Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 12/28


Guided my old friend Art and his son Mark for most of the day. We go way back to middle school. We used to ice-fish together back on Conesus Lake in the late 1970s, we’d carp fish on the Barge Canal, steelhead fish as well as fish for everything else on Irondequoit Creek, cast for bass in Mendon Ponds, fish trout around Bear Creek and Pultneyville – you name it. Of course half the time we didn’t know what we were doing, but that in no way diminishes the sheer enjoyment that comes with seeing a bunch of fish and the thrill of discovery. So needless to say it was really nice to catch up.

The winds never came up as forecast, so the salmon fishing was a bit tough. Mark fly-fished for them and had a follow in short order and a hit a bit later, but that was it on the flies. Art wound up landing a couple in the 17″ to 18 1/2″ range. As winds died down we tried some laker jigging. The conditions were good, but we didn’t find many fish. I feel the majority of lake trout on Seneca Lake this time of year are a ways up north, though the southern portions of the lake can be really good in March, April and early May. Art had one good hit, but that was it for where we fished.

Duck season just opened, so the duck hunters were out in droves. We did some pike fishing and the guys both had some hits and hookups. Art landed a couple nice fish in the 24″ to 26″ range and Mark lost one good one and landed one as well. I think most of them were males.

Water temps were around 42/43. A lot of boats were out in the AM. Water level was still good and launching remains easy.

We saw a lot of salmon today and this should be another banner year for Seneca landlocks. As a side note, over the past few weeks it’s been hard not to notice the hook scarring on these fish. They really take a beating. A lot of guys are clearly using large stickbaits with multiple treble hooks on them, since we can see cuts on the sides of these fish. I applaud the fish being released, but it’d be nice to figure out a way to minimize the damage to the fish. The hook scars are as unsightly as lamprey wounds and the scars penetrate the flesh. Maybe experimenting with removing a treble hook or two on a three-hooked lure is the answer, I’m not sure. Using jigs can also help. We kill our fair share even with single hook flies, so it does happen no matter what the technique is that is being employed, but if you find yourself continually removing or worse yet, shaking the hooks out of the backs of these fish, you may want to re-evaluate your lure choice or hook configuration.