Waneta Lake 6/1 + Seneca Lake 6/2


Did some “esocid targeting” over the past weekend. Here are how things went.

Waneta Lake 6/1: Guided Mark I. for what has become an annual or perhaps bi-annual trip to Waneta targeting musky on the fly. He lives fairly close to the lake so it makes sense. No fish were raised today. Conditions were not great to start with sun and a flat lake. Eventually some thunderstorms moved in and we thought we’d have a bite window but were unable to get anything going. Alewives and a lot of sunfish/bluegills were nearshore. Some very nice carp were also mudding. Next time we will bring some fly-gear set up for carp!

Seneca Lake out of Sampson 6/2: I booked a late trip with Bill and his son Tim a few days ago for lake trout. After posting that I would be shifting gears from targeting salmon/browns via casting (which is still possible in some parts of Cayuga Lake) to laker jigging as well as northern pike, he informed me that they’d like to pike fish. He’d never caught northerns before so instead of Cayuga Lake out of Long Point, we shifted over to Seneca out of Sampson. I consider Owasco Lake a little bit easier lake to locate pike in, though not as productive as Seneca number-wise once they are found. For the record, Owasco also has bigger pike since there are no lampreys there. Seneca was closer to them so we went with it.

The fishing was very slow to start. We worked some good pike areas but didn’t do anything. We ran north and worked a bunch more areas and finally encountered a fish. It didn’t take long before I knew what we had to do. We found another area and within one cast we were in business. The day wound up with a fantastic finish – we went from zippo in 4 hours to landing 8 or 9 northerns and two bass in short order. We had an audience of homeowners watching the “fishing show” taking place which was funny. The guys also raised and lost a lot more fish. At least half the pike had fresh or healed lamprey wounds.

One thing we learned during the day that bears mentioning is this: Tim is a lefty and has generally done fine casting left and reeling left (i.e. conventionally) with spinning gear. I did notice his grip on the rod was a little odd (gripping the foregrip while working the lure instead of having the reel stem protruding in between the fingers of the right hand. He dropped a lot of fish and after sharpening and re-checking hooks I had him switch the handle over on my spinning rod. It made a huge difference and he felt and appeared to be much more comfortable. So the bottom line is to always keep an open mind and don’t hesitate trying different sides of the reel. Just because you might reel a spinning reel with your left hand, doesn’t mean that you’d be best off with a left hand crank on your baitcaster or what have you.

Dead Bullheads: There are a lot of dead bullheads around nearly all the area waterways. Some people think it’s a water quality issue. It isn’t. A fish pathologist informed a friend of mine that because bullheads have a slow metabolism, when they live in a lake or waterway that is very cold, they aren’t able to adjust quickly enough to handle rapidly warming conditions, so they become more susceptable to bacteria.

Bill snagged (by accident) a very healthy bullhead today. From my observations, bullhead are one of the hardiest fish when it comes to handling pollutants. They could probably live just about anywhere and thrive.