Seneca/Cayuga Lakes shorefishing 2/23


Got out with Mike for some shore fishing today. We hit an area on Seneca and I had one nice salmon beeline in for my streamer at the last second, but miss it. Mike had two solid hits and a momentary hook up, but no fish. So we tried two areas on Cayuga Lake to end the day. I managed to land a nice 20″ landlocked salmon on a Bionic Smelt that was clean except for a hook scar. We didn’t have any other action.

The big news was that when I cleaned the salmon, it was full of gobies! Most knowledgeable anglers would expect salmon to eat a goby here or there, but to see a salmon loaded with them was pretty surprising. Cayuga isn’t exactly low on alewives, but the salmon clearly are finding enough gobies to make it worthwhile. The lake trout and salmon that have been gorging on gobies have had redder flesh than what I usually see. I’m not sure why that’s the case.

Seneca’s salmon numbers continue to seem low. We had great conditions today and hits were hard to come by. I only saw one boat out on the water out of Watkins Glen today and one further uplake – both were targeting perch. Why there isn’t a decent class of salmon on Seneca Lake is a mystery to me. Usually there seems to be at least 3 classes of fish contributing to the fishery. We often would catch 12″ to 14″ fish, 17″ to 19″s, 20″ to 22s” and a few in the 24″ to 25″ range. We aren’t seeing much of anything this year apart from an occasional 17″ to 19″ er. The one that followed me in today was around 19″. Where are the dinks? I don’t see much here to get excited about salmon-wise. Lake trout should be good here in 2016. We should see decent pike and the smallmouth bass are gradually rebounding. Diary results show a tough year in 2015; 2016 will be even worse in all likelihood. Don’t be surprised if someone gets a giant salmon in the 9 to 12lb+ range here this spring or during the derby – that tends to happen when overall fishing is slow. A few solid fish survive to grow up and find abundant food with very little competition. But hopefully this great fishery will bounce back soon.