Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 11/11


Did a full day trip today with Perry, Fireman Bob and Bob’s son Bobby. Perry brings the bait and his outfits and we still fish for northerns. Today was very challenging, mainly because the so-called “pike minnows” the guys bought looked to be the size of large perch minnows or small “bass minnows” at best.

It’s hard finding good bait these days. I remember ice-fishing for pike in the late 1970s and 1980s and most bait shops had a good selection of minnows. Perch minnows were typically fatheads and ranged from 1″ to 2″ long with some around 2.5″. “Bass minnows” ranged from 2″ to 3.5″ or so, and pike minnows were typically 3.5″ to 5+” long. And then the better bait shops would sell suckers that were a step up from the pike bait. These days a lot of places don’t even stock assorted minnows and in today’s case, one place tried to pass off small bass minnows as pike bait – with pike bait prices. I’m aware of the VHS restrictions but it’s a shame that it’s so hard to find good bait. The best baitshop in Rochester was Rochester Hollow Grinder – just fantastic.

I felt good about the areas we worked this AM, but nothing was happening. Had one good hit in the 1st. area and nothing for awhile until Bobby caught a nice smallmouth bass. But when we work a half dozen pike areas with no action, it’s not a problem with the pike – it’s a “we problem.” And I know the guys agreed with me – that if we’d had good bait, we’d have caught some fish. We decided to give casting a 1/2 hour. Fortunately within about 10 minutes Fireman Bob hooked and landed a nice 29″ northern on a spoon – he let Bobby reel it in. Over the next 1/2 hour, three more pike were landed including Bobby’s 31″er. We gave the bait a try late in the day with no hits. All fish released today (we release most pike everyday.) Fun day and my advice to anyone using bait is to either call ahead, or purchase bait in advance. Water temps are 51 degrees. Perch fishing has been hot and cool lately (as usual.) Bass are also still in the mix and a handful of boats were out trolling for salmon/trout. Water level remains good.