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12/17/2006
Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 12/17

Full day guide trip with Mark I. today.   We met at 8 am hoping to get into some northern pike and landlocked salmon on the fly-rod.   The pike fly-fishing was tough today.   Mark did a great job fishing hard and thoroughly.   We worked a lot of areas from the south end of the lake all the way up to the Glenora/Peach Orchard area.   Mark managed 3 pike on the day;  one was a decent 26" fish, the others were small.   He missed a hit or two, but basically hooked what hit.   We worked deep, shallow and in-between!   A lot of the abundant weed growth of the past month has disappeared and pike fishing/hunting has become much more of a challenge.

Landlocked salmon fishing was very good when the wind was blowing and the sun was shining.   It only took Mark a few casts to get into fish.   His fly got railed a few times and he landed a 19.5" fish that jumped around 4 times!   These fish don't have it easy on Seneca Lake with the lampreys, cormorants, pike and general lack of baitfish.    This fish had a fresh lamprey mark on it.   We took a quick photo and let it go.   Mark missed another fish, then landed a small fish.   The "dink" had what looked like a scar from a loon or cormorant on it.  

Water temps were 43 degrees.   Great day to be out on the lake!

12/14/2006
Seneca Lake out of Watkins 12/14

Half-day guide trip with Jeff today.   Conditons were perfect for landlocked salmon on Seneca Lake today.   The forecast 10 to 15 mph south winds didn't materialize and the winds stayed a friendly 5 to 8 mph or so.   We searched a lot for salmon and finally found a couple after a few hours of fishing.   Jeff had a nice follow and a grab but wasn't able to hook up.    We rested our area then came back 1/2 hour later and Jeff got a hit and solid hookup.   The 20"+ salmon jumped then ran a bit and got off.  Salmon are a fun fish to fight.   Often times they'll just head shake and pump the rod for a bit.  Just as you think you've got them they'll start leaping wildly, twisting and running!   

In the afternoon I went out on my own and managed to land a couple undersized salmon and a couple nice fish.   I had a 21.5" fish that fought and appeared to be a 25" fish!  4 crazy jumps and lots of runs.   I tried to net it 4 or 5 times and it avoided the net like the plague and ran under the boat!   Just an awesome battle.    After salmon fishing I fished pike for a bit and landed a nice 31" fish.  

Bass fishing is reportedly excellent on Seneca using bucktail jigs.   Perch fishing has been up and down.   Some anglers are doing well on lakers pulling copper.   Beautiful day out there!   Is there such a thing as too much fishing?   I don't know ;-)   I think I'll take a break tomorrow.   Maybe.

12/13/2006
Seneca/Watkins 12/12 + Cayuga/Taughannock 12/13

I fished Seneca for 1/2 day on Tuesday.   Conditions looked good for salmon and I wanted to pre-fish it a little more for a guide trip today (Wed.)  - yes, I try to do my homework! ;-)

I worked some stretches I fish occasionally on Seneca, but don't often do well on.  No surprises - didn't find the fish.   I then worked areas I'd found salmon at on Sunday and found a few.   I didn't land any but I missed 3 to 4 unmistakable hits.   The wind came up pretty wickedly and I ran for cover.   Landed a small northern pike, fished a bit more for salmon then called it a day.  

Guided Jeff K. today on Cayuga for the full-day.   The winds were looking too rough for Seneca - even at the south end, so we launched at Taughannock.   We were hoping for some pike on the fly.  The wind was strong to start so we were limited in our areas.   Jeff worked his butt off and missed a few hits in the morning.   He eventually got into a few quick fish, landing one around 22".   One pickerel was lost/missed as well as pike.   We had to cover a lot of water for the few hookups we had.   I don't think it's indictative of poor fishing, it's just that the high winds made presentation very difficult in some of the better areas.

We did some trout/salmon fishing and were pleasantly surprised.  Jeff had some follows and a couple hook-ups including what was probably a small landlocked salmon as well as a salmonid (brown or salmon) around 24"!   He landed a 16" brown that we released.   So Cayuga has some fish around, they just aren't in the usual areas.    H2O on Cayuga is 43 to 44 degrees. 

12/11/2006
Owasco Lake 12/11
Got out on Owasco from around 11 am till dark.   I was the only one on the lake today.   My goal was to learn to fish a couple new lures I acquired.   In the process I was hoping to get some walleyes and northerns.   Pike fishing was quite good and I encountered northerns nearly everywhere I fished, with the surprising exception of the lake's south end.    Fish were small to medium sized - around 20" to 29", though due to a tackle malfunction (a hook coming off a lure) I lost the biggest one of the day I'd hooked - probably around 32".   Water temps are cold - 43 degrees.   A lot of weeds have disappeared since I was last on this lake maybe 3 weeks ago.   It was a beautiful gray day out there and I wish I could have fished a lot longer.   I really just scratched the surface of the lake, fishing a couple small areas.
12/10/2006
Seneca Lake out of Watkins 12/10

It felt great getting out today.   Perfect salmon fishing conditions, but that didn't stop me from bringing my pike fly-rods, lake trout jigging tackle and assorted other combos.  I also stopped off at the local baitshop and bought some perch minnows.   That's the dilemma of being a serious multi-species angler in the Finger Lakes region.   Too many options....

Fortunately I was able to focus when I got on the water just after noon.   The landlocked salmon fishing was very good to excellent!   I managed to land 2 nice fish - a 22" and a 20.5".   I missed/lost/had follows from a half dozen more fish.   I had a blast.   I kept the smaller fish for my supper.   Both fish were fat and healthy looking.   My kept fish had 2 small alewives in its stomach.   A couple other boats were out - perch fishermen and one basser.   Fish came off drop-offs.    I used my bionic smelt fly and a new pattern I've been working on.   Water temps were around 45.    

11/29/2006
Cayuga Lake 11/26 - 11/28

I just spent 3 half-days out on Cayuga Lake doing a bit of relaxed fishing and "research".   On Sunday 11/26 I went out of Taughannock and spent a few hours fly-casting for landlocked salmon.   No luck at all there.   Water temps were good, the wind wasn't what I needed, but it wasn't bad.   The positive side of the fishing was the pike.   I had an hour of very good pike action in the southern portions of the lake.   Fish were up shallower than I expected and a clouser minnow fished on a clouser line did the trick.   Nice fish - 27" to 32".   I landed a couple and lost/missed a couple.

On Monday I launched out of Dean's hoping for lakers.   I also worked around Sheldrake with my flyrod for salmon - no luck there.    I marked some deep lakers but they weren't active.   The low hanging clouds didn't help.   I went north and did some fly-fishing for pickerel.   The pleasant surprise was the largemouth bass.   Big bucketmouths were inhaling my fly!  It was fun and I landed 3 nice fish - all around 17 to 18".   Pickerel were hitting well too.   They fought as good as the bass in the 46 degree water.   Conditions up there were beautiful - clear water with plenty of nice weeds.   Last year when I fished up at the north end the water was very murky and full of uprooted vegetation.  Not this year!

Yesterday was Taughannock again for pike.   Sure enough my shallow fish were nowhere to be found!   I worked deeper too - zippo.   I had to work other areas and the pike were scarce.   I finally found a few along a steeper ledge and an area I like, but usually don't pike fish much.    I landed a couple nice pike - 29" and 25".   They hit on conventional tackle.   They wanted a jerkbait fished in one way.   Work it differently and you wouldn't get hit.   Shore fishing is slow at Taughannock.   A few perch are hitting.

As a guide it's nice to be able to find fish easily and take people to where they are.   But things do change a lot day to day.   The conditions on Wed. were almost identical to Sunday.  Overcast, light south winds, same H2O temps, yet the fish had moved or were inactive.   Seneca is still the best bet for northerns overall.   I know Cayuga has some monsters.   The numbers of 35" to 40" fish there last year were impressive.   I expect them to start showing up in the next couple weeks.   Water temps have stayed constant over the past couple days.   Fish are transitioning from fall to winter patterns.  

11/24/2006
Skaneateles Lake 11/24
I managed to get out for 1/2 day on Skinny today.   My goal was to work a stretch of the lake I've fished before, but not much this time of the year - certainly not with the flyrod.    Things went well and I covered 1 to 2 miles of "new shoreline".   I landed a 19.5" landlocked salmon that fought superbly.   A couple wild 3' careening jumps!   I quickly released this "champion" after landing it.   I dropped another very nice silvery fish - rainbow or salmon.   And I managed a couple perch.   Good area, but overall not as good as most of the areas I take my clients to.   For the last hour of the day I went to a "tried and true" area and immediately had some follows and hits from salmon.   Landed one fish that got twisted in my line and messed himself up.   That fish was kept - 19" salmon.   Water temps are 46.   I saw two other boats out on the water, that was it.   Most people were at the mall or in the woods!
11/23/2006
Otisco Lake Wed. 11/22

I gave Otisco Lake a shot for less than a 1/2 day.   The drive from Ithaca to Otisco takes forever.  I left my place at 11 am and fought traffic in Ithaca, Dryden, Cortland and Homer.   Pain in the butt!   Finally got out around 1 pm.   It was a 50 mile drive.   I worked the northern portion of the lake around Turtle Bay and south for an hour without any signs of fish.   Fished the remainder of the day on the west shore, mainly working areas I haven't spent much time on.  Had a hard hit but couldn't connect - suspended fish over 20' of water.   Maybe a tiger musky or walleye.   Didn't feel like a bass or trout.    H2O 47 to 48.   I'll be back eventually!   Tough fishing as usual.  

I'd rate this lake the toughest  (or worst ;-)  out of all the Fingers for fishing.   The best action I hear of on this lake is at night or through the ice.    Nightime fishing can be excellent in May/June and November.   The lake suffers from oxygen depletion and an overabundant white perch/alewife population that pretty much limits the gamefish numbers.   Bass do well, but the trout, muskies and walleyes need to be stocked, and stocked as bigger fish.  No lakers to fall back on either and the browns aren't surviving well past their first year or two in the lake.   The high point of the day was finding out the marina was closed and I didn't have to pay the $7 launch fee!   10 years ago the fee was $10 to launch!  That's what happens when the State doesn't own an access site on a lake!

11/21/2006
Seneca Lake out of Lodi 11/21
I fished today from around 11 am till 4 pm.   I tried a few different things with no results - a little perch fishing, a little dropshotting and some fly-fishing around Lodi Point (always a longshot!).    The sun came out and the lake flattened out.   Perfect jigging weather.   I had some terrific action out deep around 150' give or take on Seneca's west shore.    I landed 5 nice fish - up to 28" and FAT.   I lost another 4 or 5 and missed another 4 to 5 hits.   All in about 2 hours.    The fish were fighting good and I kept three 22" fish.   Big fish are scarce in Seneca these days - at least for me ;-) so I let the beauty go.  It was fat and clean - not a mark on it.   As for the smaller fish, the meat was a nice orange color and the fish tasted superb.    Funny thing:  I was reeling in my dropshot rig and I had a northern pike around 27" to 30" bite off my sinker!    No other boats were out.   Water temps - 48 on top.   Should be some good salmon action soon!   BTW- It was fun field testing my new custom "deep jigging rod" made by my friend Mike Canavan.   I could feel hits down at 150' as if I was fishing 50' of water!   Can't wait to try some really deep water....;-)
11/18/2006
Owasco Lake 11/18

Had an interesting day on Owasco Lake with Dave and Rich.  Originally they'd wanted to fish Seneca for northerns but the winds weren't looking too promising, so I suggested Owasco Lake.   Rains had muddied up the southern portion of the lake but Dave and Rich kept up their confidence.   After Rich lost what was probably a BIG pike, Dave hooked a nice fish!   Wound up being a big walleye around 26" and 6 to 7lbs.   FAT!!!   The water visibility was around 10" at best - maybe 6".  Just a mudhole down there.   A little lake trout jigging produced a hit or two and one nice laker.   They were down around 100'.   One bass was caught as was one northern pike - nothing huge.    We worked some other areas in hopes of another walleye and Dave connected again with a 25" beauty probably around 4.5 to 5lbs.   

Dave's a terrific fisherman and I learned some cool stuff today.   He (and his brother) made things easy for me.   I showed them the areas and they caught the fish.   Dave never got discouraged despite never having fished the lake.  He also fished hard in the muddy water.    Like "Ike" from bass fishing fame, we "fished the moment" and "never gave up", and it turned what could have been a very difficult and disappointing day into a terrific day with 2 gorgeous walleyes that anyone would be proud of.   Nice job Dave and Rich!!!   I'll have photos shortly.   And yes, this lake's got quite a few nice walleyes...

11/15/2006
Seneca/Sampson shorefishing 11/14 + Cayuga Taughannock 11/15

Took a few students from the fishing class out to Sampson on Tues. for the final class of the year.   The weeds both in and out of the marina area were outrageous.   Just tons of floating milfoil in the marina and plenty of weeds up to the surface in the lake outside of the marina.   The students caught a couple pike - both smallish fish, maybe 15" to 22".   A couple bite-offs also happened.   Tubes jigs and stickbaits did the trick.   There's a ton of baitfish in the marina.

Today I shot out of Taughannock for around 4 hours of pike fishing.   I spent most of my day fishing areas I didn't have a chance to fish over my last couple trips on Cayuga.   I also checked out a couple areas that I've never caught pike in.   No luck in the "new areas".   One tried and true place produced 2 follows of big fish (32"-35"), but no grabs.   That was pretty much it - didn't land any fish, though I'm glad to be seeing some very nice pike around.   H2O temp was 49 on top.   I expect things to get better by the week on Cayuga for northerns, but Seneca is still my #1 pick by far.

11/11/2006
Skaneateles Lake 11/11

Well the weather forecast was looking pretty crappy earlier this week for today.   South winds 15 to 25mph with higher gusts and periods of rain.   Alison and Carl booked this trip a while back and we all had our fingers crossed (figuratively ;-)    Anyways, as usual "weather.com's" forecast was worthless and accuweather.com and NOAH's forecasts were much more accurate.   

When we got to the lake the winds were strong - around 15 mph or more out of the south and it looked like our fears might materialize, but the sun poked through around 9 or 10 am and things calmed considerably.  I ran us to the south end to escape the wind and we started there and worked up the lake.

Fishing was fair to good - not great, but certainly not terrible.   My couple caught a couple lake trout, one nice 18 1/2" landlocked salmon, a few 13" perch and around 1/2 dozen decent smallmouths.   Other hits/fish were missed.   Hairjigs and tubes produced the fish.  Water temp is 48.   Plenty of leaves are in the water along shore.

I expect fishing on this lake to be very good to excellent once things stabilize a little.   Like in two or three days!   Great place to flyfish and I'll be out soon with my SAGE!  

11/10/2006
Keuka out of Branchport 11/10

Had a lot of fun fishing with Robert and his 11 year old son Joe today.   After a big mix-up at the parking lot (due to a variety of "Three's Company" type misunderstandings and coincidences - At first look I didn't think they were my clients - since they arrived much earlier than planned  and appeared to be shorefishing, and they didn't think I was the guide, since my boat/truck have no markings! ;-), we got underway.   They were hoping for some action and Keuka's lake trout didn't disappoint.   We started around 9:30 am around the bluff area and fish hit pretty good in the morning, but it took a little while to get the technique down.   Fish slowed up around 10:30 as the winds calmed down.  But as the sun came out and a light southerly started, the fishing went from OK to very good/excellent.   The guys were able to fill out their limit and release a few as well.   We did a fair amount of casting for pickerel/pike without much luck at all.   The high sun and cold front type wind seemed to inactivate them - I don't know, we just couldn't find 'em.   

Lakers were in 65' to 110' both on the bottom and suspended.   I did find a smelt in one of their stomachs, which was cool!    Talking with Robert was great - he's a biologist and does chemical analysis in fish tissue, and I learned a lot.   Fun trip!

11/8/2006
Seneca Lake out of Watkins 11/8

Fly-fishing for northerns was terrific this afternoon on Seneca Lake.   I worked the southern portions of the lake for 5 hours and caught good numbers of fish.   Most pike are smallish - 22" or so, but I did catch a few beauties - a 27" and a 33"+.   The numbers made the fishing exciting.   There are 2 tremendous classes of pike on this lake currently.   There are a bunch of fish around 18" or 19" and a bunch around 22".   These small fish bode very well for the future pike fishing in this lake.   I expect Seneca Lake to provide superb pike fishing for the next 2 to 5 years at the very least.  

Bass are also very active throughout the southern portions of the lake.   Chunky smallmouths are around outside weededges and drop offs in 14' to probably 30' of water or more.    They were hitting my large streamers pretty consistently and I nabbed 3 nice bass up to 19".   Water temps are 49/50 degrees.   These fish all move around a lot and yesterday's hotspot can be tomorrow's deadzone.   Move a lot!

I expect big pike to move up within the next 2 weeks.  We shall see.

11/7/2006
Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 11/7

Spent a 1/2 day out on Cayuga guiding myself ;-)   It was about time I hired a guide!   Just kidding...anyways I began at 9 am fly-fishing for trout/salmon.   Water temps around Taughannock are right at 49 and I'd expect trout and salmon to be orienting towards the surface.   Never had a hit.   After about an hour and a half I motored down the lake in search of some northern pike.

I fished areas I haven't fished yet this fall for pike and never saw a fish until I was about ready to try for a few bass.   I told myself I'd give it another cast or two.   Out in 18' of water I got a solid grab.   I could tell it was a good fish, but I didn't know how big until I tried landing it.   What a head on this fish!   It measured around 36 1/2" - probably 13 to 14lbs.  Beautiful lush dark green colors and very clean.  I released it quickly.   I fished till I had to go at 1pm.   Cayuga is a huge lake and there are a lot of places fish can be.   Smallmouths were active along the dropoffs and outside weededges.   They kept following in my pike fly but wouldn't hit it.   Trollers are picking up a few lakers and some small (15") salmon.

11/5/2006
Keuka Lake out of Branchport 11/5
Very good to excellent fishing continues throughout the region!   Rodney and Bob managed to land close to 15 really nice sized Keuka Lakers during a half day of jigging near the Bluff area.   The size of these fish was a definite step up over what I've seen during most of the year on Keuka.   We had a couple 25" to 26" fish and only one or two were 17" dinks.   At least one fish was spawned out.   Most kept were females.   The water temp on top is around 49 to 50.   There are tremendous numbers of lake trout and some bait throughout the bluff area.   This lake appears to have just thousands of lake trout!
11/4/2006
Skaneateles Lake 11/4
Good to excellent fly-fishing on Skaneateles Lake today!     Guide trip with Gordon and it didn't take long to hook up with some powerful rainbows!   These fish are fighting at their peak with plenty of jumps, digging and runs.    Water temp is perfect at 48 degrees.  Small landlocked salmon were active today as well.   Lake trout are throughout the water column from shallow to deep - so are smallmouths and perch.   Rainbow trout were shallow - pretty much from the shoreline on out.    One rainbow and laker were caught within an easy cast of the north end pier.   This fishing will hold out until it gets too damn cold to want to fish!  Pick a nice day with a little breeze and it's as good as it gets...
11/1/2006
Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 11/1

Just terrific fishing this morning out on Seneca.   My first cast got me a decent pike around 24".   It was a yin-yangy type of morning.   I found out I'd grabbed the wrong fly rod, so it was gear fishing for pike and bass.    The first northern hit my X-rap and had the front hook in its mouth.    I held it with my hand over its gill plate.   The rear hook was hanging by my hand.   I knew the fish would start going nuts as I desperately searched for my jaw spreader and baker hookout.   It went nuts and I was smart enough to drop the pike before I had to take a trip to the hospital.  2 hooks went into my jeans.   So that was ok.   My 3rd or 4th cast yielded a nice smallmouth, with around 8 or 9 of his buddies following him in!   Just great fishing.   I hooked a bunch more pike including a couple 8 to 10lbers.    One largemouth and one pickerel rounded out the day.  

Pike are all around the lake.  Most fish are small - around 18" to 24".   Smallmouths are all over as well - from at least Glenora south.   I caught bass in 12' to 45' of water today.   Some on tubes, most on jerkbaits.   H2O is around 51.  

10/27/2006
Skaneateles Lake 10/27
The bottom line is that there's some good to excellent fishing going on right now.   The tough thing is finding a decent day to get out!    John and Eleonore picked a good one today.   We'd postponed 2 or 3 other scheduled dates due to inclement weather.    The best bite today was the smallmouths.   They are hitting very well all over the lake from around 7' to 23' of water.   Big bonus perch are around (to 14").   One 16" rainbow was landed today along with a nice laker around 18".   We had a bite-off, probably from a pickerel.   I expect trout and salmon fishing to improve substantially week by week.   They are starting to move shallow.   H2O varied from 49 to over 51.   The best lures today were tube jigs and hair jigs.   I think fly-fishing would have produced more trout today.   I plan to be back on this lake soon with the fly-rods.
10/24/2006
Skaneateles Lake N. end Pier Report 10/24
Took my fishing class to the pier.   It was nasty out there, but they managed a nice laker and a small bass.   A few perch were around.   It's safe to say that the fly-fishing should be excellent now for lake trout, rainbow trout and landlocked salmon!    The laker was in 7' of water!     NW winds were around 10 to 20 mph plus we had air temps around 37 plus rain!   Tough conditions - especially on the hands!
10/22/2006
Keuka Lake out of Branchport 10/21 + 10/22

Fishing remains good to very good on Keuka Lake.   Fished with Michele and her dad on Sat. and we had a good day fishing lakers around the bluff area and on the south end of the lake.   Fish ran from 17" to 24".   They were hitting plastics and spoons.   We found them around 65' and deeper.   Lots of suspended fish were mixed in with the usual bottom dwellers.   We did a little random casting for browns/rainbows/salmon without luck.  Perch are active in the shallows.    Around 9 or 10 nice lakers were landed and lots were missed/dropped.   It can take a little while to get into a groove with this fishing!   Coffee helps ;-)

On Sunday Alan and Doug joined me for 1/2 day of laker jigging.   The conditions were surprisingly good in the morning, but the fishing was kind of slow.   A few fish were landed, again - around the bluff area.   The weather really kicked up around 11 am and the guys perservered and did very well, filling out their limit.    We made some key adjustments regarding presentation in order to deal with the 20 mph south winds and 2'+ waves and it paid off.   While other boats had cleared the lake, Al and Doug were still catching fish!    The lake got downright nasty and we called it a day.    Suspended fish have moved up the water column a little and were as shallow as 40' to 50' down.   H2O is still warm on top - 56.

10/19/2006
Seneca/Sampson 10/18 + Cayuga/Taughannock 10/19 + Watkins 10/19

I'm trying to do my "homework" checking on some fall patterns on my local Fingers.    I managed to fish Seneca for around 5 hours Wed. PM and can report that pike are very active on the lake - pretty much from end to end.   The drawback is that the pike are small - running from 18" to 22".   Not what I fish Seneca Lake for!   They are fly-fishable and I expect the size of the fish caught to improve considerably as water temperatures cool down.    Lake trout were a "no go" for me.   I marked a few inactive fish and I checked from Sampson north to Belhurst.   I think a lot of them are spawning right now in the southern third of the lake.    Bass should be very active, though I didn't fish them.

Cayuga was terrific this morning!   I motivated myself to get on the water just after first light and the bass fishing was great.    My first fish was a 13" smallmouth - basically a dink!   My second was probably my biggest Cayuga smallie to date - a 20" fat slob!   If this wasn't a legit 5lber, it was darn close!    The fishing was great throughout the morning and I landed another 7 to 8 fish - all nice 16" to 18" fat fall bass.   The jerkbait bite was on and I couldn't have asked for a better morning.   I couldn't catch or hook a pike to save my life.   My guess is that they are still deep.   My bass came from 7' to 30' of water south of Taughannock.   

This afternoon I took my fishing class down to Watkins Glen and they fished the pier.   Plenty of small northerns were around.   One nice smallie around 17" was landed as were a bunch of rockbass.    The highlight of the trip was a beautiful landlocked salmon around 24" that hit a white superfluke!   Nice job Melissa!   The fish was a male in spawning mode.   So mixed bag time is here!    Both Seneca and Cayuga Lakes are around 55/56 degrees on the surface and fishing pressure is light to non-existent. 

10/17/2006
Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 10/16

I got out for around 4 to 5 hours and checked on a bunch of stuff.   I didn't see any browns jumping off the mouth of Taughannock Creek, though they have been out there.   Water temps are around 55 to 56.    I tried a little laker jigging on the point - zippo.   I went north and started marking a lot of fish north of Frontenac Point.   There are a lot of DEEP lakers too - 110 to 160' or so, the bait is deep too.    Maybe in a few weeks I'll break out the heavy jigs and heavy rods, but I wasn't up for it yesterday.    I had a hit or two and some follows in 90' of water.

I shot down the lake checking out pike areas.   I only hit a couple spots and the pleasant surprise was the smallmouth jerkbait bite.   I hooked a couple fat pigs on my X-Rap.   Rock solid hits and fights.    Fish were off weededges in deep water - 20' to 30'.   I jigged up a tiny landlocked salmon and I caught one nice pickerel casting spinnerbaits in the south end of Cayuga.    The potential for great fishing someday on this lake's south end is enormous.   I can only imagine what it could be if we had lush weedgrowth from side to side down by Ithaca.    Pike, pickerel, perch, bass and bullheads historically provided great fishing - until the early 1900s.   I'm seeing some nice weedbeds sprouting up, but there are still a lot of weedless zones.    So I'm optimistic, but it'll probably be awhile....

10/15/2006
Keuka Lake out of Branchport 10/15
Guided 1/2 day on Keuka with Brandon and Chastity.   It started out COLD!   Lake trout jigging started out promising on the Branchport arm with a couple fish landed within an hour.   Tubes and a Kastmaster spoon did the trick.   One more fish was caught on the shoreline in around 75' and that was it.   We took a ride down to the bluff area and the fishing started out kind of slow but then picked up considerably.   Another 7 fish were landed and around a dozen lost/missed.   All in all a very good day, and the fish were still hitting when we headed in with our limit.   Fish ran 17" to around 22".   Bait was around in good numbers.   Water temps are 56 give or take.
10/10/2006
Keuka Lake out of Branchport 10/10

Fished Keuka from around 1 pm till dark.   It was a perfect day to fish - nice cloud cover, light north winds and warm out.    I've been doing a lot of exploring over the past 4 to 5 days, fishing stretches of unfamiliar water and trying different things.   Today was an "In the Zone" day!    Started out checking on lakers.    Within 5 minutes I had my first fish, just off the launch area.    Within 1/2 hour of moving around I marked a school of suspended fish down 40' over 110'.   Turned out to be smallmouths!    Landed one and kept working different areas.    Filled out my laker limit in some "new" areas, then went north to try to figure out how to best use my new St. Croix/Shimano Baitcast outfit.  All lakers and bass came on spoons.

After working the outfit for a while, I decided to cast some stickbaits.   Had a solid hit and the fish just kept going and going....   I thought maybe I'd hooked a huge bass, but it turned out to be a beautiful northern!   36" and probably 12 to 13lbs!   Terrific fight.  I released the slob unharmed.   The fish was off a weedline near 30' of water.    Awesome way to end the day.   H2O on the surface was 62. 

10/9/2006
Seneca Lake out of Watkins 10/9

I just LOVE fishing Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen, especially in the fall.   The cliffs give you the feeling of fishing in a huge stone quarry.   Nice!    Today I looked around for lakers and staging salmon.   No luck on salmon - though that one is a long shot.    Lakers were abundant from Peach Orchard Point south.   They weren't active and I only had a few hits and landed one small one.   I marked more bait than I've marked on Seneca in the fall in quite a few years.  

I took a handful of casts with a crankbait for northerns and landed one small (20") fish.   Conditions weren't good for pike at all - sunny, bluebird, calm and warm water, so I wasn't expecting much.   Word is that the pike are back on Seneca in a big way.   I believe it.  I've certainly seen more young fish this season than I've probably seen since 1994 or 95.    Let's hope they turn into monsters! 

Bass fishing was good and I landed 3 nice smallmouths in short order.  The fish ranged from 14" to 17" and hit hair jigs and tubes in 5' to 12' of water - but they were all near the deeps!   H2O was 64 on top at the south end, and around 60 elsewhere.    Can't wait for this lake to "kick in" fishing wise for pike and salmon.   Probably be in around 3 weeks!  :-)

10/8/2006
Keuka Lake out of Branchport 10/8
Had a fun guide trip today with Jim and his daughter Ali.   We started at 8am right around Branchport and Ali picked up a couple decent lakers in around 65' to 75' of water.   We marked a fair amount of fish and bait.    We shot down to the bluff area and north and she filled her limit.   Jim picked up a small laker and lost/missed a couple fish.    We took a lunch break and I had them do a little casting resulting in one nice largemout on a tube jig.    Fishing overall was alright - not great but not bad.    The fish appeared to be in a neutral to negative mood.    H2O on Keuka is around 61/62 on the surface.   One of the fish had a full stomach - lots of alewives, the others were empty.   2 were egg laden females.  Keuka should pick up once the weather system changes.   We shall see....BTW - the foliage is looking better by the day.   Not peaking yet, but it was absolutely splendid out there today!
10/7/2006
Skaneateles Lake 10/6

What a great day!   It felt awesome just being out on the lake.   Blue skies, gorgeous water and vivid colors all along the lake shore.    Fall foliage is just starting to hit its peak with colors.    Most areas are still pre-peak, but parts of the lake are peaking with some vivid red colors starting to show.    As for the fishing....

The fishing was very good.   I was on a "catch 'em and eat 'em" mission;  I just haven't eaten much fish lately, and I love fish!   It didn't take long to catch a limit (3) of wild lake trout.    The fish are small and slow growing here, but they are beautiful and taste great.   My fish were all around 17" to 18" long.   They hit jigs fished in around 65' to 90' of water.    Very few anglers target lakers on this lake.   The exception would be in the late fall, when they are stacked on points.   Most people fish perch, bass and rainbows/salmon.

Yellow perch and smallmouth bass were active in around 18' of water give or take.   I caught these fish nearly everywhere I fished.    They were biting well and dropshot rigs and hair/plastic jigs produced the best.    I didn't encounter any rainbows or landlocked salmon.   Water temps are still a bit warm on top to draw many up high.    However, water temps are falling QUICKLY and if we keep getting these cold nights I expect salmon and trout to start showing up within a week or two.

10/7/2006
Cayuga out of Dean's 10/7
Got out around 2pm to check on the north end flats.   I don't usually jig lakers in the northern portion of Cayuga in the early fall much, but I've been meaning to see what was going on up there.   I've heard of some recent trolling success with rainbows and landlockeds up here.    I marked a few fish and some bait, but didn't get many reactions.   Finally landed a solid 28" laker off Long Point.   The fish was in 100' of water and hammered a fluke.   This fish was a spawned out female and was back on the feed again - stuffed with at least 4 alewives!    Missed another fish or two, then I worked some hair jigs for perch.   Caught a couple perch then headed in as it was getting dark.    Water temps on top were around 61/62.  
10/2/2006
Cayuga out of Taughannock 10/2

It was a beautiful day for fishing out there today, but not for "catching".   I fished on my own, starting at around 9:30 am.   The first thing I noticed was how deep the lakers seem to be.   The majority of fish and bait I marked today was from around 110' to 140'.   The only action on lakers I had today was a little burst around 11 am on the east shore across from Taughannock in around 95' of water.   I landed a small male around 21" (tasted great!).   I missed a couple other hits in short order.   I did a bit of casting hoping for bass and pike and couldn't buy a hit!   I don't know what the deal was - even the perch and rockbass seemed inactive.   Perch are hitting in around 15' to 25' of water - I did see a few boats out targeting them, and they were catching fish.    I blame a lot of the poor fishing today on the bluebird type of day.   Very little wind and high sun.   I'll be out next week checking on bass and pike again during better conditions.    H20 is 60 on the surface.   Pike/bass action should pick up as water temps plunge into the 50s.

Propagation netting has started at Taughannock Point and the crew from the Bath hatchery has set gill nets all around the park.   Shore action seemed alright today and I saw some fish on stringers.   The fish are in full-spawning mode;  they have their dark colors with white-tipped fins.   

9/30/2006
Owasco Lake 9/30
Guided Mihai and his wife Christina today.   The weather was brutal from the get-go.   Predicted winds of S at 6 to 8 never materialized and we were caught in 12 to 22mph or better from the south all day.   It never calmed down!    Best action was in the morning around 9 am when the sun was shining and wind let up slightly.   Mihai nailed a couple nice lakers and his wife lost one.    Other hits were missed.    We shot south and checked out some spawning areas.   Fish were around, as was bait - but they were pretty inactive plus the wind was a factor.    A few hits/fish were missed.   We tried back on the north end later but the wind was worse.    Just one of those tough days.   I'm convinced we would have had a great day had the wind died down - the fish and bait are around.    Smallmouths too.    H2O is around 59/60.   
9/27/2006
Cayuga out of Dean's 9/27
Not much to report today.   Finally had an open date after lots of truck/trailer maintenance and Cornell work to do.   The wind started out strong from the west then whipped up out of the south, and the lake got very rough.   I fished about an hour then got off the lake.   I worked off Dean's, Long Point then checked the Silo area.   By then it was brutal out.   Water temps are 65 on the surface.   Bait is around and fish are too.   I jigged up a small perch.    Word is the largemouths and pickerel are hitting.   I hope to get back on the north end again soon.  
9/23/2006
Owasco Lake 9/23
What a day on Owasco!   It looked like it was going to be a tedious fishing day today.   As I drove up Cayuga Lake in the morning on Rt. 89 I got hammered with rain.   The wind was nasty out of the south - probably 15 mph or better.    Dean and Scott were good sports and we fished Owasco hard from 7:30am till 10:30am with just one missed fish to show for things.   Then the lake calmed down slightly and the sky got a little bit brighter.    The fish woke up and the fishing got very hot and heavy quickly.    By 4:30pm the guys had landed around 40 lakers, 1 perch and 1 bass.   They'd missed/lost probably another 50 fish.   It was unreal.   Fish ran up to 31", but most were cookie cutter 23" to 26" fish.   We also got a fair number of 18" to 21" fish.   Fish were in 75' to 90' of water.   Bait is still around.   Assorted Zoom Flukes fished on 1 oz. round and stand-up jig heads did the trick.   We used Spiderwire 12lb. XXX Super Mono on Med to Med.Heavy Baitcasters.    The guys said it best..."The best freshwater fishing we've ever had...catching lakers like perch!"
9/22/2006
Canandaigua Lake 9/22

Had a tough day on Canandaigua with Burr.   I don't consider myself a "Canandaigua Guide" but Burr has fished with me a bit over the past 2 seasons and he wanted to give it a try.   I felt we had a good chance at some lake trout and bass.   It wasn't to be.   Action started out very promising at 7:30am.   I had Burr working some nice marks in 50' to 75' of water.   He missed a few good hits on a spoon and we did have a couple (lakers?) chasing flukes but we just couldn't get a good hookup apart from a small perch.   

We worked down the lake and finally wound up at the south end.   There was plenty of bait on the east shore and I marked a decent amount of fish on both shores.   Again, one or two fish showed interest, but nothing doing.   In the weeds Burr picked up a small pickerel and smallmouth casting a spinnerbait and dropshotting respectively.    The wind picked up and sun had disappeared.   This didn't help us.   H2O surface temps are around 63.   We finished up at the north end.   A few mildly interested fish and a hit or two, but that was it.    Tough day.   I talked to a couple anglers who caught lakers over the past week.   70' to 120' was good.   We were in the right areas but they just weren't grabbing aggressively.   

  

9/20/2006
Owasco Lake 9/20
I was back on the lake with Jim and Nancy today for 1/2 day of fishing.   We started out with smallmouth bass and Jim landed his personal best fish - a 22" slob!    After an hour or so of bassin' we headed out for some lake trout action.   The trout fishing was quite good and they landed 7 or 8 fish, mostly 24" to 26" fish.   White Zoom Flukes did the trick.    The high point of the day was Jim hooking a nice fish around 15' below the surface.   The rod was bent and the fish was fighting good.   We saw a big fish come up to jump - size-wise it appeared to be a big brown or rainbow, but the colors blew my mind - it was a SMALLMOUTH!   This fish was a class or two UP from the 22" (probably at LEAST 5lbs) fat fish Jim got earlier!    So we're talking 6lbs. or better!   Needless to say Jim and I will remember this fish for the rest of our lives.   Beautiful colors and fat.   We'll be back to try for it later!   Bait is scattered from around 60' out.   Lakers are available from 70' to 100' +.    Bass are scattered mainly suspended in various depths.
9/18/2006
Owasco Lake 9/18
Great fishing continues on Owasco Lake!   We were the only boat out there for awhile.   It was quite windy this morning as I headed out with Jim and Nancy.   The lake trout bite wasn't spectacular, but it wasn't bad at all.  They landed around 5 or 6 nice lakers.   Then Jim landed a nice rainbow around 24"!   The bass fishing was impressive and Jim got one around 14".   Nancy nailed a 20.5" beauty (which was bigger than any they'd caught before at Dale Hollow!), an 18" fish and a couple 17s, and a 15 (if I remember right).    Bass came via some cool techniques that I've been working on.   Nancy did a great job figuring out some tricks of her own.    All her fish came in around a half hour period.   Bait is all over the place.
9/17/2006
Owasco Lake 9/16 + 9/17

The lake trout fishing overall in Owasco Lake right now is very good, with moments of "beyond compare" and "incredible" action!   I was out with John Sander and Terry on Saturday and things started out alright.   We found fish in 80' to 110' of water.   The fishing was good to very good but nothing spectacular.   However, around 4 pm we marked some fish in 60' of water on the east shore and all hell broke loose with non-stop superb action for a good hour or two.    All cookie-cutter 20" to 26" fish.   Hardware (jigging spoons) and plastic are both working very well, with spoons getting the edge.

Today I guided Mihai and Sara.   Morning fishing was spotty for us.   We marked some fish and bait and they caught fish but nothing outrageous.   We did try bassin' and Sara got a nice 19" smallmouth.    A friend of mine filled me in on a hot deep bite for lakers.    We tried deep but didn't do much.    Fishing stayed slow until late afternoon, then the action just exploded!   Fish after fish after fish.   Just constant grabs.    Mihai and Sara wound up landing around 35 fish or more on the day.   The volume of lost fish and missed fish was staggering.   It was Sara's first day fishing since she was a kid, so she was able to shake off the rust!    The thermocline is in around 50' of water and lakers seem to be moving shallower every day.    We did well around 55' to 72' in shallow.  

9/15/2006
Owasco Lake 9/15
Back on Owasco today with John and Eleonore.   Lake trout fishing was very good to excellent.   They landed plenty of fish (around 18 or 19) nice lakers.   A couple panfish were caught as well, plus I fished a little bit and managed to get a nice smallmouth.    Lakers are still in around 83' to 90' of water.   Some fish are as shallow as 70' or less.    Bait is fairly common.   Word is that anglers are getting some browns and rainbows too.
9/14/2006
Owasco Lake 9/14
What a great day on Owasco with Karl and Glen!   After we had some slow fishing on Cayuga Tuesday I convinced the guys to join me on Owasco today rather than head back to Cayuga.    Conditions were overcast and rainy to start with light south winds.   Lakers were hitting great - mostly from around 10 or 11 am onwards, though we did have a good morning bite.   Fish were concentrated in around 82' to 88' of water or so.   The guys landed around 17 or 18 nice lake trout - all 18" to 26" - most around 25".   Karl landed a beautiful rainbow trout - 27" and probably 7lbs.   Wicked fight with some great surface moves!    Then Glen got a 21 1/2" smallmouth!   We hooked up some other nice bass as well, landing a few around 15" to 17".    All in all an awesome day!   I took plenty of photos, we released the big bass but the rainbow will join the guys for dinner.   Word is that there are good numbers of nice rainbows lake wide.   It's about time!
9/12/2006
Cayuga out of Taughannock 9/12
Today I was out with Glen and Karl for a trip on Cayuga.   The lake trout bite was tough.   The winds out of the south gusting to over 20 mph. didn't help things.   Fish are all over the place - 65' to 110' of water.   Bait is all over.   The guys picked up a couple bass on the east shore early on in the AM.   First laker was boated around noon (literally) north of Taughannock.    We did more bassin' and a nice smallie was lost boatside - hooked on a Rapala X-Rap.   Back to lakers and two more were landed - a dink and a nice 4lber.   Both kept lakers were males.   The larger one didn't have any clips.   The females certainly aren't ready to spawn but they seem turned off in general.   I don't know why.   I expect fishing to improve as we get some warm stable weather, but who knows?   Last year the laker fishing was excellent throughout September.   There's no reason it shouldn't stay good but time will tell!   We worked plastics and spoons.  
9/10/2006
Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 9/8 - 9/10

Cayuga Lake continues to produce some beautiful lake trout, but the fishing has been unpredictable.   Friday was a guide trip with this year's Red Cross Derby lake trout/lunker division winner Mike Canavan and his dad Larry.   My favorite fishing rods in the world are the ones that Mike builds for me.   Just awesome fishing tools.  (Or is it "precision fishing instruments? ;-)    Anyways, we all fished and had fun landing 9 nice fish.   I probably should have just given Mike the wheel and had him do the guiding, because he has a way with big fish on Cayuga Lake.   The fishing was quite good and Mike and his dad had a double going at one point in time.  

On Saturday and Sunday I fished the 1st. Salvation Army Fishing Derby on Cayuga Lake with Mihai Poduru.   We had a slow day on Saturday and didn't catch fish until close to noon.   We did manage (2) 31" fish plus a smaller one.  Our fish weighed in at 9.1 and 9.2lbs.   We needed a 9.3lber to make the board Sat. night.    Mike (from Friday's trip) was the tournament leader with a 13lb laker!  

Sunday was probably better fishing - we landed 6 nice fish up to around 30".   Nothing to weigh in, but we had fun.   Fish are throughout Cayuga's mid-southern sections - from at least as far south as Flatrock up to Kidders and probably beyond.

9/7/2006
Cayuga out of Taughannock 9/7
Went out with my friend Jeff today.   We go back to 5th grade and he was the guy who really got me going as a fisherman when I was around 12 years old.   We started by casting for bass on the east shore.   I worked cranks and spinnerbaits and managed a few small largemouths/smallmouths.   Nothing special on the bass.   Perch were constantly following in my lures.    As the clouds and fog cleared, we switched our focus to lakers.   Lake trout fishing was slow to start, even with the sun up.   Around noon to 1pm the fishing started to pick up and we did pretty well.   Jeff landed 6 nice fish and I got 3.   Most hit on the retrieve.   90' of water was best.    There are fish all over the Taughannock area - up and down; the area is stacked, but they aren't necessarily hitting great.   Lakers are also being caught from shore with eggsack/marshmallow or floater rigs.    We kept a limit and many of the fish had baitfish in their stomachs.
9/4/2006
Cayuga out of Taughannock 9/4

Guided Ken and Charles today for lakers.   Fishing was quite good today and the guys landed 7 fish in around 6 hours.    Highlights were the two best lakers I've seen taken in one day on my boat;  Ken got a 31" slob and then a 32" brute that was probably 11lbs. or so.   Both fish were very solid.   The 32" put up an amazing battle.    Best fishing was when the sun poked through around 11 am.   Bait and fish are all over the place, but action is sporadic.  

I did some bassin' on my own and landed 5 smallies from around 15" to 18" and one nice largemouth around 17"+.   H2O is 69 on the surface.  Lake level is high.  

9/1/2006
Cayuga out of Taughannock 8/31 + Owasco Lake 9/1

Fishing is basically good to excellent on both Cayuga and Owasco Lakes for lake trout.   I had Kelly and Mike out on the boat.   They'd joined me earlier in the year on July 4th.   We had somewhat slow lake trout fishing in the morning with one or two fish landed.   Bass fishing was better and the guys caught a few decent smallmouths.   We went back to the lakers around 11 am on the east shore and the fishing picked up considerably.   The guys landed 8 nice fish - mostly all 26" to 28" fish.   Fishing slowed as the lake got rough around 2pm.   

Guided all day on Owasco today.   Fishing this AM was excellent for Frank and Carol.   They were out with me on July 19th!   They'd landed around 9 lakers then and were doubting that they could do as good this time.   Well, they had 6 fish within 2 hours.   They totaled 14 lakers landed by 11:30am!   I think they had 2 doubles going.   The fishing slowed a bit in the afternoon as Jim joined me.   (Jim was a repeat from earlier this week and last year!)   Fishing was tricky and Jim dropped 3 or 4 nice fish landing one early on.   A few hours later the bite picked up and Jim landed 3 more nice fish.   We also had one on that may have been a bass or brown/rainbow.   Fish were aggressively chasing jigs today and many were suspended by midday.   65' to 95' was best.   H2O was 70 degrees on top.   Lakers are stuffing themselves with large alewives. 

8/30/2006
Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 8/30

Fishing started out slow this AM with Jim.    He's featured in my "featured species Brown Trout" photo with a nice brown caught around this same time-frame last year.   We were hoping for a repeat of last year's great fishing but it wasn't to be.   The weather was overcast, moist and misty and lakers were around but inactive.   Jim landed one and dropped a couple that he hooked momentarily.    We bass fished a bit and he hooked a few including a couple 17" fish.  

In the afternoon I was out with Fred and Sari who joined me Monday on Seneca.   Things didn't look good to start as the lake started kicking up some 2' waves.   Fortunately things subsided, the sun came out and they got into some decent lakers.   Fred landed an absolute beauty - a 30" VERY FAT laker that had to go 10lbs!   What a nice fish!   We bass fished a bit and they both landed and hooked some nice fish.   Sari had a big one get away, but Fred managed a nice 18" smallie.    We landed another laker and called it a day around 6pm.   Good fishing!

.

8/28/2006
Seneca Lake out of Sampson 8/28

Guided Fred and Sari on Seneca Lake today.   They'd done a lot of driving over the past couple days and weren't up to heading all the way to Taughannock from Geneva, so we went out of Sampson.

Things started out strange; the weather forecast was for light north winds and sunny highs in the low 80s,  though we were met with south winds, fog and rain!   These low light conditions didn't help us any,  but Fred and Sari managed to hook several lakers in the morning, landing one small fish around 16".   There's a fair amount of bait and decent numbers of lakers in the Sampson area in 70' to 90' of water.   We shot across the lake for some bass fishing after a couple hours and had some very good action on small bass - both largemouths and smallies.   The fish fought well despite their size!   Superflukes, Senkos and tube jigs all worked well.    Near the outflow of Dresden I spotted several freshwater drum.   Those were the first I'd ever positively identified on Seneca Lake, though I do know of some locals who have seen one or two in the past.

We worked other areas for bass and lakers and they picked up a couple more small lake trout.    The weather never did clear up.    Overall I think the fishing is good in Seneca, it was just a dark day.   There were plenty of lake trout around, just not very aggressive ones.   The milfoil is dying back in many areas and the smallmouth fishing (with bonus pike) should be good.

8/27/2006
Cayuga out of Taughannock 8/26

Very good to excellent fishing continues on Cayuga Lake.   Ken and Kenny(who's around 13 years old) did a great job landing 16 nice lake trout ranging from around 25" to 30".   They'd fished Lake George before and were pretty much blown away by the size and quality of these Cayuga Lake fish.

Baitfish are abundant and there appears to be a fair number of nice browns, rainbows and smallmouth bass cruising around in the mix.   Surface temps have cooled down over the past couple weeks to around 73 degrees.   Fish are in 65' to 110'+ though our best action was around 75' to 90'.   

8/25/2006
Cayuga out of Taughannock 8/25

I can't see any reason to fish anywhere else right now!   Cayuga has just been fantastic.  Today I got out around 11:30am and shot north of the point.   I was just messing around chatting with my friend Alec for awhile.   He took off to try catching some drum and I started jigging.   As I cranked my jig up about 1/2 way or more I had a strange sort of hit.   Figured it was a laker and cranked the fish up - I saw some silver and momentarily thought it was a drum - then my vision cleared and I could see it was a big rainbow!   The fish took off wildly like a steelhead.   I had to push my freespool button, press down and keep my fingers crossed!  After a few more runs and a couple missed attempts with the net I finally landed the fish - 28" and 8 to 9lbs!   We took a few shots but had the fish out of the water for awhile so I kept it.   Nothing in its stomach.   The fish could feed 5 to 6 people!

I did some bass fishing and landed  18" and 19" largemouths.   Caught a lot of smallies too, up to around 17" - but most were 13" to 14".   The bass habitat keeps changing on this lake.   I fished areas that were loaded with lush coontail beds last year and just found junk weeds.   I did locate some coontail but it was scattered.   I keep thinking the largemouths are just moving further and further south.  Awesome day!

8/24/2006
Cayuga out of Taughannock 8/24

It felt good to get back on the water today after Cornell Registration the last couple days.   Of course the weather had to be beautiful as we were trapped indoors!  ;-)    Guide trip today with John and Eleonore.  This is the 3rd. trip they've booked with me this year and I have a feeling it won't be the last! ;-)   We worked the Taughannock to Rocky Dock area and they had a great day, landing 8 nice lakers up to 28" and one incredible brown!  The brown trout toyed with John's jig as he lowered it down, so he cranked the jig back up and the brute hit.    This fish ripped out some serious drag and then started thrashing by my trolling motor!   I "IDed" the fish as it was surfacing.   I thought it was a goner then it took off again.   After a couple more runs I managed to net the fish.   29" and FAT as could be.   We released it after a couple quick photos.   It was considerably bigger than Willy's June brown that was around 26" and boga gripped at 11.5lbs.   So I'm guessing somewhere between 12 and 14lbs.   Let's say around 13 ;-)   Photos will be up as soon as John emails them to me.  

After the trip I fished a bit and landed around a half dozen legal smallmouths to 17".   One laker rounded out my day.   It feels like the fall fishing madness has begun!   The park looked like "post Labor day" today - very few people there this morning.   

8/19/2006
Owasco Lake 8/19 Wow!

Just fantastic fishing this morning with 8 year old Augie and his dad Kirby!   They just hammered them landing at least a dozen fish and losing another dozen.   They each hooked big bonus smallmouths and Kirby landed his 19" fish (released to fight again!)  

Action had it's moments of excellence in the afternoon with Bill.   He missed a lot of fish to start, but wound up landing around 9 nice fish.    The wind picked up around 3pm and the fishing got tougher.   Bait and fish are stacked around the lake's north end.   Fishing was best around 75' to 85'.   Only a couple boats were working the lake today.   Surprising!   This fishing should hold up for another month or so.   Get 'em while they're hot - I still have plenty of openings over the next few weeks :-)

8/18/2006
Owasco Lake 8/18
The very good to excellent jig bite continues on Owasco.   Fished 1/2 day trip with Henry today and fish were stacked pretty good in 65' to 85' of water on the north end.   There's a ton of bait up there as well, and plenty of fish up high - probably bass and rainbow trout.   This lake has coughed up some big fish this year.    The fish were chasing well today and the bite was good throughout the morning though the fishing got a little bit spottier as the day went on.    Surface temps 73 degrees.   The wind was strong to start, but calmed down a bit in the afternoon.
8/17/2006
Keuka 8/15, Skaneateles 8/16, Cayuga 8/17

Keuka 8/15:   Guided Drew and Andre on Keuka Lake out of Branchport.   The morning started out promising as I was rigging a few rods on my boat at the dock.  I made a cast off the ramp and caught a chunky 15" largemouth.  There was another bigger one right behind it!   We started working bass around the north end of the arm and nothing great was happening.   Basically small fish were hitting - largemouths and rockbass.   We saw one very nice fish but it got spooked on the cast.  The wind started to pick up.  

The lake trout bite was difficult as well.   The relatively strong winds didn't help.   I think some hardcore jiggers would do alright, but I wouldn't consider the fishing great - certainly not worth a special trip given how good Cayuga and Owasco are fishing.   The majority of fish seem to have migrated out of the northern Branchport arm.   Temps were in the 60s down 40' or more.   Best luck was south at Hammondsport and near the Bluff Area.   North of the Bluff on the Penn Yan arm we had 47 degrees down 40'!    The only halfway decent bait we've seen's been around Hammondsport and there isn't much.    We worked a few intermediate areas as well and marked a few fish, but they wouldn't grab.   Andre nailed one 18" laker and a small one.   Drew lost 2 fish he'd had on for awhile and dropped one other one.   Fish are around and were neutral to negative for us.   I don't think they are feeding much and I would wait at least 2 to 3 weeks on fishing these lakers again.   We worked a lot of areas and marks and had very slow results.   I invited the guys onto Cayuga for 1/2 day to see some better fishing.

Skaneateles Lake 8/16:   Another slow day.   I was due I guess ;-)   Doug was hoping for some smallmouth bass fly-fishing so we went to Skinny rather than Cayuga.   It wasn't a whole lot better.    Doug worked surface poppers for a couple hours in the morning.    We couldn't even raise dinks!   We fished hard and hit a lot of different areas.   The poor fishing was in part probably due in part to the cold fronts we've had moving through the last couple days.   We had one nice 16 to 17" smallie come up, and take a quick look at the fly and head back down!    After a while I had him set up with some tube jigs and also a laker jigging set up.   The laker bite was tough too - though I usually don't do real well on this lake in the summer.   He lost 2 decent lakers on plastics.    We were able to catch some smallmouths (and rockbass) but the active fish were pretty deep - 12' to 23' or so.    So there are fish around but I believe many are deep.   This warm weather pattern may bring them back up top.   Met a couple bait fishermen at the launch and they had done pretty well on perch and bass - but all were in around 25' of water.

Cayuga Lake 8/17:   Drew and Andre came back up for a 1/2 day make-up trip.   Fishing on Cayuga was very good!   They started at 8 am with some decent lake trout action - not great, but not bad at all.   Fish were chasing and aggressive.    They landed 4 nice fish - all around 26" to 27".   The mid-portions of the lake are SWARMING with baitfish.  Just HUGE SCHOOLS!    Bait and lakers were all over, though the bite was slow after the wind died down.    We went bass fishing and the guys caught a few nice smallmouths up to 18.5"!     Beautiful day and some very good fishing.   I think this warm weather/south wind pattern helped a lot, and my guess is that Skaneateles probably fished better today as well.    

8/12/2006
Seneca/Lodi 8/11 + Cayuga/Taughannock 8/12

Got out with my good buddy Eric for a little afternoon/evening fishing on Seneca yesterday.   The lake was rough, no two ways about it - with a steady north wind around 12 to 15 mph.   Waves were 2' to 3' and crossing the lake was fun ;-)   We jigged lake trout for a bit south of Long Point and missed/lost a few.  No great shakes.  Boat control was tough.   I had a dink up to the boat and that was about it.    Eric dropped 2 decent fish.   The small one looked like a young "Seneca wild" fish!   This lake just churns them out...

We fished bass for most of the afternoon and Eric did well throwing a tube jig with a handful of mostly small fish landed, but one decent one around 15".    I threw a spinnerbait and caught a few dinks as well.   Smallish 10" to 14" fish were stacked on windblown points.   Eric got one small northern shallow around the weeds.   That's a good sign for the future.   So overall it was rough as heck, but we managed a bit of action with small fish.   The lake is absolutely loaded with milfoil!

Today was guiding on Cayuga Lake with Jake and Matt.   Perfect day!   The fishing started out very well with some aggressive chasing fish.   Both guys lost a couple then started landing some fish.   Soon we were in business with steady action throughout the day.   Fish are definitely on the move south and are in the pre-spawn mode.   Eggs are getting riper and the fish are moving aggressively for the jigs.    Best action was around 75' to 90' of water.   They landed 10 nice fish up to 30" and lost around 5 or 6.   

We took a break from the lakers and shot over to the east shore for a little bassin'.   The guys landed and released a couple nice smallmouths.  

8/10/2006
Lake Ontario 8/9 Hamlin/Sandy Ck. + Seneca N.End 8/10

No great shakes to report on either day.   Decided on a last minute whim to shoot out to Sandy Ck. after reading some encouraging online reports re: salmon and steelhead fishing.    A couple friends of mine have both had good luck out there jigging salmon so I thought I'd check out the area.    I was impressed with the general structure out there and nice sloping drops - very similar to Finger Lakes, and unlike most other ports east to Oswego.    As I got out it was around 4 pm and the lake had a nice westerly chop.   There was fish and bait everywhere in around 80' of water give or take.   I couldn't buy much action.   Had a couple light hits and watched 5 fish at a time move for the jig and not hit it.   Gobies was all I could think of!    I'm sure I was marking lake trout in around 100' on the bottom but I couldn't buy a hit.   They did move a little for the jig, but no discernable grabs.    I worked 70' to 120'.   Had a trolling motor (battery hookup) malfunction at around 7pm, but the wind had died so I didn't need it.   Unfortunately the bait and marks moved out as the lake calmed down.    Wish I'd given myself more time and arrived early but that's the way it goes....The lower creek looked like good bass/bowfin water.

Seneca Lake was an "add-on" since I needed to get a couple things on my trolling motor taken care of at Barrett Marine.   I needed to trailer the boat up there, so I might as well fish a couple hours.   I marked bait and lakers on the north end flats in around 70' of water.   A couple light hits but no great takers.   Shot into Glass Factory Bay and threw some super-flukes for bass.   Milfoil city up there!   Saw one nice albeit fungused up pike.   Missed/lost 3 or 4 smallies (nothing great size-wise) and landed one around 13".   That was pretty much it.    I may get back out on this lake soon again for lakers and bass.  My guess is the best bassin' is probably further south, as they do tend to migrate south as the season progresses.   The lake kicked up with possible t-storms forming, so I decided to head in.   

 

8/8/2006
Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 8/7 + 8/8

Lake trout fishing on Cayuga has been somewhat tougher for us over the past couple days.    On 8/7 I was out with Bob and John and the weather conditions were somewhat threatening and overcast throughout the day.   They landed 3 nice fish:  A 28", a 29" and an 18" fish.   Bob dropped a beauty as well.   Other fish were missed or hooked momentarily.    Fish were south of Sheldrake throughout Kidders and Rocky Dock.   65' to 85' of water was best.

Today I was out with Joe and the fish were pretty inactive until around 8:45am.   Then they started chasing jigs.  Only problem was the building winds and subsequent waves.   Winds were forecast to be around 10mph out of the north.   By noon they were gusting over 20 mph and sustained around 17!   It looked more like "Cayuga Ocean" out there!   Seneca must have been ridiculous.    Joe did a nice job and was very perserverent.  He landed a couple nice fish including one wild beauty around 26".   

One fish was loaded with bait, the other one didn't appear to have fed lately.   Very few fish have showed up around Taughannock/Frontenac, though bait is around.   I'm hoping within 2 weeks the fish will start feeding heavily again in anticipation of the spawn.   Time will tell...

8/6/2006
Lake Ontario out of Fairhaven

Got out for a 1/2 day this afternoon.   I spent most of the afternoon/evening motoring around the 80' to 130' depths watching my electronics.   I'm hoping to pick up some Lake Ontario salmonids - whether lakers, browns or salmon.    Marked some bait but had no action in it.   My temp probe is worthless beyond 50' and my new 100' probe hasn't arrived in the mail yet!    So I might have been fishing some water warmer than I hoped.

The positive news was the smallmouth bite.   Probably the best I've seen in a while.  I didn't hit any prime structure, just pulled the boat up into around 18' of water and started casting tube jigs.   Within a 1/2 an hour I landed around 8 or 9 fish.   Most were small but there was a handful of legal fish in the mix.   Makes me wonder how the structure is fishing!   I didn't see any green slimy weeds/algae.   Wound up with around a dozen fish landed in 45 minutes.   I was actually hoping to catch a goby so I could get a good look at one, no such luck.   Pesky smallies... ;-)

8/5/2006
Cayuga/Deans 8/5
Fished with Richard and Mark out of Dean's.   The weather was nice, but we got a late start due to their having to pick up fishing licenses.   We managed to hit the tail end of the morning bite and Mark nabbed a couple nice lakers, including a 32" beauty!   Rich missed a few.   We fished hard for around 6 hours but the bite only got more difficult.   We did a bit of running, but Kidders/Rocky Dock was best.   Fish were in around 75' to 85'.   Light hits and very few hitting on "the chase".  
8/4/2006
Owasco 8/4 :-)

Action was tremendous over at Owasco Lake today!   Just stellar lake trout fishing.   Guided Randy and his son Jim and they had a blast from start to finish with plenty of (maybe 20 to 25) lake trout landed.   Conditions were perfect and fish were active in 75' to 85' of water primarily around the north end of the lake.   Fish are in good condition and range from 3 to 5lbs.   They had at least 3 doubles going and missed a heck of a lot of fish too.  One fish was so aggressive it chased the jig to the surface and then tried attacking it TOPWATER - blowing up on the surface like a bass.   Unreal!

I'm hoping this bite will hold up like last year's, with good fishing throughout all of August and most of September!    Best action was from early this AM till around 10am.  

8/3/2006
Lake Champlain - Crown Point/Ticonderoga 8/1 - 8/2

Just got back from my 4th trip to Lake Champlain and the fishing was tough - no question about it.   Brutal heat/humidity and high murky water combined to leave a lot to be desired fishing-wise.    My buddy Phil is moving out of State in a week, so this was our window to fish.   We decided to fish largemouths and cover some water in hopes that we'd locate some monster gar, then we'd switch over to the fly-rods.    We got started around noon on Tuesday and worked around Larabees north of TI.    Didn't see much.   Nailed one small bass on a Senko and that was it.  There was plenty of "pin-minnows" around, but we had no luck with bass.   We started out fishing outer deeper weed edges/flats then moved into ultra-shallow stuff.   Water levels were high from recent heavy rains and we hoped some big fish would be in shallow, but we couldn't find 'em. 

There were scattered gar nearly everywhere we went, but it was ones and twos and we couldn't relocate them.   No monsters, but bigger fish that we generally see anywhere else!  

We worked a lot of areas that produced bass for us last year with very poor results.   We wound up with one more bass and a white perch.   That was it for day 1.   The highlight of the day was finding a shaded bank and pulling in to get out of the sun!   Either that, or a couple cold beers and a cigar at the launch ramp.   Not a great start ;-)

On Day 2 we started late again.   We slept well with the air-conditioning at the Sportman's Cottages and it was revitalizing after virtually no sleep due to high humidity/heat the night before we drove up.   We launched at Crown Point.   The water here was in much better shape - high, but a bit clearer than the 8" to 14" of visibility at Ti.    We shot right up to a little "hotspot" we'd found last summer and I picked up a couple nice largemouths - one on a tube and one on a green pumpkin Sweet Beaver imitation (an Ugly Otter - which to me doesn't have much action)   There were plenty of small smallies around and bait fish but no big largemouths that we could find.    Phil had a bite-off on some 55lb. braid!  

We worked Bulwagga Bay's west shore and Phil took another keeper largemouth near some distinct weeds we found.   Further into the bay we had some great fun topwater fishing with Johnson Silver Minnows/Twisters and a frog.   Phil used the minnow and outfished me with the frog by a huge margin.   Most of the fish blasting us were pickerel - but at least it was something after a dismal first day.   We both missed a couple good bass.    I caught a decent largemouth by a creek mouth on a tube.

Storms were all around us and we had some swirling winds, but no downpours.   We fished slop filled bays south of Crown and Phil took the best bass of the trip - probably a 2.7lber.   Not great for Champlain at all!   But it was better that what we had been catching.    Overall the trip was a disappointment fishing-wise.   Clear water was the key for us.  The lack of a topwater bite and even much of a pitching bite was a shock on day 1.     We never fished any chestnut, so maybe that would've been the ticket.   I don't know.   It's hard spending a short 2 days on this lake and every year I tell myself I'll stay for at least 3 or 4 days.   That's the only way to do it.    The lack of big schooling gar reminded me of how lucky I was to find them last year.   And that only happened towards the end of my last day there on my first trip!   Luck can sure play a part.... 

 

7/30/2006
Cayuga/Taughannock 7/30
Guide trip with Gordon today.   Laker action was slow until the clouds cleared and the sun came out around 10 am.   He landed 8 nice fish from around 19" to 26".   Fish were very unaggressive and came "on the jig".   There are good numbers of fish from Sheldrake to Rocky Dock and along the east shore opposite side.   Down temps are cooler on the west shore and the fish are shallower there as well.   
7/29/2006
Cayuga/Taughannock 7/28
The heavy rains (probably 2" in a couple hours!) and/or accompanying front appear to have momentarily slowed up the lake trout bite for us.  I was out with my friend Shahab and we worked areas for around 5 hours.   I had quite a few hits and some fish chasing but very few solid grabs.   Wound up landing one nice 27" fish.   Deep water temps were warmer than they had been in awhile.   I expect fishing to get back to "normal" by the day.   Creeks are spewing lots of muddy water into the lake, but many areas are relatively unaffected.   
7/27/2006
Cayuga/Taughannock 7/27
Guide trip today with Dan from North Carolina.   Started around noon working 65' to 80' of water.    Dan hooked up with a nice laker on his first drop with a jig!   He ended up landing 5 nice fish up to 30" and around 9.5lbs. or so.   Fishing was very good to excellent until the sun started poking out.   We called it an early day due to the persistent T-storms and threatening weather.    Very little boat traffic out on Cayuga Lake.   Most people take their summer vacations in early July.  
7/26/2006
Cayuga out of Dean's 7/26

Went "gar-hunting" today on Cayuga Lake.   Started out with a little laker jigging around 1pm just off Dean's.   Dropped one fish and missed a couple hits in short-order.   The thermocline is moving out deeper and my action was in around 65' to 80'.   Headed north and checked out some of the usual gar spots.   The first area I checked held a large school of decent fish.   I must have just missed the bite, because I "hooked up" within around 5 minutes with a 37" fish.   After that I had a couple follows, also from decent fish and that was about it.   The fish were breaking pretty good, but just not aggressive.  

I worked some areas on the east shore of the lake and tormented some gar with my Zoom Buzz-Frog.   Didn't get any bass, except for a dink on a spinnerbait.    Had a couple pickerel as well.   I worked bass for a few hours with cranks and jigs without any hits.   Weeds are up all over, both milfoil and coontail plus plenty of grassy stuff.

Finished off the evening looking for one laker for supper.   I caught him right off Dean's cove in around 70' to 80' of water on a new Powerbait jerkshad.   Water temps are in the low 80s.

7/24/2006
Cranberry Lake 7/22 + Black Lake 7/23

My buddy Jared is studying Forestry/Fisheries stuff over at SU.   ESF has a school over on Cranberry Lake and he's been trying to twist my arm to get over there with him to fish.   So I drove up early Sat. morning.   Met up with him and we launched the boat around 11:30am.   We found out there were 2 bass clubs holding a "head-to-head tournament" over there.    The lake is actually more of a reservoir on the Oswegatchie River.   Plenty of stumps are available in case you don't like your lower unit or prop!    My typical Adirondack lake experience is to take rapalas and jig/twisters and cast them and catch smallmouths ad nauseum, but that wasn't the case here.    We cast a bit around the launch/dam area without a hit.

We worked down the lake and tried some creek mouths.   Plenty of tannen stained water and rock, along with stumps.    Weed growth was minimal in much of the lake, but overwhelming in some shallower bays.    We finally contacted a few smallish (12" to 14") largemouths in one bay - shallow.   My trolling motor and prop kept hitting rocks which was annoying!   It was nearly impossible to work certain areas with the wind, without creeping up on huge shoals and boulders.   Nice not to have that problem in the Fingers.   The rain started up and kept going and going and going.   Non-stop moderate Adirondack rains.   No problem except the weather forecast called for temps in the lower 80s and I was dressed for that, though I did have complete rain-gear.   It was in the 60s out and my hands were gettting raw!  

Found one nice bay and Jared missed a tremendous (40"+)northern on top-water.   The ESF guys/gals have been trap-netting the lake and they've seen plenty of crappies, young perch, bass and some nice pike.   He caught a small pike and we caught a few more small bass but that was it.   We tried the river for crappies - as he's been doing well on them, but the overcast weather moved them from their typical sunny-weather spots.   No luck there, except for sunfish, small perch and a couple legal, but small largemouths.   Navigating this lake requires full attention to channel markers.   There are rogue stumps all over the place.

Overall we got soaked but it's a neat lake.   I don't feel a huge urge to get back there, but if I did I'd spend a few days there and work different areas.   I know the lake holds some huge pike and it'd be nice to catch some!    The high point of the day was a few drinks at the local watering hole "The Pinecone" with Jared and some college friends.   It felt like the movie "Old School" ;-)....

I'd been looking forward to fishing Black Lake for a long time.   It's been on my fishing "to-do list" for years.   The weather on Sunday was gorgeous and made up for Saturday's onslaught of rain.   The lake is beautiful!   Nice islands and plenty of woods around it.   The water looked inviting - dark and clear.   Tons of bait fish everywhere, including baby perch and sunfish.   I like my "rough fish" and I knew Black Lake had some gar and bowfins plus a tremendous variety of other species.  

The boat traffic - especially fishermen, was quite heavy.   Probably due in part to the crappy weather on Sat.   I normally avoid weekends, but this was Jared's only time off.    The lake is kind of "big yet small" feeling, due to the "fingers" and numbers of islands.   We started around 8 am and working around an island and hit some weedbeds.  Nothing.   I took us into some slop just to look around.   We found a nice rocky weedless area in the slop that had a decent largemouth and smallie on it.   Saw a nice gar cruise by along with plenty of baby sunfish and other baitfish.

We worked more flats and slop filled bays without much action at all.   I lost a couple 12" smallmouths along a steep dropping shore.   Saw one very nice gar, but couldn't relocate it or any concentrations of them.   The fish was probably 45".    We did some brain-storming and realized that all the cover we'd been fishing was on shallow flats, so we went looking for some slop filled bays bordering deep water.    We found it down towards "the narrows" part of the lake and soon we were in business!    I dropped a nice largemouth pitching a dark green flipping tube with chart. tentacles.   A couple minutes later I nailed a chunky bass around 2 1/2 lbs doing the same thing.   Jared dropped a fish or two, then we both landed more solid keepers.   We ended up landing 5 or 6 quality largemouths in this area.   He had one or two bite-offs on the braid.   Maybe bowfins or pike - probably the former.   We could have kept pounding our bass area, but we spent the last hour or two cruising around getting the layout of the lake.   I was hoping to find a gar school.   Saw one more gar and a possible school of them for a minute, but couldn't find them again.

My take on Black Lake is the following:  I'd come back during the early season around May/June during mid-week and explore the terrific crappie fishing.   I'd like to try catfishing the lake and casting a bit for pike and gar.   Overall, I think Lake Champlain offers much better fishing, with far less people.   You don't generally need to spend a couple days on Champlain to find some great fishing.   We had to work hard to find decent bass on Black Lake - and many people don't flip or pitch.   The "power fishing casting bite" was slow for us - i.e. casting spinnerbaits/crankbaits.   Butterfield Lake is nearby and better fishing in my opinion as well.    I enjoyed the experience and would also concentrate on fishing the southern deeper portions of the lake if I come back in the summertime.  

7/21/2006
Seneca Lake 7/21 out of Sampson

Not much to report here.  I picked up my new trolling motor over at Barrett Marine (defective plug) and dumped in at Sampson just to check on my gear.   I had a big weekend trip planned and just wanted to get my rod/reel combos in order.   Should be a simple task, but it's anything but.   Which rod to use with which reel and so on.

I was alarmed to find that my new high-powered trolling motor was interfering with my Vexilar signal!   I contacted Vexilar and it's a common problem that can be remedied with either a special transducer or a ferrite core.   I didn't know this at the time though.

Went across the lake from Sampson from around Reed's south.   Tons of lakers were on the shelves out there in around 70' of water give or take.   Did a little jigging but the trolling motor interference problem made it aggravating.   Fish didn't seem too active either.   Set up a few "new combos" for spinnerbaits and wound up chucking them for awhile.   I was pleasantly surprised to catch a couple small northerns.    The milfoil is outrageous in Seneca Lake!   Weeds everywhere.   That bodes well for pike, bass and perch in the future.  

Went back to jigging lakers and nailed a couple good fish in short order.   They'd turned on and fishing was excellent.    As it started to get dark I called it a day.

7/19/2006
Owasco/Sodus Wed. 7/19

Started out early this AM with a 1/2 day guide trip with Frank and Carol.   They're the parents of a good client of mine.   The good news is that the bite on Owasco is the best I've seen yet this season thus far.   This "numbers fishery" has finally awoken.   My guys landed around 10 nice lakers from 22" to 26".   This lake coughed up a 17lb. laker a couple weeks ago during the Owasco derby!   This lake is full of fish and I marked fish all over.  Smallies were blasting bait on the surface out in 60' to 70' as usual.     Fish were in 60' to 80' of water and my flasher worked impeccably.  

After Owasco I went over to Sodus Bay for some gar fishing.   I met Mike Kelly from the Syracuse-Post Standard over there and we went cruising around searching for gar.   Last time on the bay I found the gar but they wouldn't hit.   This time they were hitting but we couldn't find them!    I got one small aggressive straggler and at least Mike was able to get a few photos and see what the rope fly/gar thing was all about.   Water temp's in the low 80s.   Saw a couple other gar surface but I just couldn't find the mother-lode.    We did a little bass fishing and caught a couple dinks.   People are pre-fishing for the upcoming Avon Anglers Open tourney.   Reports thus far are pretty good for the bay's bassin' according to an angler I talked to at the launch. 

7/18/2006
Cayuga/Taughannock 7/18

I finally got out on my own this evening on Cayuga Lake.   The past 3 weeks have been pretty much non-stop guiding and it's been nice having a few days "off".   I will be doing a lot of research and experimentation over the next few weeks, so stay tuned.

I was really looking forward to tonight since I just installed my brand new Vexilar FL-18 Flasher on my bow.    Those of you who've been out on trips where we've done some vertical jigging have seen the importance of good electronics.    The Vexilar unit is a 3 color flasher with separation of up to 1/2" off the bottom!   It also features a "bottom lock" feature that shows the bottom 6' - no matter how much we move.  

In a nutshell, the unit was about 10 times as much fun to use as my previous LCDs!   It only took around 10 to 20 minutes (at most) to get used to the flasher.   The excitement of seeing fish appear on the bottom was exhilirating!   Especially with the colors.  The red is the strongest signal, so the fish may first appear green, then orange, then red.   Once I saw a few red marks I knew I had a good chance of hooking up.   The "real-time" was noticeably faster than that of either my Eagle or my Garmin units.    The only drawback of the Vex is that it takes a little figuring to decipher exactly what the depth is.   Numbers must be multiplied by the setting on the dial.   Small price to pay for the clear advantages of the unit.   I will be getting an FL-10 unit on my dash soon!   The products can be checked out at www.vexilar.com/    There's a couple great sections on the website regarding sonar in general - this stuff will help anyone understand sonar better.

Fishing was excellent.   I did have some annoying young adults come disturbingly close to my boat while water-skiing.   After my words fell on deaf ears, one cast with a 1 ounce jig pretty much solved that problem ;-)     Last thing I heard was the skier swearing at the driver and his "friends" for motoring him so close to "the fisherman".    Later on they waved and kept their distance.    

Anyways - I landed around 9 lakers in around 3 hours and dropped a couple fish.   They ranged from 25" to 30".   I fished from 5 to around 8 and they were still hitting good when I left.   The fish were in around 55' to 70' of water.   This fishing was more reminiscent of last summer's hot bite.

7/16/2006
Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 7/15 + 16

Lake trout action remains good to excellent on Cayuga Lake.   Guided Mihai (aka Mike) on Saturday.   Action was terrific in the morning - he landed 8 fish in about an hour and a half, including a 33" bohemoth that we would have liked for the Red Cross Derby!  I'm sure that fish was at least 11lbs.   He wound up landing another 6 fish and losing a couple.  We were threatened by T-storms all morning and I'm sure that got the fish hitting.  Best depth was around 52' of water give or take.  

On Sunday Mihai returned with his friend and we got a late start.  Fishing was tougher, but we still managed to land 6 or 7 nice fish.   Fish were deeper - around 60' to 72' were tops.   We've found lakers all over the place - they are lakewide right now, though the central portions of the lake are probably still the best.   Mihai's friend had never caught a fish before and within a couple hours he'd landed his first fish - a 27" lake trout!  He's now "hooked" on fishing.   I took some photos of his triumph and they are a riot.    My schedule has slowed a bit this week and I should have time to get some new photos up. 

Boat traffic was unreal today on Cayuga;  I have rarely seen so many boats on the lake.   The air temps were "Gar Hot" as well.   Wow!  

 

7/15/2006
Cayuga Lake out of Dean's 7/13 + 14

Lake trout action is still good to very good - with moments of excellence out of Dean's Cove.   Fish are both north and south of the launch in 40' to 70'+ water.   Bait is EVERYWHERE on Cayuga.   This lake is so ridiculously full of bait it's a joke.   You can't run down a shore for a minute without marking big schools of alewives.

Fished with Jessica and Greg on Thurs. morning.   That was a riot - a lot of fun.  It's always great fun watching the gals outfish the guys!   Jessica was "in the zone" and she landed a bunch of nice fish.   Great morning bite - 7:30 till around 10:30 or so.    Greg did what he could to salvage things and made the morning respectable!  ;-)    All in all a very fun outing.  BTW, Greg lost what appeared to be a monster or at least very big smallmouth out in around 40' of water south of Dean's.  

In the afternoon/evening I made up a cancellation from the previous day's steady, heavy rain.   Fished with Joe and again, great enjoyable day.   I'm just thrilled meeting different people week by week.   He got right into the zone as well and hooked a few nice lakers 1st. thing in the afternoon.   Fishing stayed steady throughout the evening with enough action to stay with it.   Evening fishing really picked up and it was picture perfect out there.   We did a bit of running, but the best action was around Dean's, with Rocky Dock and Long Point distant 2nds. for us.

Today was a 1/2 day with Pete and Todd from last year.   They wanted to "fine-tune" their jig fishing and that's what we tried to do.   Best moment was a wild double of a 29" and 28" lake trout!   Great fights and both fish were landed.   These guys fish Owasco a lot, so these fish ended up being their personal best!   We found lots of fish chasing, but they weren't hitting super aggressively.   Nice morning with 2 wild (unclipped) fish in the mix.   We did have to move a lot to find good action.   If you aren't getting the action you want -MOVE!   :-)

7/11/2006
Owasco Lake 7/11

Great day on Owasco Lake today with Dave and Sam!   We started out casting assorted lures hoping for smallies and walleyes.   Dave nailed a nice 23" walleye on a spinnerbait, then he missed another one that was considerably larger.   Both fish hit during the daytime!   He got a decent smallmouth as well.   We went to jigging lakers and lo and behold Dave hooks up again!   This time it was a silver beauty -  a 28" chrome rainbow!  Probably around 7 to 7.5lbs!   First rainbow we've caught jigging vertically!   I probably unloaded 10 shots with my "point and shoot" on this fish.   They also managed a couple lakers plus a nice smallmouth around 16" caught deep.   

After the trip, I did some fishing "experimentation" on my own and nailed a nice smallmouth just shy of 20".   This fish came from 80' of water!   It was no accident - I'm on to something good here.....  ;-)

Owasco appears to be picking up a bit for lakers after a very slow spring.  We'll see what happens.   Fish are in 40' to 100' of water.  Surface temps are around 72-75.

7/10/2006
Cayuga Lake 7/5 - 7/9

I don't have the energy now for a "play by play" report but here's what's going on in Cayuga Lake re: lakers.    The best bites are generally in the morning - usually they start by 6:30 or 7:00 am.   Sometimes the bite goes till 9, sometimes later.   Evening fishing has generally been good to excellent - it was on Thurs. night, but it was tough on Sat. night.   There's baitfish everywhere - from north of Dean's Cove down to Myer's and probably further south.   Lake trout are all over the place, but they can be tough.   At times 4 fish may chase the jig, then nothing over the next 2 hours.    Playing with lure type, color and jig head weight can help.   Find the right day, and fish hit all day long.   The wrong day and it's a struggle.   There isn't much rhyme or reason to it.  

One of the high points of the week was fishing with Mark Dombroski - who's joined me on some fantastic fishing trips.   After some very good morning fishing for 25" to 28" lakers, he cracked the 32" mark with a 10lb. + beauty caught near Dean's Cove.   The fish was good for $250 and 7th place in the Red Cross Derby.    The "evening bite" was tough Sat. but we only needed one fish - the right one!    Kind of like marriage....  

It was great seeing Mike Canavan take lunker AND first place AND fifth place (? - good for over $2800!!!).   Mike and his dad joined me for a guide trip last Sept.    He needed no help jigging then, and he certainly doesn't need it now!     BTW - Mike does my custom rods and builds some of the finest rods I've seen.  

The waterfleas are getting worse by the year and trolling is becoming tedious at times.   Now's the time to get into jigging these fish if you've been "on the fence" for awhile.   A 1/2 day trip can change your life!   At least your "fishing life"!

The jiggers dominated the lake trout board (50%)with perennial jigger Toby Wood placing 2 fish on the board, along with Mike - who at one time had 3 lakers on the board!  Awesome....  We dropped a couple good fish, but it's doubtful that any would have made the board.

Smallmouth bass were following Mark's jigs out in 50' to 80' of water!   Bass finish spawning just as the alewives move in.  It doesn't take an Einstein to figure out why smallies move out come summertime.  

Over the past week we've had fish in Cayuga as shallow as 35' and as deep as 90'.   Most of the time 50' to 70' has been best, but it varies from shore to shore (east vs. west) and from day to day.   

7/4/2006
Cayuga out of Dean's Cove 7/2 - 7/4

It's been a busy week over here at FLAZ.   Guided Mark and Mike again on Sunday.   They hooked up with one good lake trout, then we did a bit of bass fishing.   It wasn't super productive but it was a fun day with a bunch of rock bass and a decent smallmouth, plus some missed fish.   The weather was spotty and plenty of pleasure boats were out.   Bass were hitting tube jigs and super flukes.   Lake trout were chasing a bit in the morning but it was tough drawing solid strikes.

Monday the 3rd. was Chris and his wife Barb.   Chris is a long-time friend and has been out with me quite a few times over the past 2 years.   We started around noon with a decent little burst of lake trout action.   Fishing slowed from around 3 till 7pm, then picked up again as the sun got low.   We wound up with around a half-dozen decent lake trout caught from 45' to 70'.   Barb did a nice job in converting her nice shirt into a slimy bloody lake trout rag!   She has a great touch with the technique and I was impressed!

Tuesday July 4th was surprisingly "boat-free" on the lake.   The predicted "heavy T-storms" never materialized and we got lucky, as Kelly and his son Mike didn't have any raingear with them!   The lake trout action started with a couple smallish 20" to 22" fish around 7 am.   Fishing picked up and the guys did a great job landing at least 13 fish - most of which were in the 26" to 28" range!    Fish were pretty shallow in the morning, nosing into some 52 degree water around 35' deep.   Good fishing and it stayed steady until we called it quits around 1:30pm.

Fish appear to be steadily moving out of the "Silos" area.   The "downlake migration" appears to have begun!   Bait is all over the place.   Fishing should remain good for quite some time!

7/1/2006
Sodus Bay 6/30 + Cayuga Lake 6/30 - 7/1

Guided Mark on Sodus hoping for some fly-fishing action on the drum and gar.   The drum and baitfish disappeared from their usual areas.   I wasn't able to find them in fly-fishable concentrations.   Gar fishing was inexplicably tough!   We found plenty of fish, had decent water temps but we just couldn't get them to go.  Had one follow from a small one and that was it!   Winds were pretty strong, so that may have been a factor.  We checked out L.Ontario for an hour or two.   Green slime is back :-(    Shades of the 1970s and 80s out there.   Water temps were in the mid-60s.    Didn't see much.

On the way back we tried Cayuga.   Lake trout action remains excellent with 3 or 4 fish caught in short order!  

On 7/1 I guided Mark and Mike on Cayuga.   The morning fishing was tougher than expected.   It took some time to get into a groove.   Found the fish had moved shallower than I'd seen them in awhile.   Did well around 48' and deeper.   Action seemed to pick up as the morning went on.   The guys landed around 10 fish, including a very nice one around 31" and probably 9.7lbs or so (it was the same size as our Red Cross board fish last year.)   We'll be back out tomorrow, and the guys appear to have the technique down pretty well.  

6/28/2006
Cayuga Dean's Wed. 6/28

I was cautiously optimistic as I drove up Rt. 89 today.   We'd been spared much of the rain, by sheer luck or perhaps the area topography.   The Dean's Cove area looks excellent - the only debris I saw blew in a bit later.   I started around 1:15 and within 5 minutes I had a laker!   Fish are still all over and aggressive - even in midday!    I landed one other fish then checked out a few other areas - all of which held fish.    Bait is still all over the place as well.   Water temps are warming and the two lakers I landed fought a little more lethargically than the fish were fighting earlier in the week.   Could be sheer coincidence as well.   We'll see.

I spend the last 4 hours of my day trying out a couple new custom rods I just got, fishing a "chatterbait" ,bass fishing and just motoring around the east shore.   I spooked a handful of smallmouths on beds and saw a couple lethargic post spawn largemouths.   I couldn't get excited about chasing spawners, so I kept moving.   Water temps are approaching 80 now, since the rains warmed things up.   Nothing great to report bass-wise.   The heat index/humidity was oppressive and T-storms started forming so I decided to call it a day around 6:30pm.

6/27/2006
Seneca out of Sampson PM report 6/25
After winding up the guide trip with Mark I relaxed for awhile then decided to head out to Seneca with my buddy Phil and his son Casey for some evening fishing on Seneca.   There was a break in the weather and we shot over to Sampson State Park around 5:30pm.   Fishing was alright - basically good but not great.   The water - even deep, is warm - so we went searching for lakers in over 60' of water.   We picked up a few good fish and a few very small wild 10" to 13" fish, which was cool.   They looked almost like little brook trout!   No great shakes on the fishing but it was certainly worthwhile.   I didn't hunt around much so I'm sure maybe up north would be faster action.    Fish ran up to 27".   Bait was around, mostly up top.   
6/25/2006
Cayuga/Dean's 6/25
Another terrific day out on Cayuga!   We started around 5:30am and finished just after 10am.   Fish didn't start hitting well for us until 6pm.   Mark boated 15 nice lakers in less than 5 hours.   Fish ran up to 31" - probably 9lbs.    2 fish had lampreys on them.   Best action was in 45' to 65' of water.   The lakers are really feeding heavily right now;  all the fish had baitfish in them, some quite a few.   Again, this fishing action should hold up for a bit - maybe not quite as "hot and heavy", but it will be good!   Surface temps are around 72.   Bait is everywhere and so are active fish.   Trollers appeared to be catching a few, but overall the jig bite appears to be tops right now by a long shot :-)
6/24/2006
Cayuga Lake out of Dean's 6/24

There's good fishing, great fishing and fishing bordering on the edge of insanity.   Mark D. one of my top "clients" was treated to the latter.   I've never been a huge numbers guy.  Usually we catch a few fish and I'll happily try for another species unless it's a bass tourney or a fishing derby.   Mark busts his butt at work and really loves being out on the water.   So today was a numbers day ;-)    We set up at 6:15am and the fishing craziness started.   Just fish after fish chasing and hitting.   We put a bunch of fish in the cooler within an hour - fish pushing up to 31" and probably all of 9lbs.   Mark kept hammering fish and by the around 2pm he'd landed around 25 fish!    Imagine if 2 people had been fishing all day.   How about from sun-up to sun down?  When you have 1 to 5 fish chasing the jig nearly all day these things can happen.    I fished for about an hour and a half and got 5.   Mark lost another 1/2 dozen and missed God knows how many.   Just superb.    The fishing was so great Mark booked me again tomorrow!  

Occasionally everything falls into place on a fishing trip.   Sometimes things don't happen as I'd like them to.   Last Tuesday on Keuka was a very tough day - though my guys landed a couple lakers.   Today was the opposite.   Expect good to excellent fishing on Cayuga over the next few weeks.   Sure, there may be occasional "bumps in the road" but if you've wanted to try the jigging, now's the time.  A half day in the evening is a perfect way to get this technique down and have some fun.    We had one boat come by us trolling and the binoculars came out while Mark was battling a fish.   Within 10 minutes they'd stopped and started jigging.   That pretty much says it all....

6/22/2006
Cayuga out of Dean's 6/22

Long day on the water today with Matt and Zack.    In a nutshell, the bass fishing was pretty tough today.   They casted superflukes and worked drop-shots, spinnerbaits, tubes and cranks.   One decent smallie and a few small largemouths were caught.   One or two good fish were missed.   A lot of the day was spent learning to cast baitcasters and learning how to work many of the above mentioned lures.    That being said, bass fishing was still slow.   We saw fish on beds - mainly small male largemouths.   Didn't work the smallmouths much.   North end temps are coming up into the low 70s slowly but surely.

Reports I've heard are that there are some big bass in shallow but they are being fished pretty hard by the tournament anglers prefishing for the weekend BASS tourney.   Jigs might be the ticket.  

The great news was the laker bite, especially up around the Silo area.   Just smoking fishing!  Pretty much as good as it gets this evening.   Waking up early for lakers was a waste of time today!   Sleep in and go out around 7pm!   Plenty of large well-fed fish all over the place in 50' to 80' of water or so.   My guys landed around 10 fish in probably less than 2 hours - maybe 90 minutes!   Fasten your seatbelts.....

6/21/2006
Cayuga/Taughannock 6/21

Terrific lake trout action was the rule this morning.   We started at 5:20 am and the fishing got going within about 20 minutes of our arrival.    Lisa and Duncan (from Monday's trip) landed around 13 nice fish between 5 and 8lbs.   Most action was between 5:45 and 9:30am with fish hitting throughout the day, though it slowed pretty well by 2pm.   Duncan also caught a decent smallmouth when we took a break. 

Fish were north of Millican in 65' to 105' of water.   We also had good action near Kidders.   Bait is all over the place.   Look for deeper bait!   Surface temps are around 62.   Lisa and Duncan didn't mess around when hooking fish!   They really torqued on them pushing the tackle to the limit.  It looked like a lot of fun.   Fish were in very good to excellent condition and we had a few unclipped (wild?) ones.   

Interesting note:   Lisa's grandfather was possibly the biggest fishing fanatic Cayuga Lake has ever known.   He fished nearly every day until he passed away and was possibly the first person to catch a sturgeon there on hook and line in 1961.   I have the article from "Outdoor Life" magazine and may post it eventually.   He was fishing a dead smelt on bottom for trout near Myers!    The fish was over 5' long.   Cool stuff!

6/20/2006
Keuka out of Branchport 6/20

Well today proved to me that Saturday's slow lake trout fishing with John Sander wasn't a fluke.   I fished with Alan and his grandson Fred today.   We got on the water at 7 am and worked a lot of areas with very little action.   We worked the Branchport arm, Bluff area and Hammondsport with little to show for it.   We picked up a couple fish within about 10 minutes up on the Penn Yan Branch and it looked as though things would turn around but they didn't.   Fish are all over the place from around 60' to 115'.   We did have quite a few chasers and a couple short hits, but fish don't seem to be actively feeding and we didn't find much bait.

We did a lot of experimentation trying to get some fish.   You name it, we tried it!  ;-)    I give the guys a lot of credit for fishing hard.   When fish aren't hitting on "the chase", deep jigging can be a difficult technique.    Seneca or Cayuga would have been the call today but the wind forecasts seemed a better fit for Keuka.  H2O is creeping up to 70 on the surface around the bluff and around the mid 60s south.  

6/19/2006
Cayuga Lake 6/19 out of Taughannock
Got out around 7am with Lisa and Duncan.   Fishing started out pretty good and they landed a few fish up to around 28" in 55' to 70' of water give or take.   We worked areas on the east shore north of Millican with good fishing and then the west shore with slow fishing.   The bite slowed as the morning went on and then the rain came.   Unfortunately they weren't dressed for the heavy downpours and we called it an early day after stopping off at "the Lighthouse" for a bite to eat.   We'll be back out soon!   Bait and fish are moving in.  Expect good to excellent fishing on Cayuga this week and for the forseeable future!
6/18/2006
Keuka out of Branchport 6/17

Fished Keuka for lakers with John Sander.   We got a late start - 9:30am.  Had some fair lake trout fishing.   We only landed a couple fish though we lost/missed a quite a few.   Fish weren't super aggressive;  we were getting hit short a lot.   I had 50 degree water down 50'.   Most of our action occured from around 60'+.   Marked a lot of suspended fish and we were able to hook some.  

My take on things is that an early start is the way to go unless it's an overcast/rainy day.   The evening bite was slow for us too, so maybe there's just a momentary lull in the fishing.   We shall see.  The fish we kept did not have any bait in them.   Given the great bite on Seneca, that may be the best bet for lakers until something proves otherwise.

6/17/2006
Sodus Bay/Seneca Lake 6/16

Very good to great fishing today with my buddy Phil.   We started around 10 am on Sodus Bay fishing for drum.   I nailed a couple nice fish on the fly rod.    Great battles!!!    Phil picked up fish on a small crankbait.   The drum are all over the place.   We spotted some nice gar and I enticed a few follows on the fly-rod.   They are still a bit lethargic;  we need more hot weather!  Drum also hit tube jigs today for us.

Bass were all over the shallows and Phil caught a few up to 3lbs or better.   Saw one nice bowfin as well.    Water temps are 69 to 70.   Water color is great - dark and clear - no algae blooms yet.    Beautiful weed growth!    Should be a great bass opener.

We picked up and fished Seneca from around 7:30pm till dark.   Terrific lake trout action in 65' to 85' of water.  Just great!   We landed around 7 fish up to 29".   Some hard fighting beasts!   I could've EASILY snapped a rod on one fish I lost.   Just fierce battles!   These fish come up to the surface then sound like a torpedo.   Bait is all over the place.  H2O is around the low 60s on top.   Half day evening trips are convenient and productive.   No need to lose sleep!

6/15/2006
Cayuga/Taughannock 6/15
Did a search around the Taughannock area for some lake trout.   The lake was pretty darn rough when I got out around 1pm.   Bait is moving in all over the place, mostly up in the top portion of the water columns.   I worked a bunch of areas and caught a couple fish:  a 16" laker on the east shore south of Portland Point and a 26" hefty fish near Crowbar Point.   My money for the best action is still on the Sheldrake/Kidders area.   Trollers appear to be doing pretty well around Taughannock for lakers.   There are decent numbers of fish in the southern portions of the lake, but they seem a bit scattered.   The thermocline appears to be forming.   Stability is here - at least for now!   I fished pike for an hour or two without any action.   That's the biggest mystery of the spring for me!   Water level is high, temps around 62.  
6/14/2006
Sodus Bay 6/13

Had a fun day on Sodus with my buddy Eric.  The goal today was freshwater drum aka sheepshead.   These are one of my favorite fish to pursue in freshwater.   I will be adding them to my "species" section in the future (this summer in all likelihood).   Look for some other new parts to this website this summer/fall.

The fishing started out slow.  We were fly-fishing and the winds were a bit much when we arrived.   Water temps were in the low/mid 60s.   Still a bit cold for gar fishing, though one or two hot days will crank things to the appropriate temps.   We went to jigs and I hooked the first drum.   Probably the best fighting fish of the season thus far!   I'd say it outfought or out-muscled the 11lb. brown Willy caught a couple weeks ago!   These fish are strong - especially when they reach the 5 to 10lb range.   Think of a cross between a smallmouth bass and a carp fight.   Basically a smallmouth that doesn't jump - or a foul-hooked carp!    Lots of digging and powerful but short runs.   They are basically a freshwater redfish.   Eric then caught one as well.  Both were big, 25" to 26" fish probably pushing 6 to 7lbs!

Worked some flies for a while on the 8 weight and I connected with a decent drum in the 5 to 5.5 lb range.   That was a lot of fun and I'll be spending some serious effort fine-tuning the fly-fishing for these fish.   Had another follow or two.  Fish were around but scattered.   We'll be back!

6/11/2006
Keuka Lake 6/10 + 6/11

Busy weekend guiding.   Fished with Michele and her dad on Sat.   They fished with me last October and had some very good lake trout fishing.   The weather was cool out and windy/overcast.   We didn't have to go far for some very good lake trout fishing.   Just shot out of the State Park and headed north.   Plenty of fish were in 40' to 65' of water.   Nothing huge, but great eating sized fish.   They caught around a dozen fish before calling it a day on count of the cold.

Sunday was windy and sunny.  Cold to start as well.   Had John and Eleonore on board.   Action was slow to start though they picked up a couple fish in Branchport.   The wind kicked up and the fish didn't :-) - so we motored over to the Bluff/Power plant area.  More wind there!   So we went over to the west side and picked up more lake trout.   Then we went north and they bass fished for an hour or two.   Bassin' was pretty good and John landed a 16" fish and missed a bigger one.   Eleonore learned how to cast a baitcaster and caught a pickerel and dink bass on a spinnerbait.   They were jonesing for more lakers so we went back to the jigging.   Tough to leave the serious numbers of fish for scattered bass!   Jigging picked up as the cloud cover increased and winds diminished and they had some steady action.  A thermocline appears to be setting up.   The fish moved out from around 60' to 80' today.   My temp probe goes down to 50' and I had warm water (high 50s) down at 50' in Branchport.  

They told me how unique things happen to them fishing:  2 bass at a time when one fish expels a hooked minnow through its gills and another bass hits it!    How about a bass leaping right into a boat, due to a minnow being dangled in the air hanging from the side of a boat?   Well sho' nuff, I had a new thing happen to me.   I went to bleed/kill a laker I put in my livewell and accidentally stuck my finger in its mouth.   I've done this many times and normally I just pull my hand out.   Not this time!   The laker just clamped on my finger like a vice-grip!!!   Yeow!  That hurt.   Hey, I'm bleeding!   First time I've ever had that happen - and I've bled out/whacked 100s of lakers. Can't wait for our next trip together! ;-)

6/9/2006
Cayuga Lake Friday 6/9

Fished Cayuga from 10am till around 4pm today.   Spent the first 3 hours + working the west shore south end for pike without seeing a single fish.   Things looked right except for the lack of weeds.   Lake level is high.

We jigged lakers in different areas from Portland Point north.   Also cruised around checking the electronics a bit.   Fish are scattered around.  Not much bait either, though guys are catching alewives over at Taughannock from shore.    The best lake trout area remains around Sheldrake.   We caught a couple fish over there in short order before we had to get going due to T-storms.

By the way, I am currently moderating John Sander's (of Sander's Guide "fame's") fishing forum on his website at www.sandersfishingguides.com/    John's a great guy and a friend of mine, so I've "moved over" from Lake Ontario United.   If you enjoy reading fishing reports and discussing the area fishery and fishery issues, please join in!    It's just a click away....(sounds like a Rolling Stone's tune!)

6/8/2006
Cayuga Lake Wed. 6/7 + Keuka Lake Thurs.6/8

Got out on Cayuga to check on laker activity.   I did a lot of cruising and a bit of fishing as well.   Laker are basically scattered all over the place on Cayuga, from the Silos area down to Dean's Cove, and across to Long Point and down to Sheldrake.   The only decent fishing I had was at Sheldrake where I landed a couple nice fish.   There were large schools of bait south of the point in around 95' to 110' of water.   You'd think it was late April!    The water is warm in shallow but it appears as though the bait hasn't found the warm stuff.   I expect this to change shortly.   Expect fishing to pick up substantially on Cayuga over the next week or two!

Keuka is a different story.   I guided Kathy and Dan (who were with me last May on Seneca).   We had terrific lake trout action this morning on the Branchport Arm of the lake.   They landed their limit within an hour and a half.   Fish were typical 18" to 22" Keuka lake trout.   A few of the fish had some very large alewives in their stomachs, but baitfish are scarce overall in Keuka Lake - though the condition of the lakers is good.

I spent the afternoon and early evening exploring the lake a bit for bass and lake trout areas.   I found some scattered bass and quite a few areas holding lake trout.   Keuka is a deceivingly large lake with an amazing amount of structure - almost like a TVA reservoir.   Points and creeks galore!   Tiring but productive day.  I'll be out on this lake a lot over the next week and I'm looking forward to it!  Water temps are close to 64 on the surface.  

6/6/2006
Keuka 6/5 out of Branchport

Back out on Keuka around 7:45 am with Eric.   We started near the Power Plant in 40' of water.  We had a ton of great marks over there, but the fishing wasn't as fast as we'd have hoped - given the number of fish.   Lots of short hits.    Eric landed 4 or 5 fish, I got one.   We both dropped fish and missed hits.   Fish were pretty small overall 17" to 21".     We'll be experimenting with some different tackle for these fish in the future.  

We headed north looking for smallies.   We worked a lot of water - fishing thoroughly.   Fishing was slow with the high sun and lack of wind.   Eric did manage to land a couple nice (15" to 16" smallies) on streamers.   Fish were scattered - some up shallow, others suspended.   I had a nice rainbow (?!) follow in a streamer - it was probably around 3lbs or better.   The wind kicked up and bass got more active.  I picked up an 18" smallie on a 1/2 oz. terminator spinnerbait.   Also got a 17" fish on a superfluke.   We could see pods of bass!  Very cool.  

Lake trout continued to hit well on nearly all points in 40' to 60'.  We picked up a few more bass and some panfish along with a snagged bullhead.    Water temps are in the low 60s on the surface.   Lots of lakers still around Branchport as well.

6/4/2006
Owasco Lake 6/4
Guide trip on Owasco with Gordon.   Nice Upstate NY weather today - rain, overcast and more rain.   We did have a few nice breaks in the weather.   I was hoping to jig lakers today, but the bite just wasn't on for us.   Had one fish chase a jig right off the bat, but it went downhill from there.   The backup plan was to cast alewife colored tube jigs along shore, concentrating on points.   Gordon had some very good "bursts" of fishing on the tube.   He landed a chunky 23" walleye that was probably close to 4lbs, a couple 20" smallmouths and a few 17" to 18" smallmouths as well.   There were also a few rockbass around.   Tried some pike fishing for an hour or so, but it was slow for us.   Baitfish are non-existent save for a few schools on the northwestern portion of the lake and some fish in very deep water.   The walleye didn't have anything in its stomach.   The lake color is very "fishy" and nice.   The nighttime walleye bite should be very good.   Water temps on the surface ranged from low 50s to low 60s.
6/3/2006
Keuka Lake out of Penn Yan 6/2

It was great getting out with my friend Eric, whom I hadn't fished with since last winter.   We set up on Keuka Lake hoping for some bass action.   Eric fished an 8 weight fly-rod and I went with the conventional gear.   This way we get to see how effective the fly-fishing is compared to the gear.    We worked some shallow rocky/sandy flats and had some action not long after we set up.   Eric went through the areas we fished with the flies first.   I twitched superflukes and Rapala X-raps, occasionally casting a tube jig.   Eric worked some prototype "Jailbait" patterns I tied up.   These flies were originated by a smallmouth guide down around Virginia to resemble and fish like a fluke/sluggo bait.

The results were pretty much even with the flyrod and gear - though we didn't knock 'em dead.   I hooked 3 smallies and landed 2 and Eric landed 2.  Eric also had some nice (20"+) pickerel and rockbass on the jailbait.    The smallmouths were all legal fish - probably 13" to 15" or so.   I was hoping for some of the 17" to 19" fish that Keuka has - but we didn't find them.  Originally I'd planned to do a few passes in each area and work deeper on every successive pass.   This plan was lost in the shuffle!  ;-)   I'm sure the big fish were just deeper.    I should also mention that the water was pretty stained up from all the heavy rain we had - each point with a creek had off-colored water.   I'd forgotten my spinnerbaits and deep cranks - which would have been a good call.   Rattles on the tubes would have helped too.

Eric had a strong tug off a point and I then hooked a good fish momentarily.   From the way it hit and came back and was fighting I'd have bet money it was a very solid salmon.

We did some jigging for lake trout and they were scattered all over Penn Yan.   Water temps are in the mid-60s on the surface, but don't be fooled.  In 35' of water it's still a cold 48 on the bottom!   We each had some hits and momentary hookups but nothing in the boat.    We set up at the north end and both worked streamers for pickerel.   The fishing was good, but the fish were all small  "finger shredders".

I decided to take a last ditch run over to the bluff area to catch some (hopefully) grouped-up lake trout.   Didn't mark much, but we fished anyways with spoons and jigs, covering a variety of depths.  The water here was very stained and didn't look good at all.   Started heading back up the lake and we worked a few clearer areas without action.  We then set up at the College.   We each were lamenting the slow lake trout bite when we each hooked up and lost fish.   Pay attention guys!    As it got dark I started getting the gear together while Eric still fished.   As I had stuff prepared to leave Eric hooked and landed a laker!   Guess we're staying....We kept fishing and were both getting hits and nearly hooking up - this was past sundown and getting into the night fishing realm!   Guess it's time to use the "glow in the dark" power twitch baits!    Very nice way to end the day....

6/1/2006
Seneca out of Sampson 5/31

Conditions remain pretty much the same on Seneca.   Good numbers of fish and plenty of bait are around.    The bite is kind of spotty.   Our best fishing has been from around 10:45pm till 2:30pm - something like that!   No need to wake up early!   My best guess is that the evening fishing might be better.    I did a make-up guide trip (Andy and Ron from last year's gillnetting fiasco on Cayuga 10/8).   I don't guarantee fish on trips, but if the conditions are abhorrent or a "wrench gets thrown in the machine" I'll certainly try to make up for it.   

They fished hard all morning with very little to show for it.   Around 10:45 we worked the Sampson area and all of a sudden there was a good bite.   Ron hammered 3 lakers in around 15 minutes!   They were in 27' to 35' of water - lakers and bait.    Water temps were in the low 50s.   We checked other areas incl. Long Point/Dresden and Willard towards Lodi.   Sampson produced the best.

I did an afternoon last minute trip with Ed from NY.   Things started great as he nailed a 28" + laker right off the bat and a 26" fish.   Plenty of follows and only a few grabs.   We worked a few different areas and he had to leave after 3 hours.   Short but sweet fishing!   

Barring any unusual weather patterns, lake trout fishing should pick up.   It's not on a par with last year yet - though the early season fishing this year was much better than last year.

5/30/2006
Cayuga/Taughannock 5/29 + Seneca Lake out of Sampson 5/30

Memorial Day was a guide trip with Willy and his dad Jack.   These guys both went to Cornell and really wanted to fish Cayuga Lake.   After the day I had with Willy a week or two ago - I couldn't blame them.   The day started out with around a good hour or two of thunderstorms.   We were lucky enough to run into some of my Master Swim friends who live on the lake and were kind enough to invite us in for coffee while the storm passed.

As soon as things cleared we ran to Millican.   No one was there and things looked promising.   Both guys had some hits and Jack missed a nice 20"+ salmon that took a lightning fast swirl at his streamer.   One big unidentified fish also followed in one of Jack's white clousers.   A few perch were hitting the flies and that was pretty much it.   We worked a lot of deep water around the discharge without much action.   We went to lake trout jigging and it was pretty slow.   A few follows and hits.   Willy and his dad both eventually caught fish jigging, but we had to work for them.   We tried the flow again in the evening and nothing was doing.  

Bottom line:  Millican is probably an early morning bite at best now.  Water temps are quickly shooting up out of trout/salmon preferences.

I checked out Seneca with Mike, a bass pro employee friend of mine.   We started jigging at around 8 am.   Plenty of bait and fish around, but few chasers or hits.   We took a break and looked around to see what was going on shallow - not much!    The heat was brutal - 90 degrees and no breeze.   A sweatfest!  

Around 11 am we went laker jigging again and someone had flipped a switch.  The fish became a bit more aggressive and we landed 4 in short order.   We each missed hits and lost fish in 35' to 50' H2O.   After keeping what I wanted we checked on some pike areas without any luck.   Again - it was midday, glassy and hot!   I didn't expect much and wasn't surprised.   Mike had enough heat by 3pm and we called it a day.   There's bait everywhere and fishing will be excellent over the next few weeks.

5/28/2006
Seneca 5/26, Cayuga 5/27, Skaneateles 5/28

Checked out Seneca out of Sampson for pike and lake trout on Fri.    There still isn't much of a pike bait going for me in the middle portions of the lake.   I missed and dropped one solid fish and that was about it.    There are some massive milfoil beds that are getting ready to come up!   They will grow a lot over the next week.    I expect the pike fishing to be like that of 2004 - we'll probably have good fishing in mid-June.   Time will tell....

The lake trout bite was good to excellent.   There were some solid schools of baitfish moving up from Sampson down to Lodi point on the east shore.    About 45' to 90' of water seemed best.   I landed 4 nice fish and missed a few others.   I killed my limit and didn't fish after that, though the bite was starting to get really good ;-)

Cayuga on the 27th was a guide trip with Dale and his son, Dale Jr - who's 6 years old!   Dale Jr. was chomping at the bit to go fishing, though I did warn his dad re: the unsettled conditions of the past week.   Fog was the order of the day.   We had very little action on the jigs - a couple fish chasing half-heartedly on the screen was it for the morning.   Lots of marks around.    Did some casting and Dale Jr. managed to hook into a nice 18" brown.  Pretty good for a 6 year old!  Like a true sport he handed the rod to Dad after hooking the fish!    They also caught a sublegal landlocked salmon.   Laker action stayed slow.   I checked areas including Millican, Long Point, Silos and areas in between from 25' to 160' of water without much action - except Millican.   Some aggressive fish there, but we didn't hook up.

Skaneateles Lake on Saturday was very enjoyable.   I had Barbara and her husband Larry for 1/2 day.   It looked like it might be a tough day given the calm sunny conditions.   Barb hadn't fished much since she was very young and I went over a bunch of different presentations/lures with her.   Both horizontal light and vertical jigging, drop-shotting, stickbaits and tube fishing. We also worked on casting.   She did a great job and found that a Rapala Husky Jerk was an effective lure.   A couple smallmouths chased it up, and she saw one grab it - that was all it took to have a new "confidence bait."    She had some beautiful rainbows up to over 21" chase the lure, but they didn't grab it.   Finally she nailed a nice 18" bow on it.   What a thrill!    Larry and I worked on his fly-casting and lake presentation.   We went over the differences between lake and stream fly-casting and fishing.   By the end of the trip he was casting pretty decently.   He had some nice follows from bass, trout and salmon and a grab or two but no fish landed.   We'll get them next time!   At least Barbara managed to secure dinner..... ;-)    Water temps are creeping into the mid-50s.   I think the casting bite will hold up here for another couple weeks given the cool water temps.   I'm hoping!

5/24/2006
Keuka Lake 5/22, Cayuga 5/23 + 5/24

Tough 3 days of guiding after the sustained 25 to 35 mph winds of the past weekend.   I postponed the past weekend's trips and almost did the same on Monday, but went with the better of three weather forecasts.  It wound up being the right call.

Fished Keuka with Tom from Tennessee.   We started in Branchport jigging lakers.   Tons of fish were grouped up in 130' give or take.   They weren't very active.   He popped an average laker in around 70' not far from the marina.   We then did a little casting - one pickerel.   Worked the bluff area for a while and the lakers were hitting slow/steady.   Once Tom got the hang of the subtle hits we were in business - but the fishing was still slow.   A 3/4oz silver Kastmaster, a Buckshot Rattle spoon and a white Zoom fluke did the trick.  We spent a few hours up in Penn Yan looking for smallies.   The wind made for tough conditions and we didn't find any fish shallow.   We worked the 10' to 25' depths pretty good and found one area that held some bass.  One decent largemouth was all we could coax though he raised a very nice smallie in with the lmb.   Back to lakers later and he picked up another and we called it a day.   Rockbass and pickerel were the most cooperative species on the day - that and the lakers.   Water temps were in the low 50s.  

5/23 was out of Cayuga Lake State Park with Jim and Matt.   Matt fished with me last year and we had a windy but decent day last year for lakers.   Today was more of the same.   Water temps plummeted in Cayuga Lake.   We ran over to Long Point and were pretty surprised to see just HOW MUCH they went down!   It was 40 degrees over there!    We did manage to find some bait and lakers but boat control was a royal pain.   No matter where we went, the wind seemed to follow us.   The best action was north of Dean's along the shoreline in around 40' to 110'.   Water was warmer there and fish were scattered but active and we had a few chase lures all the way to the top.    Pickerel were also hitting further north.   A few pike, bass and perch are also active.  

5/24 was out of Taughannock with Kevin and George - both of whom also fished with me last year.    Water temps recovered to around 52 off Taughannock.   We worked around Millican casting - there were lots of carp, a few bass and some trout/salmon around.   George hooked a decent trout or salmon, probably around 20".   Unfortunately the line broke at the snap-swivel.   My fault, not his :-(    Action overall was kind of slow over there, with a few follows from small trout and one small bass.    We looked for lakers and didn't find much doing along the east shore.   The west shore proved much better - especially around Sheldrake.   Decent numbers of lakers were active from 40' to at least 100'.  The guys had a lot of follows and Kevin nailed a couple.    We went back to Millican and worked lakers with a nice follow on the jigs from a trout/salmon.   George landed a nice laker after losing fish earlier.    Spent the rest of the day working pike near the south end of the lake with poor results.   My guess is that they are scattered around the south end flats recovering from the spawn.   I've fished just about everywhere else without seeing many!   They should pick up in a couple weeks.   Expect good pike fishing throughout June.   Let's hope....

 

5/18/2006
Cayuga out of Dean's 5/18

Guide trip with Chris and Dave today out of Dean's.   We shot over to the Long Point area and were into lakers quickly.   Fish were in 27' to 55' of water (give or take) and were aggressively hitting plastics.    They landed around 17 fish in less than 5 hours!   The size ranged from around 21" to 30";  the best fish was probably around 9lbs.    I think the reason we had such a good bite is the impending thunderstorms that were threatening us throughout the early afternoon.  

Lake level is finally at full summer pool.   Water temps remain in the lower 50s, down to 45 degrees on the bottom in 50' of water (I brought my "Clinefinder" today ;-)    Fish were in good condition, though they didn't appear to be as stuffed with bait as they were 3 or 4 weeks ago.

5/17/2006
Cayuga out of Taughannock 5/16 + 5/17

Had a simply tremendous day out on the water on 5/17 with Willy.  This was one of those "once in a decade" type days you remember vividly the rest of your life. We spent a couple hours looking for lakers without much luck (one chaser up to the surface.) We then went over to Cayuga AES and whipped out the fly-rods and began casting for trout/salmon. Water temps were perfect, around 49 to 52.

We took one pass through and hooked a double. My fish was nice - a 20" clean landlocked. Willy was a little disappointed, thinking he'd hooked a carp. After I landed my fish I saw his and noticed it was a bass! His fish wound up being a 22" 6lb. smallmouth!!! Shocked What a slob! We weighed it on a boga-grip, shot some photos and released the fish. That was the biggest smallie I'd ever seen. A serious step up from the usual "big bass".

Next pass, we get more hits and I land a decent 3lb. brown. We had hits on virtually every pass - just countless grabs and short strikes. We wind up catching a few more salmon(including one I had that did some "horizontal jumping" that was pretty wild) and another brown then Willy does it again! This time he hooks and lands an 11lb. brown! Surprised Wow, what a fish! We shot a few quick photos and released it unharmed. Maybe it'll wind up a 17lber and make someone's day! Action slowed when some shore fishermen showed up and waded out.

I checked it out again today and it was a different story. Hooked a salmon and had a follow and that was it. Bait moved out a bit too. 

Pike action is slow on Cayuga right now.   We did some searching for pike and landed a couple nice 24" pickerel.   Pike are recovering from the spawn.   My guess is that the pike probably spawn during the high water/spring floods - and perhaps they waited for the rains that never came, and wound up spawning late.   Who knows?

Lakers are available off and north of Millican.   Also on the shelves south of Portland Point.

I'll have some photos from our day up shortly!

5/15/2006
Cayuga/Dean's Sunday 5/14

Fished Cayuga for lakers most of the day with Willy.   Fishing was somewhat slow with occasional bursts.   The wind was a rare easterly, which made covering water difficult.   It was encouraging to see trout moving up into shallower water.   Fly-fishing these lakers is a definite possibility and that's what we worked on.   Willy nailed a nice laker on a double bunny fly and 30' sinking head.   Fly-fishing became difficult with the wind direction, so we did a bit of jigging.   We picked up a few nice lakers up to 30" and 10lbs.  

Pickerel/pike fishing was slow - but mainly due to the wind.   I did catch a nice 20"+ largemouth bass on a streamer while pikin'.    Perch are all over the place.   Water temps are up to 61 at the north end, and around 52 mid-lake off Dean's.    I'll be doing some serious pike fishing over the next 2 weeks, stay tuned!

5/13/2006
Cayuga/Dean's 5/12

Guide trip today and I had a lot of fun with my old friend Chris and his buddy Trevor on Cayuga.   Fishing started out looking promising with a couple 3 to 4lb. fish landed near the Silo area.   Then things changed.    We marked fish after fish and they seemed very negative.   Very few hits, nothing chasing.    I must have changed location 15 times!    We then ran south and found some huge schools of bait.   Around 11 am action picked up and I knew we would be "in business".    Chris and Trevor had some good to excellent laker action in 27' to 47' of water.    Fish ranged from around 18" (1) to almost 30" - with most being 24" to 27".    We did catch and release a few fish today including 2 wild (unclipped) lakers.   (Of course the hatchery personnel might have missed the clips, but Cayuga does produce some wild fish every so often.   So who knows?)

I'll be out working on fly-fishing these lakers over the next couple weeks.    I've tried it before this time of year, but haven't had the results I need to see.    Basically I've had plenty of follows and hits, but few fish hooked.    I have a few ideas that I think will work, and I spent some time in the winter designing a few patterns that will hopefully produce some fish.

5/11/2006
Cayuga/Dean's 5/9 + Skinny/Owasco 5/10

5/9 - I fished Cayuga Lake out of Dean's Cove with my friend George and his son Ben.   Got on the water around 4pm - mid-afternoon.   Sunny, calm and clear conditions - water temp 52-54 on top.   Lake trout fishing started out slow;  we marked a lot of fish in various depths from 100' to 140' but they weren't responding to our jigs.    I lost a fish shallow, but things really didn't get going until around 5:30 pm.    From then until dark we landed 5 nice lakers.   Best fishing was around 75' to 85'.    They are feeding on alewives and if you find bait - fish it!

5/10-  Guided Ken and Tom on Skaneateles Lake today.   I was a little bit concerned that the glassy conditions would make for a tough day.   We managed a lost rainbow and a rock bass and smallie in the "glass".   We got a light breeze around an hour into the day and the fishing picked up.    Tom caught some beautiful perch - 14" to almost 15" and FAT.    We let them go, which was nice for a change.   Not many people release big spawners, but it's important to do that with a percentage of fish.

We fished one of my favorite areas on the lake and the guys hooked and landed some keeper sized salmon.    Ken then managed the fish of the day - a gorgeous 21" rainbow that fought superbly!   Wow - did this fish put on a show.   A great salmon style jump, lots of digging and short runs.    We photographed then released this fish.    More perch were caught here too.   Surface temps ranged from 49 to 53.

Carp and bass are starting to prowl the shallows and the trout/salmon are moving out a bit.   I expect trout and salmon fishing to hold up for another two weeks (at least) for shallower casting.

We pulled up and went over to Owasco Lake for a couple hours.   Water temps here range from around 52 to 56.   Walleye fishing should get good over the next 2 to 4 weeks.    We looked for lakers on the screen and marked a few fish all the way out to 140'.   In 140' to 150' we marked a lot of fish and bait!   They weren't real active, but we worked them for a while and Ken landed one nice 4lb. average Owasco fish.    We went shallow again - around 90' and Tom missed a couple hits.   Then it was time to go.    At the launch I talked to a local who'd scored in 65' the morning before.   So Owasco fish appear to be moving shallow in the morning/evening, then deeper during the day.

5/8/2006
Seneca Lake out of Watkins 5/8

Not a whole lot to report today.   The wind was blowing nicely out of the south this morning, so I decided to blow off my errands and workout and shoot down to Watkins.   As soon as I got there the wind died down - which means tough fishing over there.

I worked the southern portion of Seneca for an hour or two fly-casting for salmon.   Never saw one, and I wasn't surprised.   I then worked up the east shore looking for lake trout areas.    There were some decent shelves but few fish - most trout appear to have migrated up the lake.   I picked up a small (15") laker in around 80' of water.   Had a couple other fish chasing.  

I made a little time for some pike fishing, and although conditions weren't great, I managed to have a hit or two and a follow from a small pike.   Water temps were in the low 50s in the southern portion of the lake.   Pike and salmon fishing should be good.   A little steady wind makes a big difference on Seneca!

5/7/2006
Cayuga out of Dean's 5/7

Lake trout fishing remains good to very good on Cayuga Lake.   We had steady action today on nice lake trout ranging from 24" to 30".   The biggest factor was the lack of wind.   We weren't able to cover much water.   Fish were hitting well and are fighting great.   These fish can break rods - no question about it!

Pickerel fishing was tremendous in the north end of the lake!   Just superb fishing with hits coming on nearly every cast.   1/4 oz. tube jigs in chartreuse did the trick.   Some nice perch were hitting as well.  We fished 4 to 6' of water.

We kept a mess of pickerel - and I do recommend keeping these fish if you're into a meal.   I'd much rather release the pike and eat pickerel.   The pickerel have been eating perch and alewives.

Bass, sunfish and perch are prowling the shallows.   Should be a great season!

5/6/2006
Skaneateles Lake 5/5
Spent the afternoon and evening checking on things on "Skinny".   I'm still learning some "alien areas" on this lake and trying areas that have fished well for me in the fall.   Things went well today and I found some nice landlocked salmon, rainbow trout, perch and bass.   Casting light hair jigs and fly-casting woolly buggers did the trick.   The "inshore fishery" should go well for another 2 to 3 weeks.   Water temperatures are around 44 to 47 in the mid-lake areas, and as high as 50 to 52 in the northern portions of the lake.   If we keep getting cold nights and moderately warm days things will stay good inshore.   
5/3/2006
Cayuga Dean's Report 5/3

Guide trip today for 6 hours with Brandon and his wife.   They wanted to learn lake trout jigging and that's what we did.   The lake trout fishing was very impressive.   They landed a dozen mostly BIG FISH!   We had 3 to 4 lakers probably over 9lbs and the biggest fish was a very impressive 13lbs+.   A clean beautiful fish!   The fish are absolutely loaded with bait and they are feeding very aggressively!   They were most active in 130' to 145' of water.   Best fishing was first thing in the morning.   I'll have photos up in a few weeks.

Didn't see many fish moving shallow today.   H2O was around 51 to 52 on the surface.

4/30/2006
Cayuga Lake Dean's 4/30

Lake trout fishing was good today north of Dean's Cove.   We found 2 basic depths that produced fish.   Some fish are moving shallow - up around 50' to 60'.   The majority of fish we found were in around 130' to 140' of water.   There are schools of baitfish starting to move up from the depths, and there's good fishing around the bait.   These lake trout are in superb "tip-top" shape!   Man are they well-fed!   I had one fish around 27" that must have had 15 to 20 alewives in its stomach!    Very few signs of lamprey attacks too.   Just some great quality fish.   

Lake trout size varies from around 25" to 30".    The fish are fighting pretty well with the warming water temps  (upwards of 52 or more on the surface over deep water.)   Expect epic lake trout action as water temps warm up!   May and June should be banner months for BIG lakers.

There are loads of big bluegills and sunfish moving up into the shallows.   Perch too!   We quietly motored around some shallow coves just observing fish and checking out some spots.    Water temps around the shallows were up to 60 degrees.

4/29/2006
Skaneateles Lake 4/29

Guided Mark out on Skaneateles Lake.   Mark's fished with me a couple times before and we took a few chances trying some different stuff.    Lures used were hair jigs and stickbaits, with nearly all the fish coming on hair-jigs.   Fishing was pretty good for big yellow perch.   Mark landed a handful of nice perch in different areas including a couple 14" fish.    We didn't concentrate on the perch, but kept working "new areas".   Smallmouth bass are starting to show up as bonus fish in 23' to 27' of water on hair jigs.    Mark landed a couple legal salmon and he had opportunities for quite a few salmon and possible rainbows today.   I was surprised not to see any lakers today.

Water temps ranged from 39 early on to 48 north of the state launch.   

In my opinion, fly-fishing remains the most effective method for catching early (and late) season trout and salmon in this lake.   An intermediate or floating line keeps the fly high in the water column, in the strike zone.   Jigs work well too, but I've been most impressed with the results of fly-rodding on this lake.    As would be expected, I take very few perch on this lake with the flies.   Sinking lines would probably take perch.

4/27/2006
Skaneateles Lake 4/26 - 4/27

Did a couple guide trips over the past two days.   I'll be back on Skaneateles Lake on Saturday, so I'm pretty in tune with what's going on over there.

I had Bill in the boat on Wednesday.   He wanted to learn how to fly-cast as well as fish during the same day.   Not an easy task, but I did my best.   My recommendation is to learn casting out in the yard - not on the water, because that way it's much easier to focus on the mechanics of the cast without worrying about missing fish and the wind and other factors.  

We worked on the casting/fishing and Bill did impress me with his ability to digest a lot of info.    He mixed up the fly-fishing with some (horizontal) jigging as well.   He had a few nice fish come for the flies.   He wound up landing a couple small salmon and a smallmouth on the jigs.

Today was the exact opposite!   I had Trevor and his friend Foster on board.   Foster is probably the best fly-caster I've ever seen in person.   He's competed in fly-casting competitions with the best, so it was nice seeing that my rod really wasn't holding me back like I thought.... ;-)    The fishing was decent, not bad but not spectacular.   The guys landed some nice rainbows, salmon and a few smallmouths.   The fish made up for what they lacked in size with exhuberance.   (Though most of the fish were legal.)   We did pick up a nice rainbow off the "wall" at the north end of the lake - so shore fishing should be very good up there.

The fishing on this lake has slowed up a little bit over the past 2 weeks - at least my style of fishing working jigs and streamers.    The lake has not warmed up over the last week.   Wind and a general lack of sun haven't helped.   We really didn't find any great patterns going on.   There are a few fish in the shallows, some in the deeps and some in between.   After the trip ended I spent a couple hours probing some areas I usually don't fish, using flies and jigs.   I caught a nice laker and a perch, but rainbows/salmon were scarce.

4/21/2006
Seneca Lake out of Watkins Fri. April 21 -Wow!

Epic trout and salmon fishing today on Seneca - no questions about it!   We were into fish at 9:45 this morning when we started and we landed fish until almost 7 pm when we quit!   We didn't really land that many fish as a percentage of the hits we got, but the action was great.   We probably had around 35 to 40 or more hits, boils, swirls, follows and hook-ups!    We only landed around a half dozen salmon and three browns.   The salmon were fighting great and we had one jump over our drift bag and jump higher than our 80hp. Yamaha 4 stroke outboard!  

The lake has a couple nice classes of landlocked salmon and some decent brown trout.    Salmon were running from 15" to 20" and the browns were 15" to 18".    Fly selection varied with colors throughout the spectrum producing fish.   I saw and learned things today that I hadn't seen in nearly 10 years of lake fly-fishing.   Still, everything needs to fall into place for a great Seneca day.   The wind and water temps need to be just right...;-)

4/20/2006
Cayuga out of Taughannock 4/20

I had to get out today - the weather was too nice!   Didn't feel like driving too far so I launched out of Taughannock.   The salmon fishing on Cayuga has been very poor this year, but conditions were absolutely perfect today.   Sun, nice north winds and water temps around stream mouths were around 45 to 48.   Smelt should be around and the salmon should be around as well.   That is, if we have salmon!

I worked around Taughannock and Frontenac points with streamers.   Never saw a fish or had a hit.   Ran all the way up to Sheldrake and finally got a hit, but no fish.    Marked quite a few lakers around that area.   I jigged up one in 88' near the point.   Unclipped (wild) fish - which I released.   Lakers are still around the King Ferry area as well as south of Sheldrake.   Best LL salmon action this year is still on Seneca and Skaneateles.

4/19/2006
Keuka out of Branchport 4/19

Guide trip today out on Keuka Lake.   Fishing was good for lakers running from 18" to 27".   It was nice seeing some 25"+ lakers on Keuka!    The bluff area was good in the morning, working depths around 100' to 115'.   Around Branchport fish were in 80' to 140' of water.   Water temps varied from 44 at the bluff to 42 around Branchport.

Best presentations were white flukes, white tubes and buckshot rattle spoons in the glo-perch.    Lots of fish came on the retrieve.   My guys - Dennis and his son, landed around a dozen keepers today, and they dropped a good amount of fish as well.    Good fishing!

4/18/2006
Cayuga Lake/Deans 4/17

Guide trip this am with Jeff K.   Many lake trout in Cayuga Lake are still in deep (150 -160' of) water - though some fish are starting to move up a bit.   130' to 140' had some concentrations of fish.    Jigging with white flipping tubes was the ticket, and Jeff landed a bunch of nice (mostly 27" to 28") fish.   All the fish seemed in good condition.   Lake temps are around 41/42.

What made the trip most fun was that Jeff had some 100+ year old tackle that he wanted to try.    He rigged a sutton spoon to a 3-way swivel with 3 oz. of weight.   As soon as he sent the rig down he got railed and the 10'+ rod was doubled over.   It looked like more fun than any of the jigging - so maybe I'll have to keep my eyes open for some antique tackle!

Jeff kept one fish for the table and it was full of alewives.   There's no shortage of bait on this lake....

4/16/2006
Keuka Lake out of Branchport 4/16

Got a chance to check out Keuka Lake for the first time in 2006.   Lake trout are everywhere on this lake - between 60' and 180' (or more.)   The fish were actively whacking jigs on the drop, the retrieve and the jig - basically all the way around!   White flipping tubes and Zoom flukes in white and baby bass were the ticket.   I caught a handful of nice fish in short order.   I had one or two fish chase and whack my jig all the way up to about 10' below the surface - from 110' down!   It won't be long before I break out the fly fishing gear on these fish!   The lakers are feeding on small alewives, and the fish are looking healthy - nice and plump!

I did manage some fly-fishing and I caught my first Keuka Lake fly-rod landlocked salmon!   This fish was over 20" and I caught it on a flashwing bionic smelt pattern (my own).   I fished the fly on a RIO type 4 sinking line.   Salmon aren't real common on Keuka Lake so I released the fish.   I hope to do more fly-rodding on this lake in the future, for both trout and salmon and pickerel/pike this year.   Special thanks goes out to George Delcour - who has been kind enough to share his wealth of knowledge on this fishery with me.   Every bit helps!   

Lastly, I did a bit of probing with a hair-jig and picked up a decent smallmouth in around 17' of water.   H2O temps ranged from 41 to 47.

4/14/2006
Skaneateles Lake 4/14

Guide trip today with Kevin and Eric.   Fishing started out pretty slow this am with no wind and overcast/threatening skies.   We did a bit of moving around and eventually found an area that started to produce some good fish.   The action picked up as the day went on and we had some moments of very good to excellent fishing - esp. for landlocked salmon.  By the end of the day the guys had hooked/landed some beautiful rainbows, plenty of landlocked salmon (mostly around 15" fish), some jumbo (up to over 14") perch, lake trout and a smallmouth bass.    The rainbows were fighting great.   We kept some fish for the table and released quite a few as well.   The guys insisted that I fish for a little bit and I managed to jig up a wildly colored lake trout.   These fish look like Alaskan fish and the meat is a bright orange. 

The perch were hitting well in around 23' of water.  Plenty of perch anglers out on the lake.   Fish came on my home-tied jig patterns and by fly-fishing as well (trout/salmon).   Water temps were around 37 to 42.  

4/12/2006
Seneca Lake out of Watkins 4/12

Finally got a chance to check out Seneca Lake for most of the day.   I fished a lot of different areas with poor results.   Eventually I found the landlocked salmon and the fishing was pretty much as good as it gets for a little while!   I hooked 3 decent fish, missed a bunch of hits and "swirls" and I landed 2 fish.   One was an 18" fish, the other was a beauty at 25" and probably over 5lbs!   

I located some good lake trout as well in 110' to 140' of water.   So I have a nice pattern to fall back on if the salmon are hard to find.    Water temps ranged from 38 to 46 degrees.   If you're interested in a salmon trip - be flexible.   Seneca is big water and requires careful attention to the weather forecast.   I expect the salmon fishing to hold up for a month - depending on the average temperatures over the next few weeks.   Eventually I'll have some photos up of the fish.   Both sinking lines and intermediate lines did the trick today.   Flies ranged from size 4s to 1/0s.   Chartreuse was productive as was white.    Lake level is alright - not too low, not high - average "low".    

4/11/2006
Cayuga out of Taughannock 4/11

I forgot to post this report, due to being busy this week - but "better late than never"....

Fished Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock for a quick 3 hours.   Tried once around the park for LL Salmon - no sign of them.    I ran north above Millican and marked some lakers and had a few intense moments of multiple fish chasing jigs.   Nothing special - and I had to go to work.   H2O is around 39/40.   Water levels are still low for this time of year - but launchable.

Salmon fishing seems to be a lost cause this season on Cayuga.   No worries - cause Skaneateles and Seneca Lakes are producing some nice fish.   Can't have everything! ;-)

 

4/9/2006
Skaneateles Lake 4/9

Fishing is pretty much "par for the course" on Skaneateles Lake.   It's a typical early season pattern with rainbows and salmon in pretty tight to shore and basically hitting lethargically in the cold water.   Find warm water and you find the more active fish.   Fly-fishing was the ticket today and Willy and myself landed around a half dozen rainbows including one legal landlocked salmon.   Nice to see the high percentage of rainbows.   We caught them up to 22" on streamers.   We lost/missed another 1/2 dozen hits/fish.  

Water temps range from 37 to 42 degrees.  Fish came in 10' or less of water.   We kept one 17" rainbow for supper and it appeared to be feeding on chewing gum, marshmallows or tapioca.   We primarily worked the northern half of the lake having luck on both shores.  There were quite a few boats out there, most of them perch fishing.

I expect very good to excellent trout fishing on this lake over at least the next 6 weeks barring any weird hot spells.   Fly fishing and spin fishing will both be effective!

4/7/2006
Cayuga out of Dean's 4/7

Good to excellent lake trout fishing continues in Cayuga's depths.   Guide trip today and my guys landed 7 nice 26" to 28" lakers in around 6 hours.   They came on large heavy tube jigs in 150' to 165' of water on the flats around the northern portion of the lake.   They are hitting aggressively mostly on the retrieve.    One fish spat up a couple baitfish.    They are well-proportioned, well-fed fish.  It appears that they are just starting to feed well.

Most fish had some evidence of lamprey hits.   We had one live lamprey attached to a fish.   Overall, I'm not too concerned since I've seen quite a few clean fish as well this season thus far.   Lake level is still pretty low - but launchable.    No one else out there today.   It was cold and wet!   So cold and wet we had one nice baitcasting outfit wind up in the lake!   The perils of guiding in the cold.....  ;-)

4/6/2006
Cayuga out of Dean's 4/6
Lake trout fishing remains quite interesting on Cayuga Lake.   Tremendous numbers of lake trout are scattered across the north end flats.   Most of the "shallow fish" - i.e. the fish in 90' to 115' of water are inactive.   Just lying dormant.   Go out into the real depths - over 150' and the fish are active as heck!    Had a fun day searching the northern portions of Cayuga fishing up to 200' of water with my special jigs.    Took a limit home.  The fish are all full of baitfish - alewives.    Best fishing was around 160'.    Surface temps are around 39/40.   Fish are all plump and healthy looking!   There's no better lake trout fishery around in the Finger Lakes than Cayuga Lake....
4/1/2006
Seneca Lake out of Watkins 3/31
Not much to report, since I was only able to fish for a little over 2 1/2 hours today.   The water looks great!   Temps are around 39/40 with areas of warmer water.   I didn't find any salmon today, but I'm optimistic.   The warm winter and strange weather from last year (the hot summer) may have altered the usual patterns of these Seneca fish.   I've had some encouraging reports on salmon fishing that I'll be checking up on when I get a chance.   The water level is good at Seneca, no problems launching.
3/30/2006
Lake Ontario out of Fairhaven State Park 3/29

It's been a busy couple weeks for me, so I was chomping at the bit to get out on the water.   Spring brown trout fishing on Lake Ontario is just starting, so off to Fairhaven I went.    I got up at 4:30am and was at the park around 7 am and was pretty surprised to find a nice layer of ice covering the bay!   So for about a half hour I broke ice until I was able to get to the channel.

Fly-fishing Lake Ontario for brown trout is a big challenge.  It's huge water and it's not easy finding the right conditions.   It comes down to pinpointing fish - so it's a matter of finding concentrated murky areas with warm water.   No such luck today.   The water entering the lake via the tribs was only one or two degrees warmer than the lake.   The lake temp was around 37/38.   I found a few good areas and worked them without any hits.    Saw one smallmouth bass.   I did a little deeper jigging and the water clarity was staggering.   I could see my white jig in 50' of water!   Wow, that's clear!    Marked a few fish, but no grabs.   Had to go home at 2pm, so that was it.   Perch were biting good around the park.   The water warmed up quickly during the day and evening fishing for trout would probably be a great call! 

 I hit the browns pretty good fly-fishing around 2 or 3 years ago on Lake Ontario, and I plan on trying again.   A warm rainy day, with light north winds or moderate westerlies would be perfect.   I'm wrapping things up at Bass Pro Shops this week, so there will be plenty of reports coming soon.   Seneca and Skaneateles Lakes are in my plans.   I'm also hoping to check out Keuka pretty soon.  

3/21/2006
Cayuga Lake out of Dean's 3/21
Fished Cayuga Lake out of Dean's today for 3 hours.   What a cold day(!) - but I needed to get at least one fish to fill out a batch I'm smoking tomorrow.    Fish were pretty inactive - downright negative today.   The only fish I landed came on a jig using a "rip 'n flutter" retrieve.   I lost one other solid fish and missed a hit - so fishing wasn't too bad.   There are tons of fish on the Silo's flats.   Lakers are everywhere.   Water temp was 37 on the surface.   Lake level is low.   Jigging is a real pain once air temps get below freezing - the guides on the baitcasters are too small, plus ice forms on the level-wind guide.   At least I got my one fish!   My fish had a couple alewives in it, so just like the King Ferry fish - these lakers have been actively feeding lately.    
3/13/2006
Cayuga/Taughannock Report 3/13

Kicked off the 2006 guiding season with a Cayuga trip with Wolfgang.   We spent a couple hours hoping for some pike action this morning, but nothing was doing.   The pike appear to have moved out of many of their winter patterns and are probably very close to spawning.   Pike spawn at around 39/40 degrees, and that's what we had at Cayuga's south end.   The season closes Wednesday, so it's time to forget about the "snakes" for awhile.    (There's a lot of muddy water on the south end of Cayuga - so finding northerns could be an all day process.)

Lakers are more predictable plus are getting more active by the day, so that's what we went with.   Lake trout fishing was good and he landed a half-dozen solid fish up to 30".   They are finding bait in Cayuga Lake with plenty of alewives and a possible smelt or two in the lakers' stomachs.   We had some nice eating sized lake trout and one of the bigger fish had some absolutely beautiful bright orange filets!    All the fish landed were fin-clipped.

Lake level is low, but higher than Wed.   Lakers were in around 100' to 110' today.   I'm still hearing about good numbers of sub-legal salmon around.  I'm told they are skinny and not looking very healthy.   I don't know what's up with these Cayuga fish this year, but we seem to be missing a class of fish.   Some good browns are apparently around - so that's one positive.  I'm still hoping to check on Seneca soon for salmon.   It's easy to do now that pike are off-limits! 

3/9/2006
Cayuga/Taughannock 3/8

Got out on Cayuga to check on northerns and lakers.   The pike I found were still in winter patterns and not very aggressive - though it was midday and somewhat bright out.   H2O on the lake is 37.   Water level is very low - good for shoreline casters.

I spent around 1+1/2 hours lake trout fishing.   Fishing was surprisingly good!   I was impressed with the aggressiveness of these winter lakers.  I landed 5 nice fish in little over an hour.   They ran from 23" to over 27".   I kept 3 and they all had alewives in their stomachs.   So they are starting to feed and there's some bait around.   Most fish were around 100' to 110'.   I worked the King Ferry/Millican area.   

2/23/2006
Cayuga/Taughannock Wed. Feb. 22

These winds we're getting are still horrid for salmon fishing.   Westerlies keep the fish out away from the shoreline -especially the east shore.    The forecast was calling for southerlies when I went out.   I brought my salmon gear and was stoked to see what was going on - sure enough the winds were out of the west.    I worked a few areas including Willow Ck. point and around Portland Point without any grabs.  I marked impressive bait/fish off Taughannock in deep water - 225' to 250'.   I'm sure we have some decent browns and salmon around - they are just unfishable with the fly-rods.   Trolling should be decent....

I've left the toothy critters alone for the last couple weeks and decided to target lakers for my smoker.   I marked some lakers and other fish both north and south of Portland Point.   The small points and shelves north of Myers also held a few inactive fish.    Best fishing was still just north of Millican (Cayuga AES).   I hooked a couple lakers, landing one nice fish just under 30".   Fish were "sporadically active" as has been the case over the last couple weeks.   Electronics are an absolutely necessity for this fishing - they are hitting primarily on the retrieve only after being teased.   I get next to no hits on "the jig".  

Water levels are low.   H2O temp 38.   Best fishing was during sunny and windy conditions.   Fish were in 85' to 100' give or take....

2/18/2006
Cayuga/Taughannock 2/16

Snuck out for a short couple hours before work.   Winds were blowing pretty good out of the south.   Shot up towards Millican and went "laker hunting".   Didn't mark many fish and had one or two hits/chasers.   It was cloudier than 2/15.   I don't think the fish moved off, they were just inactive.  

What I'm finding with these winter lakers is that they are basically in a negative to neutral mood.   If I fish them all day I can find pods of relatively active fish.   There are small feeding windows that occur, probably depending on a variety of factors including:  wind speed, direction, sunlight, moon phase...etc.   

2/16/2006
Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 2/15

Got out for around 5.5 hours today.   Beautiful day out there!   The forecast called for steady south winds so I grabbed my salmon rods - leaving the pike gear at home.   Sure enough, the weather people were wrong and winds were blowing out of the west, then calm, then light out of the north.  

Throughout the fall and winter there have been good numbers of lake trout north of Millican.   The fish turned on last time I was on the north end of the lake, so I was hoping these "southerly fish" would be aggressive.   After an hour of fruitless salmon fishing I checked on some lake trout areas.   First drop with a jig and I landed a nice 26" fish.   Within another 5 to 10 minutes I got a 27"er.    Then they stopped chasing as intently.   The winds at this point died, so it definitely affected the bite.   I kept fishing for another 3 or 4 hours and lost 2 more fish.   I had lots of interested fish (on the sonar), but few grabs.   Lake temps were 39 to 41.   Fish were in approx. 88' to 110'.    Lake level is still high (for the winter) but would be considered low in general.

2/2/2006
Seneca Lake out of Lodi 2/2

Funny, the more I fish the more I like it...;-)    Went over to Seneca to get a few "alien areas" under my belt a bit better.    Found some beautiful weedbeds that apparently hold a few pike.   I landed one 29" northern.    I didn't pike fish much given the poor pikin' conditions (sun!)  The good news was the laker jigging bite.   Found fairly aggressive fish (for this time of year)  in 90' to 100' of water on the west shore of the lake near Severne Point.   Landed 3 fish, from 17" to 27".   The fish were in OK condition - somewhat thin.   Had quite a few semi-aggressive chasers and I dropped a couple fish.  

It's probably pretty safe to say that the laker jigging bite is happening on all the major Finger Lakes.    H2O on Seneca ranged from 39 to 41.    Winds were light out of the south.

2/1/2006
Cayuga Lake out of Dean's Cove 2/1

I had around 4 hours to fish today so I made a last minute decision to try the north end of Cayuga Lake.   It's pretty rare that the launch at Dean's Cove is ice-free this time of year, so I got a rare chance to see what was happening in the northern portion of the lake during the winter.

I was able to find lake trout from around 85' to 150' of water.   The most active fish were in around 89' to 93'.   Fishing was surprisingly good.   I was 3/4 on hooked fish.   Given how slow my lake trout fishing had been lately, it felt great to bend the rod on some nice fish!    Some fish were very lethargic and not moving for the jigs, whereas other fish were very aggressive.   Strangely, the suspended fish were the most active.   Wound up keeping my limit.   All the fish were cookie-cutter 25" to 26" fish from varying year classes.   Nothing in any of their stomachs.  I did not mark any bait.   Water temps were around 38.   Some of the screens I saw - the electronic pictures below the boat - were as impressive as anything I've ever seen.   In certain areas there were concentrations of active fish.  

1/30/2006
Otisco Lake 1/30

A co-worker of mine at Bass Pro Shops suggested I try Otisco Lake for some winter tiger muskies.   Sounded good, so off we went.   He's done alright there ice-fishing for them so we figured open water fishing could be the ticket.   Got to the launch at daybreak and I found the south end of the lake still had some thin ice.   So ice-breaking is what we did.   Got the boat up to the northern part of the lake and found ice covering the areas we were hoping to fish.

We fished a few good tiger areas and Jarrod (my buddy) had one small musky follow in his stickbait.   He missed another hit later and that was pretty much it.   I spent over 8 hours tossing streamers on sinking lines with my fly-rod and another hour working a tube jig.   Never had a hit.   According to the DEC musky numbers are low in the lake.   I'll try it again most likely in May.   A few were taken through the ice in December, so there are fish around.   Jarrod caught one then, plus had a big fish on last summer nightfishing.   Water temp was 33/34.  Light winds blew much of the ice northward and I was able to work some better areas.  

1/29/2006
Cayuga out of Taughannock 1/29

Went out with my buddy Phil today for some pike fishing.   Water level on Cayuga is high and temps vary from 37(at the south end) up to around 39.   Overcast/rainy conditions.   Water clarity was fair, 2 to 3' visibility.   We took two passes through one area and ended up hooking 5 fish and landing 4 between the two of us.   Fish were lethargic and my two fish hit as my fly was sinking.   The size of the fish were impressive!   I landed and released a 40" beauty - probably around 15lbs.   Other fish were all over 30".   We tried different areas and I'm positive we could have landed more fish had we stayed in our "hotspot", but I do like to see what's going on.   There wasn't much else happening... ;-)   We fished hard for most of the day.

There was a bit of action with birds and bait around the south end of the lake.   Lots of gulls milling around.  Trout fishermen were off the lake by the time we got back in, so they either limited out or the fishing was slow.    Word is the fishing is still slow for trout/salmon.  Once we get some steady north or south winds I'll be out for salmon.   There's bait around....

I just don't get the impression that there are a lot of salmon/browns out there that are legal-sized.   Good numbers of smaller sub-legal fish have been taken over the past months, so hopefully we'll see some decent numbers of legal fish showing up this spring.

1/12/2006
Owasco Lake Report 1/12

Fished Owasco Lake from 11:45 to 5 pm.    I spent the majority of the day searching the depths for lake trout.   I started at the north end of the lake and worked south.  I finally found them around 2pm in 160' to 170' of water.   Marked a good number of fish off Long Point - more of less in the middle of the lake.   Form a triangle between Wycoff, Letchworth and Long Point and you'll find them!  

The lakers just seemed dormant.   Had maybe 2 chasers, 1 hit.   That was it.   I tried tubes, soft jerkbaits(flukes/fin-s-fish) and spoons.   Experimented with colors and rod action, but just couldn't get anything to move!   There was bait in the area too, but I didn't see many lakers on the bait.

These fish may just be lethargic given the cold water temps, maybe it was just an off day.   I don't know.   I did a little perch fishing before it got dark and found quite a few 8" to 9" fish.   They were in around 12' to 15' of water.   Those Seneca, Skaneateles and Keuka Lake perch spoil us around here.   I'm used to seeing these 10" to 14" fish!   It wouldn't be hard to catch a limit of these smaller perch on Owasco.

Water temp. was 38/39.   Water level is low - bring waders or boots to the launch and watch your trailer tires to make sure you don't go off.....

1/11/2006
Skaneateles Lake 1/10 out of Mandana

It felt great getting out on Skinny today!  It's been a while.   I fished from around 11:45 till close to dark and things got underway with light west winds.   Worked the east shore of the lake with an olive colored bionic smelt (my pattern) and landed a couple rainbows including a male that was dripping milt!   Fish were running around 12" to 16".   Dropped 2 fish - probably at least one was a salmon.   Fish were in close to shore for the most part.

Did a little jig fishing with 1/16 oz. bucktails and it was pretty slow.   No perch which was surprising - though I did stay in a fairly concentrated area.   Picked up a legal salmon and another rainbow around 16" - a female.   These fish were deeper - in around 25' of water.  H2O was 39.   The launch at Mandana is shallow.   Glad I brought my boots!  ;-)   Until Cayuga picks up for salmon, this lake will be the best bet.  

1/9/2006
Cayuga/Taughannock 1/9

The winds were looking pretty unpredictable today so to Cayuga I went.   Enjoyable day out there with some good pike fishing.   The winds were non-existent when I got out which is a rarity in the winter.   I spent some time working a shoreline I've never done well on and had a follow near some deep water.   Looked like a brown trout or maybe a smallmouth.   Hit some other areas and I managed to pick up a few big pike.   Got one around 35", a 34" and dropped a 30" fish.    I'm learning a lot about the pike movements on Cayuga and how the northerns are relating to the various winds, water temps, cloud cover and bait.  

The pike are fighting great!   It's been a lot of fun.   I checked out the lower end of Cayuga Lake and saw some bass plus a huge scattered school of goldfish and koi!   A lot of people must tire of these "pets" after a while ;-)  Water temps are still hovering around 40 degrees.  

Just south of Taughannock in around 200' of water I marked some large schools of bait.   A few other "hooks" were around as well.   I'm hoping some salmon and trout will be moving in shortly.   A couple day northerly blow will certainly help.    Good to see the bait around and there's no reason we shouldn't have a great salmon season.

1/8/2006
Cayuga out of Taughannock 1/8

Today was an exploratory day.   Try to find what the lakers are up to and find a few new pike areas.    I started north of Taughannock and worked the west shore for lakers.   I had calm conditions and some sun - perfect!    No sign of lake trout in 60' to 110'.   Marked a little bit of bait and a few scattered suspended marks.   Went north to Millican/King Ferry area.   Again, there were a few marks and some bait but nothing great.   I decided to work deeper and found a concentration of what were probably lake trout in 150' of water on steep ledges.   I wasn't able to get any of the fish interested in my offerings.   It was a little tricky since my bow depth finder is in the shop, but I don't think that was a factor.   Fish seem to be semi-dormant.   Many of the fish may be further north.   Either way I had very few marks that were shallower than 140'!   

As for pike/pickerel I worked the same King Ferry shoreline and one area further south.   Nice shelves over there and it looked promising for toothy critters.   I missed one decent fish that I caught a glimpse of - most likely a big pickerel, but that was pretty much it.

Water level is high for wintertime - more of a fall level.   Water temps are around 39/40.  Cayuga just seems slow now.   Pike/pickerel is still the best bite until we see some north winds.    Other lakes are fishable now including Keuka, Seneca, Owasco and Skaneateles - so there are some great options available....

 

1/4/2006
Seneca Lake out of Watkins 1/4

Got out for 6 hours today mainly trying for some perch and pike.   Not much to report.   The wind was strong at around 12 to 17 mph out of the south and made boat control very difficult.    I never saw another boat out there.   Water temp is 40/41.   Lots of clear run-off pumping into the lake.    I fished around 3 or 4 major points up to Peach Orchard.   Never had a hit on the perch minnows.   Fly-fishing was also difficult as I couldn't slow the boat down enough for a good presentation despite using 2 drift bags.    Anchoring was the way to go.   I did have a huge pickerel - 27" to 30" follow in a streamer.  

 

1/2/2006
Seneca Lake out of Sampson 1/1

Spent New Year's Day checking on things at Seneca Lake.   The launch was open at Sampson State Park, though I did need to do a bit of "weed shoveling".   Just tons of milfoil on the ramp.  

Water temps are around 39.   Water level is low, but launching wasn't a problem.   I was surprised that no one else was out in the mid-lake area.   No trailers at the launch.   I spent an hour searching for lakers just off the park.   Worked varying depths and had a few light hits in around 146' of water using braided line and flipping tubes.   Marked what appeared to be a few fish out there.   No luck deeper or shallower though I didn't give it long.   Sunny days seem much more productive for winter jigging.   Last year we took fish down to 170' during sunny calm days with the jigs.   Today was overcast and threatening rain.

Did some fishing with the fly-rod and dropped a decent laker.   Got a beautiful northern up to the boat on a big streamer in 15' of water just before it got dark!    Shore anglers are reportedly getting a few pike at Sampson.

470643
Lake Ontario Sodus Bay Cross Lake Skaneateles Lake Owasco Lake Cayuga Lake Seneca Lake Keuka Lake