Skaneateles Lake 5/3 PM + Cayuga Lake 5/4, 5/5 AM


Weather was fairly miserable by most people’s standards early this week.  We had highs in the 40s and low 50s along with scattered showers, thunderstorms and even some hailstorms.  Most of Sunday’s heavy rain went to the east of us.  Some areas had 3″+.   We wound up with just over an inch of rain and fortunately it came in the form of a steady soaking rain.  This has kept debris to a minimum.  Cayuga Lake’s south end was very muddy on Thursday.  It also appeared that way today when I drove by.  Most areas are fishable and guys were out trolling boards on the lake’s south end on Thursday.

Skaneateles Lake 5/3 PM:  Got out here on my own for around 4 hours of fishing.  With top-notch raingear, heavy long underwear and a down jacket, I was very comfortable despite some rain, clouds and light wind, with a high around 48 or 50.  I was the only boat that went out of the State launch fishing when I arrived at around 1:30 pm.  Surface temperatures here were around 43 degrees.  This lake is typically the coldest Finger Lake and the slowest to warm up – at least as far as I know.  I ran to a favorite area and within 10 minutes I unfortunately lost a good fish.  I saw it flash and it was likely a walleye around 18″ or 19″.  I did land an 18″ walleye shortly thereafter, but was unable to hook anymore.  I landed around a half-dozen jumbo perch, which I released. I never used to let go those big females, but with a decent walleye in my livewell I was all set for my supper.  I also landed 5 or 6 nice smallmouth bass and one legal landlocked salmon which I also released.  No rainbows, lake trout or rock bass today.  I did hook what felt like a monster bass (or something!) that I lost after a short hookup, but man was this fish STRONG!   Maybe another big brown, but I tend to doubt it!  I’m thinking smallmouth over 5lbs.

Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 5/4:  Hard to believe that this is the first time I’ve launched out of the southern portion of Cayuga Lake since mid-December.  That for me, since I’ve owned a boat (from late 2001) is a record!  Usually I’m out here throughout the winter.  I brought fly-gear, casting equipment and jigging gear for Mark I. who just got back from some terrific fishing in the Carribean and south Florida over the past three weeks.   We started in midlake areas with some jigging and it was very good.  A lot of fish ran around 22″ to 24″, but we had a couple around 26″ and maybe 27″.  These were “resident” lake trout, not the migratory bunch that usually head downlake in June.

Casting did not yield any browns, rainbows or salmon, although Mark nabbed three lakers in less than 10′ of water.  We had a double-digit lake trout day.  He did some fly-casting for lake trout with no grabs or discernable follows.

Cayuga Lake out of Dean’s Cove 5/5 AM:  Did a jigging trip with Isaac, Amos and Andrew, all from around the Penn Yan area, so that’s why I made the trek over to Dean’s.  With 48-degree water on the surface of Cayuga Lake and all that warm rain, the baitfish have really moved in.  We had a terrific morning of jigging in shallow water with nobody around us except one troller.  The guys landed their limits within less than 2 hours.  We kept a slot or two open then filled it with some better fish.  Fish ran from around 20″ up to 29.5″ today.  We had three small lampreys come up with fish.  This is not a major concern, since this is the time of year that the young eel-like parasites “transform” into the slimy vampires they are.  All 15 of the fish I cleaned were loaded with various sized alewives from 1.5″ long up to maybe 5″.  There’s no shortage of bait on Cayuga Lake.

DEC is conducting surveys on Cayuga and Seneca Lakes this year.  It’s a great time to become a diary cooperator and help them with research.  Just get a booklet from DEC, a pen and then tape a measuring tape along your gunnel and you’re good to go!   There’s no excuse for regular avid anglers not to help out.  Years ago, most guides took pride in participating in this program and felt a civic duty to give back to the fishery which helps to earn them a living.  Those days appear to be long gone in our “Age of Entitlement.”   JFK, if he were an angler, would say “Ask not what DEC could do for you, ask what you can do to help out the DEC!”   Hopefully some folks will wake up and do their fair share.