Skaneateles Lake 5/12
Half-day guide trip with Paul and Steve yesterday. They are funny guys and wanted me to trash them in this report. Anyways, Paul was a little bit worried about not catching anything as the trip date approached. I received a couple phone calls re: this matter. I warned him that “those who worry the most about not catching fish often don’t catch fish. Those who show up to ‘enjoy the day’ usually enjoy good fishing!” Remember that the somewhat slower action on Skaneateles Lake over the last 2 guided trips I did was primarily due to the lack of wind – and not the overall quality of the lake fishing. Lake Ontario’s spring brown bonanza also slowed up during the steady windless weather. Weather is usually the #1 factor in fishing success in many ways. I think we proved that today. Paul’s folks have a place on the lake so I drove my boat over there to meet them. As they got on board I noticed some “home-prepared” beverages. They looked like various “Gatorade” combos or other sports drinks, but no – the bottles contained vodka and cranberry, vodka and orange and one other combo! They let me know that the amount of vodka in the bottles was relatively low. That was nice to know, because someone who’s drinking heavily or drunk at 8 am is not a pleasant thing! In “the Angling Zone” it’s a free trip back to the dock!
Things didn’t look good to start. We had next to no wind and sunny conditions, so I just decided to go over some techniques with them. But lo and behold the wind came up nicely out of the north. Steve started the action off with a few perch, then Paul came through with a jumbo. They also picked up a couple smallmouths (during the morning.) We hit one area quickly and the trip became “mission accomplished” as Steve hooked and landed an absolutely gorgeous rainbow trout in the 21″ to 22″ range. We then worked one of my favorite areas and I could have sworn Paul was getting hits and not feeling or noticing them. Maybe the Grey Goose was talking to him, I don’t know. He wanted to take a break and insisted that I fish. I declined for awhile but eventually started casting. I managed to land a nice 23″ rainbow. I couple casts later I got another rainbow around 21″! Sheer luck I’m sure 😉 But I was able to realize a couple things and the guys watched the technique and got psyched to fish some more. Paul got “into the zone” and started missing a few more fish (Grey Goose again!). Then he looked and lost a nice rainbow around 16″. So he was happy, because he knew what he needs to do! He is on the lake frequently, so he’ll be able to perfect the technique with time. I gave the guys some jigs and other tackle and dropped them off. Nice trip – very enjoyable!
Keep in mind that the jig retrieve we use isn’t a typical type of retrieve. It’s one that takes some “feel” and practice.
I spent the rest of the day trying to get a few more perch for my own dinner. The wind picked up even more and boat control got a little tough. But I managed to get a few fish including a couple jumbos for dinner. My perch fishing was interrupted by a couple pesky 😉 rainbows – both very nice fish. I was also interrupted by a nice 19″ lake trout and a few big smallmouths! The lakers in this lake look like they were cross-bred with burbot. Normal lakers we see in the Finger Lakes (Seneca strain fish) have white bellies. These fish have bellies that are full of spots – the bellies look just like the backs of these fish.
Most rainbows were released today. I gave the guys one of my fish and they kept their one fish. Although we often keep a small percentage of fish for the table, I think as a guide service we do a commendable job by releasing most of our trout and salmon (apart from lakers!).