Seneca Lake 7/11 + 12, Cayuga 7/12 + 13, Seneca 7/14


I spent a lot of time on the water over the past week/weekend. Here’s what happened:

Seneca 7/11:

Had a slow day with Tony on Friday. We went out of Watkins, since he didn’t think he’d be able to meet me further up the lake due to transportation issues. I thought pike would be a good option out of Watkins, but he hadn’t caught a lake trout yet and wanted to, so that’s what we did. The winds were the usual somewhat strong morning southerlies. As I demoed a jig on the south end I had 2 hits – browns, salmon or rainbows maybe? We worked a lot of areas up to Valois and then across to Severne. Fish were around but very negative. Our predicted sun never showed up (it actually did – but around 4 pm!) Tony gave things a great effort and finally landed a decent laker near Severne. After another quick hookup and a couple light hits we thought things might pick up, but it was not to be. We kept trying, but fish just weren’t grabbing. He worked very hard, but nada. We worked back down the lake and tried for carp on the fly a bit. While trying for carp we saw a nice sized gar! Shapes of things to come on Seneca maybe. I don’t know. Old timers say gar were common on Seneca’s south end back in the 1970s. They appear to be coming back.

Tony’s a very accomplished fly-fisherman and we just had tough fishing – no two ways about it. He did things very well. The tough laker action was a foreshadowing of things to come for the weekend.

Cayuga 7/12:

Kicked off the Red Cross Derby at Taughannock on Cayuga. I was hoping to scout a bit earlier in the week but was exhausted so I didn’t. As I drove back from the Steely Dan show at 1 am on Friday night I wondered whether I’d have the “fuel” to make the derby, but after meeting my friend Jared at the launch, I felt a surge of adrenaline – so off we went at 5 am in the fog. The flats N. of AES were mobbed. I’d never seen so many boats there. We worked the shallows (from 45′ to 75′ – mostly around 55′) and found some decent fish. We landed around a dozen lakers and Jared popped a 30″ fish that was a bit thin, so we released it. I then landed a fatter 30″ fish and we decided to keep it for the smoker (along with some others) and possibly weigh it in depending on what the board for the derby looked like. The bite quit for us early and we contemplated some pike fishing. On the way south at around noon we stopped into Myers and I was shocked to see how low the laker weights were – so we weighed the fish. Barney said “6lbs” when I brought the fish up to the scales – but I’m 6′ 4″ and the fish was 30″ and fat, so I don’t know what he was thinking – he’s usually very accurate with his guesstimates! But the fish weighed in at 9.8lbs (heavier than I’d have thought) and made 2nd place for the time being. He re-checked the scale – and I tried my Tech Scale. Both read around 9.8! I knew it’d probably drop down to 9th or 10th by Sunday, but we couldn’t help but wonder if the bite really was “that slow”. It was – from reports we got from some trollers. We tried an hour of pike without luck (except Jared had ahold of a possible brown for a few seconds casting over deep water) and we decided to motor over to Seneca for the evening bite.

Seneca 7/12 PM:

I expected good things from Seneca since it’s been great over the past month or two. We grabbed some coffee and headed to Geneva. 5 + 20 were seriously backed up. I thought there might have been an accident, but there was a massive Triathlon going on and the launch was closed off. Major hassle!!! We got out after an hour delay and I met a happy follower of this website who tipped me off on some good action further south. We worked the N. end but found very warm water and a lack of bait for the most part. We motored to Sampson and found fish but few grabs. We finished up at 10 pm after rerigging. 17 hours of fishing in hot weather after 2 hours of sleep on Friday night and around 4 hours of sleep Thurs. night. Yet we were wired and ready for Sunday after another whopping 3 or 4 hours of sleep!

Cayuga 7/13:

Sunday rolled around and we met at Taughannock by 5:05 am. Very few boats were there, which made us (correctly) think that most boats had slow action out of there on Sat. We worked on of my favorite areas for a while and nailed 2 fish. We then worked some “community holes” and popped another 8 or 10. But nothing big. My fish was dropping on the board- it was at 4th place by 11 am Sunday. We needed a couple big lakers but it wasn’t to be. A wicked storm came through and we thought action might pick up afterwards. Most boats cleared the lake and fortunately the skies cleared of thunder/lightning. We hooked a double and thought we might hit a hot “storm bite”, but nada. Just more lookers. We tried some other stuff and wrapped up around 3 pm. My fish dropped to 10th place and the Red Cross folks were nice enough to tell me that I didn’t need to show up for the awards presentation. They would mail my check. I enjoy hanging out at the awards ceremony, but after so little sleep I was ready to pass out.

Seneca 7/14:

I told my client on Sunday that I expected these lakers to start hitting after being fairly lock-jawed for at least 3 to 4 days. And hit they did! Fishing started out excellent today out of Sampson with Jim’s wife Phyllis nailing a couple nice lakers in short order. 85′ to 95′ seemed best. Large schools of bait had moved in and fishing was very good. Jim hammered a bunch of fish – I think over a dozen and Phyllis probably got 7 or 8. Fish ranged up to around 27″. Lots of hatchery fish for whatever reason. Flukes and Shakers worked very well. If the derby had been held today, we’d have seen a lot of big fish make the boards!

Overall it was very interesting to see the progression of the laker “bite” over the past few days. The going was tough just in time for the Red Cross Derby, which was weird. The jigging thing continues to pick up momentum. Overall, trolling will often produce more fish day in and day out. Seth Green was a commercial “meat fisherman” and his rigs work well, as do the modern set ups, but jigging offers the thrill of the chase and the fun of the bite, plus it produces big lazy fish and works very well when fish are inactive. The jigging from around 6:30 am till 9:00 or 9:30am was very good all weekend long. The key is landing numbers of fish. A 30″ plus laker is about a one in 15 to 20 fish on Cayuga and we needed to find more fish. I had a great time and encourage others to participate in this annual event – which benefits a great organization. Re: Jim from today – Jim’s from near Pittsburgh PA and was very impressed by the Finger Lakes fishing. I met some folks from Utica that have been having a great time jigging lakers out here.