Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 10/19


Got out with my buddy Mike for a long day. We hadn’t fished together since April if my memory serves me correctly. I wanted to check some mid-lake areas out for perch prospects. Mike arrived at my place around 6:30 am and we drove down to Watkins Glen. He was joking about the bunch of bananas he brought along. I’m not superstitious but it’s funny that as I was getting the gear ready on my boat at Schamel’s Boat Launch, Mike noticed my boat tire was low. Not only was it low, it was getting flatter by the minute thanks to a screw I’d run over at some point in time on the way over! I’d forgotten about the bananas, but Mike reminded me. Fortunately I had my spare, a jack and tire wrench so I was good to go after 15 minutes.

The fishing was as slow as I have ever seen it. I’d guess it was largely due to the full-moon. The currents in some areas were also outrageous. That should position the fish, but where they positioned was a mystery to us. We worked a lot of areas for perch and were certainly on some but they wouldn’t hit what we were offering them. Eight hours into the trip and the score was: Bananas 2, Me and Mike 0. We hadn’t even had a hit! Mike said it was the slowest day he’d ever had fishing. He may have been right!

But one of the main reasons Mike and I fish well together is that neither of us likes to quit defeated. We don’t take “no” for an answer from the lake. And the tougher the fishing is, the harder we fish. As the sun got low I finally hooked up with a smallmouth. Then Mike nabbed a jumbo perch, then a slightly smaller one. Then I got a jumbo and a slightly smaller one. Then it got dark. So at least we had some success. It felt great finally hooking up and we did figure out a lot of stuff.

If you really like catching perch, don’t go to Seneca Lake. It’s a brutal fishery. To me it’s a high stakes, high risk – high reward fishery. I’ve limited out there in 2 hours on 11″ to 14″ perch. I’ve also gone a full day and not hooked or seen a thing. The lake was much more productive in the 1980s and early 1990s. It was more fun then too. I’ve learned a lot about perch fishing Seneca circa 2010s thanks to some clients of mine. But if you really want to have fun on a day-in day-out basis, you’re much better off going just about anywhere else. You’d have a hard time not catching them on Keuka, Skaneateles, Canandaigua, Owasco or Cayuga Lakes. Even Otisco has decent perch fishing. I think Cayuga Lake might start offering the best perch action in the region with the fish now gorging on gobies. They are getting bigger and more numerous over there.