Skaneateles Lake 6/22
After spending the better part of the past week and a half in hot Phoenix Arizona and receiving reports of hot fishing in the FL Region, it felt good getting back out onto the water. I no longer actively book 1/2 days just before or after full days, but due to the weather I wound up doing just that and spent the entire day on the water yesterday.
Mike joined me a couple years ago on Seneca Lake and he caught a nice brown trout while pike fishing along with a couple lakers on jigs. He wanted to jig Skaneateles Lake, which is something I rarely do, apart from casting jigs. When the fish are shallow (5' to 35' FOW) I have casting techniques that work well at covering water; when they are deeper than 40' FOW, I like the vertical stuff. So we set up for jigging.
I was pleasantly surprised at how well things went. By the day's end Mike and his brother Barry had landed 10 lakers, including a solid 27" fish. Most were the usual (but beautiful) Skaneateles cigar-shaped (double Toro) lakers running 17" to 18", but we had a few around 20" to 22" as well.
At 4 pm I met Bill and his son in-law Brian at the launch. We decided to try fly-fishing the Brown Drake Hatch. I don't guide the hatch per se for various reasons, namely because it's unpredictable and really gets underway late – like around 7:45 or 8 pm and by the time I get home it's past 10 pm. If I lived closer to the lake it'd be a different story. I also don't guide it because I haven't spent much time on it and really don't have the expertise on it. My buddy Mike and I first fished it back around the year 2000 or so with a guide. He wasn't much of a fly-fisherman, but did educate us a bit on the hatch. It was an awesome experience. We hit it perfectly and saw a couple dozen sizeable rainbows working giant mats of mayflies. I've gone back 4 times or more since (as have my friends) and never experienced it as good. On that guided trip, Mike landed a beautiful rainbow around 20" that thrilled us all, especially the guide. We also caught rock bass, perch and smallmouths.
We started with some fly-fishing for smallmouths. The lake style casting with heavy rods was a big adjustment for the guys. We had a few opportunities, but nothing much happened. The calm conditions didn't help plus I'm certain most bass are spawning now. But the guys had some big fish show themselves for the flies and a few grabs on the surface, which was fun.
The hatch was average to below average. We started seeing some mayflies (the Brown Drakes) show up around 7:20 to 7:30 pm. It was fairly good for about an hour. Some very small (probably recently stocked – from late April) yearling rainbows were rising, but we couldn't see much else. Brian wound up landing a spunky little rainbow that jumped a bit but it was a dink – no two ways about it. The guys are staying on the lake south a ways, so I should be able to see how the hatch materializes throughout the week. It can be very exciting to fish, but it was nothing special yesterday.