Skaneateles Lake 12/4 out of Mandana


The preliminary forecasts called for a nice day today, but by yesterday AM the forecast had turned to windy, very windy out of the south! I probably should have stayed home today, but the thought of spending another 50 degree day in December on Skaneateles Lake was too enticing. My buddy Chris and I drove up to Mandana in some strong winds and were met with whitecaps and gusts upwards of 25 mph.

The launch at Mandana isn’t great. Thankfully Chris wore his waders. We got the boat off the trailer but it was tough. I had to back in a long ways and the dock is a bit away from the ramp. The run south was nasty! It took a long time and the further south we went, the nastier the wind got. The lake was as rough as I’ve seen it with southerlies. Water temps are around 46. It felt good to set up and I had us as far south as possible. We did a drift for some pickerel and perch. I caught one fair sized pickerel and a small perch or two.

One thing that makes the Skaneateles Lake watershed so beautiful is the sheer amount of forest cover. But crank up the wind like it was today and the edges of the lake become veritable leaf blowers – spewing debris along the shorelines. The amount of leaves in the water made fly-fishing for rainbows a low percentage option. If 4 out of 5 of my casts result in a leaf-fouled fly, what’s the point? So it was a tough day. We worked jigs and Chris caught some jumbo perch and I caught a nice bass and a nice perch. Despite the nasty winds, the day still whizzed by. Before we knew it, the time was 3 pm. We’d been out 5 hours and it felt like 2! We fished till dark.

Getting the boat back on the trailer was tough, but thankfully Chris was able to wade. The State Launch is open and the dock is likely still in, but we felt it was better to launch at Mandana, rather than run an extra 3 miles on the white-cap laden lake.