Seneca Lake out of Sampson State Park 11/13 PM
Fished on my own out here from about 1 to 5 pm. I was hoping for some good pike fishing. I also brought a few perch outfits along. It was one of those days where I pulled into the parking lot by the launch and asked myself, “What the heck am I doing here?” The wind was pretty insane out of the south and for a minute I felt like turning back and maybe dumping the boat in at Taughannock. I made a couple phone calls to area airports (Penn Yan and Finger Lake Regional) and saw that the winds were lighter nearby, so I figured I just happened upon a period of major gusts.
Water temps are around 49 to 51 in the mid-portions of Seneca Lake. I had the lake to myself today. I checked out a few favorite pike areas and found very few weeds. I fished some of them anyways without any success. A lot of the water was really murky (which can be good here) and full of floating milfoil and leaves. The conditions were tough.
After two hours without any action, I made a good run and checked out an area that produced some good fish for me last October. I found a half-mile of good to excellent looking habitat. I didn’t have any luck fishing it, but again, the conditions were not great, and I didn’t have time to cover much water at all. I had a lot of changing weather. Next time I come here, I know where to start!
I was close to a good perch area and gave it a shot. In short order I caught a dink. I kept at it and landed another 5 or 6 perch, most of which were keepers ranging from 9.5″ to 11.5″. It was good to see some smaller to medium sized perch on this lake. I expect perch fishing here to get better by the year. With a growing lake trout population, the huge alewife population here will get knocked down a bit. Alewives eat a lot of perch eggs/fry. They keep perch numbers low when unchecked. No sign of gobies in the perch I filleted. They were eating freshwater shrimp. DEC reported good numbers of perch and young perch here in their sampling efforts this summer and fall. It was the first time they sampled perch as far as I know, so they didn’t have any base numbers to compare with, but at least they’ve got a starting point now.
Now that we (unfortunately) have round gobies established in Seneca Lake, I think the perch population will start taking off for the better. Perch have been thriving in fisheries that have round gobies – just check Oneida Lake, Lake Erie and Cayuga Lake. Smallmouth bass will suffer number-wise, but their size will go up. Perch broadcast eggs over weeds, where gobies aren’t going to have much of a shot at them. In addition, the perch spawn early in the season when gobies are probably wintering in deeper water. Smallmouth beds get hammered by the gobies, since the smallies spawn late in the spring in the big Finger Lakes, and in many cases right through the early summer when the gobies are right there in the shallows with them.