Skaneateles Lake 4/11
Things got off to a great start for us on 4/11. I met Adam and his dad Kurt (my apologies if it’s written with a “C”!) at the launch at 10 am. With the heavy winds forecast I was hoping for an early start, but it looked like we lucked out – the winds were a nice 10 mph. Water temps were great around the northern portions of the lake – upwards of 40 to 41 degrees. I demonstrated the jigging technique and off we went. Within about 10 minutes Adam felt a couple hits on the retrieve and we all watched as a 14″ to 16″ rainbow turned away below the boat. Then Kurt had hold of a beauty – a thick bodied rainbow that appeared to be at least 20″ long! We thought we’d be in for a stellar “catching” day but it wasn’t to be. After a fishless drift we elected to run down the lake and worked a few different areas. By this time the wind came up fairly heavily and made keeping contact with the jigs difficult. Further south Kurt landed a big female perch around 12″ or better. Some hits were missed as well. But it was very difficult fishing. Then the winds increased to around 20 mph + with stronger gusts. We ran back up the lake and found we were pretty much the only boat left out. Another fish was dropped and we called it a day. As we pulled into the launch it was clear – we WERE the only boat still out! The north end of the lake was whitecapping from north winds!
I went back out on my own to check on things, but found similar results. I did manage a couple hits (I think from bass)and I landed a smallmouth bass around 14″. In 39 degree water I was surprised, but it jumped. Early season (cold water) rainbow trout fishing can be difficult on this lake. I use a jigging method that requires a lot of focus – with both feel and line-watching and it can be tough even when conditions are perfect (light winds). Add in some heavy winds and waves, along with deep water and tricky drifting/boat control and things become much more difficult. The guys were great sports and we fished hard.
I don’t see this as an indictment on the current fishing on the lake. With light winds and some sun I think a very good day is quite possible, if not probable on this lake. But the warmer things get the better. My favorite time to fish this lake is in early to mid-May – any cast can result in a big smallmouth, jumbo perch, wild laker, rainbow or landlocked salmon. It’s mixed bag fishing at it’s best!