Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 3/11


The Seneca Lake fish Gods were very good to me and my buddy Mike today. Fly-fishing for landlocked salmon is my favorite type of fishing to do. Same with Mike – and he spent at least 6 summers in Alaska! We’ve spent quite a few days this past winter trying various shore spots (that I don’t mention due to privacy issues) and out in the boat – with fairly poor results. January’s trip on Seneca with the boat frozen to the trailer and both floating off the ramp was pretty typical. We’ve paid our dues. BTW -Trollers have been catching a lot of salmon all winter on Seneca and some guys have reported 40 to 50 fish days. These fish school heavily and feed recklessly, so it’s possible, but to me the fun of salmon fishing is feeling the rock hard hit, then fighting the fish as they go crazy with jumps and wild runs.

Things will get interesting over the next decade as the State switches salmon strains. These Little Clear Lake strain fish have a tendency to school heavily – they don’t disperse very well. So oftentimes when you find one, you might find a dozen or a few dozen or even more. The new strain – I think Sebagos, originally from Maine do not school quite as heavily from what I’ve read. So we’ll see what happens. I like the Little Clears – they’ve done quite well.

We picked up a few salmon in the morning in around 50′ to 60′ of water. A month ago a lot of them were out over 100′ to 150′. My bionic smelt fly did the trick. We used intermediate and sinking fly-lines with the Intermediates producing the best results. We worked some different areas then I hooked a nice fish around 20″. After landing the fish we saw a few more swim by! Schools in! After that we were treated to hours of top-notch fly-fishing for salmon up to 23″. I think we landed 15 or 16 nice fish and missed/lost another 20 or more. It was fantastic – a lot of fun. The fish were feeding heavily on young of the year alewives along with some older ones. We each kept one fish for dinner. 3 fish came in with small lampreys attached to them. The lampreys are Seneca Lake’s Number 1 problem. Salmon seem to thrive here and do better year in and year out than in Cayuga, which appears to be boom or bust over the past decade. But Cayuga’s lampreys are under control. Treatments have been carried out on Seneca recently – hopefully they’ll show results over the next few years.

Water temps were generally around 39, but we actually found some water over 53 degrees! No luck fishing it though. Some anglers were picking up perch.