Skaneateles Lake 4/12 PM + Seneca Lake 4/13 AM


Guided Craig and his friend Dave for an afternoon 1/2 day on Skaneateles Lake yesterday and a morning 1/2 day on Seneca Lake today out of Watkins Glen.

We had a very interesting two days of fishing.  Craig owns some tattoo parlors and if you have followed this site for over 2 years, you’d remember Dave as the guy with the “banana” tattoo!

Skaneateles Lake 4/12:  Got out here around 12:45 pm.  A handful of boats were out.  We worked what I consider to be a good early season shallow area for bass, perch and occasional trout/salmon.  I wanted the guys to get a feel for working the light hair jigs (before we fished deeper) that I like to use here.  Within a half hour, they were working the jigs effectively and detecting the light hits.  Craig started us off with a nice smallmouth.  The guys caught some bass and a perch.  Craig managed to nab a nice rainbow around 21″ that we kept.  More nice perch and occasional bass followed.

We hit another stretch without any luck.  Our final area resulted in a beautiful 14″ perch for Dave (his first perch!) and the guys each nabbed small, but legal landlocked salmon.  It was nice to see a few young salmon on Skaneateles Lake.  The part of the lake we were fishing used to yield a lot of salmon for me and my clients from November through May.  Over the past year, I didn’t see any come out of there, or the lake.  Dave then nabbed a picture perfect rainbow, which we also kept (along with the salmon and all the better perch on the day.)  I keep the harvesting of trout/salmon here to a minimum for clients, but a few fish for a nice, special meal is a great reward for a beautiful day on the lake.  The rainbows were wild fish.  I have seen a few fin-clipped fish here make it to adulthood over the past few years, but the wild ones seem to do very well.   Another bass or two were caught.  We also had another follow from a good rainbow and another just legal salmon.

The wind was really hauling out of the west northwest.  We had gusts around 30 mph!  I was getting rods put away when Dave hooked up with “A MONSTER FISH!”  He later told me that initially, he thought he was snagged, until it started swimming! I thought that it was a big female walleye at first, but it was clearly a trout or salmon.  The fish fought great!  It really dogged him hard – taking out drag and juking all around the boat.  Everytime we got it near the net, it’d take off again!  Coincidentally, this was a set-up Dave had been using from the get-go, and he had a bad tangle, so I had to re-rig the leader set-up.  I had him set up with fresh Seaguar Invis-X tied with a brand-new knot!  That certainly didn’t hurt us!   Craig and I really feared that Dave would lose this fish.  The wind was crazy and the boat was drifting.  I did manage to spot-lock us so we didn’t run aground!   As he fought the fish, my mind was thinking over and over again – “HOW DID THIS FISH WIND UP IN THIS LAKE!  IT DOESN’T BELONG HERE!”  I finally netted the fish.

My thoughts were “brown trout” but Craig thought salmon with the big head and mouth, although that isn’t an indicator of salmon vs. brown unless you’re talking about a big kype.  Upon talking to my friends and staring at the photo as well as showing the photo to others – it’s pretty apparent, maybe very obvious, that it’s a BROWN.  (Remember we didn’t keep it out of the water for long.) The fish was in a colored-up mode.  Brown trout haven’t been stocked here in decades, although occasionally one is caught here – they are fish that wind up dropping down from Bear Swamp Creek or Grout Brook.   Hopefully somebody else will catch it!  I had 30.5″ for the length.  I’m still shocked at this fish. When fish grow slowly, without lampreys, they can live a long time.  This brown evidently wound up in the lake and stayed there and fed and fed and fed!

Craig with the first Rainbow of the day

Big Perch for Dave! Check out the head-tattoos!

Picture-perfect Rainbow for Dave!

The rainbow in the net

Monster Brown on a small hair jig!

4/13 AM Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen:  I was hoping some of our luck (yes, we got lucky yesterday!) from our Skaneateles Lake trip would rub off on us today.  I can’t say it did.  I have been trying to coordinate trips here with a few clients over the past month or two, but the stars (actually the conditions versus our schedules to be more precise) haven’t aligned.   We had halfway decent wind/weather conditions to start, but they got worse as the day progressed.  We started in a good area and it didn’t take long for Craig to get hit a few times, but the fish didn’t hook up.  We worked some other areas, and Craig – again, had a follow from a chunky salmon, but it didn’t grab.  Other areas didn’t produce any action.  We went back to our first area and Dave had a hit and a follow but didn’t connect.  Craig finally hooked up (I think this was before Dave’s hit/follow) and I thought we hit paydirt.  It felt like and pulled like a good fish, but unfortunately it got unbuttoned.  I tried one last area as a “last hoorah” but we never saw or felt anything.

Salmon here are in a spring pattern and have moved up and down (basically scattered) around the lake.  Don’t be surprised to pick up salmon up near Geneva this time of year – they can move a lot in a few days.   I talked to an angler that was perch fishing and then trolled a bit for lakers.  He didn’t catch anything today either or mark much, but when I asked him, he did tell me that he had a perch spit up a couple gobies down there at the south end of the lake,  thus the gobies appear to be lake-wide now.  At least I think that’s where he had the perch spit the gobies.