Skaneateles Lake 12/29


Got out here on my own for the afternoon.  Given how rare it is that the State Launch is open in late December I figured I’d give it a whirl.  (With the lake level being high, Mandana may be a good launching option too.)  I have all winter to fish Cayuga and Seneca Lakes.   The last time I can recall doing trips out here in January was back around 2008!   A lot has changed in the lake since then.  Back then I remember doing some jigging for smallmouth bass.  This time I wanted to see if I could catch walleyes along with trout/salmon.

Conditions were fairly calm and overcast.  I worked water from inshore out to around 50′ using hair jigs, tubes and blade baits.  I didn’t bother with the jigging spoons like I did back in the late 2000s, although they were effective for smallmouths then.  I didn’t have a lot of action.  I landed two smallmouths on the blades – one was an 18″ beauty and the other was around 14″.  I might have had a couple other momentary grabs deep.  No luck whatsoever in less than 20′ FOW.   The calmness of the lake combined with its inherent clarity can make for tough shallow fishing when there’s no wind or water color this time of year.  Not having a single hit or follow from a trout or salmon was not a good sign.   The water level here is still very high – I was surprised at how high it was.  Water temp was 42 degrees.  A couple boats were out here on the day.  I have some idea of what I want to do here next time.  In addition to returning here, if the weather stays mild I’m hoping to keep lake hopping for a bit before hitting Seneca/Cayuga again.

I am open for winter guiding.  At this point in time, my recommendation would be pike fishing.  I will be checking on some lake trout jigging on Cayuga and possibly Keuka Lake soon.