Skaneateles Lake 10/17+18


Got out here on my own for some fishing on Monday afternoon then guided a full day here today.  Here’s the breakdown:

10/17 PM:  I arrived here and was on the water by 12:30 pm.  My goal was to hopefully continue patterning/catching some walleyes.  This is one of my favorite lakes to fish in the late fall and early spring, due to its beauty and lack of boat traffic during these times.  Conditions were variable throughout the afternoon.  I had clouds and strong south winds morphing into rain and then partly sunny skies and north winds, then some variable/west winds.  I worked a few different areas with different techniques.  I wound up catching two walleyes on jigs – both were 16.5″ fish but thicker than Oneida fish.  I did well on smallmouth bass and caught some nice perch and rockbass.  Perch ran up to 13″.  My last two fish of the day were big bronzos – 18″ and 19″+ smallmouths that I caught on bladebaits.  I kept the better perch I caught, one average smallmouth and the two walleyes.  Nothing was in the walleye stomachs.  Lake temperature was around 57/58.  Lake level is low but easily launchable.  Foliage is peaking and boat traffic was very light.

About as many fish as I prefer to clean after a day on the water

10/18:  As I was wrapping up my fishing day yesterday, I checked the weather for Thursday.  I had a trip booked with Spencer, who lives on Cayuga Lake.  He’s become pretty passionate about fishing over the past couple of years and has been catching a lot of lake trout since we did a trip last year.  Bass and other warmwater species have proven to be more of a challenge for him.  The weather looked windy with possible snow for Thursday, so I figured why not move the trip to tomorrow.  He has a very flexible schedule – fortunately.  He didn’t know I was on Skaneateles Lake but asked about fishing here instead, so that’s what we went with.

Today was what I call a “tutorial trip” – we went over the wheres, hows and whys regarding patterning fish like smallmouth bass and other species in lakes – particularly the Finger Lakes.  We mainly focused on selecting the best “tools” for fishing success in various depths and how to use them.  We covered hard and soft jerkbaits, both tube and hair jigs, along with bladebaits and swimjigs.  We even did a little dropshotting.

We had a fun day with plenty of action on smallmouth bass – although it was more “fishing” than “catching.”  We certainly raised a bunch of them.  He also landed some perch and rockbass.  Spencer was amongst the most adept learners I’ve guided.  Very few adults without ample fishing experience pick up on subtleties like he was able to.  The scenery was gorgeous – we saw a bald eagle, some ospreys and even a beautiful rainbow in the sky after some scattered showers.  Fun day, but it was cold out to start!

Spencer with a solid 11-inch rockbass - my new species page photo

He managed to land smallmouth bass on shallow jerkbaits, deep running jerkbaits, tube jigs and hair jigs.  He had plenty of hits and follows on soft-jerkbaits and got very good with bladebaits as well.  I’m looking forward to hearing how he does putting these lures to work on Cayuga Lake bass, pike and trout.

Rainbow over Skaneateles Lake - at times you get "extra" rewarded out here for fishing in the cold season!