Skaneateles Lake 6/19
Did a 6-hour trip here starting at 8 am with Mike (from last week’s two AM trips on Thursday and Friday) and his friend Russ. I generally don’t offer 6-hour trips but on occasion I get asked to do them. I have no problem doing them during the time of year that I don’t typically book doubles. I had forgotten about the “Juneteenth” Federal holiday and I was somewhat concerned that the parking lot might fill up quickly, so I showed up around 45 minutes early and wound up doing little fishing on my own. I landed one average smallmouth and had a perch hit me. I missed a couple of other hits from what were likely small bass.
Many smallmouth bass here are on beds. Some perch and rockbass remain shallow. The Brown Drake hatch is in full swing right now. Thousands of spent bugs littered the surface of the lake. Some fish were gobbling them, but I think it was mostly small smallmouth bass.
The guys wanted to learn how to dropshot. I also brought gear for soft jerkbaits (Superflukes) and tube jigs. Those presentations will go a long way when targeting smallmouth bass. These days a lot of guys enjoy throwing Ned rigs and also Keitech style swimbaits. Topwater is also good to have on hand, but the previous three patterns are what I usually wind up doing and enjoy fishing the most. In the colder water months, I’ll also throw hair jigs and hard jerkbaits (we caught one with a Shadow Rap today) and in deep water, I’ll sometimes use a jigging spoon. I see crankbaits and spinnerbaits as being fun to fish if you enjoy them and they can be very productive, depending on the water clarity and wind action. I don’t throw a lot of deep crankbaits much these days for smallies when I’m out. I sure used to though!
We had what I consider to be fairly tough conditions today – spawning fish (I don’t target bedding bass on my own or when guiding), a very strong mayfly hatch and dead calm conditions in crystal clear water. We had some fun fishing but slow catching for much of the morning. A lot of bass were showing and grabbing Superflukes, but not many were getting hooked. The average smallmouth in this lake these days is running 10″ to 13″ long. They aren’t as adept at taking a large plastic as most 14″ and larger bass are. We all had a lot of fun watching bass key in on those baits today.
We fished a few different areas and found fish pretty much everywhere. The last area I took the guys to really paid off and some quality bass were boated, running up to 18″ long. Russ even had what looked like a decent walleye follow in a hooked smallmouth bass. Our larger fish today were found deeper than the smaller ones, which is a common occurrence around the spawn and in the early season.
The ramp filled up late this AM but opened up again later. Twenty boat trailers parked and had launched in Mandana. Don’t expect easy launching and boat retrieval here in the next four weeks! This place is going to be packed. Best bet is to fish weekdays – especially rainy ones and get here early and get out early.
And more bugs!
Nice 18" smallmouth there Russ!
I still get asked about the Mayfly hatches on Skaneateles Lake, especially when concerning rainbow trout. My opinion is that it is NOT worth fishing the hatch. Rainbow numbers are low. You may get some bass and panfish on top, which can be a lot of fun, but rainbow fishing on the surface has been fairly poor here for quite some time.