Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 12/5 PM


Got out for a half day starting just before 1 pm on my own.  I brought my salmon fly rod set-ups, some gear outfits for salmon and some pike rods.  I wound up spending the majority of my day just casting my 6 wt. Sage with intermediate fly-line and one of my bionic smelt flies.   Fishing was good.  As I was assembling my fly-outfit, I noticed a lamprey attached to my Mercury’s lower unit!  Unfortunately, it slipped off before I could get him!

My first fish wound up being a 15.5″ fat brown trout with a lamprey scar.  I had some hits from small sublegal salmon.  I’m happier not even hooking those fish, since it’s easy to damage them with the hooks or by handling them too much.  My second fish was a 19″ salmon.  My third was an 18″er.   I kept my brown and first salmon.  Both salmon were clean.  Plenty of sublegal salmon are around.  There’s also a lot of bait, especially in deep water.

I spent about a half hour pike fishing and nabbed one 29″ clean northern on gear.  Water level is low and the surface temperature is around 45/46.

Seneca Lake Brown Trout

This fish was pretty easy to identify as a brown trout.  Once in a while, I even have a tough time telling them apart.  I was looking at some of the fish my clients or I caught last year in the “silver phase” and still second-guess my ids.

Salmon in the net

Third legal salmonid of the afternoon on the fly!

Head comparison - salmon vs. brown

The salmon is on the bottom – the brown is on the top.

Close up of brown's head

It’s pretty easy here to see the maxillary (the fish’s “lip”) extending to the back of the eye of the fish.

Salmon head

The maxillary here doesn’t go as far back.  It doesn’t help thing any that I broke both fish’s necks before taking these photos!  The live shots of the fish in the nets might be better illustrations of the differences.

Brown tail

The brown trout tail is a lot more squared off than the salmon’s tail.  This brown’s tail also has a few spots on it.

Salmon tail

There’s a bit more of a fork to the salmon tail.  The peduncle (the fish’s body just to the left of the tail) is noticeably narrower than the brown trout’s tail.

I’ve had some salmon and browns that were very tough to identify.  The vomerine teeth (row of teeth on the inside of the upper jaw) can also be helpful as a tool to identify the fish.  The salmon has a straight row of teeth.  Your finger generally won’t catch on them.  The brown’s vomerine teeth are somewhat uneven and will “hook” or snag your finger when you draw it over them.

There’s plenty of baitfish in Seneca Lake.  The salmon I kept was full of them!


Last but not least...29" northern on gear