Seneca Lake out of Sampson 12/3


Wow, what a day on Seneca Lake! We didn’t “crush the fish” – far from it, but it was a record breaker for me. The absolute coldest day I’ve ever spent in my boat! My buddy Mike and I launched the boat before 7:30 am. It was brutal – air temps in the low to mid 20s augmented by a 15 mph southerly wind with 2′ to 3′ waves and a blue sky (for a while.) Wind chills had to be in the teens and our minnow bucket started “slushing up” after a short time on the water!

Mike didn’t bring gloves and he paid the price. Baiting hooks – even just pulling in drift socks or an anchor was an invite to get your fingers feeling like they were being stuck with pins.

Overall this was pure exploration for us. I started fishing perch in Seneca Lake back around 1986 and it was a different ballgame back then. More color to the water, shallower fish. Skaneateles Lake fishes like Seneca did 20 years ago, but the fishing there isn’t as good for big perch as Seneca used to be. On Seneca fish are often deeper now and more of a challenge to catch. I know a lot of good areas from all my time on the lake, but the perch patterns and how they relate to wind and water temperatures are all things I need to categorize – esp. on Seneca Lake. So that was the goal today.

We had 44 degree water on top. We spent a lot of time working the electronics looking for structure and fish. Presentations on deep windblown flats were very difficult and poor at best. We worked a couple major areas – limited by the strong winds and waves, and started on our last area by around 3 pm. Of course, we never had a hit UNTIL we hit the last area. I nailed a nice fish in 20′ of water. Then Mike nabbed one. Then I got 2 more. Then nothing. We moved deeper (out to 45′) and Mike thought he had a big fish – I figured he had a double. I was right. Then he thought he had a laker, until his rod load lightened up a bit. He had a double of 14″to 15″ fish, but one got off! That was it – we’d had a few other hits but had to go due to my final classes (this week at Cornell.) So we found the fish, but had to go. The upside about Seneca fish is the size – they were all from 12″ to 14.5″ and hefty. So catching 7 perch is like catching 7 bass.

Fun stuff despite the cold. The weather did moderate by 1 pm, but the winds kicked up again by 4 pm. We never saw another boat on the water today.