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12/28/2005
Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 12/26 + 12/28

Monday Dec. 26th was a brutal day out on Cayuga!   Strong North winds gusting close to 30 mph.   I worked the southern portions of the lake on the west side for salmon and pike.   I had one BIG pike follow in a fly but that was it.   Boat control was very difficult and I did a bit of anchoring.

Today was a full day.   Started with a 1/2 day guide trip in the morning with Mike and his kids.   Over the past year I've made 2 exceptions to my "2 person" rule for guide trips.   For lake trout jigging things worked OK.   In general it is a compromise.  The more people on board the less attention I can give any one person.   If you're looking to learn a new technique, it's best one on one, or one on two.   Anyways, this was Mike's 3rd. trip with me this year which is great to see!   Like I mentioned before, the return trips this year have been great.   It was tough going from the start as the south winds were much stronger  than forecast.   We worked various areas for pike without any hits.   Duck hunters were out in droves and I wasn't able to fish some good pike areas.   After working both shores of the south end of the lake we motored north to the Millican area to try some lake trout jigging.   We jigged for around 1/2 hour or so without any hits.   The lake got pretty rough and Mike and the kids had their fill so we called it a day.   We did mark some fish from 70' to 100' of water.

After the trip was over I went back out and tried some salmon fishing around Willow/Crowbar.   No luck at all.   Worked a lot of areas for pike without any action.   Finally the wind subsided and the duck hunters cleared and I was able to work some other pike areas.   I was able to locate a bunch of fish and I landed around 5 pike along with a couple pickerel.   One pike was around 33" give or take, but most were smaller 25" to 30" fish.   They were in concentrated in cold muddy water, which was a surprise to me.    As usual, all fish were released.   I can't stress how important catch and release is for bigger pike.  The reason Cayuga is so good for pike is that a.) there's next to no ice-fishing and b.) very few people fish them.   Fishing pressure can quickly decimate pike populations.

12/25/2005
Cayuga out of Taughannock 12/23 + 12/25

Finally, a break in the weather.    I managed to get out for a few short hours on 12/23 and all day on Christmas.   While most sane people were home with family, someone had to check on the fishing ;-)   I wasn't able to find much out on Friday.   The lake level is dropping and water temps are around 40.   I checked a spot or two for salmon and pike with no action.

Christmas Day started slow.   My buddy Eric and myself checked some areas on the east shore that I don't often fish hoping to score some salmon or browns.   Never had a hit.   Eric missed a grab at Millican, but we don't know what it was.   We spent around an hour looking for lakers.   Marked some good fish just north of Millican in 70' to 100' of water.   We had a follow or two on the jigs, but then the rain started falling and I figured we could do better on salmon or pike.

The winds weren't conducive to salmon fishing so pike it was.   We had some terrific pike action on the fly-rods in the southern portions of the lake.   Nice fish - all around 32" to 34".   Things have cleared and stabilized after all the nasty weather a few weeks back.   Had one largemouth bass around 2.5lbs. follow my fly and I caught a pickerel as well.   The weather got rainy but the wind stayed down.   

12/21/2005
Finger Lakes Conditions

The past 2 to 3 weeks have been good weather for working other jobs, sitting home, writing articles, tying flies and organizing tackle.    As is usual this time of year, most boat launches are unplowed and not in good shape.   Ice is forming on the very south end of Cayuga Lake and the northern basin is frozen.   Lake levels are being lowered on Cayuga and Seneca Lakes.  I expect surface temperatures to be 40 or less.

Boat launching is available at Taughannock Park on Cayuga Lake, and Watkins Glen and Severne Point on Seneca Lake.   Other launches I'm not 100% sure about, but I'd expect Lodi to be a mess.   Dean's Cove on Cayuga is unplowed and unlaunchable.    I'd rather drive the extra 20 miles or so to a launch I KNOW is open than take a chance on finding an unplowed mess!

There will be a slight warm-up around Christmas and I expect to be out on Cayuga and Seneca Lakes fishing for pike, salmon, lake trout and maybe some perch.   Fishing should be good and I'm hoping for a good class of salmon on Cayuga.   We'll see....  :-)

12/1/2005
Seneca Lake 11/30 + Cayuga Lake 12/1

Fished Seneca on Tuesday out of Geneva for pike on the fly.   The heavy rains murked up many of the areas I intended to fish.   Roy's south to Kashong was all pretty murky.   I fished Glass Factory Bay a bit and worked areas across the lake.   Nothing to report.   I wasn't out for real long, but I don't think it would have made too much of a difference.   Water temps are in the low to mid-40s.

Cayuga was a real mess today.   Debris and murky water around most of the shoreline areas.   Leaves everywhere!    Caught one big pickerel near Millican Station and that was it.   Had a decent pike follow me in on the west shore towards the Yacht Club area.

Spent some time in the late afternoon looking for lakers north of Taughannock toward Sheldrake.   There's still some nice bait pods around.   Didn't mark many lakers, though I think they are in the area.   There are signs that some of the trout are moving deeper.   I marked fish suspended down around 110' over 140'.   No luck on the jigging.

Here's my take on things:

Things need to settle a bit in Cayuga Lake.   Water temperatures have dropped quickly in the southern portions of the lake.   Fish like pike and pickerel tend to get a little lethargic as water temps drop.   Once the fish get adjusted to the change, they should get more aggressive.   The pike are around.   I saw plenty of good habitat today and I know the fish are there!

I haven't been chasing landlocked salmon yet due to the wind pattern.   I'm not seeing the wind directions needed to set these fish up.    Once we get the right winds, I'll be able to ascertain things.   I expect good salmon fishing given the reports I've had on small fish earlier in the season.

Seneca's pike seem to be a bit of a mystery.   The pike fishing has been good in the southern 1/3rd. of the lake.   Nearly all the pike I've seen have had lamprey scars - including some fresh marks.   This lake has a tremendous amount of pike habitat!  Tremendous!   I don't think the pike population has "caught up" with the amount of habitat yet.    We'll see what happens.   Thus far, Seneca continues to be a "trophy" or "size fishery" as opposed to a numbers one.  

11/27/2005
Seneca/Cayuga Lake 11/27

Took a drive up to the north end of Seneca Lake today hoping for some pike action.   The winds were supposed to be very light (4 mph) out of the south.   Yeah, right!   Had some good waves just to start but my friend Eric and I gave it a shot anyways.   Fishing was pretty slow, mainly due to the wind/waves.   We worked a bunch of different depths.   The only hit we got was in around 10' of water.   Eric did manage to land a very nice 35" northern on a chartreuse Clouser minnow.   The wind got much worse and we headed back north and got off the lake.

We had some time left so went drove back down to Taughannock and launched the boat.   Ran south and were able to find some nice pike areas.   I managed to land a nice 32"+ northern in short order.   Eric caught a small one and that was it.   Overall the pike fishing was not bad today given how little fishing we were able to do in good conditions.   Water temps in both lakes are around 45 degrees.  

Seneca Lake is absolutely loaded with milfoil.   There is pike habitat from end to end on this lake.    It's hard to judge what the pike population is in this lake, due to all the cover.   Time will tell.

11/21/2005
Cayuga 11/19 Taughannock + Skaneateles 11/20

Fishing remains excellent in the Finger Lakes.   I ran around Cayuga Lake a bit on Saturday looking to see where and what the lake trout were up to.   Many fish appear to have migrated north back towards some of the mid-lake flats.   Lots of nice marks and some bait around Rocky Dock and Sheldrake.   Fish were active, aggressive and chasing white Zoom Flukes and White Flipping Tubes rigged on 1 oz. and 1 1/4 oz. heads respectively.   I kept 3 fish and 2/3 had alewives or smelt (?) in their stomachs.    The most marks and best fishing was in 70' to 110' of water.   Caught one unclipped fish.   I'm pretty sure that natural reproduction of lake trout in Cayuga Lake is at around the 15% range.   That, or a lot of clips were missed at the Bath Hatchery!  

I spent some time pike fishing but didn't find any concentrations of fish.  I dropped one good fish.    The pike are around somewhere and it wasn't a great day weather-wise for pike, so I don't see my lack of success as having any significance.   I'll be back on Cayuga pike fishing this week when conditions improve.   Steady weather and low-pressure systems generally are best for pike fishing IMO.   There are still a lot of green weeds all over the lake - plenty of good pike habitat.  

Skaneateles Lake was a guide trip with Joel and the fishing was very good.   Caught a bunch of nice rainbows running from around 12" to 17".   Joel had a few hits and one hookup on flies but casting jigs is what wound up producing the fish for us.   The wind made jig fishing an easier call today.   We managed a couple good smallmouths and one big perch as well.     The docks are out.   Brings boots or waders!    Water temps are around 45 to 48 degrees.    12' to 25' was best.  

11/15/2005
Seneca Lake out of Watkins

Well I'm glad I didn't pay attention to the weather forecasts today.   It's amazing how a slight variation in wind direction can make a HUGE difference in lake conditions.   The south end of Seneca was very fishable today despite the dire wind predictions.   I've been chomping at the bit to get out on this end of the lake to see what the pike fishing was like.

Pikin' was pretty much par for the course on Seneca.   Somewhat slow fishing for quality fish i.e. hard work on my part yielding a handful of fish.   A handful of GOOD fish!    Started around 11:30am and fished till dark.   I managed some beautifully colored pike today:   a 32", 34", 37" and a dink.   I dropped one fish and landed a smallmouth as well.   The largest pike was probably around 12lbs. or better and a gorgeous lush, light green color.   No photos today since I was on my own and none of the fish were exceptionally huge, but I do have a nice shot of a Seneca pike taken during a fishing class that was similar in color - I will post that shot soon.

All fish were taken fly-fishing using a Temple Forks TiCR 8wt. rod with a RIO 8 weight full-sinking line Type 6.   The flies were my own deceiver type patterns tied with synthetic hair and lots of flash.

This was pretty tough fishing;  although I caught 3 nice fish I had to work very hard for them and they came from some very select areas.   I basically caught fish at the rate of one good pike for every 1.75 to 2 hours of determined fishing!   I worked a lot of water without seeing any sign of fish.   The milfoil beds have died down considerably, which was nice.   Some areas of the lake had some leaves and weeds floating around.   Water temps were around 47 to 49 degrees.   No sign of salmon.   I did try a handful of casts for them.

As for guiding these fish, I really recommend Cayuga Lake for pike unless you're a die-hard pike fanatic with lots of perserverence and patience.   Seneca is not the lake to get kids interested in pike fishing for the most part.   Cayuga provides much better overall action with chances at trophies every bit the size of Seneca fish.   Cayuga also has other fishing options that are tougher to pull off on Seneca.

11/12/2005
Skaneateles Lake 11/9 + 11/12

Well there wasn't much to report last Wednesday.   I tried getting out with Jeff from Alaska and his daughter.  "Tried" is the key word!   The advance forecast was looking dismal for Wed - Fri.   Wed. appeared to be "the day".   We knew the forecast was gloomy but we were hoping the high wind speeds would be delayed.   It wasn't to be.   Nasty out on Skaneateles with 20 to 30 mph gusts/winds out of the south.   Of course the forecast snow and rain didn't materialize for Friday - so that's how it goes.  Owasco was a mudhole that looked like a mini-Ocean.   Nasty....

Today was the polar opposite out on "Skinny".   Sunny and light south winds (at least by noon.)   I had a lot of fun with Burr and his dad as they tried their hand at fly-fishing Skinny for the first time.    Bill wound up landing a gorgeous 17"+ rainbow up near the north end on a wooly bugger.   We tried a lot of different areas and had action in many of them.   Not a lot of fish landed, but some good hook-ups and follows from rainbows and salmon.   We found some big perch and lakers too.   Jigs and stickbaits were the ticket.   Water temps are 48 - 51.    Fly-fishing the big lakes is a challenge and one trip out on the water is worth more than a thousand words.  

11/5/2005
Owasco 11/5
Repeat guide trip with Mike and his kids today.   We got out around 11:30am.   Bass were biting in deep water and we had a quick hook-up on a jigging spoon.   Lake trout fishing started slow with one fish, but it picked up in the late afternoon with another 3 fish landed and other hits missed.   3/4 oz. Silver Kastmaster spoons worked best off points on the Southwest shore.   Many of the fish hooked were not marked on the fishfinder.   They are there though!    We finished off the day with some more vertical smallmouth fishing with a 16" fish and a smaller one landed and a couple others lost and missed.   The hits are subtle but it's fun stuff.   Lots of boats out perch fishing in the shallows.   They are obviously hitting well, cause I've seen the boats out a lot!  
11/4/2005
Owasco Lake 11/4
Mixed bag fishing remains very good on Owasco Lake.   Today we did some lake trout jigging using 3/4 oz. Silver Kastmasters and white Zoom flukes on 1 oz. heads and fishing was good - not great, but good....;-)  We landed 4 fish and missed a few.   Smallmouth bass are active in deep water.   I picked up an 18" fish in around 50' as well as a smaller one.   Fly-casting for northern pike produced 3 nice fish from 25" to 31".   Large white deceivers fished on a Type 6 sinking line fished in 3' to 35' of water did the trick.   Also managed a chunky largemouth.   Plenty of nice lush green weeds around.   Thick coontail!    I still had to work hard for fish, but they were around.   H2O is at 52 degrees.  
11/2/2005
Skaneateles Lake 11/2
Great day today out on Skinny!   Can't say enough about this fishing/fishery.   Good numbers of trout and salmon are concentrated, active and FEEDING!   I did one pass through an area and picked up 2 bows, 2 salmon and a bass.   All the trout/salmon were nice fish - 14" to 18".    Tried another area and dropped a big trout.   Tried another area and lost a 20" salmon.   It's that good!   Water temps in the low 50s and colder have brought many of these fish to the surface and in close.    I used intermediate and sinking lines.    Streamers imitating perch and/or crawfish worked well.   I saw some nice bass around too.    Water temps are in the low 50s.
10/30/2005
Fishing Cayuga/Owasco/Keuka 10/28 - 10/30

It was nice to get out and check out a lot of different areas over the past 3 days.   More to come this week.... ;-)

Friday was a quick 2 1/2 hour trip out of Taughannock with the flyrods in tow.   It's a little bit early for what I consider to be the prime pikin' on the fly in Cayuga.   There are still plenty of green weeds around.   I worked areas from Portland Point to the Yacht Club and south.   Picked up a very nice smallie around 19" and fat on the southwest shore.   Had another hit and that was it.   Checked the mouth area of Taughannock for trout/salmon quickly without any sign of anything.  Water temps are in the mid-50s and smallmouths and perch are probably still the best bets on Cayuga.   Pikin' would probably be good with tube jigs, spinnerbaits and assorted bass lures.  

Saturday was an all day event on Owasco Lake.   I guided Mark who was out with me on Keuka a few weeks back.   It's been great seeing all the "return trips" this year!   Awesome.    The fishing was great though we did work for fish and we took chances fishing and doing things I haven't done much of in the past.   We started with stickbaits on the east shore and Mark picked up a few very small pike and a 13" smallmouth.   Then Mark had a 3 to 4lb. rainbow trout follow him in on a tube.   Later we saw some commotion on an edge and Mark cast his Rapala X-rap over the deeps and connected with a 20" smallmouth!   Great fight and BIG fish!   We did some casting for pike and he had one bite off.  

Pike were all over the lake and Mark had a good one follow in his tube and try to whack it.   We were near a good lake trout area so he jigged for awhile and picked up 3 fish in short order.    It was a cold windy day so we started heading back towards the north end when I marked some nice fish deep.    A few drops with a spoon and Mark was in smallmouth heaven!   5 to 6 fish were chasing the lure at once and he connected with some more very nice bass including another slob!   Awesome way to end the day!

I went back out on my own after the trip ended and couldn't resist doing some bassin' on my own.   I connected with 5 or 6 bass up to 20" plus a very nice 14.5" perch.   If you want mixed bag fall fishing - now's the time!

Today was Keuka Lake with my longtime fishing buddy Terry.   We searched for deep bass and didn't have any luck.   We worked the shallows and mid-depths with jerkbaits and tubes and found some perch and mostly smaller large and smallmouth bass.   Nothing special.   Spent most of the afternoon jigging lakers.    The laker bite has slowed quite a bit.   Lots of fish around but they weren't very active.   Very much like the slowdown we've seen lately on Cayuga and Owasco.   It's still possible to have a very good day on Keuka - but the fish weren't chasing much - at least not today.   We wound up landing around 6 fish.   I broke off 3 due to some old line.   I had grabbed a reel quickly today to fish with - one that I should have respooled.   Lost 2 Kastmasters and a fluke.   So we should have landed 8 or 9 fish for the afternoon.   A good day, but when I saw the numbers of fish in the area on the depthfinder it was obvious to me that they weren't hitting very aggressively.   

Later this week I'll be on Seneca and Skaneateles if all goes as it should.  Stay tuned....I expect good fishing on these lakes.

 

10/24/2005
Hemlock Lake 10/23

I got a chance to check out Hemlock Lake for the first time Sunday thanks to an invite from Burr, who was with me on Keuka a couple weeks ago.   We were trying to figure out the lake trout using his boat.

The lake experience is #1 on the Finger Lakes for sheer wilderness.   No development except for the filtration plant on the north end.  ZERO cottages!   Nice and quiet!    Tough restrictions here - no more than a 10 hp. outboard, boat must be 16' or less, permit required to fish(easy to obtain.)  Not a nice day weather-wise out there - cold, misty and rainy.  

We tried motoring around for a little bit checking things out with the depthfinder.   The west side of the lake features a few points that don't seem to protrude much.   Steep shorelines ring much of this lake.   Didn't mark many fish on the bottom -at least not in the same way as I would on the other lakes.   The depthfinder transducer was a suction-cup mount and once we had it level we could mark "hooks".  We did mark some suspended fish.   A fair number of fish were jumping too.   Smaller fish - not sure what they were.  

We worked a lot of different depths - from shallow to deep.   No definite hits.   As we worked further south we found some very nice flats and good lake trout areas.   Lots of bait and fish marks too!    Burr had a couple fish chase his jig and spoon up a ways but nothing very aggressive.   I had a rainbow trout or a salmon chase a spoon back to the boat.

Before we knew it, it was time to go.   On the way back we checked out the east side.   Better points and nice shelves!   My guess is that many of the lakers might be around spawn mode.    I'd fish the points next time and continue working the south end.   Beautiful flats and a creek mouth with deep water nearby down there!   Lots of great fly-fishing areas too.   I don't think it would be hard to catch rainbows or salmon here casting streamers in the spring.

10/22/2005
Keuka out of Branchport 10/22

Lake trout fishing remains excellent on Keuka.  

I was jonesing to get out this week after being sidelined last week with some motor issues.   I used to trust mechanics with my oil changes on my Yamaha - but no longer - at least MOST mechanics.   I had a guy cross thread my engine oil plug and then torque it in, effectively stripping the HOLE in the oil pan portion of my motor!   Nice job.   You'd think the guy would notice that the plug wasn't going in to easily.   It was a reputable place, but I don't feel the need to trash them.   I'll take the "high road" for now ;-)  It does suck to have to pay up though.   My take on these issues is to do the work you can do on your motor.  Let others do the stuff you can't....I took the motor to Silver Lake Marine and those guys have been a lot of help.   Best attitude regarding service I've seen!  

Guide trip with Michele and her dad John.   Fishing was very good to excellent on Keuka around the "Y" area.   We were on the Penn Yan arm.   Fish were active in 85' to 110' of water.   3/4 oz. silver and silver/pearlescent Kastmasters worked great.    Many fish came on the retrieve.   John managed a 29" Keuka fish - best one I've seen this season (at least off my boat.)   They landed around 15 fish or so and lost quite a few as well.   Nasty rain out there so we cut the trip short.   All parties were satisfied!   I'll have photos of the big laker up eventually.   We tried some braid today as well as my usual low stretch mono.   The jury really isn't out yet on the braid.   The perceived "feel" seems a little better, but whether it makes a difference in the long run I don't know.   John's big fish fought very hard and if it wasn't for the stretch in the mono he might have lost it.   Hard to say.  H2O temps on the surface are 59.   Winds were ENE around 5 or less.  

10/15/2005
Keuka Lake/Branchport 10/14
Guide trip today on Keuka.   We started by working the Branchport arm of the lake.   A few lakers were hooked in around 75' to 85' of water on a jigging spoon and fluke.   The hits came while reeling up.   The conditions were misty/foggy for most of the day.   We worked down the branch and towards the bluff.   Saw a small salmon hit some bait on the surface.   Water temps are around 62 on top.    Worked the Penn Yan arm just above the bluff - maybe a mile or two north in 100' to 110' give or take.   Had some steady action for awhile - especially when it was momentarily brighter outside.   Fish hit just about anything and they were running up to around 24".  Nice chunky Keuka fish.   We kept a limit and did some catch and release.   Again, the lakers in many, if not all of the Finger Lakes can use some cropping/harvesting.  
10/11/2005
Owasco Lake 10/10 + Canandaigua Lake 10/11

Did a half-day guide trip on Owasco this past Monday.   The fishing started off well with a nice 6 to 7lb. laker within about 10 minutes.   However things remained slow for us during the morning.   We marked fish fairly consistently around 55' to 70' of water but most fish just weren't active.   The dark misty skies didn't help us, as some light penetration helps the lakers see the jigs.   Joe managed to land another fish and he lost a couple as well.   We found fish on the north end flats and also on points.   Fish were hitting quickly and short and not coming back for the jigs.

It's funny how things change.   At 2pm. I met George Ketola at the launch and we fished the rest of the day.   George has been working at the Tunison Lab since the early 1970s and he does a lot of experimentation and research on EMS/Cayuga Syndrome.   (If you don't know what this is, and you'd like to learn - please do a google search!)   I've volunteered over at the lab and I always learn a lot when I stop over there.   We looked for lakers and marked some inactive fish around 1 - 2 pm.   Had a hit or two but nothing great.   We slid out into 85' to 92' of water and found active fish.   Fishing was excellent for a couple hours and slowed in the evening.   A limit was landed in short order and we did a lot of catch 'n release fishing.   Upwards of 6/7 fish were chasing the jigs at a time during the peak bite!

That's the only drawback from a "1/2 day trip".   Sometimes the bite doesn't turn on until later.   Sometimes it takes hours to find the fish.   I talked to other anglers and they had similar results - slow fishing in the morning and excellent fishing in the afternoon.   The sun almost shone in the afternoon and I'm sure that played a part in the fish getting active.   If they can't see the jigs, they can't hit 'em!   This past summer the lakers were very consistent in their location.   It was relatively easy to find them and have a very successful 4/5 hour trip.   With fly-fishing and other types of angling I often have to do a bit of searching and some running to find fish.   Consider this when booking a trip....

Canandaigua Lake is a lake I don't guide on, and I don't fish it often.   It's a beautiful lake but is very crowded with pleasure boaters during the summer - esp. on weekends.   It holds some HUGE smallmouth bass and I tried to find them today.   I know fishing was hot on that lake a couple weeks ago.   I power-fished a bunch of north end flats and drops.   Just couldn't find fish doing that - one smallie and a few rockies was it.   I worked tube jigs and topwater along with senkos as well without much luck.   The only "fast" fishing method I found today was drop-shotting.    I drop shotted quite a few bass, rockbass, perch and a sunfish.   Not much size on the bass.   I couldn't find the big ones.   I spent a little time (20 min.) jigging lakers and picked up one fish near Menteth Point in 70' of water.   I was amazed at the amount of bait I found at the northwest part of the lake.   Had a big smallie hit my fluke in around 75' of water as I reeled it up!   Sea gulls were all over the place.   Maybe some of the big bass moved out due to the presence of bait.   I don't know!   Water temp was around 62 - and 59 at the north-end of the lake. 

10/8/2005
Cayuga out of Taughannock 10/8

I should have known when I stepped out on my porch at 7:00am and one of the steps slid out from under me - and I fell a couple feet - that today would be a tough day.   Guide trip with Andy and Ron today and the fishing was the toughest for lakers I've seen since the early spring.   Propagation netting was STILL going on at Taughannock.   Tough to be successful at Taughannock with the gill-nets all over the point!   This is the 3rd. day in a row they've been doing it, so maybe they didn't get enough eggs before.   I certainly don't have any problems with the netting.  It's the #1 priority this time of the year, especially for us laker fans.

Conditions were pretty miserable with north winds around 12 to 14mph and some rain.   Fish just seemed absent.   We checked areas north and south of Taughannock and as far south as the Yacht Club.   Bait has seriously moved up in many areas, which was good to see.   Lake trout marks were rare.   I marked a few fish across the lake from Taughannock.   We had one chaser there and a few marks.   North of Taughannock we might have had a hit or two, but nothing solid.   Some marks there as well.   A few around the point too.

No fish were hooked today.   I think the wind switch has just unsettled things a bit.   We'll see.   If the fishing doesn't settle out and pick up a bit for lakers on Cayuga, most of my lake trout guiding will be on Keuka and Owasco for the remainder of the month.   I don't guarantee fish on guide trips, but Andy and Ron's next trip will be on me if they don't score.   They put out a big A+ for effort and the conditions were just very tough....

10/5/2005
Keuka out of Branchport 10/5
Fished from 8 am till 3 pm today.   Scouted the west side of the Branchport arm down around 3 or 4 miles (south).   Found a lot of nice laker flats and managed to scratch up a limit.   By the time I figured out the fish it was time to go!   They wanted a jig dragged along the bottom, then cranked in as horizontal as possible.   The fish didn't want to move up, just across.   Also found a smallie down 50' and a big perch down over 80'!   These fish still seem to be in summer patterns - which makes sense given how hot it's been.   Great learning day on a great lake.   I expect Keuka's fishing to hold up throughout the rest of the year.....
10/2/2005
Seneca Lake Lodi Report 10/2

Got out around 1 pm by myself just to learn a few new stretches of lake a bit better and see what's happening on the mighty Seneca Lake.   There are still plenty of green milfoil beds all over the perimeter of Seneca.   This stuff is HEAVY!   Unbelievable.   Can't wait till some of it starts dying off and the pike move up.   The water fleas seem to have disappeared - hopefully for the season.   The water temps range from 64 to 66 degrees and I had 62 degrees down 50'.

I checked the area between Lodi and Smith Park pretty thoroughly for lakers.   Saw a few marks here and there but nothing special.   The 80' to 100' shelves are pretty sparse until you hit around Peach Orchard.   Across the lake it's a different story.   Lots of nice shelves.  I saw more bait around Starkey Point - both north and south than I've seen in a while on Seneca.   Had a 15" to 17" landlocked salmon grab a jig on the retrieve.   Had around 4 or 5 lakers on momentarily.   They are still very negative/neutral.   I think it has to do with the weather pattern we have.   I have every reason to believe that the bite will pick up once we get a low-pressure system moving through - or at least some different winds and some cloud cover.

Picked up a small largemouth working a Rapala X-rap.   Had what looked like another largemouth whack it.   Could this be a trend on Seneca?   Time will tell....

10/1/2005
Keuka Lake Branchport 10/1
Guide trip today with Mark on Keuka.   Pretty tough bite today - not exactly sure why.   We had pretty strong winds blowing into the Branchport arm.   The lake was surprisingly calm out by the bluff.   Lots of wild funneling action and swirling winds on these Finger Lakes with high banks!    Anyways, the day started with us finding some marks/fish at the northend of Branchport.   A few fish were missed and lost.   We managed one 18" laker in around 72' of water on the retrieve.   We had one hit and quick fish on then came up with a silvery scale - probably a landlocked salmon or rainbow trout.   Took a run down to the south end of the lake - missed one fish and one hit.   Worked there for around an hour and headed back up to Branchport.   Found a few active fish and Mark nailed a 27" beauty, again on the retrieve.   Another fish or two were momentarily hooked and that was about it.   Water temps were 66 at the north end and 64 south.   Fish were definitely in a negative mood.   We had a few fish chasing jigs but only about 5 to 10% were aggressive.   Many marks just wouldn't go.   A jigging spoon might have done the trick - I don't know!   Either way, we had some action and it was a beautiful day out on the water.   I just wonder how long this nice weather will last!   I'll be checking Cayuga, Seneca and Keuka again soon if I can.....
9/30/2005
Keuka Lake out of Branchport 9/30

Guide trip today with Burr.  Fishing was very good in the morning in around 65' to 75' of water.   Later in the day the action was better deeper, around 90' to 95'.   Mostly smallish - 2 to 4lb. lakers were active with bait present.   We fished around the marina area of Branchport as well as off the Bluff, Marleena Point, the Power Plant and south of Froggys.   White and baby bass flukes on 1 oz. heads were tops but as the bite got deeper big flipping tubes in white became effective.

This lake is loaded with wild, mostly small lake trout.   They taste great and could certainly use some harvesting!

9/28/2005
Cayuga/Taughannock Wed. 9/28
Got out late on my own today just checking things out on Cayuga.   Strong south winds kicked up the whitecaps and it wasn't particularly pleasurable out there but a man's gotta do what he's gotta do!  ;-)    Bottom line today is that the laker fishing on Cayuga really appears to be slowing up a bit.  It's been slowing for a couple weeks now - not so much just in numbers of fish caught, but mostly in the aggressiveness of the lakers.   They aren't nearly as active as they were.   It makes complete sense since the fish generally spawn in Cayuga around the first week or two in October.    I caught one nice fish, probably around 9lbs and I had quite a few chasing my jig - albeit not far.   There will still be good fishing on Cayuga, especially in the mornings, but it may take a bit of moving around and experimentation to get them!  Snap-jigging is always good this time of year.   Once fish finish spawning they'll get hungry again, and of course not all fish spawn at the same time - so fishing will maintain, but just at a lower level.   What I do this time of the year is move over to a lake where the fish are going to be on a "pre-spawn feeding binge".   Keuka will be hot fishing.   Owasco should be good too.   We shall find out.... ;-)   
9/26/2005
Keuka Lake/Branchport 9/25

Spent the day fishing with John Sander.   Not a particularly nice day weather-wise with south winds gusting to around 22 mph.   We found good schools of baitfish up at the north end of the Branchport arm.   John hooked what appeared to be a decent fish there, but they weren't very active while we were fishing.    I popped a small largemouth on a jig/pig up there as well.     We ran down to Hammondsport to get out of the wind.   Lake trout fishing there was very good and it didn't take long to get my limit.    The fish were most active for us in 85' of water give or take 4'.   Not as much bait down there on our fishfinder.  We spent most of the afternoon bass fishing with poor results - just a couple dinks.   I think the front affected the bite a lot, though I hadn't fished the areas we worked much for bass before.   Water temp on the surface was around 69.   I expect superb lake trout fishing on this lake throughout October/November.   Last year was excellent!  Bass fishing should be excellent as well. 

9/24/2005
Cayuga/Taughannock 9/23 + 24

Spent 2 very different days out on Cayuga.   On Fri. 9/23 we got out for some bass fishing.   Water temps are around 69 to 70 on the surface.   The bass fishing on Cayuga's east shore was probably the best I've seen in terms of LARGE largemouths.    Large deep-diving crankbaits and senkos in assorted colors did the trick on bass that were running from around 17" to almost 21"!     We did get one or two 16" fish.   We probably landed/hooked 4 fish that were in the 20" range.   A lot of bass clearly moved south just before the spawn.   I also managed a nice smallie that jumped 2 times out of the water around 3'!   Exciting stuff!   Fish were in 8' to 16' of water.   I'll have some photos up as soon as they are developed.

Sat. 9/24 was a guide trip for lakers that went very well.   Totally different weather with the post-frontal conditions.    There is still a very good bite around the Taughannock area.   Todd landed around 8 fish including a slob laker that was unclipped and probably at least 9.5 to 10lbs.   We released the "big mama".   He also got a small brown.   Some small fish are starting to bust bait around Taughannock and Myers.   Lakers are all over the place, baitfish too.   I took him up for some bass fishing and the hot bite from yesterday had slowed a lot.  He had one follow of a decent largemouth.    We went after the lakers again and had follows and a few hits.   Best action was early and mid-morning. 

Shore anglers are nailing a few lakers at Taughannock.   If you're going to fish there BRING A COOLER if you plan on keeping fish!   Everyone seems to want to put these lakers on stringers.   The water is 70 degrees!   That flesh will be lousy after 6 hours in that stuff!   Kill 'em and put 'em on ice if you're going to eat them!  HUGE difference.

9/21/2005
Cayuga/Taughannock Sept. 21

I had a lot of fun today on Cayuga Lake mainly just experimenting with "new" areas and tactics.    Lake trout are literally all over the southern portion of Cayuga.   I found fish off Taughannock, Flat Rock, Willow Point, Crowbar and the Yacht Club including areas between!   On the east shore fish were basically available from across the Yacht Club and north.   Portland Point had some decent numbers of fish around too.

The heavy concentrations of actively feeding fish have disappeared.  I did have upwards of 2 to 3 fish chasing my jig at times but I had to work harder for fish than I did over the past month.   We are entering the spawning mode on Cayuga Lake and fishing should still hold up, but it won't be quite as fast and furious.   Bait is still around.   I had a smallish brown on today and a few tiny salmon, but nothing great yet in that department.

The beauty of the Finger Lakes is that the lakers spawn at different times on different lakes!   So that big "pre-spawn feeding binge" we experienced on Cayuga will repeat itself on the other lakes throughout the fall.   Lake hopping is the way to go!   Right now Owasco Lake is peaking.   Others will follow.... ;-)

9/19/2005
Cayuga out of Taughannock 9/19
Short 2 1/2 hour mid-morning outing.   I just wanted to see what the situation was out on Cayuga.   Lots of lakers are still around, pretty much all over the place.   I caught a few fish in around 70' to 120'.   Relatively few fish have moved up on the points so far.   Baitfish are still around.  No sign of pre-spawn browns or salmon yet.....
9/18/2005
Owasco Lake north end 9/18
Got out today for a relaxed fishing trip with Mark and Barb.   We met up at 9 am and proceeded to jig for some lakers.   Fishing was very good and they ended up landing around a dozen fish from 18" to 25".   Nice eating sized fish.   There were plenty around and a lot of hits were had.    Smallmouths were in the area too.  Mark hooked a nice one suspended in around 83' of water!    After the guide trip was done I messed around with some perch and bass jigging and drop-shotting respectively.   Best troutin' was in the morning while we had a little breeze and some cloud cover.  H2O was 71 on the surface.
9/14/2005
Seneca Lake out of Watkins 9/13

Fished Seneca from around noon till 7pm.   This lake is absolutely FULL of milfoil!   I've never seen the weeds up like this on Seneca.   I'd had some complaints from homeowners/cottage owners I'd met over at Bass Pro Shops.   Saw a lot of bait fish and a few bass in the weeds and around them.   

The main reason I went over to Seneca was to try to find where the lake trout went.   There are scattered lakers throughout the lower 7 miles of the lake.  I found fish at the south end, off Hector Point and in scattered areas north.   The most fish I could find were over near Peach Orchard Point.   South of the point along Smith Park was pretty packed with lakers.   There were fish north of the point too.   The action wasn't great - I only landed one fish, but I had TONS of fish chasing the jigs - albeit lethargically.   They wouldn't move more than 10' for the jigs.   The best bet would be to fish early in the morning.  The high sun and flat conditions made the bite very tough.   I tried a lot of different things too;  I really mixed it up on colors and retrieves.   A jigging spoon might be a good call!

I did a little crankbaiting and I couldn't believe how thick the waterfleas were!  WOW!!! They gunked up my line and guides moreso than I've ever seen before.    Picked up a good pickerel.   Lots of nice weedy bassin' areas.   For guiding, I'd fish Cayuga for bass before Seneca.   The fleas are pretty much non-existant there.   More largemouths too!

Bottom line:  Expect good to very good lake trout jigging action on Seneca Lake in the MORNING or on overcast days!   Bass fishing should be good as well.   I'd work flukes, topwater, senkos and cranks for bass.   The fleas are a drag and it'll be nice when they disappear.    The water temps are around 68/69 though they reached a peak of 73 today.   I'm patiently waiting for this lake to cool down and the pike to get active and move up!

9/11/2005
Cayuga 9/10 + 9/11 Seneca 9/10

Did a couple guide trips over the weekend at Cayuga Lake.   The lake trout fishing remains very good to excellent on Cayuga within a few miles north and south of Taughannock State Park.    Fish are anywhere from 65' to 110' and deeper, though our best action was around 75' to 90'.    Good numbers of fish were landed on both trips and the biggest were topping out around 30" and 10lbs. or so.    H20 temps on Cayuga (surface) are at 71.    The lakers will probably be spawning shortly and the shore fishing at the park will be good for those using 1 oz. slip sinker rigs and floating egg sacks.   

I fished Seneca just because I hadn't been on it in awhile and I wasn't entered in the Cayuga/Barney's Derby.    No need to luck into a big fish and not be in the derby!   ;-)  I hooked a few lakers but didn't land any.    I did a pretty thorough search on my electronics from Sampson across the lake and south to Severne Point - across to Lodi and back up to Sampson.   Saw a few scattered marks here and there and a fair amount of vertical bait schools.   Sure, there are probably 1000s of fish in that stretch, but I couldn't find any concentrations in almost 3 hours of crusing around.    My hunch on Seneca is that many of the fish have migrated south - just like they have on Cayuga.   I'll try to get back there this week and test my theory out!   The little action I did have was off Sampson and just south of Long Point.   The fish felt small and were in around 80' of water.  Surface temps at Seneca were 69/70.  

9/8/2005
Cayuga out of Taughannock 9/7

Guide trip today with Mike and Larry.   We had some very good lake trout fishing in 80' to 110' of water.   Lots of fish hooked and landed including some very nice fish by Larry:  a 31" and a couple around 30".   The best fish was around 11lbs (on a handheld scale. )  Larry had a MONSTER brown follow his jig up to the boat!   This fish was huge - probably mid-teens weight wise.   Bait schools are still around.   Best fishing seems to be mid-morning to mid-day.   H2O is around 71.

After the trip I spent 2 hours on the lake exploring around.   Lakers just seem to be everywhere and they are very aggressive!       

9/6/2005
Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 9/6 = WOW!

Absolutely superb fishing today.   No two ways about it.   Lakers are ridiculously thick around the Taughannock area and north.   I mean ridiculous!   I couldn't believe the sheer volume of "hooks" I was marking today - 13, 14, 15 fish on the screen at a time!   I had 5 to 6 lake trout chasing my jig constantly!   I've never seen anything like it.   It wasn't a matter of landing tons of fish - because I didn't, it was mainly just seeing what was going on "down there"!   I kept a limit of lakers then went bass fishing.

The bass fishing on Cayuga is still excellent as well.   I managed to land 3 beautiful largemouths today including a 21" bohemoth!   This fish was my best Cayuga largemouth this year - maybe ever - probably going between 5 and 6lbs.   I'm guessing 5 1/2.   Also got an 18" fish and a 16".   Crankbaits and senkos did the trick.   Pickerel are starting to move shallow as well.   Landed a couple very nice pickerel - around 26"+ fish.   Kept one bleeder and I'd be lying if I said it didn't taste as good as any walleye I've ever eaten.   I did a little drop-shotting today and found rock bass and pumpkinseeds in over 40' of water.   Surprising!

Lakers are going deeper.   I found the heaviest concentrations of them in over 85' of water and I caught them in upwards of 110'.    Bass were shallower than they've been for me in a while.  

9/4/2005
Cayuga out of Taughannock 9/4
Stellar day jigging lakers off of Taughannock!   Zack and Matt really did a number on fish between 2lbs and 10lbs. - with 95%+ of the fish ranging from 5lbs to 8lbs.    Fish were in 72' to 92' of water.   1 oz. jigs and white, baby bass, and smoke colored flukes did the trick.   The wind really came up in the afternoon!  Beautiful day out there.  H2O was 72 on the surface.   The fish are really fighting well now that the surface temps are cooling.   Tons of bait in the area!   I mean a TON!   The depth finder was reading false bottoms in places.  
9/2/2005
Cayuga Taughannock Report 9/2
Some very good to excellent fishing with Jim today.   A half day guided trip resulted in 10+ lakers up to 8lbs, 1 beautiful brown trout probably all of 7lbs and a nice chunky 3lb. smallmouth!    Fish were in 65' to 90' of water - most around the 70's depth range.   It's pretty obvious to me that browns are starting to move into the area.   They typically congregate around the creek mouth in late September and October.   Some salmon should start showing up soon too.   Bass are around in good numbers as well.   Vertical jigging is still the ticket.    The great fishing in this region just doesn't quit!
8/29/2005
Cayuga Lake 8/28 + 8/29

The fantastic laker fishing of the past 2 weeks or so has slowed a bit.   Fishing is still very good with limits possible in a couple hours - or even in an hour with a little luck.   I fished Sunday for a few hours and had 4 to 5 fish chasing my jig at a time.   Picked up a fish at Taughannock and a couple over near Don's Marine.   Massive amounts of bait have moved in close to shore especially on the west side of the lake south of Sheldrake.

I've found some good bass around the middle portions of Cayuga, including some very nice 3 to 4lb+ largemouths.   The crankbaits are still producing in 14' to 18' of water around coontail beds.   There are some beautiful weedbed in this lake!

A guide trip today resulted in 3 lakers landed and about a half dozen dropped.   Scott hooked and lost a huge smallmouth bass in about 70' over 80'!   What a fish - probably over 20" and at least 4 to 5lbs!   Who says these bass don't go deep in the summer?  My theory is that the ultra-high winds of Saturday probably set up some deep currents that may have shuffled around the trout a bit.   There were some definite currents as it was tough to track the jigs with the depth finder today.    Things should settle up again shortly and the fishing should really pick up at Taughannock soon....stay tuned!

8/28/2005
Cayuga Lake Bass Report 8/26 - 8/27

Bass fishing remains challenging on Cayuga Lake to say the least.   At Bass Pro Shops I've been talking to many of the top Federation anglers representing their clubs and most are complaining about the difficult bite.   They are fishing hard for just a couple fish.   One angler I've talked to found good numbers of big largemouth bass in 30' to 35' of water!   I don't know exactly what's going on with Cayuga.   There are a lot of nice fish in the lake.   Water temperatures are warm - upwards of 65 degrees or better down 50'!   So there are a lot of areas bass can utilize.   Alewives are in the 40' range and deeper.   There are plenty of baitfish available shallow and in mid-depth as well.   My tournament partner and I spent a half-day out on the lake on Friday and managed one chunky largemouth on a crankbait in around 14' to 17' of water.  

It's a little tough for me to do Bass tourneys since I'm spending 95% of my time on the lake guiding/targeting lake trout - but it's still a lot of fun! We fished an Avon Anglers open tourney on Cayuga Saturday with around 60 boats total.   The NYS Bass Fed. had their 6 man team tourney going on as well, with over 150 participants from what I heard!   Lots of pressure on these fish and on this lake.

Durning the tourney I managed to catch 2 decent bass on a Fat Free Shad and lost one other fish.   My partner had some hits on jig/pig but never hooked up.   The crankbait fish were on sparse weeds, not the normal thick coontail we usually crank(though not far away from the thick stuff).   Once the wind came up at around 11 am we never got another hit.   The wind was unreal - 25 mph. with higher gusts at its peak, though all morning long it was around 15 mph out of the south!   We had 4' waves at the northern part of the lake.    The tournament results reflected the tough conditions with 1st. place being 5 fish for 11lbs. and 2nd. was in the 10lb. range.   A typical Cayuga tourney this time of year would require around 18lbs to over 20lbs of bass to win!    In this tourney a 7lb. to 8lb. bag of fish was good for a prize!   The winners fished the same area we were working but were using soft plastics.   They had found that the crankbait bite was slow the day before and made the switch.   Our two fish weighed around 4.5lbs.   Lunker for the tourney was just over 4lbs.  Most fish that I saw weighed in were largemouths.   Many teams only caught one or two legal fish and around 10 to 15 teams left the tournament early without weighing in due to the trying conditions out there.   I had to keep a very good watch on the boat in the waves - even then we still took a wave over the bow.   Nasty!  

I'm going to spend a bit more time bass fishing Cayuga over the next couple weeks working on some new areas and techniques.   I'll post the results here (but probably not the areas! ;-)

Avon results will be posted on www.avonanglers.com/    NYS Bass Fed. tourneys results will be on www.nybassfed.com/     Bass tournaments are a lot of fun and are ALWAYS a good learning experience.   Avon tournaments are open to anyone.   The rules and details are available on their website.  

8/24/2005
Owasco Lake 8/21 + Cayuga Lake 8/22 + 8/24

I'm trying to keep these reports updated but I've been really busy lately with Bass Pro Shops, guiding and Cornell registration.   Here it goes:

Owasco is still simply smoking for lake trout.   Get out in 65' to 85' of water and look for bait and fish "hooks"!   Guided John and Sue from Boston and they probably landed around 15 fish if I recall right.   Most are between 3 and 5lbs.   No real slobs.   Plenty of bait around which is encouraging.   After dropping off my clients I ran into a buddy of mine from Bass Pro Shops who was having some motor problems.   We went out with another friend and landed around a dozen fish or more in less than 2 hours - midday!   Can't beat it!

Cayuga lakers are working their way south.   Best action is between Portland Point and north to Sheldrake on the west side and Long Point on the east side.   Lots of BIG fish!   Peter and his 7 year old daughter managed around 8 nice fish during a morning's fishing.  Great job, and Pete doesn't fish much!   He was really into it!  His daughter managed her biggest fish with a nice 6 to 7lber!   Fun!

Today was Mike and his dad Bill.   Fantastic action pretty much all day long - steady with moments of intensity.   They landed 17 nice fish and probably lost another 15!   Unreal!   They went up to 32" and probably 11lbs.    I don't necessarily like to post these kinds of numbers as they aren't typical (I don't want people to be disappointed with a 6 fish day!), but today things came together.   Mike had some jigging experience and his dad was a good learner and listener.   The conditions were also perfect - light winds with ample bait fish around.    Any day fish are caught is a good day, but these results are a testament to how good Cayuga is fishing right now!   Fish were in 65' to 85' of water.   A bonus smallmouth bass was taken in 37'.   Great Day!!!

 

8/20/2005
Keuka Lake Branchport 8/18

Got out on Keuka from around noon to 8 pm.   Basically spent a bit of time working with my new pitching set up for bass.   Had some good bass fishing with 3/4 oz. black/blue jigs with a blue Rick Clunn trailer.   Found large and smallmouth bass near drop-offs in 4' to 18' of water.   The fish were mostly shallow off weedbeds.    No real big fish but I did manage some quality largemouths.  

Did a little lake trout jigging as well and had a landlocked salmon come up for the jig.   Jigging for me was slow despite marking good numbers of baitfish near the bluffs.   I had chasers in a few different areas.   Best action was near the bluffs.   IMO the lake trout fishing here currently isn't on a par with Cayuga or Owasco Lakes.   I did a lot better here earlier in the season and I also tend to do better later in October as the lakers go on a feeding binge before they spawn.   I've heard the morning bite has been good on Keuka for lakers near the bluff FWIW.   Just didn't mark many active fish.   They're around somewhere, I just couldn't find 'em! 

8/17/2005
Cayuga Lake 8/15 + Lake Ontario/Fairhaven 8/16

Fished Cayuga for a few hours in the evening.   Picked up a skinny northern pike crankbaiting and hooked a few lakers jigging.   The lake trout are showing up in good numbers in the southern portions of the lake.    I marked a lot of fish.   Milfoil weed beds are heavy down to 27' of water!   Lots of perch were around as well.

Went out of Fairhaven looking for Chinook Salmon on the jigs.   Motored around for 3 hours + without marking many fish.   We moved into around 60' of water and immediately started getting a bunch of bass chasing our jigs and drop-shot rigs.   Bass fishing was tremendous in 17' to 50' of water, with most of the bigger fish coming from 17' to 37' or so.   Top fish was around 17".   No pigs - most were small - 11" to 12", but we did catch plenty of legal fish.   Nice to see good number of "dinks" - and no signs of cormorants!    Fun stuff!

8/17/2005
Cayuga Lake Dean's Report 8/17

Fished Cayuga out of Dean's from around 2:30pm to dark.   Found some good smallmouths cranking south of Long Point in around 14' to 20' of water.   Lakers are in 55' to 75' of water.   Lots of aggressive panfish were around over weedbeds from 12' to 20'.   Perch, sunfish and rockbass.  

Fished the latter part of the day with Toby Wood.   www.fishinwithtoby.com/   We checked out the Silo area for lake trout and after fishing around 20 minutes without action we shot down south of Long Point.   It didn't take long for us to hook up with some lakers and we landed around 7 fish or so on various colored flukes on 3/4 to 1oz. jig heads.   Toby used the baby bass color and I used white.   Nice fish including 2 non-clipped ones.   Fish ranged from around 19" to 25".   

8/12/2005
Keuka Lake - 8/11 Out of Branchport
Illuminating day for me on Keuka Lake today.   Just made it out for the late afternoon/evening bite.   Spent some time jigging and hitting different marks out there.   No grabs from bass but I was moving some fish.   Tried searching for bait and lakers at Branchport and didn't see much.   Shot down to Hammondsport and found HUGE schools of bait.  WOW!  My depthfinder was reading 12' out in 60' due to the thick bait schools out there.   The thermocline was down around 50' +/-.   What was weird is that despite a lot of bait on the bottom, many lakers were suspended.   I'd have marks shooting DOWN from the bait schools as opposed to the usual heading up.   Caught one laker around 22" to 23".   Lots of action - fish chasing my jigs/spoons , but very few hits.  
8/10/2005
Owasco Lake/Skaneateles Lake 8/10

Fantastic fishing on Owasco Lake today!   Guided trip with Peter and Todd and the fish were aggressive!   The guys wanted to learn the jigging technique and were able to witness first hand how effective it can be.  I'm guessing at least 15 nice fish were landed today, and another half dozen lost.   Fish were running small to medium sized - from 20" to 25".   The bite was pretty consistant all morning long.   This lake is absolutely stuffed with hungry lake trout.

Went to Skaneateles Lake in the afternoon.    I'm trying to work out some jigging patterns on this lake.   Landed 2 legal lakers and a smallmouth bass in around 3+ hours of fishing.   Fish ranged in depth from 35'+ for the smallie to over 65' to 75' for the lakers.   Gold colored Kastmasters did the trick on the lakers.    They were feeding on TINY perch!  The 15" and 17" lakers had 1" perch in their stomachs!   Slim pickens in this lake! ;-)

8/9/2005
Lake Champlain Crown Pt./Ticonderoga 8/7 + 8/8

Had a great time up at Lake Champlain with my tournament buddy Phil.   What a lake!   We chased gar on the fly on Sunday and found them right where I left them.   The weeds were up a bit higher than before and the fish were definitely using them.    We landed around 10 fish, the best being a 48" one.   I didn't see the numbers of big fish I saw last trip.   At one point in time our hookless ropeflies were getting hammered by bass!   We didn't know what was hitting at the time, but I saw one 15" largemouth that just wouldn't let go of the fly for a while.   I threw in a white Senko and caught an 17" to 18" smallmouth!   In 3' of water off a bunch of slop near some gar!

Bass fishing had its moments of greatness, especially on Monday.   Bass can turn up just about anywhere on Champlain.   We caught fish around slop and along drop-offs.   Best fishing was a 1/2 hour period (or less) where we found one isolated strip of weeds near a very non-descript shore.   I landed a fish close to 4lbs. on a tube, then we hit the area with the jig/pig.   Another 3 to 4 SOLID bass (3 + lb. fish) came out of the same little strip.   Fish were swimming 8' away to suck in the jig!   Just amazing moments on this lake.....

It pays to take some chances when bass fishing this lake.   Just spend time fishing and observing.  Even the marginal looking areas can be very good!

8/4/2005
Cayuga North end/Skaneateles Lake 8/3

The bass bite is still very good on Cayuga Lake.    We cranked deep coontail beds and landed just under a dozen nice bass from about 1.5 to 3lbs.   Most were 1.5 to 2lbs.   Some bigger fish are around and I had one follow of a "pig" on a jig.    Fish ranged from 8' of water down to over 22'.  The best action was around 14' to 18'.   

We "pulled up anchor" and shot over to Skaneateles Lake in the afternoon.   I haven't fished it in a while and wanted to check things out.   We managed a couple lakers on jigging spoons and soft plastics.  It's a different ballgame than the alewife fueled Finger Lakes.   The fish are smaller and respond to different presentations and colors.   I found a lot of fish just as the sun started going down, but wasn't able to hook up with any, though I had 4 to 5 fish chasing my jigs at a time on the flasher.   We found a few smallmouths as well in 15' to 20'.   

8/2/2005
Cayuga Dean's Report 8/2
Guide trip today with Mike and Dennis.   Good to very-good lake trout fishing is continuing on Cayuga Lake.   Fish were active in 60' to 75' of water.   They landed 8 nice fish - mostly 22" to 25" with one bigger and a couple smaller.    Bass fishing is also good in 14' to 18' of water.   Dennis hooked a couple nice largemouths on a deep diving crankbait.   Very hot weather today and both bites slowed around midday.  
7/31/2005
Cayuga 7/26, 7/28, 7/30 + 7/31

Here's what's happening on Cayuga Lake:  (No need for the "play by play" here!)   In a nutshell the bass fishing had been unusually slow until 7/31.   The bite finally got going today.   We fished a "Big Water Bass Tournament" with 17 other boats.   We had a productive day landing 12 legal bass (all but 2 were largemouths.)   Unfortunately we didn't get any fish much bigger than 2.5lbs.   Our total weight for our 5 best was just shy of 11lbs. - I think 10.96 - good for 9th place.   Top bag was around 18lbs - which is much better than the weights for many of the Cayuga tourneys held thus far this season.   Some fishermen did very well, some didn't - that's fishing.   The jig bite is picking up, though despite a lot of jig fishing we never got anything but pickerel on them.  Our fish came by cranking in 14' to 18' of water.   Some fish were up shallow today too.  There was a decent topwater bite this morning too.  Surface H2O was 75 to 77 - down from last week. 

Earlier in the week I prefished a bit and it was not very productive.  Dropped a big bass on a crank and jigged up a good smallie.  Other than that it was a couple keeper largemouths, but no great shakes.   We jigged a few lakers so we could at least feel a few bent rods ;-)   Nice to have some fish I can count on!   Saw a huge school of gar that's stayed put for a few days.   No monsters, but plenty of fish capable of providing some good fly-rod action!

The laker fishing continues to be excellent.  Did a 1/2 day guide trip on Saturday the 30th. with Zack and his father Gary.   They picked up the jigging technique quickly and managed 7 to 8 decent lakers.   Nice job!

 

7/25/2005
Cayuga Dean's Sunday July 24
Guide trip today with Alec.   The lakers and thermocline in Cayuga have both moved deeper.   We found good marks and bait in 60' to 90' of water.   Some very aggressive and competitive fish with upwards of 4 fish chasing Alec's jig at once.     Alec caught some good eating sized lakers then he hooked the trophy!   This fish just wouldn't move!   It stayed on the bottom shaking its head.   He pushed his tackle to the limit and we landed the laker after a strong battle.   The fish measured at least 34" and was probably all of 13lbs. or better.    I have a photo up in the photo section.   Nice job Alec!  Best laker that's come off my boat thus far!     
7/22/2005
Cross Lake 7/18
Checked out Cross Lake looking for gar.   We had a late start (2:30pm) and didn't see any at all as we slowly motored around the lake.   We started bass fishing near the marina and my partner Phil caught a beauty - 21 1/2" largemouth!   It hit a crankbait.   What a monster!   We caught a few more nice bass, both largemouths and a smallie.   Lots of white perch around and TONS of bait.   We did see a few gar and they were big - 40" to 45" fish.   We marked gar as well.  Gar are here but they must have been deep while we were fishing.  Water temps are in the mid 80s.  Hot!
7/22/2005
Lake Champlain - Ticonderoga 7/20 + 7/21

I finally got a chance to fish the southern portion of Lake Champlain!   Got a late start after I got off on Route 9N earlier than I should have and wasted a lot of time going through Lake George/Saratoga.   Big mistake, but it was gorgeous.   Lake George is an amazingly scenic lake!  Wow!   

As for lower Champlain -what a difference when compared to other portions of the lake.    I was looking for BIG gar and I spent a lot of time just slowly motoring around seeking visible fish.   Didn't see a single gar on Wed.   I ran down to the southern end of the lake after getting a tip from some bass anglers pulling out of the launch.    South Bay was massive!   Tons of slop and frogging opportunities for bass.   Saw some kids with a huge bowfin.  Water color is murky in this part of the lake.   I finally gave up on the gar search for the day and went bassin.   No luck working the vast chestnuts beds.   Found a big fairly weedless flat and worked it with spinnerbaits.   Had some very good action.   I landed a 19" smallmouth and a bunch of good largemouths, 3 pike and a pickerel.   There were next to no weeds on the flat, but there was a little wind on it and it was one of the few flats I found that wasn't covered with sparse coontail.

Thurs. started out slow for me.   I bass fished a bit early in the morning and only caught 1 small largemouth and a white perch.   The wind had changed and my bassin' flat only produced 1 pike.   At around 8am I went back on the gar search.   After a lot of fruitless searching I finally saw a fish sound towards the bottom.  It was as big around as a carp, but was yellow with black spots!!!  Yeow - a gar??!!   Scary thinking about how big it might have been!   Didn't see another gar and it was 1pm.   The sun was beating down and it was brutal out.   I had run back into the guys who'd seen the gar at South Bay and they gave me the exact location.   I started running south and decided to stop at a little swampy area/cove on the way down.   Good move! ;-)     Saw a fish or two surface in close.   The water was murky but I saw them!  GAR!!!   Made a few casts with a rope fly and next thing I know I've got a BIG gar on the line!  Wow!   Kind of scary landing a monster gar for the first time.    The bill was about 10" long or better.   Grabbed around it with the glove and went to measure it when the gar shook and I dropped it as the beak whacked my chest!  Glad I had a shirt on! ;-)   45" of gar fury!

The next bohemoth jumped about 2' to 3' out of the water 3 times!  Unreal.   44".   This lake was just LOADED with HUGE GAR!   The biggest fish I see in other bodies of water were AVERAGE over here!   I worked up the shoreline and my jaw dropped as I saw probably 100 gar - ALL WERE 40" to 50" or better!   I caught 5 or 6 more then things finally slowed up around 4 pm.    I found them again and hooked a monster that ran and ran!   Eventually I got it in.   48" long and probably 12lbs.   Not far away from the State record!  I tried flagging down a boat to get a picture with no luck.   Then I remembered that they are gar and can breathe air.   So I motored to the nearest launch and found a couple people to snap some shots.   I can't wait to get them developed!    Anyways,  I'll be back on this lake as soon as I can....UNREAL GAR ACTION!!!   BTW, no one else was fishing for them.   Gee, that's too bad ;-)

7/17/2005
Cayuga Lake Dean's Cove 7/16 + 7/17

7/16 - Today was a guide trip with Matt and his brother Mikah (hope I spelled that right!).   Pretty good southerly wind to start and it would only get stronger.   Nice chop, overcast and sultry out this morning.   Things got off to a very good start with the anglers hooking a double!   Drifting in 45' to 60' of water ended up producing 6 nice lakers.  In addition another 4 to 5 fish were lost.   Not bad for a half day!    This fishing is at its best right now!   A thermocline has set up in around 45' of water and the fish are STACKED along it.

7/17 - After watching my clients catch fish yesterday it was my turn today.   I messed around with the lakers quite a bit on my flasher.   Basically teased and tormented them like the nice guy I am ;-)   Lowered the jig, watched them follow it down - raised it and watched them follow it up.   I tried to see how far they'd follow the jig up then how far back down!   Fun stuff, but it didn't really put any fish in the boat.   I caught a bunch of nice fish today on white flukes and a jigging spoon inserted into a white tube.   The "spoontube" was excellent.   Only problem is the fish often suck it in deep and get hooked badly.   A plain jigging spoon worked pretty well, but the addition of the tube was a noticeable improvement.   I also spent some time searching the shallower flats hoping to tie into some suspended smallmouths - the "Holy Grail" of the Finger Lake region.   Learn to catch and most importantly, find them - and tournament domination will be at hand!   I have been catching a few unclipped lakers lately.  Maybe the natural reproduction of them is increasing on Cayuga?   It's possible.   They are running about 10% wild if this is the case.   The other possibility is a lot of missed clips at the hatchery.... 

7/15/2005
Sodus Bay/Lake Ontario Wed. 7/13

Checked out Sodus Bay looking for bass and gar.   The bad news was on the "gar front" - a lot of the terrific weedbeds appear to have been chemically "removed".    I never liked the mechanical weed harvesters, but they are much better than applying chemicals!   Never saw a gar, though we didn't search the whole bay.

Bass fishing was pretty good given that we started around 1pm.   We picked up a few decent 2lb+/- fish pitching jigs around weedclumps and off weedlines.   Lots of panfish around too.

Checked out L.Ontario and picked up some smallmouths and rockbass.   We didn't really do the lake justice as we got out so late, but I get the feeling that the bass fishing is good out there.    Lastly we tried some vertical probing around with our trout/salmon jigs out in the depths and had a few encouraging signs out there.  No hookups, but we marked a few fish checking out our jigs.... 

7/12/2005
Cayuga Lake 7/11 and 7/12

7/11 Out of Taughannock:  Just got out for a few hours checking out the bass fishing around Rocky Dock.   Nothing great happening there for me.   Went to Millican and picked up some smallies, but no great shakes.   Lots of drum around and even a gar or two.   Water temps are cranking up!  Had 75 to 77 out there!

7/12 Guide trip with Jim.   Fished 8 hours starting at 8:15am.   The bite started out a little bit slow and we worked a lot of different areas.   Jim really did well on picking up the technique!   After a few hours he was jigging like a pro - the only problem was that the bite had slowed.    We took a break and found some active largemouths and Jim had a grab on a senko but missed the fish.   Bass looked like they were just finishing spawning!  Believe it or not!

We had one and a half hours to go and Jim still hadn't landed anything, but things were to change!   Found some good (read: active!) marks just north of Millican.   Jim got his first laker and in short order landed two more, and lost one.  His best was a 31" whopper!  WOW!   That fish was at least 9lbs. (It was slightly thin for its length due to a lamprey that was on it.)   Jim had another fish up almost to the net when the jig broke off.   I'd forgotten to check his knot after the excitement of the "slob laker".   Oh well!  He had the technique down and the day was a big success.  Perserverence pays off.....

7/11/2005
Red Cross Fishing Tournament Report 7/9 -7/10 Cayuga Lake

My buddy Terry and I pounded Cayuga Lake for lakers this past weekend.   Saturday morning was tough fishing and we marked a lot of fish but couldn't get them to go.   Picked up a dink in 100' and caught a couple 25" fish in various areas.   We spent most of our time around the Silos, north and south of Sheldrake and across Cayuga Lake working north of King Ferry.    Winds made the lake rough and drifting difficult.   Intermittant rain and t-storms didn't help.   Fish bit well when the sun was shining and when the sun came out and the wind died at around 4 pm the bite got hot.   We caught lots of 22" to 26" fish but no slobs.

Sunday was perfect weather for drifting and Terry landed a 31" beauty!   It was our 4th or 5th. fish of the morning and we decided to weigh it in quickly.   It was sitting pretty at 5th. place in the derby at 11 am.  9.76lbs.    We got back on the water around 12:30pm and fishing was tough at the Silos.   Went south and found a bunch of solid 27" +/- fish!   They fought great and nearly every one we hooked felt like it could have been a board fish!   We never did get another pig and our nice fish finished out at 10th. place, good for $75.   Great weekend with some very good to excellent action including a double.   I think we landed around 27 to 28 fish over the two days.   During our first day we lost at least 15 fish or more.   Why, we don't know.  Our hookup/land ratio was much better Sunday.   We eased up on our drags which may have helped.   The bite continues to be excellent on Seneca and Cayuga for lakers.

7/6/2005
Seneca out of Sampson 7/6

Lake trout jigging remains good to excellent on Seneca Lake.  It didn't take long for me to pick up 4 nice fish from 22" to 28" today.   Best depth was right at 60', though I picked up fish a little shallower and as deep as 80'.   Bait pods are scattered, but it's obvious that there is bait around as the stomachs of the 3 fish I kept were pretty much packed with large alewives.

Jigging wasn't easy with the 2' + waves.   I had to use my electric trolling motor quite a bit to keep me moving slowly.   Fish came on the drift for the most part, only 1 fish hit when I was reeling up.   H2O was around 69 to 71 on the surface.

7/4/2005
Cayuga 7/3 out of Dean's

Guide trip today out of Dean's Cove with Chris and Mike.   We started EARLY  today at 5 am looking for lakers.   The predicted 5 mph south winds did not materialize.   Winds were pretty strong, starting around 7 to 10mph then cranking up to 20 mph or better by 1 pm.  We marked a bit of bait and fish on the east side of the lake but drifting was inefficient so we went over to the west side near Sheldrake.   Chris and Mike ended up hooking around 8 or 9 fish and landing 5 up to 9lbs.   Not fast action, but steady.

We didn't mark many of the lakers.  They were on the bottom.  Not a lot of bait around either, and when we found bait near the bottom we got hits.  White worked best and the fish were fighting great.   The 9lb. fish Chris caught was probably the best fighting laker I'd seen all year.   Nice!

Fished bass during the afternoon without any hits.   Conditions were looking good for powerfishing and I had Chris and Mike working spinnerbaits, cranks, tubes and flukes.   Nothing much doing.   The north end was full of cut pieces of weeds and plenty of boat traffic.   The 20mph+ wind didn't help, but I did reacquaint Chris and Mike with baitcasting gear and the casting was looking pretty good by the end of the day.  All in all a good day.

7/1/2005
Cayuga Lake 6/29 + 6/30

6/29:   Fished out of Dean's Cove looking for bass this morning.   We worked south of Long Point and only picked up one smallmouth.  Had a drum follow in a spinnerbait which was interesting.   Lots of perch around.   Many bass don't appear to have migrated down this far yet.   Cornell studies back in the 1950s showed that there are some localized smallmouth populations around places like Taughannock and Sheldrake, but the majority of the lake's fish migrate north to spawn in the spring and after spawning disperse south.

We found some terrific looking lake trout shelves and took an hour and a half break to do some jigging.   Nailed 2 decent fish in short order and missed others.    On our way north we found a big school of small to medium sized gar.   Had some fun with those for a couple hours.   Blazing heat out there!

I field tested my new Quantum PT Edition Flipping stick around Farley's on the weed edges.  No great edges yet and I expected most bass to be up shallow, but the rod worked great on the couple pickerel I caught.   We went across the lake and had some very good bass action.   My buddy nailed a 20" largemouth, a 16" lmb. and a 17" smallie.   They came on a crankbait, spinnerbait and buzzbait respectively.   8' to 12' of water.  I got 2 good largemouths on white superflukes.  

Back to lakers in the evening and we found a lot of them scattered just north of Dean's towards the Silos in 35' to 50' of water.   Great, but long day on the water!

6/30:  Got out of Taughannock for about an hour and a half of laker jigging.  Got one and lost one.  Had a few other hits.  Didn't see a lot of bait, but it has to be around somewhere.  Nice to hit some different areas!

6/28/2005
Seneca Lake 6/28 Sampson Report

Great day today with Brad and Rob from Colorado.   Lake trout jigging started off hot at around 6:30am.   Fish were hammering jigs in 30' to 45' or so.   This fishing slowed at around 9 am.   We did some smallmouth bass fishing and had very good results.   Found a bunch of active fish in shallow millfoil beds.   White superflukes were the ticket.   A couple good fish were dropped - hard fighting bronzos!    After the bass it was back to lakers and Brad picked up a couple more fish deeper.

It appears that the lakers are slowly moving out - just a hunch, but the water is really baking with this hot sun we've had.   Total on lakers was 7 fish landed and many other hits.   Bass fishing is really picking up and the volume of bait in shallow is a big plus.   I doubt many bass are "pelagic" at this point in time.   Bass were spitting up bait today.  Lots better fishing than the Federation tourney a week ago - at least from what I can gather.

6/27/2005
Seneca Lake out of Sampson Sunday 6/26

Fished Sampson from around 7:30 to 2:00 pm.   Guide trip today and we spent most of the day fishing lake trout.   Bait and lakers were abundant in 20' to 40' of water.   The morning bite was very good, then slowed around mid-morning and picked up after noon.     I expect this laker bite to hold up for a couple weeks yet - though water temps will rise quickly and fish will move deeper soon....

6/25/2005
Otisco Lake/Cross Lake Fri. June 24

We started on Otisco Lake at around 2:30 am looking for walleyes and/or muskies.   Alewives were in around the marina launch and up along the stone wall on the south east shore.   We worked these areas plus the north end flats and causeway hard for walleyes without a single hit.    Weeds were up pretty high and I feel we would have been much better off hitting this lake two or three weeks ago.   One boat came in as we were leaving and they didn't have any action either.   I heard a report from the marina owners of an 11lb. walleye taken from shore a week ago.   The conditions were excellent and I would have expected fish - bottom line is I believe the walleye bite has slowed a bit.  I think fishermen should concentrate around the marina area for nighttime eyes.   We saw the most bait there and some swirls from gamefish.   We fished hard until noon for tiger muskies and never hooked or saw one.  We caught a few bass.   H2O was in the upper 60s at the south end and low 70s up north (and south later in the day).

Despite our lack of sleep we knew we were close to Cross Lake so we headed up there checking things out.   We were hoping to find some gar.   No sign of them either!   We slowly motored around  most of the lake looking for breaking gar.   Never saw one, though I've heard a few were around.   We marked some bait and white perch.   Caught a white perch on a blade bait but that was about it.   Checked out the river for gar and didn't see them there either.    I won't check this lake out again until late July given how good the gar action has been at Sodus Bay.   Water temps were mid-70s and water level was average. 

 

6/21/2005
Sodus Bay/Lake Ontario/Seneca Lake 6/20

Started out today at Sodus Bay hoping for some drum/gar action.  Bay temps dropped wickedly since last week.   We had 68 today whereas last week the temp was into the 80s.   Didn't see any drum in the bay so I shot out into the lake.  Bass fishing was good but not great.  Me and my pal Eric picked up around a dozen legal fish in 3 hours plus one drum and one rock bass.   I spotted the drum, dropped in my tube and watched it come over and suck it in.  Cool!   Bass came on tube jigs, a Kevin Van Dam bomber long A and a alewife colored hula grub on a football head.   

We shot into the bay around 2:30pm and searched for gar.   Water temps under 70 spell poor gar fishing and today was no exception.   Gar were deep and we only had one hit.   Decided to pull up and head to Seneca Lake.   It turned out to be an incredible move!

Seneca Lake is on FIRE!!!   Jigging for lakers was absolutely incredible.   I had a limit worth of lakers in short order.   We had steady action off Sampson pretty much anywhere in 30' to 45' of water.   I landed a 29" laker and broke off a monster on the hit.   My buddy Eric landed a 31" fish!!! Probably 11lbs.   He also lost a monster that fought every bit as good as the 31 incher!   We only fished slightly over 2 hours!   Trollers were doing well too.   Best jigging of the season.

6/15/2005
Sodus Bay 6/13 + Cayuga Lake 6/14 + Seneca Lake 6/15

Killing 3 birds here with one stone but here it goes:

Fished Sodus with my buddy Terry for gar on Monday from around 12:30 pm till 5pm.   Blazing heat and humidity out there!  WOW!   The bay temps were in the 80s.  We saw the usual assortment of panfish, bass, drum and carp on the bay.  Gar fishing was very good to excellent though the glare made it very tough to sight fish them.   We found breaking fish and hammered 11 on the day up to around 37".  

A fair amount of people come up to me and ask me why I fish gar or bowfins.   It's a good question.   Gar fishing is a totally unique experience.   It's like someone eating only American or Italian food then trying Thai!    I've caught plenty of big pike, bass, trout, salmon etc...   I think gar are incredibly fun to catch.   It's very intense sight fishing with lots of follows and grabs.   They jump nearly EVERYTIME!   Some of them fight incredibly well.   They are also beautiful fish - despite what some people think.   Awesome colors and a sleek look.  

Cayuga Lake offered good fishing on Tuesday for lakers just north of Millican and around the Kidders area.   Plenty of bait around, though it was tough to drift with the west winds.  They are still shallow - at least in the morning.   Pickerel fishing was slow during the day with all the rain and mud spewing into the north end.   I understand that the bite picked up a lot during the afternoon.  My clients picked up 3 decent lakers including one that was probably 9lbs.

Seneca Lake was horrid wind-wise but bait pods and lakers were all over Sampson State park from 20' to 40'.  I heard of good reports from 115' from another angler.   We had westerlies up to 30 mph!!!   Unreal.   My clients caught a good smallie and one laker.   They lost a laker and missed a fair number of hits.    The fish were hitting well at times but bites can take awhile to detect when folks aren't used to the type of fishing.  

I have some more detailed reports on the fishing at www.lakeontariounited.com/   if anyone is interested.    In the future I'll put the most detailed reports on MY website, but right now I'm too tired to type all this stuff ;-)

6/12/2005
Keuka Lake Branchport 6/10
Fished Keuka Lake out of Branchport for a half-day guided trip.   We were looking for lakers and marked a few fish from 90' up to around 40' or so.   Derek worked hard jigging fish and lost 2 and missed a few other hits.   Fish weren't super aggressive, but they weren't negative either - some fish would come back and hit repeatedly.   After a few hours Derek did some casting and picked up a nice pickerel and a couple smallmouths.   I decided to check out a few different areas for lakers and found a nice little warm bay where we marked quite a few fish on the bottom.   Derek wound up nailing 5 lakers in pretty short order!   They were very active and were pounding 3/4 oz. jigs.   We often saw several fish attacking the jigs on the depthfinder.   Fish ranged from 16" to 20".   Excellent eating!   This jigging takes time to get down and I strongly discourage 1/2 day trips.   It just doesn't allow for enough time to find active fish if they aren't in the usual areas.   H2O was 67 on the surface and bait was breaking the surface in various areas. 
6/9/2005
Seneca Lake 6/7 + Sodus Bay 6/8

Got out on Seneca Lake with a friend of mine trying to see what the pike were up to.   Not great conditions out there with a swirling westerly.   We fly-fished northern around the south end of the lake on both shores and didn't get much except one 25" fish.   The water temps were all over the place with cold water on the west shore and warm stuff on the east.

We had better action further north towards Glenora and Peach Orchard.   I dropped 2 pike, both quality 35" to 36" + fish.   One of which broke my 8 weight fly-rod!   Again, the winds made covering water a chore.   We had follows from a laker and salmon as well.   Not a great day, but the fish are there and it's simply a matter of finding better conditions - like a south wind.    I expect great pike fishing for at least 3 weeks or more on Seneca.  The weeds are just coming up.

Sodus Bay was a sheer riot!  The most fun I've had all year.   We fished drum for a bit.   This bay is absolutely LOADED with sheepshead.   We only hooked 5 or 6 and landed 4 total, but it was fun since each one is like fighting a big smallmouth that doesn't jump.   Compact shad colored crankbaits did the trick.   Jigs would have worked as well.

The hot bite was the longnosed gar.   I usually don't fish gar until the summer time, but conditions were perfect - hot and low water - so we went searching for them.   We found a massive school of gar with a significant number of BIG fish - fish pushing 40" to 45" or better!   WOW!   Every single one jumped when hooked.   The big ones fought great, the smaller ones not so great, but they are always exciting.   Rope flies did the trick.  We landed 20 fish and took a lot of photos.   I hope they came out, and I hope to have them up within 10 days or so.   They are beautiful fish - I don't care what people think - and they are one of the most fun fish to catch anywhere.   Next week we could target lakers, pike, walleyes - whatever, but we'll probably go after trophy gar again.

Bowfin were active in the coves.   These fish have absolutely NO FEAR and were coming right up to the boat to investigate!!!   I'm being serious here.   They literally swim up to the boat then disappear like the primitive ghosts they are.   We saw 7 or 8 fish materialize then just vanish in the weeds!   Next time we'll try to catch them.  Live sunfish usually work well, though some people like using cut-bait.  We tried the cut-bait but really didn't put in the time or find the best areas.   Stay tuned on this one!  Can't wait to get a few in the boat.  Yiikes!

6/6/2005
Cayuga out of Dean's 6/5

Guide trip "repeat" with Chris and Mike.   Jigging for lakers on Cayuga was good to excellent in the morning and evening with just a mid-day lull in the action.   Bait and lakers are swarming in 15' to 40' of water along the lake's shelves.   Our best action was around the cooler mid-portions of the lake - basically the Stoney Point to Cayuga AES/Kidders area.    The Silos were slow when we checked them at midday, though they might be a good bet in the morning or evening.    Once we found the fish around 9 am or so the fishing was fast and a limit was taken in pretty short order, then it was catch 'n release time.

We took a break and searched a warm water cove for gar and saw around 4 plus a huge bowfin.   Lots of bass are starting to spawn and bluegills are spawning.   Saw some big carp and plenty of bullheads around as well.   It never gets old just motoring around quietly with the electric motor observing fish!   I love it.   Only a few weeks until bass season and I'm looking forward to it.   The evening laker bite was pretty wild with TONS of follows and swipes but few actual grabs.   A riot though with fish chasing every couple drops for Chris.   Fun day!   Expect terrific lake trout jigging for the next month or so.   Once bass season opens and fish like gar stack in coves there will be tons of angling opportunities on Cayuga Lake.....

6/1/2005
Lake Ontario/Sodus Bay 6/1

Finally made it out to Lake Ontario with my good buddy Terry.   First trip this season.   Had to run errands this morning so we didn't make it out till almost noon.   We went out searching for trout/salmon and baitfish.   We wanted to jig today.   We fished a lot of nice pods of bait and marks in 40' to 120' of water without much luck.   Moved in to around 20' to 30' and I had a nice rainbow trout around 4 to 5lbs follow in my tube jig.   We did pick up quite a few smallmouth bass which was cool.   Nice to see a bunch around and it's a good sign for this summer's fishing.   Water temps were around 63 in shallow!  

Went into the bay to search for gar and bowfins.   We saw some of each and I'll be back next week to attempt these primitives on the fly.  I CAN'T WAIT!!!!   Bowfins rule my world and it was a trip seeing some of these fish in the shallows looking like water moccasins!

We then searched for freshwater drum aka sheepshead.   Found a school of them near an island and we began casting - Terry with gear, me with flies.   By this time it was getting late.   I missed one as did Terry then we had to go as it was getting dark.  Again, I can't wait to get back and have at these strong fighters next week sometimes.  

6/1/2005
Cayuga Lake 5/31 out of Taughannock

Had a guide trip today mostly spent fly-fishing for pike.   In a nutshell the pike fishing was slow.   Joel did manage his first pike ever, a hard fighting 29" fish on a streamer.   We worked the east and west shores.   We spotted some fish hovering deep near the bottom.  The pike were around but negative/neutral.   He did miss one or two other hits.    I showed Joel the pike spawning areas, various breaklines/dropoffs and other pike areas  for the next time he comes out.   Weeds still aren't up much at all.  Water temps are in the upper 50s at the south end.   Pike fishing should be good for a week or two yet.  

We decided to do some lake trout jigging and that paid off with some action on relatively shallow lakers (20' to 50' of water) north of Millican Station.   I always have a contingency plan or two with my guiding in case a pattern doesn't hold up.   Beautiful day to be out and the overall fishing wasn't bad either.

5/30/2005
Seneca Lake Memorial Day Lake Trout Derby 5/28 - 5/30

Managed to get out and fish the derby for 3 hours on Saturday, a full day Sunday and today until closing time at noon.    My Cornell boss Phil fished with me, and his 8 year old son Casey spent Sat/Sun with us.   The jigging bite on this lake is still pretty slow.   We landed fish each day and lost/missed a fair amount, but the fish were in a very negative mood.

Started out Saturday at 5pm and we checked out a few different areas including Kashong and Dresden on the west side of the lake.   Sampson State Park had the warmest water, most bait and best marks we could find on the depthfinder.   Nailed a nice 28" laker that probably topped off at 8lbs.   The weigh-in station closed at 7 pm and we knew the fish probably wouldn't make the board - or at least stay on it for long, so we kept fishing.   I missed a few and lost a few fish, but nothing special.

Sunday morning we got out early and were impressed by HUGE schools of alewives just off the marina walls.  Casey hammered a nice 7lb. plus 27" laker early.  I got a smaller one as well and we missed a few, but we just weren't seeing aggressive fish.   Tried for a shallow bite as well.   The winds were south for a while, then calm, then came whipping out of the north.   I fished solo during the afternoon/evening and landed one more fish and lost one.   Nothing that would make the board.

Today was just me and Phil.   Again, tons of bait and nice marks around but hits were light not coming very frequently.   Nailed another average laker and lost another.   Winds were screwy again - south to start and then calm.   I guess they are out of the north as I write this.    Most of my fish came on the retrieve.  We marked fish everywhere - from 25' to 180'.   They just weren't feeding aggressively.   Most anglers we talked to reported the same thing.   The best bite I had during the derby was Saturday evening.   It makes me wonder what the fishing was like Saturday when most of the board fish were caught!   My advice is to make sure you get all the derby days off of work, rather than do what I did and work one day!   Expect the fishing on Seneca to improve markedly over the next few weeks.   The fish are here, they just need to activate!   If not, there's always Cayuga! ;-)

5/27/2005
Cayuga out of Dean's Cove

Lake trout jigging is getting better and better.   We still aren't seeing much bait but today we finally found a small pod of bait and hooked a good 5 to 6 lakers in 15 minutes or so, including one double.   Fish are averaging 24" to 27", plus we got one over 31" today probably weighing 11lbs. or better.   I have a new batch of photos to scan and post this coming week and they'll be going up.   If you like a lot of action, things should pick up intensely after a week or so of hot weather.  

Pike/pickerel action at the north end is sporadic.   Large schools of alewives have invaded the northern part of Cayuga Lake.   Water temps are warm.   If you are into pike fishing my suggestion would be Seneca Lake or Cayuga's southern portion.   I think many of the north end of Cayuga Lake's pike are holding in deeper water during the day and feeding shallower at night.   Remember that big pike prefer cold water, and Cayuga's north end is WARM.   We had almost 60 degrees in some coves today.   Most of the lake is around 53 on the surface, if not even colder.    The Seneca derby is this weekend and that's where I'll be.   I'll be posting a full report early next week.

5/24/2005
Cayuga out of Taughannock 5/24

Water temps are still excellent for salmon, trout and pike action.   Had some very good to excellent pike fishing today.   Cayuga has a good class of 30" to 33" fish.   It makes sense since last year we had a bunch of 27" fish.   Should be some bigger ones available too.   Caught all my pike - a 32", 31",  and 27" on streamers.  I lost 2 fish that were in the low 30"s without a doubt.   Got a 22" pickerel too.   Didn't really even fish that many pike areas, so I feel pretty good about the pike fishing forecast.

Spent a good portion of the day looking for some good lake trout jigging areas.   I nailed 2 lakers on the day, both in different areas.    Options overall are a little more limited in the southern portion of the lake, but once the bait moves up the action here can be as fast and furious as anywhere in the Finger Lakes.   As summer progresses 1000s of lakers will migrate towards the Taughannock area in preparation to spawn, so fishing will only get better.   Bait is just starting to show up on drop offs.   Saw a very nice pod of bait near Flat Rock.   Both pike and lakers (esp. the lakers) were in peak fighting form!   Those lakers will wear your arm out!  

5/23/2005
Seneca/Cayuga 5/22

Fished both lakes today for around 4 hours a piece.  John Sander of "Sander's Guide" fame joined me and as always he was a pleasure to fish with.  Anyways, North winds have pushed whatever "warm" water we've had on Seneca south and dispersed it.   We never marked much bait on either lake!   Can't believe it - late May and the bait is still deep for the most part.   Seneca coughed up one nice laker for us around 27".   We missed some hits mostly around Sampson.   

Fishing on Cayuga was tough to start but got hot in the evening.   Lakers are everywhere from 40' to over 150'.   It's a matter of finding active ones.   Some marks just wouldn't go.   Our best fishing was in the evening in around 45' to 65' of water.   Active lakers were pounding our tube jigs.   Best fish was a fat 28", probably nearing 9 to 10lbs.   This fish was FAT!    In around an hour we landed 4 fish and missed/lost a few others.  I expect nearshore lake trout and even salmon fishing to extend well into June - that's one advantage of this COLD spring we're having.   Pike should hold up for a while as well!   

5/21/2005
Canandaigua 5/19 + Cayuga 5/20

Canandaigua Lake is beautiful - no two ways about it - and we thoroughly enjoyed fishing it.   Lake temps were pretty cold, around 47 to 51 if I remember right.   We found scattered perch and a few smallies in shallow.   Lakers were everywhere from the initial drop-offs to deep water areas.   Didn't land but one, but we had numerous follows and a few hits.   Basically took a day "off" the usual lakes to try and learn this one.

Cayuga was a guide trip and that means I try my best to put people on to fish!   That's what I did when a long time buddy and his friend came out with me.   First drop with the jig and Chris was into a 6 to 7lb. lake trout.   The action stayed steady for the most part and Chris and his friend Mike landed 10 nice fish - all on jigs.   Mike dropped quite a few and had he landed them they would have done around 15 fish!   Can't beat that!  They were all over the north end of the lake from 45' to 95' of water.   Pickerel were active in 4' to 12' and are post-spawn hungry but emaciated fish.  Perch are hitting well too.   Expect EPIC lake trout fishing over the next month!   If you have good powers of concentration and you hit things right - which means not too much wind - you will catch some serious fish!   It won't get better than the next month.....plain and simply!  ;-)

5/18/2005
Skaneateles Lake 5/17 WOW!!!
Best fishing I've had all year - bar none!   This lake is smokin' right now.   I couldn't decide whether I wanted to throw hair jigs for 12" to 13"+ perch or streamers for rainbows and salmon.   Everything was pounding the hair jigs - lakers, rainbows (to 22"+), salmon, and perch.   Water temp = 43 degrees.   Points are swarming with salmon - mostly 15" fish give or take.   Rainbows are done spawning and are hungry.   Perch haven't spawned yet for the most part but are ready to go - I landed at least 16 keepers and over 20 fish total and I only fished from 12:45 to 6:45.   Lakers are up relatively shallow looking for food.   Bass are up too.   What more could anyone want?   I landed around 9 keeper trout/salmon and lost at least that many too.   Released a gorgeous 22" + rainbow!   Too much fun!   Fly-fishing was great with type 4 sinking lines and a bionic perch fly.  Fish were energetic - I had 2 rainbows jump at least 3' out of the water!   This is what May fishing is all about!  I expect this bite(minus the perch) to hold up for another 2 weeks or so.   Once the lake warms up too much, these fish will scatter.   The perch bite will probably end quickly as they should be spawning any day now.
5/16/2005
Cayuga Lake 5/15 + 5/16
Had some very good to excellent lake trout fishing over the past couple days.   On Sunday I managed to get my tournament partner's 2 kids into nice lake trout simultaneously!   A 6 and 7 year old each with lakers on the line from 25" to 27".   It was a lot of fun to watch and I'm sure these kids will be hooked on fishing forever.   Lakers were swarming the northern portion of Cayuga Lake due mainly to the warm water pushing into the depths.   We caught fish in relatively shallow water - 35' or so.  Today the fish pushed out a bit deeper - upwards of 60'.   This fishing is really just getting underway as the weather is still cool.   Alewives really haven't moved up in many of the lake areas yet, though I'm getting some reports of large numbers of sawbellies seen around Long Point and at the very North end of Cayuga.   Stay tuned, this fishing is going to get intense soon :-)   Can't wait!
5/13/2005
Otisco Lake 5/11 + Seneca Lake 5/13

Tried Otisco with my buddy Eric on Wednesday looking for Tiger Muskies on the fly.   Never saw a single one despite working the narrows intensely, the causeway, a few major points and most of the north end and east shore including Turtle Bay.   H2O temp varied from around 49 up to 57.   We did manage to get quite a few nice bass including smallmouths to just under 19".   Panfish were everywhere as well.  I also missed a decent brown trout.   We'll be back on this lake soon.  

Today was a guide trip on Seneca Lake with Dan and his wife Kathy.   We were hoping for a good lake trout jigging bite, but the strong winds of the past week played havoc with the fishing and water temps.  Surface temps off Sampson were 39 degrees!   We had around 46 on the west side of the lake.   We took a break from the trout and fished pike/pickerel.   Kathy managed a beautiful 35" northern pike that was probably 11 or 12lbs.   Dan got a nice pickerel.    Both hit tube jigs.   Lakers were around but just not active.   Both Dan and Kathy had hits but missed the fish.   Gorgeous day out there and it was nice hearing the loons.....

5/10/2005
Keuka/Branchport 5/9 + Cayuga/Taughannock 5/10

Well I'm fishing more often than I thought I'd be, but I ain't complainin'  ;-)   Checked out Keuka Lake for pike/pickerel/lakers/landlockeds.   Obviously couldn't do a thorough job on all those species, but I did find some lakers down around 60' near the marina and at the south end of the lake.  No salmon action, but I only tried a couple places.   Pickerel were shallow and active near the marina, but somewhat lethargic.   If I were to go back to Keuka I'd fish out of Penn Yan.   That arm tends to warm up early and provides excellent fishing for all the above species.   No great shakes on Keuka for me....

I hit Cayuga today for salmon and pike.   Water temps were good for salmon and I found a pod of 15" to 18" fish near Frontenac Point.   Had a lot of follows and short strikes but no great grabs.   Tried a LOT of other areas without seeing fish.   Since the demise of the smelt population, Cayuga "late-spring" salmon fishing has proven to be inconsistent for this fly-fisherman.   There's a lot of warm water around, so it's mainly a troller's game.   I expect to be able to hit the salmon a couple more times on this lake this spring, but timing will be everything.

The great news today was the pike fishing!   Man, was it good with a capital "G".  ;-)   Found a bunch of pike scattered throughout the southern portion of the lake.  Mostly 27" fish - post spawn hungry males, with a couple smaller/bigger fish thrown in.   Hammered 'em with streamers.   We're lucky at Cayuga's south end in that the water isn't too muddy.   Expect this fishing to continue throughout early June.    H20 was all over the chart today 43 to 50 degrees.   I released all pike to battle again.....

5/6/2005
Cayuga out of Taughannock 5/6
Spent a quick 2+3/4 hours out on Cayuga field testing some flies I was sent, plus searching for lake trout areas.   Found a few good areas within a short boat ride of Taughannock.   Hooked 5 lakers - unfortunately I dropped them all.   I think they were small fish.   Fish are in around 65' to 80' fow.   Water temps are coming up a bit on the surface.   40 to 44 degrees.  
5/6/2005
Cayuga Lake/Dean's Cove 5/5

Put in a LONG day on Cayuga with my buddy Terry.   Started in around 80' to 110' off the Silos and I broke off a very nice fish on the drop with the jig maybe 20' down.  Big Brown?  Maybe a laker?   We worked flats north of Sheldrake and picked up an 18" laker.   Lost one off flats near Long point.   No sign of bait anywhere.    We explored the north end for a while and had a blast hammering panfish on plastic grubs.   Tons of nice sunfish up there, including quite a few 8" fish.  

Finished up at the Silos and this time we started shallower.   That's where the fish were and I wished we'd fished shallower earlier.   In an hour we hooked around 6 or 7 good fish landing 3, all around 26".   It's a good feeling catching big well-fed hard fighting lakers!   Got some terrific photos too.   Cayuga's got the biggest average lakers out of all the eastern Finger Lakes.

5/4/2005
Seneca Lake Sampson/North End Report
Couldn't wait to fish today as it's been a while since I targeted lakers on Seneca Lake.   It didn't take long to get into fish today off Sampson State Park!   Fish were in 90' to 105' of water.  Temps on the surface were around 40.   We landed around a half dozen lakers up to 27".   We released the big guy plus a 16" small one.   Stomach checks revealed huge alewives in one fish, a sculpin in another and nothing in the third one I kept.  No fin clips.   The next month to 6 weeks will offer consistant lake trout jig action.   If you like to catch fish  (and who doesn't?) now's the time!    We only fished for 4 hours today, and most fish came during the first and last hour.   Didn't even mark any bait - so once we do, the fishing will be insane!   Stay tuned.....
5/3/2005
Cayuga 5/2 + Skaneateles 5/3

Got out on Cayuga Lake for a little bit on Monday to check things out.   Things are looking pretty good for the pike opener this weekend.   Water clarity is good along the east and west shores and pike are around.   I expect them to be lethargic with the cold water, but I'll probably chase them next week.   Water temps on Cayuga's southern portion are averaging around 40 degrees with 46 around the ck. mouths and 43 up on the east shore.   A few smallmouths are showing up too.   Lakers as well.  I didn't see any trout/salmon and I worked the east shore for a couple hours.

Skaneateles Lake is still very cold!   The warming trends of the past week have been negated by the cold nights we've been having.   Had 37 degrees in most areas.  North end was up to 41.   I couldn't find any remarkable fishing.   A few lethargic small salmon here and there.   Missed a couple GOOD HITS!  Next week things should start picking up.   Trolling has been pretty good from what I've heard.   Smallmouths, (although illegal to target) are starting to show up.   While trout fishing I caught and released a 19" fish at the north-end of the lake.   Nice fish!  

4/28/2005
Cayuga - Shorefishing Report 4/28
Well I've had a tough week of "not fishing" thanks to nasty winds compounded with a run-in with Bambi on Route 89 a few nights ago, so off to Taughannock I went for some shorefishing/wading with my pal Shahab.   We started around 1:30pm and found some nice warm water by the creek mouth but no biters.  I'm sure some fish were around somewhere with the 50 degree water in the creek.   Tried the south point and now I remember why I love my boat so much.   Shore fishing can be great - it's how I learned, but nothing beats the boat.    The shoreline of Cayuga Lake is laden with slippery jagged rocks which make wading difficult without korkers at the very least.   Anyways, no luck over at Taughannock so we shot down to Ithaca and fished the "Wall" aka Lighthouse Pier.   Winds were brutal, and I'm glad I wasn't out in the boat today.   Saw a carp break the water plus at least one salmon/trout break.   Shahab nailed a beautiful 22" 4lb. salmon near the end of the pier on a chartreuse flashwing bionic smelt fly.   Great catch for such a tough day, and we ran into 4 other flyfishermen that never touched a fish.....The photo has been posted on this site, check under Spring 2005/Cayuga Landlocked salmon fishing.  We finished the day at around 5:30 with some cold brews up at the Chapter House in Ithaca.
4/20/2005
Seneca Lake/Watkins Glen 4/20
No great shakes to report today.   Checked out the Watkins area for salmon and didn't find them.   Also looked for lake trout jigging areas - found some good ones, but no lakers!   Lake level is high.   Some debris, but overall in good condition.   Water temps all over the place - high 40s in the south end and on the east shore, high 30s on the west shore.   Don't know what the class of salmon is like on Seneca this year.   Early indications haven't been very good.   Cayuga and Skaneateles are probably the best bets these days.   Lake trout are still very deep as is the bait for the most part.   Maybe the north end has some shallower fish.    We'll find out....  ;-)  
4/19/2005
Seneca Lake out of Sampson 4/19
Back out again with Willy for some lake trout jigging or so I thought!   I was home after working at Bass Pro Shops at around 2pm. and figured I could hammer the lakers out on Seneca but it was not to be.   Conditions were calm and surface temps were around 47 to 50.   I had roughly 41 degrees down 20'.   We were fishing by 3:30pm.   Had one aggressive fish chase a jig and hit it in around 95' of water.   Willy had a hit in around 90' as well near Glass Factory Bay.   Sampson seemed void of fish - we saw a few lakers or trout crash the surface out by the "debris lines" .   I expected to see some bait moving up a little bit - at least slightly shallower, but it wasn't to be.   No sign of bait.   Still too cold I believe - at least around Sampson.   Lots of perch - including some big ones in the marina.   Bluegills too.   We pounded depths from 60' to 160' using jigs with tubes or flukes.  Tried some different colors too.   Moved around a lot and varied our jigging techniques retrieves too.   Just couldn't buy a fish!   Stay tuned on this one, cause I'd like to find out where the lakers went!    Maybe some migrated north......
4/17/2005
4/15 -16 Seneca + 4/17 Skaneateles

It's been a wild 3 days of serious angling here at the Angling Zone!   Friday was Seneca for around 4 hours with Shahab, my good friend and co-teacher of "Intro to Flyfishing" at Cornell.   We jigged lakers out of Sampson State Park and had a decent time of it.   Landed 5 fish total and dropped 1.   Things were starting to get hot, but I had to go.   Fish were down around 105' to 145'.    Nice eating sized fish and that's where they wound up - in the livewell.   No slobs.   Stomach contents ranged from nothing to sculpins.    Amazing how these lakers find everything they need from alewives to sculpins out on those flats....

Saturday was a "spur of the moment" guiding trip.   Had 2 really nice guys from Maine looking to get out for at least a bit.   We fished around 6 hours (yes, I am flexible regarding hours fished ;-).   Fishing presentation conditions for jigging lakers were quite tough to start;   we had 1' to 2' waves and a fairly stiff south wind - until it was about time to leave of course ;-)   Anyways, my anglers perservered and each managed to catch and lose a fish.  

One reality of the trip for me was how vertical jig fishing for lakers in 130' of water isn't exactly kid's stuff.    This is very advanced angling and requires expert concentration and reflexes.  You really need to "play" with and tease these lakers in order to see what they want.   Fish were chasing jigs but not hitting them very well for these guys.  The only good hits came after making the jigs do some radical stuff.   I give the guys, Lee and Jeff a lot of credit for perservering and catching fish deeper than 99% of the angling public has ever caught them!

Sunday was another guide trip with Willy and his dad from the New England region.   Skaneateles Lake is still mostly very cold with skim ice forming after last night at the southend.   Fished all around both ends of the lake and found a couple smallmouths already sniffing warm water around the pier at the northend.   H2O was around 37 to 40 up there.   At the southend of the lake we "encountered" around a half dozen salmon but they seemed lethargic and weren't chasing too aggressively.   One or two good grabs and boils but no great shakes.   The best hookup was a 190lb. human aka Willy's dad - snagged near the eye!   Always wear protective eyewear as flycasting and casting in general can be hazardous!   Thank God a quick barb "press down" and the hook was easily removed.  Scary moment there.  After we dropped off Willy's dad, me and Willy fished the north end a bit more trying some different areas.   Within a couple casts Willy got hammered by a beautiful salmon pushing 23" or more!  Nice fish and GREAT fight with a nice jump.   I got into some fish as well with some hits and a follow and I landed one nice fish around 21" - again, great fight with some cool moves.   Great way to end the day and I think it was a good learning experience for all of us.   We fished HARD from 7 am to 6 pm.   Not a problem when you love what you do....   ;-)   

4/12/2005
Cayuga 4/11 and Skaneateles 4/12

I figured I could knock off a couple birds here with one stone.   In a nutshell, the Fingerlakes are still in a state of flux following the heavy rains and near flooding.   North winds made the last couple days a pain for boat control.   I was fishing on my own and did a bit of exploring.  

Bait is starting to show up in Cayuga Lake down 40' to 100'.   I found trout/salmon to still be in winter areas despite the rising water and H2O temps.  I landed just one salmon around 17" in Cayuga.   I had a follow from the largest brown I've ever had on the fly in Cayuga.   The wind was hauling and I cast a chartreuse Lefty's Deceiver towards shore when this slob materialized.   It was a good 28" to 30" and probably all of 8 to 12lbs.   It never hit and it never returned, which was a bummer!  Water on Cayuga was murky and cold pretty much everywhere.   My only luck came from finding clear water that was as warm as could be.

Skaneateles Lake is still at least a week to 2 weeks or more away from offering the 1st. class fly-fishing I've come to expect from this lake.   The south end is quite stirred up with poor visibility.   I missed a couple fish/hits down there and I never hooked a fish today.   Toughest day I've had on this lake.   Last year I did very well just after ice-out.   I think this high water and heavy winds just has these fish scattered and lethargic.  I at least managed to spend a couple hours working on learning a few new areas on this lake.   One thing I always try to do is learn something.   Sometimes the toughest days are the best days to watch the electronics and try to figure out new stretches of water, that will hopefully be tomorrow's hotspots.  I especially try to find areas that most people would overlook.....

4/9/2005
Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 4/8
Spent 4 hours on Cayuga Lake salmon fishing today.   Nothing special happening.   I'd give Cayuga another 4 or 5 days before I fish it again.   Lots of masses of murky debris laden water from the heavy rains drifting around out there.   Found a few small fish just North of Taughannock and we also had a few follows/one hookup along the southwest shore.   Fish were in very shallow water.   Lake temps were around 37 to 38 degrees.   Winds were light out of the north to start then cranked up good.   Expect a lot of good shore fishing opportunities at "the Wall" aka Lighthouse Pier in Ithaca.   The east shore/Esty Point and Myers should start fishing well too within 10 days or so for wading anglers. 
4/6/2005
Canandaigua/Seneca Lakes Tues. April 5th.

There's a trout tournament on Canandaigua Lake this Saturday and I was thinking about fishing it, so off to Canandaigua I went this AM with a friend.   Water level was high, somewhat murky and cold.   35 degrees.   We fished for around 4 hours plus and didn't see much of anything - visually or on our electronics.   There are some very nice flats and lake trout jigging areas on this lake - without a doubt.   Visibility is what I think killed us today - this is normally one of the clearest Finger Lakes around with secchi disk readings around 7 to 8 meters - roughly comparable to Seneca or Keuka.   Yesterday I could barely see down more than 3 meters.    Naples Creek at the south end is still pumping in a bit of mud and debris, so we didn't bother trying for crappies at West River.  I'll be back on this lake soon!

Decided to at least get into a few fish so on the way home we gave Seneca Lake a 2 hour try out of Sampson.   There's remnants of the high water there too- some small debris and murky water here and there, but overall Seneca remains very fishable and clear.   I timed things as I had supreme confidence in my location and I literally got a fish within 1 minute!   First drop with my jig and a 22" laker was in the boat.   Fishing wasn't that fast over the next 2 hours but we managed to land 3 fish and lost a couple.   Water temp is 37.   Both lakes are very high, but not flooding.....Things will only get better from here on in (at least they SHOULD!)  ;-)

4/1/2005
Seneca Lake Sampson Report 4/1
Lake trout fishing is getting better and better.   I fished solo today and I field tested some low stretch lines and new rods in order to see what works best on these deep fish.   Fishing was very good today and in 3.5 hours of lake trout jigging I landed 7 fish up to 29" long (probably 7 to 8lbs. for that one!)   Smallest fish was 17.5" and all but 2 fish were unclipped.   Over the past 2 to 3 years all stocked lakers in Seneca Lake have been fin-clipped.   Before that the percentage was around 50%.   So I'm guessing around half my fish were wild.    I used large white tubes on custom made jigheads and 8lb. test.   I had very good results with "P-Line Flouro-coated monofilament" and "Spiderwire Mono".   Both lines performed flawlessly.   I tried Bass Pro Shops XPS Flourocarbon as a mainline last time out and was not impressed.   The line frays and didn't handle too well.   A low-stretch thin mono or co-polymer is the way to go.   H2O is still around 37.  Winds were somewhat variable out of the West and North or a combo of the two.   
3/30/2005
Seneca Lake out of Sampson
Quick report here - man am I tired!    Fished with John Sander from 10:45am or so till around 5pm.   We jigged for lake trout in 120' to 170' of water.  Most action was in 125' to 140'.   Dropped a few fish including one on the first cast, but we managed 5 nice lakers from 18" to 26".   Most were good fish; all were unclipped.   One had 2 very large alewives in its stomach.   Lots of mostly small perch in the marina at Sampson.  Tons of boats out perch fishing - didn't hear too much regarding action.   Lake trout fishing for us was slow but steady.   Just enough bites to make it worth doing and fun.  Of course the forecast sun didn't stay out for long and the wind direction was crazy - light and variable enough to keep blowing us slowly OFF the fish!  We did have a double going for a little bit.   Oh well, that's how it goes.....
3/29/2005
Seneca Lake out of Geneva 3/29

Tried Seneca Lake for some perch today without much luck.  Brutal to start with North winds around 20 mph +.   Fished with Bass Pro Shops Camping/Marine Manager Jerry Giacondo.   He had an Aqua-Vu camera that he'd recently won as a prize.   The camera was cool to use, but somewhat distracting.   I'm sure they are great for ice-fishing, but the rough water and 2'+ waves didn't make it easy to see what was going on.   We spotted a few perch but not many.   It was interesting comparing depthfinder readings to what was actually down there.   What I thought was a pod of baitfish was actually a metal pipe! We worked many of the major perch areas on the Northern part of the lake.   They are a nice "toy" or "tool" and certainly can aid one's angling - but I don't consider them necessary.   The time it takes to scan an area for visible fish is about the same amount of time it'd take to fish an area!   Once the sun came out it also interfered with the view of the camera - even with the sun-shield.   

I decided to jig lakers around 11am and we did very well given that we were fishing in around 130' of water with relatively strong winds!   We got 3 fish and missed about 3 to 4 other hits.   All fish were unclipped and went 19", 25" and 27".   Great fighters!   Fish came on white Bass Pro Shops Flipping Tubes fished on 1oz. heads.

The winds finally slowed up and the sun came out so we went back after the perch.   Thought we might be on the right track when I got a 11" fish in around 14' of water near Kashong Point.   However that ended up being it.   We talked to other anglers at the launch and they confirmed the very slow bite today.   Fishing was much better last week on the perch, though it should improve this week daily.   H2O today was 37 on the surface.  Lake level is coming up. 

3/24/2005
Seneca Lake out of Sampson State Park
Had a great time today fishing with Bass Pro Shops Promotions director and good friend George Fiorille.   We started around 1pm off Sampson in about 120' of water.   George picked up a couple fish right off the bat.   We ended up getting fish in 140' and 169' of water.   We even tried 210' for the heck of it - no fish but I was able to feel my 1oz. jig on the bottom, no problem!   Best fishing was between 105' and 165'.   Fish ranged from around 20" up to 26".   We had 2 fish with attached lamprey eels.   We used white tube jigs rigged on custom poured 3/4 oz tube jig heads with added 1/4 oz rubbercore sinkers pinched on the shank with a rattle in between the jighead and rubbercore.   Smelly jelly was used to help lube the tube on, then everything was doused with Mustad Ultra-Bite.   We wound up with 8 keepers total and we missed another dozen fish, mainly due to poor hook-setting.   The line stretch was a big factor and is something I'll be addressing soon.   Perch fishing has been very good lately but was poor today according to anglers we talked to.   H2O was 35.9 on the surface.   Sunny and calm conditions out there - perfect for jigging.  There were a lot of perch right in the marina at Sampson too.   Easy boat launching there as well.   Can't wait to get back out.....  :-)  Will have photos up in a couple weeks once they are developed.
3/22/2005
Cayuga Lake 3/22 Report

A slow day today that I'd chalk up to a lack of wind this morning.   Very calm and sunny to start.   Worked numerous areas with Toby Wood, THE jigging man of the Finger Lakes region.   During a little bit of a breeze I managed to pick up a 20" clean landlocked salmon.   Had one other follow and that was pretty much it.  We found some nice flats that will come in handy from April - June when lake trout jigging picks up.   Toby managed a hit in around 90' of water.   We spent an hour or two checking out zones in 100' to 130' of water.

Fishing was reportedly very slow at Millican and at Taughannock.   H20 reached 35 degrees today and feeder streams were pumping in 34 to 35 degree water.   The lake level should be coming up shortly with all the run-off out there.   Nice day to be out, but tough fishing.

3/21/2005
Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 3/21
A decent day today.   We fished from 11am till just before 6pm.   My partner and myself landed 4 salmon, 2 of which were keeper-sized 22" and 19".   Fish came on streamers fished on sinking flylines and floating lines with sink-tips.  Water temps remain very cold at 34.9 degrees.   Lake level is very low making launching a boat difficult.    Some fish are around at Taughannock, though most there are sub-legal - 12" to 14" fish.   A good sign for the future though!   Our best fishing has been along the southwest shore.  If we get a steady warming trend without a whole lot of precipitation fish will get very active.   Time will tell!
3/18/2005
Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock

What a great day to kick off the 2005 guiding season!   Spent a full day on the lake with John and Chris, a couple experienced fly-fishermen (not to mention very creative fly-tiers!) from Western NY.   The action started early and was fairly steady throughout the day.   Fish were somewhat lethargic with 34.9 degree water temps.   Both John and Chris managed to catch their first landlocked Atlantic salmon and they did exceptionally well landing 4 beautiful fish up to 21"+.    The hits were frequent enough to keep us all transfixed on the fishing.   Will post photos as soon as I have them.    Most fish came fairly shallow.   All fish were very healthy and clean, though the large fish did have an attached lamprey eel.   John's exceptional fly creation was the ticket today.  That, plus a steady quick retrieve made the difference.

The best way to ensure a successful trip is by being flexible.   John kept in touch with me and I let him know when conditions were right - basically as "good as they will get" for now.   John and Chris came in with a positive attitude; they wanted to learn about the fishery and the fishing.   No big expectations = great rewards.   My best fishing often occurs when I don't expect much and let the fishing just happen.   These guys were a riot and kept me laughing throughout the day - it just doesn't get any better!

Keep tabs on this site, as I will be on the water around 4 days a week from here on in (at least if I can!)......

3/7/2005
Cayuga Lake 3/7/05

Checked out the lake today for a little over 3 hours.   Landed a beautiful 25" landlocked salmon that was fat - probably over 5.5lbs.   No lamprey marks at all.   The fish was stuffed with alewives and layered with fat.  

I caught it on a new fly that I developed that looks to be very promising.  ;-)   Can't wait to tie some more of these flies and keep developing the patterns.    Water temp was 35.  Lake level is LOW.   I missed 2 other solid hits/fish.   I'm praying for more cold weather and a week of sunny 35 degree weather.   That will get this winter fishing in full swing!

2/11/2005
Cayuga Lake February 7/8

Spent a couple short days out on Cayuga Lake checking things out.   Water temps are obviously still very cold - around 35/36 degrees.   Pike are still hitting steamers well in around 12' to 17' of water.   I caught a few and they ranged from around 27" to 33".   Nice fish.

Salmon and brown trout are hitting well around Taughannock point.   I picked up a small salmon on a streamer and missed what was probably a good fish.   Only fished for a little over 2 hours.   Expect good to excellent salmon fishing this season on Cayuga Lake.  

1/10/2005
Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock

Pike, pike and more pike!   Started out targeting salmon today but the salmon fishing was slow.   Westerly tinged winds tend to push landlockeds away from shore.   The wind today was strong out of the WNW/NW.   The east shore was a bit too rough to fly-fish today with waves breaking in pretty good.  

It didn't take much to convince me that pike fishing was the way to go today.   The pike fishing in Cayuga and Seneca Lakes is pretty much beyond compare these days and I'm getting to the point where I almost prefer pikin' to salmon fishing - almost, but not quite.   I caught pike in at least 3 different areas today, each with different bottom cover and structure.    The fish were very active today and running between 27" and 31" for the most part, though I managed one very respectable 34" fish near some deep water close to a point.  Caught 1 pickerel and my first largemouth of the new year as well - all on streamers.

The smaller to medium sized pike tend to relate to the weedy flats while larger fish will be more point oriented and almost pelagic in nature.   There's a great article on this phenomenon in a recent "In-Fisherman" magazine.     Fish today were taking the flies very deep, often in their gill-rakes.   I was able to release all these fish unharmed by cutting my line and carefully pulling the fly back through the gills.   It is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to extract a hook from around a gillrake by going through the fish's mouth.  Pike will invariably start thrashing around and you will damage the fish.   The gill-extraction method works amazingly well and I fully recommend it.   Sooner or later I'll try to get a camera out and photograph this procedure.   Wait for an "onshore" wind and the salmon/trout fishing should pick up immediately.  

1/5/2005
Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 1/3/05

Got out on my own for some pike and perch fishing.    The pike fishing remains excellent on Seneca Lake.    Landed around 6 pike and one pickerel on the day.    Had follow and hits from another dozen fish or so!   The pike were all running from 31" to 34", probably 8 to 12lbs with one smaller fish around 24".   The only downside was that every pike(except the small one) and even the pickerel showed signs of lamprey eel attacks.    Fish came from near the south end of the lake and large white streamers worked best fished on a type 6 sinking line.

Perch fishing was good as well.  I only spent a couple hours perch fishing mostly around Hector Falls.   The fish were deep - in around 40' to 60' of water.  Double hook fathead minnow rigs worked well.   Wound up with 18 perch for my efforts including some doubles, mostly 9" to 11" fish - slightly smaller on average than the usual 10" to 12" Seneca fish.   

Water temperatures are all around 38 to 39 degrees.    Marked a huge school of bait just north of Hector Falls point.   HUGE!     Word is that perch have moved in to the Seneca pier area.   The pier reconstruction is done and it looks great!   Only drawback is that it blocks the view of the lake from the parking lot!   

1/5/2005
Keuka Lake out of Branchport 1/4/05
Fished Keuka Lake with my friend, former Owasco Lake guide George Fiorelli.  George is a terrific fisherman who's shared a boat with everyone from Jerry Mckinnis to Denny Brauer, Rick Clunn, Jimmy Houston and loads of other well known and not so well known anglers.   We explored Keuka Lake looking for bass and a few perch.   Spent a few hours around the bluff area trying to jig bass.    I got one good perch and George nailed a beautiful smallie dragging a tube jig in 17' of water.   No luck finding any big concentrations of fish, though we did get a good look at the structure of the bluff area.   Tons of fish magnets in this area, and it will certainly take a lot of effort and searching to figure this labryinth out.   We picked up a good pickerel as well in another area then checked out the north end looking for some lake trout.   Found a nice pod of small lakers just off the park.   George got one small one on a jigging spoon and I missed a bunch of hits before we called it quits.   Plenty of opportunities on this lake, though my best advice is to concentrate on one type of fish at a time!   Saw a big pod of bait just off the launch, which makes me think that the shore fishing here should be great over the next 2 weeks as these temps stay unseasonably warm.
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