Seneca Lake out of Geneva 6/3 + Conesus Lake 6/4
Guided Dave, his wife Nadia and friend Bill out of Geneva starting at 4pm. Dave has lived on Seneca Lake since 1969, so it was interesting learning about the fishery history from his perspective over the years. Back in the 1970s after a milfoil explosion, Seneca became one of the top pike fisheries in the Country. They disappeared very quickly by the early 1980s – same thing we experienced a couple years ago. It was a fungus. So the pike boom or bust is nothing new. I’d always heard about the 1970s pike fishery on Seneca, but had never heard of the fungused up fish, so it was good to have some clarification from someone who noticed.
The guys (and gal) wanted to learn the jigging technique so that’s what we did. We started shallow (25′) and worked out. I had bait and plenty of marks in 25′ but we didn’t convert any of them. Lakers? Trout/Salmon? Perch? I don’t know. Water temps were around 70 down that deep according to my probe. We found weird water temps out there. In some areas 48 degree water was down 70′ or more, in others around 50′. Maybe springs? I’m not sure. Maybe my probe was acting up.
Dave caught the first fish in fairly short order. Other hits/fish were missed by Bill and Nadia. Overall fishing was tough – it was fun, because fish were chasing jigs on the FF, but they weren’t committing. Dave caught two more – jigging the bottom. Everyone enjoyed seeing the technique work and learning the idiosyncracies. I’m pretty sure we have 3 new converts on Seneca Lake! Bill had one follow from a LL Salmon around 24″. They are on the N. end now. Dave’s been picking up some salmon and browns trolling further down the lake by his cottage. The fish are pretty shallow – down maybe 15′ to 25′ over 50′ or so if I remember right.
Conesus Lake 6/4:
My regular clients the Hermans have a place not too far from Conesus/Honeoye Lake, so we’ve talked about doing a trip or two out there. From what we found yesterday, we’ll probably be there more often in the future!
Conesus Lake can be a tough lake to fish. Between it’s clear water, generally well-fed fish and boat traffic, as well as endless weedbeds and nice points it isn’t always an easy lake to find active fish. My buddy Mike worked for DEC and did a walleye creel census here in the late 1990s. He and another employee continually monitored the lake – checking all accesses and even doing fly-overs counting fishing boats throughout the year. They checked the ice fishermen – day and night too. They had a total of zero walleyes caught through the ice there that year.
My best advice for fishing this lake is to start at night or at least go as early as possible. The gamefish are tuned into the alewives and the alewives make fish do weird stuff, especially from mid-May through July, when the alewives spawn. Pike will feed at night – which they usually aren’t known for. So we started our trip at 6 am, which meant I had to be up at 3:30 am and leave at 4. I had to convince Eleonore that it was worth it. I didn’t get home from my Seneca trip until 10 pm or so – so I took the biggest hit on sleep!
We started at an area I’ve had good walleye fishing on. We were hoping for an early walleye but I rigged most of our stickbaits (and other lures) with TyGer wire, just incase. I didn’t want them losing a pike of a lifetime. Eleonore was working an alewife colored X-rap and after around 10 minutes she hooked a good fish. After a good fight I slid the net under the massive largemouth. It was probably around 5 lbs, though we didn’t weigh it. Very solid fish on an Xrap w/o wire. A few more largemouths were caught. Then John hooked a good fish on an alewife tube. Luckily the 30″ to 31″ pike didn’t break the 8lb mono! The second place we fished yielded a 30″ pike for Eleonore on the same X-rap. This fish engulfed the stickbait. No wire there, so we got lucky. We kept this pike since it was bleeding pretty badly and the Hermans wanted a pike for dinner.
The conditions stayed pretty fishy till around 9 am when the clouds/fog rolled out and the sun really started to hammer down. The fishing slowed quite a bit for us. We tried a few different areas and wound up on the N. end around noon. John was really tired and started to dose off. I took a few casts with a Rat-L Trap and wound up hooking a fish that woke John up with its jumps. It was a nice chunky 26″ Tiger Musky! We got a couple photos, released the sublegal fish and by then John was ready to fish. Eleonore landed another nice largie on a Senko and we wrapped up the day. Good fishing. Weeds were up, boat traffic down – now’s the time to fish here. Nighttime walleye fishing is still very good and some fish are being taken in the day – that was the report I got from a good source. Once weeds get really high, the nightbite gets trickier. Occasional walleyes to 10lbs are being taken here.