Seneca Lake out of Sampson 9/3 + Keuka Lake out of Hammondsport 9/4
As much as I love the short drives to Myers Point and Long Point on Cayuga Lake, it was cool getting over to Seneca and Keuka Lakes and seeing what the fishing was like for myself.
9/3: Guided Jeff and his wife Judy out of Sampson State Park on Seneca Lake starting around 6:45 am for the full day. We worked Sampson, areas across the lake, Geneva and areas on the east shore in between. The bite was good to start but the fish were mostly smaller ones around 18" to 20". All wild and clean. I felt we were working the jigs a bit too slowly but eventually the technique came together. Fishing got slow for a few hours around mid-morning. By 1 pm or so, we had another good bite window and Jeff landed a 30"er and Judy managed some nice fish. Fish were generally pretty deep – around 80' to 90'. We had one fish come up with a lamprey, but most looked great. We had over 90% wild fish today.
9/4: Keuka out of Hammondsport – Did back to back 1/2 days today starting with Chris and Heidi in the AM around 7:15. Hammondsport is always solid in August and September and today was no exception. I wish we could've started earlier, but I was pretty darn tired and did the best I could. Our first drift resulted in 3 nice fish for Chris. Heidi had never caught anything bigger than a sunfish before, but she impressed the heck out of me with how "coachable" she was once she hooked some lakers. She landed a 28" fish! That's a great one for this lake these days. We tried deep and shallow and various places up the lake and things appeared slow. But just when I though things were slowing down she hooked a big fish that she had trouble reeling up. I thought that maybe she just didn't have the rod positioned right or was fatigued, but it was a beauty. We landed a 32" solid laker – maybe 11lbs! So we didn't land a lot of fish, but managed 5 or 6 and got the right ones.
My PM trip was with the Hermans. We tried targeting smallmouth bass and things started off encouragingly, if that's a word. In the first area we tried Eleonore had a nice largemouth come up for her plastic and then a big smallmouth gobbled it, but no hookup. John had two good smallmouths show for his lure. But the wind came up and things got tougher, despite making a few adjustments. We moved up into the Penn Yan arm and still nothing. We worked deep water for lakers and a school of smallmouths showed up under the boat in 103' FOW in the middle of the lake! That's the way it is on Keuka, Canandaigua and Owasco Lakes (to name a few) this time of year. Smallmouths are largely pelagic (free swimming over deep water with no regards for the bottom contours – like tuna in the ocean.) Unfortunately John lost the nice fish so their dreams of a bass dinner went out the window. A few lakers cooperated and John landed a 26"er (another beauty for Keuka,) a dink and an 18"er. We kept the 18"er. I will still be encouraging clients to harvest as many 17" to 22" lakers as we can this fall on Keuka Lake. Plenty of lakers are around the Bluff Area and client Chris from early in the day managed a few up the Penn Yan Arm a ways. Lakers are well distributed in Keuka Lake. Action is also picking up near the State Park at Branchport. We found fish from 65' or so out to over 110' today.