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Owasco Lake 10/23 + Cayuga Lake 10/24 AM

Needless to say, the strong winds and wild weather forced some cancellations and reshuffling of trips. Winds weren't as bad as I thought they'd be, but the fishing was tough for us on Sunday.

Owasco Lake 10/23:  My AM trip was with Mike and Scott, both homeowners on the Finger Lakes.  Scott was out with me a year ago on Keuka and Mike enjoyed one of the last stellar days we had this season on Seneca Lake just before the slowdown around Memorial Weekend's derby.

The foliage was awe-inspiring today and the wind wasn't bad down where we were fishing. But unfortunately the lake trout bite was tough.  Both guys managed to land lakers in the 26" range, but 2 fish was it for the AM.  Only one or two other opportunities presented themselves. Fish are in spawn-mode here and are jumping around.  Water temps are around 60/62.  The lake level is good.  

PM Trip:  My PM trip on Owasco Lake was with Craig and his buddy Adam. I hadn't seen Craig in around 7 or 8 years.  He'd last done a laker trip with me on Seneca that featured some fantastic fishing.  The guys knew the challenge that we'd be dealing with today and kept up their spirits and fished hard.  The bite remained tough.  Adam managed one good laker and Craig somehow managed to foul-hook a perch.  

Cayuga Lake 10/24 AM:  After the tough fishing yesterday we were looking at cold conditions with some very strong NW winds today.  I had advised Craig to postpone the trip a few days ago but he was dead-set on fishing, so we did both days.  We were going to try to hit some lakers out of Long Point before the forecast winds came up then head north for pickerel/bass, but upon seeing the AM winds decided to go straight to the pickerel at the lake's north end.  We were also hoping for some bass.

Fishing was superb for the toothy critters.  The guys pulled their lures away from the dink (15" to 17") pickerel while managing to land some solids up to over 24".  Adam also managed a 29" Northern Pike.  The guys also caught some nice perch on our pickerel/bass gear - a 13"er, 11"er and one around 9".  Who needs Seneca???  These Cayuga perch are getting BIG and eating the plentiful gobies and alewives that ply Cayuga Lake. I cleaned 4 pickerel and found some huge gobies in their stomachs too! The condition of the fish the guys caught today was great.  Water levels were also great. Water temps were around 52 degrees up north.  It felt like mid-November out there today.

Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 10/19

Got out with my buddy Mike for a long day. We hadn't fished together since April if my memory serves me correctly. I wanted to check some mid-lake areas out for perch prospects.  Mike arrived at my place around 6:30 am and we drove down to Watkins Glen. He was joking about the bunch of bananas he brought along.  I'm not superstitious but it's funny that as I was getting the gear ready on my boat at Schamel's Boat Launch, Mike noticed my boat tire was low.  Not only was it low, it was getting flatter by the minute thanks to a screw I'd run over at some point in time on the way over!  I'd forgotten about the bananas, but Mike reminded me. Fortunately I had my spare, a jack and tire wrench so I was good to go after 15 minutes.  

The fishing was as slow as I have ever seen it.  I'd guess it was largely due to the full-moon. The currents in some areas were also outrageous.  That should position the fish, but where they positioned was a mystery to us. We worked a lot of areas for perch and were certainly on some but they wouldn't hit what we were offering them. Eight hours into the trip and the score was:  Bananas 2, Me and Mike 0. We hadn't even had a hit!  Mike said it was the slowest day he'd ever had fishing.  He may have been right!  

But one of the main reasons Mike and I fish well together is that neither of us likes to quit defeated. We don't take "no" for an answer from the lake.  And the tougher the fishing is, the harder we fish.  As the sun got low I finally hooked up with a smallmouth.  Then Mike nabbed a jumbo perch, then a slightly smaller one. Then I got a jumbo and a slightly smaller one. Then it got dark. So at least we had some success.  It felt great finally hooking up and we did figure out a lot of stuff.

If you really like catching perch, don't go to Seneca Lake. It's a brutal fishery.  To me it's a high stakes, high risk - high reward fishery.  I've limited out there in 2 hours on 11" to 14" perch. I've also gone a full day and not hooked or seen a thing.  The lake was much more productive in the 1980s and early 1990s.  It was more fun then too.  I've learned a lot about perch fishing Seneca circa 2010s thanks to some clients of mine.  But if you really want to have fun on a day-in day-out basis, you're much better off going just about anywhere else. You'd have a hard time not catching them on Keuka, Skaneateles, Canandaigua, Owasco or Cayuga Lakes. Even Otisco has decent perch fishing.  I think Cayuga Lake might start offering the best perch action in the region with the fish now gorging on gobies.  They are getting bigger and more numerous over there. 

Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 10/18 AM

Guided Tony and Peter for a half day.  We targeted lakers with fair fishing. One bonus salmon around 16" was caught and released.  3 or 4 nice lakers were landed to 26 1/2" and both guys dropped a couple fish. The forecasted strong winds stayed away during the AM.  I'd say the fishing out of Taughannock/Myers for lakers is fair to good.  I believe most fish have already spawned. Long Point also offer good laker fishing. Water temp was 62 on top. Water levels remain good on Cayuga Lake.  We may get some relief from the drought on Thursday and Friday.  Time will tell.  I'm not holding my breath...

Reports 10/14 - 10/16

10/14 Owasco Lake:  Guided Gordon for a full day of fly-fishing mainly targeting pike. Conditions were not great with a full moon, bluebird skies and a calm lake.  Gordon nabbed a nice 27" pike in short order (while the light was still low.)  Afterwards the fishing was tough with one 19" pike. We tried some laker jigging but that action was slow too with some "lookers" but just one hit.  Tough day.

10/15 Cayuga Lake out of Long Point:  Guided Greg for a full day of targeting largemouth bass (which also means pickerel on this lake up north.)  The pickerel bite was superb with numerous (at least 20) fish taken mostly in the 19" to 20" range up to around 23".  Bass bites were spotty, but Greg managed 5 nice fish from 13" to 18 1/2".  Crankbaits and chatterbaits worked best for us.  Other fish came on tubes and spoons.  The lake was very choppy. Water temps up north got down into the upper 50s.

10/16 Cayuga Lake out of Long Point:  Did two one-half day trips back to back.  The first trip was with John, his son Hunter and Hunter's grandfather Ernie.  Fishing started out very slow and we almost ran south after no sign of fish north of Long Point.  But we decided against the run and stuck it out with a solid laker bite on fish ranging from 17" to 26".  The guys landed 7 solid fish with some good fish dropped too. Very good trip with virtually no boat traffic and some nice colors to behold.

My PM trip was with Mark who wanted to learn the laker technique.  We had to reschedule a couple times but finally pinned down a good date.  Fishing started out with a solid 26"er. A few were lost then Mark nabbed another nice fish around 23".  Good afternoon trip with a nice double rainbow in the sky after a quick rainshower.

Surface temperatures remain a few degrees above normal for this time of the year.  The thermocline on Cayuga Lake is dissapating. We had 62 degrees from the surface down to at least 60' down.  Laker temps were from 95' on out. 

Owasco Lake 10/11

Guided Charles and Mike for a full day.  I hadn't seen these guys since the recent pike heyday on Seneca Lake; it was probably around 2008.  They do a lot of saltwater fishing around Long Island and are both accomplished anglers.  The lake trout bite started out slow this morning but really got going good as the day progressed.  Fish ran 22" to 27" long.  They landed a dozen solid fish and hooked quite a few more.  Only a few other boats were out angling.  The AM fog was cool to watch but it was damn cold first thing this morning!  Surface temps ran from 64 to 66.  

Owasco Lake 10/9

AM:  Guided Fred Sr., Fred Jr. and Matt for a 6 hour trip today.  Fishing started off slowly but then Fred Jr. had a surprise from a solid rainbow trout in the 4lb range.  The trout grabbed his jig on the descent.  After a few jumps it was off.  

Lake trout fishing gradually picked up and we even had one double.  Plastics did best but Hopkins Spoons also produced a fish or two.  The guys wound up with around 9 solid fish to 28" on the day.

PM:  Guided the Hermans for the afternoon.  It was windy and cold out and we even had a light sprinkle on the way back in.  We cut the day a little short with the nasty incoming weather.  Lake trout action was very good with around 5 or 6 solid fish landed on both plastics and "hardware."  Surface temps were around 65/66 degrees if I remember right. They dropped at least a half a degree while we were out.  We only saw one or two other boats fishing on the day. Many sportsmen are heading into the woods for bow season.

Seneca Lake out of Geneva 10/6

Got out here on my own for another "catch 'em and eat 'em" mission.  I am starting to like September and October for doing some panfishing, especially since it was such a hot summer that conditions really haven't set up yet for optimal pike fishing or salmon.  Plus I love to eat fish when I can.

I scouted a bunch of areas for perch and wound up finding a few groups of them. I wound up landing about a dozen mostly very solid perch up to the 13" range.  They hit soft plastics. The perch on this lake get hammered throughout the cold months so I'm not going to give locations or depths but it's a nice time to be on the lake with very few anglers out.  It was a bluebird sunny day and quite windy in the AM - not ideal perch conditions so I was happy with my catch.  I also caught a smallmouth around 12".

Cayuga Lake Propagation Netting:  It's over!  The guys had the most successful netting in the past 15 years (at the very least) with all the eggs they needed being taken in two nights.  Some nets were set last night to help a graduate student procure some fish for some thiamine studies but that was it.  No real monsters but decent numbers of 11 to 13lb fish.  Not as many wild fish as in the past either.  Wild fish production of lake trout on Cayuga Lake remains low.  It's under 10%.  Last year I started seeing more wild fish than previously, but that was an anomaly.  Most fish that I saw on my boat this year were stocked.  It's great seeing beautiful wild fish in the fishery, but from a management perspective having a fishery comprised of mostly stocked fish allows for easier balance - when forage numbers drop, less fish can be stocked to compensate.  

Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 10/4 AM

Guided Dick and his wife Michelle starting around 7:30 am.  The lake trout bite was pretty slow for the most part - not terrible but what I'd call "fair."  Some fish were hitting. Michelle managed to land two nice fish - one was a solid 25"er. Dick had around a half dozen hits. The fog/overcast skies likely played a big part in the slow bite. We were supposed to have sun by 11 am, but it never materialized until around 1 or 2 pm, long after we had called it a day.  

Propagation netting is currently going on at Cayuga Lake.  My buddy Mike (yes - that Mike) is leading the crew and reported to me that the first day went great. Crews handled a bunch of lakers up to around 13lbs. Lamprey wounding was low.  Numbers of wild fish were also low. This year we haven't seen great numbers of wild lakers on Cayuga Lake. I would say wild fish percentages are around 7 to 8%. They probably handled around 150 lakers yesterday.    

Reports 9/30 - 10/2

I guided Cayuga Lake out of Long Point on Friday and then Owasco Lake out of Emerson Park on Saturday and Sunday.  The bite was pretty good Friday then fair to good on Saturday and good to excellent on Sunday.

9/30 Cayuga out of Long Point:  Did a full day with Ken and his wife Diane starting around 7 am.  They wanted to get the lake jigging technique dialed in so that's what we did.  We fished from north of Aurora down to the AES area.  The bite was pretty good despite overcast skies and then some windier conditions later on.  We never got much of the predicted rain.  Fish landed ran from 16" up to 26".  Around 8 fish were landed if I remember correctly.  I think around 85' to 110' produced best.  Plenty of bait is around and the fish I cleaned were stuffed with alewives.

10/1 Owasco Lake:  Guided Greg for a full day.  The north end laker bite was non-existant for us.  Greg tried some pike fishing and it was slow - one dink.  He landed a nice 13" perch as well as a smaller one.  Later in the day we had some very solid lake trout action with some nice fish running to 27".  We are finding a few wild fish in Owasco Lake, though some fish clearly have uneven fins (regenerated after clips) too.  Greg wound up catching a decent pike in excellent condition that was likely 24" to 25" on a Superfluke.  He also missed a couple hits that were probably smallmouth bass.  

10/2 Owasco Lake: Guided Dave and Bill for a half day of lake trout fishing.  The jigging started out halfway decent and got downright excellent before we wrapped things up. The guys landed around 6 or 7 fish and dropped plenty more on both spoons and plastics.  The best three were all 28" beauties.  This lake has some terrific fish in it!  Water temps on the surface are around 68 degrees.  The better pike fishing will likely get going in around 2 weeks.  But casting jerkbaits should produce some nice bass, pike and perch right now. Maybe even a walleye.

Skaneateles Lake 9/28 PM

I went out here on my own from around 1 pm to 6:30.  The winds were strong out of the south and I watched one boater decide not to launch after seeing the whitecaps.  I'd say it was around 14 - 15 mph.  Today was a "catch 'em and eat 'em" mission for me.  I love eating fish but I don't eat nearly as many as I'd like to.  Cooking and cleaning fish is too much of a bother for me during the summer when my schedule is pretty much non-stop guiding.  But I try to make up for it from the fall through the spring.

I brought a bunch of rods but primarily ran the dropshot rig.  I also had some fish come on tubes and superflukes.  The smallmouth bass bite was off a bit, likely due to the front/winds.  I caught over a dozen, but the size wasn't much to write home about. I kept a few up to 15". The action today came from rockbass.  The bite was slow to start but after a couple hours they really turned on and I was catching one on virtually every cast. A lot of them were solid 10" fish - probably weighing 3/4 of a pound to a pound a piece.  I also nabbed some bonus perch.

Rock bass are great eating.  The key to cleaning them is using an electric knife - the electric makes quick work of the thick rib cage.  I was shocked at how little time in took to clean at least 20 rockies along with a few bass and perch.  It was awesome - it took about an hour, which included trimming out the ribcages.  

Rockbass in Skaneateles Lake are super-abundant.  They compete directly with the trout/salmon and smallmouth bass.  And given their size, they are doing very well!  They are right up there with sunfish and crappies on the table. It was a lot of fun and reminded me a lot of crappie fishing.

The lake level is very low. Years ago Syracuse would draw the lake way down due to demands for drinking water. So I believe the launch was built with that in mind. It's easy launching but the lake is the lowest I've seen it since I started fishing it regularly around 14 years ago.  Water temps were around 68/69.

9/22 - 9/25 Cayuga/Owasco Lakes

9/22:  Cayuga Lake out of Myers: I got out for a few hours on my own for some largemouth bass fishing.  Unbelievably it was the first time all year I'd gone largemouth fishing.  The lower lake typically isn't a great largemouth area but I wanted to give it a try and I am working on some tackle/technique stuff as well.  It was sunny and HOT on the water and weed shards made for difficult presentations.  I managed one nice 2.5lb chunk and a thick pickerel around 22".  Had a couple 12" bass come after my lures but it was a pretty slow go overall.  I fished from 11 am till around 4 pm - the hottest part of the day.

9/23:  Cayuga Lake out of Myers:  Guided Jack for a full day of laker jigging. It's always fun going out with him and hearing tales of Cayuga Lake from the early 1970s when he went to college there and lived along the lake.  Jigging action was solid with Jack nabbing around 7 or 8 solid fish.  The weather got choppy with some strong wind out of the north.  I was pleased with how we did;  nothing huge but some nice fish.

9/24:  Owasco Lake:  Guided Greg for a full day.  The trip couldn't have started any better with Greg nabbing (and releasing) a gorgeous 27" rainbow.  One of the nicest we've seen out of this lake!  Great fight and Greg did an awesome job playing the fish.  He nailed a nice laker then we made a run and he did some dropshotting. On his insistence, I took some casts with a fluke and overall we got a few perch, rockbass, a dink bass and a better bass (almost - a 15" smallmouth that I lost by the boat.)   Greg went back to the trout fishing and landed a few more lakers.  It wasn't a great bite out there but we were happy with the results.  Getting out early paid off with the rainbow trout.

9/25:  Cayuga Lake out of Long Point:  Guided the Hermans today for a 1/2 day starting around 9:30 am.  The bite wasn't easy but on the day the Hermans hooked at least 6 fish. Some were likely small since they kept getting off - maybe they weren't getting the whole jig in their mouths.  They wound up landing a couple fish - a 24"er and one around 19".  We had a dink around 17" almost to the net.  Tough day but beautiful out there.  

Cayuga Lake out of Myers 9/19 AM

Guided Johan, Koen and Johan, all originally from Belgium.  Johan and Koen were with me when we found the struggling kayaker on Keuka Lake years ago in the springtime.  It was good seeing the guys and they brought a friend with them - also Johan, who happens to be a top-notch zander angler in Belgium.

The fishing was excellent today.  The guys managed to land 13 solid lake trout in the AM. Their catch was anchored by Johan's 24" rainbow trout that hammered a jig on the descent. The fish put on a great acrobatics show before Johan even knew he had it on!  All fish were released today.

We probably would have spent the whole day on the lake had I not had to teach a class later.  They've been on Seneca Lake dealing with tough angling. Keuka wasn't much better but I should get some reports from them later this week. They had marked a lot of fish on Keuka and hopefully the fish will turn on with the right weather pattern and a little luck.

Owasco Lake 9/17, Cayuga Lake 9/18

Owasco Lake:  Guided Greg for a full day.  It was very windy out of the south.  Some guys were getting ready to go out and launch for a bass tournament and decided not to fish!  It was choppy but not dangerously so.  Lake trout fishing was pretty good with Greg landing 5 fish if I remember correctly.  One was a really nice fish around 27".  There's plenty of bait in this lake and I think the fishing will be really good once we hit a good weather day.  Fish are well-distributed throughout the entire lake.

Cayuga Lake:  Guided Mark and Kevin for a full day out of Myers Point.  The lake trout bite was spotty.  September fishing on Cayuga Lake for lake trout (especially after the 1st week of the month) typically involves fishing over large numbers of fish and waiting for a bite window.  We had a couple of these "windows" today and the guys did pretty well, landing 6 lakers including a couple wild ones running from 26" to 27".  

Three salmon were caught today - a couple sublegals (one was nice - around 17") and Mark's big 27"er that had a huge 23" lamprey attached to it!  Yowsa!  We kept the lamprey and released the fish.  It had 2 nasty scars on it but should be ok.  It was a beautiful day despite the possibility of rain.  We never encountered any, which has been the case all season long for the most part.  

Propagation netting for lakers on Cayuga Lake is scheduled to start on October 3rd. At that point in time I'll be concentrating my lake trout guiding on Cayuga Lake out of Long Point and Owasco Lake.  It's been a terrific lake trout year on Cayuga Lake!  Probably the most consistent fishing I have seen since I began guiding 12 years ago.  

Cayuga Lake out of Myers 9/15 AM

Guided Dave and his wife Jean for 1/2 day today.  They were camping at Taughannock so I swung by via boat just after 6:45 am and we were underway in the fog.  Fishing was pretty darn good for mid-September with a nearly full moon.  They landed their limit of 6 solid lakers up to 26" - mostly males with the biggest fish being a hen.  A sublegal salmon was landed and a nicer legal sized one lost.  The bite slowed for us around 10 am, but overall it was good fishing.  I expect good fishing for mostly males to hold up throughout the fall.  I used to jig lakers on the spawning points around Taughannock back in the 1990s, but now I prefer to fish for and guide for feeding fish.  You'll tend to find more of those a bit aways from the park.  

Cayuga Lake 9/9, 9/11 + Owasco Lake 9/10

Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 9/9:  Guided Dave, Dave and Judd today for a full day. Lake trout action was very good. The guys landed 10 or 11 clean fish running from 16" to around 24" around the Wells College area.  These were mostly "immature" (non-spawning fish for this year) and males. That's not to say that most of them were small.  We had the one around 16" and the rest were in the 19" to 24" range for the most part.  

A run down the lake paid off with Judd landing a 32" slob!  Another fish or two were also boated.  All in all it was a good September day on Cayuga Lake with minimal boat traffic.

Owasco Lake 9/10:  Guided Greg here for the full day.  We gave the lakers a shot on the north end and found a bunch of them after a bit of searching.  Just as they started to activate, they shut down - likely due to some heavy cloud cover moving in.  I expect good fishing here and we almost had it!  Greg lost one fish up there that was probably a laker. He landed a hard fighting 16" smallmouth that was suspended over deep water.  There was no shortage of bait up there.

Winds picked up and we checked out some other areas further south.  Our run paid off with Greg catching and releasing a gorgeous 26" brown!  A nice hook jawed dark male. He also landed a 26" laker that was on the thin side.  Things turned around just as we were second guessing fishing Owasco rather than Cayuga today.  Bliss turned into agony (I exaggerate) as Greg hooked into something very large along the bottom!  His rod doubled over and he said it was the heaviest Finger Lakes fish he'd ever hooked into - and Greg's nailed some lakers in the 32" range as well as that 30" brown a couple weeks ago!   It was pulling like a laker in the 14lb+ range!  Unfortunately it got off!  It was not pulling like a fouled fish - Greg felt the hit.  This lake is capable of producing lakers in the upper teens and lower 20lb range, so you never know.  And we never will!  Fun day.

Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 9/11:  When I met Jon, Dora and Donna at the launch around 7 am I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw weather-wise.  We were expecting very tough conditions with predicted south winds gusting into the upper teens, turning into north winds into the upper teens as well.'s forecast called for west winds when I checked in the AM.  Maybe we got lucky with the weather...

We did for a little while.  The gang showed up at the wrong launch then we forgot to get the cooler onboard, so we were delayed a bit.  The AM bite was slow for us with Dora possibly having a hit.  On the west shore we had a virtual double with Donna landing a fish and then Dora hooking up a decent laker just as we were nettings Donna's.  Dora also had a salmon up to the boat (it was sublegal.)   Jon has done very well when out with me in the past and we nearly had a decent laker in the net when the hook pulled out. He missed a few other hits.  So the gals at least each landed fish.

The winds got strong by 10 am.  As usual, as we were looking for some protected areas we saw a couple guys in a canoe who had likely been out in the middle of the lake struggling to get back to Taughannock.  They made it, but I am never surprised at what I see on the Finger Lakes in the summer.  Canoeing or kayaking out there today was a life-threatening proposition.  It was ROUGH with north winds around 17 mph gusting into the mid-20s.   Fun day fishing despite the tougher "catching." It was the choppiest stuff Dora and Donna had ever been out in in fresh-water.  Same probably went for Jon.  


Lake Ontario out of Irondequoit Bay 9/7

Met my buddy Terry at Irondequoit Bay's City launch at around 6:45 am.  For what it's worth, I don't miss Rochester's traffic one bit.  Anyways I've been meaning to fish some Lake Ontario areas further west and a couple client/friends of mine did well near here jigging lake trout over the weekend, so it made sense to give it a shot.

Conditions seemed great.  It's hard to avoid baitfish on the screen in this part of Lake Ontario.  It's really full of bait.  I understand the sentiment of the guys who fish Rochester and westward thinking that there couldn't possibly be anything to worry about in Lake Ontario, but as someone who has fished Stony Point, Mexico Bay, Oswego (a few times,) Sodus (a couple times) and now Rochester this season, I can attest that there is nowhere near the amount of bait further east as there is around Rochester and westward.  It's night and day. There isn't really a "lack of bait" in Lake Ontario this year as the condition of the fish will attest to, but there isn't nearly as much as people think.  If you fish strictly east of Rochester, you are concerned.  If there was this much bait everywhere in Lake Ontario, it wouldn't be an issue.  But there isn't.

If I'm a troller, I'd set up in 50' to 80' around Rochester in the AM and PM.  There was bait and what had to be Kings around.  Night fishing should be starting off of the piers now too. We tried some different stuff drifting and casting and had a few fish moving for our baits but no grabs. I have some ideas for next time.  In deep water I hooked a halfway decent steelhead and lost him near the surface.  Everything happened quickly!  It was like the one Mark I. got off of Sodus in July - gorgeous colors but not huge, maybe 5 to 6lbs.  A lot of lake trout were around but they weren't chasing or hitting much while we were there. And it got HOT. Yowsa. Biting flies combined with tropical humidity and heat made for some "fun" fishing. Fortunately a cool breeze came up out of the north after at least one hour in the "boiling room."

Seven hours went by like 3 hours and we were running out of time.  I would've loved to kept at the lakers and inshore fish but our curiousity got the best of us and we tried an area that we used to fish in the late 1990s/early 2000s for smallmouths.  We only had an hour or so and certainly got pecked by a lot of gobies.  Terry set into a fair smallmouth - maybe a 15"er and that was it.  We might have had a quick hold of a couple others but you never know, sometimes it's just a big goby momentarily.  But we did not get a chance to check on much regarding smallmouths.  The bass fishing is definitely better than it was a few years ago.  It's coming back slowly. 

Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 9/5

Did a 6 hour trip with Florian.  He had some good lake trout action today with around 7 fish landed.  There was one 13" dink, but the rest ran from 23" to 29". Three of them had fresh lamprey wounds - those have been a rare sight this year on Cayuga Lake.  Boat traffic was very light until around 11:30 am.  Fish came from around 85' to 120'.  Good day of fishing and a beautiful day to be out.  Fall (i.e. post labor-day) fishing is upon us now!

Cayuga Lake out of Myers 9/2 - 9/4

After 5 days off with no fishing it was time to get back on the water.  Lake trout and other salmonid action on Cayuga Lake is still amongst the best in the Fingerlakes region but the bite windows are closing in.  Over the years I have observed that strong cold fronts starting in September, coupled with the shortening daylight periods tend to slow down the trout bite windows on Cayuga Lake.  Over the past two months the bite windows were fairly predictable and cycled on and off throughout the day.  This time of the year, the fish can turn off and the bite can get very difficult.  Hit the right day(s) and the fishing is great.  Hit the wrong day and you might get blanked.

Another important factor to consider is depth. We've had record heat this summer.  Lake trout generally move deeper throughout the summer and into the fall and moreso than ever this year. Best bites are often in over 100' of water.  It hasn't been uncommon for us to score in 110' or 120' this summer. We've been spending a lot of time using 1+1/2 oz. jigheads.  Plenty of fish remain from south of Taughannock up to and past Kidders.

9/2:  Guided Craig and his son Andrew for a full day.  Despite the strong north winds we had a productive day with around 10 or 11 lake trout landed, one brown and two salmon (one legal, one dink.)  We kept a few lakers and the salmon. Fish are still feeding on alewives.  Once alewives move in, the trout and salmon pretty much neglect the gobies. A lot of what were likely silver fish (non-lakers) were dropped today.

9/3:  Guided Greg for a full day.  Fishing was the toughest I'd seen all season after a decent AM.  By 11 am, the bite had shut down for us.  Sometimes the fish start hitting later in the day but we weren't around for that.  Greg landed a 22.5" brown and one around 19" along with a couple small lake trout.  Tough day.

9/4:  Guided Katie and Brian for a full day.  Last year they came up here the same (Labor Day) weekend and had some tremendous fishing.  It was slower this year but still fun. They landed 5 or 6 lakers and one sublegal salmon.  

Crowding at the boat launches as well as boat traffic in general has been minimal thus far this holiday weekend.  With the hot and dry summer I think everybody got in more than their share of boating during the season.   

Cayuga Lake 8/25 - 27

8/25 + 26:  Guided two days with Scott's clan - basically Scott, Dawson and Joe on Day 1 am, Scott and Dick on the PM, Josh and Scott on the AM of the 26th then Scott and Steven on the PM.)  We did around 4 hours of fishing in the AM then switched guys out (with the exception of Scott) and fished the remainder of the full day.  We did that on both days.  Fishing had its hot bite windows on every 1/2 day we did. Each 4 hour period featured 8 to 10 fish landed including some bonus browns and salmon. Scott lost what had to be a giant lake trout on the AM of the 25th.  Browns were caught on both days as well. 

8/27:  Guided Greg for around 5 hours before we called it quits.  He nailed a few good browns today including a 22 1/2", 23", 20" and a whopping 30"er that is heading for my smoker.  The big brute left a puddle of blood on my front boat deck so even if we'd wanted to release it, it wasn't going to happen.  It weighed in at 2 oz. shy of 15lbs on my accurate TEK scale!  What a slob!!! As fat as could be, yet there was nothing in its stomach.   The lamprey control combined with good survival of young browns added in with the abundant alewife and goby food source has made for some fat browns and terrific fishing.  These fish are as fat as the good old "Lake Ontario Footballs" of my youth were.  Greg also landed a few nice lakers.

If we get some good rains, expect some top-notch tributary fishing on Cayuga Lake this fall November is usually the month.  I don't guide the tribs.  Timing is super-important as well, but the guys who have flexible schedules have a good shot at some trophy browns, rainbows and salmon.  This year I've seen rainbows caught to over 30", salmon to 32" and this brown at 30".  Those are all trophy fish!    

Seneca Lake out of Geneva 8/23 + Skaneateles Lake 8/24

Seneca Lake:  Guided longtime client Rick and his friend John for a full day.  They knew going into the trip that Seneca had been fishing very poorly since mid-May.  A guy doing some shorefishing at the launch (at the State Park) said he'd been out a few dozen times without catching any trout!  

Things looked good to start with a lot less baitfish on the screen than a few weeks ago. Lo and behold, John hooked and lost 3 lakers in a row!  He didn't think they were very big, but they didn't seem to be dinks either.  Rick managed to land a wild 23"er.  And that was it! No more hookups.  Only two other boats were out fishing on the day - both trolling.  We worked down the lake to Sampson and found laker temps out around 130'!  That's deep!!! Overall we had some fish move for the jigs but very little action.  

I'm not sure what's going on here. The water looked good.  I didn't see the massive amounts of bait I saw a few weeks back.  The fishing here was good until just before the Memorial Weekend Derby.  So basically the fish were hitting well until around the time a lot of bait starts moving up.  Another factor is that one of my clients recently may have nabbed one or two round gobies while jigging near his place - in the Glenora/Rock Stream/Peach Orchard neck of the woods. Some of the first good numbers of gobies caught on Cayuga occurred down by Taughannock and Myers.  It's weird, but they first really started showing up on deep sharp dropping points closer to the south end of the lake than further north.  So that might be another factor.  The fish are around. I marked respectable numbers of lake trout today in a lot of areas, so it doesn't appear to be a numbers issue.  Time will tell!  But for now, I'm done with Seneca Lake until I start pike fishing it this fall.  No more laker jigging for me here until next year.

Skaneateles Lake:  Guided Leo and Ada for our annual smallmouth bass/rock bass outing. Fishing was good here and boat traffic wasn't bad.  They caught around 15 bass on dropshot rigs and tube jigs.  Most were legal fish and we had one at 20".  Around 20 to 25 rockbass and 3 perch, including one nice one all found our lures.   

Angler Harassment:   Unfortunately we were harassed today by what appeared to be a new homeowner on the lake.  I've now had three angry homeowners give me a hard time for various reasons, one being angling in front of their home.  All incidents occurred on Skaneateles Lake.   This one was the most egregious case.  A man, his wife and kids were swimming and playing in front of their place.  We were working down the shoreline and were still a couple houses down from them. They all got out and were hanging around their dock.  I had Leo and Ada stop casting and I bypassed their waterfront with my trolling motor.  We were at least 100' away from their place.   We couldn't have even hit their dock if we tried casting for it - but we weren't fishing.  And we would have had a legal right to fish there if we wanted to, but we didn't.  We were quickly going by using trolling motor power.  There are enough places to fish and I wanted to leave these people alone. He yelled at me for being in his "swimming area."  I told him it was public water and he wanted to know where I lived, what my name was and where we launched out of.  Ridiculous!  For doing what??? I told him to call the police.   He basically didn't want any boats within 100 yards of his place.  I told him that it was unlawful to harass people legally angling.  Then he said "well you powered towards my kids!"  Basically he just told me how he would have lied to any authorities!   Wow.  What a great example to set for your kids.   I never had the big motor on and the kids weren't in the water when we were around.

This is one of the reasons I shy away from doing a lot of largemouth bass fishing/guiding around docks that have people nearby.  We have a right to do it, but these encounters happen.

If this happens to you, this is what I suggest:

1.)  Inform the homeowner that the water is public water.

2.)  Inform the homeowner that it is illegal to harass people who are lawfully angling.

3.)  If you have a smartphone (or go-pro) or your friends onboard do, get as much of the altercation on video as possible.

4.)  Try to remain calm and respectful but firm.

5.)  Get the address or at least a description of the place.  

I feel that DEC Law Enforcement should also be notified.  That way, if one of these guys tries to trump up some BS, the law enforcement people will be aware of the landowner's reputation for bothering anglers.  Lake Associations and the local media also need to make landowners aware of the rules and regulations pertaining to angling and these "swimming areas."  By the way, this guy had no "swimming area" markers that I could see. Permits for swimming areas are tough to obtain and there needs to be buoys and rope and signs.  The guy didn't have a swimming area.




Cayuga Lake 8/20 + 21

8/20:  Got out with Greg for a full day starting just after 6:15 am.  We (he) worked some areas that have featured good numbers of browns for awhile with some hits and hookups. He wound up landing two decent fish.  Great fights!  He also landed a handful of lake trout.  It was a solid day with great fishing and pretty good "catching."  I think the full moon definitely played into the tricky brown bite this AM.

The hot summer has led to a lot of people spending time out on the water.  Unfortunately it's led to some incidents and drownings.  A man was presumed dead after boaters spotted him swimming north of Myers before disappearing (apparently) under the water.  Details remain unclear.  Another guy drowned or nearly drowned out of Union Springs.  

8/21:  Did my annual trip with Leo and Ada out of Taughannock.  Usually we do a full day but with today's weather conditions and my full schedule it was now or never and we made it a short half day, getting out just as the heavy rain approached.  As has been the case for most of this summer, the "doom and gloom" weather forecasts nearly always prove to be wrong on some level.  You see a forecast for heavy rain up to an inch, thunderstorms and high winds starting in the AM and before you know it the models change to a much tamer forecast with no "weather" coming in until later. Only a couple other boats were on the lake and for the most part it was nice out.  Ada landed a bunch of nice lakers and also a rainbow (clipped fish) around 18" that we released.  We kept a limit of lakers today.  There are a lot of mid-range fish size-wise - I'd bet that 80% of the lakers out there run from 24" to 26".   Fish are still feeding fairly heavily. Around 80' to 100' has been productive for us with the usual whites and chartreuses producing well.


Cayuga Lake 8/18 + 19

Fishing was excellent over the past couple days with solid action throughout the day. Laker fishing on Cayuga Lake cannot be beat right now!  Of course as I say this it will slow down...but that's the way it goes. 

Got out on Thursday AM with Norbert and Steve. Yours truly forgot that I was to pick them up by boat at Taughannock, so we started a little late.  That didn't hurt us since the fishing actually got better as the AM went on.  Norb had the hot hand to start after Steve caught the first laker which was a dink. After a while Steve blamed his new fishing hat and once he got rid of it, he did much better.  Anyways the guys had a fun day with one bonus salmon just over 18" caught.  The best laker was a fat pig that had to go over 11lbs even though it wasn't super long.  Great start to the day!

PM:  My pm 1/2 day was with Chuck and his wife Sue.  They both like to troll for Landlocked Salmon/Browns in the winter/spring and wanted to see what the jigging was about.  They were super impressed!  Both trips today featured around 13 to 14 solid lakers landed. I took some drops with the jigs on Chuck and Sues' insistence when they took breaks.  It was fun catching some lakers!

8/19:  Did my AM trip with Steve and George - both of whom have places on Keuka Lake. We've been out before and had some great fishing out of Hammondsport with Steve having caught a nice rainbow there a few years back. The guys really hit the lakers well today with around 15 solid fish landed and a nice salmon lost after jumping about three feet out of the water!

After catching Keuka fish for decades they were very impressed with the condition on the Cayuga fish.  Keuka fish have usually been on the thin side.  They are usually thin at best and somewhat anorexic at worse.  I wouldn't quite call them "emaciated" - a term I would use for the majority of Skaneateles lakers.  But thin is about right.  The Cayuga fish in terms of internet dating would have "..a few extra pounds" or are "curvy" or "thick" or better yet "voluptuous" - a word that has been bastardized through the years. They are well fed, let's just put it that way.

My PM fishing (basically my PM trips have started just after 11 am) was some fun fishing with my old pal Shahab, whom I hadn't fished with in over 7 or 8 years if I remember right. He's out in Oregon doing fisheries promotion work with their version of the DEC.  We had a good, albeit sweltering time out there catching around 1/2 dozen nice lakers.  Shahab's patented jigging technique resulted in one deep hooked fish that left my boat looking bloody like the site of a homicide.  Fortunately my Crestliner washdown system was hooked up and within a minute it was cleaned up.  That fish will be grilled.  Don't waste trout!  I always am prepared to keep fish when needed.  Even my sometimes futile Lake Ontario excursions are accompanied by a cooler filled with ice. You just never know when you'll have to keep a fish, even when you don't plan on it.


Cayuga Lake 8/13 + 15

8/13:  Got out with Greg for an abbreviated full day.  He had some great fishing with 6 nice browns landed to 26.5" as well as a couple lakers.  Browns are active in many parts of Cayuga Lake right now.  The usual plastics did the trick.  All fish released today.

8/15: Guided Joe and his son Josh as well as Josh's friend Jacob for a 1/2 day.  I had Monday off and a trip scheduled for Sunday but unfortunately my Sunday people hit a boulder while driving on the way up early in the AM so they had to cancel.  I was able to book Joe at the last minute.  They got lucky with some great fishing!

The bite was red-hot Monday AM with the guys hooking a couple doubles and even a triple! It was a "catch 'em and eat 'em" mission and the guys managed to limit out numbers-wise in around an hour and a half.  We kept a couple of slots open and were able to fill them with quality fish a bit later in the morning.  We called it a day early and the guys were able to get on their way after a few days of fishing in the area.

I'm not sure if this is a trend or not but I have been booking much earlier in the season thus far this year than ever before. In past seasons I usually had a few days or 1/2 days available within the coming week and certainly month.  That has not been the case over the past two months.  If you are looking to get out and fish in September and onwards, book now!   

Lake Ontario out of Oswego Harbor 8/11

Got out with my buddy Terry for another crack at some lake fish.  We set up for some brown trout and did not score.  The temperatures have stabilized a bit after last week's upwelling.  The break was around 65' to 80' or something in that range.  The fleet was out more or less off of the stacks and slightly to the west.  We worked water more to the east. We did catch a deep smallmouth and hooked a couple others that fooled us momentarily.  

The waves were in the 2' range.  We set up for bass and had some terrific fishing over the next 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  Terry had the hot hand landing 7 solids and I caught 4.  These are not the smallmouths of the 1990s and 2000s!  These are fat goby-fed brutes with some incredible strength for their size.  Most were in the 3lb range.  We caught them via tubes and dropshot.   I don't think a good class of smallmouths has been produced in a while, but we may see one soon.  With warm lake temps and a warm late spring it is often what happens.

In terms of our salmonid quest over the past four weeks, I think next year we'll spend more time around the Rochester Ports and areas west.   It's a little more driving but it's more my "neck of the woods" anyways, since that's where I grew up.   But we just aren't seeing anything great around Oswego apart from the bass so far.  I know Charter guys must be catching some decent fish but when we arrived at Wrights Landing at 6:15, we were the only boat there - that says a lot. Around 8 to 12 charters were out all AM.  They were moving all over the place which tells me that it's likely they weren't slamming fish.  I'm sure the browns are around but we haven't seen those set up as in years past.  We also have to take into account last springs brutal lake temps which may have hurt the brown trout.  Who knows?  But in past seasons finding the browns was easy out of Oswego - getting them to hit was the hard part, especially as the AM progresses.

For what it's worth, thus far our best, most fun lake jigging has been the lakers out of Stony Point.  And I don't care what any troller says, when you catch a 10lb laker jigging you get one heck of a fight.  

We marked a lot of small pods of bait out of Oswego.  Not much overall.  I find that it's funny that some people want to put the blame on Lake Ontario's bait situation on lake trout or they feel that they're the biggest threat to Lake Ontario's future.  Really?   Last time I checked, Chinook salmon (i.e. Kings) push around 20 to 25lbs after just 3 years in the lake!  That's an eating machine!  A 3 year old lake trout is a dink - that's not even much of a catchable fish. I'd bet that it takes 15 years or more for a laker to hit 25lbs.  And very few ever do.   It's like working at a donut shop and finding an employee is eating all your product - do you blame the 400lb women who was 110lbs soaking wet the day you hired her three years ago or the old man who is only 150lbs?  "You ain't gonna learn what you don't wanna know."

Next time I get out on my own it will likely be on a Finger Lake.  Time to catch some fish!

Cayuga Lake 8/8 + 8/9 AM

Fishing remains good to excellent on Cayuga Lake.  Launching out of Myers can be tricky on weekends now that there are kayak and SUP rentals going on there.  It's ridiculous to me.  You have a busy boat launch and marina and now we have to watch for myriads of people paddling willy-nilly right around the marina entrance.  It'd be nice if they were directed to head north.  It's only a matter of time before a severe injury happens.  You can't see the SUPs in front of your bow when they are paddling on their knees.  Mark my words, somebody is going to get hurt badly or worse.  It's bad enough having to watch for all the other boats.

Here's the breakdown over the past two days as best as I can recall. It all becomes a haze after a while!

8/8 AM:  Guided Eric and one of his clients.  The bite was decent with Eric nailing 5 or 6 solid fish and his client getting one.  They don't fish much at all but enjoyed the AM bite.

My PM trip was with John and Wade who were up for a wedding.  The bite was decent as well with 6 to 8 fish landed if I remember right.

8/9 AM:  Action heated up today with Bob and Lori nabbing around 15 solid fish.  We had doubles hooked as well.   Great fishing and a nice day to be out.


Cayuga Lake 8/6 + 8/7

Fishing remains very good on Cayuga Lake in general with periods of steady bites and other lulls.  Fortunately the lulls don't last long.  Strong winds (gusting into the low 20 mph range) on Saturday as well as on Sunday made for some challenging boat control and fishing but the bite held up.

On Saturday I guided longtimers Ron and Matt for a full day.  The guys had been up in Alaska earlier in the summer and were a little bit rusty on the jigging, hence they each dropped some solid fish.  But the fishing was good overall with some solid fish landed including Matt's 32" laker and a nice rainbow around 23".  A couple 28" fish were also landed.  Overall the guys landed around 14 fish.  Chartreuse colors have been good along with some darker stuff earlier in the AM.  The bigger lakers and rainbow were released. We kept a couple lakers for the table.

Sunday was a double with Greg in the AM.  Fishing was good - not spectacular but not terrible with 5 nice lakers and one small Landlocked salmon landed.  Greg dropped a solid laker that was likely 27" after a good battle.  My PM trip was with Mark and Kevin.  We had a lot of fun joking around.  The guys managed around 7 fish and kept a few for the table. Around 80' to 100' has been good for us.

Decent numbers of wild fish are in the mix but it's also very easy to miss clips.  A lot of clips were poorly executed and fins are regenerating.  Sometimes you need to look carefully if you're a DEC Diary Keeper.

Sodus Bay/Lake Ontario 8/5

Guided James and his friend Rob for a 6 hour gar trip on Sodus Bay.  James had read a gar piece I'd sold to "In-Fisherman" magazine back in the early 2000s and put a gar trip on his fishing agenda.  Rob hadn't fished much in years and accompanied James.  Both guys did a good job on the fishing today but the gar just didn't cooperate.  I think the strong winds of the past week scattered them - I don't know.  There's a ton of bait in the bay as well - what appear to be shad and YOY (young of the year) alewives (I'm not sure - maybe they are one year olds.)   The gar fishing in Sodus Bay is generally predictable and consistent from May through mid-September.   

It took some searching but we found some gar.  James had a couple follows but no hits. Rob had a halfway decent largemouth hit his rope-fly to no avail.  I gave the guys a quick tour of Lake Ontario.  The Chimney Bluffs are quite the sight to see - especially from the water.  I had the guys do a few drops with some jigs and they had follows - likely from lakers or browns.  I think we could've done well had we targeted salmonids on the day. BTW - The upwelling is still in full force with 43 degree water down 30'!

A storm cell came up and we had to run back into the bay.  It cleared and we tried some more gar fishing.  We saw them but they weren't chasing or hitting. We saw a bald eagle overhead as we left.  It was a fun day of fishing but obviously not catching.  

Lake Ontario out of Oswego Harbor 8/3 + Cayuga Lake 8/4

Fishing continues to be good to excellent in the region.  August 29th remains open for trips.  Apart from that, it's onto September and onwards.

Oswego 8/3:  Got out with my buddy Terry.  We were hoping for a shot at browns and maybe a King or laker.  Strong NE winds caused a major upwelling along the south shore of the lake and water temperatures were super cold down 30' as well as in shallow.  It wasn't as severe an upwelling as I remember from my youth (when bass would die and we'd have 42 degrees or something like that on the surface,) but it was strong enough. The currents were as strong as I've ever noticed!  Jigs never seemed to hit bottom and were notably being either pulled away from us or pulled towards us.  We had to reel as fast as we could at times just to get the paddle tails working!  Unreal.   

There were more boats out here than I'd seen in a while.  A good amount of bait was up high too.  (Again - "good amount" means for Lake Ontario circa 2016.)  Articles I've read in the "In-Fisherman" magazine refer to the "zone of stability" out in the middle of the lake as being the place to fish when crazy stuff like upwellings happen.  I wasn't about to do that with my boat, so we stayed within 150'.  We marked fish on bottom in shallower and Terry had a hit, but nothing.

Upwellings can make for scattered, tough trout and salmon fishing but they make for superb smallmouth bass fishing.   So after maybe 2 hours of futile trout jigging, we looked around for bass.  The harbor and river provided us with the best smallmouth bass fishing we'd experienced in probably over 10 years.  We didn't keep track of how many we caught but at times we were getting hit on every cast, sometimes more than once.  Best fish was around 18" and fat.  These fish are much heftier than the numerous smallmouths we used to catch back in the 1990s and early 2000s around the lake.  We used green pumpkin tubes.  Just superb action!  I caught a bonus drum (and rockbass) and Terry caught a small walleye in the river too.  

A check at the cleaning station revealed a tough day with only 3 salmon being brought in to be cleaned by 4 pm.  There are some 30lbers being caught this year, which is great.

Cayuga 8/4:  Did back to back 1/2 days today with James and Eric starting things off around 6:30. Action was a little slow to start with a decent chop on the lake.  But eventually the bite got going good and the guys did great, landing 15 solid lakers and 3 small salmon. Some huge salmon are around - my client/friend Tom nabbed a 32"er last week!   Yowsa!   We're in for some superb salmon fishing on Cayuga Lake over the foreseeable future.  Can't wait. 

Eric's a die hard bass fisherman who's done his share of tournaments on various levels and he loved the laker jigging.  James has a place on Seneca and usually pulls copper. It'll be interesting to see how the guys do back on Seneca later this week and this season.

My PM trip was with Todd and his wife Amy.  It was a last minute deal.  The fishing started out a little slow and never really got going great but it was still good.  Cayuga Lake circa 2016 has been fantastic and even slow days have been productive and downright good to great when compared to other lakes.  Amy really did great today and is amazing at holding lake trout for photos which is something 95% of my clients (and sometimes myself) have a tough time with.  6 nice fish plus a dink salmon or two were caught on the day.  Todd might have dropped a good silver fish.  A few fish showed good lamprey marks on the day (with one big lamprey coming up this AM.)  That was unusual for this season.





Cayuga Lake out of Myers 7/31 - 8/1

Cayuga Lake 7/31:  "What a difference a lake makes" - that was the story when Greg (from Saturday on Seneca) and Dave joined me on Cayuga Lake for a 1/2 day trip.  After 10 fruitless hours on Seneca on Saturday, the guys wound up landing 28 lake trout in around 3 hours today! That's a big difference.   Dave fished Cayuga on his own on Saturday (when we were struggling on Seneca) and said the laker bite was "stupid."  When baitfish numbers get low, catch rates go up.  Fish are hungrier and more willing to chase and hit lures.  Oneida Lake with its gizzard shad is a great example as is Keuka Lake over the past decade (and more) as well as Owasco in the early to mid 2000s.  It's amazing how there are a few top-notch charter captains on Lake Ontario that haven't figured this out. Catch rates on Lake Ontario for Kings have been super high this year.   So there can't be too much bait, can there?

Now one could argue "what's the deal then with Cayuga?"  There's a ton of bait plus plenty of fish and a great bite, but I would say it's more like Lake Ontario fished in the 1980s.  It's supporting a lot of predators as well as bait.  Things are good for now on Cayuga.  But unlike Lake Ontario, there's bait EVERYWHERE on Cayuga.  Lake Ontario has a lot of bait mainly on its western portion - west of Rochester.  Go to Sodus, Oswego, Mexico and Stony Point/Henderson (as I have over the past 6 weeks) and you will not see much bait. There's some, but not nearly what guys are seeing west of Rochester.  Thus the high catch rates out west - cause that's where the majority of the fish are!  It's very reminiscient of Keuka Lake just before the alewives disappeared. But I guarantee that the catch rates east of Rochester on Lake Ontario are much lower than they are out west.

But the bait numbers on Seneca are another story.  Factor in a reduction in laker stocking (to help give the silver fish a boost) and then bad lampreys - which affect the silver fish (e.g. rainbows, browns and salmon) much more severely than lakers and you have a tough bite. Guys that target salmon, browns and/or rainbows get ticked sometimes when there are too many lakers but people need to be careful for what they wish for.  Reduce the laker population too much and add in a serious lamprey infestation and guess what?  You get nothing.  Very slow fishing.

Back to the reports:  My PM trip was with Mark and his sons Jared and Jesse (I probably got the wrong spelling on Jared but anyways...)   The bite was much slower to start though the guys landed a couple fish in fairly short order.  We had to work some different areas. A couple more nice lakers showed up late and then Jared (if I am not mistaken) had a great fish hit up top.  Another rainbow!   I've never experience more bonus rainbows while jigging on Cayuga Lake than this year.  Actually on any FL for that matter.  Unfortunately for this nice rainbow, she got completely wrapped in the braid and likely wound up on the grill. They are top notch eating so it was Mark and his boys' gain, but we like to release rainbows when we can.

8/1:  Guided Tim and his sons Andrew and Steve in the AM.  They fish Lake George a bit as well as Cayuga.  The jigging bite started with a bang - Andrew and Tim landed fish on their 1st and 2nd drops respectively.  Then it got darker outside with some rain and fog and the fish quit.  We worked a few different areas and eventually got another decent bite going with some nice fish landed and a couple good ones dropped, including what was probably another rainbow or salmon.

It was a good trip and learning experience I'm sure.  People tend not to get as much out of trips where the fishing is super-hot.  It's better to have to work a bit at finding them and that way it's more of a reality check. You see what's involved in finding fish and how the bite varies throughout the day.   Otherwise people tend to second guess themselves when out on their own and they aren't hammering fish right away.

PM:  My PM trip was with Ryan, who's joined me a couple times before and his 10 year old daughter Brooke.  With the stable sunny weather the bite improved markedly and they had some very good to excellent fishing.  Around 11 or 12 nice lakers were landed on the day.  Brooke landed her first one - a wild 16"er and then a 26"er all on her own, which was awesome.   You see a lot of kids landing lunker fish in some of the derbies but I often wonder how many of these trolled fish are really landed by kids.  Is the kid pulling the rod out of the holder and setting the hook or are two adults stabilizing the rod while the kid uses both hands to crank?  I'm suspicious when I see giant fish caught by 7 or 8 year olds, when it's a ton of work for a ten year old just to land a 5lb laker.  And then there are the Lake Ontario Charter shots with the 10 year old holding a giant King. Yeah, right.  There are adults that can't handle landing a King!  I'm not trying to be a Scrooge here because it gives kids a big thrill, but when a derby has a kid's division and money is involved, keep it honest because the kids that really did the work are getting hosed.   






Seneca Lake out of Lodi Point 7/30

I met Greg at the launch at 6:30 and we were underway shortly thereafter.  Our goal today was to nab some browns.  Greg lost a beauty here last year.  Things started out promising with Greg having a few hits then hooking up momentarily with a chunky fish around 20". Unfortunately that was about it.  

The plan today was to work some mid to low lake areas for brown trout.  Moderate to heavy rain (which we desperately need) moved in around 8:30 am.  Greg didn't bring his raingear and didn't feel like getting soaked, so we worked our way up the lake for lake trout. There is no shortage of lake trout on this lake!  I will repeat that:  There is no shortage of lake trout on this lake! We marked fair numbers of fish around Long Point, Dresden, Perry Point, Reeds, Roy's, Sampson, Geneva, Ovid and more!  But they seem lock-jawed.  Maybe it's time for butterfly jigs or hardware or something else, but they didn't move much for our plastics.  Some of it may have been the weather pattern, but a friend nailed fish on Cayuga Lake today, so that theory doesn't hold much water.  I have no idea what it is.  DEC feels that it's the massive amount of baitfish.  The lakers are just too well-fed and don't have to move much to eat. Who knows?  But the salmon fishing was also poor over the past two years.  Time will tell.

There's no doubt you can go to Seneca and catch some nice lakers on the right day at the right time.  We had a few good fish earlier in the month and some terrific big-fish fishing here in May.  And there have to be some more big browns, rainbows and salmon around. But for top notch day to day great fishing, Cayuga or Owasco are the lakes to fish in the area.   BTW - I have seen at least 3 Seneca Charter Captains (ones who primarily guide Seneca) working Cayuga Lake this year, so that says a lot.

Lake Ontario out of Mexico Bay 7/28

After last week's fun lake trout trip I was looking forward to getting back onto "the Big Lake" for another shot at some salmonids.  We were going to head to Oswego Harbor (for some bass too) but my buddy Terry informed me that Harborfest was taking place this week, so I decided to go with Mexico.  I would love to fish out of Oak Orchard or Hamlin but that's a 2.5 hour plus drive.   

I'd never been to the state launch at Mexico but it's great.  You launch into the lower part of a swampy creek - kind of like Sandy Creek by Hamlin.   Excellent ramp, sheltered mouth (ala Dean's Cove) and on top of that, the fishy looking creek that you launch into.  Terry arrived about 5 minutes before I did and took a look at the launch.  A nice bowfin was hovering right on the ramp.  What a great way to start a trip!  Mexico Bay looks like a great place to attempt some fly-fishing for spring browns.  Lots of rock, dark areas plus some slow moving creeks that are sure to warm up early in the season and attract some nice fish.

The one thing that makes jigging difficult on Lake Ontario is the common AM chop that usually doesn't dissipate until 10 am or so.  I'm sure the trollers love it but it makes it tough to slow down and use the electronics with the gain I want.  Boat control is also trickier as is just standing in the boat at times!  I'm a die-hard Finger Lakes guide but if I lived near the lake and guided it I would have to get a bigger boat.  You'd want at least a 20'er out here - and fiberglass would likely provide a better experience.  For now, I have to pick my days carefully.

I ran out to over 200' of water on the day.  We checked a lot of zones.  There were a few Charters/large Rec boats out - a couple appeared to be in very deep water and one or two were in shallow (likely less than 100') maybe searching for brown trout.   A couple boats worked the 150' zone.   The thermocline started around 85'.  We worked a lot of areas with different stuff including our usual soft plastics and some Butterfly jigs.   A couple times we may have had hits but nothing solid.  Terry thought he had a dink on, but it wound up being a goby he hooked in 120' FOW.

Things didn't look good.  After 8 hours we hadn't had a hookup and we weren't marking much.  At times, Lake Ontario is like a vast wasteland - just nothing on the screen. You don't see that in the Finger Lakes.  At least not nearly to the extent that you see it out on LO.   But our screen started to change for the better as some clouds starting rolling in and the air got muggier.  We started getting some follows and hits.  

I set into a very nice fish (on a Lunker City Swimfish) and knew I had a non-laker.  It hit up high in 150'.   Was it a King?  The fight and run started to feel like one, but then the run stopped and the fish turned.  So not a King.  After a great battle with a lot of turning and short intense runs Terry netted a solid brown.  We tried releasing it but it was done. The hard fight in the warm water wore it out.  So we kept it - it was 25" long and probably 8 to 9lbs.   It was a pig.  So we saved our day in the ninth inning so to speak.   Some guys we met from PA were camping at the park.  They nabbed one nice King this AM.  But they said the fishing's been slow.  There is an ominous feeling in the air around Lake Ontario.  Tackle shops are closed;  there are very few boats out and the ones that are aren't doing great.  I talked to a woman working at the Dunkin Donuts in Mexico and she said that you can tell things are slowing down.  But there are still some great fish to be caught and some great fishing to be had.   The heyday is long gone.

Cayuga Lake 7/26 + Otisco Lake 7/27

7/26 Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock:  Guided Pat and John here.  I hadn't seen them in around 6 years so it was good to catch up a bit.  Pat fishes Canandaigua a fair amount. The trout bite started out fairly slow but picked up before the day's end with some very good fishing on the lake's east side.  What's there to say?  It was another top-notch day on Cayuga with 14 lakers and one rainbow landed.  We kept 4 lakers and the rainbow.  The rainbow was a stocked fish (ventral fin-clip) and it was around 20" long.  That was the 3rd. rainbow in 3 days we'd encountered on Cayuga.  They should be doing alright!

7/27:  Otisco Lake - Guided Mark I. for some fly-fishing for Tiger Muskies.  We knew going into the trip that the weather conditions weren't looking too good - bluebird skies and no wind, but decided that an early start might work, so we met around 5:30 am.  Two or three boats had already launched so I think they were thinking the same thing.  At the very least Mark would be able to see how well his freshly tied musky flies were performing.  And he could work on the "figure 8."  

The lake looked good.  It was low with some cloudy water near the causeway but clearer water uplake.  The weedharvesters annhiliated one of my favorite weedbeds - something they do every year by mid-July.  I saw one musky surface today but we never had a follow. Mark had one hit that may have been a bass or musky - we don't know.  Probably a bass. But not a single fish today.  

Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 7/24 + 25

Guided Anthony, Chris and Luigi for two full days of trout jigging.  Both days featured a very good to excellent bite throughout the day.  On Sunday the guys managed a FL Grand Slam with lakers, a salmon, rainbow and brown coming to the net.  We kept the brown and some lakers.  Today Chris managed a rainbow in the AM as well.  My friend Mike Canavan (rod builder) also caught a nice rainbow yesterday, so it's great to see them around.

The baitfish numbers on Cayuga Lake are currently fantastic.  Lake trout are in great shape.  We had fish to 29" yesterday and 28" today.  Around 20+ fish were landed each day on both sides of the lake in numerous different areas.  The T-Storms made for a hot bite today but we also had to do a bit of running around and for a while we had to wait them out at Taughannock (which is a long run from Long Point.)  It was nice to finally get some rain in the region.  We had a soaking rain for at least an hour or two today.  It's not enough, but it's certainly a start.   

I have two days left to book in August and then I'm onto September.  Sunday 8/28 and Monday 8/29 are it for this month.  I've never booked up more solidly or faster, so thanks go out to everyone out there for keeping me busy.  I will be fishing on my own at least once a week from here onwards until my usual slowdown in late October. After looking over the past few years and realizing I wasn't fishing much at all between Memorial Weekend and mid-July I knew it was time for a change.  I didn't get into guiding to quit fishing, so I am looking forward to re-committing to some steady angling.  Down the line I may go up to twice a week but for now once is a lot better than zero! 

Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 7/22 + 23

Fishing continues to impress out of Cayuga Lake.  I'm always a happy man when Cayuga is cranking out good to great trout fishing - it means less driving on my end and I can almost have a normal life in the summer.

7/22:  Guided Tim and his son Zack for a full day.  They first fished with me back around 2006 or '07 if I remember right and I saw them last year as well for some bass fishing on Owasco Lake.  Conditions were excellent for lake trout fishing on Friday and the fish bit well throughout the day.  We had a good early bite (we started just after 5:30 am) and then the bite more or less continued until we called it a day around 1:30 pm.  20 solid lakers to 31" long were landed.  We had 2 to 3 doubles going as well.  85' to 95' FOW produced for us. As has been the case this summer thus far - it was hot out, but fortunately the lake breezes kept things comfortable most of the time.  Very few boats were out on the lake.

7/23:  Guided Greg for a full day starting at 5:30 am.  Fishing was tougher than yesterday but still decent with a fair AM bite, slow mid-morning fishing then a good late flurry with some solid 27" to 28" lake trout.   Greg managed 8 solid fish on the day.   We tried a bunch of different areas today and wound up having some good deep fishing (120') in the AM, which is deeper than I usually need to go.   There was no shortage of boat traffic today and the winds really cranked up by noon, though we didn't see too many (if any) of the predicted 30 mph gusts.  The wind-surfers/sailers were loving it.

Lake Ontario out of Stony Creek 7/20

The last time I was out here was about 3 years ago with my buddy Mike.  We liked what we found/saw then and after a couple of my clients informed me of some hot laker fishing having taken place here recently, I decided to give it a go with my buddy Terry.  Oswego is closer to me, but having to drive north on Rt. 34 is a slow go when you factor in Auburn, Weedsport and especially Oswego.  With Stony, I just hit Rt. 81 in Cortland then run north to Pulaski and jump on Rt. 3.  

The great thing about Oswego as a boat launch is that to hit 200' of water you only need to run out about 2 miles.  To hit 200' out of Stony Creek you're talking 10 miles or more! That's a long run.   It was the furthest out I'd ever fished Lake Ontario.  (If you head out here, you need to make sure all your gear is in good working order.  This is no place to have a motor failure or run out of gas.)   The Rochester Ports offer much better access to deep water too.  Hamlin is another great area to run out of.  Even Sodus.  But Stony is one of the best lake trout areas going.  Spawning areas for whitefish are around here too.  We brought bass gear as well - it offers good bass fishing.

We had laker temps from around 115' out.  We also marked fish in this depth.  Due to west winds over the past few days, I ran out to deep water before taking a temperature. The lake was a little choppy to start (the usual AM hot day - cool night winds.)  We had a couple hits but nothing special, although I marked a lot of fish.  I did a bit of running in and out and as the lake calmed I made the run into the deeps where a lot of the fleet was.  The majority of Charters out here likely come out of Henderson Harbor.  No matter how you look at it or where you launch out of - i.e. Oswego, Mexico, Sandy Pond or Henderson, you're talking a long run to get out here.

I expected a tougher laker bite with the cold front on Tuesday and then the full moon last night and that proved to be the case in the morning.  AM fishing can be slow until certain conditions change.  Sure enough as the day wore on the fish became more active.  I set into a solid laker and after a great, strong battle Terry netted a 29" bull!   A few drops later and I was into another thick brute.  Both were adipose clipped 29" fish but thick - likely close to 10lbs.  We played around with a lot of stuff and I broke off a fish and lost a few, as did Terry.  Terry nailed a good laker as well.  

Lo and behold there was quite a bit of bait out in the 140' to 150' depths.  I marked some good schools of alewives with some good hooks around them.  The baitfish were right near bottom in cold water.  That likely means that it's where they are finding food.  As Quagga mussels keep up their non-stop relentless filter feeding, the deeps become better (or perhaps the only) sources for zooplankton.   Not a good sign to see the bait so deep but at least we were seeing bait.  I have not seen any bait schools like this in the past 5 or 6 trips on the big lake. 

Overall we had a great time and it was fun figuring out the bite.  We'll likely hit Oswego or somewhere along the lakeshore (maybe back here) next week to give it another go.  

Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 7/16 + 17

Guided two full days here this weekend and both days provided solid lake trout jigging action with good fishing on Saturday and excellent fishing on Sunday.

7/17:  Guided Greg starting just after 5:30 am. Morning action was pretty slow though Greg hooked what had to be a giant lake trout which he had trouble moving off of the bottom! That's when you know you have a big fish.  Unfortunately it got off as he was working it up. It was just one of those things when the hook pulled out. Fishing picked up as the day went on and Greg wound up landing 10 to 12 lakers and one nice salmon around 18"+. All fish released today.

7/18:  Guided Mark and his son John for the full day.  Action was excellent for most of the day with just a few momentary lulls. 22 solid lake trout were caught and released today! Just superb action with a double hooked as well.  Fish ranged to 28".  We had a few small ones. There are fish well-distributed throughout Cayuga Lake.  Angling is top-notch!  Fun trip.

Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 7/14 AM

Guided Stu, Todd and Teddy for a 1/2 day trip starting at 8 am which wound up being abbreviated by incoming thunderstorms.  We had some good mid-lake fishing with around a half dozen solid fish landed anchored by Todd's fat 28" slob.   We actually had two live lampreys come up onboard, which is more than I've been seeing this year.  Stu had a hold of a 17" to 18" salmon for a bit as well.

There are plenty of fish and bait now in the mid-lake areas.  This will help scatter some of the fishing pressure that has been taking place around Aurora.  Stu reported some fair smelt fishing having taken place earlier this year at Taughannock Creek.  I get a few emails every year regarding the smelt dipping, so that was encouraging to hear.  Maybe some day the smelt will bounce back.  They have boom and bust cycles and are currently doing well in Lake George, Lake Champlain and Owasco Lake from what I've heard and read.

A couple kayakers were in the middle of the lake working their way back to shore.  They were lucky that the storm stayed north.  I would not want to be in a kayak in the middle of any major Finger Lake when a raging thunderstorm comes through.  It would be an easy way to drown.

Skaneateles Lake 7/12 AM + Owasco Lake 7/13

This just seems to be one of those years when the DEC Region 7 Finger Lakes are fishing much better than the Region 8 lakes.  I'd love to see all the lakes fishing well, but I live closer to the eastern lakes so if we can only have one hot region, I'll take the Region 7 lakes!  

Region 8 fisheries will be doing their lake trout assessment on Keuka Lake shortly.  We'll finally see exactly what's going on with the baitfish over there.  Anglers did report seeing some alewife spawning activity on Keuka Lake but clearly there aren't many around.  Guide Jon Evans has had some great bass fishing over there this season and the laker bite has been good despite the lack of bait, so I'd say Keuka is fishing well.   

Here's how our fishing went over the past two days:

7/12 AM on Skaneateles Lake:  Guided Martin for a 1/2 day.  He's staying on the lake with family this week and wanted to learn some techniques for smallmouth bass.  We had fun fishing even though the "catching" wasn't much to write home about.  Fishing flukes brought numerous chases from smallmouth bass in the "dink range" up to around 15".  A few bass were landed.  We saw one giant below the fluke late in the AM.  A fish or two was also caught dropshotting and on tube jigs.  We did a little laker jigging and a couple hits were had.

7/13 Owasco Lake:  Guided Scott and his dad Dick for the full day with Dick just fishing a half day before we dropped him off.  We started with lake trout and the fishing was excellent.  I was very impressed by the numbers of fish I marked and the loads of baitfish. Funny how everything bounces back when the lake isn't being overstocked with lakers and walleyes.  Suddenly the so called phosphorus issues just disappear.  The lakers were mostly fish in the 23" to 26" range.  No real giants but not a single dink either.  In less than 4 hours the guys landed around a dozen solids.  

Scott did some bass fishing afterwards and caught 4 smallmouths.  He had some hits from some very nice bass but they didn't hook up.  It's hard to do two things in a day.  It's possible the bass bite was better when the lakers were hitting.  Who knows?  But it was a great day on the water.  

Cayuga Lake 7/8 - 7/10

7/8:  Guided Mike and Amy out of Myers Park and we had some very solid laker action.  I can't recall how many fish they got but they kept a limit.  I want to say around 11, but it might have been fewer.   Either way, the fishing was steady and the weather hot and humid but the breeze (at times) kept things manageable.  Thunderstorms and rain left us alone.

7/9 - 10:  Did two full days with Dave, Dan, Dan #2 (aka "Dismal Dan"), Steve, Dave #2 and Bill.  No I haven't started guiding 6 people at once but we did 2 full days and swapped out anglers after a few hours.    I will occasionally do this kind of thing but it's all done within the confines of an 8 hour day.

Obviously the guys are all around their 30s to 60s age-wise, otherwise we'd have unique spellings like "Dayve," "Bihl" and "Dahn" in a losing effort to convince the world how special and unique we all are.  Just like snowflakes - no two are exactly alike, yet in most ways every single one is just the same......however I digress, this is a fishing report.

The Salvation Army Derby was going on but as usual we didn't enter it.  Maybe next year but I'd forgotten about it and entering 6 guys and myself would've been tricky given that I didn't know the deal.   The fishing was tough for us in a lot of ways - we had high winds Saturday PM and all day long Sunday but I was able to get the guys into some good fishing despite my trolling motor batteries dying on Sunday (due to age.)   Dismal Dan had the hot hand on Saturday AM landing 2 solid lakers - 27" and 28" and one around 15".  The other Dan also got a decent fish.   The PM bite was tougher with Dave landing a 27" and Steve getting a nice fish. On Day 2 everybody on both trips caught fish with Bill and Dave (#1) stepping up. Each trip on Day 2 resulted in around 6 fish landed and a few good ones lost.  When the guys saw the wind and rain on Sunday I think some of them might have been skeptical (maybe even myself!) but I was very happy with our results given the nasty conditions.  

Reports 7/5 - 7/7

My schedule this past week was a bit more varied with trips to Skaneateles and Keuka Lakes as well as the usual Cayuga Lake stuff.  Boat traffic has been reasonable, though on Keuka Lake the boating gets a bit more intense and there's more boat wake action due to the narrowness of the lake.  Fishing has been a bit more challenging overall this past week.  

7/5 AM Skaneateles Lake:  Guided Steve and his dad Tom for the morning.  Steve just bought a place on the lake last fall and had been doing a bit of kayak fishing.  They were hoping to pick up some new techniques and areas today.   We started with about an hour of lake trout jigging.  They enjoyed it despite not landing any fish.  The guys had a few good hits so they at least saw that the technique was feasible.

We did a little dropshotting, tube jigging and fluking.  The fluking really tripped the guys' trigger so that's what we focused on.  A lot of hits and fish were missed but that's what makes it fun.  Around 1/2 dozen fish were landed.  Not great but the guys were psyched and within an hour after the trip ended I had two photos sent to me of fish Steve had taken with the flukes off of his dock and kayak!

7/6 Keuka Lake:  Guided Scott, who joined me here last year for a fantastic day of smallmouth action with 5 fish landed in the 18" to 19" range along with some smaller ones as well.  I would be lying if I said I wasn't apprehensive about this trip.  Although we had good conditions, we are now talking about 2 summers with zero alewives to be found.   A lot of the smallie fishing I've done here over the years focuses on alewives - we use topwater, tubes, flukes, spoons and other techniques to match the forage.  On top of that, most of the places we fish are areas where bass can hammer alewives.  Do we have to throw that stuff all out the window now?  I don't know. 

All I can say is that the fishing was tough.  Bass still came up for the flukes (they do so pretty much everywhere they're found - including on Skaneateles Lake, which has zero alewives) but we didn't find any good numbers - certainly no "pods" of bass, which is usually commonplace here.  Scott dropped a beauty that had to go 20".  He then landed a 15" that fought well.  Other (mostly smaller) fish were missed/dropped and one solid fish (probably a largemouth) was lost under a dock.  Dock fishing would've been very good, but we didn't focus on that.  Some fish are likely still spawning but there should have been some hungry post spawn smallies around.  Tough day.   

7/7 Cayuga Lake out of Long Point:  Had a slow AM with Jerry and Dan but fortunately things picked up after around 2 hours.  Stormy days in the summer usually result in on and off fishing.  The bite can get great before a storm rolls in, but oftentimes the AM bite is non-existent.   Anyways the guys wound up with 5 nice fish and they also dropped a few.  Trollers were doing well.  I think everybody out there was catching fish.

Cayuga Lake 7/3 + 7/4 (AM)

Back to lake trout chasing on the upper-midlake portion of Cayuga Lake.  Fishing was slower than the past month but still good on Sunday and fair on Monday.  The winds were hellacious on Saturday so fortunately I was able to switch a trip around.

7/3:  Guided Greg and Matt for an abbreviated full day.  We started early - just after 5 am.  I don't mind the super early starts and it's nice watching the bite materialize throughout the AM and then taper off and then back on again.  The fishing was decent with the guys landing 14 solid fish.  We kept 4 for the smoker.  Action was deeper today - around 85' give or take.  

Greg was out on Lake Ontario with a guide friend of his on Thursday.  They landed a couple steelhead, a laker and a King.  The laker had 5 or 6 gobies in its stomach, the King's stomach was empty.  I will likely be out here jigging again once or twice over the next couple weeks.  

7/4:  Guided Mike, Reice and Kyle today for a 1/2 day starting around 6:45 am.  Fishing was slow to start but picked up gradually as the day went on.  The guy's landed 7 nice lakers to 28".  A few solids were also dropped.  Lots of boats were out here today.  Lots of colors worked today.  

Boat traffic wasn't as bad as I expected on either day.  


Cayuga Lake 6/29, 7/1 + Seneca Lake 6/30

Both Cayuga and Seneca Lakes currently have some algae/weed issues going on. Seneca Lake is full of milfoil parts.  There's also a green, "particulate" sort of bloom going on near its bottom - it's very visible from shore in shallow water.  Whether this is affecting the fishing is unknown.  Cayuga has a murky look to it despite no significant rainfall in weeks. I'm sure it relates to the hot weather.

Both lakes are loaded with baitfish.  Absolutely loaded!  Despite the "tempermental" fishing of the last couple seasons on Seneca, I expect this lake to offer some great fishing for a lot of different species in the near future.  How can it not?  The bait is there!

Cayuga Lake 6/29 AM Long Point:  Guided Eric with a couple residents of a place he works for - Alan and Jim.  We started things off with a bang with both Al and Jim hooking and landing nice lakers.  A few more fish were caught to round off the morning and the guys also finished the AM with another 2 fish.  Fun day and the guys were thrilled that they'd caught some big trout.

Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen 6/30:  Guided longtime client and all around excellent angler Tony for a full day.  He wanted to try the pike fishing on Seneca.  I told him the deal - it shines from late-September into mid-March (when the season closes) and again in May and into early-June, then it gets tougher.  We decided to give it a shot anyways, plus I brought backup gear for trout/salmon and bass.

We were amazed as usual at the amount of beautiful pike cover and the lack of fish that inhabited it.  There's just too much deep weedgrowth on Seneca without a commensurate number of northerns.  Add in warmer water and millions of alewives and the bite can be tricky.   Tony did have a nice pike follow in his spoon.  On the next cast the pike crushed it but it got off. We saw one other northern.  Both fish appeared healthy.  The sunny day could've also been a factor.  My feeling is that pike fishing would currently be better on Conesus and Owasco Lakes.

A little dropshotting produced a few undersized smallmouth bass.  We were encouraged to see large numbers of small perch in one area.  Tony had a nice 4lb+ rainbow trout follow in his Rapala Deep Shadow Rap as well.  

Lake trout jigging was promising.  After landing a 22" fish with a large lamprey attached, Tony hooked a "better fish" - the 33" laker was clean, in good condition and gorgeous with dark coloration and the sheer beauty of a wild fish.  Later on a dink salmon followed in Tony's jig. 

We saw plenty of bait just about everywhere we went.  I haven't been up to Geneva in a while, but I'd expect good to very good laker action up there.  This is usually a great time to be on the north end of Seneca Lake trout fishing.

Cayuga Lake 7/1:  On Day 2 with Tony we went out of Taughannock Park.  Laker numbers are very good north of AES although I still feel most migratory fish are further up the lake.  But the numbers around AES are very fishable.  Tony landed 5 nice fish and also had a lot of short hits.  The bite was stubborn.

I am not currently guiding for smallmouth bass on Cayuga Lake as a regular routine.  Do not be fooled by the pros landing decent numbers of brown fish on Cayuga!  They were bed fishing.  Number of smallies on Cayuga remain low.   We tried a few different areas without luck.  Had the pros dealt with the current plankton bloom on Cayuga Lake, sight fishing would've been very difficult.   Tony landed a few perch but that was it.  We got off the lake a bit early as a big line of thunderstorms approached.  




Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 6/28 AM

Action was superb today for lake trout - amongst the best all day bites I've seen all year.  I chalk it up to the weather conditions.  Jeff, Don and 11 year old Greg had some great fishing, landing over 30 lake trout in less than 4 hours.  Fish ran to over 30".  It was their first time jigging.   Young Greg caught the lion's share of the trout for what it's worth.  It was a birthday present for him so that was appropo.   Fish looked good with no lampreys coming up on any of them.  We had a few wild ones.  Good time and a few were kept for the grill.  Same general depths and lures as usual.  

Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 6/27 AM

Guided some of the extended clan of the Hermans today.  Eleonore and two of her grandchildren, Leo and Karl.  We started around 7 am with a stubborn bite.  Fishing picked up as the AM went on and 12 solid lakers were landed to 30".  Young Leo had the hot hand but everyone caught fish.  Good day and the weather held out apart from some showers. The usual white and chartreuse Shakers did the trick.  Around 80' to 95' was good for us.

Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 6/26

Guided Jim and Logan for a full day starting just after 5:30 am.  The early starts have been paying off thus far over the past couple days.  We had a lot of fun today with some great fishing and a lot of joking around.  The guys managed 20 nice lakers with a couple dinks at 16.5" going all the way up to a 28" fish.  Most ran the usual 23" to 26".  Around 3 appeared to be wild.  No live lampreys today either.   The fishing remains excellent on Cayuga Lake and we will keep at them!  Depths ranged from around 60' out to over 90' FOW.   Beautiful day to be out!

Reports 6/20 - 6/25

Had a nice change of pace over the past week with four full days of fishing on Otisco Lake followed by an interesting trip on Sodus Bay/Lake Ontario.  Then it was back to the lakers today on Cayuga Lake.  

Otisco Lake 6/20 - 6/23:  Did four days in a row with "Bobberman Perry" and Dave.  That's a lot of bobber watching, but we had some superb fishing for Tiger Muskies on day one, slightly slower fishing on day two and then a tough day three and good non-target species action on day four.  

The guys landed 8 muskies over the 4 days - all on large suckers and shiners, with the exception of one around 39" that Perry nailed on a crankbait.  We fished banker hours for the most part. Another trophy was hooked and lost.   Fish landed ranged up to 45".  6 of 8 landed were between 39" and 45". The lost fish was likely 38" to 40".  The condition of the fish was superb.  Perfect fins, great coloration and thick bodied muskies with "gator heads."   The lake is in great shape with the lack of rain.  The weeds were beautiful.  

Bobber fishing with large suckers and shiners for muskies and trophy northern pike is a traditional method - it's been around for decades.  It's fun and can be very effective.  It requires skill and knowledge regarding where to fish, anchor placement, how to set up, how long to let the fish take the bait, and when to move.  I have gained a lot of respect for the technique over my years of taking the "Bobberman" out.  

Contrary to what many anglers believe - mortality with this method is very low.  I had to see it for myself, but by setting the hook on the first run after the bobber goes under and the fish takes maybe 5' to 10' of line, probably 70% of the fish are hooked in the lip or corner of the mouth.  Another 20% are hooked deeper but still easily removeable without damage to the fish.  But If you don't pay attention, or the bait is very small or just from bad luck, once in a while a fish swallows the bait.  It happens.  But fish are deep hooked sometimes when fly-fishing or casting lures.  Mortality can occur.  Over playing a fish can also kill them. Tiger Muskies are stocked for anglers.  That's the only reason they are in these lakes.  So I don't get too uptight about this stuff.  But for anglers that don't care to cast all day, I think bobber fishing with large bait is a great way to fish.

Day four was plagued with some small shiners and we wound up landing a fair number of bass.  One good Tiger was caught.  All in all it was a very productive trip with Day One being the best day I've witnessed on catching numbers of giants.

John at Otisco Lake Marine is trying to add onto the amount of off-road parking.  Word is that NYS DEC is developing a State Launch just south of the Causeway on the east side of the lake.

Sodus Bay/Lake Ontario 6/24:  What a wild day I had with Mark I.!  These are the types of days I really love as a guide and an angler.  I wrote down a list of stuff to bring including gar tackle, gear and fly-gear for drum and smallmouth bass stuff.  Plus I always have vertical jigging gear onboard.  Mark loves fly-fishing for gar.  He's landed some nice tarpon, bonefish and permit on the fly;  he has fished!  Gar fishing is a lot of fun for fly-fishers.  It's exciting sight fishing and the gar are cool to look at and handle. Plus they jump.  Huge gar can fight incredibly well, though not all of them do.  

We started around 7:30 am and I had Mark cast with some gear for pike.  He used a large spoon.  After about 5 or 6 casts he set the hook into a huge fish!  Was it a 15lb+ northern?  Maybe a foul-hooked giant carp?   I didn't know.  It ran out a lot of line, then turned, ran some more and kept digging and pumping.  We saw some gold!  It was a giant drum!  It pulled as good as any musky I saw all week long.  That's not an exaggeration.  These members of the drum/redfish family fight hard!   This one probably weighed 12 to 14lbs.  Great fish and Mark was very impressed.  I just wasn't expecting a drum to hit a large spoon. Mark said it looked almost exactly like the redfish he'd caught except was thicker bodied and lacked the spot near the tail.  

Then we went to the gar fishing on the fly.  They were stacked as I have never witnessed before. They weren't super aggressive, but they provided a lot of sport.   Mark had a ton of follows and short hits and he managed to land four, including one nice one that I had to throw overboard when it went crazy.   So I wasn't able to measure that one but I had to save my hands!   Mark also caught a 12" bonus bass on the fly. 

We then decided to run out to Lake Ontario.  I love Lake Ontario and I think we have some great fishing there ahead of us in the future. But the bait situation is what it is. Mark was up for anything so I headed us out into the deeps.  Why not try some vertical jigging?  We set up around 60' FOW and as I dropped my temp probe Mark dropped his jig.  The north winds set up a fairly deep thermocline (for the Fingers, but average for LO) and I had 61 degrees on the bottom.  Mark actually had a follow down there!  Too warm for lakers and probably too deep for smallmouth this time of year, so I'd guess brown trout.  

We went out deeper and Mark had a very aggressive fish chase his jig up.  Was it an immature King?  Nope - after a short battle I slid the net under a fat 26" steelhead!  The first we've landed on a jig in Lake Ontario.  It was in great condition and we let it go and it took off.  Some steelheader will be happy.  Running deeper I found a pile of bait on bottom.  Oh wait, there isn't much bait east of Rochester.  It was a pile of lakers!  Mark found out as he landed a 20" Canandaigua sized fish.  No other fish landed.  Awesome 2 hours of jigging!   And I expect this fishing to continue like this for years.  We've now taken Kings, Browns, Lakers and finally a Steelhead vertically jigging in deep water (during the summertime openwater season) on Lake Ontario.   And a lot of people said it couldn't be done.  If I lived away from the Fingers and closer to Lake Ontario you can bet I'd be specializing in jigging salmonids out there on the "big lake." And anyone who says the lake still has a lot of bait in it probably fishes the same small radius.  We didn't see squat out of Sodus and I have decent electronics and know how to use them.  The chase of that steelhead spoke volumes regarding how hungry these fish are.   They are expected to do alright after the alewives collapse.

6/25:  Cayuga Lake out of Long Point - Well today was back to the homeland.  We started at 5:30 am today and had terrific jigging throughout the AM then a slow pick the rest of the day.  Greg and his nephew Adam landed around 24 solid lakers up to 30".  Also one dink salmon.  Great fishing and two lampreys came up that won't be killing any more trout.

Regarding the Cayuga Lake Elite BASS event.  I'm not thrilled with smallmouths being removed from their beds midlake and being hauled up north given the huge goby population on Cayuga, but that's the way it goes.  The pros have been doing a great job landing some tremendous bags of fish.  This lake is fishing better than Lake Champlain now for bass - at least largemouths.  Hopefully the clubs won't go tournament crazy here over the next bunch of years, but I think that's wishful thinking.  There was a great little article on Bassmaster praising pickerel, which I thought was cool.  Some people get it, some don't.  They are a cool gamefish and I'm glad we have them.







Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 6/19 AM

Guided Mark for a 1/2 day starting at 6:30 am.  The bite was better than yesterday but probably not quite as good as Friday's.   He managed to land 8 solid fish from around 20" up to 27".  We finally had one laker come up with a live lamprey on it, but that's been the only lamprey I've seen in quite some time.  Boat traffic wasn't as heavy as it had been in the AM but picked up later on.  

The big news if you want to call it that, is that a thermocline is just starting to form.  It is pretty weak but clearly there.  We had our best action from around 65' to 90' today on the usual plastics.  

July 3rd through the 5th remain open for trips.  Most people like to relax on that holiday but if you like to fish, the lake is usually very quiet until around 11 am.  So it's a good day to get out with a lot of people sleeping in nursing hangovers.  I am booked solidly until the 3rd so either way, I'm happy to have a day or few days off.   I expect the good to excellent fishing to continue.

Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 6/17 + 18

Cayuga Lake continues to offer powerhouse fishing for a variety of species.  The lake trout bite here on the 17th was superb;  it was slower on the 18th.  There's a ton of bait around and the fish are super clean with very few, if any signs of lampreys.

6/17:  Guided Nick and his son Dave for a full day.  We had some tremendous fishing - the guys timed things perfectly and despite it being their first time ever lake trout jigging they landed around 25 solid lake trout.  The fish hit well first thing in the AM (we actually started just after 6 am) and then it picked up speed around 7.  We had a little lull from 10 to around 12 and then things heated up again.  High point of the day was a nice 30" rainbow trout that Nick caught and we released unharmed.  He also caught a 14" rainbow.  It's great seeing some bows around!   Fish came from around 50' to 90' FOW.  The usual plastics did the trick.  

6/18:  Guided Ken and his son Gus for a tight (4 hour) half day.  The guys don't fish a whole lot but were hoping for some action.  They landed 6 lakers on the day.  We started at 6:30. The bite (while we were fishing) was noticeably slower than on the 17th but my guess is that it would have picked up later.  Either way, it was a fun and productive day.  We had one dink - most fish are running 24" to 25".  We also had a 28"er.

I've seen more fishing pressure on Cayuga Lake over the past couple weekends than I have in a long time.  I think a fair number of anglers are foregoing Lake Ontario trips and deciding to stay local.  Some of my recent clients have been primarily Lake Ontario fishermen in the past and are checking out the great fishing over here.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s there was a big exodus of anglers to Lake Ontario from the Finger Lakes.  The top Lake Ontario guides were ofter former Fingerlakes Guides. They had a big jump on the know-how and making the transition to the big water fisheries.  Now we will likely see a reversal of this trend.

NYDEC will be cutting back on King Salmon stocking on Lake Ontario next year in order to help prolong the King fishery.   Spring trawls on Lake Ontario show two very poor years in a row of alewife production.  The huge alewife class from 2013 (yearlings spawned in 2012) are greatly diminished in numbers.  There are far too many predator fish in Lake Ontario now.   Anglers that think there are too many alewives in LO are delusional.  They probably still think the world is flat, since that's what they can see with their eyes.  What do scientists know?

In Keuka Lake a couple of years ago, it appeared as though baitfish were on the rebound.  We saw more bait there in 2013 and 2014 than we'd seen in a long time. Lake trout caught through the ice after the super cold winter of 2014/15 were FULL of bait. The fish were in good condition.  All seemed well.  They were spitting up alewives and a casual observer would have thought that everything was status quo.  

But lo and behold, within a few months there wasn't a single alewife to be found and we haven't seen ANY in the year and a half since!  Lake Huron's crash was the exact same - record numbers of alewives and then nothing.  It doesn't take long - just a few months and it was like night and day.  DEC knows what they are doing.  Sure, they aren't perfect, but they know that the foundation of the Lake Ontario fishery right now is basically a castle made of sand.

Anglers in the Rochester area and further west think there's plenty of bait.  That is a small portion of the lake.  I talked to a bunch of guys coming off of Oswego and some Sodus area trollers and they are seeing nothing out there.  Kings are roaming the whole lake earlier in the season than ever before - why?  Because they aren't finding enough to eat!

You will see a major reduction in alewives next year.  That is not debatable.  And within a few years it will result in a huge spike in natural production of Lake trout.  There's nothing that can be done to change this.  Lake trout are an apex predator.  They will dominate Lake Ontario with a vengeance, just like they do in the Finger Lakes.  Millions of wild Chinooks leaving the Salmon River will be met by hoardes of hungry lake trout. The same will happen with a lot of freshly stocked browns and other salmonids.   That's what's happened in Lake Huron and is now happening in Lake Michigan.  It will happen here too.  That's the way of the ecosystem. There will likely be great classes of walleyes and perch produced and we'll probably see Atlantic Salmon doing better.  

Lake Ontario will still provide some great angling but the writing is on the wall for the trophy King fishery and DEC can only slow their demise.  That's my take on it and in a few years maybe I'll be proven wrong.  Time will tell!




Keuka Lake out of Hammondsport 6/6 AM

I've cut back my Keuka Lake guiding over the past couple years to no more than 5 trips a year.  I used to average 20 to 25 trips a year here for primarily lake trout but also smallmouth bass.  It was more feasable to do the drive when I lived in Trumansburg.  Now I'm in Lansing and it's a bit too far.   But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited to get out here for the first time this year and see what was happening with the lake trout bite.

The alewives here are gone.  There's no doubt about that.  Nobody I know has seen a "sawbelly" in a laker's stomach since just after the heavy winter/ice fishing season of 2014/2015.   

Larry and Cecilia showed up at the wrong place so instead of our 6:30 am launch time we wound up putting in at around 7:15. We did a 6 hour trip.   It was calm and sunny out.  We fished the south end, the bluff area and some points in-between.   The wind got to be very heavy by around 10 am.  On the day 6 lakers were landed and we kept three.  They bit consistently throughout the day, which often isn't the case on Keuka in June.  Nothing was in any of the fish I cleaned.  The condition of the fish was fairly poor.  They weren't as emaciated as Skaneateles fish, but every one I saw was thin and a couple were getting noticeably thin - where the head is the thickest part of the fish.   Best action was from 80' to 100' for us.

Bottom line of what I took from today is that the slow summer bite might be a thing of the past on Keuka Lake.  With the scarcity of food, these fish may hit a lot better during the dog days of summer than they used to.  We'll see.  We are also heading towards a Skaneateles Lake-like situation.  We'll see an occasional 20lb giant come out of the lake, but the vast majority of fish will be from 16" to 22" and skinny.  Ours today ran from 18" to 21".  

Skaneateles Lake 6/3

Guided Mark for a full day here.  We'd previously done a Cayuga Lake trip for bass/pickerel/pike and a Seneca trip for lakers.  I thought that he might enjoy Skaneateles Lake for some bass fishing. The bass fishing wound up being pretty good, especially when the wind was up.  Mark landed a handful of nice fish up to 18".  He had a ton of grabs and momentary hookups including some from other 18" class smallies. He had fun fishing with flukes and tubes.  A couple jumbo perch and rock bass also found Mark's lures. Plenty of bass are paired up and I would expect good fishing here.  I'm not a big fan of targeting spawners but there are always plenty of non-spawners around depending on where you fish.  The lake was gorgeous as always and is just about swimable temperature-wise!   We had upwards of 62 degrees on top today.  Boat traffic was low until the latter part of the day.

Cayuga Lake out of Dean's Cove 6/1 AM

I was scheduled to fish Seneca Lake today with Ron and his wife Amanda but after the past weekend's super slow fishing we decided to move the trip to Dean's Cove.  We made the right move!   We fished both sides of the lake with our better action on the east shore. Ron and Amanda did well, landing 10 solid lakers from 20" to 27".  The bait is in big-time and Ron dropped a Landlocked Salmon around 18" next to the boat.  Laker are looking great. Water temp is 60/62 up top.  This Saturday and Sunday remain open for last minutes bookings.  Otherwise I'll have a nice weekend off, which is fine by me.

Seneca Lake 52nd Annual Lake Trout Derby Report

5/28 - 5/30:  Well the results are in and the fish that made it to the scales during the derby were some of the most impressive EVER!   When the top brown trout is 18lbs and that knocks down a 15lber and a couple 14lbers, all one can say is "WOW!"   An 11lb salmon? "WOW."  A bunch of lakers from 13.8lbs on down - "WOW."  You get the message. Seneca Lake is producing some tremendous fish.  The 18lb brown was the largest fish taken in 52 years of this contest.  And who says "the good old days" are over?  They are right now.  

And it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that the top lake trout caught was jigged (on a boat by one of my former clients.)  The top laker (over 10lbs) caught by a teenager (plus another one in the TA division) was also caught by one of my former clients. One or two other fish were also taken by boats with Angling Zone alums onboard.

Our derby was tough.  I fished with my old time buddy Terry.  We go back over 30 years fishing together and he's the one that got me going on a lot of these lakes back when I was a non-boater for the most part.  

We had a lot of fun though we didn't catch much.  We were on the water by around 6 am to 6:15 am every morning and off the water between noon and 1 pm.  My 12 hour derby days are long gone.  We still fish hard but I'd be lying if I said we fish as intensely as we used to - at least most of the time.   Day 1 started out promising for us. Within about 1/2 hour or less I had a nice 27" to 28" laker onboard taken shallow.  I dropped another one around the same size just before we were about to net it.  Then things just shut down for us.  As anyone who has chartered a trip with me knows, I do not enjoy fishing in crowds.  A lot of key areas were jammed with anglers so we stayed out of the fray.  The community holes are good areas for good reasons - the fish like them.  So that did hurt us a bit.  

Day 2 was very tough for us.  We never had a hit that was for certain.  On both days when the lake calmed down the midge activity was intense.  At least the little bugs don't bite.

Day 3 started out better with Terry dropping a good fish due to a tackle issue.  He later landed a laker around 20".    

I'm not sure if I'll be fishing any more of these derbies.  This one I was on the fence about. My schedule is just too heavy these days and a 3 day derby with a lot of trailering feels more like work than fun at times.  That being said, it's a good time and nice to see all my friends out there.  As to why the bite was so tough, that's a good question and it's things like this that keep angling challenging, even for someone that is out as often as I am.  


Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 5/27

Guided Rodney and Bob for 1/2 day starting a little later than usual - about 7:15 am.  They last went fishing with me back in 2009 if my records are accurate.  The late start didn't hurt us today and the guys managed a limit of nice lakers up to 28"+.  We released a legal young wild fish.  The fish I cleaned had some alewives.  They bit pretty steadily all AM - it was a better bite than yesterday.  We got them from very shallow out to over 90'.  Tons of bait is starting to move in.

Good luck to all fishing the Memorial Weekend Derby on Seneca Lake!  It's fun seeing a lot of friends up there.  It should be a real spread out event with fish all over the place.  I've got a brand new custom Canavan jigging rod with carbon fiber grip that rod-maker Mike Canavan dropped off at my place last night!  Can't wait to give it a whirl.  I'll be pairing that up with a brand new Pflueger Supreme baitcasting reel.   Mike reports decent numbers of lakers and tons of bait showing up mid-lake (AES area and north a few miles.)  It's "game-on" on Cayuga Lake now!

Stellar lake trout fishing with trophies in the mix, an up-and-coming mega group of clean, gorgeous landlocked Atlantic salmon, some browns that make the former Lake Ontario footballs think they aren't fat and some steady rainbow action - it all adds up to some of the best overall prospects for Cayuga Lake coldwater angling since the mid 1990s.   

Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 5/26

Guided Bob and Jim for a full day of laker jigging.  It was a slow, steady pick with fishing a bit slower than the last few days but still good.  The guys wound up with 6 fish up to 29". Fish came from varied depths - 50' to 80' was where we caught most of them.  Nothing much else to report.  The usual plastics and colors did the trick.  Plenty of baitfish are moving in.  A few loons are still around along with some osprey.  Occasionally we are seeing bald eagles too. We kept all 6 fish today and there wasn't much in their stomachs.

Cayuga Lake out of Dean's Cove 5/24

Guided Keith for a full day today.  Laker jigging was very good with 10 nice lakers landed to 31".  We had three wild fish.  One 17" salmon too.  Fish are very scattered - you can find them in 25' and also on bottom in 150'.  Typical late May/early June pattern.  We fished both sides of the lake today from Stoney Point north towards Levanna and then around Dean's Cove.  Surface temps hit the upper 50s.

Otisco Lake 5/23 AM

Guided long time client Dave on Otisco Lake starting at 6 am.  He hadn't caught a Tiger Musky yet and really wanted to, so we did a 1/2 day today.  The conditions certainly weren't great with the bluebird sunny skies and zero wind but our early start really helped with the lingering fog.  

Dave was casting a spoon and nailed a 37" beauty within 1/2 hour of our start.  The fish was everything we could have asked for - it hit hard away from the boat, ran good and then jumped nicely and of course it was a nice sized fish.  After Dave hooked up he was looking at me wondering what to do!  Muskies are capable fighters but they aren't a King or Steelhead - you don't have to worry about them stripping your reel.

To me, the myth or legend of muskies and musky fishing overshadows the reality of the fish. Muskies are certainly an apex predator and capable of a fight that will provide a lifetime of memories.  The musky myths really center around people not geared up for them.  You hear stories of somebody reeling in a walleye or bass on 6lb test that gets hit by a giant musky and the person then fights the musky for 45 minutes (due to the light line) before either a.) landing the fish or b.) the musky releasing the other gamefish.  That's where the mystique lies.  The mystique also centers around big water, not small stocked lakes.  The St. Lawrence River and Georgian Bay (Moon River) are a couple areas that have a lot of musky folklore.   

We saw a bit of commotion on the surface for awhile not far from where we were fishing and ran the boat over.  A huge Tiger musky was upside down and not doing well - clearly dying. We netted it and measured it at around 47" to 48" - a real beast.  The fish stayed on the surface for awhile and then went under.  I doubt it survived.   We figured somebody caught it this past weekend.  At OLM, the owner John confirmed that one of the regular musky fanatics reported landing a 48"er this weekend.  I'm sure that was the same fish.  I know hardcore musky anglers do their best to try to release fish unharmed.  Some of these old trophy fish just don't have a lot of life left in them - it happens.  

Anyways Otisco Lake has produced at least 4 fish that I have heard of over 46" during the past 2 years.  I think the new regs are doing what they should do.  I like the 36" size limit. It prevents the numerous 30" to 34" fish from being harvested (which happens a lot through the ice) yet allows for occasional harvest of bigger fish.  Given that every single Otisco Lake fish is a hatchery fish I feel regs should allow for some harvest.  Once in a while a fish gets mortally wounded and it'd be nice to be able to keep it.  Plus, as we saw on the lake today, there are no guarantees with any fish being released surviving.  We'd like to believe they all survive when not badly hooked.  This fish looked good - we checked the mouth area really quickly and didn't see any signs of anglers but we didn't look for long.

Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 5/22 AM

Guided Rich today for a 1/2 day starting just after 7 am.  The bite was excellent with 9 solid lakers and one salmon landed.  All fish came from less than 100' FOW.  A lot of boats were on the lake today with the Barney/Bear Derby going on.  We were not entered.  Our best laker probably went 9lbs+ FWIW.

Rich just did back to back half-day charters out of Sodus Point on Lake Ontario and had some decent lake trout fishing with a steelhead and decent coho caught.  A sublegal Atlantic and coho were released.  Their best Lake Ontario laker was in the 35/36" range. He left very impressed with the Cayuga Lake fishery and the jigging method. He caught more fish today himself than the Charter boat did yesterday.  The majority of the Cayuga Lake lakers compared with the majority of Lake Ontario fish, although L.O. produced two lunkers for his party.  

I'm looking forward to the Memorial Weekend Derby on Seneca Lake.  I'll be fishing it with my old fishing buddy Terry - we started fishing together back in 1986 and he was the first really good multi-species angler I ever fished with.  He introduced me to a lot of the different lakes and techniques/patterns for fishing perch, bass, walleyes and so forth.  So it will be fun.  My buddy Mike with be out there with his friend and my former co-angler (and 2013 Derby Grand Prize Winner) Jarrod will be out fishing with his young son.  Plenty of lunker lake trout reside in Seneca Lake and some giant browns are out there.  I expect to see a few large salmon and halfway decent rainbows weighed in.  I think results will be "par for the course" with a 13 to 14lb trout winning.  Likely a laker but there's always a chance of a brown.  No big surprise there.  

Reports 5/18 to 5/20

Despite the mild winter and unseasonably warm March, the water temperatures remain cold for this time of the year due to the cold April and early May.  Fishing remains good to excellent throughout the region for a variety of species.

5/18 Cayuga Lake out of Long Point:  I guided Bruce and his wife Laurie for a 1/2 day of lake trout jigging.  Fishing wasn't easy for us.  I checked deep and shallow and we had scattered fish in both areas.  Bruce wound up having a good day with 3 solid lakers landed and another 4 or 5 hits missed.  Laurie just wasn't able to connect today although she had a few hits.  We found action from 110' or so out to 150'.  Gorgeous day on the water.

5/18 PM Lake Ontario out of Oswego Harbor:  I looked at my schedule and with pretty much wall to wall trips booked I figured it was now or never for a run up to Oswego.  I was tired and certainly paid the price in sleep deprivation.  I know the conditions I want up there and after the 3 day brutal blow (west winds to 30 mph and 7'+ waves) I would've rather waited until Thurs, Friday or this weekend, but either way I enjoy getting up there for a change of scene.   

As I launched the boat, a local reported to me that he'd lost a decent laker and caught a nice spring King in 38' of water.  I weighed it for him and it was a well-proportioned solid 12lber.  I worked a bunch of areas and lost one fish that I'm sure was a lake trout.  I also had a hit or two from what was likely an immature salmon.  In the harbor I nailed a fat smallmouth that fought very hard.  That was it. I'm not complaining - I only had around 3 hours to fish if that.  Other anglers (trollers) I talked to didn't report much - a brown or laker.  Spring brown fishing was not too good here from what I gather.  I'm not marking any bait, though there's certainly some around.

The amount of denial amongst some of the Lake Ontario Charter community regarding the State of the Lake never ceases to amaze me.  All someone needs to do is look at how the migratory patterns of Kings has changed over the years.  A few years back large numbers of Kings started showing up earlier than normal.  People thought it was the warm winter. Then it was the cold winters.   I have a different answer:  they are hungry and bait is scarce!  They are roaming the entire lake in search of bait.  Clearly there isn't enough to keep them over around the west end of the lake for long. 

5/19 AM:  Seneca Lake out of Geneva - Guided Dave and his friend Mike for a 1/2 day AM laker trip.  Action started out slowly but then picked up good.  Mike claimed to not have much luck fishing but he changed his tune after a couple hours and he landed back to back 33" lakers!  One had to go 13 to 14lbs!  The other was a little thinner - probably around 12. They are both still swimming around out there waiting for derby weekend!   Dave got everything rolling with the first few fish.  Great day!

5/19 PM:  Cayuga Lake out of Long Point - Met George and his son Andrew at Myers Park only to find the launch temporarily closed due to the lot being paved.  I should've met them at Taughannock since it was on my way home from Seneca.  We drove up to Long Point and launched with calm conditions that soon got windy out of the north.  The laker bite was tough to start.  Eventually we found fish shallow.  It wound up being a solid 1/2 day with George landing 3 fish and Andy landing one big one.

5/20 AM: Cayuga Lake out of Union Springs - Guided Pat for a 1/2 day for some pickerel action.  We both have a fondness for these "younger brothers" or "red-headed stepchildren" of the Esox family that dates back to our respected youths!  I'm always amazed at how some anglers - namely walleye anglers on Oneida and bass fishermen on Cayuga Lake despise pickerel.   Yes, they are often easy to catch.  What in the world is wrong with that???  Do you prefer hard to catch fish?   If you want those, try to get a burbot in Canandaigua Lake or a whitefish on Lake Ontario.  Good luck and 10 years from now let me know if you've caught one yet.  

(Actually, the local I talked to at Oswego caught two whitefish while trolling last month.  He thought they were ciscoes, but 20" ciscoes as far as I know would be too large to be one.  They are the same family and the cisco has an underbite and the whitefish an overbite - but they look alike from what I understand.)

Anyways you can get nasty cuts from pickerel, they are bony and they do bite off expensive imported $25 bass plugs so I do understand some of the dislike.  But we had fun.  We checked a bunch of areas out and one produced the best fishing with around a dozen or more landed up to 24".  Perch and bass anglers were out in droves.  I might have even seen a boat or two fishing for crappies.  At least 30 boats were on the northern end of Cayuga.  Gorgeous day out there!







Seneca Lake out of Geneva 5/17

In twelve years of guiding this is the latest I've ever done my first Seneca Lake trip of the season.  I used to make a point of scouting out the area lakes;  I'd hit Owasco, Skaneateles, Seneca and so forth in order to see what was going on.  By now I've done enough guiding and logged enough hours on the water to feel fairly confident in finding fish without prior scouting - I understand the "lake rhythms" and how things set up and can tell in fairly short order what's going on.  That was the case today.  

Tim's girlfriend bought him a gift certificate for a full day trip last winter.  I met Tim and his friend Kendall at the Chamber of Commerce at around 6:45 am.   I've been starting trips a bit earlier lately, due to the time of the year.  The guys do well trolling but wanted to learn the jigging.  

We had a great day today with 9 mostly lunker lake trout coming to the net. The best fish was Kendall's 33" 12lb. 4oz laker that's heading to the smoker with 3 other fish we kept.   Nearly all the big lakers had healed lamprey scars on them.  None of the fish were in great condition - i.e. they were pretty fish, but none were fat.  Most were a little on the thin side. My guess is that they are just starting to feed a bit.  There was plenty of bait around in the depths of Seneca.  As usual for this time of year fish were scattered - they were common from 90' out to 150'+.   All the fish landed were wild ones today.  We had one 20"er but all the rest ran from 26" to 29" and then the 33".

Cayuga and Otisco Lake reports 5/11 - 5/13

Had a good three day run of fishing.  It's been the most solid start to a season I've seen or experienced in a few years, mainly due to the milder winter.  The fishing is where it should be in mid-May - it's darn good for just about everything everywhere.  Panfish, trout, salmon, pike, bass, carp - they're all active.  I wish May fishing lastest longer!

5/11 Cayuga Lake out of Long Point:  Got out with a couple of girl-friends for some fun PM fishing.  I always forget about "take a gal fishing day" but this year I remembered.   Either way, we had a great time with 3 nice lakers landed between them including a fish around 10lbs.   Fishing wasn't easy but it's pretty clear that the lakers are moving shallow at times.  I laid back and smoked a few cigars while they had most of the fun.

5/12 Cayuga Lake out of Long Point:  Guided Andrew and Jim for a 1/2 day starting around 8 am.  Laker fishing was good and we caught fish both shallow and deep on both sides of the lake.  Andy dropped 4 or 5 solid fish but we still found up with 4 nice keepers for Jim's smoker and grill.    

5/13 Otisco Lake:   Guided Dave and his friend Chris for a full day of Tiger Musky fishing on the fly starting just after 6 am.   Dave and his father Bob joined me on Cayuga Lake for a great fly-fishing trip on March 30th on Cayuga Lake.   They are both exceptional fly-tiers and fly-fishermen and it's shown on both trips.  Their flies are superb!  

Despite having only caught a couple relatively small Tiger Muskies on the fly myself, I felt confident going into the fishing today.  We had a great weather pattern with a crescent moon, wind, clouds and obviously a falling barometer with the impending front coming through.  But it's still musky fishing and still a challenge on the fly.  Just casting large flies can be a challenge for many fly-fishers.

We worked a few areas without any action.  After about an hour, Dave connected with a 27"er.   It was a nice clean fish and we all saw it grab the fly.   Chris landed a chunky smallmouth.   While Chris searched for a new fly to try, I got a chance to cast one of Dave's SAGE pike rods (10 wts) and I even caught a small largemouth bass.  BTW - The Sage casts beautifully!  I now know what my next pike/musky/gar rods are going to be!

There's a nice submerged weedbed that I remembered from my days of fishing with Jessica back in 2008 and sometimes it sets up nicely, so we gave that a shot.  Dave's fly got crushed again a long ways out and after a good battle I slipped the net under a 36" Tiger!!!  Awesome!  To make a long story short he had more follows including another one around the same large class.  I suspect he would've hooked at least one or more of the fish had he done "figure 8s" or "Ls" but the excitement of the moment got the best of him.  Either way, it was the best day I've had on my boat for fly-fishing Tigers and it's mainly because of Dave and his (dad's in this case) aptitude with fly-tying and perseverence with muskies. He had been researching musky on the fly for around 10 years and the bug finally got him good over the past couple seasons.





Skaneateles Lake 5/9

Guided Gordon for a full day starting around 8:30 am.   I believe he's been coming out fishing with me since my first year in business.  He mainly fly-fishes and apart from 2 hours of laker jigging while we waited for the winds to set up, that's what he did.  He had a hold of 4 or 5 lakers momentarily.  Smaller hooks probably would've helped us in hooking the usual 15" to 18" lakers found here.   Who knows?  Whatever the reason, the hooks pulled out after a few second battle.  Even ones I thought he stung well came off.

Fly-fishing was a challenge here as usual.  He had to work some different areas before we encountered any trout or salmon.  In one area Gordon landed 2 salmon around 16" to 17", lost one and also landed a gorgeous 21" rainbow.  Another salmon at 17.5" was landed in another part of the lake.   A few smallmouths and a couple jumbo perch rounded out the day.  Everything was released apart from the jumbo ringbacks.  The good old olive bugger in a size 4 did the trick today fished on an intermediate 7 weight line.  Water temps were in the mid 40s.

Reports 5/5 - 5/8

Fishing in the region remains good to very good for a number of different species.  May weather can be volatile but it's a great month to be on the water with very few annoyances. Boat launches are uncrowded, there are next to no jetskiis or "performance boats" around (not that we ever see many, apart from the once a year Rochester Power Boaters "poker run.")  Anyways, Loons abound and the fishing is often excellent.

5/5 AM:  Met Mark, his son David and David's father in-law Ganu at Dean's Cove just after 8 am.  David hadn't fished in a long, long time and Ganu had never fished before, so it was a good chance to introduce them to the joys of catching big lake trout in deep water.  The trip didn't disappoint.  In a nutshell, 10 solid lake trout were landed anchored by David's monstrous 31" to 32" fish!  We release the big brutes at FLAZ guide service most of the time and today was no exception.  It was likely 11lbs or better.   Ganu managed his first and 2nd fish and hopefully he'll be hooked for life.  110' to 150' was productive for us.

5/6 AM:  Met the Hermans at Taughannock Park for some casting for trout/salmon.  We had good north winds and decent conditions for some good action.  John started things out with a 17" salmon.  He then lost another fish.  Eleonore had a follow from a decent brown in the 20"+ range and then landed an 18" laker.  She also caught a 20" laker.  Both fish came from less than 10' of water on stickbaits.   John and Eleonore landed 2 more salmon that were undersized but not dinks.  We removed a lamprey from one salmon but apart from that, every fish was clean.  Good day!

5/6 PM:  Met Josh and his friend Mike at Dean's Cove launch at 1:30 pm.   Fortunately for once the weathermen were wrong and the conditions turned out to be better than expected! Yes, instead on the high winds, rain and thunderstorms, we had high winds, rain and then low winds, clear skies and a beautiful rainbow in the sky!  Can't beat that.  And the fishing didn't disappoint.  The guys did a great job landing at least a half dozen nice fish to around 29" long if my memory serves me correctly.  Cayuga is back to great form with regards to large lakers being around.  Nearly every trip is producing 27" to 29" fish!

5/7:  Guided Earl out of Dean's Cove for a full day.   I like the Long Point ramp, but for people coming from the southern tier or during stronger north winds it makes more sense for me to launch out of Dean's.  The launch is easier for one person, I do less running and it's more convenient for my clients not to have to drive through Ithaca.   Earl had a good day with some decent action to start, a slowdown then some good fishing at the end of the day. I think he landed 5 fish and lost a few too.  110' to 150' again.

5/8:  Guided Mike out of Emerson Park on Owasco Lake - Be forewarned that the Emerson Park personnel are getting more adament about paying the gate fee, whether or not you beat the gatekeeper in through the door!   I don't mind, because the park has excellent facilities with the exception of the "too shallowly sloping" ramp.  I bought a season pass because I expect to be here a bit this year.

Mike is one of the best anglers I guide and one of the nicest people I know to spend a day on the water with.  He's fished all over the country and world and loves to angle. But he also fishes his local rivers, streams, lakes and ponds and understands what's involved.  I would have felt fine postponing or cancelling today's trip given the forecast with northwest winds gusting to 28 mph, rain and highs in the low 50s but he wanted to give it a shot and see how things went.  They went very well!

His last three trips with me resulted in some good lakers but only a dink pike or two on Seneca.  He really wanted to get some pike this time.  We tried a couple different areas and despite the cranking winds I felt at the top of my game today with strategies and Mike was at the top of his game with his angling attitude, skills and perseverence.  We were the only boat at the launch at 7 am and the only boat we saw all day til we got up north around 1 pm.  Mike managed to land 7 pike - all 24" to 26 or 27" I believe with the exception of one 21"er.  He nabbed a 19.5" walleye and a 12" perch.  He also landed a 13" and 20" giant smallmouth bass.  Great catching on a very difficult day fishing!  By the end of the day my trolling motor had pretty much given up the ghost.  Fish came on stickbaits, spoons and we had a hit or two on tubes.  

FWIW:  The first pike he caught had a beautiful brand new Yozuri stickbait on the side of his mouth.  Pike fishing without some form of bite leader is silly.  It's kind of like unprotected sex in a foreign country, mouthing off to a bunch of outlaw bikers, skydiving without a parachute or any other form of recklessness - nothing good can come of it!   Our Tyger wire leader resulted in no bite-offs plus the bass, walleye and perch all hit. Yes, even a "finicky walleye" couldn't resist the Rapala Shadow Rap, wire and all!  







Cayuga Lake 5/3 PM + 5/4 AM

5/3 PM out of Myers:  Did some salmon fly-fishing and lake trout jigging with a friend of a friend I'd been acquainted with for a long time but finally got to get out fishing with.  We had a good time fly casting for salmon and although we didn't land any, on the day we contacted several fish in a few different areas.  Prospects are still good for fly-fishing.

Mike and I set up for lakers and had some great jigging action near AES.  He nailed one around 28" or 29" to start (if I remember right) and we each caught some nice fish, winding up with around 7 or 8 on the day between the two of us.   Stomach checks on the fish we kept showed a mix of gobies and alewives.  As noted previously this year, the goby-fed fish are sporting very appealing deep orange flesh.  I kept a mortally hooked laker that was around 18" are it provided me with some terrific eating.  Mike kept a couple bigger fish that will certainly keep him in good eating for awhile.   Fun trip!

5/4 AM out of Long Point:  Guided John and his friend Andy for 1/2 day AM starting around 8:15.  Action was good on lakers with around 6 landed.  Andy got a 28" wild beauty that we let go.  For whatever the reason, he wound up dropping 4 fish that appeared to be hooked well.  John did a nice job in the "landing department" and it wound up being a very solid day.  We never saw another boat out fishing all AM!  It's been unreal how light the boat traffic has been thus far this season.  The loons are still out in droves and the lakes are mighty quiet!  Just the way I like it....

Cayuga Lake 4/28 + 29

I am hoping to get out on some different lakes shortly.  It's been hard to want to fish anywhere else but Cayuga with the terrific lake trout action and solid salmon/brown trout fishing.   Skaneateles Lake is one of my favorite lakes to fish in May and I intend to get out on Seneca and Owasco Lakes in the near future.  Lake Ontario is another one I want to fish but I have a lot of bookings on Cayuga over the next couple weeks, so we'll see what happens.

4/28 AM out of Long Point:  I met Leighton and his brother Nick at the ramp just after 8:15 am and we headed out for some laker jigging.  The fishing was very good with Leighton catching a fish just shy of 31"!  This slob was spitting up young alewives one after another! A couple 28" or 29"ers were also caught and released.  The guys kept a couple 24" range fish for the grill.  Those fish were eating alewives plus an occasional goby.   Best action was deep - 140'+ range.  Great half day with 7 solid fish landed if I remember correctly.  We saw one other boat out on the day, that was it!  

4/29 PM out of Myers:  Guided Sergio and his son Francisco, both from Argentina. Fran has been getting into fly-fishing and taught himself some casting.   I was pretty impressed with his casting and with some coaching he was making some very good casts as the day went on.  Sergio had never fished before, so I got him casting a spinning rod and working stickbaits.  We had overcast conditions (with a little rain late in the day) and a north wind around 4 to 5 mph at best.  Within an hour Sergio had landed two nice lake trout in shallow water.  One was around 18" and one was 22".  Our second area produced two hits for Fran, the second hit resulting in an 18" landlocked salmon that he landed and we released.

Sergio had two good hits and then lost another 18" range salmon on a jump in the next area we fished and that was it.  Given the "calm wind forecast" I was happy to see the winds up out of the north and the guys catching some nice fish.

I get asked about the winds on occasion and recently had a local angler email me with a report of some good trout and salmon fishing during glassy, sunny conditions.  I've never said that you can't catch fish when it's like glass out.  I just find that day-in and day-out, calm conditions in a clear lake tend to make for spooky fish.  What I like about the wind is that it forms currents which move plankton.  This typically will activate baitfish, which move in to feed on the plankton.  And that sets up gamefish in predictable areas. The wind and wave action diffracts the sun, which helps to camouflage the bottom and enables predators to move shallow with less likelihood of getting preyed upon by birds and other predators.   When I have no wind, I need to step on my trolling motor to move the boat.  That tends to spook fish.   Fish will often follow lures but not commit to them. That can be fun to watch but also frustrating.

I like to go with the highest percentage fishing available.   When it's calm out the best bet is often making long casts with spinning rods. Hair jigs and stickbaits can be very effective.  And deeper water or working along edges or cliff areas can be good.  Any murky water (like around creek mouths) is also worth checking out.   (Doing some laker jigging or bass/crappie fishing can be a better bet when it's calm and sunny out - it's a much higher percentage proposition - so that's why I do it and recommend it.)  But there are exceptions to the rule and salmon often like basking in the sun.  I'll even see them move up creek mouths on occasion in the springtime just to get into some warmer water.  It also makes for great cigar smoking.  Bottom line:  Even if it's calm and sunny out and the bite might be tough, it's still worth going fishing!

Skaneateles Lake 4/27 AM

Did a 1/2 day trip with Sue, who fished with me last year.  Conditions were cool, cloudy and calm this AM then the sun finally broke through and we wound up with a nice day.  I was hoping she could do some casting a possibly hook some trout, perch or bass but with the calm conditions lake trout jigging was probably the best bet.  She had 4 or 5 grabs and managed to land one laker around 18".  These aren't the full-bodied ("full figured") Cayuga trout - they're somewhat scrawny cigar shaped fish, but beautiful nonetheless.  Water temps were around 43 on top.  

My buddy Mike was out here last weekend and managed to get a decent rainbow trout on the fly and some good eating perch.   

Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 4/24

Guided Eric and his dad Mike for a full day starting just after 8 am.  We'd been trying to schedule a laker trip for awhile but had some terrible luck with the weather.  It was a beautiful day today albeit a bit cold in the AM.

The guys did well.  Eight nice lakers from around 22" to 29" were landed today.  Eric probably lost another 1/2 dozen or more.   It can be difficult bringing up a fighting, twisting laker from 150' of water or more!  Sometimes the fish just get off no matter what you do. Fish came from 120' to 150' with the best action being around 140' to 150'.   Surface temps are creeping up into the 45/46 degree range.  The lakes are quiet with very few pleasure boaters and no jet skiis to be heard or seen.  You can't beat it!

Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 4/22 AM

Guided Avery and his fiancee' Zina for a 1/2 day of laker jigging.  He took my fly-fishing class years ago and was back in town.  The fishing started out great with Avery landing a 29" laker on his first drop with the jig!  The oft-dreaded "first cast" syndrome (I'm not superstitious but a lot of fishermen and guides are.)   It didn't take long for Zina to land a couple nice fish too but then the action slowed for awhile.  The conditions were a bit cool with some showers but not overly uncomfortable.

We did some moving around from the 150' or so that we started in and in around 110' we starting hitting some good fish.  Action was very good and we just about had a double a few times. Overall it was a great day with 8 solid fish landed.  We kept two of the smaller fish for Avery and Zina's dinner.  The fish I cleaned were packed with alewives.   One wild fish was in the mix.  Only sign of lampreys were on the two biggest fish and they were healed scars.  Nobody else was out that we could see today.   All signs point to another terrific year on Cayuga Lake!  

Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 4/21

I got out today on my own for around 3 hours.  I was really psyched when I saw the forecasted south winds and sun so I grabbed my fly-rods and headed out the door. Unfortuntately the wind was in the process of diminishing soon after I arrived.  I fly-fished for around 2.5 hours and never had a definite hit.  A little bit of laker jigging produced a dink laker.

Anglers flat-lining are doing well around the south end of the lake on mostly sublegal landlockeds and a few barely legal brown trout, with the occasional solid big brown or salmon.  There's a lot of small debris on the surface of the lake and some large swathes of nice green, warm water (surface temps are running from 44 to 48 degrees)  but it's turning into more of a troller's ballgame out there.  Lots of fishy water to cover!  Once we get some good steady north winds, the fly-fishing and spincasting should turn on a bit.  

I get a fair number of questions regarding smelt runs every year.  I was talking to "Bear" at Bear's Bait and Tackle at Myers Park and he did hear of some being dipped.  So "the run" is likely on but numbers are low.

A gal in one of my fly-fishing classes hooked a very nice salmon yesterday from shore.  It was probably around 23" give or take.  Some very nice fish have been caught this season out in the lake (that's the first salmon a student of mine has hooked while fly-fishing from shore in a few years if my memory serves me correctly.)

The number of loons out on the lake is incredible!   I'm not talking about morons out in boats and kayaks but the birds!  Man - they are everywhere!  I've never, ever seen so many.

DEC Diaries finally arrived in my mailbox this week.  I like getting them in March but I will give the guys and gal a lot of credit because the reports are much more comprehensive now than they were back in the late 1990s and early to mid 2000s.  

Wild lake trout numbers on Cayuga are at around 11%.   They are definitely creeping up and I don't think we'll notice any of the stocking cuts while fishing.  As a matter of fact, catch rates for salmonids on Cayuga Lake were the highest they've been since the start of the program.  With low lamprey numbers out there, we're seeing a banner year on Cayuga Lake and should see another great year in 2017.    I've been itching to fish Seneca and Skaneateles and will likely head to one of those lakes soon.



Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 4/18 AM

Guided the Hermans for a 1/2 day starting just after 8:15 am.  We had a consistent bite with 7 lakers landed.  Nearly all were solid fish with one wild one.  About 120' to 150' was best for us.  Surface temps hit 43 today.

Dates are filling rapidly from the remainder of April through the end of June.  See my homepage if you're looking to get out.  July and onwards are wide open though all Saturdays are booked through October 22nd.

Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 4/17

Guided Dean, Scott and Scott's son Aidan for a full day of laker jigging.  Dean and Scott have been coming out with me since the crazy Owasco Lake laker bite of the mid to late 2000s.  If you're in the Philadelphia area, check out his distillery - Rowhouse Spirits.  The website is   

Dean used to formulate some of the beers sold by Yards and then Philadelphia Brewing Company and has a knack with all kinds of food and drink.  Whether he's making beef jerky or sandwiches, he really has a great individual flare and sense of taste.   

Anyways it's always a great time when I see the guys and we had some solid jigging to start this AM then things slowed down a bit.  The lack of wind hurt us a bit today, since it's harder to cover water but either way, the guys had a great day with 10 solid lakers landed and a couple dropped.   The weather was gorgeous and downright hot at times.  We kept 2 lakers and they were gorging themselves with alewives.  No sign of gobies in these fish as of late for us.   

Cayuga Lake 4/14 - 4/16

Thus far this season I've spent more time than ever before fishing Cayuga Lake as opposed to Seneca, Skaneateles and Keuka, which are my usual early season favorites.  Why? Mainly because the fishing has been so good and it's nearby!  Can't beat that and I love not having to do too much driving or running around with the boat.  

4/14:  Guided Don and his 10 year old (soon to be eleven year old) nephew Greg.  We originally were shooting for Skaneateles Lake where Don has a cottage, but due to circumstances on Don's end we decided Myers would be a better bet.

He's been getting into some lake fly-fishing and working on his casting and it showed. We had some follows from trout/salmon right away.  Greg hooked up and nabbed a fat 16.5" brown that we kept.  It had a goby in its stomach around 4 to 5 inches long!  Don wound up catching a couple nice 16.5"/17" salmon both on my flyrod setup (with an intermediate line) and his (with a floating setup.)   Good day on the water with some other follows too.

4/15:  Guided Mark I. for a full day.  I met him at Dean's Cove which for me was a blast from the past, but it was better for Mark and easier than launching by myself and running back and forth across the lake.  Our target was carp on the fly, though we started by trying some salmon fly-fishing (with no action - which wasn't too surprising up north) and then we had some very solid laker jigging with Mark landing four solid fish in short order up to over 30".   

The carping is something I hadn't done in at least 7 years and was just like I remembered it.  A LOT of fish mudding on vast flats.  It basically involved blind casting the flats and some guesswork casting to fresh mudders.   Mark fouled a couple fish to start.  One was landed and was probably in the 25lb to nearly 30lb range!   Later he had a fish around 12lbs gobble the fly, so that was cool.  A lot of fun today!  Great fights too!

4/16:  Guided Ron and his daughter Rachel for a full day.  Usually Ron shows up with his son Matt or alone but it was a nice change of pace.  She doesn't do a whole lot of fishing but has done her share.  The laker bite was hot early with around 9 or 10 fish landed fairly quickly up to over 28".   The bite then slowed down next to nothing but picked up to a slower steady pick later and we wound up with 16 solid fish.  2 or 3 were likely wild.  All were let go today.  We worked from around 130' to 160'.  Beautiful day!  

Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 4/13 AM

Had a late cancellation, so I wound up getting my boat out for 3 hours of fly-fishing.  I did a bit of exploring and managed a follow from a very nice salmon around 23" to 24".  Didn't have any other luck until I was ready to leave.  My fly got smashed by a 23 1/2" (I think - or was it 22 1/2"? It's a blur) salmon.  Great fight and I kept this one for this week's fish dinners.  It still had eggs in it from last fall, so it did not spawn.  Probably on its way to reabsorbing its eggs.  That's what happens when we don't get rain until too late in the season.  A stomach check revealed freshwater shrimp and gobies.  

A guy was checking the lake level for his own knowledge - Cayuga is about 6" below full pool.  It should be launchable everywhere.  

Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 4/10

Guided brothers Nate and Chris for a full day today starting around 10:30 am.  The guys were originally scheduled for yesterday but fortunately we were able to change things around after the brutal weather that was forecast and subsequently took place.  Today wasn't exactly a picnic - it was cold!  Probably around 37 for a high.  I've never been one of those "let's take the boat out - it's 25 degrees" guys.  I'm not averse to fishing in the cold in a boat but dealing with frozen ramps and bitter wind isn't my idea of enjoyment unless the rewards are very high.  

The conditions dictated lake trout to me, so that's what we did to start.  The fish were biting fairly well but the action was tentative - they weren't grabbing great, although they were moving for the jigs and hitting them half-heartedly.   The guys were stoked to catch some fish and four nice clean lakers made it to the net.  At least a half dozen to dozen were missed/dropped/lost.  We found them from around 85' out to 140'.

The casting for salmon was really good.  The guys landed 4 solid salmon - all chunky fish in the 19"+ range, with one that was 18"+.  I believe it's the first trip I've had all season on Cayuga where we caught more than one or two legal sized landlockeds.  Around 2 to 3 solid fish (in the same 19" range) were lost and some others followed.  For whatever reason, the salmon (and some bigger ones) are starting to show on Cayuga Lake.  For what it's worth, this is the first year in my 13 years of guiding that I haven't done a Seneca trip yet.   I am completely happy just fishing locally, though I wouldn't mind seeing what is going on there.  But it's hard not to want to fish here after my big salmon a few weeks ago and given what I've been seeing unfolding here.   And a 5 mile drive to the launch is so nice as opposed to a 45 minute jaunt.

We kept one lake trout and one salmon (which had a lamprey attached.)  The salmon was stuffed with alewives.  These are the first sawbellies I've seen in a salmon thus far this season.  Water temps remain cold lakewide with 40/41 degrees on the surface.

Cayuga Lake Shorefishing 4/7

It was very windy out yesterday but as the winds died I needed some relief for my "stir-craziness," so off I went.  It's pretty darn depressing at times in the northeastern part of this country, when we get three weeks of sunshine and beautiful spring conditions and then suddenly have it all taken away from us as we get hit with air temperatures in the 12 degree range and walloped with a foot of wet snow.  It's been good weather for doing things indoors.

I was able to get some fly-fishing in as the winds diminished and was quickly rewarded with a solid 21" Landlocked salmon.  The fish had some bad hook scars and was fairly thin, so I was inclined to keep it.  A stomach/intestinal check revealed some leftover salmon eggs and around 4 to 5 gobies in its stomach, including one so fresh it must have been alive earlier in the day!   So the fish was likely a dropback salmon that had resumed feeding.  I thought it was thin due to the bad hookscars (the maxillary was dislodged and ran across the fish's mouth) but it may have just been the rigors of spawning. 

Dropback salmon and browns are rare in Cayuga and Seneca Lake.  I've always blamed the thiamine issues (along with the non-stop catch, release, catch, release then catch again and release again fishing that happens in the tribs that wears out already worn out fish that need every bit of energy they can get.)  One fish doesn't mean much but it won't surprise me a bit if we start seeing more fish surviving the spawn, given that their thiamine levels should be on the rise.  We may also start seeing a few wild spawned salmon in Cayuga Lake in the future.

I had a couple other hits on one cast, but that was it.  I have a busy week of guiding ahead and should have plenty of reports going up.   My buddy Mike just finished work on the Oneida Lake walleye egg-take and they reached their quota.  He was able to talk to one of the guys from the Adirondack hatchery (hatchery workers from around the State help out with the massive eggtake) who confirmed that the Finger Lakes just received their salmon stockings.  The fish reportedly were in excellent condition, so with a little luck we should be in good shape over the next few years. 

Skaneateles Lake 4/1

Guided John and John Jr. for around 6 hours today.  The weather forecast earlier in the week was looking very iffy with forecast high winds, rain and possible thunderstorms, but we decided to go for it after the forecast moderated.  We were the only boat at the launch when we put in just before 8:30 am.  It was raining a bit, but the winds were actually very light.  I'm not a fan of light winds on this lake but we gave it our best shot.  John Jr. did most of the fishing though his dad fished a little bit.  They were out with me a few years ago on this lake and had caught a nice pickerel and bass, but no trout. 

Overall action was slow on the day.  John Jr. wound up picking up a smallmouth around 13" on a hairjig along a dropoff.   I showed the guys the laker jigging pattern but we didn't spend more than 20 minutes with it.  John had really wanted to catch a rainbow on the lake (the guys have a place there) so we gave it our best shot.  Halfway through the day the rain stopped, sun came out and the winds cranked up out of the north.  We finally had some good conditions.  We were about to leave an area when John Jr. finally hooked up with some silver - a nice landlocked salmon around 16" to 17" long.   That was it on the day. Water temps hit 43 degrees up north, were 39 on the east shore and 41 on the west shore. I expect good fishing here once we have a good wind pattern.  Lake level is a little low but ok.

Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 3/30

Guided a full day of fly-fishing with Bob and his son Dave.  Bob had contacted me once or twice over the past year or two and we were finally able to get a date in.  I thought today looked great "on paper" and it wound up being a solid day.  I was wondering what yesterday's strong winds would do to the fishing.  Nothing was affected as far as I could tell.

In short order Bob had a follow from a decent lake trout (on a floating line!) which was cool and certainly relaxed me on our prospects following the brutal winds yesterday. The fish nearly took his hand-tied fly three times but just never grabbed it.  Follows from juvenille and a few better salmon kept us engaged.  Dave got the first fish which wound up being a brown just over 15". Everything was released today.  The guys wound up with another legal brown and around 5 or 6 salmon that were all from 15" to 17.5" except one smaller one. The landlockeds had a lot of zip to them today.   Dave lost a solid salmon in the 22"+ range that jumped and fought great.  

A few areas we tried produced good action and in a couple areas we didn't contact anything. Great weather and the wind wasn't bad for the most part.  Yesterday Bob whipped up the flies they used.  It included a very effective pattern that Dave took full advantage of.  Water temps ranged from 39 to 43 degrees.  3 small lampreys came up on the fish today.  Some small lampreys are around but most of the fish were very clean.  

Cayuga Lake 3/26 + 27

Got out two days in a row for some fly-fishing.  We've had some very good action on mostly sub-legal fish, though enough solid fish have been in the mix to keep things interesting.

3/26:  Guided Mark I. for a full day starting just after 9 am.   He's one of the best fly-casters I guide.  Winds were fairly calm to start and a lot of boats were out trolling both the south end and around Taughannock/Frontenac Points.   We tried north of Taughannock for a bit and didn't do anything.  Some trollers were picking up short fish.   

A run downlake paid off pretty quickly with Mark getting into some good action on salmon around 13" to 14".  He then managed to hook a solid fish that put a good bend in his 7 wt. fly-rod but for some reason it got off.  He had good pressure on it and got a good hookset. We worked a lot of water near the south end of the lake but didn't do much.  

Mark was throwing some big flies on his 7 wt. so we took a break and did some lake trout jigging.  The jigging was pretty darn good and he had quite a few hits and hookups.  He landed two nice fish that wound up as dinner.  One was wild and both appeared to have gobies in their stomachs.  We finished up with some more fly fishing but didn't encounter any fish.

3/27:  Got out with Mike for around 6 hours of afternoon fly-fishing.  There were some areas we wanted to work that I hadn't fished in awhile (and some I'd never fished much at all.) We hit paydirt in pretty short order and were getting hits and follows from salmon of various sizes - most sublegal.  Mike landed the first few fish and also nabbed a brown just under 15".  Not quite the chunkster of recent weeks, but it's good to see the browns doing well. He also had some 18" range salmon follow him in.  In one area I got a hit and landed and released an 18.5" salmon after a quick photo.   Mike had also had a follow from what might have been a decent laker or brown.   We worked a few other areas of the lake with no fish. We did see a bald eagle being harrassed by some seagulls.  Seeing majestic eagles in the sky never gets old!

Water levels are still low on Cayuga Lake.  Water temperatures are still cold.  Average lake temps we encountered yesterday were around 41 and that was probably on the warmer side of the lake.  Looks like some nice warmer temps this week, then back down again next.  

Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 3/24

Guided my old school friend Chris, his son Brian and Chris's nephew Tim today for around 6 hours.   Tim was a bit out of commission with a bum knee from a wrestling injury, so we weren't fishing at "full power" today.  We had a good time with a lot of follows, some big fish hooked up and some smaller fish brought to the net.  The guys dropped some nice sized browns and possibly salmon today - a couple were in the 4 to 6lb range.  But that's the way things go.  I had them using some stickbaits with single hooks in the back.  After a couple lost fish I switched them out to trebles in the back, but it didn't help.  

Around 1/2 dozen sublegal salmon including one dink brown made it to the net.  I record the lengths for the DEC angler diary program.  One lamprey came up on a salmon.  Water temps made it up to around 45 degrees today.  We hooked and saw fish in a variety of areas.  I'm not sure why some of the winter angling was slow.  A lot of fish may have been keying in on the gobies.  The brown trout are starting to make a good showing.  My friend Todd landed a 28.75" beauty while trolling a couple days ago - that fish was probably 13lbs or better.  I've seen quite a few nice browns around and as I mentioned before, the 16" to 17" small browns are hefty and are very nice fish this year.  These ain't cigars!  These are quality fish that hit hard, jump and fight very well.  I remember the term "Lake Ontario Footballs" in regards to brown trout.   I'm not sure what the Lake Ontario browns look like this year, but the football team may have relocated to Cayuga!

Cayuga Lake out of Myers Park 3/22 PM

I hadn't been paying a whole lot of attention to the weather lately when today's forecast caught my eye.  I'm teaching on Monday and Wednesday afternoon/evenings, so Tuesdays are good fishing days for me.  Now's a great time of year to fly-fish for browns, salmon and rainbows throughout the region.  And my busy season will start soon, so now's the best time of the year for me to fish on my own.  So with flyrods in tow I was on the water around noon and within an hour I had located some fish.   I kept the first fish I caught, a FAT 16 1/2" brown that had a small lamprey attached.  Despite the successful treatments of the past year, some lampreys are definitely around.   This brown turned out to be loaded with gobies and it weighed 2lbs. 2oz.   That's a fat fish!

I caught a dink salmon and managed to pull my fly away from some other "shorts."  I did have some follows from bigger (20" to 23" range) fish - likely browns.   Suddenly a very large salmon appeared and chased in my fly a bit.  It kept hovering around a rocky area and I made a few more casts and had him (or her) show some interest, but then the wind picked up and I lost sight of her.  It isn't often that I can sight-fish to salmon, but it can be fun.  When I first saw the fish, I thought it was huge - at least 28".  But my brain tried to convince me it was smaller.  Anyways I kept working my way up the lake.  Another brown hammered my fly - it was a 16"er.  These small browns are heavy and they hit and fight like 20" fish!  They are fun!

I made a few short runs with the big motor and set up with a sinking line.  After a few casts my line tightened up hard and a big salmon took to the air three times before surging strongly into deep water.   The ensuing battle was one that I'll never forget.  I had sinking line wrapped around boat seats, my windshield, my net and my body.   This fish ran under the boat a few times.  It should've broken my rod at least 4 different times with the pressure I was trying to put on it.  The wind was blowing my boat north and the fish was upwind of me.  It was a huge mess.  I nearly broke another fly-rod I had laying around when it got tangled in the net.  I made a few attempts at netting the fish that didn't go too well. I finally managed to get the fish in the net.  I put it in the livewell while I regained my composure and got my camera out. I measured it carefully twice and had 30 1/2".  A Landlocked salmon of a lifetime on the fly.  I took a poor shot of it in my well (that didn't come out because I think I only pressed the button half way.)  The fish had a lot of vigor as I prepared to release him.  I stretched out for my camera (for a release shot) just as the fish gave a good kick with its tail and took off.  Oh well.  I wouldn't have been able to get a great shot anyways.   My previous best salmon was a 27"er caught from shore on Seneca and at least 4 or 5 different 26"ers mainly from Cayuga.  I wasn't expecting a fish like this one at all!

I mentioned it before in my reports, but in years when legal (aka "keeper") salmon are scarce, usually a few trophies are caught.  It happened on Lake George this winter with a 15lb Landlocked salmon caught through the ice.  It will happen this spring/summer on Seneca and it will happen here - the small number of fish that survive longer than the rest (whether it was the "lamprey gauntlet" or poor conditions when stocked or what,) will get bigger than usual.

There is no greater fish in this region than the Landlocked Atlantic (or just plain Atlantic) salmon in my opinion.  I had a recent email from a past client who has caught some good ones on Seneca.  He found out that if you catch one good fish you're hooked for life!   They are everything a top game fish should be:  they are gorgeous, they hit hard, they fight hard and crazy, they jump a lot (not all of them, but at their best they do,) they actively chase flies, they taste great and they require clean cold water.  They don't survive in poor conditions.   If you want good Atlantic Salmon you need to take care of your waterways.  Anyways I probably won't need to visit a cardiologist any time soon, since that fish gave me a great stress test and it took me a couple hours to get back to feeling normal.  I've been fly-fishing for salmon in the FL region now for over 20 years - I hope I don't have to wait another 20 years for the next trophy!



Owasco Lake out of Emerson Park 3/15

Guided Steve and Christine for a full day of fly-fishing for northern pike on Owasco Lake. They last joined me 2 or 3 years ago for some pike fishing on Seneca Lake just before the season closed.  Conditions were good today and we were able to find a decent concentration of fish after some searching.  They managed to land 5 northerns (one was a dink) and they also dropped and missed some good hits/fish as well.  Steve had a nice fish swirl for his fly - it was likely some kind of salmonid, perhaps a brown or rainbow.   It was a very solid fish!   

Perch anglers are doing very well here.  This lake is just full of perch, though you may have to weed through a bunch to find enough keepers.  A DEC En-Con officer was checking boats at the launch and he reported to me that Skaneateles and Cayuga Lakes had been a bit slower for perch - especially Skaneateles.   The boat that came in before us on Owasco reportedly had landed a 7lb walleye while perch fishing.  Now that's a nice bonus fish!

Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 3/12 + 3/13

3/12:   Guided around 6 hours for lake trout yesterday with Harry and his sons Vince and Dominic. We had a delayed start to the trip with a mechanical issue that was remedied after an hour delay (it's a long story but nothing serious, just an oversight that wasn't directly my fault.) The delay didn't hurt our fishing and we were off and fishing by around 10:30.   The laker jigging started out ok with Harry catching a nice fish in fairly short order.  Fish were pretty scattered with occasional clusters here and there.  We had a double in one area and a fairly steady pick in another area near the end of the day.  Fish ranged from around 90' out to 150'.  

It was windy to start at 8:30 am when we arrived at Long Point and more than one boater decided to forego launching on Cayuga.  The lake was as flat as glass by 2 pm.   Fun day with 7 nice fish landed and a few others dropped.  Launching was easy at Long Point.

3/13:  Got out with Mike today for a shot at some perch and pickerel.  We couldn't keep the pickerel away and we probably caught around a dozen solid fish to around 23" to 24". They are fat and active, though the season ends after Tuesday.  We started at noon today, so perhaps we missed the good perch fishing (if there was any) but the perch bite was tough for us.  Mike landed all the perch and we only had around 3 keepers.  Fish came shallow for us - mostly around 7' to 9' FOW.  We worked a few areas out to around 25'. Pickerel were just swarming in most places we fished and they managed to mess up most of my tackle as well as eat most of our minnows, plastic grubs and tube jigs.  Fun day anyways.

Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 3/8

Spent the day out with Mike in his Lund.  Today was more or less the second day of his "shakedown trip" - basically getting the boat out after a couple months of storage.  We were hoping for some steady wind leading to good salmon fly-fishing, but most of the day was dead calm.  We did some laker jigging and I managed to land three decent fish.  The jigging in the mid-lower lake areas was significantly slower than what we had over the past couple trips.  My advice for anglers targeting lakers on Cayuga would be to fish the usual early spring/late winter areas north of Long Point/Deans.   There were plenty of fish in the 120' to 160' "deeps" near AES, but the "cooperators" were in around 75' to 100'.

We did some salmon casting primarily with gear and I managed one salmon around 14.5" south of Taughannock.  Mike had some grabs in a couple areas - also likely dinks.  Water temps remain around 38/39, but hit 44 during the peak warmth of the afternoon in front of some of the creek mouths.

Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 2/28

Guided Mark I. and his friend Kevin for a full day.  Mark fly-fished and Kevin casted spinning gear.  Kevin's mainly a saltwater guy and this was his first freshwater fishing experience. He was impressed with the beauty of Cayuga Lake.  

Water levels on Cayuga Lake are still low, but have come up 1+1/2 to 2' or more since last week's rain.  Things have settled nicely and there's plenty of fishy looking green water around and not too much debris.  We worked 1/2 dozen areas on the day and had hits in one-half of them.  We found a good concentration of fish in one area and the guys landed 6 salmon between 14" and 20" long.  Most were 14" to 17 1/2".  A few had lamprey scars and one had a very small lamprey attached.  We had a follow from a brown trout as well. Stickbaits and streamers did the trick.  I am experimenting with some special single hooks designed to use with stickbaits.  These should help reduce the "maiming" factor that happens more often than I like to see on these salmon.  One other salmon in the 17 1/2" range was landed by Mark in another area on a goby pattern that I tied up during a tying session with my friend Eric, who has had some good luck with these flies.  They are tied on articulated shanks.

I strongly recommend having some duct tape and zip ties on board just in case.  Zip ties saved the day today when my old trolling motor shaft knob (for height adjustments) failed. The threads got stripped.  A handful of zip ties and we were back in business. 

With salmon and brown trout eating gobies as well as the usual alewives and rare smelt, I have to believe that we'll see quite a few salmon getting around legal size within a few months. 

As a funny aside, we finished up our day fishing right alongside Taughannock Point.  I heard a large splash - I thought maybe a big dog had jumped in the water, but nope - it was a group of two guys and girls, likely college students doing a polar bear swim!  I've never seen anything like it, but they jumped in and got out.  One guy even jumped in backwards! Thirty Nine degree water!!!  I've seen it all now...

Seneca/Cayuga Lakes shorefishing 2/23

Got out with Mike for some shore fishing today.  We hit an area on Seneca and I had one nice salmon beeline in for my streamer at the last second, but miss it.  Mike had two solid hits and a momentary hook up, but no fish.  So we tried two areas on Cayuga Lake to end the day.  I managed to land a nice 20" landlocked salmon on a Bionic Smelt that was clean except for a hook scar.   We didn't have any other action.

The big news was that when I cleaned the salmon, it was full of gobies!  Most knowledgable anglers would expect salmon to eat a goby here or there, but to see a salmon loaded with them was pretty surprising.   Cayuga isn't exactly low on alewives, but the salmon clearly are finding enough gobies to make it worthwhile.  The lake trout and salmon that have been gorging on gobies have had redder flesh than what I usually see. I'm not sure why that's the case.  

Seneca's salmon numbers continue to seem low.  We had great conditions today and hits were hard to come by.  I only saw one boat out on the water out of Watkins Glen today and one further uplake - both were targeting perch.   Why there isn't a decent class of salmon on Seneca Lake is a mystery to me.  Usually there seems to be at least 3 classes of fish contributing to the fishery.  We often would catch 12" to 14" fish, 17" to 19"s,  20" to 22s" and a few in the 24" to 25" range.  We aren't seeing much of anything this year apart from an occasional 17" to 19" er.  The one that followed me in today was around 19".   Where are the dinks?  I don't see much here to get excited about salmon-wise.  Lake trout should be good here in 2016.  We should see decent pike and the smallmouth bass are gradually rebounding.  Diary results show a tough year in 2015;  2016 will be even worse in all likelihood.  Don't be surprised if someone gets a giant salmon in the 9 to 12lb+ range here this spring or during the derby - that tends to happen when overall fishing is slow.  A few solid fish survive to grow up and find abundant food with very little competition.   But hopefully this great fishery will bounce back soon.  


Cayuga/Seneca Shorefishing

Hit a couple areas on both lakes. with my pal Mike on Saturday.  It was really more of an excuse to get out and enjoy the 55 degree plus air temps.  Winds were poor for what we wanted to do. We never had a hit.  These wind forecasts are crazy this time of year.  The National Weather Service really has a tough time getting things right.  Plenty of high muddy/murky water is flowing into the FLs and Lake Ontario now.

Cayuga Lake 2/6 + 2/7

The weather was too nice to not fish, so I did some shorefishing with my buddy Mike yesterday, then we headed out in the boat today.   Quite a few people were both shore angling and fishing from boats over the past couple days.

2/6:  Met Mike over at Myers Park around 10:30 am and we did some fly-casting from shore.  I also brought along a spinning rod.  Conditions looked good and I managed to hook a nice laker around 22" to 23" that wound up getting off in shallow water.  It hit a swimbait cast on a spinning rod.   

We headed over to Taughannock and Mike wound up landing a solid 19" salmon on a streamer with his 6 wt. type 3 sinking line setup.  We didn't have any other hits.

2/7:  We launched out of Taughannock today around 11 am and worked some areas with the flyrods.  We each landed sublegal (13" range) salmon. Mike had a good one follow him in and attack his fly a couple times, but no grab.  We worked a stretch of water we hadn't fished before and I had encounters with 3 lakers - one of which I landed and kept for dinner. Another one I lost near the boat and the third (actually the first I'd encountered) followed in a swimbait.  The fish I kept had at least 3 gobies in its stomach.  The lakers came from 7' to 25' FOW.  Mike landed another dink salmon on gear.  We finished the day with some good laker jigging in around 120' FOW and landed 3 more fish, two of which were in the 24" to 25" range (one wild.)

Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 2/2 PM

I got out on my own around noon and did a bit of scouting today.  I caught a couple lakers and dropped one as well.  They had a lot of vigor and the 22"er I landed felt more like a 26" or 27" fish.   Fish were in deep water - 120' to 150'.   I checked a couple areas for salmon with my flyrod and had the usual (for this season) dinks following my fly in, though I did have one or two better fish also follow (maybe 18" to 19"ers.)   I also scoped out a few areas checking on the habitat for pike fishing.  Another gorgeous day to be out - it felt more like April or October than February, that's for sure. 

Cayuga Lake out of Taughannock 1/31 PM

Guided John for a 1/2 day starting right at noon.  The boat trailer parking area had around 7 or 8 rigs parked in it.  It was a great day to be on the water with warm air temperatures, light winds and good fishing conditions.  The water level on Cayuga Lake is very low.  It's another year of the Canal Authority (or whoever regulates Cayuga's water level) seemingly seeing how low they can get the lake.  I do realize they can drop it further, but I think it's low enough.  It is great for shore fishing - you can wade right up to the dropoffs!

John really loaded the boat with bananas today.  He'd never heard of the guiding superstition that ranges all around this country.  Anyways, I absorbed enough potassium today to ward off any cramps I might get while swimming this week.  I brought gear for pike, lake trout and casting for salmon/trout.  You never know what the conditions will dictate.  We tried pike for a bit without action.  Casting for trout produced a follow from (what appeared to be) a nice sized laker and a couple decent salmon.  But they followed and wouldn't hit.  John kept insisting I fish, but I don't like to fish on guide trips.  Clients aren't there to pay me to fish.  It's YOUR day when you are out with me, and I frown on guides that fish all day while purportedly trying to assist others in catching fish.  But some folks are adament.  He insisted I try, so I took one cast and hooked a decent fish that wound up being a laker.  It's hilarious, because as a guide that kind of thing (like magic) happens more often than you might think.  I've spent many a day casting all day and not catching anything or much but it's always weird when that happens.

So at least John had dinner, but I really wanted to see him catch fish and I know he wanted them more than I did.  We switched gears and went back to pike fishing.  He had another fish - this time a nice northern around 32" follow in a Rapala and not hit.  I wasn't about to pick up a rod.  He kept at it and finally set the hook into a solid pike that measured 34". Incidentally, for what it's worth that happened just after I finished off the last banana.

I was impressed to see some better quality salmonids around than just the dinks of the past few months, though I don't think a lot has changed - most fish are still sublegal.  What I've noticed thus far this year that I hadn't seen before is the number of lakers that are prowling the shallows!  This was the third or forth we've encountered this season and usually we encounter ZERO.  On Finger Lakes without many baitfish, and even ones with a lot of bait, on occasion you'll see opportunistic lakers roaming the shallows in the winter when they have a predatory advantage.  They will gobble up sunfish, minnows, sculpin, freshwater shrimp, perch, pike, bass, bullheads and anything else that gets in their way.  It was very common to see that take place on Seneca Lake in the late 1990s and early 2000s when alewife levels were low.  Same with Owasco Lake.  But Cayuga is loaded with alewives.  What I think is happening is that some lakers are keying in on the abundant and oftentimes shallow gobies that ply the bottom of Cayuga Lake.  But I hadn't seen this before on Cayuga and it's adding another dimension i.e. a bonus species to our winter salmon casting (as opposed to jigging for laker) trips.

Water temps ranged from 37 (south end) to 41 on the east shore.  Looks like the mild winter will continue!

Shorefishing Report 1/25 Seneca/Keuka

I got out on my own today and fly-fished a favorite shore area on Seneca Lake.  In short order I landed a 19" brown and then lost a smaller salmon (18" range.)  That was it - no other action.  The lake temperature was 40 degrees.  A few boats were out perch fishing out of Watkins Glen and one boat appeared to be trolling or casting for salmon.

A ride over to Keuka Lake did not produce any action on the flies.  Next time I'll do some spincasting, but I felt like sticking with the streamers today.  Fly-fishing from shore is nearly always worth it -  if nothing else it's a good day of casting practice.  There is some thin ice on the Penn Yan arm maybe 1/2 mile at most down the lake, but nobody is fishing it.  It looked pretty sketchy.

Skaneateles Lake 1/8 out of Mandana

Guided a full day on Skaneateles Lake today with Mark I.  Conditions were much windier than forecast and anticipated, but we tried to make the best of it. Oh yes, and it was cold too!  The highs might have hit 38, but not for long!  Launching there was a pain (as usual in the winter) with the low lake levels.  Water temps are hovering around 42/43.

My hat is off to Mark, as he fly-fished the whole day today in the face of winds averaging around 14 mph and gusting up into the 20s.  The fishing was tough - due to the wind (and subsequent difficult boat control) and stirred up water.  Some murky water is good for rainbows on this lake, but huge swaths of it can make for tougher fishing.  Mark hooked two decent sized silver fish on the day - at least one was a rainbow, but unfortunately none came to the net.  One was dropped a ways away and another was hooked nearly boatside but got off before I could get the net. We had reasonably good fishing during the 3 hours that we had fly-fishable conditions.  Mark did land a nice jumbo perch but that was it.

According to the DEC fishing hotline (just updated today) the State Ramp is still open, but may close early this week.  If you launch at Mandana, angle you trailer slightly towards the dock.  Do not go straight out!  It's too shallow and your tow vehicle will wind up too far in the drink.  Also bring waders, just in case!  It was beautiful out on the lake, that's for sure. I expect good fishing with the right conditions.   

Seneca Lake Shorefishing 1/6

Got out with my buddy Mike for some fly-fishing from shore.  We fished 4 areas on Seneca Lake and didn't see much going on until we hit our last spot. I had one "swirl," that may have been a lake trout slowly following in a fly (that happened to be fouled.)  I don't know. But Mike wound up landing a very solid laker around 28" long, give or take that he released. Duck hunting is in full force and the season ends this Sunday. Expect to see a lot of hunters out on Seneca and Cayuga Lakes this weekend. The lake temp on Seneca was 42 degrees. Launching is still possible at Schamels and Severne Point (as usual.) The south end canal launch is iced in.

Lake Ontario Sodus Bay Cross Lake Skaneateles Lake Owasco Lake Cayuga Lake Seneca Lake Keuka Lake