of year I've made a few trips to Seneca, maybe one to Owasco or Keuka and a couple to Skaneateles and Lake Ontario, but Cayuga Lake has been fishing so well it's been tough to go anywhere else.  Another consideration is that I've really had to relearn the lake this year.  Fish have been in different areas, mostly due to the abundant goby population, so it's been a lot of fun "recalibrating" my view of the lake. Another factor has been all the high water. So on Friday instead of going to Skaneateles Lake (which I really wanted to do) I headed back to Cayuga Lake with my friend Silene to do some scouting/pre-fishing for a fly-fishing guide trip I had scheduled for Saturday.  The lake has been a muddy, debris-filled mess for the most part over the past 3 weeks, especially from Ithaca north past Taughannock.

4/28: Spent Friday afternoon doing some scouting and fishing with Silene.  I did a lot of motoring looking for clear, warm, relatively debris-free water. I finally found some and we started fishing.  She has had a lot of slow fishing on her own in the past and her comment to me after a 1/2 hour of no sign of fish was "I don't think there are fish here."  About 5 minutes later she landed a 24" salmon on a rebel minnow.  Needless to say, she got a bit of ribbing for that comment.  She landed another fish or two a little bit later and then a few more on the day.  I was scouting with some jigs.  We both caught some nice smallmouths - one being a 20" fat pig that had to be close to 5lbs.  (Keep in mind that we are dealing with goby-fed brutes now, not the typical 20" Fingerlakes smallmouth that might be 3.5 to 4lbs.)  I got out my flyrod and had some hits and landed a nice salmon as well around 19".  So I was in good shape for my trip on Saturday.

4/29:  Did a PM 1/2 day with Gordon and Barry, both originally from Toronto. These guys have fly-fished all over the globe and had some good stories of cool fish they'd caught. We pretty much found the fish right where we'd left them and Barry landed two or three within 45 minutes - all nice 19" range salmon/browns.  Gordon had a lot of follows and short hits and eventually nabbed one or two on the fly. The wind came up a bit and they guys wanted to give their arms a break so we switched over to gear.  They did great and even had a double.  We wound up with at least 7 salmon and 3 browns plus a bonus smallmouth. A couple really big browns and salmon followed in the guys flies and lures at times!  There are some very nice fish in Cayuga this year!

I keep the boat limit at two browns or salmon per angler, so they kept a total of four fish. When I cleaned the two salmon and two browns I found a mix of alewives, gobies and insects - mostly the latter two.  Some salmon were doing a little feeding up top.  Great day and the guys were both surprised and impressed with how good the Fingerlakes fishing was - actually "great" is probably the key word.  I did let them know that the lake is really fishing about as good as I've seen it over the past 20 years.  

4/30:  Got out for just over 4 hours on my own to get in some fly-fishing and do more scouting.  In a nutshell, I had great fishing but slow catching today.  I landed a couple chunky browns - one 14"er and one 17"er.  I probably should have gone early this AM but wanted to see how the weather shaped up.  I didn't throw any stickbaits which would surely have procured more fish for me - I mostly stuck with the flies, but it was great fun - I had a lot of short hits and plenty of follows from solid fish.  For some reason they were tentative.  Some of it may have been me, most of it likely the conditions.  

Looks like more rain this week.  Stay tuned....

 

 

 

 

4/27/2017
Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 4/26 + 27

Laker jigging is gradually returning to form here. Vast areas of cloudy/murky water are floating around the lake and debris is being blown around by the wind.  The lake is still at a flood level, though launchable/boatable.  

4/26:  Guided newlyweds Jon and Amber today for a 1/2 day.  Jon's a diehard fly-fisherman but wanted Amber to have a good chance of getting into some fish so we went with the lakers instead of salmon.  It was a good call. Despite my console electronics being disabled (due to either a faulty toggle or a bad fuse - though I couldn't find any bad fuses...) we made out alright.  Getting too hung up on electronics can sometimes work against an angler, especially this time of year when lakers are all over the lake from 10' to 200'.  

Fishing started out well with Jon having a quick hit or two, then it slowed for 2 hours before picking up again. Some nice fish were landed today by both Jon and Amber with 5 lakers caught up to 28".  We had a 27" as well as some fish in the 18" to 23" range.  Water clarity was good and the wind was non-existent.  Fish came from out to 135' or so.

4/27:  Guided Mike, whom I hadn't seen in probably 10 years.  He fishes Owasco Lake a lot and wanted to learn Cayuga.  Today was a very different ballgame with winds ranging from 10 to 20 mph (mostly around 13 gusting to 17) and some large areas of debris (in shallow) and murky water (mainly to the north - i.e. the cliffs and Levanna.)  

I was able to update Mike on the changes we've been doing regarding tackle and technique. We had slow but not bad (steady) fishing today.  He landed 4 nice fish up to 27" He also dropped another 3 and had a couple hits that didn't connect.  Tough conditions but not bad.  Fish came from around 60' out to nearly 150'.  Surface temps are hitting 46/48.  

4/23/2017
Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 4/23 - midday

Met Mark, John and John's girlfriend Julia at Long Point State Boat launch at 10:30 am for a 1/2 day laker trip.  The guys had hammered the lakers out with me last summer.  We were a bit concerned about the lake's high water and mud, but within about 20 minutes of fishing Mark nabbed a very solid laker around 26".  Unfortunately it was a slow go after that.  A few other hits and momentary hookups were had but the fishing was tough.  We ran south to AES, where the water is often clearer after heavy rains.  The water was clearer, but the numbers of fish we encountered we not great.  (We did have hits there.) Clearly the fish are there but our timing wasn't good.  Given how tough our fishing was, I kept the gang out for a bit longer than usual.  Fish appeared to turn on a little during the last hour of our trip but it wasn't enough to land anymore fish.  

Lake level is still very high.  There's a ton of small debris around but very little big stuff that I could see.  It was a gorgeous day to be out and we certainly enjoyed the weather.  Surface temps have risen into the mid to upper 40s in places.

4/21/2017
Cayuga Lake 4/20 + 21

4/20:  Launched out of Taughannock with regular Mark I, who usually fly-fishes.  I felt that we could have a good salmon day today.  The fog delayed our trip by an hour and a half and it never really did burn off.  Fishing was very slow to start. For four hours of fishing he had one hit.  We tried some different areas and tactics and eventually started picking up fish.  He wound up having a great day with 8 mostly nice salmon landed and one big 25.5" pickerel.  Fish came on intermediate fly-lines and a woolly bugger. Some came on gear as well.  It was a catch and release day today and we at least were able to take care of a couple lampreys.  

4/21 PM:  After last night's rain I was really wondering what conditions would be like today. We got pummelled with rain late yesterday PM (both while fishing and later on.)  The ground is obviously still saturated and all that muddy runoff went right into the lakes.  The idiotic "ditching" that the local highway departments seem to be so fond of doing does virtually nothing to help anything that I can see.  You get sheer muddy water running right into the lakes. The water still pools up along the roadside, because the system is imperfect. A ditch will just end for no reason.  There's still tons of erosion - much more that there would be if the grass were just left there.  It is a complete waste of time and money. But I digress....

We launched after a brief heavy rainstorm.  Inshore water was very muddy and full of debris, but we were lucky that the winds were mild and kept the mud and junk in shallow. We had a start when Michael landed two lakers from 18" to 23" within the first hour and a half. Fishing was slow afterwards for a couple hours then picked up notably.  Another 4 lakers were landed including LeAnn's 28"er and Norris's solids running 25" to 27".  We had one wild fish and Norris also managed a 19"er.  Fish were feeding on gobies and alewives.  It was a fun trip!

4/18/2017
Cayuga Lake 4/17 + 18

We had two very different days on Cayuga Lake.  Things are finally settling after the flood conditions.  There's some nice warm water around creek mouths and in the southern end of the lake, but north winds have also periodically been mixing and pushing water plateaus all over.  We also have salmon that are taking advantage of two very different food sources - alewives (which are moving into the marinas and likely elsewhere) and the ubiquitous gobies.   

4/17:  Guided Stan and his boys Andrew and John for a 1/2 day.  We were originally going to salmon fish for a full day on Sunday and switch the boys out (do 1/2 day with Stan and one of the kids..), which would've been good in hindsight - but there were forecasts for very high winds, so we went with Monday.  Lake trout didn't seem to be an option with the strong north winds forecast for Monday. (FYI-  I know these guys well and Stan knows the deal with my 3 person rule, but he wanted to give the casting a shot for salmon, so I made an exception to my usual policy.) 

Fishing was very tough for us.  I did the first cast to demo what we'd be doing and show a few things that I like to see regarding the tackle (e.g. closing the bail on the spinning reels by hand, not by cranking) and lo and behold I got a solid strike.  I figured we'd wind up having some good fishing but it was not to be.  Andrew probably had 3 hits/follows but nada.  11 year old John did a good job with the casting but never had any action and Stan had a hit or two then a follow from a solid salmon in the low 20s inch range but that was it. 

Water was high and quite a bit of debris was still around. (For what it's worth, my buddy Mike fished the PM and also struggled.)  But two tough salmon trips in a row!  Ouch...

4/18 AM:  Today wound up being the opposite case.  The water levels dropped a bit more and most of the debris washed up onshore - it's just about gone.  I had Bill and George work a lot of the same stuff we used yesterday in different areas but we never saw a fish.  We had to fish some different areas using different lures and hit paydirt.  Within 2 hours the guys wound up landing 9 salmon up to 26" and one solid spawned out rainbow at 23".  Two of the salmon were 12" dinks and it was good to see them around.  The rest were legal sized fish. My boat limit for anglers targeting salmon is 2 per person.  So the guys kept 4.  One was a bleeder that had no chance of making it and one of the others wound up with a messed up eye.  So that was two of them.   Fish fought great.  George is no spring chicken and he told me it was "...one of the best fishing days I've ever had."   After two skunkings in a row, it was quite a relief.   

I received my DEC Region 7 Diary Results/Reports in the mail last week.  Lots of interesting info is on the reports.  I was disappointed to only see around 25 cooperators on Cayuga Lake.  There used to be upwards of 70 to 80 or more!  That's not a lot of information for DEC to base (in part) their management decisions upon!  Whether you troll, cast, fly-cast or still-fish your assistance really helps DEC.  Even if you only get out a handful of times a year or just shore fish or kayak fish.  So if you've never done it, or used to - please consider keeping a book this year.  For example, DEC will be fin-clipping the two strains of rainbows stocked on Skaneateles Lake to see which one performs better. The diary results will probably be the main way this is assessed, so it isn't something to be taken lightly.  I wouldn't want DEC to have to go back to doing "Spring Brown Trout Assessments" and setting up lethal gillnets to check on how the trout are doing.  It's much easier and better for the fish if YOU do your part!

 

 

 

4/15/2017
Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 4/15 AM

Guided Jeff and his sons Kyle and Joe for a 1/2 day of laker jigging today.  The bite was slow to start but picked up after a couple hours.  The guys landed around 7 fish with a couple 27" to 28"ers in the mix.  Deeper water was what we fished today - around 120' to 150'.  The fish I cleaned had alewives in them - no gobies.  One fish had a good lamprey hit.  The others were clean apart from one healed up scar.

Water levels dropped a couple inches today - or so it seemed.  Water temps are still in the 41 to 43 degree range off of Long Point. The lake is warming nicely down south.  Past clients/Angling Zone friends had some top notch salmon fly-fishing today out of Myers.   Again - I expect around another 3 to 4 weeks of good salmon fishing. 

4/14/2017
Cayuga Lake out of Myers 4/14 PM

Got out with Ed and Linn for a 1/2 day trip starting at 2:30 pm. The lake is still as high as it has been over the past week - it hasn't dropped noticeably yet. There are large expanses of warmer water along the east shore going way out towards the middle of the lake. This definitely spreads fish out and makes it more of a troller's game until things subside. That being said, casting and fly-casting can still be productive and should be for another 3 to 4 weeks.  

We had a slow go this afternoon, especially when compared to the fishing of the past 4+1/2 months.  Ed fly-casted and Linn casted gear.  Linn had a hit and around ten minutes later connected with a solid salmon that jumped twice before throwing the hook. It was likely in the 20" to 21" range.  That was it on the day.

We hopped around a bit today and didn't work any areas very thoroughly - that may have hurt us, but it's tough to pinpoint fish when they can be in so many different areas. Salmon action is reportedly picking up further uplake, so our concentrations of winter fish have likely dispersed quite a bit.  Time will tell.

4/11/2017
Cayuga Lake 4/10 + 11

4/10 out of Long Point:  Guided Paul and Cindy for a 1/2 day starting around 8 am.  Lake trout fishing started a little slow but wound up being top-notch for this time of year with over a 1/2 dozen fish landed including three in the 27" to 28" range.  Paul and Cindy were both surprised and impressed with the quality of the fishing and catching.  Kept fish had gobies in their stomachs.  Lamprey wounding was very light.  Fish came from shallow out to around 140' FOW.  

4/11 out of Taughannock:  Well the lake sure came up a bit!  The ramp area was flooded at Taughannock and we cleared the bridge by about 8".  If your boat has a lot of height or a cabin, don't bother launching here.  You won't make it under the bridge.  Michael and his son Colin were staying with family on Seneca Lake and wanted to give the fishing a try. We started with some salmon casting and after trying a couple areas Colin had a solid hit from a fish in the low 20s" range that didn't stay on.  We did some laker jigging near AES and the guys each landed fish - Mike had a solid one at 26" and Colin a smaller on just over 16"

Unfortunately our trip got cut a bit short by an incoming storm.  It's hard to know what to do in these situations - safety has to come first.  Also there's the high water and getting back under the bridge, which could be very tough with wave displacement!   A one foot wave wound send the windshield and us into the bridge structure.  A two footer?  Forget it. So we headed in.  Overall I was hoping for more action but given the calm conditions, very high water and debris/murky areas, I felt pretty good about how things turned out. Water temps are running from 40 to 46.  

4/9/2017
Cayuga Lake 4/9 PM out of Myers

I have a pretty full slate of guiding trips this week, so I figured I may as well get down to Myers and launch the boat so I could see what the conditions were like after the rain. My friend Silene was up for a couple hours on the boat and she brought her friend Alyssa, so it was a good chance to get out, fish a little and kick back.  We were only out for about 2.5 hours.  

The lake level is very high.  You launch your boat and you have to step up to get onboard.  I expect the level to drop this week with the warm weather and mainly dry conditions in the forecast. Water is warming with all of the warm runoff and I saw temps up to 43 degrees out there.  Alyssa had never fished much at all except a little bit when she was a child, so I showed her how to cast and work lures.  As luck would have it, on her 4th or 5th cast she hooked and landed a nice jumping salmon around 23" to 24"!  Silene also caught one around 22".  I was happy given the high water and relatively calm conditions.  I cast gear as well for awhile but never had any hits.  

There was a huge debris (aka scum line) along the east shore of the lake south of Portland Point.  This is not a good time to zip around the lake fast. A submerged log can turn up just about anywhere.  I expect pretty good fishing this week with the warm relatively stable weather.  We'll see!

4/5/2017
Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 4/5

Got out with my buddy Terry from around 11 am till 5:30 pm.  We spent half of our day targeting lake trout and the rest chasing perch.  Lake trout fishing was excellent. Terry landed the first three fish in less than a half an hour.  Within an hour and a half we had the five fish I wanted for my smoker.  They were fighting great as well.  We wound up landing around 10 fish from shallow out to 150'.  Lamprey wounding was low, but this will likely change once the parasites infiltrate the rest of the lake (they have been coming(aka "transforming) from out of the inlet.)  They are gobbling gobies.  We had two fish in the 27" to 28" range.  Two were wild.  

We didn't really do justice to the perch fishing.  We landed around 12 or 15 with only 5 keepers.  A few pickerel also found our perch setups.  We stayed away from the pack for the most part.  Perch fishing pressure is high here but there is plenty of room to fish and the fish are widely distributed - you can catch a few just about anywhere on the lake's north end.  Mud was a factor.  Water temps hit 43 up here.  

4/3/2017
Cayuga Lake out of Myers 4/2 PM + 4/3 PM

I have been taking full advantage of the top-notch salmon/brown trout fishing we've had throughout this season.  This has been a great year for salmon action on Cayuga Lake. Large numbers of 17" to 22" fish are available.  A few smaller and larger fish are also around. Lamprey activity has been high with most fish having at least one wound on them.  

4/2:  Guided Don and his nephew Greg for a 1/2 day.  Greg is just about 12 years old and the guys joined me for a couple trips last year.  Fishing started out a little slow but before long Don landed a nice salmon on his Temple Forks 7 wt. flyrod.  Fishing wound up being solid with 5 nice fish landed on the afternoon.  Greg took two fish on stickbaits;  Don's came on white bionic smelt flies, both fished on a floating and intermediate line.  Other hits were had as well.

4/3:  Got out on my own today for around 4 1/2 hours.  Despite the calm conditions the fishing wound up being very good to downright excellent.  I did some exploring and a fair amount of gear fishing as well as fly-fishing.  I wound up landing 10 salmon and one brown - 8 of those fish came in areas I hadn't fished yet this year, so that was great. Water temps are hovering around 40 degrees though some east shore areas were pushing 43.

I've purchased some new equipment and am very happy with it. As usual, SAGE is making some amazing rods.  I've fished the SAGE X, Method and Motive.  All have been superb casting rods and the 6 weights are terrific salmon rods.  

3/31/2017
Cayuga Lake out of Myers 3/30 PM

Got out with my buddy Eric today and we mainly fly-fished until just about dark (7:15 pm or so.)  At times we worked some jigs.  Conditions didn't look great for salmon fishing, but with the great numbers of fish available this year as well as the changes in their habits, it didn't really matter much.  We landed a good number of fish up to around 22".  I got a chance to cast a couple of new fly-rods that I'd bought recently and they were both fantastic (a Sage X and a Sage Salt.)  Water temps got up around 39/40.  Water levels are at full pool.  I kept one fish today and it was stuffed with gobies. Fish were fairly scarred up and we had one live lamprey come onboard.

I have plenty of availability in April, so if you're looking to get out for some salmon or lake trout action, now's the time!   My SAGE RPL+ and Diamondback Diamondfly rods are still available if anybody is interested.  I may sell some other rods off later this year.   

3/21/2017
Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 3/21

I heard birds chirping for the first time this year a couple days ago. Photoperiods are getting noticeably longer.  We witnessed thousands of snow geese on Cayuga Lake today - it was an awe-inspiring sight!  Spring is definitely in the air but it may still take a few days before it actually feels like it.

Guided Mark I. for the full day today starting around 10 am. We started with some salmon fly-fishing but then quickly went to laker jigging.  The jigging was good with Mark landing three nice lakers in around 2 hours.  We then switched back to salmon flyfishing.  The bite has been off and on for us pretty much all season. The fish are around just about everywhere but the bites can be tentative.  Mark wound up doing very well with four solid Landlockeds landed - all in the 20" to 22" range.  The fish were in nice plump condition for the most part and fought great. We used intermediate and full sinking lines with flies in various colors - white, gray and chartruese/orange. 

I had Mark keep the lakers for me for my smoker or maybe chowder and we harvested two of the salmon that had some serious lamprey hits.  One very small live lamprey came up on a fish.  The parasitic eel like creatures are definitely a factor this year in Cayuga Lake, but there appears to be enough hosts around so that the lampreys are acting more "parasitic" than "predatory."  They are basically attaching to fish for awhile then moving onto another host rather than killing the fish and then moving on.  That's good.  With fewer hosts they will stick with a fish until they kill it.

The reason I started this report with comments on the coming of spring was that the salmon I cleaned had been gorging on alewives. Fish we've kept this winter for the most part had been feeding on a mix of alewives and gobies with gobies dominating in certain parts of the lake. When we've found alewives in fish, there weren't many in their stomachs. Alewives are likely gradually moving up due to the lengthening photoperiods. After all, the water temperatures really haven't warmed up that much.  

3/17/2017
Cayuga Lake Shorefishing 3/17

Got out on my own for some shorefishing today from around 1:30 pm till 6 or so.  I worked three different areas.  Fishing was very slow in my first two and very good in the third.  My fish came on flies today, though I did throw some gear for a bit.  Fish were biting in a peculiar manner at times, not really committing to the fly.  I lost a very solid salmon, then missed a couple hits, lost another that hit after a bad "dump cast" then landed and let go one around 18".   Had another couple hits and I finally hooked up with a great fish.  Some great runs (got me right on the reel,) a lot of turns, more runs, more dogging - just a classic nice salmon battle.  I kept this fish and it was 24" long and weighed 5lbs 3oz despite having a lamprey hit.   The fish appeared to be eating small gobies. It's my understanding that gobies don't have quite the level of thiaminase that alewives have, so perhaps that is contributing to the vigor that many of this year's salmon are showing.  I don't know.  They're also feeding a lot this winter, so that must help too.  

I did not take a water temperature but would expect the lake temp to have dropped a degree (at least) during the high winds and major snowstorm.

Lake Ontario's alewives still aren't "out of the woods" temperature-wise this winter.  A late winter with more cooling and uneven weather could create some issues there.  We'll see how things shape up.  Right now we're looking at some cold temps over the next week on most days. Cold but fishable!

3/6/2017
Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 3/6 AM

Guided a half day trip with Chris and Greg starting around 9 am. Fishing was good for Landlocked salmon with the guys landing three nice fish in the 20" to 22" range. The two 20" fish had fresh lamprey wounds on them. We kept one of the smaller fish and it had a fresh alewife in its stomach.  

A couple other fish were lost and we had some follows and hits as well.  Water temps were 39 degrees on top and the lake level had come up a little bit.  It may drop again (it likely WILL drop again since it's very unlikely that the DOT is raising the lake at this point in time.)   Greg remembered me from way back in my old Irondequoit Creek days (1977 onwards) so that was quite the blast from the past!  He was a friend of an old fishing buddy of mine.

2/28/2017
Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 2/28

Decided to check out Seneca Lake today with my buddy Terry.  We brought tackle for salmon/trout, pike and lake trout jigging.  I had pike and trout/salmon fly-gear in tow but never broke it out.  This time of year there are usually a bunch of boats out targeting perch. I saw maybe one. A local told us that perch fishing wasn't worth it.  Trout and salmon action has been slow by some accounts though I know someone who has had fair to very good fishing from shore at times this winter.  There are decent numbers of landlocked salmon and brown trout available on Seneca Lake.  It doesn't come close to what Cayuga has been producing, but if you live around Watkins Glen or further west, it may be worth a try on occasion - especially if you don't like fishing around other anglers or the extra drivetime to Cayuga.

We spent most of the day (which started at 10:45 am and went till around 4:15 pm) targeting trout and salmon with spinning gear.  I had a few follows from some salmon including one nice one (over 20".)  Terry got clocked at least once on a hair jig.  I cast stickbaits.  I connected with some silver in one area and we netted a chunky brown over 16" that I kept.  It did have two lamprey scars on it - one fresh and one healed.  That was it. We did see some fish below our lures.  So the salmon numbers are fair.  A year or two ago we saw next to nothing!  So it's better than it was then (take this with a grain of salt given that this was our first time out in a boat there this season.)

We checked out a lake trout area and I marked a fair number of fish.  Fewer than past years, but it wasn't terrible.  No hits.  The conditions weren't great for laker jigging.  We tried a couple areas for pike kind of quickly as the day wound down and did not encounter any fish.  Water temp on top was around 39 to 41.  Lake level was low but still good for launching.  I can't argue with 62 degree air temps on the last day of February!

2/24/2017
Cayuga Lake 2/22 - 24

I never thought I'd see t-shirt weather here in the Finger Lakes Region on February 24th, but my car thermometer got up to 77 degrees today!  As long as we don't hit 115 degrees this summer, I'll take this warm weather on occasion.  After all, there's nothing I can do about it. 

Fly-fishing and gear-casting for landlocked salmon, brown trout and occasional lakers has been very good thus far this winter.  Action picked up for us over the past few days.  Water temps were around 39 on Wednesday (and on last Sunday) and hit over 41 degrees today. I'm sure we'll be in for more winter weather sooner or later - certainly in March.

2/22:  Got out with my friend Silene for around 5 hours of fishing.  I cast flies and she worked gear.  She hadn't had any luck last time we were out but her luck changed today. We had some very good fishing for a couple hours with us landing 7 decent fish - 2 browns (one around 16" and one at 18" - though very fat) and 5 salmon up to just under 22" (basically 21.5".)  We kept her nicer brown and two salmon that had lamprey hits on them. Great fun.  She caught most of the fish today, which was great to see.  My fish came on my Bionic Smelt fly and an intermediate line and hers came on a stickbait and a tube jig.

2/23:  Got out with my buddy Terry for around 5 hours of fishing.  I went with my fly-tackle most of the day and he went with spinning gear.  We had terrific action with us having a lot of follows but also landing some hard fighting fish.  I landed a 24" salmon and a couple smaller ones (nice to see some dinks around.)  Terry landed a 19" salmon plus a super hard fighting brown that went 24".  It was as fat as any I've ever seen.  I'd bet it weighed 7lbs.   Certainly over 6 for sure. We released everything today.  Had a lot of follows too.  One laker hookup shallow as well.

2/24:  I had an email from Tracee who was in the region looking for a fishing date for her and her husband Harry.  She read my reports and thought perhaps the fishing was slow, given that the past weekend's fly-fishing trips only resulted in a couple browns (though me and my friend Jeff did well on lakers.)  I let her know that we were fly-fishing for the most part and it does have its limitations.  I rarely expect to catch as many fish as a gear guy or a troller. So she was reassured and we booked the half day.

They were impressed with the fishing today.  We started with jigging lakers and two were brought to the net.  Casting stickbaits for salmon resulted in another laker and two salmon - one around 20" and one at 18".  We kept all the lakers and the bigger salmon (that also had a lamprey scar.)  Stomach checks revealed gobies.   Great day and you could never ask for better weather!  Rain was to the north of us this AM but Ithaca never received a drop!

2/20/2017
Cayuga Lake 2/18 + 19

Launched out of Taughannock on both days. The goal was to fly-fish salmon.  Fished with my friend Jeff on Saturday starting around 10:45 am.  I met him back in 2004 or '05 when I worked at Bass Pro Shops.  He's an avid fly-fisherman.  We had terrific fishing but slow catching over the first few hours.  We found plenty of fish and had follows but strikes were few and far in between.  The salmon were tentative.  I managed one brown just a hair shy of 15". We set up for lakers and had some great jigging action with 4 fish landed between us in around 2 hours.  We also missed other hits and dropped a fish or two.  The smoker will be running this week!

Yesterday was a full day guide trip with Mark I.  I gave him the option of Sunday with warm temps but poor winds and today (Monday) with cold temps but good winds.  He went with the nicer day.  Winds were dead calm after an hour of light southerlies.  We were able to see deep into the lake and spotted plenty of suckers along with a few salmon in a few different locations.  We even saw a lake trout.  

Just as I was debating setting up for laker jigging, the winds came up strong out of the north. Fish activated a bit but were still tough/tentative for us.  Gear fishing likely would've been productive but we stuck with fly-fishing.  It was hard to cover water effectively due to the strong winds pushing the boat along a bit too fast (even with drift bags.)  We found some more sheltered areas and Mark got railed by a nice thick brown trout.  It found superbly - with some deep runs and great jumps.  The fish went 20" and Mark caught all of the action - including the hookup on his Go-Pro.  After that Mark had another hit (likely a salmon) but that was it.  

Water temps ran around 39/40.   Launching wasn't a problem for us.

2/7/2017
Cayuga Lake Shorefishing 2/7

I gave the lake around 2 hours today and managed to lose a nice salmon around 19" that jumped twice and threw the hook on the second jump.  My buddy Mike worked another area and landed some good fish up to 24" on the day.   The water level is very low - about as low as it gets.  Water temps remain in the low 40s.  Shorefishing overall remains good with salmon, occasional browns and lake trout in the mix depending on where and how you are fishing.  

 

1/22/2017
Cayuga Lake 1/20 - 1/22

Got out for three days in a row in my boat. Water temp is around 41.  Here's the breakdown:

1/20:  Fished with my friend Silene for the day starting around 11 am. We had pretty strong south winds for most of the day and then it finally let up.  No rain, which was nice. Action was slow. I fly-fished and she casted gear.  I missed some hits and had some follows. She had one hookup momentarily but that was it.  

1/21:  Got out with my buddy Mike for the day, starting around 10 am.  A lot of boats were out today.  We brought gear for salmon, lakers and pike.  We like to hedge our bets! Salmon fishing was pretty good for a bit - I nailed a 17"er and a 22", Mike got a 21".  Mike had a nice lake trout take a few swipes at his streamer which was pretty cool.  We did some laker jigging and it was good. We landed 4 of them up to around 26".  I kept my large salmon and it was stuffed with gobies. The fish had a large lamprey scar on it.

1/22:  Did my first guided trip of the season and it went well. I met Gordon at the launch around 8 am and we were underway by 8:30.  Salmon fishing was good early, then slowed then picked up again.  He wound up landing 4 solid fish all on the fly.  Best was 24" and smallest was just under 18".  He also lost two good ones and missed another half dozen hits.  We saw a salmon around 6lbs or so jump clear out of the water in one area. It had a big lamprey attached to it and it appeared as though the fish was trying to "shake it."  The water level appears to have gone up a little bit due to all the runoff.  We finished our full day up around 4:30 pm. Really fun salmon fly-fishing!

1/17/2017
Seneca Lake shorefishing 1/16

Got out with my buddy Mike and we hit three different shore areas for trout/salmon using our fly-gear.  In our first area we each hooked up (possibly the same fish but I am not sure) and Mike wound up landing an 18" brown trout (with attached small lamprey.)  Apart from the attached lamprey, it was in good condition - nice and chunky.  He let it go.  That was only luck we had.  The conditions turned calm which usually makes for very tough fly-fishing.  

I think we'll see fair fishing for browns, salmon and rainbows on Seneca Lake this year. I am guessing the Memorial Derby will likely be won by a big brown trout again this year. With the low laker numbers and abundant forage we may start seeing more trophy fish come out of Seneca.  I will likely check on things with my boat here over the next couple weeks.  Again, I blame a lot of last year's poor fishing on low laker numbers, high baitfish abundance, high lamprey numbers and poor water clarity during most of the summer.  The lake's transperency has been declining in the summer months due to more blue-green algae.  On the flipside, the lake is clearer than ever in the early spring/late winter.

1/11/2017
Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 1/11

Got out with my buddy Mike for some salmon fly-fishing.  We started around 10:30 am and surprisingly were the only boat out fishing. Can't beat that!  As predicted last year, fishing for salmon this season has been top-notch on Cayuga Lake.  There are good numbers of 17" to 19" fish and then also some in the 21" range.  We haven't seen many dinks - fish under 15" or any fish better than 21" thus far.  Clearly they are out there but we just haven't run into them.

We encountered a lot of fish today in a lot of areas and a lot of different depths.  We landed 7 salmon and one brown. The brown was a heavy 21" fish.  Best salmon was 21" as well. A couple salmon went 16" to 17" with the rest running 19" to 20".  Intermediate and Type 3/4 sinking fly-lines both produced grabs for us.  For every fish we landed, we probably had follows from another one or two. There were signs of lampreys on probably 50% or more of the fish.  Today was a "catch 'em and release 'em" day with all fish going back into the lake. The fish we have harvested thus far this winter have been feeding on equal numbers of alewives and gobies.  Water temp was 41 degrees on top.

1/3/2017
Cayuga Lake Shorefishing 1/3

Back to the shorefishing today.  Had the forecast not been for rainy, windy conditions I would have taken my boat out.  I was well equipped for shore casting today with my 6 wt. fly-rod with a type 3 sinking line, 5 mm neoprene chest waders (which are getting hard to find,) a stripping basket and waterproof wading jacket.  I fished a few different areas and in the first location I had five different encounters with what was likely two different salmon.  I landed one around 18".  

Location number two was the hotspot and within a half hour I'd landed three solid salmon from 19" to 21".  The fishing was reminiscent of the early 2000s or late 1990s with nice clean fish.  Great battles too with some superb jumps!  Putting in my time paid off. Time now to work on other things and wait for the next thaw.  Looks like it will be another topnotch year on Cayuga Lake.  

1/2/2017
Cayuga Lake Shorefishing 1/2 PM

After taking care of a few things I met my buddy Mike out at Taughannock for some shore fishing.  He had a good late AM with 4 nice salmon landed - two sublegals and two legals. He nabbed three of them with the fly-rod.  He pretty much just hung out and had a cigar while I tried to nab my first salmon of the winter season.  Later on he fished a little bit more.  Yours truly missed two.  I had a couple decent hits - one felt good but I couldn't connect.  Fishing has been good just about anywhere you can get shore access around the southern portions of Cayuga Lake.  Water temperatures are around 44.  I'm looking forward to my next time out.  I also missed one a couple days ago - so I need to connect with a zolid... 

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