Reports

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7/15/2018
Owasco Lake 7/15 AM out of Emerson Park

We decided to switch up gears today and target lakers on Owasco Lake, given the derby happening on Cayuga Lake and the slower action we'd had over the past couple days (although yesterday wasn't bad.)  I was also looking forward to seeing how things were shaping up on Owasco.

Very few anglers were out this AM as we launched at 6:30.  Lake trout action was good to excellent on 24" to 26" hard fighting fish.  We picked them up in around 80' to 90' FOW.  Fish look healthy and plenty of bait is around.  Greg nabbed 6 fish in fairly short order.  We left the active fish in order to scout some other areas and maybe pick up a brown or rainbow.  No luck with that.  In some places we encountered more lake trout but activity had slowed considerably since this AM.  Eventually we fished our initial area and Greg picked up another laker.   Water clarity was very good on Owasco Lake.  Boat traffic was low until around 11 am.  By the time we left the launch, it was VERY busy!  

7/14/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 7/14 AM

Guided "Bub" for a 1/2 day starting just after 6:30 am.  The water clarity remains at about 4 feet. The bite started out pretty good with fish hitting and moving for the jig.  Three nice fish made it to the boat with one other good fish being lost right before it got within netting range.  I'd say the bite overall was a bit better than yesterday.  A lot of boats were out with the Salvation Army Derby going on all weekend.  Had a good time talking fishing with Bub, who has done a lot of it around the state.

7/13/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 7/13 AM

Fishing was fairly tough today for us out of Long Point.  We (John and his sons, Hunter and Zane) started just after 6:30 am and did a lot of running - basically checking out different areas to see how the plankton bloom was.  Overall it was the same just about everywhere we checked. Fishing was spotty throughout the day - we had hits and momentary hookups throughout the day.  By the end of the 1/2 day Hunter had landed two nice fish and Zane landed one.  John lost a couple as did all the guys.  Water visibility remains at around 4' for a lake that usually has 10 or more feet of clarity.  We sure couldn't complain about the weather and the boat traffic was very light today.

7/12/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 7/12

Guided Mark I. for the full day starting at around 6:45.  Water remains somewhat unclear with around 4' of visibility.   Action was fair today given the numbers of fish we encountered and how well they were hitting.  Mark landed around 1/2 dozen nice lakers up to 27".  We had two wild fish as well as one nice brown just under 6lbs.  As I mentioned before, the plankton/algae bloom continues.  Water fleas are bad but they aren't much of an issue for jiggers.  Same depths are producing 75' to 90'.   Gorgeous day on the water!

As mentioned on my homepage, the only days I have open in July/August are August 29th - 31st.  I continue to get inquiries for July and early August.  Early September is a terrific laker month on Cayuga Lake.  Most dates are available.

7/11/2018
Onondaga Lake 7/11

Got out for a full day's worth of bass fishing with my buddy Terry.  Bass fishing is still pretty good here but was slower for us than it was back in June.  We are still figuring out the fishing rhythms of this lake.  We fished from around 10:30 to 6 pm.  Road construction in Syracuse and along the Thruway from Rochester (where Terry lives) delayed our start time a bit.

I had a good start but it was all Terry for the latter part of the day.  We wound up landing 11 legal bass including Terry's two smallmouths, one of which was an 18"er.  Water temps are over 80 degrees.  We had action on Superflukes, Senkos, Spinnerbaits, Crankbaits and Drop-Shot rigs.  Fish are moving into summer patterns.  In June they seemed post-spawn for the most part.

No other species were hooked today. No sign of any Tiger Muskies or concentrations of gar (though we didn't spend any time around the gar area - during past trips we've encountered gar in different parts of the lake.)  I'm not sure what the rough percentage of gar are that stay in the lake versus ones that spend most of their time in the river is.   I saw a drum or two and the usual carp.  A couple nice sized dead walleyes were floating around. We may get back here late this summer or in the fall, but we'll likely be shifting to smallmouths (and hopefully some salmonids) up around Lake Ontario and perhaps some largemouths on Cayuga.  I wouldn't mind hitting smallmouths on Owasco and Skaneateles or even fishing Cross Lake (in search of bass and large gar) later this summer.  We'll see.

7/9/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 7/9 AM

Guided Matt and Mike for a 1/2 day starting just after 7 am.  We always have a lot of fun joking around on the boat and today was no exception - it was a barrel of monkeys out there.  Fishing was fair to good at times.  No great numbers but Matt managed to land 5 or 6 solid fish.  Mike had the same number of hits and lost a nice one but for whatever reason was unable to stick 'em good today.  Same basic depths and everything as recently.  Best fish was around 25".  We had two wild ones in the mix too, which is always nice.  I'd say fishing was a touch better than yesterday.  It should pick up again shortly with the cooler nights and algae hopefully disappearing.

As an added note, a couple of tools I find really helpful in my fishing are as follows:

The Berkley Hotwire is a great little gadget.  It runs on AAA batteries and enables the user to melt the tag ends of any knots being tied.  So for example when I have a leader on my braid, I can melt the ends of the double-uni knot down moreso that I'd be able to clip them down.  I don't have to worry about the tag ends backing back through the knot and making it fail.  With the melted down tags, the line glide much better through my rod guides while either playing a fish or making a cast.  Great little tool.

I do a lot of filleting in my job.  Nothing is worse than a dull fillet knife.  My clients are often impressed at how quickly I can clean a fish - having a sharp knife is the key (along with a lot of experience.)  Sharpening stones and sticks can be tricky to use without the right training.  I know my years in Boy Scouts didn't help me much.  The sharpeners that come with the knives are worthless.  My clients Dave, his sons Dapper Dan and Steve suggested the Work Sharp Ken Onion edition sharpening station to me - actually I think Steve was the man.  Anyways, it's an amazing little machine.  It's available from Cabelas and has a preset adjustable angle guide and various belts that can be quickly changed.  It's kind of like a mini-belt sander that you can use to put a professional edge on all kinds of knives and even some other tools.  Now all my old fillet knives (and I have a lot of them) are as good as new again.  It runs under $140 if I remember right and will pay for itself in short order if you use and dull your knives a lot. 

7/8/2018
Cayuga Lake 7/7 + 7/8 AM reports

We are in the midst of a plankton/algae bloom brought on by hot weather last week.  Water fleas and weedmats are also an issue for trollers, though neither is that bad yet.  Action has slowed a bit on lake trout over the past couple days.

7/7 AM:  Guided Banks and Gerry out of Myers starting at 7:15 am.  There was a mix up on their end and we wound up starting 45 minutes late.  It was a bluebird morning and oftentimes the action will start later in the day, so I didn't feel that it hurt us too much.  Fishing was fair - slow compared to the past couple months on Cayuga, but still a pretty decent day if I were to be objective.  4 nice fish were landed including a laker around 31" and a 28"er if I remember correctly.  The guys had a good time learning the technique.  Banks has a lot of history on Cayuga Lake going back to the early 1980s and it was fun picking his brain and reminiscing about earlier days on the water or around Trumansburg/Ithaca.

7/8 AM:  Guided regular Greg and his friend Andrew for a half day starting just after 6:30 am.  It was windy this AM and we started near Aurora.  Greg starting things off with a solid 28.5" laker.  He was happy and after 45 minutes or so we ran downlake.  It was windy and the bite was tentative.  Eventually the guys picked up another 4 fish after working 3 or 4 more areas.  Not easy fishing, but not terrible - a slow but somewhat steady pick. As fish start moving downlake in good numbers I'll be heading out of Myers Point from here on in - weather depending.

7/6/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 7/6 AM

Guided Andrew, Mark and Kerry for a 1/2 day starting at 6:30 am.  I knew we'd be in for some considerable wind out of the north so we got underway as quickly as possible.  We made a good run south and had decent action on lakers running 23" to 25".  A couple good fish were lost as well.  Same depths as prior trips.  The wind kicked up fairly hard after two hours and made fishing and boat control tougher.  We tried another area and wound up with another smaller fish around 17/18".  I was pleased with how we did given the conditions - very few boats were out this AM. I think we had 8 fish on the day or something close to that.   Fish continue to feed heavily on alewives.  

7/5/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 7/5

A few weeks ago I had an inquiry from Will.  His nine year old son wanted to learn how to fish - would I take him out (with his parents) and teach him the ropes?  My original response was that I felt it'd be more sensible for Will to just buy a couple inexpensive fishing outfits, some basic tackle and some worms and go give it a shot at a local pond.  We discussed the idea and he still felt it would be most convenient for me to take them all out on Cayuga Lake.  I told him we could do some basic angling then set up for lake trout so they would get some bang for their buck.  That's what we did.

I showed Jonah how to rig for panfish and got him casting pretty well. He was a quick study.  We wound up catching some perch close to shore.  Later on we set up for lake trout and he managed to hook, play and land a nice 27" lake trout all on his own (all I did was net the fish for him.)  So everything worked out well.

Lo and behold I had a call from regular client Kevin, who wanted to get his 8 year old daughter Emma onboard to do some boat fishing.  What a great coincidence!  So we did both trips today.  Emma also did a good job with the casting and caught some perch. With a slight bit of help from her father she caught her first lake trout. It was around 23" long. She was super-stoked about it!  Just as we wrapped up the day a pop-up storm came up and we hurried off the lake.  

I enjoy showing kids the ropes on fishing.  I'm happy to offer parents advice on ways to get into the sport as well.  It's a very simple pasttime at its most basic and there's a lot of good info online as well.  

7/4/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Union Springs 7/4 AM

Guided Mark and his son Jessie for a 1/2 day starting at 6:30 am.  They have a place on Canandaigua Lake and wanted to learn some bass techniques.  I haven't fished Cayuga for bass all year long, so it was great to be able to see what the lake was looking like up north.

July 4th is typically a very light AM boat traffic day around the mid-lake launches, but it sure wasn't at Union Springs.  It appeared as though a tournament were taking place with a lot of boats at the launch even at 6:30!  There was no tournament that I could see, but a lot of bass fishermen obviously enjoy getting out on the 4th of July.

The two key presentations I had the guys work was the Superfluke and Senko - both primarily shallow water lures that are very effective just about everywhere but especially on clear lakes like Canandaigua.  We had some action but nothing special.  The mild cold front last night seemed to have slowed things down - we didn't encounter any pickerel shallow, did not see many panfish and didn't see many bass.  Some bass guys were working deep water. Jessie started things off with a fish around 14" on a Superfluke. He got the knack of working that lure in very short order.  Mark missed a couple nice fish. We took a run after trying 4 areas and Mark wound up landing a nice 17" largemouth on a Senko.

At one point we were near a good lake trout area (the guys did a trip with me for lakers a couple years ago) and we figured it'd be nice to get some action after the somewhat tough AM.  Laker action was great and 4 or 5 nice fish were landed (including a double.)  Mark's first laker went 30" and fought great.    

I hope to get an idea on what's happening with the bass here soon.  Weedgrowth downlake appears to be way behind normal - which makes sense.  There is a mild algae bloom taking place.  Most weeds up north were pondweeds.  No sign of much milfoil or coontail that I saw, but again - we didn't canvas a whole lot of water.  Water temp was around 72 in most parts of the lake, though warmer in places up north.

7/2/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 7/2 AM

Back out again today with Jim and his sons Jim and Joseph.  The lake trout fishing was superb with numerous doubles and 30 lakers landed on the day.  The bite started a little bit slow and then picked up with intensity before slowing down by around 9:30 am.  Same depths as recently - 70' to 90'.  It felt great out there despite the hot air temperatures.  Cayuga Lake continues to impress.

7/1/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 6/30 + 7/1 AM

Fishing remains good to excellent on Cayuga Lake.   I'm glad I just have AM half days for the most part over the next week given the Arizona-like heat in the forecast.  The goal is to get out early, catch some fish and get off the water before we bake.  I call this weather "gar hot."  It can be good gar fishing!

6/30 AM:  Guided Oleg and his friend Victor starting around 6:45 am. We had top-notch jigging with 10 solid fish landed in around three hours.  The guys had plans later in the day with their wives and were happy to leave a little early, so it wound up being a quick trip for me.  Same depths as I've noted recently produced for us.  Boat traffic was fairly high today.

7/1 AM:  Guided Jim and his sons Jim and Joe, again starting at around 6:30.  The bite was a little tentative to start but picked up good after maybe an hour.  Terrific July fishing with a hot bite on some great fish until around 9:30 or so, which then tapered off to a slow and steady pick. Best fish was a hair under 31".  We had at least one double too.  16 solid fish landed.

The fish that I've cleaned have had freshly eaten alewives in them.  Fish are likely feeding mostly at night with the full moon phase upon us - which might account for the tentative early bite.  Who knows?   No sign of lampreys other than a rare old wound.  Also no sign of bonus salmon roaming around.  My friend Todd and myself encountered some a week or two ago but I am not seeing last year's numbers anywhere thus far.  It doesn't mean they aren't out there - just that I'm not seeing them as of yet.  But my feelings/observations after this past spring are that a lot less fish are out there this year.

6/29/2018
Onondaga Lake 6/29 PM

Got out here on my own for around 4+1/2 hours starting at 1:30 pm.  I started with a stretch I hadn't covered with Terry over our last couple trips over here.  It was a slow go with one hard fighting smallmouth all I had to show.  I pretty much have fished my way around 80% or more of the lake by now.  Next  I found a stretch with some active fish and managed to spook more than I hooked but wound up missing a few nice bass and landing one.  In an area we had fished the past two trips, I had a good hit on a spinnerbait but didn't feel much weight as the fish swam towards me.  I had a feeling it was a good fish and after a quick fight I slipped the net under a solid 31" Tiger Musky - my first from Onondaga.  It was a clean, healthy looking fish.  I saw one other small Tiger Musky jump like a bowfin out of the water near where I caught the first one.

I wound up landing a few more bass and a nice perch to round out my day. At the end of my day I saw a few gar surfacing. Syracuse ESF researchers told me they trapped or netted an American Eel this morning along with some gar.  You never know what may turn up in this lake!

Bass fishing wasn't as good for me as it had been earlier in the month.  Not sure if it was the full moon, weather conditions or just the areas I fished or my approach - it was probably a combination of all of those factors, but a lot of productive areas over the past two trips didn't yield much this trip.  

6/28/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 6/28

Guided Dave, Dan and Dan for a full day of laker action.  Dave and his brother Dan were out last year around this time and we had a great day before having to call it quits a little early due to thunderstorms.  The forecast was looking ominous for today as well but was downgraded to showers late last night.  

Fishing started out good when we got underway around 6:45 but then slowed as showers and cloud cover intensified.  We did a bit of running around today working downlake towards the power plant area.  Fishing was decent virtually everywhere.  A lot of nice lakers were landed.  Dan #2 was out with us for the first time. He capped the day off by hooking a very solid fish that he couldn't move much. Was it a sturgeon?  The thought crossed our minds but the fish was coming up a bit before running back down and staying down. After around a ten minute battle I slipped the net under a massive lake trout!  A wild fish that was thick and 35" long!   Dan #1 has an extensive fisheries and guiding background - we estimated the fish at 16lbs. If not, it was certainly close. We took a couple quick photos and released the trophy.  It was in good condition.  Great day all the way around.  I can't recall the exact number of fish landed but it was in the 16 to 18 range if I remember right.  Most activity was from around 75' to 90' FOW.  Some fish are also suspended way offshore - more of a troller's game but you can jig out there via electronics, though we seldom do it.  Fish are feeding heavily upon alewives.  

6/26/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Dean's Cove 6/26

Guided back to back 1/2 day trips starting at 6:30 am.  The front slowed down the bite a bit in the AM, but action picked up and continued throughout the afternoon.  I had a good time with Jim and his friend Tyson.  Tyson nabbed a 30" laker and another in fairly short order and a few were lost or missed by the guys.  We made a run and found some good action on some nice fish.  All in all a good morning.

My afternoon trip was with Vince and Theo.  Fishing was good throughout the afternoon with a dozen fish landed up to around 28".  Very few boats were out on the lake for the majority of the day.  Water temps remain low on the surface - 64 to 66.  Plenty of baitfish remain inshore.

6/24/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 6/23 + 24

Guided Dave and his sons Steve and "Dapper" or "Not dismal" Dan for a full day on Saturday and a half day on Sunday.  The forecasts didn't look too good for the weekend and Dave and Dan had their apprehensions about the weather.  My adage is "When in doubt, go out."  Dave's is "I'll let the weather spoil my fishing but not the weatherman."  Both applied for this weekend.  Despite gloom and doom forecasts of rain and thunderstorms with upwards of a half an inch of rain on Saturday and rain today we had a little on the water yesterday and none experienced today until I left the State Park having completed today's trip.

Fishing was fantastic both days!  Just tremendous with a capital "T" as Dick Vitale would say.  Working 85' to 100' FOW paid off with 43 lake trout landed yesterday.  Thirteen of them were over 28" long.  Wild fish ran about 20% yesterday as well.  DEC says around 11% are wild and they are probably right, but we hit quite a few both days.  We had 26 fish today with more dinks (if you can call a 20" to 22" fish a "dink") in the mix today. 

No live lampreys or fresh wounds on any fish.  They hit colors from white to chartreuse and even a purple Reaper knock-off which I had never caught fish on wound up landing the best fish of the trip for "Not so dismal" Dan - a 31 1/2" beauty.  The fishing here is really world-class in terms of numbers and average size.  Lake Champlain is comparable, but you don't get any wild fish over there and lampreys are worse.  Canadian and Alaskan waters may hold an occasional monster laker but you aren't catching massive numbers of 5 to 10lb fish there day-in and day-out.  At least not that I know of. And those northern giants take upwards of 40 years to get that big.  You aren't taking any or many of those home for dinner or the wall without damaging the fishery. 

A lot of boats were out today.   Not sure if there was a derby of some sort but it was a great weekend to be on the lake. 

6/22/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 6/22 AM

Guided Merlin and his wife Debbie for a half day starting at 6:30 am.  Lake trout action was excellent with 16 solid fish landed and probably another 6 to 8 dropped.  Fish were in excellent condition with specimens running to 28"+.  We'll see how things hold out. It appeared everybody out there was doing pretty well.  Our best action was in around 75' to 90' or so.  The usual white/chart. tail and limetreuse Shakers did the job for us.

6/20/2018
Onondaga Lake 6/20

Made in back down to Onondaga Lake today with Terry.  We started around 10:30 am.  I brought a couple musky rods for the heck of it (I had some homemade bucktails I wanted to field test) plus my gar lures, but overall we set out to target bass for most of the day.

We spent most of our time fishing areas of the lake that we didn't fish the past time.  Once in a while people ask me how I am able to learn large lakes from end to end.  I know my way fairly well from top to bottom of all the Finger Lakes that I guide.  The best way to do it is simple - keep fishing and exploring new areas EVERYTIME you go out.  Over the past two trips we've fished and explored (via sight and electronics) probably 60% of the lake.  Within two more visits we'll have covered the whole thing - at least shoreline-wise enough to know what's what.  I scout areas in a multi-dimensional way.  I take lots of mental notes and put in GPS waypoint on the water then transfer that information (not the waypoints) to paper when I get home.  I may look at one shoreline and see how panfish, carp, pike/muskies and bass all would use it.  Of course it can take years or a lifetime to really get a body of water fairly mastered, but getting the overall sketch of the lake - which should be enough for a great start, shouldn't take too long.

Bass fishing started out slowly in part due to some of the areas we fished. Me and Terry put together a couple good patterns after a few hours and we were in business.  We had a friendly competition going (i.e. Terry was keeping track of what we caught) and with some literal last minute heroics Terry beat me 11 bass to 10.  I had the biggest fish - an 18" largemouth as well as the only smallmouths.  We only counted legal bass.  The bass fishing is just terrific nearly everywhere in the lake.  It's tough to go wrong. Our best fishing came with Superflukes, topwater and spinnerbaits.  Fish seem to be high in the weeds and pitching lures and working senkos hasn't been helpful to us thus far this season.  

We saw 2 tiger muskies cruising along today.  Also at least one bowfin, a bunch of carp, some nice drum and plenty of panfish.  No sign of gar today, but we didn't check out our area during the key times.  A decent number of bass boats were out during the evening - perhaps a working man tournament or just some anglers hitting the lake after work.  We had 72 degrees in most of the lake and 75 on the south end. 

6/19/2018
Seneca Lake out of Sampson State Park 6/19 AM

Guided Michael and his friend Tim for a half day of pike fishing starting just after 7 am. Mike has a place on Keuka Lake and I hadn't seen the guys in 6 years or so, so it was fun to catch up.  Tim had caught pike before along the boundary waters of Minnesota;  Mike hadn't caught any pike (he lives in Florida.) 

Action was good today with 11 pike landed and probably a half dozen lost.  Most fish were the usual 23" to 27", but Tim managed a 35"er and Mike's first was a 28".  Lamprey wounding was evident in most of the fish, even some of the smaller ones.  We had a couple around 22" to 23".  Spoons and stickbaits did the damage.  We had one non-releasable fish that I kept for dinner - it had at least one alewife in it.  Fishing pressure is very light on Seneca Lake and boating pressure is light too.  Water temps ranged from 62 to 64.  Mike tells me Keuka on the Penn Yan arm by the Bluff is up around 68 degrees.

6/17/2018
Cayuga Lake 6/16 + 17

Wild north winds gusting to over 30 mph really moved the water around on Cayuga Lake last Thursday. We had cold water very close to the surface on Friday, but then southerlies moved a lot of warm water back up north and set up some very strong currents on Saturday.  By Sunday (today) the lake was setting back up again in a normal fashion.

6/16:  Guided Charles from Michigan with his son Nick and son in-law Ryan for a half day of laker jigging.  Fish were very scattered north of Long Point towards Levanna with 52 degree water on bottom anywhere from 50 FOW out to over 125 FOW.  The hot fishing we experienced on Friday was in 42 degree water out around 75' to 85' or so. A few lakers in Cayuga tend to hang around water in the low 50s but it rarely ever concentrates a lot of fish - at least that's been my finding.  Nick landed a laker around 20" and lost a bigger fish in relatively shallow but working out deeper didn't produce much activity, despite having some good marks.  So we ran down south. Mid-lake areas have been producing well for my friend Mike who has a place on the lake, though a lot of areas haven't heated up yet action-wise quite yet.  Water tends not to "pile up" down there after strong wind events.   You don't have the major points that cut off submarine currents or divert them.  We found nice cold water down 50' or so and got into some fish and managed to salvage a tough morning.  Best fish was Charles 29"er if I remember right.  Everyone caught at least one fish with Nick leading the way with three.  Gorgeous day with perfect weather!

After the trip I picked up my buddy Todd at the launch and we went out for around 3 hours doing some exploring. He had a lot of fish interested in his jig including assorted salmon and possibly a big brown, and he managed to land a nice laker. I landed three lakers l and lost what might have been Todd's nice brown that chased him up.  I'm not sure if it was a brown, but we had a good time on the day.   

6/17:  Today I guided Fred Sr., Fred Jr. and Matt.  Fred Sr. used to charter on Lake Ontario out of Sandy Pond starting around 1981, so he's one of the few "old school" Captains still around.  I was around 15 or 16 years old in those days and remember them well.  We always have a good time jigging lakers and today was no exception.  Fishing was good to excellent for most of the AM and tapered off before we called it quits around noon.  The guys landed 13 solid fish up to 29" long and probably dropped another half dozen or more. Some great fighting lakers and a few wild ones too.  Lamprey numbers are very low and the fish look great.  As I've said many a time - "These are the GOOD OLD DAYS on Cayuga Lake!"

6/15/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 6/15 AM

Did a half day trip that resulted in some of the best fishing of the year this morning with Mike (not my usual fishing buddy, but a client).  We started at 6:30 am and action really cranked up around 7 until around 9:30 then was steady but good through the rest of the AM until we wrapped up around 11.   Lots of big fish in the mix!  He had 4 or 5 lakers in the 28" range and two bigger at 29". A lot were dropped and 16 were landed.  Fish are well fed and healthy looking with no fresh lamprey wounds.  Fish range from shallow to deep but we did best from 65' out to 85' or so.  Water temp on bottom where we were catching them was 42 degrees!  That's cold! Water temps cooled in general around Long Point after yesterday's incredible blow. We'll see how the fishing goes the rest of the week.  Tons of alewives have moved up in less than 100' FOW.

6/12/2018
Onondaga Lake 6/12

Got out on Onondaga Lake for the first time in nine years.  The first time I fished this lake was on 7/22/2000 with Terry out in his boat.  The lake smelled of benzene and we literally saw people doing work on the lake while wearing hazmat suits.  I caught a nice pike, Terry caught a nice walleye and we both got some good bass back then. On 5/13/2009 I fished it with Jarrod.  We saw a musky or two (tigers) and if I remember right, we did fairly well on bass - the report is still on this site in the archives.  The lake was a little cleaner than the first time out, but not a whole lot better.  Well the third time was the charm.  No chemical smell.  The water looked good and the lake was full of life.  We saw osprey, blue herons and various waterfowl.  

I realize this lake has had its up and downs in recent years depending on the overall air temps (the heat of the summer) and rainfall (which can lead to sewage overflows) but overall I came away very impressed.  Within a half hour on the lake Terry had a Tiger Musky take a swipe at a fluke and we both had follows from nice bass. I caught a good largemouth.  Then Terry landed his first Tiger - a thick bodied beauty around 35" or 36" long - probably 11 to 12lbs.  It was thicker than any I've handled in Otisco Lake or seen out of Conesus - both in person or photos.  

The lake has always held a few gar but we found a vast number of them.  We set up for gar and had a blast catching 9 or 10 of them between the two of us.  They averaged around 37" long and we had zero dinks.  Terry nabbed a solid drum around 6 or 7lbs on a spinnerbait.  We also saw a massive Tiger musky crusing the shallows with its head out of the water, just like they do on Otisco and Conesus Lake. This fish had to be 20lbs or better. We saw a few bowfin.  We also caught around 14 or 15 bass - mostly largemouths but a few smallmouths too.  We saw plenty of carp, drum, a few goldfish and assorted panfish as well.  

All in all a very fun day and we'll be back here shortly!  Water temp was 72 degrees on the surface. Boat traffic was light as always.  Urban fishing at its finest!

6/11/2018
Skaneateles Lake 6/11 AM

Guided Charles for a 1/2 day.  He wanted to see some approaches for fishing this lake.  He has a nice house on the lake and loves to fish.  Fishing was generally good.  I had him work the Superfluke for smallmouth bass and he had some very good/steady action to start. No monster fish but some fun sight fishing action with some great jumps.  Tube jigs are a favorite for smallmouth bass (and other species) just about anywhere smallies swim and he did pick up some rockies, nice perch and I think a bass or two on them.

We also tried some laker jigging.  On the west shore we had one quick hookup.  Later on we tried an area on the east shore and found a massive group (school) of lakers.  He managed to land three typical Skaneateles fish - fish running 16" to 19" or so. 

Boat traffic was light.  Only a few trailers were at the State Launch. Water temp was 60 to 62 up top. We had follows from salmon as well, but nothing sizeable - they weren't fresh stockies but likely fish that had spent a year in the lake.  Some freshly stocked fish are around as well but we leave those alone.  Many bass are starting to pair up and nest.  There was a lot of cottonwood seed on the lake along with natural particulates like pollen.

6/9/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 6/9 AM

Good to excellent lake trout jigging continues on Cayuga Lake's mid-lake areas.  Guided David and Mariah (aka Emily ;-)  for a half day starting at 6:30 am.  Fishing started off ok but gradually got better throughout the AM.  Some nice fish made it to the net including a couple 30"ers as well as a 28" or two.  Eleven fish were landed on the day and some dropped as well. We had one double.  I cleaned three lakers today and all had fresh alewives in them.  Baitfish are moving in bigtime.  Fun day fishing with all fish coming from less than 90' FOW.   The usual Lunker City Shakers worked well and David brought his own gear and had good luck with a Bass Pro Shops swimbait.

6/8/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Dean's Cove 6/8 AM

Guided Jim, his brother Robert and friend Bruce for a 1/2 day.  Lake trout fishing was excellent and has been excellent over the past few days according to Angling Zone friend Rick.  The guys landed 16 solid lake trout to over 28" long.  A few were wild fish and one was the nicest looking laker I have seen come out of Cayuga Lake.  Alewives are moving in and surface temps hit 62.  Some fish remain shallow but we did better in the moderate depth range i.e. 75' to 100'.   A troller I talked to has done well from 25' to 40' and was picking up a few browns as well.  

Don't forget licenses on these trips!  Robert is a Florida resident and in Fla. you don't need a license when out with a guide, so that did delay his angling for an hour.  As a resident you can purchase a license online with a smartphone.  For non-residents, you need to call up the DEC or go to a license outlet, like Dicks Sporting Goods, Wallmart or a Town Hall.  We might have had a salmon on for a few seconds today, so non-lakers are finally showing up in the northern portions of the lake.

6/6/2018
Owasco Lake/Seneca Lake 6/5 + 6/6

Got out for a couple days with Terry.  We checked out Owasco and Seneca Lakes.  Over the next few weeks I hope to get over to some lakes I haven't fished in a while like Onondaga or perhaps back up to Sodus or Irondequoit Bay.  We'll see.  

Owasco Lake 6/5:  The weather forecast looked good for some pike fishing as well as laker action so I met Terry at Emerson Park at 11 am.  We had rain and light north winds to start. Some nice smallmouths were spawning or at least close to spawning in the outlet.  I landed a few nice healthy, plump lakers on the lakes north end - four in fairly short order.  Some fish were up high in the water column - likely rainbows or browns.

Conditions weren't great for pike so we tried working some bass stuff.  Terry had a few very nice smallmouths get close to grabbing his fluke.  I caught a handful of rockbass on tube jigs.  We worked some areas for pike as conditions improved and caught 5 fish. All were in the 21" to 25" range.  Terry lost a bigger one.  Lake temps are in the upper 50s and we should still see some good pike and bass action over the next few weeks.  Weeds haven't even come up yet much at all.  Laker action looks pretty solid. We talked to a guy who'd been trolling on the north end and he caught and released a brown trout that he'd estimated at 15lbs!  We saw photos and it was a solid fish.  He also trolled up a few lakers.

Seneca Lake 6/6:  I was thinking Skaneateles Lake today but the parking situation is a bit weird over there now with "pay to park" at Mandana and no non-boating parking at the State Launch.  I didn't want Terry to get a ticket.  Weather for what I wanted to do at Skinny was iffy too.  Anyways,  I'm not sure how much the State Launch parking is being enforced on rainy weekdays but we went with Seneca out of Sampson instead.  Pike fishing wasn't really worth it, given the calm conditions we faced for most of the day. We gave it maybe 2 hours without any action. I was excited to check on the laker action.  I missed a good hit shallow near Belhurst.  I also landed one wild laker at 17".  Terry had some good chases.  We marked a fair number of fish and a lot of bait. I think trout jigging here will be respectable once the thermocline sets up. For now, they are around but pretty scattered.  Water temp on top was 52 out of Sampson and a little warmer up north.  We saw a lot of post-spawn perch around along with pike too that were inactive.

6/2/2018
Waneta Lake 6/1 + Seneca Lake 6/2

 

Did some "esocid targeting" over the past weekend. Here are how things went.

Waneta Lake 6/1:  Guided Mark I. for what has become an annual or perhaps bi-annual trip to Waneta targeting musky on the fly. He lives fairly close to the lake so it makes sense. No fish were raised today.  Conditions were not great to start with sun and a flat lake.  Eventually some thunderstorms moved in and we thought we'd have a bite window but were unable to get anything going.  Alewives and a lot of sunfish/bluegills were nearshore.  Some very nice carp were also mudding. Next time we will bring some fly-gear set up for carp!

Seneca Lake out of Sampson 6/2:  I booked a late trip with Bill and his son Tim a few days ago for lake trout.  After posting that I would be shifting gears from targeting salmon/browns via casting (which is still possible in some parts of Cayuga Lake) to laker jigging as well as northern pike, he informed me that they'd like to pike fish.  He'd never caught northerns before so instead of Cayuga Lake out of Long Point, we shifted over to Seneca out of Sampson.  I consider Owasco Lake a little bit easier lake to locate pike in, though not as productive as Seneca number-wise once they are found.  For the record, Owasco also has bigger pike since there are no lampreys there.  Seneca was closer to them so we went with it.

The fishing was very slow to start.  We worked some good pike areas but didn't do anything. We ran north and worked a bunch more areas and finally encountered a fish. It didn't take long before I knew what we had to do.  We found another area and within one cast we were in business.  The day wound up with a fantastic finish - we went from zippo in 4 hours to landing 8 or 9 northerns and two bass in short order.  We had an audience of homeowners watching the "fishing show" taking place which was funny. The guys also raised and lost a lot more fish.  At least half the pike had fresh or healed lamprey wounds.

One thing we learned during the day that bears mentioning is this: Tim is a lefty and has generally done fine casting left and reeling left (i.e. conventionally) with spinning gear. I did notice his grip on the rod was a little odd (gripping the foregrip while working the lure instead of having the reel stem protruding in between the fingers of the right hand.  He dropped a lot of fish and after sharpening and re-checking hooks I had him switch the handle over on my spinning rod. It made a huge difference and he felt and appeared to be much more comfortable.  So the bottom line is to always keep an open mind and don't hesitate trying different sides of the reel.  Just because you might reel a spinning reel with your left hand, doesn't mean that you'd be best off with a left hand crank on your baitcaster or what have you.

Dead Bullheads: There are a lot of dead bullheads around nearly all the area waterways.  Some people think it's a water quality issue. It isn't. A fish pathologist informed a friend of mine that because bullheads have a slow metabolism, when they live in a lake or waterway that is very cold, they aren't able to adjust quickly enough to handle rapidly warming conditions, so they become more susceptable to bacteria.

Bill snagged (by accident) a very healthy bullhead today.  From my observations, bullhead are one of the hardiest fish when it comes to handling pollutants.  They could probably live just about anywhere and thrive.

5/30/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 5/30 AM

Guided Paul and Eric for a 1/2 day of laker jigging.  Fishing was generally good with a half-dozen fish landed.  We had a slow bite shallow despite marking a lot of fish.  The bite was better out deep around 140' to 150'.  Plenty of bait is around shallow.  I expect fishing to improve with steady weather.  Fun day!

5/29/2018
Lake Ontario Oswego Harbor 5/29

Guided Rob and his son Robert for a full day out of Oswego starting around 10:30 am.  The goal was to target smallmouth bass.  Robert is 11 years old and enjoys reeling in fish but hasn't been bitten by the "fishing bug" to any large extent; he doesn't have much experience with spinning tackle either, so the goal was to have Rob fish and fly-fish and I would fish, hook fish and hand the rod to Robert to reel in the fish.

The day was very interesting in a lot of ways.  In all the years I've bass fished Oswego, I have never hooked a walleye.  Rob caught some nice perch with his flies in the harbor while trying for smallmouths.  We saw some nice carp, drum and even a few gar swimming around.  After about 10 minutes I had a hit, set the hook and handed Robert the rod. The fish fought great and didn't come up.  It ran under the boat a couple times and got off. We had a good look at it - wouldn't you know that it was a nice walleye!  First walleye I ever hooked in the harbor and I had to hand off the rod!  

I got Robert casting in the lake and next thing you know he has a nice gar chasing in his Rapala Shadow Rap.  A few casts later and he has a nice rainbow around 5lbs chasing in the Shadow Rap!  Crazy!  We caught some nice bass on tube jigs and Robert got to reel in a nice 20" smallmouth. The bass fishing wasn't great to start and never really caught fire, but we tried some other areas and picked up a couple then returned back to our first area and had a better bite.  Overall we hooked double digits of bass, though a decent amount were lost during the rod "hand offs" to Robert.  Fun, gorgeous day and the lake was gorgeous.  Lake temp along the shoreline west of the harbor were 62 on top.  We had 70 in the harbor.  A few trollers were out too.  Overall lake temp is still cold.  Multi-species action around Oswego can be very interesting!

5/28/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 5/28

Did a 1/2 day trip with Gordon and his daughter Kaitlyn.  Last year Gordon hit some of the best salmon/brown trout action of the year in early May.  This time we focused on lakers, given the time of the year.  Action was ok today - better than the past two trips. Gordon landed two solid 28" lakers and had a few other follows (right up to the boat) and hits. Kaitlyn managed to come through at the end of the trip with the best fish of the day - a 28.5" beauty.  Solid but not spectacular fishing. All three were kept today and all were loaded with alewives.  

My friend Todd tipped me to some salmon/brown action that had been taking place down the lake so I made a good run after the trip with fly-rods in tow.  I found a large area of 47 to 52 degree surface water but the conditions weren't very good with the calm, swirling winds. I had a few follows from dinks on my flies but avoided them.  No solid fish. I did manage one laker on a jig near Kidders in around 23' FOW.  Gorgeous fish.  Silver fish are moving up the lake (finally.)  Reports from trollers I've talked to around Long Point have been slow if not non-existent for salmon/browns/bows.  We usually run into a few by now jigging.  They don't appear to be around despite the presence of tons of baitfish.  Expect to see non-lakers this week from Dean's over to Long Point.

I am pretty much done with guiding fly-fishing and spin casting for salmon/browns on Cayuga for the season. My guiding focus will turn to lakers mostly on Cayuga, northern pike during June on Seneca/Owasco and I'll be getting back into some other species as well with my own fishing.

Seneca Derby:  A handful of friends of mine fished the derby this weekend and I kept close tabs on the live leaderboard. In a nutshell, the laker action was slow on Saturday and Sunday and picked up on Monday.  Laker action via jigging was slow on Cayuga on Saturday and Sunday too, so it was likely a weather issue.  Lake trout fishing is improving on Seneca Lake.  Lake trout do a better job withstanding lamprey attacks than the "silver fish" aka browns, rainbows and salmon.  

One look at the leaderboard and it's clear to see that the lampreys had the biggest effect on those silver fish.  Until around 3 pm Sunday, there wasn't a brown, rainbow or salmon over 5lbs on the board!   Eventually a few better browns and a decent salmon were caught, but not seeing older silver fish is clearly a lamprey issue.  If you have bad lamprey infestation, you are hard pressed to see 3 year old browns or salmon in the lake.  It's happened before on Cayuga (early 1980s) and it's happening now on Seneca.  The good news is that these lampreys will run their course and hopefully be done with soon.  Treatments are scheduled to take place in June.  With luck, we'll start seeing the results next year and onwards.  We can only hope.

 

5/27/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 5/26 AM

Had a tough go with the Hermans for their first trip of the year.  We had a lot of lakers around us in the shallows and out deeper but only had a few grabs.  We tried a few different areas - like north of AES but found muddy water.  No hookups today after a good effort.  We came very close to getting a few.  Fish remain from 25' of water or so all the way out to over 150'. 

5/25/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 5/24 and 5/25 AM

5/24:  Guided Mark, his son John and John's girlfriend Julia for a full day.  We had terrific fishing during the morning hours with the bite tapering off as the day went on.  We started just after 8 am. Action was best in shallow from 30' out to 70'.  We had some action deeper later in the day with hits and chases out around 140'.  The quality of the fish was excellent - we had around five lakers running 28" to 31" long.  Another 8 lakers rounded out the day.  Four to five of the fish were wild. It was redemption after a one fish half day last year after the lake got very muddy after heavy rains. 

5/25 AM:  Guided Max, his friend Tom and Tom's son Alex for a half day.  You'd think after 13 years of guiding full time and plenty of fishing prior to that, I'd have an idea of what was going to happen today.  We had similar conditions to yesterday but a light breeze and more cloud cover.  Lo and behold most of the fish that were shallow had apparently disappeared or at least weren't hitting well for us.  Tom and Alex managed a nice fish each early on. Tom lost a nice one when he went to let Alex crank it in.  A lot of fish are lost on that "transfer" move.  Anyways we had some good chases out deep around 125' to 145'.  So the bottom line is to keep an open mind and check a lot of depth ranges.  If you aren't finding active fish shallow, go deeper.  Don't keep doing what worked yesterday or last week.  Although the catching wasn't great, it was a gorgeous day.

5/21/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 5/20 PM + 5/21

5/20 PM:  Guided Todd starting at 3:30 pm.  As we launched, the Bears/Barney Derby awards ceremony was taking place.  Top fish was an 11lb+ lake trout.  A lot of other solid lakers were on the board.  The non-laker board was made up of brown trout running 6 to 10lbs with most in the 9lb range.  Very solid!  I had Todd casting stickbaits and tube jigs.  He managed to land two solid lakers in the 23" to 24" range and one very fat (goby-fed) brown trout around 17".  He also had follows from a few salmon.  Pretty solid day of "late season casting."

5/21:  Today I guided Tom, who used to guide fly fishermen on the Snake River.  The goal was to get a salmon on the fly (or via casting.)  Unfortunately it was not to be today. We had very tough glassy conditions (which can be good for laker jigging but that wasn't what we wanted to do.)  Tom is a very good fly-caster and did his job well. He had a couple close encounters with nice salmon and a few follows from small fish but no definite grabs.  I had him out for a long time trying to make things happen but the fish didn't cooperate for us. Steady wind really makes for better fishing this time of year.  Over the past couple (great) years we've been able to get a fish or two during the tougher conditions but it just wasn't to be today. Water temps we encountered ranged from 47 to 55 or so.  Good temps but fish can be virtually anywhere, from the bank out to suspended over deep water - it's becoming more of a troller's game now.  Anyways it was a gorgeous day to be out and I had a lot of fun talking guiding, fishing and other stuff with Tom.

5/20/2018
Conesus Lake 5/17 + Owasco Lake 5/19

5/17 Conesus Lake:  Picked up my 2013 Crestliner at Silver Lake Marine and met my buddy Terry over at Conesus Lake.  I don't get over here much anymore, since moving to the Ithaca region back in 1995, but I used to fish it on a semi-regular basis in Terry's boat back in the mid-late 1980s and 1990s.  The lake is a half-hour drive from Silver Lake Marine so I figure I'll fish it twice a year in the future - when I go to drop off my boat for storage and when I pick it up.

Unfortuately we weren't able to spend much time here - only about 3.5 hours midday. I had a few things that needed working on and Terry had to work early on Friday, so no nighttime walleye fishing for us. We did some casting for pike and each caught a decent fish - pike running 27" to 29". At least I was able to restore a couple walleye waypoints I had that had been lost years ago when I sent in my Lowrance for service (I know good areas by day but it's nice to have waypoints when motoring out in the dark.)  Terry also picked up a bass. Water temps were in the 60s.  Water had some color to it (algae/planton color) and the level was good.

5/19 Owasco Lake:  Met Ron and his son Matt over at South Shore Marine at 8 am. The forecast was calling for miserable weather but the guys were up for it.  In foul weather,  I will cancel or postpone trips depending on the client.  A little rain shouldn't be a big deal for anybody.  Ron and Matt wanted to fish; they drive up here from a long ways away.  Hardcore outdoorsmen generally can handle various weather conditions, but I don't expect a couple casual anglers - let's say a couple up to do the wine trail in the summer, to want to go out in pouring rain and gusting winds.  For what it's worth I have top-notch rain gear and can handle a lot of rain and wind.

I picked Owasco Lake's south end based on the forecasts.  The guys love lake trout but Long Point on Cayuga would have been really rough going with wind gusts out of the south upwards of 26 mph!   I had the guys work spoons, stickbaits and sworming hornets for pike. On our first pass of one area Matt had 3 follows/hits and landed a small pike. We hit the area again then made a move.  In the second area Ron nabbed a 25"er.  In our next area Matt caught back to back (almost) smallmouths in the 20"+ range. Other follows were had from nice pike.  Some good perch also grabbed the stickbaits.  We checked on lakers later on around the southern portions of the lake and didn't do anything.  We tried a last area for pike and wrapped up.  Weirdly I took a final cast (I don't fish on guide trips but just had an urge to make one cast as the guys put their stuff away) and nabbed a 32" pike.  

I think we'll see good pike fishing here over the next 3 weeks.  Water temps are still cold.  The bass Matt caught were tremendous fish.  Really stellar specimens.  

5/15/2018
Lake Ontario Oswego Harbor 5/14 + Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 5/15

5/14:  We went  "Gonzo for Bronzo" - as the Lindners used to say.  Arrived at Oswego and met my buddy Terry at noon.  We checked on trout/salmon for two hours and had a couple follows that were likely from lethargic lake trout.  There were a lot of boats out and "the fleet" was west of the harbor.  I try to avoid the fleet (even though they usually know what's going on) when possible, just because it's a big lake and there are plenty of fish around elsewhere.  I did not drop a temperature probe but we had 48 to 50+ degree water on the surface in the lake.  I have had some luck up there on lake trout and salmon in flat glassy conditions (when foggy or overcast) but not so much under high sun.  So we headed shallow for bass.

Smallmouth bass fishing was superb in the harbor area.  We caught 18"er after 18"er - basically solid 4lb+ goby fed bass.  We fished tube jigs.  Between the two of us we landed around 25 fish to 20" and likely 5lbs in about 4 hours.  We only had a couple fish under 16".  Most were 17" to 18" beauties with great fights and some awesome jumps.  It'd be fun to hit Lake Erie's Buffalo Harbor in late May or June but it's hard to want to make that 3 hour plus drive when I can do half the driving and catch big smallmouths like we just did.

5/15 Cayuga:   Sometime you eat the bear and sometimes it eats you!  That's the way I have felt about the weather lately.  We fished last Saturday and didn't have a drop of rain hit us despite a very ominous forecast.  Today I met Jim, Ken and Bob at the launch at 7:30 am and had to wait out some "weather" for a good 90 minutes.  We had moderate rain and lightning, so there was no way we were heading out in that stuff.  Once the rain cleared we had changeable, but very fishable conditions for most of the trip (until the last 30 to 45 minutes.)  The guys wanted to learn the jigging tricks and tips and that's what we did. A good time was had by all with around 7 lakers landed including a couple very solid 29" to 30" fish.  Most fish came from the 125' to 145' range, though there was a good amount of bait in around 70'.   The guys troll the southern portion of Cayuga Lake and reported catching brown trout last Friday that had smelt in them.  So that was nice to hear.  We'll keep an eye out for the tasty little fish!

5/12/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 5/12

Did a full day with Drew and his friend Drew starting just after 11 am.  We waited out the rain and went with that late start, wrapping up around 7 pm.  Drew's son Robert joined us towards the end of the day.

Lake trout locations had changed a lot since I was last out here on April 24th - about 2 and a half weeks ago.  Some fish are still out deep but significant numbers have moved up a bit.  We had solid (very good) action from 150' in to around 90'.  I didn't look shallower or deeper but I'm sure fish are everywhere.  Around 9 solid lakers were landed on the day and another 4 or 5 dropped.  Best fish was a 31"er that we released.  Harvested fish were eating alewives and gobies.  Alewives are starting to move in big-time.

If lake trout are your preferred target, going out of Long Point or Dean's Cove are the best bets for good action on Cayuga Lake.  Fish numbers up here are much better (from what I've seen) than in the lower lake.  Size is much better too with the vast majority of fish running 24" to 27"+, as opposed to 20" to 24" in the lower lake.  Fish were very clean and well fed with virtually no signs of lamprey attacks.

 

5/11/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 5/11

Got out with my buddy Mike for a long day of fly-casting and casting spinning gear. We were greeted by north winds gusting into the low 20s (mph) range.  Not friendly fishing conditions.  We were able to connect with five nice lakers up to 27" long casting stickbaits. We worked some other areas out of the heavy winds and had some follows from salmon but no hookups.  Fishing near the lake's south end resulted in Mike nabbing a 30" pike on a stickbait and me nailing a 16" to 17" brown, also on a stickbait.  We had some good fish chase flies but no grabs.  Mike also landed another solid laker on a jig.  All in all a fun and productive day but the fly-fishing was slow and the salmon bite was also off.  The warm water we encountered earlier this week was gone.  Warmest water we found was 50 degrees on the south end.  Most of the lake was around 42 to 44.

5/9/2018
Lake Ontario out of Oswego/Cayuga Lake 5/8 + 9

5/8:  Made it up to Lake Ontario for the first time this season.  It's great to see the road construction on Rt. 104 heading east into Oswego finally winding down.  I launched around 11:30 am in hopes of catching a salmon on a jig.  Fishing has been top-notch out of Oswego by most accounts. Brown trout and walleyes are being caught in inshore areas. Salmon are shallow as well as out in the deeps.  Smallmouths are stacked in the harbor and likely up the river too.  There are lots of opportunities around the Oswego area!

Fishing salmonids up here is mostly a troller's game. There's lots of warm colored up water - miles of it!  So it can be a needle in a haystack casting at times, though over the years I have caught browns and a coho flyfishing.  I tried both shallow and deep with jigs and managed a couple close calls.  I had what appeared to be a nice coho or immature king follow my jig to the boat in around 60' to 70' FOW.  I also had a hit near the boat from a King around 6 to 8lbs out deep, but no connection. Lakers were not active for me. I usually find lakers out here more responsive during low light conditions.  Of course I don't get to put in much time up here to experiment so take it for what it is.

I wound up my day casting tube jigs (both alewife and green pumpkin - aka goby colors) in the harbor and had a blast landing a dozen solid smallmouths up to 18" and probably over 4lbs in about 40 minutes.  I talked to some guys trolling for browns off of the harbor and they limited out on "good eating sized fish."  Other trollers caught some salmon.  

5/9:  Cayuga Lake out of Myers -  Guided Gordon for his birthday trip. We've done these periodically over the years. He was out with me on April 27th and managed a 27" brown trout on the fly - his personal best, but we didn't have a whole lot of action apart from that. Steady warming weather has really amped up the salmon/brown trout action on Cayuga Lake. On the day he caught a couple nice salmon on flies and a couple casting stickbaits.  All nice fish.  The catching was decent but the "fishing" was much better. He had a lot of hits and follows - probably two dozen follows from small salmon to some very solid fish. Converting the hits to hooked fish didn't go all that well for what we saw, but it was a lot of fun. Water temps are on the rise now and there are active fish in a lot of different areas. It was much improved from what we'd experienced over the past few weeks. 

5/6/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 5/6

Did back to back 1/2 day trips today making for a long day on the water.  Here's how things went:

AM:  Started at 7:30 am with Scott and his son Scott.  They actually live around a mile away from me and are looking to get more into fishing Cayuga Lake.  We went over some salmon/trout casting patterns then did some laker jigging.  The casting started off great with Scott (Sr.) nabbing a very hard fighting chunky 26" brown trout on a stickbait.  Later on both guys had some follows from trout and salmon.  We checked out some laker jigging and they each had some momentary hookups with Scott Jr. winding up landing a nice laker around 26" if I remember right.  

PM:  My PM trip was with Don and his brother Jim.  We set up for fly-fishing and spin casting.  Jim started out fly-fishing but went to the gear after 45 minutes or so. It paid off with a solid 24.5" salmon and a 16" brown.  The salmon didn't fight all that great but the brown jumped a bunch of times and really put up a great fight for its size.  A fair number of follows and hits were also had by both guys but that was it for the catching.

These fish just keep moving around.  Water temps are rising and the fish appear to finally be gradually moving up the lake.  I think a lot of them stayed around the south end of the lake for awhile.  I did mark a decent amount of bait today.  

A few days remain open in May.  June has good availability but July and August are starting to fill up.  Book now for best summer options.

5/4/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 5/4

Did a full day with Mark I.  We started off with a little laker jigging and no action.  Conditions were foggy!  Soon after that Mark began fly-fishing.  It didn't take long before he landed a hard fighting 17" brown trout.  This fish really dug down.  Around 1/2 hour later Mark had a very hard hit but no hookup.  We tried a bunch of areas without any action or sign of fish.  We were leary of the weather forecast which predicted a good chance of thunderstorms and showers along with considerable wind gusts.

We went back to laker jigging and Mark landed two fish, one of which he kept.  More salmon fly-fishing in different areas produced zero action.  After the wind kicked up Mark cast spinning gear and stickbaits and managed to land another brown at 16" and a salmon at 19".  He had a good day but really had to work hard for the fish.  It was tough fishing. The line between success and failure when casting and fly-casting for these fish is often very narrow.  Water temps are warming throughout the lake with at least 49 on the lakes south end and 42 to 44 in a lot of other places.  

5/3/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Myers 5/3

Guided a full day with Kurt and his friend Jim.  The goal was to get some salmon and browns with lakers as a backup.  Casting/fly-casting continues to be challenging for us on Cayuga Lake.  Large swaths of warm water make things more of a troller's game at times, though perserverence with casting can pay off.

Conditions were fairly calm to start and we tried one area for salmon without luck. We went to laker jigging and Kurt nabbed a solid 27" fish that was probably over 7lbs.  It had been eating some alewives - it spit one up in the boat and had a couple in its stomach when I filleted it. Jim lost one laker.  I marked decent numbers of lakers but they were not very aggressive.  Not sure if that was a full moon deal or what.

We tried a milk-run of 4 or 5 areas without seeing a salmon or brown, so we wound up fishing the large expanse of warm water.  It didn't take long before Jim had a hold of a decent salmon - maybe 17" or 18" but it got off.  Kurt had a follow from a smaller fish shortly thereafter, but action was fairly slow.  The weather got rainy and we encountered a bit more wind and wound up trying another few areas until we wound up where we started. Kurt lost a decent fish and then that was it for the day.  

Casting and fly-casting for landlocked salmon can be very productive at times, but sometimes it feels more like musky fishing or west-coast steelhead fishing - lots of searching for a few opportunities.  We only saw one other boat out fishing and they were casting too.  No trollers out that we could see today.  The fishing hasn't been as good as last year for the most part.  I will be spending a lot of time on the water in the next few weeks (I also plan on hitting other waterways) so hopefully will see what's up.  

5/2/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Myers 5/1

Guided Rick and his friend Gary for the full day.  We spent the first two to three hours or so of the AM casting/fly-casting for salmon/trout then most of the mid-day jigging lake trout.  We finished up with another hour or two of casting/fly-casting.  We started just after 8 am.

We had a great AM with Gary landing his best brown trout ever on a fly - he caught a very fat 23 1/2" brown.  It fought great and hit a Joe's Smelt if I remember right.  He also tossed some other traditional streamers like a Mickey Finn.  Not long after the brown he hooked up a solid salmon that was likely around 19" to 20" but it got off.  He was using sinking lines.  Rick had follows from small salmon, a pickerel and a better salmon or brown.  

Lake trout jigging was good.  A relatively small percentage of the fish we marked on bottom actively moved for the jigs but the guys landed at least 4 fish and lost a few.  Best was Gary's solid 28"er.  

Late day casting/fly casting did not yield anything for us in the couple areas we tried. We saw a lot of suckers on bottom and a few trout but no grabs.  It was nice to finally have a nice warm (if not hot) weather day out there.  Saw the first "pleasure" boat of the season out there.  They are on their way. 

4/28/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Myers 4/28

Did back to back 1/2 day trips today.  Fishing pressure on the lake really amped up today. I saw more boats working the southend/east shore than I'd probably seen since the late 1990s.  The lake is still cold with warming water in the aforementioned areas. Baitfish (alewives) have began moving into these areas.  Casting/fly-casting hasn't been easy for us over the past week.  I expect things to improve with the warming conditions this week.  After that, what happens is anybody's guess!

My AM trip was with Ken and his wife Amanda.  Given the calm conditions and multitude of trollers working the southern portions of the lake, we motored north and did some laker jigging to start.  Action was decent with Amanda landing a 26" fish and Ken taking a couple smaller ones (still nice at around 22" to 24".)  We tried some fly-fishing and spin-casting further south but only had one follow of a small salmon by Ken.  

PM:  I met Tom and his brother James at the dock around 12:30 pm and we headed back north for lakers.  Action remained good with Tom dropping three and James landing two fish, both around 18" to 19".  The weather got really weird as the cold front approached. It appeared as though we might get some thunderstorms!  We had some rain as well as heavy cloud cover and a few wind changes.  After Tom got doused pretty good by the cold rain, we dropped him off and James and I headed south.  James picked up a small salmon (15 1/2") where Ken had had his follow.  We hit another area and James cast his Flatrap towards shore and got a good hit.  The fish fought weirdly and he'd thought he lost it or it was a snag but lo and behold it wound up being a really nicely colored chunky brown around 23" long and probably in the 5lb range.  Nice way to end a fairly tough day.

4/27/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Myers 4/27

Guided Gordon for the full day starting around 8:30 am.  He fly-fished the entire day, bringing his brand new Orvis Helios 7 wt. rod.  Conditions weren't great to start with calm conditions and overcast skies, but in fairly short order Gordon had a hit from a very solid fish.  We both saw the fish hit.  After a good digging battle I slipped the net under a 27.5" brown trout.  It was Gordon's best brown.  Unfortunately we were not able to hook any other fish.  He had another 3 grabs or so but nothing solid.  Trollers we talked to did well working the warmer water.  Fish are starting to set up in spring patterns but it's been a "slow turning."   Water temps were 39/40 in most areas.  The south end of the lake has temps upward of 49 degrees or more.

4/24/2018
Cayuga Lake 4/23 + 24 AM

Guided AM trips on Cayuga Lake out of Myers on Monday and Long Point on Tuesday. Fishing remains spotty for salmon/browns and solid for lakers.

4/23:  Guided Tyler and his friend Scott for a half day mainly trying to target salmon.  We had reasonable wind in the AM when we started (just after 8 am.)  Scott had a follow from a solid brown trout and perhaps one other hit but that was it.  Conditions dictated that we gave the laker jigging a try so we set up for that.  Both of the guys had some hits and momentary hookups.  Scott was able to capitalize on his and landed 3 solid lakers. We switched back to salmon and saw a few and had one follow but that was it.  Fun day, but I wish we'd had more wind and/or we could've fished later in the day but I had to teach.

The numbers of loons on the lake have been staggering this year. My buddy Mike mentioned to me that they are big fish-eaters, which I know.  But my mind was a little bit blown when we (Scott and I) watched two salmon swim by - one of which was possibly a 2 footer, getting chased underwater by two loons.  The loons are cool to see and hear and should be gone in 4 or 5 weeks so I don't see them as much of a problem.

4/24:  Today was a laker jigging trip with Paul and Cindy, who brought along their grandson Dean.  We had some very good deep jigging today with around 7 solid lakers landed and a bunch more missed/dropped.  The bite was slow to moderate and steady.  135' to 155' was best for us today.  We were long gone by the time the forecasted high winds materialized.  A great trip!

Fishing for salmon/browns remains tricky.  ​Water temps are cold - still around 37 to 38 in much of the lake. although the south end and creek mouths should be warming up considerably.  Temps around the south end to Taughannock were around 39/40 yesterday. In the wintertime, salmon tend to be pretty aggressive and not to hard to catch once we locate them, especially on sunny days with some steady wind.  But as these fish transition towards the spring, they do not seem as aggressive.  Of course I don't expect fish to hit if they are being chased around by loons, but even prior to the loony arrival fish had become tentative.  Bite windows are important.  I expect the coming warm to hot weather to get these fish on the feed.  We'll see.

4/22/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 4/21 - 22

Guided Mark I. for two full days back to back.  Usually we space out our trips but the unseasonably cold weather has made good fishing days hard to come by.  Fishing wasn't easy by any means for landlocked salmon.

4/21:  Met Mark at the launch at 10 am.  My buddy Mike and his girlfriend Sue arrived at the same time.  They decided to fish lake trout first then chase salmon.  We focused on salmon, basically casting with gear until the wind came up and conditions became more suitable for fly-fishing.  We wound up sticking with the gear for the most part.  We saw a nice rainbow in one area but it showed no interest.  In another area Mark had a hold of a nice brown trout but the hook eventually pulled out.  Mark managed a solid 21" salmon a little bit later but that was it.  Mike and Sue did well with the lakers and later on Sue managed a 25" salmon on a swimbait.  Fishing was tough with cold water in most areas and then the wind really came up - gusting into the upper teens at times.

4/22:  We expected better fishing today with the stable weather and decided to start with the lakers.  Laker jigging has been really good in the mid-lower lake over the past two years with the presence of round gobies.  The lakers were gobbling good and Mark had a very solid morning landing 6 nice fish up to 28 1/2".  We had one wild fish.  All the lakers were very clean i.e. no signs of lamprey hits.   100' to 150' produced for us.  Overall the bigger lakers are up the lake around Long Point/Deans Cove north, where they are averaging closer to 27".  Most lower lake fish have been 20" to 22" or so.

Salmon fishing was a challenge. Despite conditions which I love - north winds and sun, a lot of salmon are still orienting towards the bottom of the lake, clearly feeding on gobies. In one area Mark had some hits and follows and landed a fat 18.5" salmon.  Another area produced a half hour of decent activity.  Mark nabbed a 21" salmon, an 18" brown (that jumped really high!) and his personal best salmon (on the fly that is - he landed a bigger one laker jigging a year or two ago),  a 26+1/2" beauty that jumped four times in a row.  After that he had another hit/follow from a smaller fish and that was it. We got lucky being in the right place at the right time.  Fish all came on olive woolly buggers.  The brown trout and smaller salmon were clean, the bigger ones had signs of lamprey (including one live lamprey that came up on the 21" salmon.)  We released all fish today apart from one laker destined for dinner.  Overall fishing was tough today and I talked to another 3 boats whom did not have much if any action.  I think it will take some more warm days/warm water before alewives move up and these fish start orienting more towards the surface.  We'll see.  Good numbers of salmon, browns, rainbows and lakers are out there.

4/14/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Myers 4/14 PM

Met Carmella and Dean at the launch around noon and headed out.  It was much windier than forecast and cold on the lake with north winds blowing over miles of 37/38 degree water. Carmella fished for maybe 20 minutes and then relaxed as Dean did all the casting. It didn't take long for him to have a hit but that was the only action we had for a few hours.  We tried some different areas and worked a "two-pronged approach" fairly thoroughly - stickbait and jigs.  

We made a good run into the wind which wound up being fairly brutal.  No luck again. We hit our last area and Dean had a fish follow it and nail his stickbait right by the boat!  Finally - some luck.  It was a 21" salmon that was in great shape.  We released it and fished a bit more then called it a day.  So we came close to getting skunked but managed some "late inning" heroics.  The ride back to Myers was very choppy.  It was a trip to remember for a lot of different reasons.  Cold but fun.  This spring has featured some good fishing but it's been pretty challenging.  We are now looking at upwards of 2" of rain over the next couple days.   The warm rain on Monday should get the fishing going but the lake will likely be a muddy mess for a bit.  We'll see what happens.

 

4/13/2018
Cayuga Lake 4/12 + 13

Guided Ron for two trips in a row - we went out of Myers yesterday and Long Point today. Fishing wound up being very good on both days though we had a little luck on our side yesterday.        

4/12 PM:  Went out of Myers around 1 pm.  We did around 6 hours and never saw another boat on the lake. It was a slow go to start.  Ron missed a salmon, a follow and two hits from a nice chunky brown and then a nice laker that engulfed his jig by the boat.  In area #2 he got a 17.5" salmon and then a 24" laker shortly thereafter. 

We had a fair amount of rain dump on us too yesterday.  Conditions were not super pleasant.

The next area produced nothing.  Area #4 produced a 21" salmon.  We tried another stretch before quitting and Ron nabbed 3 salmon - all cookie cutter 19"ers and a fat 18" goby fed smallmouth before heading in. Water temps remain in the upper 30s.                    

4/13 AM:  Today we launched out of Myers at 8 am and fished another 6 hours (due to a prior committment I had tonight, I had to change out my guiding schedule and do two- 6 hour trips rather than a half and full day.)  The deep laker jigging was very good and steady.  Ron landed 11 solid lakers and missed another 9 or 10!  Best fish was a 34.5" whopper!  Not a fat fish - so probably around 12lbs.  Most fish were healthy 27" to 28"ers.  Nobody else was out laker fishing that we could see.   Fish came deep - 130' to 175' FOW. Nice looking healthy fish with little or no signs of lamprey activity.           

 

 

 

4/10/2018
Keuka Lake out of Keuka Lake State Park 4/10 PM

This elongated winter has made me a bit stir-crazy so I decided I'd give Keuka Lake a try. Cayuga's been fantastic but I do like to change things up on occasion.  I'll be on Cayuga Lake all year long! Regarding Keuka, last year I fished it once from shore without luck - that was it. I no longer guide over there on any regular basis. (If the laker fishing became great again, I could see Hammondsport as a good option when south winds are really strong - but that isn't going to happen anytime soon.) This year I would like to fish a few of the Finger Lakes that I haven't hit in a while, including Canandaigua and Conesus.  

Angling Zone friend Jeff was on Keuka last weekend with two buddies and they managed a decent day, landing a dozen lakers.  I really wanted to see if the lake's fishing had changed much.  Would I be able to catch lakers hopping tube jigs along the bottom in shallow?  Are there notably more perch around with the alewife collapse?  

Unfortunately I really wasn't able to answer those questions.  It was damn COLD out there!  I dealt with snow storms  - basically mini-flurries coming through and swirling winds interspersed with sunny periods.  So I spend most of the day working laker jigs like I used to out there.  I did see a ton of small perch in by the boat launch.  These were not fish big enough to bother fishing for, but I hadn't seen that before over there this time of year.  Laker jigging was slow for the most part.  The fish were in the same old areas I've always caught them in, but there was noticeably fewer of them and no bait to speak of.  I caught one laker casting a jig in around 40' to 60' of water.  I had follows in water from around 70' to 165' (feet deep.)  In four hours I landed just that one fish, then I tried one of my earlier areas and caught two more in short order for a grand total of three 19" lakers in 5 hours. Some of it was the weather pattern.  Even in Keuka's laker heyday I remember strong west winds and overcast/snowy conditions being tough for lakers over there in April.  The two I caught quickly came after the sun broke through and winds set up from the north.  Nothing to speak of in their stomachs apart from a small perch in one of them.  Two of them had gorgeous pink meat.  Water level is high (a little) and temps were 38 on top.  Nothing about Keuka makes me want to forego Cayuga.

PS:  If any of you reading this like baked goods, check out Tabora Farm & Winery's bakery between (just N. of) Glenora and Dundee on 4978 Lakemont Himrod Road. They have some good stuff very reasonably priced.  I was impressed.  http://www.taborafarmandwinery.com  

4/2/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 4/2 PM

 

Got out on my own for around 4 hours to check on the laker activity off of Long Point (basically the central to northern basin of the lake.)  I was scheduled to guide a full day fly fishing salmon but my client had a death in his extended family so I wound up having the nicest day of the week free.   After I was notified of the cancellation I contacted my buddy Terry and my original plan was to either fish Seneca out of Sampson for lake trout and maybe some perch or possibly head over to Skaneateles and toss some perch rigs and hair jigs around.  Terry got back to me late last night (after work) and told me he wasn't feeling up to going.  

Lake levels have come up maybe 2' from the winter lows and launching wasn't a problem. I started searching some areas with my electronics and dropping a few jigs. Once I got out into some deep water I found a concentration of lake trout and dropped my jig while I was putting in a waypoint.  I always detail the waypoint with what I found - so I was tediously typing in one letter at a time when my jig hit bottom. I had a hit right when I hit bottom so a couple seconds later I pulled up my rod and felt some weight.  I kept the rod bent while I finished off typing in the waypoint.  I had a cigar going too.  

Once I got up on the bow the fish felt pretty heavy.  It was sunny and gorgeous outside so I figured I'd razz Terry a little bit for not being up for a trip.  So I took a quick photo with my cellphone and sent him the shot.  The fish wasn't moving.  All I was thinking was "Man, anybody that doesn't think lake trout fight is crazy!" Another thought that crossed my mind was "Man, I wish this was the Memorial Weekend Derby and I was on Seneca Lake - I'd have the Grand Prize!"   I figured I had a 14lb to 20lb goby-fed laker.  I mean heck - we've had gobies in the lake for years now and these laker have got to be getting big - at least some of them!   Another five minutes goes by and I still have made zero headway on the fish.  My medium/heavy baitcaster is doubled over!  So I call Terry and tell him what's up.  He says "Dude - you got a sturgeon on!" He had caught one before off of Lake Erie in Canada but I was very doubtful that that was what I had.  From what I've always read, they like shallower water - like 15' to 50' or so.  Plus somebody, if not us - would have certainly caught one by now if they grabbed gaudy paddletail jigs - especially bright chartreuse jigs fished vertically for lakers.  I could see one taking a brown bucktail or something like that crawled along the bottom.  Sturgeon mostly scavenge and eat stuff like crawfish and gobies.  It just didn't add up to me - except for the fact that it was heavy and I had no control over it.

The fish started moving up while I was still on the phone.  Next thing I know, my line is heading out horizontally from the boat.  I couldn't wait to see the big laker!  Then a monstrous shark-shaped fish that was white hit the surface - head first, then dorsal then tail fin.  HOLY SHIT!!! It WAS a sturgeon!  Terry said - "take a picture" and then I hung up.

It ran all the way back to the bottom - basically right back down to 150'!!! So my work was cut out for me.  I didn't want to overplay the fish so I really torqued on the rod as hard as I could without breaking anything.  I got my camera out while doing this and found the battery dead, then the spare was dead too.  Bummer.  After another 10 minutes I finally made headway and the fish came up as if in an elevator!  I got the beautiful primitive fish up to the boat.

I was probably around 4+1/2 to 5 feet long.  I'm guessing 40 to 50lb range but I don't know - maybe it was bigger maybe not.  Hard to tell because I didn't have a way to measure it.  I just didn't want to harm it.   It had a lamprey on its dorsal area.  I kept the fish in the water - it just kind of hung there motionless.  I unhooked it my reaching down and popping the jig out - yes, it inhaled a 1+1/2 oz white jighead with a chartreuse Lunker City Shaker on it.  I did manage a couple shots of it with my cheap flip phone.  Needless to say, my arm was toast.  Some people have told me that sturgeon they caught didn't fight that well.  Bringing this one up from 150' of water was very difficult. Not a spectacular battle, but certainly a very strong fish and watching it surface will be ingrained in my brain til I die.  

I did manage a couple nice lake trout too afterwards but they were obviously anticlimactic!  Photos will be up shortly!

 

 

3/29/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock Park 3/29

Got out with my buddy Shahab for a day of casting and fly-casting for salmon.  Fishing was slow but steady today. I had all the early action including 3 solid salmon running to 23" - two on jigs and one on a fly.  I then picked up a nice laker and a 20" clipped rainbow all on jigs. The rainbow was chrome and absolutely gorgeous.   Shahab picked up a nice laker and salmon to finish out the day.

In the goby-era fish have become quite selective in their feeding zones and habits, especially while the water is still very cold.  We had 37 to 38 degree water today in most areas.  The south end of the lake is starting to show some murky water approaching 40 degrees.   Fishing remains challenging yet productive on this lake.  It was the opposite "bite" from what I experienced with Todd on Sunday.  Stay tuned!

 

3/25/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 3/25

Had a great time and great day fishing with my friend Todd.  He guided in Alaska for years and is good with both conventional gear and fly-gear.  We got out at around 10:45 am and worked a few areas both casting gear and fly-tackle.  We didn't get off the water until nearly 6:30 pm. The first area yielded a solid laker for Todd. We worked another area and got right into fish.  We had some good follows and I finally nabbed a nice but small salmon around 16".  Things really picked up from then on and we wound up landing another 10 or 11 solid fish.  I caught a few on flies fishing a full-sinking line including a fine 22" chunky brown and a salmon around the same size along with a smaller one.  Todd did great on a tube jig catching a bunch of fish including another laker.  Best fish of the day was Todd's 25" dropback salmon.  He also lost a chromer that was bigger with a spectacular jump near the boat. 

March really tends to get the salmon frenzied a bit on Cayuga Lake.  We certainly didn't encounter this density of salmon earlier in the season fishing the areas we fished and the way we like to fish (casting/fly-casting.)  Lamprey wounding is moderate.  Nearly all the fish over 20" had signs of lamprey activity.  One of my salmon came up with a small lamprey.  Water level remains low.  Water temps were around 37.  It was cold to start and on the run over to the fishing area the boat spray did a good job icing up the rods I had hanging off of the back of the boat.

3/6/2018
Cayuga Lake Shorefishing 3/6 PM

Got out for around an hour and a half for a bit of shorecasting. While fly-fishing  I had one definite hit and landed the fish - a nice chunky 21" dropback salmon that I released.  That fish hit an olive clouser fished on a full sink type 4 line.  That was it - I cast some jigs around as well in hopes of a lake trout but never had any hits.  Water level remains low.

2/27/2018
Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 2/27

Got out with my friend Shahab for a day of casting and fly-casting starting at around 11 am and running until 5 pm.  We had a very solid day of fishing mostly pretty shallow (less than 15' of water) for lake trout and salmon.  I had one very nice "tank" of a brown trout follow in a jig.  We both caught nice lakers and salmon - probably around 10 to 12 lakers were hooked on the day with around a half dozen netted.  We landed 4 salmon from a dink up to a 23" dropback.  A few of my salmon came on flies.   Jigs were the key lure for the non-fly caught fish.

The big news is that the marina/launch area at Taughannock is scheduled to be dredged this week and up until March 9th.  The park officials may find a way to keep the launch open on the weekend and it is possible that the project could be completed before March 9th.  It definitely needs it!  It is hard to traverse the channel.  Add in some high winds and waves and most boats will be bottoming out.  If the lake level comes up, launching might be possible at Myers - but that still could be doubtful.  Long Point is probably doable.  Seneca launches should all be good as well.  I will post any updates as I hear about them here.

2/24/2018
Cayuga Lake 2/24 out of Taughannock

Guided a full day with Mark I. concentrating on fly-fishing.  We worked around 5 or 6 different areas of the lake with a slow go to start.  He had a good brown chase in his streamer as well as a small salmon.  Eventually he had a solid hit or two but no hookups.  A switch to a tube jig on a spinning rod yielded 4 nice lake trout from 21" to 25" in less than a 1/2 hour.  Those fish came from around 10' of water.   A lot of fish are clearly searching the lake's bottom looking for gobies.  He hooked one laker on a fly a little bit later.  The biggest laker had gorgeous colors despite being a hatchery fish.

Working one stretch for salmon resulted in a solid hit and a bit later Mark nabbed a solid 21" salmon on a streamer fished on an intermediate line. The salmon had a small lamprey attached.   All in all, somewhat slow fishing for awhile but a productive day.  Water temps were 38 degrees.  Lake level is still very low.  At least 1/2 dozen boats were out today along with quite a few shore fishermen.

2/20/2018
Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 2/20

Got out here on my own for around 5 hours starting at 12:30 pm.  I worked a long stretch of water fly-casting for salmon.  I had a little bit of action but nothing special - a hit here, a follow there.  Eventually I connected with a couple short fish while casting gear.  Pike fishing was pretty good.  In around 90 minutes I landed a couple and had around 3 follows both from pike and pickerel.  

It appears to be another fairly mediocre year here for salmon.  We've also seen slow shorefishing here this season thus far.  I've had one good secondhand report of solid fish being taken on one occasion.   I ran into a couple small groups of short fish (14" range.)  Legal size is 15" here (18" on Cayuga.)  Next year we may see an uptick in catchable numbers of salmon if these short fish are well distributed and escape the lamprey gauntlet.  

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

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

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

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

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

 

2/4/2018
Seneca Lake Shorefishing 2/1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1/12/2018
Cayuga Shorefishing 1/10 PM

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

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