Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 12/8
Guided Mark I. for a full day today getting underway at around 8:30 am. We knocked off a little early, at 4 pm. Action was a lot slower for us than what I experienced on Monday. He spent nearly the entire day fly-fishing although we took an hour or so out for some pike casting with gear. The first couple of hours were non-eventful and then in one area Mark had a couple consecutive hits but did not hook up. We kept at it diligently but could not make anything happen.
We’d rather catch one or two on the fly than a bunch on gear if we can help it. My least favorite way to catch landlocked Atlantic salmon (apart from trolling, which I don’t do) is vertically. Catching salmon during the summer vertically jigging doesn’t give me any thrills. They usually come up easily, since they don’t mind warmer water and you might get a jump out of one boatside, then I can usually net them. If they’re big – like over 25″, they can be fun, but to me it’s all about the jumps and the hard hit, which the fly-fishing tackle really amplifies. Casting gear can be fun, and I enjoy it at times (especially when I need to cover a lot of water quickly or the weather conditions are too cold or windy for fly-fishing) but is not on a par with fly-fishing in terms of fun and intensity.
Mark had one fish on with a pike spoon. I didn’t see it, since I assumed he had a pike hooked and was going for the net. He said it jumped, so I’m guessing it was a salmonid of some sort – probably a landlock.
Mark wanted to be off the water around 4 pm due to some commitments he had later, so we had to make a choice between pike or salmon. He went with the salmon and we went back to where he’d had the earlier hits. Lo and behold, within a cast or two after making his decision, his streamer got slammed by a good fish! This fish jumped like a fish possessed – much more than any I landed on Monday. After a great battle I netted the chunky 20″+ fish. We kept it and it went 3 1/2lbs! A great fish on the fly – especially given how slow our bite was! Water temperature was around 45/46 degrees.
Mark with a 20.5" 3lb 8oz fly-caught Salmon
The fish Mark caught was perfectly clean. These Seneca fish are very plump and heavy for their size when clean (i.e., they have no signs of lamprey attacks.)