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Seneca out of Watkins 12/29

Got out from around noon till 4:15pm or so.   Quite a few duck hunters were out (opening day of the season).   I tried a little fly-fishing for salmon, though I wasn't expecting much with the winds I had.  No luck there.   I did see one salmon caught by some perch fishermen - down on bottom around 30'.   Wind and sunlight play a factor in salmon coming up top to feed - I had neither today, but I keep trying anyways hoping for a straggler.  

I really wanted pike, so that's what I did.   Both gear and fly-fishing produced fish.  I had the best luck using a Flo. Red Lunker City Shaker in the med. size on a 1/2 oz. head.   Fish were on deep weededges.   Find good weeds and you'll find plenty of fish.   They were nice sized ranging from around 23" to 32" - most around 27" to 29".   Fly-fishing was tougher since fish are pretty deep (over 20').   A leadcore setup worked very well, but I need to iron out a few bugs.   I caught some good fish, but the set-up just wasn't super-efficient.  Lots of missed fish and follows.  Setting the hook was tough with my 8wt, so next time I'll try a 10 wt.   Fly-type and leader length also need to be considered and messed around with - but either way, fishing was excellent!   Water temps are at 41.   40 on the southend.  Perch action was slow for the one boat I talked to.   BTW - the pike were fighting great!   Warming or steady water temps - even when cold really help.

Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 12/28

December's been a tough month to get out fishing, no question about it.   I just got back from visiting my parents and brother in Phoenix so I was jonesing to get out.   I fished from around 12:30pm till 4pm.   Water temps are up around 41 degrees.   The water level is average - almost as high as summer pool;  the 2" of rain we got last week definitely brought the lake level up.   Lots of people were out fishing today - both in boats, at Taughannock and at AES.   I wasn't able to get any reports from others, but judging from the crowds I'd have to say people are getting fish.   2 years ago, there was nobody fishing AES for the most part - now it's always busy.  

I hadn't jigged any lakers in a while so that's what I started with.   I'd like to do a batch of chowder.   I worked depths from 75' out to 180'.   The most fish were very deep - around 150' to 180'.  I didn't check any deeper.   I got one suspended fish down around 70' over 170' and that was it.   There are plenty of fish around, but they weren't very active - or at least weren't chasing what I was using.   A medium sized white Lunker City Shaker did the trick on the post-spawn laker.    I did some fly-casting for salmon and might have had a hit, but it also could have been debris.  

Cayuga out of Taughannock 11/22
I spent Thanksgiving morning checking out Cayuga Lake with my buddy Dave.   I wasn't expecting much salmon action given the variable winds we've been having, but I was hoping for a fish or two.   We had a few hits around Taughannock but didn't convert.   The winds got kind of nasty around noon and we tried a couple more areas without any luck.   I will get back out on Cayuga Lake once this weather pattern settles down a bit and we get some steady wind.   I expect good fishing for trout, salmon, bass and pike.    Water temps are around 49 degrees.  The lake level is slightly low;  I did bottom out a little bit under the bridge at Taughannock.  
Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 11/21

Guided Dave for what ended up being an abbreviated full-day today.   We were looking for salmon on the fly.   Water temps remain cold around Seneca's south end;  we had 40 degrees in most areas and up to 42 up the lake a couple miles.   Up the lake towards Glenora the H2O temp is around 49 and my guess is that further north there's probably some water in the 50 to 52 degree range.    Strong south winds appear to be causing a minor upwelling at Watkins.   This type of phenomena is common in the Great Lakes but also occurs around here.   

Dave used my Sage RPL+ flyrod and once he got used to it he enjoyed the outfit.   It really casts an intermediate line well.   After around 2 hours of fishing Dave hooked a decent salmon, but unfortunately it was foul-hooked in the dorsal fin!   It's weird fouling a fish on a #4 streamer fishing blind in 40' of water, but with landlocked Atlantic salmon it happens maybe 5 to 10% of the time.   The fish hit the fly, miss it and then swirl around it trying to eat it again.   The fish gets broadside to the fly as the angler strips it and next thing you know, you have a foul hooked fish!   I got one look at the fish before it kept running upwind of us.  Dave fought it for a little while then the hook popped out.   That was the only salmon hit on the fly.

We did some fly-fishing for pike, but it was windy and there was a lot of weed debris around which hampered our presentation.  Plus the fish are lethargic and deep.    I had Dave try a spinning rod with a Lunker City Shaker after a bit and he managed to land a nice northern over 29".   We went up the lake looking for salmon but we got interrupted when the winds switched out of the north and the lake began to whitecap.   So we called it a day.  

Although the lake temps are ideal for salmon on Seneca Lake, the lack of cold weather and rainfall has probably delayed good fishing by a week or two.   I'm sure flatliners could find some fish around, but for my style of fishing I think the best action will be in December.  Time will tell.    I have a suspicion that Cayuga will be the hot salmon fishing lake this season!

Seneca Lake out of Watkins 11/20

Fished 1/2 day with John and Ralph (from Northern California) out on Seneca for northern pike.   The guys do a lot of bass fishing on Clear Lake and hadn't caught pike before.   The water temps have really taken a dive on the south end of Seneca Lake.   I'm sure a lot of it has to do with the rain we've had.   But temps were in the low 40s!   Should be prime for salmon, but I was wondering if the pike would be sluggish.   They were a little lethargic today, but the guys did very well landing a bunch of fish up to 31".   Bright orange Lunker City Shakers in the 4.5" size did the trick fished on 1/2 oz. jig heads.    There is still plenty of nice weedgrowth in the lake! 

Tomorrow we'll be checking on some salmon action as well as the pike.   I plan on fishing Cayuga later this week for salmon/trout too.   

Skaneateles Lake 11/9

Got out on my own from around 11:30 am till dark.   I love to fish this lake in November.  Give me a few hometied hair jigs and a fly-rod with some olive buggers and I'm a happy man!     The lake was rough and launching was a pain in the butt.   The docks are out and a strong southerly was blowing.    I shot south and worked along the shore.    Things started slow and then I started picking up a few fat smallmouths.   I landed a beautiful 21" rainbow - maybe the nicest looking rainbow I've caught!   Just as silver as could be, robust (fat) and sleek with tons of spots on it.   I quickly released the fish (without taking any photos).   Rainbows were around and I dropped quite a few - both on jigs and the fly.    I just couldn't hook them solidly.   

Lake trout were also in the mix.   Windblown points were just carpeted with beautiful wild lakers ranging from around 16" to 20".    Some big (up to 15"!) perch were mixed in with the lakers.   These perch love to eat lake trout eggs - so if you can find lakers, you'll find perch.    Nice smallmouths were also in the mix.   Some trollers I talked to dropped a nice landlocked salmon.   Water temps were around 53/54.   Perfect!    I caught most of my fish in around 8' to 23' of water give or take.     November in this region is beyond compare!

Seneca 11/2 + 3 out of Sampson, Keuka 11/4

Seneca Lake was terrific for pike on 11/2.   Did a morning trip with Bill and the fishing started out a little slow, but picked up noticeably as the day went on.   No big fish, but nice action on decent pike.  We fished Lunker City Shakers in the Mahi Mahi color and Flo. Red.   There are fish all over Seneca Lake - I've never seen the pike fishing better.  And no one was out on Friday.   Can't beat that.   Water temps are in the 57 to 58 degree range.

The afternoon/evening bite left off with hot fishing.  John and Eleonore Herman just hammered pike.   Eleonore wound up landing over 20 fish and John nailed around a dozen!   Fantastic fishing with around 3 doubles or more.    The Shakers were tops again.   On 11/3 Artie came out for his first taste of pike on the fly.   The fly-fishing was superb - beyond both of our expectations!   He nailed a lot of fish on three different set ups - floating line/clouser, type 6 sink line/deceiver and LLC-13 rigged with a deceiver type fly.  We caught fish everywhere we tried!   The foliage and scenery was amazing - it just doesn't get better!

I fished Keuka on Sunday with Jessica, my newest fishing companion.   "Give someone a fish and they eat for a day, teach them to fish and they kick your butt".   ;-)   That's my new slogan.   She did well on pike with me last week and yesterday she did great on lakers on Keuka.   We caught our limit, with her taking the lion's share of fish.  The Bluff area was good for nice 22" to 24" lakers.  Many were suspended.  We kept our limit then explored a few places for bass w/o any great luck.  

Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 10/31

Last year I was fishing Skaneateles Lake for trout and salmon with my flyrod around this time.   Right now, conditions are fishing like mid-October.    So my buddy Dave and myself shot over to Cayuga to check on pike.    The lake was really rough when we showed up at 12:30 pm so we tried heading N. of Taughannock Point and we checked on lakers.   We marked a few and had some smaller fish (salmon?) following our jigs/spoons but no hookups.  

The lake calmed down and we ran south looking for pike.   We worked a few of my top pike areas.   Dave was in the zone and lost a big pike at the second place we tried.   Then he landed a 27" fish.   I couldn't buy a hit.   Dave then landed a beauty - a 37" hefty northern!  It fought great!   We took a few photos too.   Dave missed one more and that was it for us.   We tried a couple other places with no luck, but our time was running out.  

Cayuga is fishing like Seneca did a few years ago - a few fish around and some are big.  There's no comparison with Seneca right now - Seneca is much better.   Pretty much every weedy area on Seneca holds fish.  On Cayuga you need to cover a lot more water and fish thoroughly.   

My new Fenwick rods and REVO STX reel with a 7:1 retrieve fished great.   I've been using Fenwicks all season long.   I don't get paid to promote these products, but I've been impressed with them.   I used to love the old Fenwick HMG rods back in the 1970s and early 1980s.  They were classic.   I ignored Fenwick for a long time after that, mainly buying Bass Pro Shops Extreme Rods and an occasional All-Star or Loomis.    The new HMXs are some of the most reasonably priced rods out there.   They are one of the few companies that produce a Heavy Action spinning rod.   The baitcasters have rod handles that are amongst the longest for a production rod - they are perfect for vertical jigging.    I don't know of a better rod for the money than the Fenwick HMX rods.   HMGs are very nice and the Techna AV rods are awesome as well.   The HMX rods are superior (IMO) to St. Croix Premier Rods, BPS Extreme Rods and many of the Castaway Rods.   The HMX rods are lighter and more sensitive and yet stronger than the aforementioned rods.  When a Fenwick Rod is labeled as being able to handle 3/8 to 1 1/4 oz. lures, it HANDLES them.   Many rods feel overloaded when I try to cast the higher range of their rated lures.  Not the Fenwicks!

Conesus Lake 10/26 + Seneca Lake 10/27 Watkins Glen

Got out onto Conesus Lake for a full day trip with Greg.   Greg's booked a lot of trips this year and had read a lot about this lake and its bass fishing over the years.   I grew up near Rochester and have a bit of experience on this lake (going back to 1977.)   But I don't guide it - apart from a special request here and there.   I know the lake "OK" but not great.   That being said, we've caught our share of big walleyes, nice pike and nice bass on this lake over the years.  

We started on the south end and worked north.  It didn't take long for Greg to nail a few decent northern pike.    Swim baits did the job.   We saw a few good pike swimming near the surface in very shallow water over weeds - weird behavior.    We covered a lot of water but didn't encounter any aggressive bass.   One reason I don't do a lot of "year round" bass guiding is that bass can get tough to catch in many situations.   When their strike zones shrink and conditions get tough, a jig 'n pig can be the way to go.   I'd say that 95% of weekend bass fishermen I encounter don't pitch jigs.   (I worked at Bass Pro Shops for a year and a half and had a lot of conversations with anglers and got a chance to see what tackle they were buying while working registers.)   Many pros and tournament anglers throw jigs, but a surprising number of them don't.   It's thorough fishing but it can be boring and requires concentration and patience.  

So I told Greg that we'd have to go to the jigs.   My buddy Craig happened to call me while out on the water.   Craig's been fishing BASS tourneys for some time now and is doing better every year - he mentioned it and was absolutely right.   I had brought along two flipping sticks for that very reason.    Greg was reluctant to go to the jigs, since he'd never seen a fish caught on one in person - just on TV.   He wanted to see me catch a fish on one first.  So I grabbed a jig rod.    We worked down a protected bay (from the wind) and he worked superflukes and spinnerbaits shallow while I pitched a 1 oz. Black and Blue jig with a plastic trailer.   Within about 20 minutes I had a tremendous hit near the boat.   What a fish!!!   It was 20" long but clearly the fattest bass I'd ever caught.   It looked like a 6lber but was probably smaller than that, but incredibly fat and hefty looking with a "double gut".   We took photos and I'll get them up (along with about 8 months worth of photos) when I get some time.  It was probably the heaviest largemouth I've ever caught with a huge mouth that could easily fit a big fist!

After the monster bass, Greg went to the jig.   It didn't take long for him to get into a fish - a nice 30" northern followed in his jig as he brought it to the surface.   It's easy to see where Doug Stange at In-Fishermen got the idea to throw jig 'n pigs for northerns and just reel them in!    After that he missed a hit and then caught his first largemouth on a jig.   I kept fishing and also caught one.   Two areas produced all the fish, but we decided to keep working new water.   Near the north end of the lake I had one big smallie chase a swimbait, but that was it for the day.   A cottage owner on the lake told me he trolled up a nice walleye a couple weeks ago - so they are around.    Water temp was 60.  I'd say the fishing was alright - kind of tough, but worth it for the persistant angler.

Saturday I went out on Seneca with my friend Jess.   We had a great time catching pike.  The weather forecast called for 100% chance of rain but we played things by ear and got very lucky.   Not much new to report on the Seneca northerns.   They fought great - water temps are starting to hit the 50s and they hit hard.  Big fish were starting to enter the picture too.  My best one was 38" long and hefty!   All fish were released unharmed.    Swim baits worked best as usual.   

Seneca Lake out of Sampson 10/24
Guided the full day with Clyde and his daughter Misty.   It was a fun trip.   Pike fishing remains very good to excellent on Seneca Lake with most fish coming off outside weed edges in deep water.   Lunker City Shakers in Mahi Mahi worked best today.   Spinnerbaits accounted for a couple fish as well.   As usual we are releasing nearly all pike.   These aggressive fish are very vulnerable to angling pressure and fishermen should limit their harvest (despite the liberal statewide pike limit.)    As many pike as there are now in Seneca Lake, things weren't like that in the 1980s and much of the 1990s and I'd like to keep the fishing great for years to come :-)   We tried some laker jigging with one quick hit and one other missed fish.  Action was slow.   No luck on bass either.   Lake temps remain well above normal - they are at 61 to 63.   We were the only boat around the mid-portions of the lake today.   Once shotgun season opens for deer it will get even less crowded out there!
Owasco Lake 10/22

Guided Dave and Rod today for 1/2 day starting at 11 am.  Those are my kind of hours! ;-) Lake trout action is still very good on Owasco and the guys managed to land 9 nice fish.  They lost/missed some good ones as well.  It was their first day jigging and they did a great job feeling the hits and setting the hook.    The lake temps are still warm, leaves are getting close to peak colors and the air temps were terrific - fishing just doesn't get much better.    Fish are moving deeper and deeper on this lake.  100' to 115' was best.   White and chartreuse Flukes/Fin-S Fish worked well, as did a 1 ounce silver Kastmaster Spoon.    Fun day!

Seneca out of Watkins Glen 10/21

Day 2 with Kevin started out a bit tough around 9:30 am.   We worked further up the lake than on Saturday (up to north of Severne).   He caught a good number of pike today, a couple pickerel and a couple smallmouths.   Bass are definitely taking a back seat to the abundant northern pike population on Seneca Lake!    Pike ran up to 30".   Spinnerbaits, fly-fishing and swim baits all produced fish today.    The fishing got better as the day went on.   Pike are most abundant in 10' to 20' of water off the weeds.   Water temps vary from 61 to 63.    Both shores offer good to excellent fishing.

Fly-fishing action is excellent for pike right now and it'll only get better!   Kevin claims Seneca is fishing better than many Canadian lakes - the difference is that Seneca is closer and has more amenities available.  No need to pack a bunch of gear into a remote location.   I had a very good time with Kevin today - he's a fellow musician and time just flew by....

Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 10/20
Good fishing today with Kevin (who joined me last year on Skaneateles Lake).    The target species was pike and we had a steady pick of nice 25" to 27" northerns throughout the day, both on fly-rods and conventional tackle.    Kevin's basic comment:  "I thought you had to go to Canada to get pike fishing like this!"    He's fished many Canadian lakes and was impressed with the abundance of nice pike in Seneca Lake.   They are pretty much everywhere.   I encourage a lot of catch and release with these fun fish so we maintain great fishing for years to come.   Water temps are still around 62 degrees.   We still haven't encountered many smallmouths in the southern portion of Seneca Lake yet.   They should show soon!   
Keuka Lake 10/19
Fished out of Branchport with Michele and her dad John.   We've been out a couple times a year over the past three years together.   I was scheduled to fish Keuka a week ago but we moved the trip to Owasco, so I was psyched to see what was happening on this lake.    The winds were howling this AM and I thought cancelling or moving the trip might be in order, but conditions on Keuka Lake weren't bad at all.   This is the most sheltered and "wind-proof" of all the major Finger Lakes (the big ones!)    I was thrilled to drive by Penn Yan and see that the lake was fairly flat.   Lake trout were the target today and the fishing was tough to start.   We boated our first fish by around 11 am.   Michele and John lost some good fish today and missed some good hits, but they managed to boat 7 nice lakers and two 25" fish were amongst those boated.   A couple solid fish were lost that were probably in the same size range.    Fin-S Fish in "limetreuse" and white tubes worked best today.  A few fish were chasers, but most hits came on the bottom.   Stomach checks revealed both small and large alewives in the fish.   Fish are approaching the spawn with skeins starting to loosen up a bit.    Water temps are still very warm on top @ 64 degrees.    No T-storms today but we got drenched at times and during the ride back from Hammondsport (where we had the most luck.)   We found good fishing in 80' to 110' of water.   Some fish are reportedly shallower as well.  
Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 10/17
Pike fishing was very good today for fish running up to just over 30".   Spinnerbaits worked best and the action varied during the course of the day.    Lake temps are around 63.   Michele and her dad John did well landing around 14 to 15 legal fish.   No bass were in the mix.  Fishing pressure on the lake was extremely light.    These fish are very fly-fishable and we'll be doing some fly-fishing for them this weekend (guiding).  
Owasco Lake 10/15
Guided a 1/2 day with Gary and Jarred today.  Lakers were the target and the fishing was good to very good.   The action was steady all morning with glimpses of excellent fishing when the sun poked its head out.   Fish were in 75' to 110' of water mainly around the north end of the lake.   White flukes/fin-s fish were the choice of lures.   Bait is everywhere.   We spent around 1/2 hour casting for pike/bass and Gary picked up a northern.  A couple hits were missed by Jarred.   After the trip ended I did some casting mainly around the north end and caught a decent (16 to 17")smallmouth.   Perch were all over and I had quite a few follows/hits from decent northerns.   Pike weren't super aggressive, but they were around.  All in all the fall fishing is in full swing.  The leaves are changing and the water is cooling down.  Temps were down at least one degree from Friday.  They are now around 62 lakewide.    
Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 10/14
Did a full day with Matt and Brian.   They were out with me 2 weeks ago and wanted to get in some more pike/bass action.   Pike still dominate the nearshore fishing on Seneca Lake.  Pike action started out fair to good for us and got better as the day went on.   Heavy spinnerbaits and swim baits produced the best action for us.   No great numbers, but steady fishing all day long.  We covered a lot of water, mainly staying in the southern 7 miles of the lake.   Fish ranged from around 20" to over 30" with most fish being in the 25" to 27" range.   Bass were few and far in between - with one or two hookups and follows that appeared to be smallmouths.   Water temps are around 63 degrees lakewide.    After the trip I got out for another hour and a half and had some very good action.   Large Lunker City Shakers worked well.   With the start of bowhunting season, the boat traffic on the lake was very light.  
Owasco Lake 10/12

Fished with Greg today.   Greg first booked me this past June and every trip we've done has featured some very good to excellent fishing.   When I heard the winds howling at 4 am this morning I was wondering if our luck had run out!   As I drove through the park at Taughannock on my way to Owasco Lake I narrowly missed hitting a skunk!   Was it an omen?   Did I "just miss the skunk?"   Well I'm not superstitious but I'd be lying if I said I thought it would be easy fishing today.   Greg got his fill of lakers 2 weeks ago and the target today was smallmouths.  He said if he got one 18" smallmouth he'd consider today a success.  

The lake was misty with rain and windy out of the west as we launched.   No one else was around.   As we headed down the lake the wind seemed to follow us.   Waves got bigger and we got wet as we motored around.   We fished a couple areas and at the second area we fished Greg got a hit on an X-rap.   I thought it was a small bass, but we netted the fish and it was an 18 1/2" smallmouth!   Paydirt!    Greg insisted I fish a little and I managed a northern around 25" on a tube jig.   We continued down the lake and Greg missed a few fish incl. another average northern.   A few largemouths missed our lures near the south end of the lake.   We worked back up and I picked up a 17" smallmouth.   I alternated between fishing and not fishing -every so often Greg wanted me to fish, so I did.  

We continued up the lake and Greg nailed a beautiful smallmouth on a spinnerbait - just a hair under 20"!    Then the pike started hitting and we probably caught another half dozen northerns.   Nothing over 26", but all decent fish.   I nailed another decent smallie on a tube and pike were also hitting the tube.  Perch were everywhere.  Bigger ones were near the south end.   All in all we felt pretty good about our day.   We worked hard for every fish we caught, but we did catch some very nice fish.   We saw one other boat out all day.  Bass were in around 7' to 20' of water.  Same with the other fish.   The outside edge of the weeds was key for northerns.  Bass were in shallow and off the edges.   Fish are all over the lake.  Covering water was the key today.   Fishing should only improve by the week!   H2O was at 64 lakewide and 62 in the outlet.   Greg's a funny guy and we were laughing our butts off with assorted crazy mimicry and other forms of "cold generated weirdness".     

Owasco Lake 10/10
The weather people predicted "light and variable" but it looked to me more like 8 to 12 mph southerlies (with higher gusts) as we got on the north end of Owasco Lake.  I spent 4 hours fishing with my trolling motor running at 80% power (or more.)   Jim and Dick are originally from Wisconsin and enjoy walleye fishing.   They didn't have any problems adjusting to the lake trout jigging.   The fish weren't biting great to start, but the guys fished hard and managed to land around 6 or 7 nice fish in the morning.   We gave the lakers a break and did a bit of smallmouth fishing along the shorelines down the lake.   A couple fish - including a nice 17"+ fish nosed up to Jim's superfluke but they wouldn't grab.   The lake calmed down a bit and we went back to laker fishing.   The bite really picked up and the guys had a bunch of hits and hookups.  We had no problems filling the limit and doing some catch and release.   Great day - the fishing and catching were great.   It was nice to experience some seasonable weather and the trees are finally starting to get a little bit of color going.   Fish were hitting perch colored Fin-S Fish and white flukes.    Best depths were around 85' to 95'.   Next to nobody was out on the lake.
Seneca/Sampson 10/9

Just terrific pike fishing all morning on Seneca Lake with Dan and Aaron.   Fish were in and outside of the weededges in roughly 10' to 24' of water.   We stayed north of Sampson for the pike, but they are everywhere from Geneva to Watkins Glen!    Best lures were spinnerbaits and jig/spinners with swimbaits.   Bass jigs with trailers also worked pretty well (yes, I read "In-Fishermen" ;-).   We stayed with the single hook stuff (No stickbaits) and were able to do well with the catch and release fishing.    The fish are running from around 22" to 27" with most around 25".    A pickerel or two were hooked along with a nice pumpkinseed that had some beautiful colors.   Color didn't matter on the lures.   The pike aren't fat but they are nice fish - not dinks!

Some wild storms came through around 2 pm and we got off the lake as we heard them approaching.   Glad we left when we did!  It got nasty out there.   My guys hooked a few decent bass as well, landing a small smallmouth.   We tried laker jigging but didn't have the time.   We marked fish in around 100' to 110' south of Sampson.   We were the only boat in the parking lot at the park.  Never saw another fishing boat out on the water.    My last trip with Dan was last year in July and we were also driven off the water due to storms.   Next time we get a drought, I'm calling Dan up and telling him to book a trip!

Owasco Lake 10/7 + 10/8

Laker fishing remains absolutely incredible on Owasco Lake.  Fishing just can't get much better - though it still helps to pick your days and pay attention to changing conditions.   Fished with Gary on Sunday and the fishing got going great about a half an hour after we started at 7 am.   Fish were just hitting aggressively and chasing well.   Gary wound up landing around 25 nice fish.  Our best action was in around 85' of water give or take 10'.   Colors all worked - though white, chartreuse, perch and firetiger patterns were best.   I really like the perch colored fin-S fish.  Tubes also work great.   Fish hit well in the morning, slowed up a little around noon and started hitting great again around 3 pm.

Today's action started out ridiculously well with Dan and his two daughters Emma and Madeline.   The fishing was incredible first thing in the morning with the sunny conditions and very light wind.   The gals both caught a bunch of nice fish and a double or two were hooked.   Action was best early on in around 85' then we moved out to around 110' later on when things slowed shallow.   A lot of my former clients have been out on the lake and I appreciate the tips.   Ed tipped me onto the deep bite.   I guess what goes around comes around!  ;-)   Fish are active in over 120' of water.  

I did an afternoon trip with Mike and Ralph - both longtime (40 year+) Owasco anglers.   I enjoyed hearing the tales of the once legendary cisco fishing on Owasco Lake back in the 1950s.   These guys had been doing some jigging with some success.    There are a few technical things that can greatly help the hookup rates and that's what we worked on.   The guys caught a lot of fish and I'm sure their future jigging won't be the same.  

Tackle is important while jigging lakers.  I suggest long (7') high quality graphite rods with smooth baitcasting reels.   Great rods include Fenwick's HMG and HMX Graphite rods - they have nice long handles.  Bass Pro Shops has some nice rods too.   Medium to high end rods are best - leave the Ugly Sticks at home!   I've had great success with 14lb. smoke colored fireline and around 10' or more of Berkely XXX Spiderwire 12lb. mono as a leader.   Use a uni-knot to connect the Fireline to leader.   Regular mono stretches too much for adequate hook sets in deep water.

Owasco Lake 10/6
Did an abbreviated (due to T-storms) full day with Mihai and his wife Christina.  We tried getting Christina out last year but the weather was horrid - strong winds and cold.   Today's conditions were much better.   We started at around 9:30am with light south winds.   Water (surface) temps are at 67 degrees.  Baitfish were everywhere on the north end of the lake.  Lake trout began hitting within 20 minutes or so of our arrival.   As the winds diminished and the sun got higher the jig bite improved.   Mihai is a terrific jigger (among the best I guide) and was quickly into fish.   Christina picked up the technique pretty fast and managed to land her first lake trout - and then 4 or 5 more if I remember right.   Before long some doubles were being hooked and the fish were very aggressive.  Most hits came on bottom, but some were chasing.   Fish ran from 19" to 28" and appear to be well-fed.   Around 14 or 15 fish total were landed and they were hitting great as we headed in to grab some coffee.  I noticed dark and thickening clouds as well pulled back out.   Boats were coming in and a call to a friend who had internet/weather map access confirmed a line of strong T-storms moving across the region.   We tried a few drops then saw a few lightning bolts and headed in.   Of course by the time I got the boat on the trailer, the storms ended!   
Owasco Lake 10/5
Had a good time fishing with Gary today.   The bite started out slow (we started just after 7 am) but got going around 10 am or so.   After that he had a steady pick of nice 22" to 25" Owasco lakers.   It was hot outside like August!   Water temps are 70 degrees on the surface.   Bait was on the bottom in the morning but moved up higher in the water column later.   Fin-S Fish and flukes worked best in white/white ice and gold/chartreuse.   Fishing pressure was fairly light.  No action for us on bass today.   More reports to come from Owasco - I'm there all weekend through at least Monday.  
Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 10/1

Did a morning trip with Matt and Brian.   We targeted northern pike and the fishing was very good.   Fish ran the usual (for this year) 23" or 24" to around 27" with one in around 10 fish being over 30".   Today I got lucky and took a demo cast with a swim bait and hit a fish that was probably around 32".   The guys did well working a spinnerbait and a swim bait and hooked and caught some nice fish.   No bass were in the mix today - just pike.  Most fish were in probably 14' to 20' of water.   I brought my Shimano Curado 7:1 reel and my new Fenwick Techna AV rod along for today's trips and Matt really enjoyed using it with a spinnerbait.   Nice baitcasting gear makes learning how to cast and fish a baitcaster a pleasure.   Funny thing is my rod is so new I still haven't caught a fish on it.   Glad Matt was able to break it in!  ;-)

In the afternoon Dave and his wife Stephanie (who did not fish) came out for some mixed bag fishing.  We tried running north for some lake trout action but the lake didn't cooperate.   South winds cranked up to around 15 mph and made the lake whitecap quite a bit.   Dave did manage to land a small lake trout on a white fluke.   He did a bit of casting for pike and managed to get some decent northerns in various areas of the lake.   Fishing was a little bit tough due to the wind, but we perservered and things worked out well.   Dave's a really great angler and we had a good time chatting about the old "In-Fishermen" magazine/TV show and the old "Fishing Facts" days.  

Seneca's been great all year long for pike and the fishing will only get better.   I'm really looking forward to hitting some bass and pike!  H2O is still warm - around 65 on top.

Cayuga/Taughannock 9/30

Did a 1/2 day trip today with Tony and Sandra.  Tony wanted to check out Cayuga Lake to see what the fishing was like as well as get a tour of the lake.   We started at 10 am jigging lakers.   I'm sure we missed a morning bite.   Fish are all over the Taughannock area in deep water - 85' and beyond (plenty of fish and bait are out in 100' to 140' or so.)   Jigging was slow for us - we marked fish but they didn't want our jigs or spoons.   A decent smallmouth bass followed up a jig in around 65' of water.    We tried down the lake for bass and pike.  One smallmouth (a small one) whacked a jerkbait on the east shore.   No sign of pike, but then again the conditions weren't great with the clear skies/sun and high pressure system.   The wind changed a bit and we went back to laker jigging.   The fish started cooperating and both Tony and Sandra got more hits.  Tony managed to land a decent laker around 25" and a dink around 12".   Trollers were catching some sublegal salmon.   The water looks great on the south end of Cayuga - clear with plenty of weeds!   There's gotta be some nice bass and pike around.

Lakers will be spawning in a week or two on Cayuga and the DEC will have their propagation nets out.   I'm not planning on guiding lakers anytime soon on Cayuga (only as a fall back pattern or secondary pattern.)   Owasco is the place to be in my book right now for lakers.  Keuka should also be fishing well.   I'll be on Seneca tomorrow to check on smallmouths, lakers and pike.  Can't wait!

Owasco Lake 9/28

Ridiculous fishing on Owasco Lake with Greg yesterday.   Over 30 fish were landed and as many if not more were lost and we could have kept going and going....but we tried some other things towards the end of the trip.   Fish and bait are stacked and active in around 75' to 90' of water.   80' to 85' was probably best.   Lakers are hitting on bottom and chasing jigs and spoons actively.   The bite varies during the course of the day basically from just good to obscenely great.   We've kept limits of fish the last couple trips out and my smoker is getting a workout.  

These fish just don't seem to be growing much to me.   Fish with a left pectoral clip on Owasco were around 26" last year (On Cayuga that same class of fish was 27" last year and is 28" this year).   On Owasco they are the same length this year but thinner (negative growth!).   A huge percentage of fish have an adipose clip.   These may have been surplus lakers that were stocked in the lake around 5 or 6 years ago.   Once this class of fish "moves through" the fishery, the lake trout growth and fishing should return to normal.   For now, enjoy the hot fishing!   No matter what the fin clip, most fish are running 22" to 26".   They are nice sized fish and fight good.   It's probably the best fishing for lakers I've ever seen in terms of sheer consistency and numbers throughout the day and on a day-in/day-out basis.   

There's a ton of bait on the north end of the lake and the bait varies in size from 2" fish to 5" fish.   Nearly any type of plastic or spoon will produce.   Fin-S Fish/Fluke type baits, super flukes, swim baits, twisters, tubes, creature baits etc...  Colors like white, white ice, natural gray, chartreuse and gold all work great.  

Owasco Lake 9/26

Fished a 1/2 day on Owasco with Rusty.   Action was good to very good throughout the morning with the best fishing around 9 am.   Fish ranged from 70' to 85' deep.   Best lures were spoons and flukes.   The lake trout action here in September is pretty much unsurpassed in the region.   The fishing picked up in the afternoon (after we left) and a friend of mine had a tremendous couple hours of action on lakers feeding rabidly!

I had a last minute cancellation for this Sat, so the date is open.   Weather is forecast to be very pleasant and I expect good fishing on Owasco Lake.

Canandaigua Lake 9/24
I fished Canandaigua today from 11 am till around 4 pm.   I found good number of lakers today in the central/southern portion of the lake in 75' of water.   Fishing was fairly good - I lost 4 or 5 decent fish after I thought I'd hooked them solidly.   I landed a couple lakers on white flukes.   Baitfish numbers seem decent in the lake.   I targeted bass for about an hour with just a rockbass and sunfish to show for my efforts.  I did find a few promising areas though.   I'll be back here a bit this fall - I'm enjoying the lake and it isn't too far away from me.  
Owasco Lake 9/22 + 9/23

Guided both days on Owasco.  9/22 AM was a trip with Chip and his boss Mel.   The wind was nasty in the AM and I was wondering whether I should have selected Cayuga Lake instead.   But once we set up over the massive schools of baitfish and laker marks the answer became clear - a rough Sept. day on Owasco is still well worth fishing and might be better than a calm day elsewhere.  The guys both started getting hits and Chip missed a lot of fish at the get-go, but before long he really got the hang of things.  Then Mel came on strong later on.   In a nutshell the fishing was great and both guys left very impressed after landing around 15 to 16 nice lakers!  Fish were in 65' to 80'.

The afternoon trip was with Mary-Beth and Tim.   They came to the lake with a Bob and Joni who'd fished with me back in early July.   We headed out as the winds had momentarily subsided and switched out of the west.   The fishing started out hot 'n heavy and eventually slowed to a steady pace (still good, but not as great as before.)   The gals outfished the guys and another 15 fish or so were landed on my boat.  

Today was with Mike and his brother Tom.   I was concerned about the forecast strong northerlies (more re: the bite than the boat control) but the lake was flat as we launched at 7 am.  The fishing started out great and both spoons and white flukes did the trick.   The guys pounded fish, landing 22 lakers and losing at least 20 - all in around 4 hours!  Most action was early but we had a steady pick throughout the AM.   Best action was shallow in the morning and then got better deeper.   This lake is absolutely loaded with lakers and folks should harvest as many fish as is legally possible.  Get those smokers going!   Fish are virtually all 22" to 26".  We had one 28" fish on Saturday and it was a rare unclipped Owasco fish (maybe a wild one!)

Lake Ontario out of Irondequoit Bay 9/21

I had a day off and the big question I mulled over with my friend Shahab was "where do we go?"   We decided to leave it at the last minute and I met him up in Geneva geared for either Canandaigua Lakers or Lake Ontario jigging/bass/flyrod action.   We shot up to Rochester and motored out of the bay at around 7:30 am.   There was a load of boats out by the massive channel markers perch fishing - you could virtually hop from boat to boat!   We saw a nice largemouth bass jump at the mouth of the bay (in the lake) and Shahab threw a topwater plug w/o any luck.   We worked our way out to around 100' and found some bait and marks.  No luck.  

We worked west all the way out to the Hamlin/Sandy Creek area where a couple friends of mine have had some jigging luck on salmon/trout over the years.   I marked fish out around 75' on bottom and lots of fish around 110'.   The story was the usual - fish coming off the bottom but not hitting no matter what we dropped.   We spent HOURS trying!   I had 3 to 4 fish chasing - but not far.  Immature Kings?  Lakers?   Mature fish?  I don't know.   I do know we never felt or saw a hit.    Next time I'll have to take some chances on venturing out in different weather conditions - I've been playing it safe fishing south winds and the action has been slow both on the rods and on the screen.   Next time we'll hit some westerlies or light northerlies.

We worked in shallower and started getting hits.   We started nailing gobies!  I'd never seen one "live and in-person" before.  Weird looking fish.   And big too - some of them were the size of small bullheads - like 7" to 8" fish!   They should provide some great forage for the bass and trout out there on LO, but I sure hope we don't see them in the Fingers.   Things are fine just as they are.

Russell Station was pushing out 84 degree water into the lake!  The water was steaming and the air temps/water temps were in the upper 60s/70s.   Nothing but pin-minnows out there.   We tried the mouth of the Genny - zippo.   Then we headed up towards Shipbuilders/Webster.   Shahab nailed a nice 2 1/2lb smallie in around 23' of water on a streamer, but it appeared to be a straggler - no other bass were around (at least none for us!).   I couldn't but a bass dropshotting or tubing - just gobies, gobies and more gobies.   I should note that I don't often fish the I Bay area of Lake Ontario and I'm much more familiar with the Sodus Pt./Oswego area of the lake.  So we were just fishing blind and drifting a bit - but these areas did produce significant bass for us back in the late 1990s and early 2000s.   The bass Shahab caught was hooked deep and bleeding.  We kept it - nothing was in its stomach which was surprising.   We worked from 12' to 35' of water.  It started getting late so we called it a day.  

Keuka Lake 9/19
Guided a full day out of Branchport with Steve.   We started near the bluff area and had fair action on spoons.   Steve landed a couple nice fish.   There are plenty of fish around the "Y".   We decided to run to Hammondsport.   The fishing was very good there and downright excellent for about an hour starting at 11am.   Steve landed another 4 fish, but missed a bunch of chasers and hits.   The fish are all quality sized - 21" to 26" long.   We did around 1 + 1/2 hours of bass fishing and he picked up a small smallmouth (superfluke) plus a nice largemouth (Senko).   Good fishing!   Lakers ranged from around 65' on down.  Many fish were suspended.  
Canandaigua Lake 9/16

I finally really hit the late-summer/early fall lake trout jigging bite on this lake.   I've always liked the lake but due to heavy boat traffic I generally avoid it during the summer months.   I was impressed by the fishing I had today and will return this season.  I fully intend on deciphering the month to month laker patterns here next year - most of them I think I have somewhat figured out.    Anyways I got out on my own just after noon today and worked the north end for a little bit.   Not much was happening "lake trout wise" there.   I headed south and picked up a decent fish on my first drop on the south end.   Within a 1/2 hour I had another legal fish then a sublegal one.   I worked up both sides of the lake and eventually found what I was looking for - a couple mile stretch of lake holding good numbers of fish and baitfish.   I basically worked the same areas I'd worked earlier in the month - the only difference was that there were fish in them now.   (Don't forget to take into account day to day weather patterns when fishing for lake trout!   A high sun and calm conditions are usually a big plus during the late summer/early fall bite!)   I wound up landing 7 fish on the day, breaking off one and missing a bunch.   My largest fish was a 29" beauty that probably weighed close to 9lbs.   I kept a limit of small fish and was surprised to find a huge golden shiner in the stomach of one.   One of the males I'd caught was close to spawning - so I'm guess they spawn earlier here than on other Finger Lakes.   With what I've seen over the past 4 years on this lake, I feel fairly confident in being able to do some guiding here for lakers.   I've pinpointed the late spring/summer locations and now the fall locations of these fish.    Best action was in around 70' to 80' of water - though I marked fish out to over 110' or more.   I spent the remainder of the day on my electronics figuring out the parameters of the fall fish as best I could (i.e. how far north and south they are).

Ran into fellow guide Jon Evans at the launch:    He's the guy for Finger Lakes bass and has won and placed in his share of tournaments.   He reported good bass fishing today.   Other anglers I talked to did pretty well on perch plus a few crappies.   I'd like to thank a former client of mine Derrick for a tip on location that was helpful today as well.    This lake is a little bit tricky to jig, since the shelves are pretty narrow - but it can be done.   Lake trout are lake trout whether in Canada, Lake George, Cayuga Lake, Lake Champlain or Hemlock Lake - they like jigs!   I don't get the impression that these Canandaigua fish have seen many jigs - that will change! ;-)

Lamoka Lake 9/13 PM + Cayuga/Taughannock 9/14 AM

I finally had some free time on my own, so off to Lamoka Lake I went.   I'd never fished it before (though I fished Waneta once on a slow day.)   A former co-worker of mine had seen some huge muskies cruising around over the summer and I was hoping to see one (hopefully at the end of my line!)   I cast some huge swimbaits around as well as some smaller stuff.  Got one nice pickerel - which was cool.   Getting ANY fish while throwing huge stuff for muskies is a thrill!   For those of you who haven't fished it - it's a nice lake.  Reminds me of one of my favorites -  Butterfield Lake (near Black Lake).   There's islands, plenty of deep water, plenty of weeds and the lake has a nice water color.  The main drawback is the shallow channel that boats must take to get on the lake (if they use the State Launch.)   It's a "prop-dinger".  I did a little bassin' later on and caught a nice fish on a senko.   Panfish were hammering the worm.   I didn't have the time to do half of what I wanted to.   I'll be back.   My musky rod and reel just arrived in the mail, so I'm hoping to make Waneta/Lamoka regular stops in my fishing rotation!  

Did a 1/2 day guide trip today with Tim.   I was optimistic re: the bite today given the nice sunny clear weather in the AM.  For some reason (visibility/silhouettes) the sun seems to help trigger the fall laker bite on Cayuga Lake.    Tim did well picking up the technique.  He dropped his first couple hits but connected with a nice laker in short order.   Soon thereafter he nailed a nice 24" brown that was 2 ounces shy of 6lbs. (I finally bought a super-accurate scale - a 35lb Berkely TEC Scale.)   A 29" laker (plus another nice fish dropped) and a bonus 18" landlocked salmon rounded out the day.   Fish are still relatively deep - from around 75' on out.   Plenty of bait is around and the male brown was packed with a couple huge sawbellies (aka alewives).  After the trip I did some deep water fly-fishing using a heavy head.  No luck, but I felt good about it - the flies were getting down deep, weren't fouling much and should work fine.   Browns just ain't super easy - it'll take time.

Cayuga/Taughannock 9/11
I got out with my friend Willy for a quick 2 hours (before the weather forced us to pack it up.)   We did some experimenting for browns using the fly-rods.   Nothing doing - though I'm absolutely sure that we can score on some of these big browns fly-fishing if we get the right conditions - like wind!)    We spent about an hour jigging lakers and marked a lot of fish below us and reluctantly moving for the jigs.  We each missed a few hits and I managed to land one decent fish around 25".   The best laker fishing on Cayuga may wind up being further away from Taughannock.  Many of the fish in that area are colored up in spawning colors.   Fish uplake may still be feeding a bit more.   There should be good action on the point with eggsacks and floaters.   Jigging spoons should also aggravate these fish into hitting.  There's still plenty of bait around.   The weather was crazy for our little outing - in each direction we looked we saw different weather!   Dark clouds, sun, a rainbow, rain, clear skies - weird!  I'm looking forward to getting out on Owasco shortly.
Keuka Lake out of Branchport 9/10
Guided Derrick today for a full-day.   He's staying on the lake for the week and wanted to learn a few patterns and areas.   We started with lake trout (vertical) jigging.  There are fish throughout the lake but as is often the case this time of the year, many fish are concentrated around Hammondsport and the Bluff Area.   H-port provided our best fishing, using white tubes.   We picked up one fish on the Bluff with a 3/4 oz. silver Kastmaster.   Fish are running 18" to 26" and it was nice seeing some decent lakers.  Fish are on the feed with most kept fish having a baitfish in their stomach.   Our best fishing was in 80' or more, with most fish being suspended.   We dropshotted some perch in around 40' of water and Derrick picked up a nice largemouth bass working a white superfluke in the shallows.   Very good fishing on Keuka with very few boats out there.  If I find the time I'd love to go bassin' here, but looking at my schedule it probably won't happen.   Oh well....  I still think the best fishing for lakers is a couple weeks away.   BTW - Our fish didn't start hitting until late - 10 am.
Cayuga out of Taughannock 9/7 AM + PM Trips

9/7 AM:   I was looking forward to getting Gerald out on the lake for some jigging.  He lives close by and I was psyched to show him the pattern.   We went out first thing in the morning with his friend Dick.   The wind was up from the south and we ran up the lake a bit - since the forecast was calling for increasing winds throughout the day.   We marked fish all over the place but just couldn't get any or many hits.   We worked very hard trying quite a few areas on both shores.   Dick hooked up momentarily with what appeared to be a smallish salmon or trout.   We had a few fish chase our jigs north of Taughannock and we had at least one missed hit but couldn't hook up.    Very tough day and we gave it our best go with zero fish landed.   The Fish Gods owe us!   These guys fish Cayuga quite a bit and know what they need to do to jig fish effectively.   So this trip should pay some dividends for them in the future.  

9/7 PM:  I was obviously wondering how we'd do in the afternoon after such a difficult morning trip.    The heat was getting brutal but the winds kept things bearable.  As Kevin and his brother Greg boarded the boat I lamented the tough morning bite or lack thereof.   They were great sports and said "We don't care if we don't catch anything - it looks like a great day to be out".   Perfect!  I couldn't have ordered a better attitude for the afternoon trip after such a tough morning on the water.    Just like a sports team, I needed to put the tough day behind me.   So it was a new ballgame - a clean slate.   I explained the technique to the guys and they went to work.   The strong winds of the morning died down a bit and shifted out of the west.   Within 40 minutes of starting Kevin nailed a nice 25" laker!   We were in business and he caught another bigger (29" fish) before Greg got one.    Later on Kevin had the "hot hand" as he came close to landing two more and landed another fish.   Wound up with five nice fish landed (one kept) including a 30", a 29", a couple 25s and one smaller one.    The winds died down and the evening was perfect as we wound things up by sharing a few beers that the guys had brought along.  

Cayuga out of Taughannock 9/6 PM
Fished with Jeff and his daughter Amity and her boyfriend Matt.   It was hot and sultry when we got out on Cayuga Lake around 2:30pm.    We worked north of Taughannock without much to show - maybe one hit.   Ran up the east shore near AES and had some hookups.  Amity lost a couple (of what appeared to be) nice fish.   Jeff also dropped one then landed a nice fish around 25".   We had supper!   Jeff got another and lost another back on the west shore.  Matt nailed one there too.   Fish were hitting on the "chase".   Action improved as the sun got lower in the sky, but the guys had to leave to meet someone for dinner.   All in all not bad fishing but slower than what we'd been having recently.    Beautiful day and nice breeze out there.  Virtually no boat traffic after the holiday.   Fish were around 80' to 90'.
Seneca Lake out of Sampson 9/5
Did a full-day with Jim and Frank on Seneca Lake.   They enjoy their walleye and bass fishing in Ohio and were looking forward to something different.   We started at 6:30 am and the fishing was kind of slow but we did get hits and miss them.   It took a little while for Frank to get used to the quick hooksets required of laker jigging vs. the delayed style used for bass and walleye fishing.   But the challenge makes for fun fishing!   Jim started things off with a nice laker.   As the morning went on the sun finally started to break through and the fishing improved.   Frank really got on a roll nailing a bunch of fish in a row.   Before long both guys were in the groove and we even had a double or two.   Ended the day with 14 nice fish landed up to 29".   Most fish were wild or at least unclipped.   Most fish were also very clean with one fish coming up with a live lamprey attached.   Best depths were around 80' to 90' if I remember right.    After the trip I had a chance to check out the guys' Harleys.  Beautiful bikes and it'd be tempting to want one - but I think I'll stick with my truck after looking at my childhood "wipeout" record!   
Cayuga out of Taughannock 9/3
Ed had been contacting me on and off for quite some time re: a trip and I had a msg. on my answering machine on Sunday when I got in.   So we did a half-day today.   I'd seen him working hard trolling over the past couple days.   We hit the weather/bite perfectly today and he saw how good things could be.   Fish were super-active in around 85' to 90' of water on Cayuga's east shore.   Action was terrific with 3 to 5 fish routinely chasing Ed's jig on numerous drops.   He landed a bunch of fish and we decided to do a little deep water exploring.  Both of us are interested in what's all going on in the lake rather than "how many fish can we boat", so we worked some suspended bait and fish just to see what would happen.  The time to check on these things is when fish are active and biting, not necessarily when things are slow.   We wound up the trip at Taughannock where Ed filled out his limit.   DEC officers checked our boat near the park and we headed in.   Ed's a fan of this website and the fishing reports - it's always nice to meet people that enjoy the effort that goes into maintaining these reports.   I always tell people - these reports are what I experience, not "what is".   Take them as one angler's findings.  
Seneca out of Sampson 9/2

Did a 1/2 day with Brian and his 10 year old son Jacob.  As is typical with Seneca Lake, the wind was up from the south and the lake was choppy when we started around 7 am.   The guys each picked up a laker to start north of the launch and we worked down the lake.   The lake stayed rough and fishing wasn't easy until around 10 am.   Once things calmed down a few more fish were landed incl. Jacob's 23" brown trout!  We just have got the "brown trout mojo" going this season and I love it!  After the trip ended I fished on my own for a bit and did some searching.  I found good #s of lakers in  water from 65' to 95' along the park's vast shoreline.  The afternoon bite really improved and I called it a day just past 4 pm.   There's still some decent pike fishing going on but the "bite windows" are spotty.   The lake level seemed down and water temps were around 73 on top.  

I have taken plenty of photos of this year's catches.  I just haven't had time to put them up.   I intend to do so over the next month or two if I'm not too busy! 

Cayuga out of Taughannock 9/1
Back out with Mihai and Bill.   The lake trout bite was much slower today than yesterday.  On top of that, the wind really got cranking!   But we perservered.   Three nice lakers were landed and the "fish of the day" was a nice 24" brown that nailed a fluke.   This brown was a matter of sheer luck - though we were obviously in the right place at the right time!   It was great fun fishing over the past two days with Mihai and Bill and I'm looking forward to seeing Mihai again in mid-Sept. for some more (hopefully) great fishing.   Fish are active in the same depths as before.  
Cayuga out of Taughannock 8/31

Did a full-day with Mihai and his dad Bill.   These guys have been booking with me since my first season and they're both excellent jiggers - among the best I've seen.  (To do this technique well takes practice.) It showed in our catch today.   The bite was good and the guys landed 17 nice lakers.   A few were lost as well.   Best fishing was in 70' to 85' or so on the west shore and 77' to 100' on the east.   We had good fishing early then things slowed up a lot by 11 or 12 noon once the northerlies really cranked up.

I had a stroke of luck go my way today.   But the day didn't start like that.  I set up my coffee pot last night and turned it on this morning around 5 am.   I always look forward to that first scalding hot cup of coffee. ;-)   I've had a few of those nasty green flies hanging around my kitchen.  Well as I sipped my cup of coffee I felt something larger enter my mouth!  :-(   I knew right away what it was when I spit everything out!   So I made pot of coffee #2.   My filter collapsed and I wound up with a pot full of grounds.   3rd. time was the charm.  Fortunately things took a turn for the better after that.

Things were looking pretty slow as we wound down the trip.   Our 8 hours and then some time was up and we decided to fish one last area.  As the guys worked their jigs for the final "hurrah" I grabbed a left crank rod (I normally crank on the right) and I started working a jig.   I never fish during guide trips (unless clients absolutely insist, then I still generally don't), but if I go "overtime" occasionally I'll grab a rod.   Gave it a couple tries and we were about to go when I hooked up!   After a nice battle I landed a 29" brown!    Awesome fish and probably at least 10lbs, if not 11.   Needless to say I kept the guys out another hour and Mihai nailed a 22" brown.   So that made the "fly incident" a distant memory.   Our browns of the past couple weeks are not accidents.   I have been taking notes and paying a lot of attention to what I'm seeing.   We are actively targeting these fish and having some success.   Mihai had a small rainbow chase earlier as well.   Great day!

Cayuga out of Taughannock 8/30
Did a half day with Lee, Kyle and Chris.   The guys drove down from Rochester and Mapquest led them astray, so we got a late start (around 7:45am).  The lake was still enveloped in a haze when we got underway, so I don't think our fishing was affected much.   Action was "slow-steady" throughout the day.   The guys don't get a chance to fish much, so they were wondering if we'd catch anything after an hour went by with no action.  But Lee got things going after a quick hook-up and lost fish.   Kyle then landed a hard-fighting 28" laker and after that the guys got focused.  Chris wound up having the best day, landing 4 nice fish.   Kyle did well also.  After getting things going, Lee just didn't get the lucky breaks.  The "Fish Gods" owe him as far as I'm concerned!  So hopefully next time he goes fishing, they'll reward him his just desserts!   Fish are still in the same basic depths.   A slow fall and slow retrieve did the trick today.   Varying the jigging technique based on the signs the fish give us is the key to consistent success.  Listen when the fish are trying to say something!    Fish are well dispersed throughout the mid-lower lake areas.   H2O temps are dropping on the surface.  I believe they were at 73 today.
Cayuga out of Taughannock 8/29

Today I started with Stan and Willy at 7 am.   These guys don't fish much and made it clear to me that they were just out to enjoy themselves and any action would be a bonus.   That's fine with me!   I was explaining the techniques as we pulled out of Taughannock and headed north on the west shore.   For the heck of it, I decided to show them how the electronics could track a jig.   When I dropped the jig (in an area I haven't fished much in about 10 years) 2 fish shot up for it and I wound up with a nice laker!   I thought we'd be in for some easy fishing, but it wasn't to be.   The guys both missed some good hits, and eventually fish were hooked and some landed.   No great shakes today, but some of that was the late start and just learning the technique.   They each landed a couple nice fish and Willy had a nice rainbow follow him up after hitting his jig!   

After the trip I did a little exploring and landed a small laker south of the park.   It was hot out and I quit around 2:30pm.   Cayuga is such a monster fishery.  I just can't believe how much bait is in this lake after being on Canandaigua.  I also can't believe the size of these fish after seeing the 22" to 25" fish on Owasco.   Cayuga really rules the roost on lakers!  Again, best action was from around 70' to 85' and deeper.   There are plenty of fish in upwards of 110' of water.  

Cayuga AM + Owasco PM 8/28

Guided Harry and Mike from New Jersey at Taughannock starting at 6:15 am.   The morning fishing started out very slowly, with both guys missing some decent bites.   Harry just didn't look like he'd get things together first thing.   Lifting the rod up too much and not feeling the jig - I was wondering how things would pan out.   Mike had the fishing experience.   We worked both shores of the lake without much action.   We finally wound up in the Taughannock area when Harry hooked up with a nice laker!   Got rid of the skunk around 10 am or so.   The guys just never gave up.   We did another drift and Harry hooked another fish.  This time it was a nice 23" brown!    Mike dropped two nice fish then Harry hooked up again!   This fish kept running just below the surface and I knew it wasn't a laker.  After a terrific battle he wound up with a 26"+ fat male brown trout!    All fish hit plastics.   What a turnaround!  Harry just really put things together before my eyes.   I felt I had to get Mike into a fish so we perservered a bit.  He dropped a bunch of fish before finally landing a nice laker.   We had a riot on board joking about a lot of stuff.   Great trip and things weren't looking good to start, which made it that much better.

After the trip I compared notes with my friend Alec at the launch ( and I was off to Bass Pro Shops then down to Owasco to meet up with Dennis for our 3:30pm trip.   

Owasco has been the sleeping giant lately.  The northern portions have been loaded with fish but the fishing has been very on and off.   I hadn't been there in 3 weeks so I was really looking forward to this trip, despite being dead-tired.    We started off working shallow water and I was very surprised when Dennis connected with a nice laker in around 53' of water on a spoon.   Fishing was good to excellent and we worked out deeper and deeper.   Dennis had a short lived excellent window of action in 75' to 80' for about a half hour.   He nailed a few nice fish in a row on the good old white flukes.   Fishing slowed as the sun started to set.   There was plenty of bait around and the fish are feeding heavily.   Very good fishing and it should only get better by the day!  Water temps were very warm up top down to 45' or so.  Very warm.  

Cayuga/Taughannock 8/27 + Canandaigua Lake PM

Got out with Frank and his grandsons who are 13 and 11 years old.   The kids really showed grandpa how to fish today! ;-)    Lake trout action started out a little slow with the fog but things picked up around 9 to 10 am.   Kevin, who's 13 kicked things off with 3 nice fish in a row.   He had one beauty that was over 30".   Fish were really fighting hard, which was nice.   Kyle did well once he got the hang of it.   Retrieve speed was critical.   The fish wanted the jigs swam in somewhat slowly.   Frank dropped a good fish and landed one.   Then later Frank landed and released a small brown.   Fish remain in 75' to 100' of water.

Fished Canandaigua Lake for my once or twice annual pilgramage over there.   I arrived with my buddy Shahab around 3:45pm, so we didn't have much time - but I wanted a change in pace from fishing Seneca or Cayuga (despite the great fishing on both lakes!)   I really credit my fishing buddies for hanging in there with me while I try and have them experiment with new things and/or new lakes.   It's not easy telling someone that "my clients caught around 17 nice lakers up to 32" on Cayuga, but let's try 'lake so and so' where the fishing sucks instead".   ;-)    But my friends hang in there.  

We ran the 14 miles or so to the south end of the lake and checked different depths for fish.   My friend Derrick has been doing well trolling fish over suspended water, but for jigging I like to find fish on bottom.   It would take a long time to locate suspended fish from scratch out in 150' of water!   We started marking fair numbers of fish in around 80' to 100' (if I remember those depths right).   I had some action - hits on the retrieve and on bottom but just never connected.  I'm sure they were lakers.  It would have been nice to be on the water first thing in the AM, but I just haven't had the time.    The sun started setting quickly and we moved up the lake after catching a nice sunfish on a dropshot rig on the south end drop off.     My north end areas didn't show any fish and we left just before dark.   I'll be back again soon.  I never let a lake get the better of me!    Baitfish numbers are low here, like on Keuka Lake.   It's a gorgeous lake - kind of like an overdeveloped cross between Skaneateles and Keuka's Hammondsport Arm - that's how I'd describe it.   The south end hills are magnificient.  

Cayuga out of Taughannock 8/25

Got out with John Sander (of Sander's Fishing Guides) for a relaxing day on Cayuga.  John drives up from the Buffalo area, so we started at around 9:30am.   Conditions were nice on Cayuga - hot and humid but without much wind.   We worked the Taughannock area and had some good jigging action on Landlocked salmon.   Small fish were hitting our jigs and we each had 15" salmon up to the boat before they flipped off.    Let's hope these fish grow a little more and provide the top-notch salmon fishing we've come to expect on Cayuga Lake!   I had a beautiful rainbow trout - fat and probably 2' long chase my jig in.  It didn't hit it well enough for me to hook it.   I also had a huge smallmouth follow up a jig in 100' of water.   Everything except lake trout appeared to be hitting!   We did some bassin' and John caught a nice largemouth and smallmouth on a tube jig and swim bait.   I managed a smallmouth.  

We went back to the lakers and we each hooked a nice fish and John landed his.  By this time a storm was brewing so we got off the water and headed over to T-Burg for a bite to eat and a couple cold ones.   Fish remain in 75' to 110' and deeper.   It's an exciting time to be fishing around the Taughannock portion of Cayuga Lake.   My guess is that there was probably a good AM bite on lakers that we missed.  Sunny days often result in good AM and PM bites. 

Cayuga/Taughannock 8/23 + 8/24

Fishing remains very good to excellent around the Taughannock Park area of Cayuga and north.   On 8/23 I did a full day trip with Jim and Ron.  We did Keuka a month ago and I told them that Cayuga would be worth their while, so off we went.   The wind whipped pretty good out of the south so we had to pick and choose our fishing areas.   Lake trout action was steady throughout the day.  No great shakes in the morning, but we had bursts of decent action throughout the day.   Highpoint of the day was "Leroy Brown's" (Ron's new nickname) two nice 23" brown trout.   We did fish for the browns for a bit and that's how the first one was boated.   The second fish came while laker fishing.   Jim wanted enough fish for his smoker and they succeeded by landing their limit of nice lakers plus the two browns.   The guys like to bring up ample food and they kept me busy eating homemade venison pepperoni and bologna sticks (also made with venison.)   Keep the guide happy and well-fed and he'll keep you on fish. ;-)   Fish remain in around 77' to 100' of water.  There are plenty of fish and some baitfish deeper too.

8/24 was a full-day with Pat and his daughter Maria.   We started around 8 am and it was the first time I'd seen the sun on the water in days.   Glad I put on some sunscreen.  I warned Maria ;-).    Action was very good right off the blocks.  I spent around 1/2 hour teaching them the technique.   It didn't take long before Maria was into a nice 28" fish.   Action was steady throughout the day with Pat losing a small landlocked salmon right off the bat.   All in all at least 9 nice lakers were landed - most of them over 25".   We quit a little bit early because Maria didn't heed my advice on sunscreen.   By 11 am she was feeling it and by 1 pm she was pretty red.   Best fishing (again) was from around 80' to 100' of water.  Plenty of bait and fish all through the area.  I tried a little fishing on my own after the trip ended and was rewarded with a severe thunderstorm!   I got about 20 minutes of jigging in when I heard a rumble and saw some lightning.   I headed back in.   The storm was outrageous with wind gusts probably over 50 mph!  Tons of lightning too.


Cayuga out of Taughannock 8/21 PM and 8/22 AM

Similar conditions both days on Cayuga - overcast with moderate to gusty south winds.   Fished with the Hermans on Tuesday evening.   Usually something good happens when they are on board (a 29" brown last year and 24" rainbow this past June!) and last night was no exception.  Eleonore nailed a beautiful wild 31" laker!   This hasn't been a great "trophy laker year" on board (in 2005 we seemed to get 31"+ fish somewhat frequently), so it was nice seeing this slob.   We released it unharmed.   John landed a couple as did Eleonore.   Fish were chasing nicely.   Any laker over 30" is a very nice Cayuga fish!   Over the past 2 years I've gradually gone up in the line strength we've been jigging with.   I started using 8lb. Spiderwire XXX in 2005 and clients caught 30" to 32" lakers almost every week, with Alec Johnston's 34" to 35" fish being the largest.  In 2006 I went to 10lb and then 12lb.test later in the season.  I did this due to the many break-offs we were experiencing.   In 2007 it's been braid with 12lb. XXX leader.   We've had next to no break-offs - maybe one or two every month.   BUT, the number of 30"+ lake trout we've caught has declined steadily since 2005.   Coincidence?   I'm not sure.  Though I am taking note.   I will probably start spooling up some reels with lighter line again and see what happens!  My guess is that the lighter line results in better jig action "on the fall".  

Today was a trip with Al and his son Dan.   The wind was pretty nasty but Dan started things out with a nice 30" fish.   A couple more were landed and one good fish was lost near the net.  Quite a few nice bites were missed too.   Hit detection and immediate hookset are some important aspects of jigging!    Baitfish were abundant.   Best action on both days was in deeper water - probably nearly 80' to 95' or more.    This is typical for this time of year and by early October we are catching lakers in upwards of 110' or more.    Our fishing was within a few miles of the park on both days.   We had a lot of fun on both trips with the big lake trout that were hooked!   These fish ran under the boat and I thought we'd lose both of them!   

Cayuta (Little) Lake 8/20

After 11 years of living about 12 to 14 miles away from Cayuta Lake I finally made it out there.    We are so ridiculously spoiled here in the Finger Lakes region it isn't funny.   Within an hour's drive I still have a handful of terrific fisheries that I've either never fished or only fished a couple times - like Whitney Point Reservoir, Waneta/Lamoka, Tully Lake, Little York Lake, Chenango River etc....  

I got onto Cayuta at around 11:45 am and spent my first 1/2 hour or so just cruising around the lake taking note of interesting areas and the lake's overall structure.    There were two other boats on the lake fishing - that was it.   The lake's visibility was around 1' at best, due to an algae bloom.   Water temps were in the upper 60s - clearly they'd been dropping after the past couple cold nights.   I didn't see much life in the lake.  Nice weeds, but not a whole lot stirring.   The shallows didn't produce much of anything for me and I wasn't surprised (given the cold nights.)   I went at least an hour to two hours without any hits.   I finally found a steep dropping shoreline and scored on a very nice 3lb.+ largemouth on a senko.   Working moderately deep water with sparse weeds on the bottom yielded a couple nice bass (2.5 to 3lbs or so) on med. running crankbaits.   A spinnerbait caught fish rounded out my catch of "good fish".   Throwing around the lake's ample docks yielded plenty of small largemouths.  

Overall I left with a good impression of the lake;  I'll be back.   I fished some very obvious stuff and some not-so-obvious stuff.   A friend of mine had been catching a lot of fish there a few weeks back.   This lake clearly gets a lot of fishing pressure.   (My trolling motor prop got fouled with a big wad of fishing line.  That's the first time that's ever happened.)    Some people are intimidated by the large Finger Lakes (or they have small boats).   There are numerous camps surrounding this lake and nearly every boat I saw docked had a few fishing rods on it.   Out of the 4 good fish I caught, 3 of them had hook scars or holes in their mouths.  These fish clearly get caught a lot and (fortunately) released as well.  

Cornell has been stocking a lot of walleyes in this lake in an attempt to see if they can rid the lake of alewives.   The lake has apparently been producing a few decent walleyes.    It was nice fishing a lake that was so different in character from the Fingers and Lake Ontario bays.   I realized just how much of my tackle selection is geared towards clear water!   

Cayuga out of Taughannock 8/16
Interesting day on Cayuga.   I met Mike and his wife Melanie at the launch at 6 am and I was very optimistic regarding our chances.  A mild cold front had blown in yesterday and a stronger one was forecast to move in tonight.   Usually that means "good fishing".  But we busted our butts in the morning without much to show at all.   Lots of bait but few active fish.  Then the wind started blowing and the lake began whitecapping -things weren't looking that good.   We tucked in behind Taughannock Point and Mike missed a couple nice suspended fish (probably bass.)    Then he got a nice laker on the retrieve.   Fish turned on around noon!   Better late than never.   Over the next 2 hours we had decent action.   Melanie landed a couple nice fish including a 30" wild beauty that we released.   Mike picked up another as well.   We wrapped up around 2 pm.  The sun was getting to Melanie and she probably wasn't going to top her 9lb+ fish.   In the end perserverence paid off and Mike's unwaivering attitude made the difference - he felt positive about everything from the get-go, fished hard and long and things paid off.    Fishing is a great teaching tool - I've learned a lot regarding perserverence and luck while out on the water.   Great day and a lot of fun.  
Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 8/13 - 8/15

I did quite a bit of guiding over the past few days.   It's been a very busy summer over here at the Angling Zone and things are finally showing some signs of slowing down a little bit!  

8/13:  Went out with Ken, Kenny and their buddy Matt for some laker jigging.   A cold front moved in and air temps dropped a bit.   The laker bite got tougher, but Ken still managed to nail some nice fish (a limit of lakers up to an 8.5lber).  Kenny picked up one.   Matt struggled a bit.   I think part of Matt's problem was using his own tackle - a braided line set-up with no leader.   I don't think lakers are line shy, but I feel that the braid tied direct to the hook limits the action of the jig on the fall - a crucial element of jigging success.  Either way, a good time was had by all.  Kenny had a couple smallmouths up to around 3lbs come up for his jigs.   These bass were out in 75' of water!  No wonder a lot of bass fishers have trouble catching smallmouths in the summer!

8/14 AM:  Did a trip with Tom and his son Mike in the morning.   Mike had only fished around 5 times in his entire life.   The guys had some good opportunities during the morning but things just didn't go their (our) way.   Tom's son lost a couple decent lakers early on by not setting the hook quickly enough.    Tom picked up a small laker early on.    We fished the lake's west shore and his son had a follow from what appeared to be a rainbow or salmon.   Within a minute or two Tom hooked up!  And what a fish it was!   I saw it and didn't have a chance to net it.   Then the nice (5lb +) salmon jumped twice - coming out of the water around 3' or more!   Bad luck stepped in and the fish shook the jig!   Oh well - these things happen.  The salmon won the battle fair and square and we were left wondering how big the fish was and how nice it would have been to have landed it.   A few more hits were had, but no hookups.   Fun day fishing, but some more catching would have been nice.

8/14 PM:  After a break I took Bob and his son Jamie out.  Jamie is only 8 years old, but Bob assured me that he has spent ample time in boats and would be a good sport.   Idiot over here forgot the proper life-jackets and had to make a quick run to his apartment.   We got underway around 3:15 and I was wondering how things would go with the high sun and lack of wind - especially after the somewhat tough bite of the morning.   Bob does a lot of fishing - he's fished all over the country, and he knew what he had to do.   Within about 15 minutes of starting Bob hooked and landed a very nice lake trout around 8lbs.   I worked hard with Jamie and I watched him raise his rod and as he lowered it his line just curled up on the surface.  "Set the hook!" I yelled and I helped him raise the rod.  He was fast onto a nice laker!   We managed to get the fish in - mission accomplished!    Other hits were had and a couple fish dropped before we called it a day around 7 pm.    

8/15:  Got out with Ray this morning.  We have a front coming in and I expected good fishing.   We weren't disappointed!  It took a bit of time to get the technique down and Ray missed or dropped 6 to 10 fish early on.   But he got into "the zone" and managed to land 4 nice lakers up to around 29"!   We were both happy with the fishing and by the end of the morning he was jigging like a pro.   After the trip I fished smallmouths a little bit and managed one 17" fish on the west shore.   The wind kicked up and it was time for me to head in and run errands and catch up on some much needed sleep!  

Seneca out of Severne 8/12
Did a trip with Dave who lives north of Severne Point on Seneca Lake.  He was out with me a couple weeks ago and we worked on the jigging patterns.   This was a trip to fine-tune the technique and learn some new areas.   We found good numbers of fish north of Peach Orchard Point in 70' to 80' of water.   Dave did well and caught a bunch of fish up to 30".   Fish were aggressive in the morning until around 11 am, then they slowed.   There are still fish up at Sampson, but they have slowed down a bit.  I didn't mark the amount of bait there that I had in previous weeks.   Bottom line:  Seneca is still providing some very good fishing, but it probably isn't as good as it's been over the past couple months.   Fish south of Sampson and north of Peach Orchard and you'll find some decent action.
Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 8/11

Did a couple trips on Cayuga today.  At 5:30am I fished with Matt, Randy and John.   This was a last minute booking at Matt was grateful that I could fit him and his bosses in!  It was my pleasure.   We had some very good lake trout action in the morning with 8 fish landed and a few good ones lost.   The highpoint of the day was getting Randy into some fish.  He's one of those guys who never does well fishing - until today that is.   I reminded him that "fish don't know who's on the other end of the line"!    The bite slowed up a little bit at around 10 am.

During my "break" between trips I spent some time trying dropshot rigs and doing some casting for smallmouths.   No great shakes there - just a few dinks and some perch.

My afternoon trip was with Fred and his dad Pat.   Action started out OK - not great but not terrible with both guys losing nice fish.  Fred lost a beauty that we never saw.  This fish took 3 searing runs - not far removed from what a steelhead or chinook might do!  I kid 'you all' not!   This fish was strong.   Action slowed for a couple hours but by the evening the fishing got hot for a bit and the guys experienced lake trout jigging as it should be with lots of hits and chasing fish.  

Over the years I've had a fair number of requests to guide groups of three people.  My boat seats 3 people (total - including me) comfortably.   I like space to move around.   I also like to be able to "coach" my fishermen when necessary and I don't like to spend a lot of time re-rigging and not paying 100% attention to boat control.   Yet I do understand those of you who may have a couple of kids and don't want to leave someone out.   I have broken my "rules" on occasion - generally with people who have been out with me before.   For lake trout jigging ONLY (NO CASTING) I will take out occasional parties of three.   In the future, and currently to some extent, the trip fee will discourage this and encourage parties of two!   So you are welcome to ask - but I will still be going on a "case by case" basis when dealing with more than one or two people at a time.  

Sodus Bay/Lake Ontario 8/9 - Cayuga Lake 8/10

Sodus Bay - Thurs. 8/9:  

I was hoping to get out for some smallmouths on my day off, but the weather predicters were way off.  10 to 15 mph + northeast winds had the big lake pushing 2' to 4' waves, so my buddy Phil and I stayed in the bay.   That's the great thing about ports like Sodus, Irondequoit, Port and Fairhaven Bays - if the lake gets too rough you can still fish the bays for bass and other species.  

We threw an assortment of lures, but the best largemouth fishing by far was by pitching both jig 'n plastics and large tubes.   Phil was really "in the zone" and he landed 10 or 11 keeper largemouths (around 4 to 6 came on spinnnerbaits).   Fish ran up to around 2.5 or 2.7lbs.   I only landed 3 bass, but I did get the lunker of the day, a fish around 18".   I also caught a big perch on a spinnerbait.    The lake never did calm down and we left around 8 pm.

Cayuga Lake - Taughannock Fri. 8/10:

Had a very good to excellent morning bite on Cayuga Lake this AM with Mike and Tom.   These guys usually steelhead fish together and it was nice to have them on board trying their hand on the lakers.   They landed 10 nice fish - mostly big 26" to 28" chunky lakers.   Fish ranged from around 65' to 100' of water.   The ones we kept had fresh bait in their stomachs.   1 oz. jigs with plastics did the trick.   Around 1/2 the fish came on the bottom, 1/2 reeling up.   Fish are within a short distance of Taughannock and we did mark fish just north of the park as well as further up above.   Plenty of baitfish are around as well.   You can't ask for a much better bite on Cayuga for lakers than what's happening now.


Owasco 8/7, Cayuga 8/7 pm and 8/8 am

Owasco Lake continues to be the "weak sister" regarding lake trout jigging at this point in time.   We've had great action on this lake over the past 3 to 4 years in July and August.   This year they just are in a very neutral to negative mood.   We have caught fish on every trip, and we've been marking plenty of fish - so the fish are there, but they just aren't hitting like they are capable of.   I'm going to take a "wait 'n see" approach to this lake.   Guided Frank and Carol along with their son Craig.   They each landed one fish and each missed a few hits.   That was about it.   We marked plenty of fish and some bait.

I had to take a surprise drug test in the early afternoon.  Coast Guard requires that all Captains be on a random drug test program.   So I got my notice in the mail the day before and had 24 hours to go to a nearby testing facility.   Given that caffeine (coffee) is my drug of choice, I should pass with flying colors.  ;-)  

At 4 pm I met Jeff and Abby at the Taughannock launch.   Conditions did not look good - threatening T-storms and rain was in the forecast, but that can mean HOT fishing, and sure enough it was.   Abby started things off with a nice 25" laker.   She did a good job for someone who has pretty much never fished before.   She lost another then Jeff took over.   They landed a bunch of beautiful lakers - mostly 26" to 29" fish.    Fish were in around 57' to 80' of water - and there was plenty of fish around.   We quit early due to a rainstorm that cranked up quickly.   Great PM fishing!

Today was Ed and Bill.   Bill is a longtime Cayuga Lake "copper puller" and while fishing on Cayuga Lake a few weeks ago, someone recommended he contact me to learn about jigging lake trout.   I was happy to oblige.   We set up our 1/2 day a few weeks ago and the guys couldn't have timed things better.   The weather was unsettled and the lake trout bite was terrific!   They landed 7 nice fish in about an hour and a half, then another 9 fish over the next hour and a half!   Nearly every fish was in the 27" to 29" range - 7 to 8lbs or better!    Great action and we were a short boat ride away from Taughannock Park.   Fish were aggressively chasing as well as hitting on the bottom.  Baitfish are everywhere.   The guys loved the jigging and how hard the fish fought on the medium bass tackle.   These lakers are really putting up a battle;  the bigger fish are making 2 to 3 searing runs - almost like a salmon or steelhead.   I'm not sure why - because some lakers certainly can fight like "duds" but these big fish have been fighting GREAT.

Cayuga out of Taughannock 8/6

Fishing was tougher today but Bob and Kyle did a great job in landing everything they hooked.   We started at 6 am, but didn't do much until around 9 or so.   Kyle had the hot hand and landed 4 nice lakers up to 28" (a nice wild fish!) before Bob got into the act.   One more laker was landed, then we did a little casting in shallow for panfish/bass.   Bob's got his kids up and wanted to get them into some fish later this week, so we worked a few areas as a "warm-up".   Plenty of perch are around along with a few small "bank runner" bass.  

Lakers did not show any sign of recent feeding activity.   We marked a lot of fish but they weren't terribly active.  Fish range from 77' to over 100' down.   Fish are moving south and we found them edging closer to Frontenac Point.   Plenty of fish are still around mid-lake and a friend of mine did OK up around Silos with one brown and at least one laker.

I just had a last minute cancellation for this weekend, so please email or call if you'd like to reserve a trip.  For some reason this weekend was in high demand and I had quite a few calls for trips.   

Sodus Bay/Lake Ontario 8/5

Had a great day with Mark I.   We fished together last year trying for gar and struck out.   Last fall we had some good landlocked salmon and OK pike fishing on Seneca Lake.   We met at 11 am and went searching for gar.   We finally found a school of fish suspended in around 18' of water in the bay.   A type 6 sinking fly-line produced a couple beautifully colored longnose.   Later I had Mark try LC-13 and the 30' head fished on an 8 weight produced another good fish.   These gar were feeding on deep bait and it's a new dimension in my gar fishing.   Generally we've chased these fish near the surface with a sight-fishing approach, but sometimes they are deep and we had to go "down to where they were".  

I hadn't been on Lake Ontario in what seems like forever, so in the evening we shot out there.    We worked one of my favorite bass areas and were quickly into fish.   Mark nailed a couple beauties - both 17"+ fat smallmouths!   I fished a little bit too and caught a couple pigs myself.   In less than 2 hours we'd landed 5 fish all in the 2 to 3lb range and a bunch of small ones, some rockbass and a perch.  We dropped 3 or 4 big smallmouths as well.  The fishing was as good as anything I've seen out there since the late 1990s.   The rocking northwest winds helped, and the 1' to 2' waves kept most boats off the lake.   The choppier the better for Lake Ontario smallmouths!   We saw a nice school of alewives in shallow too.   Bass were hitting on the usual suspects - drop shot rigs (fished with discontinued Berkley Emerald Shiner Power bait drop shot worms) and green pumpkin tender tubes (Bass Pro Shops) fished on round jig heads.   I'm sure plenty of other presentations would have worked.   I can't wait to get out there again and spent a full-day whacking smallmouths.   We used to fish the lake quite often for bass and it's nice to see the great fishing, despite the gloom and doom re: VHS.

Cayuga out of Taughannock 8/3

Did a full day with Greg on Friday chasing lakers.  He's a riot to have on board and he always has me laughing my butt off.   We were out together a couple weeks ago on 7/19 and he had dropped quite a few nice lakers then, so the goal today was to land a few.   We started at 6 am to ensure our best chance of success and things went very well.   Within a few hours he'd landed 10 nice lakers up to 29".    He was dead on with his detection of bites, hook setting and playing of fish.   Bait and lakers are gradually working their way south and it pays to move around.   He gave me a couple of nice fish to smoke and I'm psyched to have some smoked lake trout this week.   Fish were from around 75' to 100' of water.   We used a variety of plastics to tease the lakers into hitting.   T-storms drove us off the lake just before 2 pm, but the bite had pretty much slowed by 11 am.  

Not to brag, but you'll be hard pressed to find a better, more fool-proof brine recipe for smoking lake trout than the one I have on my website!   I came up with the proportions years ago and I really don't mess with it much.   The brine is dilute enough to give you room for error - you can brine your fish from 14 to 22 hours and still get great results!  Try that with a conventional brine recipe and your fish will run from "Salty" to "Saltier!!!"    You can find my recipe by clicking onto "About John" and going into "The Chef".   One of these days I'll do some experimenting with other flavors/brines, but for now I'm very happy with that recipe and I'm glad to share it.    I've had numerous offers to sell smoked fish by folks who have tried it.   Try it and see for yourself!   Make sure you dry your fish after brining for a couple hours to form the pellicle - that shiny surface on the fillets.   Use fresh Finger Lakes trout and smoke with Alder wood with an occasional pan of Hickory.   It's tough to beat!

Owasco Lake 8/2

Did close to a full day trip with Fred - who happens to have a place on the lake.   The day started with good southerlies.   I saw Denny Brauer's (BASS icon) trailer/truck parked at the launch so that was pretty neat.   I later found out he was filming a Mustad Hooks Commercial.  

Fishing started out surprisingly slow.   We didn't get out very early (we started at around 7:20am) but there should have been a morning bite.   There wasn't (at least not for us.)   No bait was around either.   I'm not sure what's going on with that.    Did a lot of the bait get eaten up?  Or did the baitfish just disperse down the shoreline or over deep water?   Anyways, plenty of lakers were around.   Fred did a great job with the jigging and hook setting and got into some fish around 9 am.   Within a few hours he'd caught and released a limit worth of fish.   He wound up landing 4 on the day up to 24".   Nice looking fish.   Best action was on the west shore in the top couple miles of the lake.   I'm back on Owasco next week and it'll be interesting to see how the fishing is.   It seems to be behind "schedule" a bit.  This lake should turn on soon - the fish are there.

Cayuga/Taughannock 8/1 am + Seneca/Sampson 8/1 pm

Started this AM out of Taughannock with Ken and Michelle.   I let them know about the good early bite, but they weren't feeling well enough to get up early.   Things still worked out despite starting at 7:30 or later.   Michelle caught a nice 20" brown on a jig about 15' down over 75'.   The fish already was colored up in "spawn shape".   Ken landed a nice 26" laker then Michelle missed one.   We did a little fishing around AES with one or two small bass hooked/landed.   Saw a bunch of nice gar as well and had one hit a superfluke.  

The PM trip out of Sampson was with David and Rob.   Dave lives on Seneca a bit south of Lodi and has been trying the jigging, but without the results he wanted.   We changed that luck streak today ;-)    Great action that started at 2:40 pm with a bright sun and calm conditions.   Rob nailed a couple nice trout in no time flat and the guys did great landing around 18 fish in a couple hours of hard fishing.   We took some time out and cruised down towards Lodi (in order to find some good fishing closer to Dave's place) but didn't find the action/fish we were looking for.   We went back to Sampson and the great fishing resumed.   Nice mix of wild/stocked fish - nearly all in good condition!  This lake is a lake trout factory!  No two ways about it and the bite over the past 6 weeks has been fantastic - the best overall lake trout action in the Finger Lakes (at least the ones I fish.)   More consistent day to day and AM to PM than Cayuga, but with smaller fish overall.   Fish were down from 60' to 80' or more.   Fun day!

I do have this weekend open for anyone looking for a trip, so don't hesitate to call or email!

Owasco Lake 7/30
Got out for a full day of laker jigging with Dave and his son Mark.   Dave had been chomping at the bit to get this technique down and jumped on this open date I had.   So off we went starting at 6:30am.   The weather pattern had changed a bit since the weekend and we started with clear blue skies and light north winds.   It usually pays to be out on the water early and today was no exception.   The guys learned the technique with ease and within around 90 minutes they'd caught their limit of nice, albeit slightly thin lake trout.   We worked a little bit of bass water and one nice 20" smallie was landed.   Laker action slowed down to a crawl by 9 or 10 am and most fishing boats cleared the lake.   We continued to work down the lake from the north end and the guys landed another beautiful smallmouth and a couple more lakers before we called it a day.   Nice results on what was basically a tough day!   Bait was absent on the north end of the lake, and we checked depths down to over 110'.   Best fishing was around 60' to 80'.   This appears to be the year that everyone wants to get in on the great lake trout jigging action, so that's what I'll be doing over the next couple weeks.    Stay tuned!
Seneca Sampson 7/26, Cayuga/Taughannock 7/27 - 7/28

Lake trout fishing has really taken a turn for the better and it was pretty good before!   Just peak fishing over the past few days.   I guided Tom on Thursday.   He's from England - the mighty UK.   My first trip done with someone direct from Europe!    We started at around 10 am (he had a hard time coordinating transportation.)   Jigging off of the park produced some excellent lake trout action.   Tom landed a couple fish within an hour and had lost a good one.  The wind was up pretty good, but we stuck with the good fishing.   We released one then decided to try some bass/pike action.   Not much doing at all on the bass/pike.   We worked around Long Point to Dresden for bass primarily using superflukes and senkos.   We didn't see much then shot south for pike.   Last week's pike areas didn't produce for us - but we didn't have much time to hit them either.   Finished up with more laker jigging.   After the trip, I went out for another 1/2 hour and the lakers were hitting well.  I landed one then called it a day.  

Friday was lake trout jigging out of Taughannock in the AM with Mihai and his dad.   They first came out with me in 2005 and had some stellar laker fishing.  Mihai has fished with me a lot since then and I always look forward to seeing him.   We started at 6 am and fishing was superb - just no two ways about it and the guys landed a lot of fish - I think it was around 17 or 18.   Sizes ran to around 30".   We had a wild fish or two as well which we released.  Best action was in approx. 70' to 85'.   

T-storms came through in the afternoon.   I had an afternoon/evening trip with Mike scheduled and we wound up having to sit for nearly an hour and a half waiting out the storms.    Fortunately the concession stand was open at Taughannock Park and I was able to revitalize with a couple large cups of coffee!   Otherwise I'd have made a zombie look wide-awake!   We finally got out after a phone call to an internet-connected friend confirmed that the storms had passed.   The fishing was simply amazing to start!  Stellar!!!   As old-timer Earl Holdren once said (in his great book "Fishing the Finger Lakes for Fabulous Trout and Salmon") and I'm paraphrasing - "when you get rapidly changing/threatening weather, jump into your boat if you have the courage and if you don't get 'struck' by lightning you might get 'struck' by the biggest trout you ever hooked!".   I certainly wouldn't jeopardize my life and others trying to follow Earl's advice, but his point was that stormy weather can get fish hitting wickedly.   This trip was the first time I really experienced how intense things could get.   Mike hadn't jigged lakers before, so he was learning the ropes.   His first or second drop resulted in his hooking a monster trout that we never ended up seeing.   The 12lb. leader broke!  It may have been nicked somewhere, but it was pretty wild.   After that Mike wound up landing a bunch of fish and the electronics confirmed very aggressive fish chasing the jigs - upwards of 4 or 5 at a time.   I've seen this quality of fishing in the past, especially around Taughannock in the fall, but never have I seen it like this, where a switch appeared to be flipped!   Fishing was great until about 1/2 hour before sunrise.

Saturday was more great fishing with Mihai and his dad.   They landed over 25 big lakers on the day.  Most fish running from 26" to 29"!    Terrific action pretty much all day long with a 2 hour lull around noon.   Fish were in the same depths and areas as the previous day.   We had 3 wild fish as well, all of which we released.   Bait is around and fish are feeding.  In Owasco we had bait but the fish didn't appear to be on the feed much last week.    Our action was on both shores north of Taughannock and south of Long Point/Sheldrake.    


Owasco Lake 7/25
Did a rare 3 person 1/2 day trip today on Owasco.   On RARE occasions I break my "2 person rule" for parents and young kids and in this case for some people interested in jigging lakers.    We started @ 6:30am and fishing got off to a decent start.   Steve had the hot hand in the back of the boat landing 2 lakers before anyone else nailed any.   Fishing slowed by around 8 or 9 am.   But we perservered and at 11 or so the wind died down and the bite picked up.   We had one double going along with some more fish landed.   Total for the day was 7 fish landed and quite a few missed/lost.   A good time was had by all and fish were caught in around 65' to 80' of water.    After the trip ended I fished on my own for a couple hours.  I went scouting around for some bass and landed a 19 1/2" smallmouth.   One laker and I was done.   Both fish were deep.   This lake is definitely starting to turn on.   Our largest fish was 27" long but quite thin.  I was surprised at the lack of bait fish in fishes stomachs.
Cayuga out of Taughannock 7/24
Got out for a little fishing of my own today.   I haven't fired up my smoker in quite some time, so I was hoping to get 3 lunker lakers.   The overcast/rainy night/morning had me hoping I'd see a midday bite.  Sure enough, the fish were hitting well when I arrived at 1pm.  It didn't take long to land a couple nice fish up to 28".   Fin-S Fish, Zoom Flukes and Berkely Gulp did the trick.   All were fished on 1 oz. jig heads, either Erie style or round heads.   After that I caught a few smaller fish.   My best action was on the east shore, though I did work the west shore for a while.   Fish appear to be distributed further south on the east shore.   My final fish was almost 30".   There's a lot of bait around and the fishfinder screen was reminiscent of an August picture - lots of marks and plenty of bait.  The next month should feature some of the best and most consistent action of the year!   H2O was around 72 on top. 
Cayuga out of Taughannock 7/22

Guided a full day with Dave and his son John.   We started early at 6am and it paid off.   The guys got into fish immediately - nice lakers up to 29".   The smallest were around 20".   We had a couple unclipped fish as well, which is always nice to see.   The bite slowed up around 9, and after that it was one here, one there.   Both shores of the lake produced fish.   Plenty of bait was around and the best laker action for us remains in 55' to 80' of water.   Plastics did the trick for us.   The guys lost a few fish and wound up with 11 on the day.   Most fish were clean - very few signs of lamprey attacks and most fish hit right on the bottom.   Expect solid lake trout action through August and into early September!  

By noon Taughannock was as crowded as I've ever seen it with pleasure boaters - after the mediocre weather of the past week it's understandable.   Don't expect to be able to pull out of the launch easily unless you get lucky!

Seneca Lake out of Severne 7/21
Guided a full-day with Dave.  He has a house on Seneca Lake near Severne Point.  Trolling has been difficult and frustrating lately with the volume of waterfleas around.   We set up just off his house and within around an hour he'd landed 2 nice fish - an 18" and a 23" fish.   He lost one as well.   We spent a lot of time motoring around looking for some future hotspots in his area.   The structure around this portion of the lake is quite remarkable.   The bite slowed a bit after 8 am.   We ran up to Sampson and by then the wind had kicked up out of the north.   Either the fish were already biting at Sampson or the wind got them going, but they were hitting well as we arrived and within minutes Dave was fast into a nice 27" laker.   He landed another and lost a fish or two before we called it a day a little early.   Fish are in around 75' to 85' or more.   They are pretty aggressive at Sampson and we had multiple "chasers".   The couple we kept from Sampson were full of baitfish.   Flukes in assorted colors did the trick fished on 1 ounce jig heads.   Dave liked the feel of mono over the braid/fusion line setups I had on board.  
Cayuga out of Dean's 7/19

Did a full day with Greg.  The weather looked like it might be horrid as we got underway, but the heaviest rains and wind didn't materialize for awhile.   We worked our way south until we got to an area that a friend of mine had been doing well at.   Plenty of lakers were around and moving for Greg's jig.   The fish weren't super-aggressive with the heavy skies, but Greg managed a couple fish in fairly short order.   Greg dropped a couple big fish - just some bad luck and light hook setting IMO.   Either way, he was having a ball.   One of the highlights of the morning was watching a 24" rainbow follow up Greg's jig to the surface, then hover around for a moment.   He also had a smaller rainbow take a swipe at a jig.  Around noon the sun tried to poke through and the fish's aggressiveness rose to the occasion.  That's when we had some good action from chasers.   We did mark occasional "pods" of 3 to 4 lakers - that kind of "picture" virtually guaranteed a hookup.   Plenty of bait is around yet on Cayuga Lake.   Lakers are concentrated in mid-lake areas.  Fishing/boating pressure was pretty much nil today.   Lakers ranged from 65' to 100' of water or more.  

Skaneateles Lake 7/18

Spent the whole day on Skinny today.  Started with 1/2 day guided trip with Arti and his dad (or son Arti).   Basically Art Jr. and Sr. ;-)   I hadn't been on the lake in two weeks, so it took a bit of searching to find some numbers of fish.   As usual, there are bass just about everywhere on this lake.    Shallow, deep and in-between.  On rocks, sand and weeds also.  We found fish scattered throughout the lake.   Art Jr. was flyfishing and after about 1 year of fly-fishing is a heck of a caster.   He had some nice fish eyeing and following popper and slider flies but grabs were hard to come by.   His dad fishes about once a year and I spent some time showing him a few techniques incl. brushing up on his casting.   He managed to get a few smallmouths and had quite a few hits.  Some big fish were around, but they were very neutral.  They'd show up underneath the lures and take a half-hearted grab then retreat into the depths.   We found a stretch of water that held quite a few nice fish and Art Jr. hooked up on a "jailbait" fly - which is designed to imitate a soft jerkbait.   It's a neat fly, but needs some work.  It still doesn't have the great fluke action.   I read about the fly pattern in the "Mid Atlantic Fly-Fisher" a couple years ago in an article written by Lefty Kreh.   I'm going to try to modify it soon and get 'er workin'.  ;-)  BTW - a few smallish (12") rainbows are in the mix. 

After the trip I went back out on my own to try finding some more fish.  I found a bunch on a med-depth weedy flat, but the "catching" was the same.  The fish were following flukes "ad nauseum" but weren't committing very much.  I had some good grabs but nothing compared to last month.   A drop shot rig with a discontinued Berkely Power drop-shot worm did the trick and I managed a decent fish or two before calling it a day.   I caught fish in 30' or more, but mostly just dinks.   Around 15' of water is where I saw plenty of 2lb+ smallies roaming around.  Some may still be spawning - it looked like it.   The shallows also held tons of dinks.  Fish looked very healthy.   I didn't see any fish showing any outward VHS signs and I also didn't spot any dead fish.  That's encouraging for now :-)

Seneca Lake out of Sampson 7/17
Guided a full-day with Jack.  He's been a client of mine since my first year and I always look forward to fishing with him.   We started just off the park jigging for lakers.  Fish were all over the place along with plenty of bait.   Most action was around 65' to 90'.  The first or second drop produced a nice laker.  Jack had another soon thereafter.  The problem was the chop!   In the morning Seneca almost always has a good south wind blowing.  It was hauling pretty good.   Jack brought some fly-fishing gear and we figured the wind might get the pike activated.   We tried an area with no luck then moved down the lake.   The run paid off and Jack nailed his first pike on the fly - a nice 25" fish.   After that he quickly landed another, then lost a bigger one.   Pike action slowed and we went back uplake after lakers.   Laker fishing was good, but not as hot as in the morning.   Jack landed another 3 fish and lost and missed a lot!   There were fish all over the place and they were hitting but tough to hook and keep on the line.  Fish were chasing aggressively at times, which was nice.   Fish hit flukes and Berkely Gulp swimbaits fished on one ounce jig heads.
Owasco Lake 7/16

Did around a 1/2 day guide trip with Jack and Russ.   Fishing looked promising to start with Jack hooking and dropping a laker in short order.   However fish were scattered and we didn't land one until a good hour after the first hookup.   The bite was slow with the low clouds.  Once the sun came out the fishing picked up and Jack nailed another laker and lost one.   Both guys had a few hits.   Nice day to be out but the "catching" was slower than usual for Owasco Lake.   I had a good time talking with the guys - who are some real go-getters in their respective fields (and that's a tremendous understatement!)

After the trip ended I fished another 3 hours by myself working on some new jigging techniques.   I wound up hooking around 1/2 dozen fish and landing 3 more before calling it quits around 4 pm.   H2O was around 72 on top.   Bait was around but scattered.

Cayuga out of Dean's 7/15
Fished the 2nd. day of the Red Cross tourney with Mark D.   We started very early (before 5 am) and worked a few areas on both sides of the lake.   The bite for us was very slow this morning with very few fish marked and few hits.   The first fish of the day felt big and weird and I'd actually snagged a lamprey eel that was attached to a fish!   The fish had 2 eels on it total.   The lamprey never let go!   Strange.   I caught a couple other fish and that was about it.   Mark had a trout of some kind (not a laker) chase up a jig in deep water.  It was around 20", but after a quick bump it never came back except for a quick splash nearby.   We quit around 1:45 pm.   The wind was up and the fish didn't seem too cooperative.  I have a full slate of guide trips this week, and I needed some rest.   Tough tourney for us this year - we just didn't hook/land enough fish to be able to get a big one.   The needed 30" + fish are probably "1 in 50" or "1 in 25" catches depending on various factors - like location, presentation etc.   Bass fishers I talked to reported very good largemouth fishing on Sat. and slow action today (Sunday).  
Keuka Lake 7/13 + Cayuga 7/14 Taughannock Report

I'm not superstitious.  I've actually had good luck on Friday the 13ths.   But yesterday was looking like a bad luck day.   Jim and Ron have fished Keuka Lake a lot before, but nearly always with live sawbellies.   New VHS regulations have made finding live alewives (aka sawbellies or "mooneyes") very difficult.   So they've gotten skunked on their last 3 trips out.   The goal today was to learn how to jig these fish.   Things started out difficult.  We got out around 6:10 am and worked the Branchport area - didn't see much.   So it was off to the Bluff.   No hits there either, though we marked a few.   So we went down to Hammondsport (southwinds were also kicking up.)   Hammondsport nearly always has some baitfish around.   By 11 am the guys felt they were probably going to get skunked.   I asked Jim if he'd felt anything whatsoever - since I'd been seeing marks near his jig.   As he was about to say "no" he raised his rod and had one on.   I'd watched Ron raise his jig minutes before and saw the line drop 1/2 way - he'd missed one and would have never known it.   Over the next couple hours we were in business, with 3 fish landed (one nice one) and 2 BIG fish lost along with chasers and other missed hits.   The lost lakers' battles were reminiscent of some of the 27" to 29" Cayuga fish we've been catching recently.  

Interesting side note:  "Context is everything".   On the run back to the dock Jim regretted to inform me that the lifejacket he'd been leaning against (on his chair) was no longer around.  It blew out.   Oh well, stuff happens.   On the drive back I decided to go to Walmart in Geneva and pick up a new one before I stopped over to Barrett Marine.   I pulled into the parking lot just in time to notice that my bearings on my passenger side of my trailer had failed and there was grease all over!   Luckily I always keep a few spare hubs in my truck with bearings already greased and packed in.   A quick lift with the jack and I was back in business.   I called Jim and thanked him for losing the jacket.  Had he not lost it, I would have kept driving back to Trumansburg (via Watkins) and my tire probably would have come flying off or the spindle may have wound up with a "heat sealed" hub on it.  Either way would have been serious problems and messed things up for the Red Cross Derby this weekend.

Kicked off Day 1 of the two day Red Cross Derby on Cayuga Lake today out of Taughannock Park.   I fished with client Mark Dombroski who placed 7th in the laker division last year.   My clients have only landed one 30" plus fish over the past month on Cayuga near Dean's Cove, so we decided to fish the south central portions of the lake today.   We started at 4:45 am with slow fishing.   There's a ton of bait around but not a whole lot of active lakers.   We caught fish on both shores and fished until just past noon and again from 4:45pm till dark.   We landed 9 fish from 23" to 29".   Our 29" fish wouldn't have made the board for long, so I didn't bother weighing it in.   30" and up is worth keeping.   Slow, tough fishing today with most fish hitting very subtlely on the bottom.   55' to 85' produced our fish.   We had one area where small (15" salmon) were chasing up our jigs from 100' to 110', but nothing special size-wise.   Tomorrow we'll go out of Dean's and hope for some big fish!   Any rainbow, brown or salmon is likely to place.   Many of my clients over the past month don't fish a whole lot, so most fish landed have been "chasers" and not bottom hitting fish.   The bottom hitters are harder to detect, and many of those can be bigger fish - so we are optimistic for tomorrow's bite.   One good one is all we need - but we'll gladly take more!  ;-)   Word is a couple of my jigging buddies have fish on the board - Alec Johnston and Mike Canavan.  

Sodus Bay 7/10

Did a full day guide trip out on Sodus Bay with Mike and his son (11 years old) Bryce.   These guys have booked me since my first season and it's always fun taking them out fishing because they are so enthusiastic.    We went over a bunch of largemouth bass techniques, trying to cover the water column from top to bottom.   I started them out around 6:45am using different topwater lures.   We got out a little bit late for a hot topwater bite but they managed to catch a few fish including a double (using Zoom Buzzfrogs and a Chugbug).   They gradually worked deeper water until we went to the often copied, never quite duplicated Yamamoto Senkos.   That's when the fishing got really good and both Mike and Bryce caught a nice bunch (around 7 or 8) of decent largemouths running about 1 1/4 to around 2lbs.    We spotted one nice bowfin cruising the shallow labryinth of weedgrowth.   We also saw plenty of gar.   We set up for gar using spinning rods and the fishing was exciting, but kind of sporadic.   Occasionally Mike would get follows from a couple nice fish at a time, then nothing for awhile.   We saw a school of around 100 fish.   Anyways, more high sun would have helped.   The guys each landed their first gar and it was a thrill.   People in certain parts of the country despise these fish (at worse), and take them for granted (at best), but they are cool looking fish that hit in a savage way.   We had a lot of fun with them and that to me is what fishing is all about.   They offer a unique angling experience.   We wound up the trip a little early due to my having a few truck issues.   It was pretty good timing because a good T-storm materialized as we were pulling the boat out.

I often get asked questions like "What's it like - living the dream of guiding?" and things like that.   "It is what it is" - to quote a new cliche'.   Sometimes I'm filling up my tank at a gas station and someone says - '...must be nice not having to work today'.   I bite my tongue!    Guiding is great and sometimes it's hard to believe I can make a living taking people fishing, but there is a flipside to it.   Here's a good example:

Over the past week my truck starting running a little bit hotter than usual.   It's been very gradual.   I have a full slate of guide trips coming up this week and I was looking forward to getting Mike out.   The truck seemed fine when I drove it around town but it started getting dangerously hot the night before our trip.   I test drove it that evening and it seemed OK.  I felt I could get away with doing the trip and then find a shop on the way back to get it checked out.   As I drove the 60 miles to Sodus my heat gauge started spiking up.  I didn't think I'd make it but I did.   Barely.   As I got my boat set up I looked in my plastic envelope where I keep my important stuff and found no plug!   I had a spare, but that was gone too.   Fortunately the "Bay Bridge Sportshop" had a few that fit.   Then I put on my new depthfinder and found it wouldn't turn on!   Great!   I spent my one day off installing it and it seemed like such a no-brainer I never bothered turning it on.    So I was lucky to get to the ramp without overheating, lucky to get a plug and had no depthfinder.   Nice start.

The fishing to me is the easiest part of the guiding - that usually takes care of itself.   After the trip was over Mike was kind enough to offer to follow me home (he lives around 15 miles away.)   Sure enough the truck ran really hot.   But no sign of overheating.   I called a nearby shop earlier and found the mechanic was too busy to look at the truck.   Then I pulled into a Ford dealership.   They were also too busy, but the adjoining Dodge dealership guys took a look at the truck.   They couldn't do anything either.   So it was off to Auburn's Expert Tire.    Sure enough, my truck overheated about 14 miles from Auburn.   Mike was awesome and stuck around as I got things sorted out.  We hooked my boat up to his truck and he dropped it off at my apartment.   After getting an outrageous towing quote (I have towing insurance but in 95 degree heat after waking up around 3:30 am and getting 4 hours of sleep I wasn't sensible enough to go with it!) I decided to start up my truck again and baby it over to Auburn.

I got about 1 mile away from Expert Tire when the truck conked out.   I felt I most certainly damaged the engine and felt like a complete idiot for not taking the tow when I could get it.   But I was as overheated as my truck.    After some great people helped me push my truck out of the road (Yes, I was THAT guy!)   I got towed over to Expert.

The mechanics at Expert Tire are great.  Two of them - Shawn and Norm do most of the work on my truck.   No place is perfect, and sometimes I have to wait awhile - but they almost ALWAYS can get me in with short notice and they fix what needs to be fixed - nothing more.   And they do it at a reasonable price- especially compared to the overpriced "Cornell gouging" Ithaca shops .   Well they were busy as heck with only the two aforementioned mechanics working.   So I sat and cooled off for 3 hours and Norm finally looked at my truck just before 7pm.   I was very lucky to not have blown a head gasket.   That would have meant "new truck".   He would need to order parts (a thermostat) and that would have to wait until the next day.   So I wound up spending the night in Auburn at the "Inn at the Fingerlakes".   I tried getting hold of my client for today's trip and had no luck.   Great - now I'm going to have two people showing up at the Dean's launch at 6 am with a guide who's a "no-show"!   I tried again and again leaving a phone message - but no call back.   Long story short - they were having phone/battery problems and finally got my messages as they were halfway to Dean's at 5:45 am.   The weather wasn't great, so we moved the trip to tomorrow. 

I woke up the next morning after getting up automatically at 4 am and spent all morning at Expert Tire.   When I finally got home I worked on my depthfinder.  Then ran errands.   So that's a little bit of the flipside to guiding fulltime.   Stuff happens and I need to take care of it.  

There are a few businesses around that are sympathetic to my business and I feel it's worth mentioning them:

Expert Tire in Auburn (315-253-4406):  The only place I know that I can call up almost anytime early in the day and get in on THAT day.   They generally do a very good job and have repaired things that other shops messed up.  Their top mechanics are excellent at diagnosing problems and they can do bearings very quickly too.  Plus they are close to Owasco, Skaneateles and the north end of Cayuga Lake.

Fletcher's Trailer Sales(607-387-5838):  Bill aka "Fletch" is around 8 miles away from me.   He is great with anything trailer related.  He's busy and for good reason - he's very competent and a great guy to work with.   He takes care of any trailer problems I have - lights, bearings, wiring - etc...   

Barrett Marine(315-789-6605):   These guys are in Waterloo and have been in business forever.   They know what they are doing and are fantastic with wiring, bearing and boat-related stuff.   They are an official Motorguide Trolling motor repair place and I'm there quite often.   Super guys and extremely competent.   Busy too - it can be tough getting in there, but well worth it.

Silver Lake Marine(585-237-5185):  Scott and the crew at Silver Lake are like my Yamaha motor's version of Expert Tire.   If I need something done on my motor, they don't make me drop off my rig for 2 weeks.   I bring it the boat, drop it off, drive up to Rochester for a bite to eat, shopping etc... and when I'm done, the boat/motor is done and DONE RIGHT!   They've bailed me out a few times and Scott is an amazing mechanic.   They aren't cheap, but they are the best I know of and well worth it.   I'll buy my next boat from them in all likelihood.   They are located right off Silver Lake near Letchworth State Park.  It's a good drive for me, but I'll do it gladly.


Skaneateles Lake 7/6 + Owasco Lake 7/7

Did a 1/2 day trip on Friday AM on Skaneateles Lake.   Hank has a place on the lake and wanted to learn a few new areas.   He had done very well on numbers of (mostly small) smallmouth bass a few days earlier.   The shallow fly-fishing bite slowed down considerably for us on Friday.  Hank's son Joe (I hope I got that name right - it's been a couple days!)joined us and used some spinning gear.   Small bass were in the shallows.   We could see some larger fish hovering around in the deeper weedbeds.  Hank's floating line probably wasn't getting down enough - a sink tip or a full sinking line would have gotten his unweighted flies down.   He didn't mind - he was expertly casting his Sage DS 5 wt. rod with a floating line and having fun.    We got to one area and had a few nice follows from some very good fish.   But they wouldn't grab the flies!   I showed Joe how to work superflukes, tubes and some hard jerkbaits.   He picked up one halfway decent fish on a fluke.   After the morning was over I went back on my own and did a little fishing with the same basic results.   A few fish but nothing special then the wind came up and I was pretty beat - so I took off.  Hank reports that the Hex hatch has been going strong lately.   Overall I'd say the hot shallow smallmouth bite is done on Skaneateles for the most part.   H2O was around 68 on the top.

Owasco was a full day trip with Paul and Dave.   Things started out great with 3 fish landed and hits on just about every drop of the jigs for the first 10 or 15 minutes!   Just a fantastic start on lakers running from 22" to 26".   Fish were in around 65' to 85' of water.   Bait was around in good numbers.   The action slowed for us a bit but we had a very good day with 7 nice lakers landed and numerous fish missed and lost - fun stuff!   We tried a little dropshotting and jigging for bass with a handsized sunfish and rockbass to show for our efforts.   Fishing slowed in the afternoon but we located some more in around 80'+ around 1 pm.   One pair of anglers fishing copper line caught a nice northern (probably around 30" to 32")on bottom in over 55' of water!!!   The presence of alewives in these lakes really messes up the "conventional fishing".  

Cayuga out of Dean's 7/5

1/2 day guide trip with John and Tammy today.   We started a little bit late around 7 am.   It was a bit foggy and windless in the AM and I expected good things.   We had some fish and bait on the fishfinder this morning but fish weren't hitting very aggressively.   They missed a fair number of hits - mostly lighter stuff.   It didn't take long for John to nail a nice laker and we had fun as the ex-Marine wrestled with the 22" to 23" fish and we wound up with a scene that looked like an outtake from a slasher flick on board!  Blood everywhere! (The fish's blood, not John's!)  We finally got a photo taken and got the fish into the cooler.   Tammy hooked up but lost what appeared to be a good fish.   Other than that there were some hits but no solid grabs.  

The jigging can be a difficult technique when fish aren't hitting on the retrieve.   But that's part of the challenge (and reward) of doing it.   Angler success depends on the anglers for the most part.   We aren't trolling and taking turns with the rods - everyone fishes - feels the hit then sets the hook, plays the fish and so on.    Overall we had steady action on the fishfinder (i.e. we could "see" fish around our jigs) with occasional hits, but the "catching" was slow.   Maybe the passage of this front will get them going.   All I can say is that in around 5 years or more of serious year-round vertical jigging, this has been one of the more mystifying seasons I've encountered.  

Cayuga out of Dean's 7/3

Well I felt we could get a little redemption today after yesterday's tough fishing - bite-wise and weather wise.   Guided a 1/2 day with Bob and Joni.   I went over the techniques as best I could before we got started at 6:30am.    Joni had a hit on her first drop with the jig - though she wasn't quite sure at the time.   We had a good morning and Joni managed to land 3 nice fish up to nearly 30" and her husband Bob landed one.   They missed quite a few hits and lost a few as well.   Good day for their first jigging effort.   The fishing was good and the fish were feeding;  stomach checks on our two kept fish confirmed this.   Ran into Alec (  at the ramp and he had a stellar day on the lakers - landing nearly two dozen fish!   He found an area that had a boatload of fish and landed fish on 11 consecutive drops!   That might be a record.    He is a very accomplished jigger,  putting in lots of quality hours and always experimenting with presentation and trying new areas.    He clued me onto a few things that have been producing well for him lately and I took note.    Sometimes when guiding day after day it's easy to do the same stuff over and over - especially when we get results, but it's great to keep trying new things - especially given how many of these lakers have probably seen our plastics! ;-)   I took a trip up to Bass Pro Shops and picked up a whole bunch of different things that should produce some good lakers.    The type of day that Alec had is by no means an impossibility this time of year.   Hit things right and it's very possible both in the morning and during the evening.   My client Mark D. had a day like this last year around the same time frame.   Those of you interested in a trip should know that Alec is a former client of mine and he still holds my boat record for the heaviest, longest lake trout caught on it.   He landed a 34"+ fish two years ago in mid-July while out with me (see the report from 7/25/05).   So he's always had the "mojo"!   I expect him to do well during the upcoming Red Cross derby.

Best fishing was from 65' to 75' of water.   I believe we have a thermocline set up.  My temp probe is in the shop, so I don't know for sure.   I should note that for all intents and purposes I've been guiding without decent console electronics for the past week.   My Eagle 480 is acting up.   For the money it's a great unit, but I wouldn't call it "professional grade" by any means.   I will be updating my electronics soon, but for now I'll be running Eagles.   Electronics are very helpful for structure fishing, but even with no or poor electronics, fish can be caught - and in good numbers.   It's been good practice and we've had some very good fishing in areas where we aren't marking any or many fish.

Cayuga/Dean's 6/30 - 7/2

Lake trout fishing is in full-swing on Cayuga Lake.   Day to day weather conditions are still affecting the bite, but overall fishing is good to excellent.   Sat. the 30th was a full day with Dean and his brother Scott.    They had a stellar day with me last year on Owasco Lake and we knew we probably wouldn't top it on Cayuga, but fishing was still very good.   The guys landed 9 nice lakers, mostly 25" to 27" fish with a couple outside of that size range.   All but two fish came in the first 3 hours or so of the day (we started at 7 am.)   Scott's a professional beer brewer (as a side job) and hooked me up with a nice variety of brews.  

On July 1st. Nick and his nephew Nick joined me for a full-day starting at 6:30am.   Starting early was a good call and the guys got into fish in short order.   The older Nick had the upper hand and managed to land 7 nice fish.   Young Nick landed a couple but got the day's lunker - a fish around 29".   Again, fishing was best in the morning.   The wind came up fairly good and we perservered without much to show for it.  

Today was a scheduled full day with Tim and his wife Vangie.   We wound up ending the trip fishless after around 5 1/2 hours mainly due to the heavy winds.   We started at 7 am and the lake looked pretty good.   We had some action on the fishfinder along with a few hits, but couldn't connect.   It was clear to us that the fish weren't aggressive.  We changed up tactics, colors and lures without luck.   We also worked a few different regions of the lake, but the wind made boat control very difficult.   I blame our poor fishing on the continued cold front (this is the 3rd. day.)   Bait was scattered and fish were inactive.   The wind and weather is changing tonight and I fully expect fishing to improve substantially tomorrow.  We shall see....

Most of the fish we contacted over the past 3 days were in 45' to 75' of water.   There are decent numbers of trout, including rainbows and some landlocked salmon from around 30' and out.   On all 3 days we had follows from salmonids that weren't lakers.   The best advice I can give anyone during these cold fronts is to either go early or late.   Midday fishing should pickup with the low pressure/warm front system moving in tonight and tomorrow. 

Cayuga/Dean's 6/28 + Skaneateles 6/29

I hope these reports are appreciated (I know they are!) cause it's 12:22 am as I write this and I'll be getting up in a few hours!    Did a trip with Tom and his 2 kids Abigail and Willy.   Laker fishing started out slow with the overcast skies.   Fish started hitting around 9 am and we had a pretty good bite for 2 hours or so on nice 25" to 28" lakers.   High point of the morning was a nice 27" fat brown trout (probably over 9lbs, maybe bigger) that hit Tom's white jig.   All fish but one bleeding laker were released.   Both kids managed lakers with Willy getting lucky and catching his just before we ended the trip.   Abby caught 2.

I spent the afternoon exploring some east shore areas for bass.   No luck on the bass but I saw a lot of freshwater drum.  Their numbers are going up fast.  I think the 92' hatch that replenished Oneida Lake also helped the Cayuga watershed.  

The evening was spent with (a different) Tom.   We had a good time despite the heavy waves.   He's a die-hard bass fishermen but enjoyed the lake trout action.  He landed a handful of fish up to 31" (probably 9lbs +).   He was another "restaurant veteran" and it's always great chatting about that line of work.

Today was Skaneateles with David and then we were joined by his GF Lauren later on.   He was fly-fishing for smallmouth bass and it went very well.   Plenty of action on primarily small fish, but with enough follows and hookups from 15"+ fish to make things interesting.   Perch are around too, but we didn't see any big ones.   We used an intermediate line and buggers.   A sinking line might have produced some bigger fish, but our action was good and we felt no need to switch up.   I taught Lauren how to flycast in around 2 hours.   That was fun and as a Cornell student she had no problems picking it up ;-)    The hatch was a disapointment -  we were apparently late for the drakes.   Maybe 2 weeks late according to a homeowner down the lake who told me the "bugs were terrible 2 weeks ago!".   It was fun watching the insect activity, but some fish activity would have been better.  H2O was in the upper 60s to low 70s.  Not too warm for good shallow bassin' for awhile.  

Sodus Bay 6/27
Got out onto Sodus from around 1pm till 5:30pm with my buddy Shahab.  We checked on the gar action and didn't see much apart from a couple rises for awhile.   T-storms were threatening and then the sky cleared but strong winds came up.   It was difficult fly-fishing in 25 mph + winds but we did the best we could.   We worked my favorite gar area for awhile and drifted out to a place out of the wind when Shahab noticed a few fish "breaking" (gulping air on the surface.)   He then "hooked" one and we were in business.   Fishing was excellent for around 1/2 hour - around 4 to 4:30 pm then they just shut off.   We had some fun fights and landed 4 fish up to around 37" to 38".   Gar this size don't necessarily fight great, but they do jump a few times and are a lot of fun to watch pursue the flies.   I plan on fishing Lake Champlain's monster gar within a few weeks - those 45" to 50" + fish fight and fight HARD.    Bay temps are very warm - mid 80s and weed harvesting has begun.   The lake was too rough to bother fishing, so no smallmouth reports.   I'll have to try again.
Seneca Lake out of Sampson 6/25

Full day out on Seneca with John and Eleonore.   I'm blessed to have some terrific repeat clients - they make this "job" a breeze!   J & E wanted to get into some pike action and weren't able to fish during the hot bite.   Unfortunately the hot "pre-summer" pike bite has slowed down as I've been discovering.   The weeds are up and the fish appear to be sulking in them.   The usual stickbaits produced one decent fish for Eleonore.   As J & E were working swimbaits and stickbaits I took a couple casts (I don't fish during guide trips, except to check out things on occason)  with a tube jig and hooked a decent pike within a couple casts - that tells me that the fish are somewhat inactive.   They would hit a jig in their face, but wouldn't come up for a blade bait or stickbait.   Water temps are around 64.   Weeds are coming up very quickly.   There's still some good pikin' to be had on this lake, but nothing to compare to the action of the past month.   Pike fishers need to choose their days wisely.

My back up plan was lakers and around 11 am we shot back to Sampson.   I marked some fish and bait in short order and John was onto a beautiful laker with his first drop of a jig!   We all agreed that we'd rather have good to great trout fishing rather than fair pike action.   Another 6 nice fish (all 25" to 28"+) were landed and a few good ones were lost.   This was during serious heat and zero wind!  That's why lakers rule!    Bait and fish were hitting in 65' to 75' of water.    We kept 2 fish for dinner - one for them and 1/2 a fish for me!   After yesterday's tough day I was glad to take some fillets.    Boat traffic was very light.  We had the park area to ourselves!   That's the way I like it.

Seneca out of Lodi 6/24
Nothing great to report out of Lodi today.  I got out on my own late and the lake was glass calm and loaded with pleasure boaters.   I checked out some pike areas that I rarely fish and picked up one northern shallow.   There's plenty of bait around and I had a follow from a nice rainbow on a jig working depths from 35' to 70'.   Laker fishing was slow.   Most lakers are probably further north - around Sampson and up.   Water temps were around 68.   Cayuga is the place to be for hot laker action now.
Cayuga out of Dean's 6/23 PM
Did a 1/2 day evening guide trip with Jaimie and Joe.   I warned them in advance about the potentially difficult day we might be in store for due to Friday's strong northwinds.   (Surface temps dropped down to the upper 50s/low 60s.)   However this was their only good opportunity to get out for awhile, so we went for it.  Fishing was tougher than what we experienced early in the week.   However within a 1/2 hour of starting Jaimie nailed a nice lake trout around 27" long!   So that was a good start.   I spent a lot of time motoring around searching for bait/fish on the fishfinder.   Didn't see much.   As the winds diminished the bite picked up a little bit.   They guys had a few good hits but we just couldn't connect.   Bait moved in a bit as the sun started going down.   This week's stable weather should get this bite back on track!   Expect good to great fishing.
Cayuga Lake out of Dean's 6/21

Well it was another eventful day with the Hermans out on Cayuga Lake.   They "warned" me when they first started booking me that weird stuff happens when they go fishing, and they were right - though it's been "good weird" for the most part.   Last year a laker in my livewell during one of our trips bit my finger and wouldn't let go!   That was a first.   On another occasion John Herman landed a 29" monster brown trout on a jig!   That was also a first.   Today was more of the same.

We started off our plan by haggling about our starting time.   I knew that the good laker bite had been early but John and Eleonore weren't up for getting up at "dark thirty" and meeting me at 6:30am, so we compromised and met at 7:30am, which was better than 8am.   The wind was rolling pretty good out of the south.  I marked a few lakers and relatively little bait compared to earlier in the week.   After an hour or so John had lost a fish and Eleonore landed a wild beauty around 29" on a jig.   The wind got intense and we spent a couple hours searching for fish in sheltered areas with very little luck or action.   The wind changed directions a few times and finally started coming out of the west.   To make a long story short, I set us up near Silos so we could use the westerly to our advantage and drift across the vast flat in around 40' of water.   As we began our drift I saw a mark show up on the Vexilar.   I knew where John's line was, but not Eleonore's, so I asked her if she was on bottom - "Nope, I'm just starting to drop".   Me and John glanced at each other as his jig dropped down, knowing there was a fish down there.   Next thing I know I see John set the hook and his rod is bent over.   I patted him on the shoulder - "nice job" as I went to get the net.    Then I saw the rod bobbing up and down - "I don't think this is a laker" I said to him.   A second or two later it was confirmed as a silver explosion went off next to the boat!   A beautiful fish jumped out of the water and headed down and out.   I thought he lost the fish but he still had it and led the still hot fish into the net! 

"Salmon" is what John thought, but a closer look at the fish revealed a nice 25" chunky rainbow!   It was a catch and release trip so I held the fish for John as he snapped a quick photo.   I let the still "green" fish go and it took off like a rocket.   Just as we let the fish go the T-storms started approaching and we called it a day.   It was just a matter of sheer perserverence with a little luck thrown in!   I'll take it!   BTW - word has it that largemouths are hitting pretty good on Cayuga.   Some massive bags were weighed in at a tourney last week - 20lbs + for 5 fish.   Plenty of small largemouths are around, so Cayuga looks like it may be on its way back as a top-notch largemouth fishery.   We can only hope!

Owasco Lake nightfishing 6/20
Got out for some walleyes with my buddy Dave.   We started around 10:30pm after waiting out some heavy rain.   We worked a couple areas without luck then shot south.   We finally got into a nice drift and while casting stickbaits I lost a nice bass by the boat.   Not many signs of spawning alewives.  H2O was 68 to 70 on top.   The wind came whipping out of the north and the lake got nasty, so we called it a day around 3:30am.    No one else was out.
Cayuga out of Dean's 6/18

Just great fishing today - the best of the year thus far on lakers in Cayuga Lake!   Did a 6 hour trip with Derrick and his two boys Matt and Jeff (ages 13 and 11).   (For vertical lake trout jigging close to the ramp I occasionally break my 2 person policy.)   The fishing started out pretty fast and furious with everyone hooking some fish.   Young Jeff had the hot hand early and landed a couple nice fish.   Derrick and myself worked with the kids until they got the technique down.   Fishing slowed a little around 9 or 10 am, but never got dull.   Hits came throughout the morning.   The guys wound up with their limit of 9 nice fish - all between 25" and 28" and we headed in around 1:15pm.   Fish were literally swallowing the jigs at times!   Fish hit throughout the morning with the best fishing happening early - the earlier the better for this bite.  

After the trip ended I checked in on a gar area.  I found decent numbers of 30" to 37" longnose.   They were in heavy weeds and hitting fairly well, but without my flyrod it was difficult keeping weighted rope flies high enough to get strikes.   I also saw some nice largemouths and a smallmouth or two.   Bass were still bedding.   Plenty of nice sunfish, bullheads and bluegills are cruising around.   One bowfin rounded out my "sight-seeing".

Despite my busiest May and June thus far in my 3 year guiding career, I do have plenty of openings all summer long.   I get emails wondering if I have open dates - yes I do!  Plenty of them, so don't hesitate if you'd like a trip.   This weekend is still available as of 6/18.  

Seneca out of Sampson 6/15, 6/16 + Cayuga Dean's 6/16

Friday June 15th out of Sampson:  Started the day with a full-day trip with Jeff and his dad Dan.  Jeff fishes a bit, but Dan doesn't get out too much.   We targeted pike and bass and the conditions weren't easy in the morning with the bluebird skies and good wind out of the south.   I took them to a few sheltered areas that have produced recently for us.   Pike action was decent - not great, but not bad and the guys caught a fair number of them.  The highpoint of the morning was a huge largemouth hooked and dropped by Dan!   This may have been the best Seneca largemouth I've ever seen - at least 4 to 5lbs!   It hit a stickbait and did a classic jump, shaking its gills and throwing the lure.   The fish won!   We encountered some bass and large sunfish.   A fair number of big perch are shallow and Dan caught one and lost a huge one (maybe 15") near the boat.    Trout jigging was slow, but the pike bite picked up late in the afternoon.   A couple small largemouths were taken during the day if I remember right.  Their population is definitely going up in Seneca Lake.

As the afternoon approached I got a call from Kelly, who had a trip booked on Sat.   He wanted to get out for a few hours with his son Mike.   So at 5pm I met them at the Sampson docks.   A north wind was blowing and things clouded up.   This got the lake trout bite going and we fished trout for an hour with a couple fish lost quickly but nothing hooked for long.   The guys had never pike fished before, so off we went.   The pike action was great.   The winds died down and apparently some baitfish started moving in.   They landed around a dozen and a half fish, including a 31" fish by Mike.   We had a trip scheduled at Dean's Cove on Cayuga for lakers the next AM, but the guys wanted to continue pike fishing.   Who could blame them?

Sat. June 16th AM out of Sampson:  We started on Saturday and I took them to the same east shore area we'd worked the night before.   I knew they'd want to fish there;  I also knew that it wouldn't produce well due to the change in conditions, but I knew we'd have to "scratch the itch" otherwise fishing that spot would be in the back of their minds all morning long!   After 15 minutes of fruitless casting I took them to an area less affected by the south winds.   Action quickly picked up and we were back into the pike and a couple bass.   Pike fishing was very good and the guys landed quite a few fish (I think it was around 15 to 20).   One of the bass was a very nice fish.    We were checked by DEC for our safety equipment, licenses and fish.   At 12:30pm I pulled the boat out and headed over to Dean's Cove on Cayuga to meet Barry and his daughter Julie.

Sat. June 16th PM out of Dean's:  I hadn't been on Cayuga since a slow trip on June 11th, but you can't keep a great lake trout fishery down for long and I was optimistic re: our results.   As I approached the launch I could see that conditions looked great - some clouds and sun and a nice breeze blowing out of the WNW.    I explained what we'd be doing and started searching for bait and fish.   What I saw on the graph was a huge relief - lake trout marks and baitfish everywhere!!!    It didn't take long to hook up and within about 3 drops of the jigs Barry hooked and lost a nice fish.   I was up front working with Julie and she got the technique down in short order.   She managed to land the next 4 fish!   I filleted them out and we kept fishing.   The bite slowed with the sun breaking out and wind change but we perservered.   Around 6:30 pm the bite picked up.   It was classic "June jigging" on Cayuga.   A nice night bite awaited us.   Barry picked up a fish or two and Julie also added some more.   We wound up with 7 for the day including a couple 28" fish.   Lakers were crashing bait on the surface in 68 degree water during the evening!  It was neat to watch the lakers momentarily leave temperature to grab the warm water loving alewives.   Fun trip!  

Seneca out of Sampson 6/14

Guided 1/2 day today with Mike and his wife Becky.   This was our 3rd. trip of the week and may have been the best.   We started with laker jigging since the conditions looked right with the weather change.   Within 1/2 hour we boated our first laker (Becky!).   It didn't take long to hook up another 5 or 6 fish with 3 more landed up to 27".   Overcranking is what caused some hooks to rip out, but we solved the problem as the day went on! ;-)   Pike fishing remains very good with a handful caught plus a bass.

I've been jonesing to fish so after the trip was done I went back out and did a lot of motoring around with my electronics working on learning new areas and checking out on the lakers/pike.   I missed some lakers on my braid setup.  I'm still not convinced that braid is the way to go on shallow lakers.   It rips hooks right out of the fishes mouths.  I'll keep working at it... 

I had some good pikin' both on flies and gear, landing a hard fighting 33" fish.   What a beauty!   I finally had a chance to try a few different pike techniques.   I also stumbled onto some deep perch.   Time will tell whether the "pattern" holds up but I'm optimistic.  If I get some time, I'll try them again.   Pike are all over the lake - look for weeds.  If you want lakers, look for and fish the bait.   The lakers are getting more and more aggressive and the best fishing is yet to come!  H2O is up to 66 in places, but cooler in other areas.  Plenty of sunfish/bluegills are shallow.  

Seneca Lake out of Sampson 6/13

Guided out of Sampson today with Michele and her dad John.   We started with some laker jigging around bait we were marking off Sampson State Park in around 30' to 40' of water.   A couple light hits but no hookups.   We decided to "ping-pong" between pike fishing and lakers.   The pike were cooperating and they landed a fair number of nice northerns, all around 23" to 26".   One smallmouth was also landed.   We went back to laker fishing and it was OK.   John hooked and lost a heavy fish.  Then Michele lost one.  Then John finally got a 26" fish in the boat.  A couple minutes later we had one just out of netting range.   Then John had a big brown follow up his jig right to the boat.   He then had a hit and as he reeled up the brown showed itself again.  But no hookups!  It would have been nice, but it wasn't to be.   The lake kicked up pretty good around 4pm and we called it a day.  Overall, the fishing for pike was very good and the laker fishing was OK - not terrible, but not great.  

Cayuga out of Dean's 6/11
Back out for 1/2 day with Mike and his wife Becky.   We were looking for lakers and got a late start.   Becky wound up landing the first and only fish of the day within an hour in around 40' to 50' of water.   It was a nice 23" to 24" fish that we released.   Lakers were around and we marked plenty of fish throughout the lake  - they just didn't want to hit much.   Bait is everywhere.   A few small salmon are also around the Dean's area - we saw one caught and had one or two flash around us.   A weather change should help the trout action.   We've had a stalled weather system over the region for a few days now.   The passage of this system should get the bite going again.  
Seneca Lake 6/8 - 6/10
We've been fishing Seneca a lot lately and really having a lot of fun! Friday was a trip with Chris and Dan. Chris really enjoyed the fantastic pike fishing of last week and wanted to do it again, so off we went. Fishing started off well with both the guys landing 34"+ pike. Northerns were very active and fortunately weren't hitting the stickbaits deeply this time around. The guys landed around 40 pike on the day! Another great day with a few pickerel and bass landed as well. The best lures were deep running stickbaits. We found the pike had moved deeper than previously - at least many of them did. Baitfish were in pretty well on the east shore of the lake. The lakers cooperated a little bit and a couple fish were landed - a dink and a nice 5 or 6lber. Fish hit well all day and the top lure in the late afternoon was a "zoney" - one of a handful of homemade lures given to me by Ced from the fishing trips earlier in the week. Saturday was a fun day with Doug and Tracy. We worked lakers most of the day. The guys wanted to learn how to jig and I showed them as best as I could. They missed/lost a fair number of fish in the AM but got a couple in the boat before too long. Pike action rounded out the day and it was good. Today was pike fishing with Mike and his wife. He started the day with his first pike ever - a nice 35" fish that we released. Both anglers did well on the pike and bass. All in all some great fishing on Seneca Lake and it should continue.
Seneca out of Sampson 6/7
Just great fishing from top to bottom on Seneca today with Greg.   We started on the west shore of the lake (with a good south wind) and worked some areas I hadn't worked in a year for pike.   Greg hit a bunch of nice pike, a 25" pickerel, a couple smallmouths up to almost 18", a largemouth (plus one lost), some big sunfish (larger than a hand) and he lost a huge perch.   We found quite a few nice panfish and post-spawn perch but we didn't fish them.    After that we did some laker jigging and he lost a good fish then caught his first Seneca Lake laker.  A nice wild fish around 18".   We went back to the pike and he caught more incl. another pickerel.  We went to the east shore and found a couple smallies then jigged more lakers.   He landed one more laker around 23" and we called it a day.    H2O is around 58.  Pike were deeper than last week.   Bass are more abundant and lakers are moving shallower - most we marked were around 35' of water.   We were able to release all the toothy critters unharmed, which was nice.  They weren't engulfing the stickbaits too badly at all.   This fishing has been a lot of fun and I hope it holds up for another week or two.  It should be good for that and more!   The lakers are clean and beautiful fish.   Back on Seneca tomorrow!
Cayuga out of Dean's 6/6

Guided Deborah and her mom Katherine for lakers today.   It was my first "all gal" trip and we had a lot of fun.   I was prepared for a tough day given how spotty the laker fishing had been lately, but I was figuring that the warm weather we've had combined with some north winds would slide some warm water into the depths of Cayuga Lake from the north end.   It's a theory anyways... ;-)

As we motored out of Dean's heading north it didn't take long to mark plenty of bait with active looking "hooks" in water as shallow as 30' out to around 45'.    We set up and within about 15 minutes Deb had the first fish of the day!   It was around 24" and had a live lamprey on it.   More fish came in fairly short order and we wound up landing and releasing 5 nice fish up to 27".   Other fish were surely missed and one good one was lost.   One fish was unclipped and had some nice colors.   2 fish had live lampreys attached to them.   Fish are all along the west shore.   We never even went to the east shore.    This is the first shallow fishing I've seen this season that's been reminiscent of anything we've seen over the past few years.   So I believe the lakers have finally set up!   Anything's possible, but I think it's for real this time!   H2O on top is 62.  

Owasco Lake 6/5
Fished another day with Cedric.  The wind started up as a southerly around 10 mph.   He's staying on the lake for a week and wanted a tour - so that's what I did.   He found some great areas with a lot of walleye potential.    Pike were the active fish of the day and he landed 4 of them and had a couple others hit.   Fish were average size - 23" to 26".    A nice 13" perch was landed.  No sign of bass where we were.    I did some fishing and lucked into a fat 23" walleye!   It hit a white X-rap in weeds in around 4' of water during midday.   Ced's fish came on spinnerbaits and a husky jerk.   H2O is at 62/63.    There's some bait around.   I didn't mark many lakers on the north end or very deep - so they are probably "in between".   On Sunday night Ced nailed 7 walleyes night fishing off his cottage's dock casting jerkbaits into 40' of water!    So the 'eyes are active and hungry.   Last night he struck out on 'eyes but got a big smallie.    By 2 pm the wind was whipping out of the north and the lake was whitecapping like something fierce!   Nasty!!!
Seneca 6/4 out of Geneva
Guide trip with Cedric today.   We had a lot of fun - he's a heck of an angler.   We started with laker jigging - lots of activity but mostly short hits.   Fish are from 30' and out.   Went to pike and the fish were cooperative.   He wanted me to fish a little bit so we worked some different lures and caught 8 to 10 nice fish on X-raps, swimbaits and blade baits.   He caught a 35" beauty that we were able to release unharmed.   Fish are in around 4' to 15' of water and all over the place.   We went back to lakers after the sun came out a little and he nailed a 23" fish on a fluke.   Bait is all over the place.   H2O is around 62.   I'll be taking advantage of this great Seneca fishing a lot over the next couple weeks.   Fun stuff!   He handed me a bunch of his own homemade blade baits called "zoneys".   Terrific vibrations and they are sure to be a "killer"!   Can't wait to try them out.
Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 6/2

Full day out with Steve and Dan.   Things got off to a promising start with Steve nailing a 28" laker suspended in about 60' of water north of Millican within about 20 minutes.   After that, things slowed down a lot.   It was Steve's biggest fish to date, so we felt good about that.   We busted our butts searching and working areas from north of Sheldrake to Rocky Dock and back across the lake.   We hit deep and shallow and in-between!   Dan picked up a 16 to 17" laker and that was about it.  One or two other hits were missed, but overall slow action despite huge volumes of bait fish starting to move in.   Most bait was suspended up high in the water column.   Generally the best laker action on this lake is with bait on the bottom or near it.

We tried pike fishing for hours and saw one very nice fish - probably 35" or more, but it wasn't interested.   The bright news is that perch are all over the southern portions of the lake!   The guys had perch hammering their tube jigs and X-raps.   Many were small but we kept a couple up to 13".   Great opportunities for the kids or anyone who wants a lot of action.    Water temps were warm on the south end - up to 66 or 67 degrees.   We were pike fishing in the middle of the day with no wind and pretty sunny conditions - which is tough, but I still would have expected to see a couple fish at least.    All I can say for pike fans is "Seneca".  ;-)

The guys fished really hard giving it 100%.   So I felt good about the fishing despite the relatively poor catching.   That's what it's all about - give it your all and let the chips fall where they may.

Seneca Lake out of Sampson 6/1

Well, no two ways about it - Seneca Lake's pike population is really starting to "explode".   Around 5 years ago or more, the milfoil (weeds) on Seneca Lake started to take over the lake.   There were weeds everywhere but not that many fish.   The fish have finally started to "fill the niche".    We predicted this last year - it didn't take Nostradamus to be able to foresee this coming on!  I can't wait till these fish get BIG.   We'll be in for one heck of a joyride - as long as we don't have VHS problems or something weird happening.

Had a full day trip with Chris and Bill.   We spent around an hour searching for lakers.   We had a hit or two and there was some bait around, but the best call seemed to be to try for some pike and give the lakers another hour or two.   We started pike fishing and never looked back.    There appears to be 3 classes of pike active right now.   19" to 20" fish made up around 10% or less of the catch.   The rest was about half and half 22 to 23" fish and 25" to 26" fish.   The guys landed over 50 fish - which is a ridiculous amount.   We could have kept going, but decided to fish lakers after a while.   Some pike were maiming themselves pretty badly and we didn't want to injure too many fish.   (We wound up keeping 4 fish, and stomach checks revealed alewives and occasional panfish.)   We tried swim baits with single hooks and fish still took them deep.   The best lure was a Rapala X-Rap.   We rigged these on braided line with around 15" of 25lb. test Maxima as a bite leader.  We never had one bite-off!   But we did have to check and re-tie the leader every hour or so.   One pickerel and bass were also in the mix.    Don't even attempt this fishing without a jaw spreader and a hookout device (like a Baker).   The best thing to do might be to remove the rear treble on the X-rap - it was the one that caused problems.    I'd guess that over half of the pike had lamprey scars on them!   Unreal.   The eels seem to take a bigger toll on many of the pike than one might think.   I often wonder if they are the primary cause of mortality of big pike in this lake.   Yet the amount of healed scars show that the pike often survive the attacks.

We did some lake trout jigging on the north end of the lake and Bill nailed his first laker - a nice 27" unclipped fish.   Other fish were actively chasing.   Bait is everywhere up north.   All in all this day was the best pike fishing "number wise" that any of us had ever seen - certainly in this area.  H2O was around 62 degrees on average.   The weeds still haven't come up much.

Irondequoit Bay/Lake Ontario 5/30 + Oneida Lake 5/31

I was able to do a bit of non-guide related fishing over the past couple days.   On Wed. I fished Lake Ontario up by my "hometown" of Rochester with my buddy Shahab.   We started at Russell Station (warmwater discharge) with some great smallmouth bass fishing.   Lake temps were pretty warm, so there wasn't a huge temp differential but there was enough.   Nice 16" to 17" bass were whacking my tube jigs and each hookup brought 2 or 3 followers!  Other fish in the flow incl. a gar, gizzard shad, perch, carp and a big school of drum.   Shahab nailed a nice perch on the fly.   The fishing got messed up by some people in a bass boat who thought they were "on the wrong side" of the flow after they saw us catching fish.   So they motored across the flow and back 3 times, spooking everything.  I still gave them a few tubes to try - being the nice guy that I am ;-)

We checked out the Genny.   TONS of alewives were in the estuary.   I guarantee there's some good nighttime walleye fishing around, but probably next to no one does it.    Not much doing for us up the river, but it's a scenic ride and I'd never done it before so we went for it.   Later on off the pier we saw a big gar and missed a few hits (drum?).  

In Irondequoit Bay gar were everywhere!   Some big ones too.   We had a few hits/follows but then the wind came up and made things tough.   Shahab nailed a couple decent pike on the fly.   Pesky northerns - we wanted big drum!    We didn't see many drum, but I'm sure they were around.   A few bass rounded out the day.   Overall it was a fun day, but we seemed to be off on our timing - always being "a day late, a dollar short".   We should have fished the gar earlier when the bay was calm and avoided the trip up the river.   But hindsight is always 20/20.  H2O in the lake was in the upper 50s.  Russel was low 60s.  I Bay was 69 to 74.

Oneida was a blast today with my buddy Craig Nels.  I've fished Oneida on and off (usually about once or twice a year) from 1987 or '88 on till about 3 years ago.   I don't know the lake very well, so Craig called the shots today.   It was nice being guided for a change and Craig's 21' Skeeter bass boat does around 72 mph. so we had fun and didn't waste time running around!    We had some good bass fishing peaking by late afternoon.  We probably landed 15 to 20 smallies - mostly around 1 1/4 to 2 1/2 lbs.   We lost some 3lbers as well.   The smallies were active from 2' to about 15' of water or so.  Plenty are on the shoals and many are starting to bed.   Drum are everywhere!   I've never seen so many drum in my life - whether here or elsewhere!  Craig said it was the most he'd ever seen on Oneida.   They were EVERYWHERE WE WENT from 6" of water to as deep as we could see!   And we saw monster schools of hundreds of fish.   They are all over the lake from small to large fish and they appear to be in the spawn mode - not hitting well overall, but enough are taking to make it fun.  We landed 3 of them, but had a fair number of followers.   Tremendous fly-fishing opportunities await and many were tailing and rooting around!    Weeds aren't up yet with the exception of some shallow bays/coves.   Craig nailed a couple nice walleyes.  Other species caught incl. a few largemouths, pickerel, rockbass and drum.   We caught/hooked fish on tube jigs in various colors, buzz baits, spider grubs, cicadas, superflukes and jerkbaits.    We saw a few nice bowfins too which was cool.  They are all over - on shoals and in the usual bowfin type areas.   I kept a couple rockbass and a drum for dinner.   The smaller drum are very good on the table and just about everyone I know who's tried them out of Oneida likes them.  Craig is no exception.   The meat is firm and white - good stuff.   They are so abundant in Oneida Lake that they are basically a wasted resource.   It's well worth keeping a few and trying them out if you've never had them.   They are freshwater cousins of the popular redfish family and they taste very similar from what I've heard.  H2O in Oneida was 69 to 70.   BTW - one of the researchers from the Cornell Fisheries station on Oneida went out last summer with a dozen students and caught a bunch of drum.   They cooked up the fish.  12 out of 12 students liked eating them.   

Keuka out of Branchport 5/28

1/2 day Guide Trip with Anthony and his son Drew.   They were spending the week at Keuka Lake and wanted to learn how to jig lakers.   I showed them just about everything I know and they fished hard.   We started at Branchport and went over the electronics and techniques.  We didn't mark the numbers of fish I'd marked there last trip.   The fish are there, but weren't showing themselves shallow.   We did mark good numbers of fish deep.

We went over to the bluff and wound up landing 3 nice fish.   It was a slow day, and this was confirmed to us by the DEC Boat that was checking all the boats in the area for licenses, life-jackets and fish.   But the guys learned what they needed to know and it was a good day.   I talked to Drew on the phone this morning and as of around 9:30am they'd landed 8 or 9 lakers!   The weather change activated the bluff fish.   That to me is what a successful guide trip is about - you may not hit the best fishing day of the season, but if you pay attention and ask plenty of questions (which I don't mind one bit) you will learn something and hopefully alter you own future fishing success and approaches.   

One thing I love about fishing Keuka Lake is that on the way home I usually stop at "Seneca Farms" in Penn Yan about 1/3rd a mile down from Penn Yan towards Branchport.    They have really good fried chicken served with corn fritters and honey!   Get those and some baked beans and mashed pototoes and you're good to go!   They also serve homemade ice cream which is good.   I have no affiliation with them, but I wish I did....  ;-)

Skaneateles 5/27

Guide trip with Jim and Kevin today.   Bass were pretty much available lake-wide and were hitting well.   Kevin managed to catch a beautiful 18" smallmouth on a woolly bugger fly-fishing.    A decent number of bass were hooked today.   The guys probably missed a trout or two - we saw one and the way in which one lost fish was fighting spelled trout.   A few perch are around and hitting.   I introduced the guys to a bunch of tactics that are effective for smallies in the Finger Lakes including jerking superflukes, fishing tubes + hairjigs and some long range fly-fishing.   We also tried a little laker jigging with only one hit to show.   Overall it was a nice day and the threatening T-storms didn't materialize until after the trip was done.   Water temps have climbed into the mid to upper 50s.  We had 60 degrees in one location.   48 degree water was down around 25', so a jig or deep fly should still produce lakers nearshore.  

After the trip was over I did a little bassin' myself and enjoyed it.   They were hammering the flukes!   I also searched for lakers and found quite a few, though they weren't hitting very well.  Just chasing and rejecting my jigs!   I'll be back....

Cayuga/Dean's 5/26
Out for a late afternoon guide trip with Matt and Seth.   Laker action started out very promising with a 21" and 28" fish within around 40 minutes of fishing.   Then the conditions changed a bit and the bite slowed right down.   Bait and fish are around.   We marked fish from 65' to 120' and I'm sure there are plenty both deeper and shallower.   A few other fish were missed.   Fish are scattered throughout the mid-portions of the lake.   Water temps on the surface ranged from around 54 to 60.   
Cayuga Lake out of Dean's 5/25

I forgot to put this report in, so here it goes.   Guide trip with Chris and Trevor on Cayuga Lake.   We started by searching lakers in the morning for an hour or two.  Nothing much doing, so we went pickerel fishing.   The action on the pickerel (as is almost always the case) was very good.    They landed quite a few fish and we kept some for the table.   Tube jigs worked the best, but fish did hit other presentations.  

Later on we went lake trout fishing.   The guys picked up one at Long Point and we hit a pod of good action (around some baitfish) over just north of Sheldrake.   Overall it was some good fishing, though we had to work hard for fish.

Keuka out of Branchport 5/24

Started out this AM by finding out that my trolling motor wasn't working!  Great - I pretty much buy the best motor I could find and it decides to stop working the morning of a guide trip where I need precision boat control!  At least it's still under warranty.   I had two drift bags on board so there was no need to panic - at least not on the surface ;-)

Ihor and his son Matt did a great job today compensating for the lack of boat control.   The Branchport Arm has plenty of lakers in it along with some bait.  But as usual, it was pretty windy over there (the funnel effect.)   After fruitlessly trying to jig sans trolling motor with a couple drift socks we rode over to the bluff area.  It was much calmer and we settled into some good fishing.   The guys landed a half dozen nice lakers up to 30"!!!   That 30" fish was a Keuka boat record for my guiding.   Beautiful fish.   They came from 75' to around 120'.   As usual, many of the Keuka fish are suspended.   We didn't mark fish in many of the areas we caught them in either.   Tube jigs did the trick.   We didn't hammer the fish, but given that we had no trolling motor, I thought everyone did a very nice job!

We finished the trip with some casting for pickerel.  It was quite productive with fish up to around 24" being caught - mostly on X-raps.   Surface temps are mostly in the low 50s with up to 60 on the N.end of the Branchport Arm. 

Skaneateles Lake 5/23
Guide trip with Cho and his wife Lee.   What a day!   I had my work cut out for me.  Lee had never fished before, so I wound up teaching her how to cast a spinning outfit and fish a few different lures and presentations.   Cho is a stream fly-fisher and I spent time getting his casting "up to par" for lake fly-fishing.   They both picked things up at a phenomenal rate!   I was very impressed.    During the morning hours we had a perfect chop on the lake and as we got going on the casting we had follows from 1.) a school of bass incl. some BIG fish  2.) a big rainbow trout around 23" or better   3.)  some salmon/trout.    We had a hookup on a fair salmon too.   Then the wind died!   The fishing held up for a little while but we weren't able to do much "catching" apart from a perch and a bass.    Once the lake calmed and was still for a few hours the fishing really got tough.    Lake temps range from 48 to close to 60 (Northend).    We spent a few hours jigging lakers too.   Had some chasers and follows but couldn't manage a solid hookup.   Cho had a tough time getting himself to maintain the speed on his lures or increase it when fish were following!   He found it very difficult to do and that cost him fish!   But we all had fun and in many ways it was one of the most fulfilling trips I've ever done.  I'm looking forward to getting out with them again in October and hopefully nailing some big fish!   
Cayuga out of Dean's 5/22

After yesterday's slow fishing I almost called Jack and Tom and moved our scheduled trip over to Seneca Lake.   But the weather pattern was changing to a low pressure (warm front) system and the fish have been around for weeks - they just need to turn on.   My hunch paid off and the fishing was very good this morning.   We started at 7 am and the guys caught their limit of 27" to 30" lakers by around 11 or 12 o'clock.   Baitfish have finally started to move into the shallows in good numbers (not everywhere in the lake - but in certain areas.)   We found bait in 80' of water.   We caught fish from 80' on out to 150'.  It's worth checking lots of different depths and fishing blind.   

After getting our fill of lakers we headed north for pickerel and panfish.   Everyone I take up there really seems to love casting lures for pickerel.   They are good sport and range from 18" to 23" on Cayuga.   We found a couple concentrations of pickerel and Tom managed to catch a beautifully colored 27" bonus pike.    A few nice perch filled out the catch.   Large sunfish and bluegills, along with plenty of perch are swarming the shallows throughout Cayuga - even just off the shore at Dean's Cove.   This lake has just thousands of perch!    All in all it was a great day of action packed fishing!   Surface temps are pushing 52, and I had around 46 degrees down 50'!!!   This compared to 41 a few days ago - so things are really warming up.    Let the madness begin!

Cayuga 5/18, 5/19, 5/21, Skaneateles 5/20

Cayuga/Taughannock 5/18:   Fished with my buddy Dave for around 4 hours.   I was going to check on the pike fishing so I loaded up the fly-rods and a couple spinning rods.   We decided to cast around the park area since water temps for "salmon perfect" at 48 degrees and we had a nice breeze out of the north.   To our surprise there were salmon all over the place!   The only thing wrong was the size of them!   They were mostly 12" to 14" fish.   The park was stocked recently judging from the number of yearlings swarming around the marina, but these were older fish.   I also landed my 2nd. Cayuga Lake rainbow - a fish around 12".   So nothing great with the size.   We did have a couple decent (15"+) fish chase in our jigs.    Let's hope these fish "recruit" and we see Cayuga return to its rightful place as the "Landlocked Salmon King of the Finger Lakes".   I never got the chance to check on the pike. 

Cayuga/Dean's 5/19:  Guide trip with Mike and Cathy.   Mike fishes Seneca a bit and wanted to get the jigging technique down.   The winds were looking pretty unpredictable so we fished Cayuga instead.  It was a good call.   We actually marked a lot of fish in 175' which was pretty wild.   We tried a lot of different depths and wound up in around 155'.   Fishing was very good for an hour or two and we boated 4 nice lakers - a 28", 29", 26" and 27".   A couple others were dropped.   Then the wind came up around 11 am and most boats left the lake!   We tried fighting the wind for awhile but it didn't work.   We tried other areas - nil.  After the wind died we had another hook up and that was pretty much it.  What's cool this year is that a lot of suspended fish are very aggressive.  That often isn't the case.   

Skaneateles Lake 5/20:  Guide trip with Gordon.   Gordon had a great trip on Skinny fly-fishing last November and we were hoping for a repeat.   Things started with calm conditions and sun, but the wind eventually came up out of the north.   I had him working a few different set ups including an intermediate line, a type 4 sink and a RIO Deep 7.   The intermediate is my "bread and butter" on this lake and today was no different.   Smallmouths dominated the action with plenty of fish available pretty much wherever we fished.   Gordon took a few breaks and threw a jig.   For whatever reason (small fish or a little rust) a few trout were lost and missed early on.   He had hold of a laker on the fly and what looked like a decent salmon or bow.   The misty rain came up for awhile.   We worked hard, fishing a bunch of different stretches.    Eventually a couple nice rainbows (15" fish) came to the net via the jigs.   Overall it was a fun action filled day.  A few 20" rainbows would have been nice, but we can't have everything!   The beauty of this lake is still unsurpassed.

Cayuga/Dean's 5/21:   Fished a full-day with Eleonore and John.   John caught the largest brown recorded thus far on my boat last fall while jigging Cayuga.    We were hoping for some laker jigging action today.   The fishing was tough.   It was a nice sunny day with a 10 mph northerly.   We worked hard, checking a lot of areas.   One 28" laker came from around 110' and one 29" fish came from 150'.   Some bait is finally starting to show itself but over the past 5 years or so I've never seen such a cold spring.   These fish seem to be moving deeper by the day!   We almost broke the "Angling Zone Depth Record" with a laker hooked in close to 200' of water.   The fish was suspended down around 40'.   We lost it just before it came into view.   Two other fish were dropped.  Not much we could do about it - short hits.    We need some warm weather to get the bait moving in.   Fish are around and I think tomorrow's warm front will help.   They were just on the bottom and inactive today.   When we saw fish and could get on top of them, they usually responded. 

Skaneateles Lake 5/17

Good multi-species angling continues on Skaneateles Lake.   Water temperatures are fluctuating quite a bit, and today's bass hotspot can be tomorrow's good trout area and vice-versa.    Things started out slow for Jeff this AM and we checked out a few areas without any action.   After around 3 hours the fishing picked up - both on the conventional gear and a bit on the flyrod.    He wound up landing a decent laker, a couple salmon and a rainbow.   Fish ran from around 15" to 19" - nothing huge, but nice fish that gave a good accounting of themselves.   Some good perch were also caught and Jeff hit the bass pretty well towards the end of the day.   The bass topped out with a 19"+ whopper that was FAT!   Probably a solid 4lbs+.    A nice 20" trout or salmon was lost.    They are still around the shore areas, though I'm sure many are out in "troller country".   

Water temps dropped a bit lakewide - averaging around 43 degrees.   As usual, few boats were out on the lake.   The weather was better than yesterday, but still chilly.   Dress for winter and you'll be alright.   I wore expedition weight long underwear and a winter jacket with a knit hat and turtle.   I was moderately warm.   Think March/April! 

Skaneateles Lake 5/16

Back on Skinny today with Chris and Mike.   The overall fishing was very good to excellent.  Plenty of nice smallmouth bass have moved up lakewide after the extraordinarily hot weather we had.   Fish ranged up to 18" and were FAT!    My guys probably landed close to 25 nice bass.    The perch fishing was also very good with around a dozen and a half landed up to 14".   Rainbows were non-existent for us today.   We did land a couple landlockeds around 16" that were released.   Lakers are also moving up and we landed a few decent lakers up to 21".   Water temps are around 45 to 47 degrees.   We were the only motorized boat on the lake today.  

The weather left a bit to be desired, but it wasn't too bad.   Fish were in 5' to 25' of water.  

Cayuga out of Dean's Cove 5/14

Had a very enjoyable day with Rick out on the lake.   Oddly, the weather forecast called for a chance of t-storms.   It was a bluebird day with barely a hint of any clouds until late.   We worked hard searching and probing the depths for lakers.   I brought my GPS unit that had some waypoints I'd saved from last year and that helped to do the trick.   The fish are still deeper than I've seen them for this time of year.    We hit fish at different depths, but did well around 140' to 160'.   We worked out to 200' trying to break the Angling Zone record, but didn't do it, though we did mark a fish or two out there.   

The highlight of the day - apart from the beautiful surroundings, loons and enjoyable conversation, was the first 2 fish Rick got.  He nailed a 29" and 30" laker.   The 29" fish was fat, pretty clean and unclipped.   We had a 25" laker with a regenerated dorsal clip - so if you're in the diary program remember to check and make sure fins aren't smaller than they should be - if they are, that's a clip.   Rick bagged a couple other fish for a total of 5 on the day.  A couple were missed/lost too.   H2O is around 51 on top (by the afternoon).  My probe showed 41 degrees down 50'.   So the bait and lakers should be getting the message that it's time to move up!   Expect good to very good action over the next month - getting better by the week!  BTW - Most fish are very clean with few signs of lampreys.

Skaneateles Lake 5/12

Half-day guide trip with Paul and Steve yesterday.   They are funny guys and wanted me to trash them in this report.    Anyways, Paul was a little bit worried about not catching anything as the trip date approached.   I received a couple phone calls re: this matter.   I warned him that "those who worry the most about not catching fish often don't catch fish.  Those who show up to 'enjoy the day' usually enjoy good fishing!"  Remember that the somewhat slower action on Skaneateles Lake over the last 2 guided trips I did was primarily due to the lack of wind - and not the overall quality of the lake fishing.   Lake Ontario's spring brown bonanza also slowed up during the steady windless weather.   Weather is usually the #1 factor in fishing success in many ways.   I think we proved that today.   Paul's folks have a place on the lake so I drove my boat over there to meet them.   As they got on board I noticed some "home-prepared" beverages.   They looked like various "Gatorade" combos or other sports drinks, but no - the bottles contained vodka and cranberry, vodka and orange and one other combo!    They let me know that the amount of vodka in the bottles was relatively low.   That was nice to know, because someone who's drinking heavily or drunk at 8 am is not a pleasant thing!   In "the Angling Zone" it's a free trip back to the dock!  

Things didn't look good to start.  We had next to no wind and sunny conditions, so I just decided to go over some techniques with them.   But lo and behold the wind came up nicely out of the north.   Steve started the action off with a few perch, then Paul came through with a jumbo.   They also picked up a couple smallmouths (during the morning.)   We hit one area quickly and the trip became "mission accomplished" as Steve hooked and landed an absolutely gorgeous rainbow trout in the 21" to 22" range.   We then worked one of my favorite areas and I could have sworn Paul was getting hits and not feeling or noticing them.   Maybe the Grey Goose was talking to him, I don't know.   He wanted to take a break and insisted that I fish.   I declined for awhile but eventually started casting.   I managed to land a nice 23" rainbow.   I couple casts later I got another rainbow around 21"!    Sheer luck I'm sure ;-)     But I was able to realize a couple things and the guys watched the technique and got psyched to fish some more.   Paul got "into the zone" and started missing a few more fish (Grey Goose again!).   Then he looked and lost a nice rainbow around 16".    So he was happy, because he knew what he needs to do!   He is on the lake frequently, so he'll be able to perfect the technique with time.   I gave the guys some jigs and other tackle and dropped them off.   Nice trip - very enjoyable!

Keep in mind that the jig retrieve we use isn't a typical type of retrieve.   It's one that takes some "feel" and practice.  

I spent the rest of the day trying to get a few more perch for my own dinner.   The wind picked up even more and boat control got a little tough.   But I managed to get a few fish including a couple jumbos for dinner.   My perch fishing was interrupted by a couple pesky ;-) rainbows - both very nice fish.   I was also interrupted by a nice 19" lake trout and a few big smallmouths!    The lakers in this lake look like they were cross-bred with burbot.   Normal lakers we see in the Finger Lakes (Seneca strain fish) have white bellies.   These fish have bellies that are full of spots - the bellies look just like the backs of these fish.  

Most rainbows were released today.   I gave the guys one of my fish and they kept their one fish.   Although we often keep a small percentage of fish for the table, I think as a guide service we do a commendable job by releasing most of our trout and salmon (apart from lakers!).    

Owasco Lake 5/11
Guide trip today with Jesse and Josh.   Jesse had a goal in mind - go out and learn how to fly-fish for pike in a Finger Lake, and that's what we did.   Things started with a nice swirl in shallow that caught him off guard.   We spent a good portion of the morning ironing out some casting bugs - since he usually fishes smaller bodies of waters.   By late morning Jesse was casting like a champ!   The pike fishing was decent and the guys each landed a couple fish.  Nothing huge, but nice fish from around 19" to 27"    Josh had his luck with a jerkbait.   There were enough follows and short hits to keep us involved as the day went on.   The best follow was a 30"+ fish after the lake had calmed down.   Smallmouths are starting to investigate the shallows.   A few bonus perch filled out the trip.   All in all an enjoyable day on an excellent lake.   We spent 1 hour plus searching lakers later in the day.  Most fish and bait seem to be deep - around 150' to 170'.   Did a few drops here and there with no hits.   The depths are loaded though.   It won't be long!   Water level is average, temps range from 47 to 53 on top.   
Cayuga out of Dean's 5/9

Guided Chris and Rick for the day on Cayuga.   Lake trout action was very spotty.   We had a short 1/2 hour window of action in the morning with Chris boating a nice 29" fish and a few others being missed/dropped.   We marked scattered fish, including suspended ones but they just didn't want to activate.    We headed north and had some superb pickerel action.   They certainly can be a nice break from the deep water probing.   A bonus bass was caught as well.  Tons of nice bluegills and sunfish and a few perch are around for the panfish aficionado.  

We tried more lake trout fishing after an hour or so of warmwater fishing.  We tried a lot of different areas and only had a couple hits and one dropped fish.   We had moments of semi-aggressive fish chasing, but not many.   Millican is producing a few small trout/salmon and Rick managed to catch a sub-legal landlocked salmon there.  

I partly blame the poor fishing on the steady, sunny calm weather.   The south winds have kept cool water near the Silo/Crescent area.   It's hard to figure out why the action wasn't better, at least in the depths.   Baitfish still haven't moved in yet.   We marked very little bait anywhere.   The large schools of bait are still deep.   Chris's fish had a full stomach of alewives in it.   I don't see this slow action continuing for long.   This warm weather should start moving bait in soon, and the lakers will follow!

Seneca Lake out of Watkins 5/8
Not much to report today.  Fished on my own from noon till around 6 pm.   It was beautiful out - clear blue skies, sunny and very little wind.   As many of you know, for good salmon action I need steady wind.   Again, I didn't have it today.  It was a nice light southerly around 3 to 5 mph, but nothing much onshore.   I fished hard for salmon and had one follow of a fish that looked like a dark rainbow.   I did see a huge salmon cruise by once the lake calmed.   Water temps were very good - 40s to 50s.   Some weeds are starting to come up.   I spotted a couple pike in close to shore.   Also spotted a good carp.   I expect good salmon action once the weather starts changing a bit.   We'll see!    Pike are probably still post-spawn.    I'll be out on Cayuga, Owasco and Skaneateles Lake over the next week, so I should have some good updates.   Lake Ontario is also calling me ;-)  
Cayuga out of Taughannock 5/4

Got out today to check on things on "the home front".   Started around 2:30pm and fly-fished around Taughannock Point.   I'm pretty sure I had a hit or two, but nothing special.  I worked once around the park.   Water temps on the lake range from 39 to 47.   Millican was slow.  Very little warm water is being discharged.  Nobody was there fishing which was odd.   The powerplant has been producing some good fish lately including browns, rainbows and salmon.   The flats north of Millican have good numbers of lake trout.  I landed one in 85' of water.   Fish still aren't very active.  I marked fish from around 85' to 160'.

When I got back to the boat launch I met another angler who'd just pulled in after trolling south of Taughannock.   He had landed 2 nice 18" to 19" browns (FAT!) and one decent salmon.   He gave me a couple of the fish and I took them home and cleaned them.  The brown had a perch and alewife in it, and the salmon had 4 or 5 smelt in it.   He'd caught the fish trolling about 6' below the surface.   Nice to see some smelt around as well as some salmon!

Cayuga out of Dean's Cove 5/3

Started out around 10:30am with my buddy Willy.   We checked the depths for some lakers.   We marked fish but they weren't too active.    Not sure why.   The water conditions were very calm and the sun was high, so that may have been a factor.   We each had light hits and Willy hooked one fish in around 160' of water.   Fish are all over from 50' to probably over 160'.   We spent a couple hours lake trout fishing then went for some big carp with the fly-rods.

We fished hard for carp for around 4 to 5 hours.   We landed 2 nice fish that whacked our flies.   One was 18lbs. and one was 24lbs!    We weighed them on Willy's boga-grip scale, so the weights should be accurate.   The 24lb. fish was 37" long - which means my Seneca carp was probably around 22lbs.   It's hard to guesstimate these fish when they get so big.  Great battles and we were lucky not to break any of our tackle.   We also had sunfish, bluegills, perch and bass hitting our carp flies.    Those pesky smallmouths! ;-)    We checked on lakers again in the evening and they still weren't hitting well, but they are all over the place.   Expect laker fishing to be very good in the upcoming weeks!   Water temps vary from around 42 to 59.  

Cayuga Lake out of Dean's Cove 5/1
Guide trip with Ari and Jason today.   Although the weather was looking good for a change things got off to a slow start.   We checked various depth ranges from around 60' out to 150'+.    We marked scattered fish in 85' to 100' and out in the 130' and deeper range.    Some fish were suspended.   Fish just activated in the mid-morning and we were able to land 7 nice fish including one unclipped wild one and a bunch of hefty stockies.   They ranged from 25" to 29".   We released the wild one and one other.   The kept fish were LOADED with baitfish!   Just tons of alewives.   These fish are feeding aggressively and this fishing should only improve.   The meat on one of the lakers was a bright orange - very nice color!   Water level is high but receding.   The surface temps are around 41.  
Skaneateles Lake 4/28

Guide trip today with Mark D. who has accompanied me on quite a few trips.    Like last week's trip the lack of steady wind didn't help our trout/salmon fishing.    However the perch and bass fishing was fair to good and that made today an enjoyable day overall.    Perch are scattered around the lake in anywhere from 8' to 25' of water (I'm sure there are plenty deeper and shallower fish too - but that's what we found.)  The perch we encountered were large females - all pre-spawn.    Mark got around a dozen perch, most ranging from 11.5" to 13.5".   A couple bass were landed and one good one lost.   They range from 16" to 18" or so.   One nice rainbow was hooked momentarily and then lost, and Mark had one good rainbow follow in his jig in the same area.

Lake levels are normal.   Water temps range from 37 to 44.   Fishing pressure was light on the lake today.   Needless to say, we need some warm days.    Fish today were very lethargic and Mark never felt one perch hit him.   They were just "on" when he raised his rod tip as he worked his jigs.

Seneca out of Watkins 4/26
Fishing remains tough here at the "Angling Zone".    Got out this afternoon with my friend Dave.  We were hoping to find some salmon, but all we found was wind - and lots of it!   The wind was hauling out of the south creating whitecaps throughout the south end of the lake.   Fly-casting was difficult.   Water conditions looked very good - nice clear, almost turquoise colored water!   We found some nice warm water areas but had few hits.   Dave worked some assorted jigs and got bitten off by a pike.  He also landed one northern.   He had one hit in open water that was probably a trout or salmon.    I never had a hit on the flies.   Water level is high, but not too bad.  There is some debris around, but it's not nearly as bad as Cayuga.    Temps ranged from 36 up to around 44.   I blame much of today's slow afternoon on the wind - which made presentation very difficult.   Even with the use of drift bags the boat was moving very quickly.   I'll be back soon!
Skaneateles Lake 4/21
Guided out on Skinny today with Gary and Mark.   I thought we'd be in for some good and somewhat easy fishing today but I was wrong!   Fishing was very tough.   I blame it (my excuse ;-) is the lack of wind we had.   The lake was like glass at times today.   Winds were light to non-existent and variable.   That makes for very difficult fishing on a crystal clear lake like Skinny, especially with the cloudless day and high sun.    We worked and fished hard today and Mark managed a very chunky (full of mysis shrimp) 19" Landlocked Salmon.   He also caught a bass (44 degree water).   Gary fly-fished all day for the most part and caught one big perch.   That was pretty much it.   The "fishing" was very pleasant - beautiful day, beautiful lake and things went off without a hitch.   The "catching" wasn't too good.   I'm back on this lake later in the week for another trip, so I'll have an updated report.    H2O ranged from 35 to 45 today.   Warmest water was at the north end.   Surprisingly we didn't even see or miss many fish today.  What hit is what was landed (minus maybe one fish.)
Cayuga out of Dean's 4/20 - Let the Carp Fest Begin!

Got out today from 9am till 7pm with my buddy Shahab.   We fished hard!   We started looking for lake trout and didn't find much to report.   We had scattered fish marked in mostly deep water - around 130' to 140' give or take.   No definite hits.   Fish still seem to be pretty dormant.   Later on we scanned shallower water and found some fish in around 90' - but they still didn't move much for the jigs.  I'd give it another week or two of warm temperatures - it will get better and better by the week!

The big goal today was to put a few of my carp "cold water" theories to the test.   Shahab is an accomplished carp fly-fisherman so it was great having him aboard and getting his opinions/feedback.   We are starting to pattern these fish and today was a great start.   We found great numbers of fish in 1' to probably 6' of water.    We fished blind - mainly casting around fish we saw, but not at individual fish.   We foul-hooked a fair number of carp up to around 35" and well over 20lbs, but the good news is we had at least 3 fish just hammer the flies!  One fish was hooked deep - the whole fly pretty much down the fish's mouth.    The fishing got better as the day went on (and water warmed up) and my 2 fish that hit came within an hour of each other!   Water temps hit over 52 degrees.   We saw one gar as well.  

There's no doubt in my mind that blind casting to giant carp in these lakes is a viable, repeatable fishing pattern!   It's great fun and I'll be devoted a significant amount of time and effort to it in the future.   To have hundreds, if not thousands of these massive, strong fish around - fish that will hit flies, is unbelievable.   There's no doubt in my mind that in 10 to 20 years fly-fishing for carp in freshwater will be popular and the equivalent of fishing redfish and bonefish in the salt.   Each fish pulled us into our backing!   We took tons of photos and will be posting them as we get them.   The thought of eventually hooking 30 to 40lb+ carp on the flyrods is enough to keep "carpin' on my mind"!

Skaneateles Lake 4/14

Got out around 1pm today and fished till almost dark - around 7:30.   Days are noticeably longer now, which is very nice.    It didn't get dark until about 8 pm.   I worked all over the lake and started out with the fly-rod.   An olive conehead bugger produced 2 nice 21" spawned out rainbows for me (who needs to stream fish?) and a 16" salmon in short order.   Later I switched to hairjigs and fished slow and deep.   I landed some more nice fish including a 19" bow and a couple more salmon and another bow.    I kept two (out of the eight legal sized) fish and they had nothing much in their stomachs.   No bonus species - which was very suprising.  

Overall I'd say that the catching was very good yet the fishing wasn't great.  Huh?   What I mean is that the fish were very lethargic, and I'd just feel some weight.   I felt lucky catching what I caught and the fishing experience wasn't what I'd expect given the sizes and types of fish.  The fish fought decently - some nice dives and runs.  No acrobatics with the cold water and no hard strikes.   Fish were very non-aggressive in the 35 degree water.   It was subtle stuff!

Very little angling pressure on the lake for a nice Saturday that was surrounded by poor weather forecasts.    I'm glad to see that!   Traffic on the roads wasn't bad either.  I think people are a little bit freaked out about the impending storm.    Lake level is full-pool.   

Seneca Lake out of Watkins 4/3

What a day!   I wasn't expecting much today.  I postponed a possible guide trip due to the wind forecasts.   My buddy Shahab and myself decided to hook up for a few hours before I had to teach my Cornell class.   We met at 7:45am and launched the boat.   The forecast light south winds were non-existent.   We had calm glassy conditions - terrible for salmon fishing a lot of the time.   We fished some murky water we'd found and I missed a good salmon around 24".   Shahab had a "boil" then hooked up and landed a beautiful 24"+ landlocked salmon.    Nice fish and we got plenty of photos.  

We had one other salmon chase/hit a couple hours later but that was it.   People are getting a few perch btw.    I decided to check out an area that warms up quicker than most.   If salmon detect warm water they usually move into it.   So do many other species.

We fished the stretch of water for awhile and were close to calling it a day.   I made a long cast and got distracted momentarily as my fly (chartreuse flash-wing bionic smelt) sank.   When I went to strip it there was a heavy weight on the bottom!   And it started swimming!   I thought it may have been a huge pike but it started moving too fast and in quirky way.  It shot under the boat.   I was thinking maybe a 12 to 15lb. brown trout.   Then I got a glimpse of it.   It was a HUGE carp!  

When I guide using my fly-outfits I convert my right handed cranks to lefties for most of my clients.   I do this by stripping out all the fly line and a little backing, then I put some tape over the backing and switch over the reel and crank the line back on "the other way".   Landlockeds, Finger Lakes rainbows and pike don't usually (almost never) take a reel into its backing.   This carp did.   So I was using a reel with the crank on the "wrong side" for me and the backing was wound on backwards.  So after the fish got past the tape I had to crank as if I was letting out line to get line in!

On top of that, my 6 wt. Temple Forks TiCR rod came apart during the battle.   All I had in my hand was the butt section of the rod.   What a battle!    After around 10 minutes we caught up to the beast.  I had to follow it with the boat.   We got it into the net....finally.   What a fish!   35" long and FAT - full of eggs.   This beast had to weigh in the upper 20s - heading towards 30lbs.   And it sucked in my fly.   I wouldn't have lost it due to the hook pulling out, cause it was next to impossible to dehook.   We took a bunch of photos and "released the beast".   I want to try eating one soon, but not one that size!   Water temps range from 38/39 to 47 in some areas.   

Carp here I come!   We have a lot of HUGE carp in the Finger Lakes and it's been on my "to do list" for awhile.   Once I get them figured out it will add another option to the "Fly Zone".  Stay tuned....Photos will be up shortly! 


Seneca out of Sampson 3/31

I checked out Seneca this afternoon for a few hours.   The plan was to see where the lakers are and how they are hitting.   Lake temps range from around 38 lake-wide to over 42 at Dresden.  The lake level is high, but not nearly as high relatively as Cayuga.   The launch at Sampson is open and clear of debris.

Lake trout fishing was OK.   Not great but not terrible.   I hooked into fish in a handful of different areas on both sides of the lake.   Didn't land any - the hook pulled out of a couple.  My guess is that many of the fish are on the small side.   There was some bait up fairly high in the water column.  I was surprised at how much bait I marked on this lake.   Lakers were scattered in 120' to 150'.    There were times when I had 2 fish playing with the jig.  So all in all the prospects for laker jigging are alright.   The fishing should improve by the week. 

Skaneateles Lake 3/30

The docks went in at the State Launch this past week - though the Mandana launch is open all year.   Either way, I was psyched to hit Skaneateles this morning for the first trip of the year there with my good friend Craig Nels.   Things started out very slow for us as we began our fishing at 10:15 am.   We fished a lot of different areas with pretty much the same results - nothing.   He did catch one good perch.  We kept trying and found an area that produced some good fish for us.   Those of you who've fished there with me in the past have been there ;-)    To make a long story short we boated 4 nice rainbows from 15" to 22" and three nice salmon from 15" to 19.5".   Craig also got another very nice perch.  We let go the big bow and a salmon.   The rest will be "released into the grease" - providing me (and Craig's family) with dinner over the next few nights.  

Fish are in various depths from probably 5' to 25' or more.   We marked some schools of fish in around 50' of water.  Lakers, bass or perch?   We don't know.   The highlight of the trip was hooking a big fish that turned out to be a carp.  Had I landed it I would have tried eating it - as I've never tried carp and I figure that one out of a clean lake and 34 to 35 degree water would have to be as good as they can get!    Maybe next time!   This bite should only get better and I expect it to hold up for another 6 weeks.   The best fly-fishing is yet to come.   I can't wait.   BTW - lake levels are at full-pool, not too high and not too low.

Cayuga Lake out of Dean's Cove 3/29

Got out today from around 2pm till 7.   Started out with a lot of Northeast wind and cold temps!   I spent at least 3 hours combing the north end flats of the lake from 90' to 200'+ of water.   I used my electronics plus did a lot of probing with various jigs.   I found very few fish - a mark here and a mark there.   Most of the time - nothing.   I found a little bait in 220' of water.   Water temps in the main lake are 37, but I found some incoming creeks with water up to 42 degrees.    The water level is quite high - about 4" from going over the docks at Deans.   I had one hit on the day.    I spent an hour or two working shallower water hoping for a laker - no luck there.

Last year at this time the fishing was much better and lakers were anywhere from 90' to about 150'.   What's going on?   My guess is that fish wintered very deep this year.  In Lake Ontario there's been a recent trend with alewives wintering deeper every year.   This may be due to large numbers of quagga mussels in deep water drawing nutrients down towards the bottom.  I don't know.   Obviously I can't cover too much water in a few hours - so there are maybe large concentrations of fish somewhere and I just didn't find them.   That may be a more likely scenario.   It may take a full day or two to find the fish.

The day was tough with regards to conditions - it was cold, choppy and windy.   That didn't help my search.   I will probably spend more time on Seneca over the next couple weeks and give these Cayuga fish a chance to move in and hopefully show themselves!    We know the fish are around.

Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 3/25

I got out in the afternoon at around 2:30 pm.   Water levels are high and still rising.   Water temperatures are cold - around 36 to 37, and around 39 to 40 at Millican.   I fly-fished one of my favorite salmon areas for a while and never got a hit.   I talked to trollers in two different boats and both parties reported some decent brown trout fishing and some very small salmon.   I'd call it a "troller's game" for now.   They are working vast stretches of shoreline and out towards the depths.  

I checked out Millican (AES) and found the usual crowds including boats.   I fished it for a while and never had any hits.  I saw one small fish taken by the "bubble".   A handful of fish were caught there today.   I checked on lakers and marked a few very deep (150' to 180') fish.  

Bottom Line:  Cayuga is currently offering some limited fishing opportunities.   Nothing I would want to guide right now.   Seneca and Skaneateles are the places to be in my book.  I will keep checking on Cayuga as shoreline temperatures come up.   There are a lot of nice browns and lakers in this lake and hopefully they'll start moving close to shore soon. 

Seneca out of Watkins 3/24

Kicked off the 2007 guiding season with Mike and his 10 year old son Bryce.   They've fished with me a bit in the past and we headed out of Watkins in search of some salmon action.   Conditions looked great to start with nice light south winds and sunshine.   It didn't last.   We worked up the west shore and were able to hit one area before the wind died down and clouds rolled in.   Early on we did see one (what appeared to be a) nice salmon landed by trollers.   So we went lake trout jigging.   Didn't see many fish on the south west shore so we made a run north to the Severne area.   We marked decent numbers of fish in 100' to 160' when we started, and it didn't take long for Bryce to miss 3 fish.   Fortunately the fourth one was the charm and he landed a laker around 22" - typical wild Seneca fish.   The fish was down 140'.   We jigged for a couple hours without much luck.   Marked a few fish but they didn't seem active.    We went south again in search of salmon, but by the time we got back down there the wind had kicked up and we decided to call it a day.  The weather forecasts have been really "off" over the past week.   As I write this we're getting thunderstorms - which were not predicted at all.  

Not a great day "catching wise" by any means, but I did all I could to show Mike the salmon areas and patterns on the lake.   The lake is a beautiful green color right now and water temps vary from 37 to 39 degrees.  Perch fishermen were out in droves around Severne Point.   No word on the action.   Trollers I met at the launch told me they landed 3 salmon and one brown down 110'.   So apparently a lot of fish are still deep.   They should move up gradually week by week as water temps rise and baitfish move in.   

Cayuga out of Taughannock 3/23

My buddy Phil and myself started at 10:30am after the fog rolled off.   Shore fishermen at Taughannock Park reported good brown trout action this AM.   We found them with our fly-rods shortly after we started.   I got a nice 18" brown and missed one (probably the same fish.)  My buddy Phil missed 4 or 5 hits in a row, plus he had one boil for his fly.   He never hooked up.   The weather conditions changed and the browns disappeared.

Millican station was packed with anglers and a boat.   Word is the fish are in.   We didn't even bother - given all the fishing pressure over there.   We worked lakers for the remainder of the day and the fishing was quite slow.   We motored all the way up the the northern flats of the lake - past Aurora, and I found some fish.  Landed one 26" laker and missed one.   We hit various areas on the way up and marked very few fish.   They seem lethargic and dormant.   The laker fishing should improve by the week.  H20 temps are 36 to 37.   Nice day to be out!  The lake I caught was very deep - around 140' to 150'.  

Seneca Lake out of Watkins 3/21

Just a brutal day out on Seneca Lake today.   The lake was whitecapping at its south end - and it was a southerly wind!   It was cold too.  There were 2' to 3' waves up at the Salt Plant and across the lake from there.   Water temps are a cold 37 degrees and we had to drive the boat through ice to get out onto the lake.   That is, after I got my boat/truck stuck in my driveway in the morning.

Perch fishermen are out in decent numbers and the fishing is reportedly anywhere from fair to excellent.  Hit them right and you load the boat - otherwise you pick up a few.    My buddy Eric and I spent most of our time fly-casting.   It was tough but we managed to find a drift where the wind/current wasn't too bad.  It was still nasty, but fishable.   As usual Eric pulled the rabbit out of his hat with a beautiful 22" to 23" landlocked salmon.   Today was a "catch and release" day and that's what we did after a couple quick photos.  Nice plump clean fish!  He also popped a northern around 26" near some weeds.    I tried one area for perch for an hour without a hit.   We called it a day after around 5 hours and grabbed a bite to eat and a couple beers.  Just nasty out, and I'm glad it wasn't a "guide trip".   

Seneca Lake out of Watkins 3/13

It felt great getting out on the lake today.   What a gorgeous day!   Picture perfect conditions for salmon fishing with a light chop and some sunshine.  Water temps are hovering between 37 and 38 degrees.   Lake level is low.  After around 20 minutes of casting I hooked up with a nice salmon around 23" long.   The fish beat me fair and square and came off the hook after a jump filled fight.   I managed to miss a handful of hits and in another area I landed a 17" landlocked.   The fish had a very fresh lamprey "hole" going right through its intestine, and it unloaded waste matter via this new hole all over the place when I landed it.   I kept it - mainly because it was hooked deep in the tongue area.   And I was overdue for a fish dinner!

I managed to land a nice chunky clean 18"+ brown trout a little later on and one more (tiny) salmon.   Nice to see a brown on this lake - I think I only caught a couple last year and they weren't very big.   The landlocked Atlantic Salmon fishing now happening on Seneca rivals some of the better fishing I'd seen on Cayuga in the late 1990s and early 2000s.   I don't think Seneca has the sheer numbers that Cayuga had back then, but the actual fishing experience (when the conditions are right) is every bit as good as what I'd experienced on Cayuga (apart from the occasional "epic days".)    The brown and salmon both had alewives in their stomachs.   I also jigged up a quick laker that I'd marked.  Had the fish up near the boat before the hook pulled out.  It was in 95' of water.

I will try to get out on Cayuga soon, but it's hard to not want to fish Seneca again ASAP!

Cayuga/Taughannock 3/10 Attempt!
I was looking forward to checking out Cayuga today but it wasn't to be.   Got the boat fueled up, checked the tires, charged batteries - but to no avail.   Part of the bubbler system at the Taughannock launch seems inoperative and the ramp area was surrounded by 4" of weak ice.   No way I could clear it out.    Things should open up there later this week.   Next attempt will be Watkins maybe on Tuesday.   
Seneca Lake shorefishing 3/1
Couldn't get anything doing on Seneca today fishing from a couple locations on the west shore.   Easterly winds didn't help.    I did get a water temp - 39 degrees.   I gave it just over 2 hours then called it a day.   My areas were pretty small, so more fishing probably wouldn't have helped.   Water level is low.   The Watkins Glen (Seneca Marine Bar and Grill) launch is open.  
Seneca Lake shorefishing 2/22

It's been so long since I've been fishing, I'm surprised I haven't forgotten how to write a report!    It's been below freezing for close to 6 weeks here in the Finger Lakes Region.   I've had to work (at Cornell) during the few decent days we've had, so I was stoked to get out.

I took a drive to check on a couple of my favorite Seneca Lake shorefishing areas.   I did a bit of fly-casting and managed to hook and land one nice 28" laker.    Nice fight!  I kept the fish and a stomach check revealed (2) 5.5" sunfish, and a bunch of smaller sunnies as well as a few minnows.   The meat was a nice bright orange and the fish did have a couple lamprey marks.   The fish hit one of my chartreuse flashwing bionic smelt flies.

The water level on the lake was low.   I was going to take a water temp, but I forgot.   Didn't see any perch fishermen out today.   It must have taken close to an hour to get my fly-casting back in shape.   Now I know how many of you must feel when you aren't able to cast on a regular basis!

Cayuga out of Taughannock 1/7
Got out at 10:30 am with my buddy Eric.   Things looked good for lakers from the get-go with calm conditions and sun.   We shot north to Millican (AES) and started jigging.  Eric had the hot hand using tube jigs and landed a couple nice fish - a 30" and a 27".   I missed 2 good hits/fish, but couldn't hook up.   Fish were around but not very aggressive.   Fishing slowed as the wind picked up and it clouded up - but it never was great.  We tried AES for a little while, but never got a hit.   It had gotten pounded pretty good with shore anglers and boaters, so we didn't give it long.   Tried other areas further south and Eric landed a 13" laker.   That was it on the day.   An hour of fly-fishing for pike didn't produce anything, but by that time the wind was up pretty good.   Water temps keep hovering around 43.   The next week or two should get the lake temps more towards a usual wintery 40 and less.
Seneca out of Watkins 1/4

Got out for a half day in the afternoon today.   I worked landlocked salmon for a couple hours.   No great shakes.  I had a bit of action on the fly-rod - 4 or 5 hits from probably at least 3 different fish, but I couldn't hook any of them.   That usually tells me that the fish were small - around 15" or less.  One hit felt pretty solid.   Winds weren't quite what I needed today for good salmon fishing so I tried some other things.

I spent part of the day searching for lake trout.  It's nice to have an alternative to the salmon and pike fishing on Seneca's south end.   I hooked one laker I thought was small enough to swing on board a la bass fishing.   It was bigger than I thought, but I said "what the heck I'm using 12lb. test".   As I swung the 3lb. fish over the side of the boat he shook then broke off and fell back into the water.   Needless to say I felt like an idiot.   But that's how it goes...

Shore anglers report sporadically good crappie action on the docks near the Watkins Pier.  Today was slow.   Water level is low, and temps are around 42/43.  

Cayuga out of Taughannock 1/3

Well I was pleasantly surprised by some very good lake trout jigging action today just north of Millican Station.   I fished from noon to 5pm.  The vast flats up there are currently harboring good numbers of lake trout.   I fished 80' to 100' of water today and landed 4 nice fish in about 2 hours.   Fish ran from 20" up to 29".   The 29" fish was a wild beauty - colorful fins and well-proportioned, and I released him to fight again.   I lost a couple others and missed quite a few short hits.

I was a little disappointed to see some fresh lamprey scars on a couple of the fish.  Wounding in general isn't bad at all on Cayuga Lake but these Millican fish seem to be getting hit more than usual.   My 2 fish I hooked there the other day also had fresh wounds.   Overall the fish were in excellent condition.

Shore anglers are still scoring on trout and salmon at Millican.  The fish are running around 15" to 19".   Get there early - over the past week there's been at least 4 guys there every time I've been out.   Water temps over there are up to 55 degrees.  Cayuga's main lake is at 43.   Bait is down around 120' to 150' lake wide.

Thus far I've been impressed with my new jigging rods.  I bought 4 nice Fenwicks -  2 HMGs and 2 HMXs.   They are very light and crisp with great sensitivity.   Great feel "ergonomically".  I've also been testing some new reels - Quantum Accurists and some low profile ABUs.   All feature flipping switches and smooth drags.   Lines have been Spiderwire XXX and Berkely Fireline.   Good results all the way around.   We'll see how they hold up to the rigors of a full-season out on the lakes.   Those of you who like to jig lakers (and who doesn't?) will notice a difference out on the water this season.  

Cayuga out of Taughannock 12/31

Is there a better way to end the year 2006 than to go fishing?   Not here there isn't!   I shot out onto Cayuga Lake for a few hours to see what was going on.   I was out of town for a week and hadn't done any laker fishing in a while.   I've got some new rods and reels to try out so off I went.

I worked the flats north of Millican Station.   The lake was pretty rough and feeling the bottom was difficult.  I did the best I could and hooked a really nice fish.  I lost it up near the surface as it thrashed around.   I wound up missing some good hits then finally landed a nice laker around 27".   Fish were in 80' to 110' of water.    A few casts around Millican on the way back produced some good hits and a decent brown around 16".   The power plant was crowded when I first passed by it around 1 pm, but then the people cleared.   H2O was 43.    Lake level is low -average winter level.   Launching was not a problem.

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