Seneca Lake out of Geneva 8/23 + Skaneateles Lake 8/24

Reports

Seneca Lake: Guided longtime client Rick and his friend John for a full day. They knew going into the trip that Seneca had been fishing very poorly since mid-May. A guy doing some shorefishing at the launch (at the State Park) said he'd been out a few dozen times without catching any trout!

Things looked good to start with a lot less baitfish on the screen than a few weeks ago. Lo and behold, John hooked and lost 3 lakers in a row! He didn't think they were very big, but they didn't seem to be dinks either. Rick managed to land a wild 23"er. And that was it! No more hookups. Only two other boats were out fishing on the day – both trolling. We worked down the lake to Sampson and found laker temps out around 130'! That's deep!!! Overall we had some fish move for the jigs but very little action.

I'm not sure what's going on here. The water looked good. I didn't see the massive amounts of bait I saw a few weeks back. The fishing here was good until just before the Memorial Weekend Derby. So basically the fish were hitting well until around the time a lot of bait starts moving up. Another factor is that one of my clients recently may have nabbed one or two round gobies while jigging near his place – in the Glenora/Rock Stream/Peach Orchard neck of the woods. Some of the first good numbers of gobies caught on Cayuga occurred down by Taughannock and Myers. It's weird, but they first really started showing up on deep sharp dropping points closer to the south end of the lake than further north. So that might be another factor. The fish are around. I marked respectable numbers of lake trout today in a lot of areas, so it doesn't appear to be a numbers issue. Time will tell! But for now, I'm done with Seneca Lake until I start pike fishing it this fall. No more laker jigging for me here until next year.

Skaneateles Lake: Guided Leo and Ada for our annual smallmouth bass/rock bass outing. Fishing was good here and boat traffic wasn't bad. They caught around 15 bass on dropshot rigs and tube jigs. Most were legal fish and we had one at 20". Around 20 to 25 rockbass and 3 perch, including one nice one all found our lures.

Angler Harassment: Unfortunately we were harassed today by what appeared to be a new homeowner on the lake. I've now had three angry homeowners give me a hard time for various reasons, one being angling in front of their home. All incidents occurred on Skaneateles Lake. This one was the most egregious case. A man, his wife and kids were swimming and playing in front of their place. We were working down the shoreline and were still a couple houses down from them. They all got out and were hanging around their dock. I had Leo and Ada stop casting and I bypassed their waterfront with my trolling motor. We were at least 100' away from their place. We couldn't have even hit their dock if we tried casting for it – but we weren't fishing. And we would have had a legal right to fish there if we wanted to, but we didn't. We were quickly going by using trolling motor power. There are enough places to fish and I wanted to leave these people alone. He yelled at me for being in his "swimming area." I told him it was public water and he wanted to know where I lived, what my name was and where we launched out of. Ridiculous! For doing what??? I told him to call the police. He basically didn't want any boats within 100 yards of his place. I told him that it was unlawful to harass people legally angling. Then he said "well you powered towards my kids!" Basically he just told me how he would have lied to any authorities! Wow. What a great example to set for your kids. I never had the big motor on and the kids weren't in the water when we were around.

This is one of the reasons I shy away from doing a lot of largemouth bass fishing/guiding around docks that have people nearby. We have a right to do it, but these encounters happen.

If this happens to you, this is what I suggest:

1.) Inform the homeowner that the water is public water.

2.) Inform the homeowner that it is illegal to harass people who are lawfully angling.

3.) If you have a smartphone (or go-pro) or your friends onboard do, get as much of the altercation on video as possible.

4.) Try to remain calm and respectful but firm.

5.) Get the address or at least a description of the place.

I feel that DEC Law Enforcement should also be notified. That way, if one of these guys tries to trump up some BS, the law enforcement people will be aware of the landowner's reputation for bothering anglers. Lake Associations and the local media also need to make landowners aware of the rules and regulations pertaining to angling and these "swimming areas." By the way, this guy had no "swimming area" markers that I could see. Permits for swimming areas are tough to obtain and there needs to be buoys and rope and signs. The guy didn't have a swimming area.