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2/15/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 2/15

Got out for the first guided trip of the season with John and Andrew.  The lake level is extremely low (as low as I've ever seen it) but I was able to launch ok.  I had the guys work various hair and tube jigs along with spoons and stickbaits.  Fishing was pretty slow for us during the first hour but John eventually managed to connect with a nice 21" laker on a spoon.  I actually saw two halfway decent largemouth bass up shallow in 37 degree water - not something you tend to see very often! 

In another area Andrew connected with a beautiful 26" landlocked salmon.  Great fight with some good runs and acrobatics.  John also managed to catch another laker.  We had a couple follows from other salmon too.

After the half day trip ended I went back out exploring a bit.  I had my fly gear but stuck with spinning tackle due to the conditions.  A big laker around 27" followed in my jig but never hit it.  I caught (yet another) dropback salmon from last year's amazing class of two year old fish - it was a nice 21"er.  I checked out the laker jigging and found good numbers of fish from shallow out to 80'.  I didn't look deeper but I'm sure they are out there in good numbers.  I managed a 25" one eyed lake trout on a Shaker.  The one eyed fish out of Cayuga was in much better condition that a two eyed (normal) lake trout I managed to catch while ice fishing on Keuka Lake earlier in the week.

At the end of the day I managed two salmon - a 19"er and a 20".  I kept the 20"er and it was loaded with gobies.  Salmon seem to be very scattered.  There's no need for them to bunch up too much with the abundant goby population on Cayuga Lake.  Overall I am not seeing great numbers of one and two year old (years in the lake that is) fish out there.  They are clearly around and the fishing isn't bad, but not on a par with last year.  I expect salmon fishing to improve once alewives start moving up.  I think we will see another good salmon year but the best fishing may not happen until things warm up a bit more.  Water temps ranged from 37 to 39.   

 

2/4/2018
Seneca Lake Shorefishing 2/1

I managed to get out for around 2 1/2 hours to do some shoreline casting and fly-casting. In hindsight, I probably should have launched my boat since the conditions weren't as windy as they were forecast to be.  Of course, if I had been in my boat and the wind kicked up as forecast, I'd have been complaining and kicking myself for not shorefishing.   

A couple boats were out of Watkins Glen perch fishing.  They were moving around a fair amount when I stopped by the pier.  I have no idea how they were doing, but oddly nobody was fishing the marina area.

Shorefishing was slow.  The conditions weren't great but weren't bad either.  The only action I had were two splashes/swirls by my stickbait when I was finishing my retrieve.  I was wearing waders and along a shelf adjacent to a dropoff and never saw the fish despite looking in that general area at the time, so the fish had to be very small salmon in all likelihood - i.e. 13" to 15" fish.

The Rochester Boat Show was this past week (the final day is Superbowl Sunday - so it's still going as I write this.)  We had a very good turnout yesterday after a slow Friday.  Silver Lake Marine has some beautiful new Crestliners as well as some nice used ones (like Sportfish and Raptors.)  Check out their website if you're in the market for a new boat this year.  Even a 16.5' Crestliner FishHawk has a beam around 86"!  So they are very stable and roomy -i.e. very comfortable boats to fish out of. 

1/28/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 1/28

Got out with my friend Eric today for around 5 hours of casting and fly-fishing.  According to yesterday's forecast we were supposed to have NW winds at around 5 mph and sun but today the forecast was changed to light and variable i.e. oftentimes non-existent winds. That can make the fishing a bit trickier.

Using hairjigs resulted in three lake trout hookups for me - one that I didn't bring to the net (maybe a 25" or 26"er.)  The fish are fighting with a lot of vigor.  I landed on nice salmon on an intermediate fly-line - it was over 21".  Apart from that, we had a few other possible hits.

Eric landed the fish of the day (maybe one of the season) on his spinning gear.  We thought he had a lake trout.  When I netted the fish I thought "hybrid pike/pickerel," but nope - it was the most massive pickerel I'd ever seen!  It wasn't a state record fish but it was in that ball park.  28 1/2" long and incredibly fat!  This pickerel had to be at least 7lbs - at least by my estimation.  It was very thick bodied and again, it had some serious length.  I will get a photo up of the fish once Eric sends me the pics.  Best pickerel I've ever seen by a long shot - I've caught a couple 27"s and seen a skinny 28" but this one was proportioned more like a walleye.  Eric also had a couple other hits and got one other pickerel.

Overall the lake trout and brown trout bites have been good to very good this winter. I'd call the inshore lake trout fishing good to excellent.  I have never seen it better.  Landlocked salmon action has not been as good as last year so far. Thus far I'd call it "fair" fishing. A few areas have good numbers of young sublegal and barely legal fish.  In general, I am not sure what's going on. I know from the overall fishing in 2017 that there are good numbers of salmon around.  We are unlikely to repeat what we saw last year.  It's rare that we have two banner years in a row.  Seeing dropbacks is a great sign.  Some salmon are clearly feeding on gobies along bottom while others are up higher.  I kept my salmon today and it had a couple alewives in its stomach. It also had a lamprey scar.  Water level is still good for the winter and the temp is 38/39.

1/26/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 1/26

Got out with my buddy Mike for some fly-casting and gear fishing for salmon/trout.  Winter fishing is tough on equipment.  My starting battery was dead on arrival at the launch. Fortunately I had a brand new spare.  Usually I'll charge my starting battery after not using it for awhile (it's been almost two month since I had the boat out) but my onboard charger had some issues.  Later in the day my trolling motor started acting up (basically not working.) My old Motorguide has seen a lot of use over the years.  It seemed like a contact issue.   So the "storage gremlins" were really active over the past two months.  Mike told me he left the bananas at home, so I couldn't blame him for my issues.  I do keep a spare trolling motor at home, so this one might be heading to Barrett Marine for some service.

The wind was also howling.  I saw sun and highs of 45 on weather.com.  On weather.gov I saw highs of 41 and winds south 5 to 8 with sun.  Both sounded good, but the reality was highs around 40 and south winds around 11 to 13 or more. It felt like it was in the low 20s out there.  The water level rose up at least a foot, which was great to see for this time of year. Water temperatures were around 38/39.  

Fishing was interesting.  In our first area we had a slow go for awhile with the flies.  I finally had a salmon around 18" grab a fly at it was motionless near the boat. After a good run under the boat and some topwater action the fish got off.  Next fish was a 13" brown on a hair jig. Mike nabbed a nice 23" laker on a swimjig and I managed a couple nice dropback salmon around 21" to 22" on hairjigs.  We had other hits and follows.  We weren't able to fish some of our better areas due to the wind.  All in all I'd call it good fishing but not up to par with what we had last year at this time. But I chalk most of that up to the day and our conditions.  The fish are out there.

It's fantastic to see the dropbacks out on Cayuga Lake this year. Mike caught one from shore last month.  In all my years fishing the Finger Lakes for Landlocked Atlantic salmon I can remember very few drop backs - maybe one a season if that.  I think we are seeing dropbacks for two main reasons:  1.)  We had terrific runs of salmon this fall, so a lot of fish spawned and made it back to the lake.   2.)  These fish have more energy by incorporating gobies in their diets.  Less thiamine deficiency likely leads to stronger fish that can survive the spawn.  No matter what the reason(s) are - it's great seeing these fish.  They may not be as pretty as the ones that haven't spawned yet, but they are full of vigor.  I had great fights from these fish and they were released to fight again.  

1/12/2018
Cayuga Shorefishing 1/10 PM

Got out for around an hour and a half on the east shore on Wednesday.  I didn't fish a whole lot (between talking with a friend and smoking a cigar) but gave it a good 45 minutes without a hit mostly with gear due in part to the high winds.  People continue to catch lake trout and a few browns from shore.  Occasional salmon are showing up here and there.  We should see another good salmon year on Cayuga Lake.  These Sebagos are hard to predict.  Last fall we encountered a few out over 120' of water down maybe 40' while jigging lakers.  I never used to find the older strain ("Little Clear" fish) out there.  

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Lake Ontario Sodus Bay Cross Lake Skaneateles Lake Owasco Lake Cayuga Lake Seneca Lake Keuka Lake