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Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 3/21

Guided Charlie and his son Bill for a half day starting at around 10:15 am.  We had no action casting for salmon and browns apart from a couple lake trout.  We fished some areas that held concentrations of lakers and had some very good to excellent action with a few fish in the 28" to 29" range.  Fish look well fed and clean with very few, if any signs of lampreys.  Fish came on tube jigs, stickbaits and bladebaits (one.) 

Word is that the dam at the outlet is closed off and the lake is being raised to full pool.  Right now it's still very low - maybe a few inches up from last week.  Nobody else launched out of Taughannock while we were out.

Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 3/14

Guided Mark I. for the full day starting around 10:30 am.  We were off the water by 7 pm.  With Mark the goal is usually to fly-fish. We set up for salmon and browns that would be looking up, as opposed to groveling the bottom for gobies.  Winds were fairly steady out of the south east to start.  Our first area didn't produce.  The second area we tried found a big brown taking a swirl and quick shot (and miss) at Mark's blue and white half and half.  About 5 minutes later, a smaller albeit still very nice brown gobbled his fly.  It was a 22.5" fish - probably 4lbs +.  It wasn't a massive tank or football but was in excellent condition nonetheless.  We released it.  No other hits were had (that were definite) working some salmon areas.

A trip a couple weeks ago showed lakers in shallow water, so I thought Mark would have a good shot with a fly-rod, floating line and clouser type fly.  We tried it but had no action.  I didn't bring any LC-13 leadcore fly-line heads on count of the wind so we went with tube jigs on a spinning rod - which is a fun and very productive was to fish.  Mark nabbed a 27" laker that he kept for dinner.  Also landed was a 22"er and a gorgeous, perfect 29" wild fish - both of which we released.  We hit a few other areas for salmon/browns during the course of the day but didn't have any activity.  So we wound up with the spinning gear and tube jigs and Mark was able to land a few more nice fish.  

So overall the fly-fishing could have been better, although the brown would be a solid for any fly-fisherman and it fought great.  Falling back on the tremendous inshore lake trout fishing made for a very good day with the 29" fish being a very memorable bit of "icing on the cake."   Lake levels are low and I bottomed out on my way back to the ramp. Funny, I'll often use trolling motor power to get out of the lagoon at Taughannock but my the end of the day I'll be too tired and not even think about doing it on the way back in.  Lake should be coming up a little but it's too early to tell whether the dam at the outlet outlet will be set to allow the lake to rise to full pool.  There is very little snowpack left in the area, so unless we get colossal rainfalls/snow, we should be out of the woods for spring flooding.  So hopefully we'll see the lake level come up to full pool, which will allow launching lake wide. Water temps are around 36/37, but there was some 38/39 degree water at the southend.  That would be more of a troller's game, since the swath of warmer muddy water was getting fairly formidable in size.  But if I'm a flat liner, I'd start thinking about that area after the next couple warm days.

I have pretty good availability over the next few weeks.  I will start posting open dates shortly to make it easy to schedule trips and give me a sense of how things are shaping up with my schedule. The website overhaul is underway so we'll see how that goes!

Shorefishing Report:  My buddy Mike shorefished Seneca Lake on Wednesday.  He reported good conditions but zero action on gear and flies.  He caught a very nice 22" salmon on a fly in Cayuga Lake from shore.

I received my Region 8 Diary summaries in the mail yesterday.  Canandaigua continues to be the hottest Western Finger Lake in terms of lake trout action.  Rainbow fishing there was also very good.  Keuka Lake catch rates went up, but that would still indicate an imbalanced fishery.  Hopefully the ciscoes will take to that lake.  Seneca Lake continues to provide slow fishing for the third year in a row.  Let's hope we see an uptick this year.  DEC predicts next year will be a significantly better lake trout year on Seneca Lake due to a fairly strong year class of young fish that will be catchable (size wise) in 2020.  

If you have no lake trout fishery in a lake with sea lampreys present, you have no cold water trout/salmon fishery.  In an effort to have a "balanced fishery" the lake trout stocking numbers on Seneca Lake were reduced a few times.  Now we have better balance but no fishery that anyone can get excited about.  People that clamor for more rainbows, browns and salmon need to understand this.  On Cayuga Lake there are people shorefishing all over the lake, up and down for lake trout.  Most fisherman just want to catch something nice or at least something.  People are happy with lake trout in the Finger Lakes region for the most part and they don't realize how much they love them on the end of their line until they're gone.  Without the great nearshore lake trout activity in Cayuga Lake now, we'd be having a fairly slow year for salmon and browns.



Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 3/9 PM

Got out with my friend Todd at around noontime.  We spent our day targeting trout and salmon with gear, though we did bring fly-rods incase conditions improved.  Two days of calm, nearly windless weather doesn't do much to activate salmon and browns.  We had a slow go of things for the first two hours with zero hits.  We tried an area that had produced well for me on my last guide trip and hit paydirt with over three hours of solid lake trout action.  We managed to land 8 nice lakers from 23" to 26"+ and Todd also nabbed a fat 17" salmon. We missed and dropped some solid fish too.  All came on tube jigs. We kept 7 lakers between the two of us for my smoker and Todd's grill.  The fish looked great - no lamprey marks and in great condition (nice and plump.)  Fish I cleaned each had an average of two fresh large gobies in them - including one goby that was still alive!   Cold water inshore lake trout fishing on Cayuga Lake is about as fun as any fishing opportunity I've experienced in NY State!   It was a blast.  Water temps dropped down to around 36 degrees.  There is some ice on the south end of the lake.  Winter ain't done yet!

Cayuga Lake Shorefishing 3/1 PM

Got out for around an hour and a half of shore casting today.  I did a lot of walking before I made a cast.  My efforts were rewarded with a rock solid hit and a great ensuing battle with a beast of a lake trout.  I wound up landing and releasing a 31"+ fish.  It made a great run and fought hard the entire time.  It blasted a blade bait.  Lake level remains low.  Looks like another cold blast is on the way.  Hopefully we'll see some good boating conditions after next week.

Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 2/23

Guided Robert for a full day starting around 9 am. He does a lot of fishing for lakers and browns on the NYC reservoir system and was looking to see how we jig lakers here as well as check out the Finger Lakes fishing.  The water level on Cayuga Lake is currently at the lowest level I've seen all year.  Water temps are at 37/38.  A 1/2 dozen or more boat went out today from Taughannock.

It was around 27 degrees when we launched today and we had south winds around 8 mph. Our first area didn't produce any definite hits, but the second one yielded a solid 26" brown that was likely at least 8lbs and maybe more.  After that Robert caught a nice laker and we were in business.  The next two hours provided superb lake trout action with 9 or 10 fish landed and many more hits coming.  Another brown was landed and he also caught lakers in another area.  All in all an excellent day of winter fishing with 12 to 13 lakers and 2 nice browns landed.  I kept two of the lakers for my smoker.  Robert's arm was worn out so I got a chance to fish for 10 minutes and managed to land a nice brown around 22".  The big brown came on a stickbait but all the other fish came on tube jigs.  We also tried some deep water and found a few lakers out there. Robert dropped one on a shaker.  

In the 20+ years I've been fishing the Finger Lakes for salmon, March has been the best landlocked salmon month for us on Cayuga (and Seneca when it is fishing well.)  Hopefully the weather will cooperate.  I have plenty of availabilty in March and April.  I expect good to excellent nearshore laker fishing (with bonus browns) to hold up into early May depending on how hot April is.  I do plan on checking Seneca Lake soon, perhaps from shore.

Cayuga Lake Shorefishing 2/14 PM

With cold conditions this AM and winds varying in speed and direction, shorefishing wound up being the best option for me today. It would've been tempting to drive over to Seneca Lake, but I didn't trust the wind forecasts, so Cayuga it was.

I opted to leave the fly-fishing gear at home with the temps right around freezing.  I checked out three different areas and wound up fishing two of them.  My first area proved best with two nice salmon landed both around 20".  One was a fresh (as opposed to drop-back) silver fish that hit a homemade spinner.  I kept this one for dinner.  5 minutes later I nabbed a one-eyed (although healthy looking otherwise) dropback that hit a jig.  That was it for action. I let go the second fish.  Lake level is low.  


Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 2/10 PM

Did a 1/2 day trip out of Taughannock with Rob and Chloe starting around 11:45 am.  The highs today were forecast to be around 29 to 34 degrees, depending on which weather service you clicked on. In a nutshell it was cold!  

I used to not do guided trips unless highs were supposed to be in the upper 30s or low 40s.  In the 2000s and early 2010s, before large numbers of lake trout were moving in shallow, we had to fish deep water flats for them - which usually meant launching out of Long Point.  Long Point Marina is one of the first to freeze up. That is the widest part of the lake and a wide open area of Cayuga Lake in terms of shelter from north winds - there is none!  A good wind can pound you over there!  Now we have good numbers of lakers ringing Cayuga Lake.  It's great!  There are plenty of good places to fish out of the wind.

Salmon and pike fishing usually meant dealing with wind.  Wind at 30 degrees makes for very uncomfortable casting.  With plenty of fish now in the shallows, it is possible to go out of Taughannock and catch fish even with light to non-existent winds, though a little breeze usually seems to help.  Cold weather plays havoc with fishing line.  Fly-fishing is a chore when 9 guides are freezing up constantly.  So I still prefer temps above freezing and the more wind, the warmer I like it to be.  

Cold conditions i.e. less that freezing temperatures play havoc with a lot of stuff.  I've had my boat frozen to my boat trailer bunks.  It's weird watching your trailer float with your boat.  Today the opposite happened.  My trailer bunks were like sheets of ice.  My boat glided off the trailer as if it was a roller trailer.  Fortunately I didn't unhook my chains until the boat was in the water.  But it shot off!  Managing fishing line was another cold-related issue today.  We had a lot of line misbehaving in the cold.  Bring a bunch of outfits with you when fishing in air below 40 degrees!

Fishing was tough today with muddy water in a lot of areas and zero wind for most of the day.  Rob wound up with the hot hand today and he landed two lakers in the 23" range and one very solid pike at 34".  We kept the lakers - one was filled with gobies.  Chloe had a salmon (I think) after her first or second cast that chased in his jig.  They had a couple other hits but overall we didn't have a whole lot of action.  It felt like 20 degrees out once the sun got clouded over and the wind kicked up.  It did manage to hit around 32 today. A lot of people were out shore fishing.  I have never seen more shore anglers on Cayuga during the winter as I have this year and last, due largely to the fun laker action.  The lakers fought very well for us today as did the pike.  Fun day, but cold!

Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 2/7

Met Mark I. at the launch at around 9:30 am.  The weather was foggy and winds were forecast to be calm turning to south in the afternoon.  Instead we had around a 4 mph north wind that turned calm and stayed calm right through sunset.  The forecast rain held off.

We started with some fly-fishing for pike and Mark managed to nab a hefty, well-fed 33" northern that hammered his streamer.  Great start to the trip.  Another pike - maybe in the 30" range was dropped shortly thereafter.  Flyfishing for lakers produced one nice laker that grabbed Mark's fly at the surface but didn't get hooked.  With continued calm conditions and not much activity Mark switched to gear.  In short order he had a 22" laker nab a bladebait.  Hair jigs wound up producing a couple salmon - a 21" dropback and a 19" two year old.  Best fish of the afternoon was a 24" brown that also hit a hair jig and jumped 4 to 5 times.  We released everything but the two lakers.  One of those was stuffed with gobies. Both had nice looking orange flesh.  

Around 1/2 dozen boats were out trolling and casting.  Water temps were up - they were at 38/39.  Water level also came up a little but the lake is still very low.  Shorefishing remains productive mainly for lakers but also for occasional salmon and browns. It was nice to finally get the boat out for the first time in 2019.  I have been busy with my fly-fishing classes at Cornell, which are on Monday and Wednesday afternoons.  All too often I have to teach on prime fishing days!  

Cayuga Lake shorefishing 1/29 PM

Got out for about an hour and braved the wind and cold along the east shore.  I did not have any hits.  The area I fished was muddy and windswept.   It was a good chance to get rid of some cabin fever and field-test a few homemade jigs and spinners.

I will be at the Rochester Boat Show Friday PM and most of Saturday with Silver Lake Marine/Crestliner.  Feel free to stop by, say hi and check out the great boat deals.

Update 1/9/2019

l want to wish everyone a great new year!   I have been on a long overdue vacation and have been unable to check emails and phone messages. I will be back soon and will respond to any inquiries or questions.   Thanks for understanding!

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