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Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 12/30 + 12/31

What a fantastic year on Cayuga it has been!  I've been loving it.  It started out promising with some good lake trout and brown trout fishing and just went up from there. The only real glitch was the algae bloom we dealt with for a week or two in July. But we did catch fish through that, which wound up being better fishing than we encountered the prior year during the muddy water/bloom.  I will be updating the site as much as possible this week. My webmaster will be working on the site as well and I will find an easier/better way to present and upload photos.  

12/30:  Guided Steve and his friend Brad for a half day.  These guys were "fly-only" so we left all the spinning tackle at home.  It was a "live or die by the fly day."  Duck season was open so we did have to keep the hunters and common areas in mind. We started out targeting pike/pickerel.  Lo and behold I see a nice fish beelining for Brad's large bunny pike fly.  It crushed the fly and things got crazy.  It wasn't fighting like a pike - we had 3 or 4 nice jumps and some hard runs.  It was a nice brown probably in the 6 to 7lb range.  Brad really put the brakes on the brown as it headed towards a dock and the hook pulled out of the fish's mouth and into its dorsal.  Once that happened he didn't mess around and the hook pulled out.  Steve got most of the action on video so that was pretty cool.  Other browns and even a salmon or two came chasing the big black fly.  Steve had a follow from a brown as well as a pike or pickerel.

We tried another pike area but were plagued with muddy water. Brad had a couple hits and follows from pickerel.  Then we tried a couple other things and settled on a lake trout area. Brad hadn't ever caught a laker and Steve's prior fish had come from the Niagara River and up in Canada.  A big goal of mine this season is to really get the Cayuga Lake winter fly-fishing for lakers dialed in.  Now that they are common in the shallows (and salmon don't seem to show up in good numbers until later in the season), it makes sense to get more efficient at the lakers.  We've been getting a few lakers on our salmon flygear set-ups over the past couple seasons but haven't really got them pinpointed as well technique-wise as we have on the conventional gear.  I had an idea and I put it to work.  In short order Brad hooked up with a solid fish but the leader broke as it ran.  The connections were solid, I believe the fish just ran the line over some mussels.  In a nutshell Brad had another hookup and drop and a follow.  Steve wound up landing two solid lakers, including a 30"er on a Clouser minnow.   Great fights on the fish!

12/31:  Last day of the year and last day fishing of the year.  I've been doing late season solo and duo trips on this lake since I first bought my boat back in 2002.   I've had some memorable trips (and I'm sure some not-so-memorable ones - but they've been forgotten, since they weren't memorable!  ;-)  Today was in the former category.

The first thing I wanted to do was continue with the laker fly-fishing.  I brought along a couple different line setups and gave it a go.  I also wanted to see how well my trolling motor would hold me in a heavier chop/more wind.  Things went well.  I hooked two fish and landed one around 23" long after a strong battle.  I have more work to do but know what I need to.  

I worked some areas casting with spinning gear for browns and salmon without much luck.  The bite seemed off today - maybe it was the weather coming in. I expected the low pressure system and incoming front to get fish biting but they didn't seem as "on" as yesterday.  Either way, I ended the year with a real bang. I was getting ready to move and told myself "one more cast."  But after that cast I had to take another towards a point.   I cast my Rapala Flat Rap, got a couple cranks on it and it got crushed!   A real GATOR pike!  Fortunately for me, the lure on 8lb test (and obviously no wire) was mostly on the outside of the pike's mouth.  And as much as I hate to admit this, the pike also didn't put up a great fight after one or two good runs.  I had it in the net and it came out. Luckily I got the net in front of it and had it halfway in and the pike surged forward into my net.  The lure popped out in the net. I measured the fish and took a couple crappy (with my flip-phone solo) photos and let the fish go.  It was clean, fat and went 41".  Probably my personal best pike.  I caught a 41" around 6 or 7 years ago fly-fishing but this one was fatter.  Great way to end 2018!  

Water temp was at 41.  Lake level is good for winter.  It's a little low overall - maybe down 2'.  Expect the lake to stay up for another week or so depending on how much rain we get tonight.



Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 12/27

Fished from 11:20 am until around 4:30 with Mike.  I wanted to scout out potential laker areas.  Terrific fishing continues on Cayuga Lake.  Within an hour or so we had landed 4 or 5 lakers to 30", a 23" salmon and 4 solid pickerel - including Mike's 26" 5lb 10oz fish. A pickerel close to 6lbs is a really impressive fish.  

By the end of the day we were into double digits of lakers.  I think we landed 14 or 15 on the day.  A couple more pickerel were also landed.  I've never seen so many lakers in close. We encountered a few two or three years ago.  Last year the bite was pretty solid - memorable but not spectacular.  This year we have 2X to 3X more fish in shallow. 

Lots of lures work.  It's a matter of matching the right tool to the job.  Today my best lure was an alewife colored tube.  Mike did great on an ayu colored swimbait.  He also used his own hair jigs. I had fish hit homemade spinners (including my salmon) and goby colored tubes too. I caught one on a bladebait as well.  We covered various areas over 10 miles or so of lake.  Nearly every place we tried had lakers and/or pickerel.  The lake level is still very good for this time of year.  Surface temps ranged from 40 to 41.

Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 12/23 PM

Guided Ron and his son Matt for a 1/2 day starting at around 11:30 am. It never got much above 35 or 36 degrees today, but with light winds it didn't feel bad out.  The region got pounded with rain on Friday night and large expanses of the lake were muddy/murky with less than 2' of visibility.  Fortunately I'd done my homework over the past two weeks and had some good areas in mind that were unscathed by the weather.  We wound up having a very solid day with 8 lakers landed including one over 30" and another around 28/29". Most ran 22" to 25".  A variety of lures took fish including tube jigs in green pumpkin (basically goby) and alewife, a large stickbait, bladebaits and lastly regular old swimbaits on heavier heads like we use during most of the year. 

We saw one brown trout jump. Lake level remains good - it probably came up a little.  Launching is possible at Myers but expect the lake to drop rapidly.  Taughannock is still the best bet.  Lake temps around creek mouths are at 40. The rest of the lake is around 41-42.

Air temperatures in the 30s and below play havoc with monofilament lines.  I make sure I have 6 to 10 outfits on board due to potential tackle issues.  Lines are also sprayed with line conditioners like "Braid Aid," "Reel Magic" or the KVD stuff.   My schedule remains open throughout the winter.  If you are a hearty soul (to an extent) angling with air temps in the 30s shouldn't pose much of a problem.  Take care of the head, hands and feet and the rest is usually pretty easy.  I like full raingear or a one-piece suit when it's windy out.  That extra protection from the wind really helps make a big difference in my comfort level.  Wind is the key.  We want some to help the bite, but too much with air temps in the low 30s makes for a potentially miserable or at the very least trying day. 

Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 12/21

Guided John and his wife Claudia for a 1/2 day starting at 11:30 am.  We timed the trip's start perfectly - the rain had cleared and the winds had just diminished.  The sun was shining. Nobody was at the launch.  On the way up on Rt. 89 I drove past a pretty nasty collision - a head on accident. Fortunately the road wasn't closed.  The ambulance got there just as I was directed around the car in the middle of the road.  So maybe luck was on our side today.  I felt bad for the unfortunate people involved in the accident - not the way anybody would want to kick off the holiday season.

Fishing went very well.  We had laker action just about everywhere we tried.  John kept a couple.  We had a beautiful 24" chrome brown too - a fish we kept that weighed in at 7lbs 14 oz.  It was a team effort getting that fish.  John wanted to do some casting for pike/pickerel.  The pickerel were very cooperative and 5 very solid ones were landed.  So no complaints on the day.

As I write this we just got hammered with heavy rain. I'd bet we received well over an inch of rain in the past two hours. We didn't get much yesterday and last night.  Water temps are at 42 degrees.  Expect the lake to rise a little bit but not for long.  Cayuga continues to impress.

Cayuga Lake out of Myers Part 12/19 + 12/20

Launched out of Myers with my buddy Mike for two days of spincasting and fly-casting.  We fished a lot of areas on both shorelines and covered quite a few miles of lake.  

On Wednesday we got underway around 11:15 am.  We had solid lake trout action in shallow water.  Most came on jigs of some sort.  I caught one fly-fishing.  We had double digit numbers of fish up to around 31".  Mike landed a 19.5" dropback salmon that was very thin.  It probably hadn't been back in the lake for long.  He dropped a fantastically colored really hard fighting (4+ jumps) brown that was likely in the 6 to 7lb range.  But lakers were the story.  They are all over the place. And they are fighting hard.  People like the way lakers fight when caught vertical jigging as opposed to trolling.  The fish we are catching via casting are fighting at a terrific level.  On more than one occasion we thought we'd hooked large browns or foul hooked lakers only to find just another hard fighting laker on the line.  They are running under the boat, away from the boat and straight down. They don't stop fighting until we get the net under them.  Credit "goby vigor!"

Today we were fishing just after 10:30 am.  We fished completely different areas than yesterday. Still no sign of salmon and I did fish for them quite a bit. No browns either.  But we had another double-digit laker day with around a dozen or more landed and many hits missed.  Solid, chunky fish!  Another day of incredible fights.  I can't imagine that there's better nearshore lake trout fishing going on anywhere else in NY right now.  Mike had a wild 29" fish that gave him all he could handle.  We both have just been shaking our heads in amazement with how strong these fish have been.

Very few boats are out fishing. We saw one other boat out today and one or two out yesterday.  Salmon remain a mystery in Cayuga Lake.  We've run into some in areas all over the lake over the past month, but no great numbers and no consistency.  They just seem to show up all of a sudden, usually later in the winter and certainly by March/April, but it's not what we're used to on these lakes.  Are they just scattered?  Are numbers poor?  Are they deeper or further offshore?  Maybe uplake?  There are millions of gobies all around the entire perimeter of Cayuga Lake.  A salmon could be ANYWHERE in the lake eating them.  Are the massive numbers of big lakers roaming shallow pushing the salmon out deeper or up shallower?  I doubt shallower, but perhaps deeper.  Time will tell, but this nearshore laker fishing is outstanding.  It doesn't get old!  The fish are gorgeous and really give a great accounting of themselves on the end of the line.  Check your knots!

Water temp are around 42/43.  Lake level is low.  Barely launchable at Myers but still doable.  I'm not sure for how much longer, but then again we have upwards of an inch of rain in the forecast tonight. 


Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 12/14, Cayuga Lake 12/15 PM

Guided a half day trip with Bub on Friday out of Watkins Glen targeting pike.  He lives nearby and wanted to see some areas and approaches to pike fishing out of the Glen area. We started just after 8 am.  Nobody was on the lake at that time that we could see.  Pike fishing started out pretty good with Bub hooking a solid fish around 28" to 29".  Unfortunately just before I could net it, the leader segment of flouro broke off (I use 14 to 20lb braid uni-knotted to 20 to 25lb flouro and then around 8" of TyGer Wire that tests 30lbs.)  My fault.  I am pretty vigorous about checking my gear, but sometimes things happen - knots get worn and so forth.  Anyways it didn't take long before he had another fish on that I was able to land.  During the course of the trip he had a few more follows and momentary hookups.  He landed one more.  All came on spoons. I'd say fishing was pretty good - not great but alright.  Both landed pike had some serious lamprey hits.  One of the fish had 4 or 5 marks on it.  When lampreys are hammering pike, you better believe that the trout/salmon are getting it even worse.  Lake level is very good.

After the trip I spent 2 hours targeting salmon via my streamer flies and casting some stickbaits and jigs.  I caught one perch around 11" on a tube jig and that was it. No signs of salmon - no splashes/surfaces, hits or follows.  Conditions were not great for salmon fishing but they weren't terrible.  I also didn't get a chance to fish very thoroughly, so I'm not writing off the salmon fishing here yet this winter by any means but after the tough winter fishing over the past few years I obviously wasn't encouraged.   I will be back here to give it another try for salmon and will bring perch and pike gear too.  Water temps were around 43 degrees if I remember right.

Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 12/15 PM:  Met my buddy Todd here just after noon. The original plan was to fish out of Long Point but I had to get a minor tail light bug fixed on my boat trailer in order to pass inspection so I left my rig over at Fletcher's Trailer Service last night.  The goal today was to try and figure out more winter laker areas and get a feel for the numbers of fish moving shallow and so on.  Of course I also want to see what these crazy salmon are up to.  We encountered good numbers of lakers in areas.  We each landed one and lost some.  We also had a lot of hits and follows.  I continued my "tackle bug" issues and managed to break off two solid fish, although one was likely a bite-off from a big pickerel or pike.  

Shallow lakers are real fighters. They are deceptively good fighters.  They aren't going to peel major line off your reel but if you are used to catching bass, smaller salmon and browns you need to gear up for fish averaging 3 to 8lbs.  They have bony mouths and are tough to hook.  They also shake their heads a lot and tend to roll and twist on the line if you don't keep some pressure on them.  We have dropped and missed a bunch of lakers over the past couple months.  Keep your hooks sharp and check and re-check knots throughout the day!

Cayuga Lake's fisheries - both warm and cold water, continue to evolve in the face of the goby explosion.  One notable change is that pickerel populations continue to spread along the perimeter of the lake.  There have been some around since I can remember but I have to believe that there are more now. Numbers of lakers in shallow - say 20' of water and less are substantial.  A lot are also in less than 100' FOW.  How many fish remain in the vast deeps of this lake remains a mystery.  These gobies are clearly a major gamechanger.  We have not seen all the ramifications of this invasion yet.  Stay tuned!


Cayuga Lake 12/2, 12/3

12/2:  Launched out of Long Point today with Suresh and Lars, both Cornell Fisheries experts.  Today wasn't a guide trip per se, I met the guys a few weeks ago at an American Fisheries Society Meeting and we were looking to procure some lake trout for studies Suresh is doing.  Suresh wanted a variety of different sized fish - I though that Long Point might produce some bigger specimens than say Myers Point. 

Conditions were pretty nasty when we launched at around 10:45 am.  We had strong winds out of the south and some storms coming through.  The guys were prepared with commercial fishing rain-gear (Grundens.)  We worked a few different depths and found some lakers deep. We also hooked fish shallow.  A lot of dropped fish were the order of the day for all of us, especially yours truly.  We managed to get three nice lakers up to around 30"  (and a pickerel - yes we fished shallow) onboard.  I dropped a small salmon that was maybe 16" to 17" long too. We lost some good lakers both deep and shallow. 

Suresh really knows his gobies and was able to give me some great oral and written information on them which will help my guiding out a lot.  Lars is a wealth of information too and it was a real pleasure being able to ask questions of bona fide experts.

12/3:  Launched out of Myers today at 9 am with my buddy Mike.  I hadn't fished with Mike since early May targeting salmon and browns so I was glad to see him today.  We had laker stuff as well as fly-gear in tow.  I wanted to get Suresh another 7 lakers so he would have enough fish for his project.  We also checked on pike/pickerel fishing today.  Laker action was excellent once we found them and figured out a good way to catch them.  We landed 8 solid fish with Mike taking one and the rest going towards research. Fish ran to 29".  Pike and pickerel fly-fishing was excellent as well.  We had maybe 90 minutes to fly-fish them before it got dark (and windy!) out there.  We landed some solid pickerel up to around 5lbs and a couple nice northerns up to over 30" on flies.  8 weight type 6 sinking lines (full sink) and deceivers did the trick for us. We had some great fighting fish!  Fun day.

Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 11/25

Launched out of Taughannock again for a half day trip today targeting trout/salmon.  The lake level is dropping but folks are still able to launch at Myers and elsewhere.  Given that today was forecast to be the "good day" of the week, I was surprised to see only one other trailer in the launch when I arrived to meet Chris and his dad Bill just before 8 am.  We got underway around 8:15 and worked four different areas (zones if you will without trying to sound too pretentious.)   

We had zero signs of fish in our first area.  Area 2 produced our first hits and the guys saw what to expect and what they needed to do.  Chris was fly-casting a full sinking line with one of my buddy's sculpin patterns.  Bill was casting stickbaits and tube jigs.  The third area proved to be paydirt and we got into some fish.  The gear really shined today.  Conditions were somewhat calm and that tends to get the lakers hanging near the bottom.  Yesterday's wind resulted in lakers really chasing the moving baits - today they were more locked in on the jigs, which made fly-fishing difficult for Chris.  Bill lost a few fish and had various hits but he managed to land three solid lakers, one of which was a real beauty and wound up tying his personal best (or perhaps beating it by 1/2".)  It was a 30 +1/2"er which put up a great fight on the medium spinning tackle.  Bill also broke off a big pickerel that bit off his tube.  Chris managed to catch it (or a different one) a bit later - a solid 24" to 25" fish.  We tried another area and fish were dropped there. 

Bill has more history on the lake than anyone I've met.  His dad and grandparents (if I remember right) fished the lake going back to the 1940s!  So I was able to receive some clarification on the names of certain spots and some history on the area and the fishing, which was cool.

After the trip I fished for around 2 hours on my own.  The wind had died and fishing was slow for what I wanted to do but I did manage to scout a few areas out and field test a new rod of mine.  I caught one smallmouth bass around 12" which was a good sign. I am gradually seeing more smallmouths and more northerns on this lake than I had encountered over the past few years.  When I got back to Taughannock Park quite a few people and boat trailers were in the lot.  

Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 11/24 AM

Got out for what wound up being an abbreviated half day with Josh and his dad Frank.  Frank wanted to get off the water before he froze and before the rain came. Things worked out really well.  We were underway just before 9 am.   The guys got into some lake trout while casting tubes and stickbaits in fairly short order in our first area.  Our second area did not produce any action. Our third area resulted in Frank nabbing a chrome landlocked salmon around 23" long and fat.  Josh caught and released two nice pike - one which was really nice, a 35" thick bodied fish that thankfully didn't bite off the stickbait intended for salmon/lakers.  Frank also dropped another salmon that was around 20".  Great AM.  It was cold but we were comfortable and we were off the water before the rain hit.  It was windy too!  Lake level is dropping. Calm areas did ice up a bit - like Cayuga inlet.  Surface temps are at 46 degrees now.

Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 11/17

Met Rob and Jeremy at Taughannock for a mid-AM half day. We had some terrific fishing today with good laker action in shallow then some excellent pike fishing too.  Lakers came on tube jigs, hair jigs and stickbaits.  Four nice fish were landed and a couple dropped/missed.  One small salmon was also caught and released.  Pike fishing resulted in 7 solid northerns to 34" all released as well.  Lakers were kept and they were loaded with gobies including a fair number of small gobies.  We saw quite a few bass today in shallow as well but they were pretty lethargic.  We marked a ton of alewives out around 120' to 140'.  It was loaded with bait out there.   Water levels remain good (surprisingly - obviously due solely to the rain, since the DOT seems to like to lower the heck out of this lake around this time of year.)  Water temps on top were 48/49.  It is salmon time!  

It has been very comfortable fishing out in 35 to 37 degree air temps.  If you make sure to bring a warm hat, footware and gloves you're 75% of the way there to warmth.  If it's windy, wear full raingear and the wind won't cut through.  Have some long underwear and a few layers and you're good to go.

Seneca Lake 11/12, Owasco Lake 11/13

The air temperature was cold out there for the past couple days.  The fishing has been hot.  Take care of yourself from head to toe - i.e. wear plenty of layers, a warm hat, gloves and winter boots and it can be comfortable in 30 to 40 degree air.  

Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 11/12:  Guided Jeff and Jake for a full day starting around 8 am. It was cold to start!  The guys both fly-fish but Jeff was adamant about catching one on the fly.  So much so, that he kept fly fishing after Jake landed 5 on gear.  Jeff finally switched over to gear and got a couple northerns in the boat, then he went back to the flies. His perseverence paid off and he nabbed a 33" solid pike and one around 27" or so on an intermediate fly line.  We had a few salmon follow.  Some are around and I hope to check on this lake's salmon fly-fishing action soon. Water temps should be good for it by the start of next week.  Pike generally looked good.  We had a couple at 33" and another 8 or 9 from around 23" to 30".  Most were 27" to 28".   

We saw a dead rainbow trout.  We didn't look too carefully at it (it was fairly deteriorated) but we could see at least one lamprey scar.  50% to 75% of the pike are sporting at least one and sometimes 2 to 3 lamprey wounds.  No need for conspiracy theories on Seneca Lake regarding salinity, winery run-off or other mysterious pollutants.  One good look at the fish reveals the most likely culprit - lampreys.  One adult lamprey can kill 20 to 30 POUNDS worth of trout/salmon in its short lifetime (12 to 18 months in the lake.)  By that token, 1000 adult lampreys could kill 20,000 pounds of fish.  Given that the average trout/salmon in Seneca Lake is probably 2 to 4lbs, that would account for 5,000 to 10,000 adult trout being consumed.  I have no idea how many adult lamprey were in Seneca Lake over the past 3 years.  It's probably a lot more than 1000.  Maybe thousands.  How many adult trout are typically in the lake?   Do the math and you'll see why there hasn't been much of a salmonid fishery in the lake over the past couple years. Things should turn around soon with successful treatments being done this past spring.

Owasco Lake 11/13:  Winter weather advisory.  100% chance of rain and snow.  Highs in the upper 30s.  I can't say I was excited to do this trip apart from wondering how I would fare.  I used to boat fish this stuff quite a bit in the 2000s but a funny thing happened to me. I got older.  That being said, we used to have some great fall fishing out in cold weather, especially on Skaneateles Lake.  Anyways, Nathan and his brother Chris were psyched to do the trip so how could I refuse.  It's my job.

Everything actually went very smoothly.  My hands were a little cold here and there (I did bring gloves.) The guys did great in the weather.  It was a similar situation to yesterday, with Nate doing the fly-casting and Chris throwing gear.  Both guys had a pretty equal amount of action but Nate missed a lot more fish on the flies.  It happens - while stripping line your hands get cold or you don't get a good grip on the line with gloves and it slips out during a crucial moment.  He did catch the biggest I think - and it was on a fly.  I think it was around 31" to 32".  He lost what appeared to be a really good one too - I'm guessing mid-30s from the fight.  He nabbed a big perch that was at least 12" on the fly.  The guys both hooked nice big smallmouths on jerkbaits and Nate got his in - an 18.5"er.  Seven nice pike were landed on the day and we had a lot more chasing and hitting.  Fun day despite being pelted with some freezing rain on the way back in.  Water level is low but launchable.  Water temps are 49 to 50.  Needless to say, we were the only boat out on the lake.

Bass Pro Shops:  What happened over there?  I hadn't been there in a few months.  The rod selection was greatly reduced.  I didn't see the usual G.Loomis, Quantum, Diawa and some other major brands.  Maybe I just missed them.  The fly shop inventory was way down too.  It didn't feel like being in a Bass Pro Shops.  I saw more rods at Field and Stream in Big Flats than I did here.  Hopefully this was just an anomaly.  Other departments looked like normal from my quick walk around the store, but c'mon - Bass Pro Shops is a FISHING store.  I expect a top-notch selection of fishing tackle here.





Cayuga Lake out of Myers 11/8, Skaneateles Lake 11/9 AM

I figured guiding would slow down now but I actually have a pretty full week of trips ahead. I can't blame anybody, November fishing can be fantastic.   

Cayuga Lake out of Myers 11/8:  Guided Scott and his wife Galina for a 6 hour day.  I generally either do 1/2s or fulls but we each had committments in the afternoon and they had one in the AM too, so it was the best we could do.  They are both accomplished fly-fishers and casters so that's what we did all day long. Conditions were pretty good for pike fishing.  Galina started things off by having some follows (including a group of nice smallmouths, which is good to see these days on Cayuga) and dropping a pike or pickerel. Scott landed the first fish which was a solid 18.5" smallmouth bass - a great fish on the fly. He then nabbed a 25" (citation sized) pickerel and two nice pike running 29" and 31" if I remember right.  We tried a few different flies and Galina (who is an excellent caster as well) caught her first pickerel then a decent pike.  A few other hits/follows were had on the day. We also saw a few good pike swimming around down in the weeds.

Skaneateles Lake 11/9:  Instead of cancelling or postponing our trip due to the weather today, we took a wait 'n see approach.  The hourly forecast was for light winds, clouds and no rain until around 11 am or later.  It proved to be correct and Kevin and Drew had a great morning of fishing, mainly casting hair jigs and tubes.  The guys didn't want any fish to keep so they gave me their perch. I wound up with around 25 keepers running 9" to 13" or so.  Around 15 perch were released as well as three hard fighting lake trout (running 14" to 21") and 8 to 10 smallmouths (up to over 18".)  Great November mixed bag action. 

The weather people were right - by 11 am the wind and snow came whipping in.  It was cold out but we all had a great time and were very comfortable.  "When in doubt, go out!" (Except in life threatening conditions I should add!)  Water temps are still warmer than usual for this time of year - I had 53.  I usually don't see good rainbow action until maybe 51 or below, though they are in the nearshore areas now. The colder the lake gets, the more consistent the trout bite.  Hopefully the launch will stay open for a week or two yet.  We'll see.

Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 11/7 AM

Did a 1/2 day trip with Derrick and Adam targeting pike.  Derrick was out with me around 6 to 8 weeks ago (fishing with his son) and we had very tough conditions on Cayuga Lake with tough pickerel fishing and nearly impossible lake trout to contend with. Winds were brutal.  It was good to have him on board for some redemption. It was a little of a roll of the dice today but fortunately the guys had some good fishing despite not being able to get into town until almost 8:30 am.  So we were not going to be able to hit the AM bite, but it didn't matter.  A half dozen solid pike were landed including a 35"er and a 31" and 30".  All were well proportioned thick fish.  Fortunately for us the conditions were good and we didn't have any problems with the heavy winds forecasted for later in the day. We were off the water by 12:15 pm so the guys could make their long drive back home. Fun day.  Lake levels were good. Water temps in the low 50s.  Colors are still nice out there, though many leaves have fallen.

Skaneateles Lake 11/2 PM

Got out here on my own for just under 4 hours.  I had a lot of fun catching smallmouth bass including my personal best over here, a 21"er that weighed 4lbs 11oz.  I released everything today apart from 4 solid perch.  I had around a dozen smallmouth total and around that many rockbass.  My slob smallmouth came on a Silver Buddy.  I also caught fish dropshotting and on hair jigs.  Water temperatures here are around 54 - 56 degrees.  Rainbows are starting to move in (they tend to like 56 degree water while salmon and lakers tend to move in when temps are closer to 50 and below.)  

Docks were pulled out which is unfortunate.  Usually they aren't removed here until the 2nd week in November.  At least that's been my observation.  So you'll want to either power load or bring waders.  Having a long bow line helps as does a good sense of balance on the dock structures.  Light winds also help.  Strong winds could really damage a boat here.

Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 10/31

Went out of Watkins Glen for a full day of fishing with my buddy Terry. We started at around 8:45 am and wrapped up at 4:15.  Pike fishing was very good.  We had some terrific action to start with Terry landing fish on his first two casts.  I had a "hook 'em and drop 'em" day today for the most part.  I landed a few but lost a bunch. Just an off day but I had a great time. We wound up landing around a dozen or more pike.  We also did some dropshotting and we caught perch and smallmouth bass. 

Pike bit on stickbaits, swimbaits and spoons.  The condition of the pike in the southern portions of the lake was better than what I've seen up north. They are clearly finding more to eat for whatever reason.  A lot of alewives were in close proximity to the pike areas.  No sign of any gobies yet in this lake which is pretty remarkable given how many are in Cayuga and that the lakes are connected.  Most pike had signs of lamprey attacks, though the wounds for the most part didn't look very fresh.  Lampreys have done more to damage Seneca Lake's fishery over the past 3 or 4 years than anything else.  Weedgrowth is still pretty lush - it looks more like early October out there than late October/early November.  Water temps are around 56 to 58.  It's still warm.   

Seneca Lake out of Sampson State Park 10/28

Guided a half day trip with Rob and Chloe targeting pike. Despite the light rain and cold temps this morning at 8 am when we met at the park, the weather moderated and it turned into a very pleasant day on the lake.  Fishing was very good today - they managed to land 12 solid pike and one hybrid pike/pickerel - a "pikeral" if you will that Chloe caught.  Gorgeous fish!  Sizes were the same as we've seen all fall - 24" to 28", but fairly solid fish.  Rob caught one while fly-fishing on a type 6 full sinking line.  Kept fish had banded killifish and one yellow perch in their stomachs but not much else.  No alewives, which was surprising.  We tried a half hour of laker jigging off the park and Rob had one hit.  I marked some lakers but not a whole lot - not as many as I was seeing in the area at this time last year, though that doesn't signify anything.  


Seneca Lake out of Sampson State Park 10/25, 26 PM

Looks like some improvements are finally going to made at the Sampson State Park Marina and waterfront.  It's been 60 years since anything significant was done here. Crews are moving boulders in as well as other materials.  A barge is in the marina along with some other heavy equipment.  Launching is not impeded.

10/25:  Guided Mark I. here for a full day starting around 10 am and fishing until just past 6 pm. The wind has been atrocious here over my last couple trips.  Mark loves to fly-fish and he gave it a good shot but it was hard making good presentations, and he is a top-notch caster.  Gear fishing resulted in 7 solid pike being landed and 3 lost.  It was cold and windy out there with temps running from 39 to about 43.  Tough fishing conditions but beautiful out on the lake.

10/26 PM:  Met the Hermans here at 1:30 pm and we fished til about 4:30.  Pike fishing was fantastic.  Conditions were the best I've seen here this fall (on days I've been out.)  They hammered the pike, landing 25 northerns up to 29" and one bonus largemouth bass.  Spectacular action!  It was a trip that won't be forgotten - one very reminiscent of a great trip we had together back in October of 2008.  Water temps are at 56 degrees. Spoons and swimbaits worked well.  

Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 10/23 AM

Guided Ray and his son in-law Brooks for 1/2 day starting at around 8:45 am. Monday was supposed to be the nice sunny day (good for laker jigging this time of year) and Tuesday was forecast to be rainy and overcast but fortunately the opposite came true. I couldn't guide yesterday due to an appointment, so I'm glad everything worked for the better.

I was cautiously optimistic about our chances for a good laker day today.  We made a good run north and worked our way back down the lake.  Fish are deep on Cayuga.  Lake trout temps were from 120' on out.  It's no wonder that shore anglers at Taughannock haven't been doing well on lake trout - they are deep and may be well out of casting range.  Fishing was very good today with Brooks having the hot hand.  Six legal fish were landed on the day - one 16" dink and one 29" solid bookended the catch.  Most fish were 24" to 26" and well-fed.  Alewives remain the primary diet of lakers on Cayuga Lake in October.  I expect to see some gobies come November.  Water temps were 56 degrees all the way down to at least 75' FOW or more.  The lake is gradually becoming homothermal.  The thermocline is weak and deep.

As an aside, I had my fishing class over to the Watkins Pier today.  One student hooked and lost a pike around 24".  No sign of perch. A few small smallmouths were around. Taughannock shorefishing is producing a few salmon/trout.  Perch are in around the marina and perimeter of the lake.  A fair number of negative (not too into feeding) trout are cruising the lake shore.  A little chop and arriving early may get some of these fish to hit for shore anglers.  Some fish are in the creeks too.

Seneca Lake out of Sampson State Park 10/19, 20

Guided two full days in a row here with long time clients.  Pike fishing is good to downright excellent. Some pike are in good condition whereas others are skinny.  The thin fish look healthy otherwise (no weird slime or sores - just thin.)  Alewives are starting to move in and this along with rapidly cooling water temperatures will get the pike active and feeding. Their condition should improve quickly.

10/19:  Guided Gordon for the full day starting around 10 am. It was rough out there with strong south winds and plenty of waves and whitecaps.  Not good for the fly-fishing Gordon wanted to do but he gave it a good shot.  Gear fishing resulted in 9 pike ranging from around 22" to 29".  Fun day but windy.

10/20:  Guided Tony and Pete starting at 8:30 am. I had an idea of what was going on here after the full day with Gordon.  We worked a bunch of areas from the north end of the lake down to below Sampson.  Most areas produced.  The guys had some great fishing with around 4 doubles hooked.  24 nice pike to 29" and one solid pickerel at 22" were landed - all on spoons (the pattern I use originated with Tony!)  The weather wasn't nearly as bad as forecast.  It was raining when we arrive at 8 am and it started raining again as we were leaving the parking lot, but no rain while we were fishing.  Fish are well distributed.  Let's hope this fishery keeps going.  We tried around 20 minutes to 1/2 hour of laker jigging and I spent some time searching with electronics.  I did not mark many fish although I did mark a few.  No luck there. 

Owasco Lake 10/18 PM

Guided Dan (Dapper) and Angela for a 1/2 day trip targeting lake trout, with Dan's brother Steve and their father Dave tagging along in their boat.  They are up here for a few days and this was the only day we could do the trip.  Lakers in the fall after a strong cold front can be very negative and the guys (and gal) knew this going into the trip.  Winds were forecast to be 9 to 14 mph out of the NW with some higher gusts and we had highs around 41 or 42 -  yes it was cold out there.  Fortunately the winds stayed down a bit and the sun shone for much of the day.  The fishing was tough.  Dan landed an 18.5" laker that we released. It was Angela's first time out jigging and she had a few hits including three in a row (two hooked up) on consecutive drops.  Dave lost two as well.  So we had some opportunities but not many.  Tough day but beautiful out there.  Surface temps are around 61 degrees.  

Skaneateles Lake 10/14 PM

Got out here on my own after an unexpected "cancellation."  I was on the water by 2 pm. It was nice seeing boats and jet skiis being taken away for the season by their owners.  The lake will pretty much just be a fishing lake over the next 6 months - just the way I like it.  I decided to try an area or two for walleyes - just to see if I could nab one, then I went looking for rockbass and maybe a smallmouth or two for the table.  A September/October dropshot fest for rockies and bass is becoming a favorite thing of mine to do over here. After 8 hours around Chaumont/Lake Ontario having maybe 7 or 8 hits from bass (albeit BIG bass) it felt good to get over here and at times literally have a hit EVERY CAST!   Yes, the bass/rockbass fishing was that good.

Things went pretty much as planned.  I had to fish deeper than I was hoping for bass.  I worked 10' to 35' FOW with a dropshot rig and did very well.  I landed around 20 smallmouths and probably as many rockbass today including some nice ones.  Most bass were over 12" but not much over.  I had a few in the 15" range and one or two around 16".  I had a hit on my dropshot and felt a decent fish on the line.  It looked like perhaps I had foulhooked a sucker.  It was white like a trout but had zero silver on it.  Yep - it was a walleye.  A 17.5" one.  I wasn't sure what the regs were over here - was it only 18" on Conesus and Owasco/Otisco or throughout the FLs?   So I called my buddy Terry who was at work.  He looked it up and yes, it was 18" for all the FLs except Honeoye.  What a shame!  I had to release a fish that was progeny of illegally introduced walleyes.  That fish could live to over 25 years old and devour countless rainbow trout and landlocked salmon.  Oh well.  Hopefully DEC will come forward with some regs on Skaneateles Lake to show that illegal introductions do not result in protection.  It didn't matter - about 5 minutes later I had another walleye - this one was around 19 1/2" long!  Straight to the frying pan it will go.  So yes, there are likely a lot of walleyes here.  I haven't seen the usual walleye crowd show up (i.e. fat guys in Lunds ;-)  but they will be here soon I am sure.  Trollers I talked to mentioned taking 4 walleyes this summer while trolling for lakers/rainbows including a 5lber.   Water temps here are ridiculously warm for this time of year - still around 65.  Don't expect much nearshore trout fishing for another couple weeks.


Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 10/13

Guided Todd and his father Stan for a 1/2 day. While waiting for lake trout conditions to improve we started with some casting for pike/pickerel.  I was eager to see how this esocid fishing was shaping up on Cayuga Lake this year, since I haven't fished here for northerns in around 2 years.  The guys got into some good pickerel right away but only one was landed - a nice 23"er. One nice one threw the hook on a jump.  Three pike were landed as well - a 24", 29" and 30".  Solid fish that all looked good. I expect some good pike fishing here over the next few years.  We had high water during the spring of 2017 and that usually results in some successful pike spawning here.

Lake trout fishing wasn't easy from the get-go but they didn't disappoint on the day.  The guys landed 3 nice lakers and lost/missed one or two. One fish was a mostly spawned-out male; another was a still yet-to-spawn female.  Mother nature usually doesn't put all of her eggs in one basket and fish spawn at various times in varying places.  Lake surface temperatures were around 63/64.  Water level is still excellent.

Lake Ontario out of Point Penninsula 10/10

Got a chance to launch over at the relatively new Isthmus launch yesterday with Terry around 10:30 am.  It's a great location for a boat launch and it's a top notch launch - like nearly all the state launches around the eastern Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence region.  I generally enjoy fishing up here - it's where my buddy Mike landed a 7lb. 1oz smallmouth bass in October,  7 years ago, but it is a long trek (2 1/2 hours) that requires me to drive past a couple Finger Lakes, Onondaga Lake, Oneida Lake and other ports like Oswego and Stony Creek.  The wind always seems to blow up here in the AM (like the Finger Lakes) and there are some massive shoals and boulders to watch out for.  That being said, this area also has potential for state record smallmouth bass.

Smallmouth fishing in Lake Ontario is now mainly a size fishery as opposed to numbers.  Terry and I fished the lake on virtually a weekly basis at times during the late 1990s/early 2000s and it wasn't uncommon to land 30 to 40 fish in a day per person!  A 100 fish day wasn't out of the question and there were numerous areas where numbers of nice 11" to 16" smallmouths could be caught with regularity. 17" fish were around but 18" (and over) fish were scarce.  The smallmouth fishing now is about 5% to 10% of what it once was.  You can fish beautiful shoals and boulders for hours and not encounter a single fish.  Most pros would be struggling if not for their electronics - guys spend hours searching around for marks and then drop-shotting to the marks. Top fishing often requires long runs to islands and other areas infrequented by casual anglers.  Lake Ontario has not produced a strong year class of smallmouth bass in well over a decade despite favorable winter/spring conditions.  I'm guessing it is due to goby predation.  The key is that the few fish that survive can grow to massive proportions with all of the gobies around!

We had a fun day.  Within an hour or two of fishing I landed my biggest smallmouth to date - a fish that was likely 5 1/2 to maybe 6lbs.  I should have weighed it, but it was 20 1/2" long and very fat.  I nabbed a couple more in the 17" range.  Terry nailed one or two as well but had some tackle malfunctions on the day.  We tried another area and caught some smaller fish in the 15" range.  A third area yielded a few hookups.  We also fished a lot of areas without any hits.  So around a dozen or so hookups today and around 7 or 8 fish landed on tubes and dropshot rigs.  No luck on the Ned rig or jerkbaits.   Water temps were around 63 to 64 on top.  Lake level is dropping and was probably a foot down from summer peak levels.  Foliage up along 81 around the Crescent was in peak form.


Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 10/8

Guided Tom, his brother Frank and friend Jeff today for a full day.  It's always a great time with these guys and the 8 hour plus trip felt like about 3 hours.  Action was slow to start in the northern portions of the lake so we ran south.  As skies began clearing after the cloudy foggy morning our action picked up markedly.  Some good fish were dropped but over a dozen lakers and one small salmon were landed today. Lakers were all younger non-spawners ranging from 20" to 27" long.  Nice clean fish for the most part and they all had some alewives in their stomachs.  Best fishing was from 75' to 120' FOW.  Gorgeous day out there.  Fall foliage is still about two weeks away from peaking.  It still looks awesome outside and the air temps have made for very enjoyable angling.  Surface temps remain around 65 degrees.

Owasco Lake 10/7

Guided Ron for around 6 hours today starting just after 7:30 am.  Conditions were misty, foggy and overcast this AM.  The amount of bait available for fish to eat in this lake is impressive.  We marked vast schools of alewives and most were right under the surface of the lake in the morning. Ron had some hits and managed to land a couple lake trout in the 19" to 22" range.  We tried a bunch of areas and marked a lot of lakers but they just weren't very active. Another 22"er came to the net.  Overall a somewhat slow day, most likely due to the conditions. Fish came from 65' to 85'.  I expect some excellent fishing here on the right days this fall.  A lot of good fish are around. Surface temps were 65 degrees.

Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 10/5, 6

Fishing in general remains very good on Cayuga Lake for lake trout, but as is always the case - especially in the fall, the weather is the key factor in angling success.

10/5:  Guided Steve and Simon for a full day.  Our start time was supposed to be at 8, but the guys accidentally went to Myers and then on the way to Long Point Steve's trusty older car started acting up.  He "babied" it to Long Point where it basically needed a tow later. We started just after 9 am with a hot bite.  Simon nabbed a nice 27" laker on his first drop! Another 3 were landed and some fish lost.  Then the bite slowed until we took a run downlake.  Towards the last 2 hours of the trip the fishing picked up a lot and the guys wound up with 12 fish total on the day.  It was a fun day and we all had a good time.

10/6 AM:  Started the day at 7:30 am with Derek and his 11 year old son Phillip. The goal was to get some action in for Phil, who has recently taken an interest in fishing. We ran up to the northern part of the lake in search of pickerel.  Quite a few boats were up there, primarily bass and perhaps perch fishing.  Water temps are still warm at 65 degrees.  The pickerel were not super-cooperative.  Phil had a couple fish on but they got off.  Derek managed a 22" pickerel that was pretty skinny.  We tried another area, since we ran into a lot of muddy water but it didn't pay off.  By this time, the lake was getting rough with good southerly winds around 12 to 15 mph by my estimation.  We tried lake trout fishing but with the rain and heavy chop we couldn't get anything going.  Tough day but the guys learned some things and really got good with their casting.  The guys were up here from Washington DC and hopefully we'll get another shot and they will be able to see how great Cayuga Lake can be.

My PM trip was with longtime client Ron.  We ran south and sure enough, the wind started dying and the weather cleared up a bit.  Ron landed a small salmon to start.  I am seeing some decent numbers of 14" salmon, so I think 2019 will be another solid year for my favorite fish.  Ron's next fish was a big laker around 30".  It just stayed on bottom and Ron thought he was snagged for a few seconds - it sure looked like it!  After that Ron thought he had another small salmon (they were around and active) but all hell broke loose with a wild fight and some serious runs and jumps.  He landed a 27" rainbow!  First one I've seen in a long time.  For some reason we didn't encounter many rainbows jigging this year - nowhere's near what we had last year.  I know they are out there with the low lamprey numbers and good returns last year.  The fish's air bladder actually had expanded a bit and we had trouble releasing it.  I couldn't figure out what was going on since we didn't injure the fish in terms of the hook.  Once we burped it, we were able to release it.  Hopefully it survived.  I hadn't encountered any rainbows with the bends before.  But now I know what to check for if the fish stays on the surface after the release.  Another laker or two was landed and we wrapped up.  All fish let go.  


Onondaga Lake 10/3

Got out with Terry starting at around 10:30 am. We fished til around 6:15 pm.  Bass action was a little slow for us to start but we wound up putting together a couple of patterns.  We caught some of the nicest bass we've seen here all season so far.  I started things off with an 18"+ chunky largemouth that had to go 4lbs.  Terry then nabbed a good smallmouth.  We ran into a few concentrations of fish and wound up landing 12 or 13 solid bass between us with nothing under 15" and a few around 18".  Fish came on Superflukes, Tube Jigs, Spinnerbaits, Topwater and Lipless Cranks (Rat-L-Trap.)  Terry had around 7 or 8 bass with his top 5 probably weighing between 17 to 18lbs total, which includes a chunky 18"+ smallie.  I had around 14 to 15lbs for 5.  I also landed a 34" Tiger Musky that hit a Superfluke and a few perch on tubes including a 14.5" beauty.

Water temps were around 65/66 degrees and the water clarity was good despite recent heavy rains.  We saw a huge musky today and probably saw another 3 to 4 fish plowing though the water with their heads out (like the Tigers do elsewhere.)  I dropped a fish on a tube jig that was likely a nice musky from the short surging battle I got before it became unbuttoned.  It was a fun day with some great variety of fish and tactics used out there.  It's nice having the boat/trolling motor issues ironed out.  

Seneca Lake out of Sampson State Park 9/30 PM

I hadn't been out on Seneca Lake in awhile, so I figured I'd check it out.  My trolling motor issues and boat issues are taken care of for now.  I wasn't able to fish much at all in September on my own.  The dog show was going on at Sampson.  That's probably the busiest the park gets these days.  I never saw another boat out on the water.  The lake looked very good with lush weed growth and clear water.

Conditions were not good for what I wanted to do - check on lakers.  I tried a few areas and marked some fish but had zero hits.  A lot of bait was also around.   I have some pike/pickerel trips coming up so I brought my tackle for those and fished various rods just to make sure everything was in tip-top shape.  I feel that the best fall pike fishing in the Finger Lakes starts when surface temps get around 62 and continue downwards.  Water temps from the mid-40s through the 50s make for fun pike fishing with aggressive fish. Temps from the low thirties into the 40s are also prime for fly-fishing - large pike are active and the weeds are down or downright gone for the most part.  I had 66 on Seneca.  Weeds are still up a bit.  Seneca Lake has enough northerns in it to make pike fishing a good bet even when water temps aren't optimal. I had some good pike action with spoons today.  I went 3 for 5 in around 2 hours - my fish all came within the first hour.  The three fish I landed were all from different age groups - I had a 29", 27" and 23.5".   I missed a hard hit and momentary hookup and another one that hit closer to the boat.  Fish were a little thin - most likey due to summer stress and the warm water "slowdown."  They did not appear to be diseased.   These fish will (or at least should) gain weight once alewives start moving in.  The 27" fish had some lamprey scars as well.

Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 9/28

Guided Mark I. for the full day starting at 8:30 am.  Cloudy conditions slowed the lake trout bite a bit in the AM.  Mark had a hold of a solid salmon in the 4lbs+ range when it hit his jig on the descent and starting jumping 70' or further away from the boat.  It was unforgettable! Laker action had its moments.  Mark wound up landing around 8 nice clean fish - most in the 22" to 24" range but one wild fish just over 27".  Lake temps are cooling down - we now have surface temps in the upper 60s.  They should continue to cool rapidly with what I'm seeing in the forecast over the next 10 days.

Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 9/24 AM

Had a terrific half day of fishing with Dean, Scott and Scott's son Aidan.  If you're in the Philly area check out Dean's distillery - Rowhouse Spirits.  I always have a great time fishing with these guys, going back to when we pulled the heavy woman out of Cayuga Lake by the girl scout camp around 8 or 9 years ago and beyond.  We were out sans trolling motor today and it didn't hurt us a bit.  We had great jigging from the start at 7:45 am and fish hit steadily until we left at around 12:15 pm running back through heavy whitecaps and 2' to 3' waves.  Around 24 lakers were landed including a few around 28" to 29" and one over 30".  We had maybe 5 wild fish in the mix today and they fought well.  Lampreys remain fairly non-existent.   

Owasco Lake 9/23 AM

Did a 1/2 day AM trip starting at 7:30 with Greg and his friend Mike.  We had an eventful day with some decent laker jigging.  The guys nabbed 4 nice lakers to 26" and Mike nailed a bonus 26" walleye in around 65' FOW.  The 'eye hit as he was dropping his jig.  That's the first walleye we've caught while vertically jigging for lake trout.  I'm somewhat surprised by that - I would think we would encounter more in Owasco.  Even when the lake was being stocked heavily with walleyes, we never caught them.  I know of a couple that were jigged with spoons by anglers targeting lakers. Anyways the fish was chunky around the head and then a bit thin.  Probably in the 5lb range.  It looked like an old fish.  DEC has not documented any successful natural reproduction of walleyes here over the past couple decades.  Smelt and alewife populations are the reason.  They are efficient predators of walleye fry.

A lot of bait is around and we marked a lot of negative/neutral lakers.  They probably would've hit better later in the day but we were off the water around 12:15 pm.  There's no shortage of baitfish on this lake and I expect it to fish like a small version of Cayuga - i.e. good!   Surface temps were 72 degrees.

Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 9/22 AM

Guided Andrew and his young (9 year old) son Harris for a 1/2 day starting at 8 am. With the gusty winds yesterday and the major front that rolled in afterwards I was leary of the "5 to 10 MPH North Winds" forecast with sunny conditions that I saw on a couple weather websites.  I was right - sure enough the winds were gusting into the low teens this AM and it was cloudy out. I had delayed our start time, but evidently not enough.  It wasn't great conditions for post-frontal lakers.  We perservered and after not much action for 3 hours (other than 2 hits by Andrew), Harris hooked up.  Paydirt!  But as the leader approached the rod, the fish got off.  :-(   So Harris was disappointed.  The weather was getting sunny and the winds were diminishing so his hookup was not a fluke. Harris wound up landing his first and second lake trout in short order afterwards - both 23"+ males.  So this 9 year old will be feeding his family tonight.  Had we started the trip around noon, we likely would have seen a lot more action, but hindsight is 20/20 as the saying goes.  Timing is everything when it comes to fall lakers on Cayuga Lake (and elsewhere.)

I wound up having an issue with my trusty old Motorguide Trolling Motor.  My backup is at Barrett Marine and is worn out. So back out to Silver Lake Marine this Tuesday and I'll be getting a brand new Minn-Kota Terrova put on.  I would be tempted to try the new Motor-Guide with the spot-lock feature, but SLM happened to have a Terrova in stock and I need it NOW!  B.O.A.T. = Break out another thousand - in my case it's been about 15,000 in the last 3 weeks.  Fun, fun, fun....

Owasco Lake out of South Shore Marina 9/21 AM

The wind forecasts today were looking downright brutal. Mike had an AM 1/2 day trip scheduled out of Taughannock and he couldn't switch it.  I used to do places like Hammondsport when strong south winds were forecast but the hotel isn't allowing launching there any more. Cayuga's south end doesn't offer a whole lot of options, so off to Owasco we went.  It was a very good call and we wound up having a very nice day.  The rabbit was pulled out of the hat.

We started at around 7:45 am with strong winds and cloudy conditions.  Lakers were not very cooperative.  Mike's girlfriend Lauren had three hits - all on the way down with the jig but no hookups.  Fortunately I brought some smallmouth bass gear and after an hour or so of drops for lakers we set up for bass in a sheltered area.  Not much going to start but all of a sudden Mike had a couple grabs and a hookup on a fluke. We saw a bunch of bass!  His fish wound up being 17" long - a personal best for him.  Then he nabbed a 15"er, a 13"er and a small one around 9" - all smallmouths on consecutive drifts through.  Lauren had fish grabbing too.  The Mike hooked and landed a 21" bohemoth after a short but strong battle (the fish hit near the boat.)  Tremendous fish!  We released the brute and gave it another drift or two then set back up for lakers.

Towards mid- AM the lakers picked up.  We dealt with the wind and Mike and Lauren actually had two doubles going on lakers.  Mike landed 3 solid fish and Lauren had a nice one right next to the boat.  All the lakers I'm seeing are solid fish out of Owasco thus far this season.  75' to 95' was good for the lakers.  We barely scratched the surface here at Owasco - we fished just a couple areas.  Great day!

Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 9/20 AM

Guided David, Paul and Bert for a 1/2 day of laker jigging. The weather was great with sun and fairly light winds out of the south.  Fishing was OK.  Not bad, but not hot given the numbers of lake trout we were marking and how well they were hitting.  But as I've said many times before, a slower day on Cayuga Lake circa 2018 is still a very respectable day of fishing.  The guys wound up landing 7 solid lakers up to around 30".  Paul dropped a big one that was likely over 30".  Fish were fighting good and we had a lot of fun.  Most activity for us was from around 75' on out.   The usual white Shakers and white/chart. tail did the trick.

Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 9/19

Guided Jeff for a 1/2 day trip starting just after 8 am.  We had somewhat windy and cloudy conditions to start.  Within a half hour or so Jeff nabbed a laker around 24"/25".  Fishing was somewhat slow but not bad.  We marked a lot of fish that weren't real active but Jeff picked away and landed a couple more solid fish up to around 28" if I remember right. He had a good brown follow him to the boat and then hooked another near the bow of the boat. One salmon also followed.  A few other hits were had.  We had a good time and it was a change from the shallower walleye jigging that Jeff does in his home state of Michigan.

After the trip I picked up my friend Todd from Myers and we gave it a go for another 3.5 hours.  The wind died back a bit which made for easier fishing.  We landed another 3 lakers and a brown with me having the hot hand this time.  Some more good fish were missed (as is usually the case) and Todd came close to "figure 8-ing" a nice brown boatside.  We kept a brown and a laker.  The brown had fresh alewives in it.  It was a fat fish - 21" long and 4lbs 11oz.  The bite never really got hot today with the wind and cloud cover impeding it.

Cayuga Lake/Myers 9/15 + Owasco Lake 9/16 AM

Guided back to back half day trips on Cayuga Lake Saturday and then a half day AM trip today on Owasco Lake.  I have been breaking in my new Merc. 115 hp 4-stroke and it's been fun. That motor has good acceleration and is ridiculously quiet.  It sounds like it's conking out after firing it up, but it's just purring like a cat.  Fishing on both lakes was typical September fishing.  Hit the right window in the right area and you're a hero, miss out and you can be looking at a big zero,.  

9/15 AM:  The trip was with Steve and his wife Swee.  We had very solid fishing right from the get-go at around 7:30.  Swee nabbed three in a row right away - hefty lakers.  Steve had some salmon action with an 18.5" er landed and released and another hook-up/hits from a similarly sized fish. The day went well overall with 6 or 7 solid lakers and the one salmon landed.  Lakers were really pulling hard.

PM:  My PM trip was with Jim and his brother in-law Doug (who was fishing for the first time.)  The third person was Doug's dad Mike and then Doug's uncle, Ron.  We split the three person half day in two.  So basically two + hours of fishing then we switched Mike out for Ron.  The bite started very slowly with nothing much to show for the first hour. As the guys reeled up, Jim connected with a laker which got off.  In our second area Mike landed a 30"+ fish, Jim got one then Doug got one.   So that was nice.  Our second trip featured a hot bite, despite fishing the same basic areas - the fish had really turned on.  Overall on the entire second half of the day eleven solid lakers were landed.  Main depth was 85' on out. But we had some good action from 100' to 115' too.

9/16 AM:  Guided Greg on Owasco Lake for a 1/2 day starting at 7 am. Fishing was slow to start with signs of bait but not many signs of predators around.  Greg picked up a very solid 20.5" smallmouth bass out suspended over around 70' to 80' FOW.  We tried a few areas around the lake and Greg nabbed a 28.5" laker and a laker around 25".  A few other hits were had.  Screens began looking better about an hour before we left.  I expect hot fishing here this fall.

Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 9/14 AM

I've been off the water for around 12 days due to some issues on both of my boats.  It is rare that something like that ever happens, but it was a perfect storm.  My 2013 Crestliner is running great but I had an issue with the trolling motor mount/bow of the boat that needs to be taken care of.  Not the end of the world, so I figured I would just run my 2002 FishHawk.  Unfortunately my old trusty Yamaha motor finally "gave up the ghost" and is in need of a major repair - the head gasket is shot.  Instead of dropping megabucks on a major repair, I figured it was time to re-power. 

BTW, I didn't mind having nearly two weeks off during the middle of the summer.  It felt great!

I was able to get a great deal from Quinn and the guys at Silver Lake Marine on a brand new 2018 Mercury 115 hp 4 stroke. They happened to have it in stock and within 4 days I was ready to roll!   All the fuel lines were replaced, ignition, kill switch and throttle as well.  So it's almost like having a new boat. I will now start saving up for the boat (sans motor) that will eventually replace my 2002 Fish Hawk.  

It felt like a nearly a month since I'd been out on the water.  The last trip was with the Hermans and part of the reason we didn't do better (though we did ok) was that the Yamaha was actiing up and I didn't want to push the issue so we stayed close to Taughannock Park.  Today was "break-in" day for the new motor.  I picked Charlie and Mike up from Taughannock at 8 am and it was off to the races.  Fishing was fantastic with the guys landing 22 lakers.  Three browns were also lost boatside due to various mishaps. The incredible thing was the size of the lakers.  Half of them were over 28" long and up to 33".  They are still feeding heavily.  We had very hot fishing the whole time we were out - from 8 am until around 12:15 pm.  I expect good action over the weekend.  The fronts are what tend to slow things down.  


Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 9/3 AM

Guided the Hermans for a 1/2 day starting at 7:30 am.  They live a bit farther away than they used to, so an earlier start would have been a bit much for them. Laker jigging was fair (again - for Cayuga circa 2018 that is.)  Three fish were landed on the day and a few missed/dropped.  We had two 27"ers and one around 26".  A lot of fish were around as well as baitfish but were not hitting our jigs super well.  We had a couple momentary hookups from salmon or rainbows (hits up high.)  A good laker or two were also lost.   Boat traffic was heavy but today is basically the last "hoorah" for a good half of the pleasure boaters out there.  

Owasco Lake out of Emerson Park 9/2 AM

Guided Greg and Matt today starting just after 7 am.  Action was somewhat spotty on the upper portion of the lake for us.  The guys contacted some fish but we never found them to be concentrated or very aggressive.  Greg had a follow from a large rainbow in the 27"+ range.  A few bass were also hooked out there with Greg landing one.  Matt had the luck on the lakers with 4 fish landed including a 31" long solid laker that weighed in right at 10lbs.  It will be heading to Matt's smoker along with a couple others.  September and October are two of my favorite months to fish this lake.  Today the fishing and weather felt more like August.  Some cold nights and days will help get this bite going and get some large baitfish schools up north.  They may have been around already, since I haven't been on the lake much, but either way this lake should fish very well here on in.  Surface temp was 72.  We had our best action around 75' to 90'.   

Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 9/1 AM

Guided John, John Sr. and their friend Eric for a 1/2 day starting around 7:15 am.  We had top-notch jigging for the first hour or so then a slow, steady pick for the rest of the AM. Around 9 fish were landed if I remember correctly with three of those being wild. We had a couple in the 28" range too.  Fishing remains pretty good lake-wide. Angling Zone friend Dave was up here last week and did well. 

Some people are surprised that the fishing is still good up here.  There can be good to excellent lake trout action from Long Point to Levanna all year long.  I like to fish out of Myers (and enjoyed launching at Taughannock when I lived in Trumansburg) due to the close proximity of those launches to where I live.  Many fish migrate down the lake to Taughannock and beyond to spawn.  But not all spawn down there and many fish won't spawn this year at all anyways.  Usually the majority of bigger fish are found south (i.e. from Sheldrake south and King Ferry south) this time of year but we had some beauties up north today.

Fun day and we did best in 85' to 100' FOW today.  It was windy too!

Cayuga Lake out of Myers 8/30 AM

Did a 1/2 day trip with Scott, Jeff and Jim.  The guys realized they had an expired fishing license on the way up and stopped off at Walmart to get a new one.  That set us back by a good hour, but it didn't hurt us fishing-wise at all.  Action was very solid, with the guys catching plenty of nice lakers running up to around 29".  Around 11 solid fish were landed - basically a combination of 22" to 24" males and some 27" to 29" females.   

Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 8/28

Guided a full day with Steve and Tom starting at 6:45 am.  In a nutshell, it was HOT out there - although the wind made it bearable. The fishing was hot as well.  The guys missed a lot of fish to start and lost quite a few, but it didn't hurt them.  They wound up landing 19 lakers up to 32" and nearly 12lbs.  A solid brown also was hooked and broke off near the boat.  Some salmon were encountered briefly but not hooked up.  Fish were in around 85' to 100'.   Plenty of bait is around too.  

Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 8/26 AM

Got out with Greg for a 1/2 day starting just after 7 am.  He had some solid action on some nice brown trout running up to just over 28".   We also had a few encounters with salmon but none were hooked.  Surface temps are cooling down gradually on the lake but will likely rise up again over the next few (hot) days.  We used the usual lake trout jigs.  

Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 8/25

Guided Jerry and Barbara for a 1/2 day starting around 6:45 am.  The trip was mainly a tutorial trip in learning the trout jigging.  Fishing went fairly well despite the full moon and cloudy conditions.  Jerry did most of the fishing and managed to land 4 solid lake trout in different areas.  They have a boat and wanted to learn some good areas to fish in the lake's southern portions.

After the trip I had my friend Todd meet me at Myers and we did some jigging.  Todd had the hot hand and landed around 4 nice fish.  I landed one nice laker.  I lost what was probably one of the best rainbows or salmon I've ever hooked likely due to a reel malfunction (a drag issue.)   But it hit near the boat and was very powerful. I never got a look at the fish but from the run I could tell it was likely over 8lbs or more.  Unfortunately it got off.  It will be a fish I will not forget.   

Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 8/24 AM

Guided Ryan and his dad Doug for a 1/2 day today starting at 7 am.  We had pretty solid action from the get-go that gradually improved.   Some very nice lake trout made it to the net today - some 27" to 29"+ solid fish.  One wild one and all but one were very clean.  The one fish had a healed lamprey wound from a long time ago.  We had our first rainbow trout in a long time - an 18" fish that was clipped that we released.   A lot of bait is around.  

Skaneateles Lake 8/23

Guided Leo and Ada for a full day "catch 'em and eat 'em" mission today.  I usually have them dropshot for the most part then occasionally work some other tactics.  The main targets are large rockbass and they usually get their share of smallmouths too, some which are kept.  Fish were deep today - we had our best rockbass dropshotting in 30' to 55' of water.  Smallmouth were tentative with the cold front but they managed to land around 15, ten of which were above legal size.  No large fish today.  Rock bass provided superb action (and will provide superb tablefare) with probably 100 fish landed.  Around 40 were kept, many of them 10"ers.   A few perch were also landed.  Hard to believe this is only the second or third time I've been on the lake this year!  I used to guide here 15 to 20+ days a year on average and fish it another 4 or 5.  I'll be back here in the fall as usual and perhaps sooner.  Hard to want to go here for smallmouths with such large fish available around Lake Ontario with just a slightly longer drive from Lansing.  I do love the rainbow/salmon fly-fishing here and catching large perch.  I also want to see how catchable the walleyes are here during the day in the fall/winter.

Cayuga Lake out of Myers 8/21

Despite a weather forecast calling for some snotty weather, I got out with my friend Todd for around 5 hours of jigging.  We worked some different areas and managed some nice lakers and browns.  We also had follows from salmon and a possible rainbow.  Water clarity is looking really good on Cayuga Lake.  Nothing much else to report.  

A decent amount of openings are still available in September.  Most weekends are booked with the exception of the 22nd/23rd and the 29th/30th.  

Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 8/19 AM

Guided Greg for 1/2 day starting just after 7 am.  We spent time targeting non-lakers with limited success.  He landed a 25" laker and had dropped a couple other fish.  I had a few ideas of some places to try and explore and we gave it a shot.  Greg nabbed a solid 5lb+ Landlocked salmon that ran about 24" long.  He also landed a chunky brown around 24".  Beautifully colored fish.  I am seeing some nice salmon around now that it is late summer. Strangely enough, we haven't seen any rainbows yet.  I am sure plenty of fish are out there though.  I expect fair to good runs of salmon this fall and excellent numbers of browns - all of this being rain dependent of course.  Rainbow fishing should wind up excellent given the great numbers of fish around last year and the low numbers of lamprey.  

Cayuga Lake out of Myers 8/17, 18

The weather was pretty iffy over the past two days but we took our chances and wound up with some good fishing.  Debris is mostly gone and the lake is clear. I expect good to excellent laker jigging (with bonus browns/salmon/rainbows) through mid-September at the least.

8/17:  Did a 1/2 day with Todd, who was up for the weekend dropping his daughter off to Cornell.  Conditions were rainy so we held off on our start time and were fortunate to find a window to fish without any rain or thunderstorms.  Todd landed a tiny salmon around 8", a laker around 22" and the fish that made the day, a mega-fat brown at 31"!  The brown was an inch longer than Greg's 15lb 15oz fish from two years ago.  We released it after a couple quick shots and it should be out there for someone else to catch.  I would say a reasonable guess was 17lbs.  Todd dropped what was likely a big lake trout along with some other fish.  

8/18:  Got out with annual regulars Leo and Ada for a full day of laker jigging.  The weather was rough to start.  When we launched at 7:30 am one boat was pulling out.  We wound up working from Myers all the way north to Kidders and back down again.  We had activity everywhere we went.  It was slow and steady to start but action got good during the last 3 hours of the trip.  11 solid lakers were landed including a 30", 29" and 28".  Three of the fish were wild and all were very clean apart from one or two healed, old lamprey scars. I cleaned 7 lakers today and they were filled with alewives.  Although I've had reports of smelt in some fish this summer, I have yet to see a single one.  A well digested alewife can look a lot like a smelt shape-wise.  That being said, the reports regarding smelt were by people who have caught smelt before and they said "smelt," so I'll have to take them at their observation.

Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 8/16

Guided Josh and his son Riley for close to a full day.  Conditions remain tough for lake trout in much of the lake with some cloudy water and low visibility.  We had some good lakers landed - including a couple around 27"s and a 29".  A lot of nice fish were dropped today.  We had a couple browns and a nice salmon at 26" as well today, which made the day.  I am hoping precipitation stays down over the next few days and the clarity gets better - all of which will help the lake trout bite.

Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 8/15

Guided a full day today starting just after 7:45 am. Yesterday's rains avoided Cayuga Lake and the east shore for the most part, but the upper reaches of Taughannock Creek received heavy downpours and in turn, loads of silt and debris were washed into Cayuga Lake.  There are some large, boat and boat prop damaging logs floating around as well as a couple large debris fields.  Water visibility in some areas was about 1' today.  Winds are going to move this water around and we'll see what happens tomorrow.  

Today's fishing wasn't easy.  We did alright with a half dozen fish landed today by Mark and his sons Mason and Ian.  They all came in one basic area - and we fished a half dozen top areas.   It obviously isn't the kind of action I like to see or even expect in August on Cayuga Lake, but given the torrential rainstorms that came through the area yesterday, I was very pleased with our results.  I've seen fish completely lock-jawed during similar conditions (2 years ago was a great example.)  The fish caught were solids with three fish in the 29" range and a couple 27s and one smaller one.  Fishing should improve by the day.  My fingers are crossed!  Stay tuned - I am out every day up through at least Sunday.

Cayuga Lake out of Myers 8/12 AM

Did a 1/2 day trip with Greg today starting at around 6:45 am.  We had a semi-stubborn bite in the AM but fishing picked up as the day went on.  Greg landed a couple solid lakers and a couple nice browns. He also dropped a couple fish.  Good day and we had a lot of fun out there.  

Cayuga Lake out of Myers 8/10 + 11 AMs

The bite has been a little bit tentative on Cayuga Lake since the front came in a few days ago. That being said, fishing is still good with lake trout looking very clean and well-distributed throughout the lake.   

8/10:  Guided Tom and his friend Joe.  Tom's been coming out with me since around 2006 or '07.  Last year Joe had the hot hand - this year it was all Tom for the most part.  I don't know how the guys do it, but they drive in from around Philadelphia starting at around 2 am then fish a half day and drive straight back!  That's pretty hardcore driving!   But that can make a guy tired and that could have played into the tougher luck Joe encountered today. The guys wound up landing around 8 lakers and 2 browns.  A few fish were also dropped. Fish ran to nearly 31".  Browns were in the 20" range.

8/11:  Today was Steve and his friend Tom.  They took a different approach driving;  they drove in from Buffalo last night and got a motel room.  We had light showers to start (i.e.a sprinkle) when I picked the guys up at Taughannock.  Fishing started out very promising with Steve dropping 3 fish in a row in fairly short order and Tom having a couple hits. But the bite slowed down for us as the rain intensity picked up.  So much for the weather forecast of "PM Showers."   The guys had slow but not bad fishing today landing 5 solid lakers - most in the 26" range.   Fun day but the weather could've been nicer.  At least the wind wasn't bad - it was fairly calm out there.

Cayuga Lake out of Union Springs 8/9

Got out with Terry starting around 8:30 am. We decided it'd be fun to check out Cayuga's northern portions to see what was happening.  We had very solid action on pickerel with around a dozen to fifteen fish hooked/landed.  A lot of nice panfish also found our bass lures including some very hard hitting (but lackluster fighting) rockbass, pumpkinseeds and solid (11" range) yellow perch.  We also managed some nice bass with Terry doing the most damage.  We caught 4 largemouths using jigs and crankbaits.  Fish were all very solid - mostly around 17"ers, though we had a 15"er and an 18"er.  This is the first time this season I have fished up here so hopefully we'll get back and find some more solid areas.  The water looked good in around 50% the lake up there, with the other half being muddy from the hard rains we got yesterday and last night.

Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 8/8

After a scheduling mix-up I wound up with this weekend free.  I've been having some issues with my Minn-Kota Terrova's mount - more accurately the bracket.  The mount to the boat is fine, the "cradle" that holds the motor when it's not deployed has had various issues over the past 4 years.  So off came the old Terrova and on went the new one.  I have had to make the nearly 2 hour drive to Utica on virtually an annual basis over the last 3 to 4 years to get service done on that motor.  I LOVE my Terrova, but they do not hold up well to the rigors of my guiding schedule.  Fortunately Boats Unlimited in Utica (one of the TWO Minn-Kota service centers in NY, last I checked)  has a fairly short turn-time on service.  Over the years I have had better luck with Motor Guides in terms of day-in and day-out use.  But Minn-Kota's spot-lock feature, quiet operation and solid mount are great and superior by far to my old Motor Guide.  I run my MK motor from mid-May through the end of October, so I'm putting about 6 months of 3 to 6 day per week use on it.  I would be interested in hearing how the newer Motor Guide motors with the spot-lock feature perform.  My friend Craig tells me that there are rumors of other companies possibly jumping into the trolling motor business.  I think that would be a good thing.  My newer Terrova has some improvements, so hopefully it will hold up better.  But that's why I have a spare trolling motor for each of my boats, you just never know...

8/8 AM:  Four days off of the water on Cayuga Lake really showed me how these fish move!  Lake trout have fins and they use them (to quote Peter Thilveros on smallmouths.)  Areas that were on fire action-wise last week ran cold today.  My AM trip was with Scott and his nephew Riley.  We had a slow AM with 3 lakers and one nice 24" salmon landed.  Scott caught the salmon and it was his personal best.  It's still swimming around out there for a trib guy to catch or better yet, me or one of my buddies to catch while fly-fishing in the lake this winter.  We were hit with some HEAVY rain this AM and had to sit things out for 1/2 hour.

PM Trip:  At around 11:15 am we swung back into Myers and dropped Riley off and picked up Scott's dad DIck (aka "Higgins") and one of Scott's other nephews, Steve.  Skies began to clear and the fish started hitting great with a few doubles.  I get asked a lot - "What's better - AM or PM?"  They can both be great or slow - it all depends on the day.  The guys landed 12 or 13 lakers (maybe more) and all landed some nice browns as well pushing 10lbs.  Great day!  Scott landed his personal best laker as well - a 31" hard fighting beauty.  We hit heavy rain in the PM too, but at least there wasn't much thunder/lightning to speak of.

Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 8/3

Guided Patrick, John and John's son Tim for a full day out of Taughannock starting at around 7:30 am.  We had a nice slow and steady bite on lake trout running up to 31" long. The weathermen were wrong again - we had very little rain and no thunderstorms.  Not much new to report on depths and lures - we basically worked 75' to 90' with whites and limetreuse Shakers.  Around 14 fish were landed, most in the 24" to 27" range with two 28"ers in the mix.

Sodus Bay 8/2

Guided regular Mark I. for a full day starting just after 10 am.  We decided a gar trip was in order.  I hadn't been on the bay in over 2 years (last year we had the extremely high water on Lake Ontario) so I was looking forward to the trip.  Mark and I cruised along the area that had produced solid gar fishing for us over the past 10+ years and were not able to locate any fish.  We slowed down and he fly-casted around but we still never saw a gar.

Last time we were out here Mark had some fun jigging out in the lake, landing a couple lakers and a steelhead, so we gave that a try.  The number of fish Mark had chasing his jigs was impressive.  But they just would not grab.  Mark had one good momentary hit/hookup on bottom for a second, but that was it.  He had at least 20 to 30 solid follows but again, despite changing colors, sizes, retrieves - we just couldn't connect. We tried smallmouth fishing one point for an hour or so and only caught gobies.  

We then hit another part of Lake Ontario and had more follows but no hits.  So back to the Bay we went.  I had an idea as to where the gar might have gone so we logically worked our way around a part of the bay heading back to our usual hotspot.  Sure enough, I found the gar!  We had dozens of fish around us including some solid 40"+ specimens.  Mark had a hookup from a smaller gar but it got off.  He had a few more follows then one more hookup and that was it.  Tough day - I felt we were consistently "a day late and a dollar short."  Had we spent more time trying to locate the gar in the AM or perhaps tried the lake first thing (earlier in the AM) maybe we would have scored.  But hindsight is always 20/20. The weather was gorgeous and we were very close to having had a great day catching but it was not to be.  The bay water looked great - nice and clear.  Plenty of lush weeds were around but the harvesters were going full bore.  The channel is also being dredged right now.  

Last minute openings this weekend

I just had a cancellation for both this Saturday and Sunday August 4th and 5th.  If interested please call or email me ASAP.   Thanks, John.

Cayuga Lake out of Myers 7/30 + 31

Fishing is back in full swing on Cayuga Lake with ravenous lakers providing some exceptional action. Browns and salmon are also in the mix.

7/30:  Met Scott, his son Joseph and Alana at 6:30 am and we were underway shortly thereafter.  Lake trout jigging was superb with 26 fish landed during our half day. Most fish came within a 2 hour window. Needless to say, we had a few doubles going.  We've had a lot of luck lately with larger (the new size) 3.75" White Shakers as well as Limetreuse in that same size.  Fish ran from Scott's misshapen fat 13" dink to his 29" slob.  Most were in the 24" to 27" range.  We dropped off Joe and Alana and went back out.  Scott nabbed a few more lakers, a couple browns and a skinny but long salmon.  Great day!

7/31: Guided Dan from South Carolina for a half day.  He had some good action on browns and a laker as well.  We released all but one laker (for my dinner) and one 22" brown that was pushing over 6lbs for Dan.  Baitfish are all over the place on Cayuga.  Fishing continues to be excellent.

Cayuga Lake 7/29

Did back to back 1/2 days today.  I started with Greg out of Myers.  The lake trout bite was good although somewhat tentative.  He landed 8 solid fish and missed at least a dozen hits and dropped some other fish.  Trout are widely distributed on Cayuga Lake with good fishing available from Levanna on south.  Water clarity varies from 4' to 6' or so but it doesn't seen to be affecting the bite.  Fish are feeding fairly heavily on alewives.  

My PM trip was with Dan, who I picked up via boat at Taughannock.  The PM bite started slow for us but picked up in the later part of the day.  Dan wound up landing 9 nice lakers. He lost a salmon that was around 18" to 19" near the boat.  Small salmon can be seen throughout the lake grabbing alewives by the surface.  It's a good sign.  Baitfish are everywhere. 

Two wild lakers were landed on the entire day.  Fish remain clean with very few signs of lamprey activity.  DEC deserves kudos for the continued excellent management of this superb fishery.  

Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 7/28 AM

Boat traffic and congestion at the launches is a lot better now on Cayuga Lake and likely elsewhere.  Most people take their vacations in late June and during the 1st two weeks in July, after that wave of fun-lovers the traffic lightens up considerably.  I picked up Mark and his two college aged sons Jared and Jesse at Taughannock via boat just after 7 am.  Fishing for lake trout was very good to excellent with 13 solid fish landed up to 31" long.  Around 70' to 85' was the ticket for us.The water is nice and clear and it appears that the terrific "home stretch" of laker jigging is underway.  These fish will feed heavily until mid-September on Cayuga Lake, then they start slowing down in anticipation of the spawn, which takes place around Taughannock Points and nearby areas in early to mid September.

Client from this past week Rory did a bit of trolling and some jigging thoughout the week. He is certain that he found some smelt in the stomachs of a nice 8lb salmon and a few lakers.  If so, that's a good sign.  Runs were supposedly ok this spring. If any of you are finding smelt in fish, please let me know.  The gobies may act as a buffer - diverting fish's attention away from smelt and towards themselves.  Good smelt populations make for fun and predictable spring LL Salmon fishing.  We'll see what happens.

Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 7/27 AM

Guided Tatyana and his husband Yuri for a 1/2 day starting around 7:30 am.  They underestimated the time it would take to get to Long Point State Park so we got a late start.  It didn't hurt us though - the AM bite was a bit slow.  We had two fish to show for it.  A run down lake almost resulted in a good rainbow/salmon hooked and a chunky albeit small salmon landed.  By 10:30 am the lakers starting hitting with a vengeance and Tatyana did most of the damage.  We wound up with a nice catch of solid lakers to nearly 29".  Fish look great - nice and clean.

Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 7/26

Guided Greg and his son Alex for a full day.  We mostly targeted lake trout and spent a little time bass fishing.  The good news is that the lake has cleared markedly since the rain of the past 4 days or so.  Fish are getting more active.   Fishing started out good with Alex nabbing the first couple lakers.  The guys wound up with around 8 or 9 solid fish up to 28" long.  A lot of hits were missed too.  One beautiful salmon or rainbow hit below the boat and got off after a short but fierce battle.  

We worked a couple downlake areas for bass and found some fish shallow that were spooky.  One nice largemouth came on a Senko.  Plenty of perch and some bluegills/sunfish are around.  We also saw some drum and the usual big carp.  Boat traffic was light.  

Cayuga Lake 7/23 + 24 AM

7/23 Myers:  Guided Rory, Michele and Nicole for 1/2 day starting at 6 am.  We went with the early start to beat the forecast winds and our plan worked.  Fishing was good with around 1/2 dozen lakers landed (this long run of trips has my brain in a blur.)  Rory had a massive brown follow in his jig and nip at it a couple times but no solid hit.  The weather was great despite the intimidating forecasts for heavy rain and 10 to 20 mph winds - that stuff came, but mostly a good 3 to 4 hours after the trip was done with.  

Rory is a hard core trolling fanatic but his girlfriend and her daughter don't care to troll, so he now has a good compromise.  Today he reported landing a salmon over 8lbs while trolling!  The more methods an angler has at his/her disposal, the better the odds for success.

7/24 AM Long Point:  Guided Dan - who has been coming out with me since my first year, and his brother in-law Ed.  The rain held off for a good three hours and the guys were able to land 4 solid lakers including two 27"ers and a wild 25"er.   We started at 7 am and were able to just miss a cell that went by which really kicked up the winds momentarily.  The area we fished was LOADED with lakers.   They were really moving for the jigs to start.  The water clarity is still fairly poor, but fish have to eat after a while no matter what.  Fish I've cleaned over the past couple days have all had fresh bait in them.  I think fishing should improve as long as the rain doesn't cause a worse bloom or a lot of muddiness.

FYI:   The New Jersey BASS Federation has a big tournament going out of Union Springs this weekend.   

Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 7/22 AM

Guided Greg for a 1/2 day of jigging.  It's been windy, windy and even more windy over the past 3 days and it will continue.  This can make fishing tricky - actually what it really makes challenging is boat control.  Boat control is one of the most overlooked aspects of fishing and fishing success - you can be a top-notch angler but if you only get to fish an area superficially (or is it "super-fish-ally")  you may not have much luck.  I use a high powered trolling motor, drift bags and often will upsize to a 1+1/2 oz jig head.  Most of the time, one or a combination of the above will be the key.  Sometimes it's all for nothing - especially when exposed to heavy winds.  As I write this, the winds are gusting to 30 mph!  That's not a time to be out on any of the large or even medium sized Finger Lakes unless you are very selective in your area being fished and launch site.  For the most part, I don't find it worth it being out in those conditions, which can be downright dangerous on lakes like Seneca and Cayuga and even Canandaigua or Skaneateles (you can throw Owasco in there too)

Greg managed to land one fish today but it was a beauty - a 29" solid brown trout which he released after a couple photos.  It was probably around 12lbs.  He lost a smaller but not small one and had follows from some other fish.  The algae bloom disappered momentarily up by AES but came back a little bit.  Hopefully it will be gone soon.  We had a little better visibility today with upwards of 6' of clarity.

Owasco Lake 7/21 out of Emerson Park

With the forecast for strong south winds coupled with the somewhat slow action on Cayuga Lake yesterday, the guys from yesterday decided to give Owasco Lake a try today. Wind was going to be a factor and it certainly was today. Fish just were not very active for us.  The guys landed a couple nice lakers anchored by Dominic's 28"er that was around 8lbs.  Anthony lost a solid fish that was likely in the same size range.  

The good news for Owasco anglers is that there are a lot of fish up on the north end flats and shelves of the lake.  We will likely see some exceptional fishing here once we get a good weather day.   We marked plenty of lakers and had ample chases that I could see on the sonar, but the fish were not committing.  We worked other areas and found some fish too but with the high winds it was tough to trigger bites.  I showed the guys some Super Fluke techniques for bass, and some rockies were caught as well as small smallmouths.  Larger smallies weren't chasing the flukes for the most part although a few good ones came close.  Gary missed a nice one.  As a rule I don't do 3 person casting trips but given the strong winds the guys wanted a backup plan onboard.   

After the trip I walked over to the "Blues, BBQ and Beer" (or something like that) fest sponsored by the local Lions Club chapter.  There was some good bbq there as well as music.  The festival has been going on since at least last year and is worth a stop if you are in the area and like good BBQ or would like to hear some local blues bands. Teams were there from different parts of the country so it was cool to get some of the real bbq deal there.

Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 7/19 + 20

Lake trout jigging remains tougher than usual due to the continuing algae bloom.  Hopefully the cooler days over the next week will restore the clarity to Cayuga Lake.  Fish are still feeding albeit at a slower pace.  Fish I have cleaned over the past two days do not have much bait in them.  Maybe we'll see a big feeding binge once the water clears up.  I'm not sure how far down into the water column the murky water goes. Fish do show signs of activity throughout the day.  Larger plastics (like 3.75" Shakers) have been producing better for us than the usual 3.25" models. Fish are widely distributed throughout Cayuga Lake.

7/19: Guided Wayne, Dan and Ron for a full day. We worked various areas from N. of Long Point down to AES and many points in between.  Fishing was fair (i.e.for Cayuga these days - it would've qualified as a good day on Seneca and great day on Keuka size-wise) with 7 fish landed on the day and another half dozen dropped.  Fun day with gorgeous weather.

7/20:  Guided Anthony, Dominick and Gary for a full day.  Again - I'd call it fair fishing. Another 7 fish were landed including a couple in the 28" to 29" range.  One or two fish were dropped.  Beautiful weather though the wind picked up quite a bit throughout the morning.  

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!  

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.  

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.  

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.

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.

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.

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.  

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.  

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.

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. 

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.

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. 

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.

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!"

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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!

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.


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'. 

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.

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.

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.  

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!

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.


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.

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. 

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.

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.  

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.  

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.           




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.  

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!



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!


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.  

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.   


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. 

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.

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  On 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.  

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.  

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