Seneca Lake out of Watkins 4/3

Reports

What a day! I wasn’t expecting much today. I postponed a possible guide trip due to the wind forecasts. My buddy Shahab and myself decided to hook up for a few hours before I had to teach my Cornell class. We met at 7:45 am and launched the boat. The forecast light south winds were non-existent. We had calm glassy conditions – terrible for salmon fishing a lot of the time. We fished some murky water we’d found and I missed a good salmon around 24″. Shahab had a “boil” then hooked up and landed a beautiful 24″+ landlocked salmon. Nice fish and we got plenty of photos.

We had one other salmon chase/hit a couple hours later but that was it. People are getting a few perch btw. I decided to check out an area that warms up quicker than most. If salmon detect warm water they usually move into it. So do many other species.

We fished the stretch of water for awhile and were close to calling it a day. I made a long cast and got distracted momentarily as my fly (chartreuse flash-wing bionic smelt) sank. When I went to strip it there was a heavy weight on the bottom! And it started swimming! I thought it may have been a huge pike but it started moving too fast and in quirky way. It shot under the boat. I was thinking maybe a 12 to 15lb. brown trout. Then I got a glimpse of it. It was a HUGE carp!

When I guide using my fly-outfits I convert my right handed cranks to lefties for most of my clients. I do this by stripping out all the fly line and a little backing, then I put some tape over the backing and switch over the reel and crank the line back on “the other way”. Landlockeds, Finger Lakes rainbows and pike don’t usually (almost never) take a reel into its backing. This carp did. So I was using a reel with the crank on the “wrong side” for me and the backing was wound on backwards. So after the fish got past the tape I had to crank as if I was letting out line to get line in!

On top of that, my 6 wt. Temple Forks TiCR rod came apart during the battle. All I had in my hand was the butt section of the rod. What a battle! After around 10 minutes we caught up to the beast. I had to follow it with the boat. We got it into the net….finally. What a fish! 35″ long and FAT – full of eggs. This beast had to weigh in the upper 20s – heading towards 30lbs. And it sucked in my fly. I wouldn’t have lost it due to the hook pulling out, cause it was next to impossible to dehook. We took a bunch of photos and “released the beast”. I want to try eating one soon, but not one that size! Water temps range from 38/39 to 47 in some areas.

Carp here I come! We have a lot of HUGE carp in the Finger Lakes and it’s been on my “to do list” for awhile. Once I get them figured out it will add another option to the “Fly Zone”. Stay tuned….Photos will be up shortly!