Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 4/12


I did a 1/2 day trip in the AM with Tom and his friend Gordon. They do some trolling and copperlining and wanted to learn the jigging. Tom wanted to go out of Watkins for this trip. I’m not a big fan of the lake trout fishing on the south end of Seneca Lake most times of the year, but from March through early May, it can be decent, though rarely if ever on a par with Sampson or Geneva.

Today looked like a much better day than yesterday so we gave it a shot. The south end was still quite murky and downright muddy from all the rain we’ve had lately. On the positive side, when we started at around 7:45 am, we marked a lot of fish and bait. A lot of boats were also out. Probably 20 or more boats perch fishing and the Finger Lakes Trollers were having a tournament as well. The laker bite was tough today. Fish moved a bit for the jigs and a few hits were had. Gordon landed a dink around 16″ that was a wild fish. We released that one.

The good news today were the salmon that were in as deep a water as I’ve seen them this time of year! Tom landed 2 beauties – both around 24″ long and in the 5lb range. Gordon lost one that had to be a class or two up from the ones Tom got. Gordon’s appeared to be over 25″. The salmon were in deep water – water around 120′ to 150′ deep and were suspended. Both fish had lamprey hits and the first one we landed had a small (4″) lamprey attached to it. Both fish were in pretty good condition. I realize that these depths are fairly routine for trollers, but I’ve rarely had to fish that deep for salmon this time of year (and of course I’ve had my tough days and skunkings, so it makes sense that a good number of these fish could be quite deep.)

That was it for the trip. Afterwards, I grabbed my fly-gear and a couple spin rods and did some exploring up the lake. I found salmon/trout to be as well distributed as I could hope. I didn’t catch any, but they were around in the gin-clear water. The calm conditions I ended up with aren’t great for catching salmon, but they are fun for exploring. I also saw fair numbers of pike and even a couple carp. We’ll be back for the pike in May once the season re-opens. My friend Mike was amongst the masses working the perch. He nabbed some good ones but they were being picky.

This next four weeks is THE time for salmon, whether on the fly or via gear fishing. Very few fish have moved up, but they will in droves this week. Then we’ll see what’s out there. I’m very optimistic regarding our salmon fishing. I think it’s going to be good.