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Cayuga Lake 2/22 - 24

I never thought I'd see t-shirt weather here in the Finger Lakes Region on February 24th, but my car thermometer got up to 77 degrees today!  As long as we don't hit 115 degrees this summer, I'll take this warm weather on occasion.  After all, there's nothing I can do about it. 

Fly-fishing and gear-casting for landlocked salmon, brown trout and occasional lakers has been very good thus far this winter.  Action picked up for us over the past few days.  Water temps were around 39 on Wednesday (and on last Sunday) and hit over 41 degrees today. I'm sure we'll be in for more winter weather sooner or later - certainly in March.

2/22:  Got out with my friend Silene for around 5 hours of fishing.  I cast flies and she worked gear.  She hadn't had any luck last time we were out but her luck changed today. We had some very good fishing for a couple hours with us landing 7 decent fish - 2 browns (one around 16" and one at 18" - though very fat) and 5 salmon up to just under 22" (basically 21.5".)  We kept her nicer brown and two salmon that had lamprey hits on them. Great fun.  She caught most of the fish today, which was great to see.  My fish came on my Bionic Smelt fly and an intermediate line and hers came on a stickbait and a tube jig.

2/23:  Got out with my buddy Terry for around 5 hours of fishing.  I went with my fly-tackle most of the day and he went with spinning gear.  We had terrific action with us having a lot of follows but also landing some hard fighting fish.  I landed a 24" salmon and a couple smaller ones (nice to see some dinks around.)  Terry landed a 19" salmon plus a super hard fighting brown that went 24".  It was as fat as any I've ever seen.  I'd bet it weighed 7lbs.   Certainly over 6 for sure. We released everything today.  Had a lot of follows too.  One laker hookup shallow as well.

2/24:  I had an email from Tracee who was in the region looking for a fishing date for her and her husband Harry.  She read my reports and thought perhaps the fishing was slow, given that the past weekend's fly-fishing trips only resulted in a couple browns (though me and my friend Jeff did well on lakers.)  I let her know that we were fly-fishing for the most part and it does have its limitations.  I rarely expect to catch as many fish as a gear guy or a troller. So she was reassured and we booked the half day.

They were impressed with the fishing today.  We started with jigging lakers and two were brought to the net.  Casting stickbaits for salmon resulted in another laker and two salmon - one around 20" and one at 18".  We kept all the lakers and the bigger salmon (that also had a lamprey scar.)  Stomach checks revealed gobies.   Great day and you could never ask for better weather!  Rain was to the north of us this AM but Ithaca never received a drop!

Cayuga Lake 2/18 + 19

Launched out of Taughannock on both days. The goal was to fly-fish salmon.  Fished with my friend Jeff on Saturday starting around 10:45 am.  I met him back in 2004 or '05 when I worked at Bass Pro Shops.  He's an avid fly-fisherman.  We had terrific fishing but slow catching over the first few hours.  We found plenty of fish and had follows but strikes were few and far in between.  The salmon were tentative.  I managed one brown just a hair shy of 15". We set up for lakers and had some great jigging action with 4 fish landed between us in around 2 hours.  We also missed other hits and dropped a fish or two.  The smoker will be running this week!

Yesterday was a full day guide trip with Mark I.  I gave him the option of Sunday with warm temps but poor winds and today (Monday) with cold temps but good winds.  He went with the nicer day.  Winds were dead calm after an hour of light southerlies.  We were able to see deep into the lake and spotted plenty of suckers along with a few salmon in a few different locations.  We even saw a lake trout.  

Just as I was debating setting up for laker jigging, the winds came up strong out of the north. Fish activated a bit but were still tough/tentative for us.  Gear fishing likely would've been productive but we stuck with fly-fishing.  It was hard to cover water effectively due to the strong winds pushing the boat along a bit too fast (even with drift bags.)  We found some more sheltered areas and Mark got railed by a nice thick brown trout.  It found superbly - with some deep runs and great jumps.  The fish went 20" and Mark caught all of the action - including the hookup on his Go-Pro.  After that Mark had another hit (likely a salmon) but that was it.  

Water temps ran around 39/40.   Launching wasn't a problem for us.

Cayuga Lake Shorefishing 2/7

I gave the lake around 2 hours today and managed to lose a nice salmon around 19" that jumped twice and threw the hook on the second jump.  My buddy Mike worked another area and landed some good fish up to 24" on the day.   The water level is very low - about as low as it gets.  Water temps remain in the low 40s.  Shorefishing overall remains good with salmon, occasional browns and lake trout in the mix depending on where and how you are fishing.  


Cayuga Lake 1/20 - 1/22

Got out for three days in a row in my boat. Water temp is around 41.  Here's the breakdown:

1/20:  Fished with my friend Silene for the day starting around 11 am. We had pretty strong south winds for most of the day and then it finally let up.  No rain, which was nice. Action was slow. I fly-fished and she casted gear.  I missed some hits and had some follows. She had one hookup momentarily but that was it.  

1/21:  Got out with my buddy Mike for the day, starting around 10 am.  A lot of boats were out today.  We brought gear for salmon, lakers and pike.  We like to hedge our bets! Salmon fishing was pretty good for a bit - I nailed a 17"er and a 22", Mike got a 21".  Mike had a nice lake trout take a few swipes at his streamer which was pretty cool.  We did some laker jigging and it was good. We landed 4 of them up to around 26".  I kept my large salmon and it was stuffed with gobies. The fish had a large lamprey scar on it.

1/22:  Did my first guided trip of the season and it went well. I met Gordon at the launch around 8 am and we were underway by 8:30.  Salmon fishing was good early, then slowed then picked up again.  He wound up landing 4 solid fish all on the fly.  Best was 24" and smallest was just under 18".  He also lost two good ones and missed another half dozen hits.  We saw a salmon around 6lbs or so jump clear out of the water in one area. It had a big lamprey attached to it and it appeared as though the fish was trying to "shake it."  The water level appears to have gone up a little bit due to all the runoff.  We finished our full day up around 4:30 pm. Really fun salmon fly-fishing!

Seneca Lake shorefishing 1/16

Got out with my buddy Mike and we hit three different shore areas for trout/salmon using our fly-gear.  In our first area we each hooked up (possibly the same fish but I am not sure) and Mike wound up landing an 18" brown trout (with attached small lamprey.)  Apart from the attached lamprey, it was in good condition - nice and chunky.  He let it go.  That was only luck we had.  The conditions turned calm which usually makes for very tough fly-fishing.  

I think we'll see fair fishing for browns, salmon and rainbows on Seneca Lake this year. I am guessing the Memorial Derby will likely be won by a big brown trout again this year. With the low laker numbers and abundant forage we may start seeing more trophy fish come out of Seneca.  I will likely check on things with my boat here over the next couple weeks.  Again, I blame a lot of last year's poor fishing on low laker numbers, high baitfish abundance, high lamprey numbers and poor water clarity during most of the summer.  The lake's transperency has been declining in the summer months due to more blue-green algae.  On the flipside, the lake is clearer than ever in the early spring/late winter.

Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 1/11

Got out with my buddy Mike for some salmon fly-fishing.  We started around 10:30 am and surprisingly were the only boat out fishing. Can't beat that!  As predicted last year, fishing for salmon this season has been top-notch on Cayuga Lake.  There are good numbers of 17" to 19" fish and then also some in the 21" range.  We haven't seen many dinks - fish under 15" or any fish better than 21" thus far.  Clearly they are out there but we just haven't run into them.

We encountered a lot of fish today in a lot of areas and a lot of different depths.  We landed 7 salmon and one brown. The brown was a heavy 21" fish.  Best salmon was 21" as well. A couple salmon went 16" to 17" with the rest running 19" to 20".  Intermediate and Type 3/4 sinking fly-lines both produced grabs for us.  For every fish we landed, we probably had follows from another one or two. There were signs of lampreys on probably 50% or more of the fish.  Today was a "catch 'em and release 'em" day with all fish going back into the lake. The fish we have harvested thus far this winter have been feeding on equal numbers of alewives and gobies.  Water temp was 41 degrees on top.

Cayuga Lake Shorefishing 1/3

Back to the shorefishing today.  Had the forecast not been for rainy, windy conditions I would have taken my boat out.  I was well equipped for shore casting today with my 6 wt. fly-rod with a type 3 sinking line, 5 mm neoprene chest waders (which are getting hard to find,) a stripping basket and waterproof wading jacket.  I fished a few different areas and in the first location I had five different encounters with what was likely two different salmon.  I landed one around 18".  

Location number two was the hotspot and within a half hour I'd landed three solid salmon from 19" to 21".  The fishing was reminiscent of the early 2000s or late 1990s with nice clean fish.  Great battles too with some superb jumps!  Putting in my time paid off. Time now to work on other things and wait for the next thaw.  Looks like it will be another topnotch year on Cayuga Lake.  

Cayuga Lake Shorefishing 1/2 PM

After taking care of a few things I met my buddy Mike out at Taughannock for some shore fishing.  He had a good late AM with 4 nice salmon landed - two sublegals and two legals. He nabbed three of them with the fly-rod.  He pretty much just hung out and had a cigar while I tried to nab my first salmon of the winter season.  Later on he fished a little bit more.  Yours truly missed two.  I had a couple decent hits - one felt good but I couldn't connect.  Fishing has been good just about anywhere you can get shore access around the southern portions of Cayuga Lake.  Water temperatures are around 44.  I'm looking forward to my next time out.  I also missed one a couple days ago - so I need to connect with a zolid... 

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