One question I get asked a lot is "what's your favorite fish to catch?" At the top of my list is Landlocked Atlantic Salmon! They hit hard, fight insanely well, look cool and taste great. What more could anyone want?!
These fish were reportedly once native to Seneca and Cayuga Lakes. They grow quickly in the Finger Lakes and are considered one of the top freshwater gamefish in the world. They typically run from 15” to 22” with fish occasionally reaching 26” or more. They are surface oriented in cold water which makes them a terrific fish to chase on the fly. There is very little or no natural reproduction of these fish in Seneca or Cayuga Lakes, thus keeping a few for the table does no harm to the fishery. Streamers tied on #2 to #4 hooks work great, and baitfish colors are usually the best. Fishing Landlockeds from November through early May is my personal favorite angling opportunity in the region - especially fly-fishing!
Cayuga Lake currently has the best salmon prognosis. A few fish over 30" long were taken here in 2016 and in 2017. There are good numbers of 20" to 22" fish here now and plenty of younger ones. All signs point to another great year on Cayuga.
Seneca Lake has had its moments where it was better than Cayuga for salmon. Those days are gone for now. The lake still should be offering a few large fish. There's ample baitfish available for them but lamprey issues have been bad here. We'll see what 2018 brings but it'll be hard for me to drive past Cayuga to hit Seneca!
Skaneateles Lake has offered the steady fishing for salmon over the past few years. Actually I've probably encountered them every season here since I bought my first boat back in 2001/2002. Fish have been running from around 15" to 23". Any fish over 24" is a real trophy on Skaneateles!
NY State is now stocking "Sebago Strain" salmon. It is hoped and expected that they will provide better fishing than the previous "Little Clear" strain - so far it seems to be the case.
The species photo is of Ed with two beauties he nailed on flies in April on the south end of Seneca Lake a few years ago. The smile says it all!