Ithaca, Cayuga, and the Finger Lakes: Trout and Fly-Fishing Reports
Archive report page from 2007 and early 2008, starting in 2008 and going backwards. Hope it helps!
Things go well. Sometimes they don't! We had a great afternoon yesterday, the sun came out and the temperature soared into the 40's for the first time in a while. I geared up to fish! Loaded everything into the boat (I thought), pre-bought gas for it, checked the weather five times, and meandered off to the lake.
Pulled up around three, it was the middle of a beautiful afternoon. Looked a little breezy for me up North but South of the park wasn't bad. The winds were blowing from the SW and eventually backed around to the NW by the afternoon. On the lake it was a straight Northerly. I figured to do a little trolling to find a few pockets of fish, but it wasn't to be.
For the first time this year (and certainly not the last!) I sabotaged my own trip- that gas I had bought was sitting back at home! By the time I got home it was after four and while it was still beautiful, I'd run out of time and didn't want to go back to the park for an hour's fishing before dinner. A disappointment to be sure... I'm consoling myself with the thought it was fairly breezy! I don't like a cold wind, for some reason it gives me earaches. (Not to mention a small boat!) I could never live in the Southwest, it's always windy there. Anyway, there it is, my first "trip" this spring. The next will be better!
Pardon the Glitches 3/21
As I upload the foam popper body tutorial. It's been so long my hosting company has changed a few things and I need to rewrite the code that handles the file uploads... the pictures aren't appearing. I've almost got it but it's dinnertime... I'll have things done and uploaded tonight. Yeah, no great shakes, a foam body tutorial, but it's a start... it's been too long, I'm glad to be working on the site again!
Grease and Oil 3/21
A note to those who haven't done this yet: It's time for new trailer seals! Once or twice a year is highly recommended. Spring and late summer, winter, it depends on your fishing habits but don't neglect this! There's nothing like a bearing freezing up on the highway. I've never had it happen and hope it never does- and this preventative maintenance should help a lot.
I'm not sure what a boat garage charges but it's simple to do it yourself with a few tools. A good set of wrenches, a wooden block or two, hammer, grease gun, and marine grease. I also have a little gadget that's like two funnels stuck together, put the bearing between them, attach to the grease gun, and it forces the new grease through the bearings nicely.
A seal puller makes things a whole lot easier but I don't have one- I'll be making one for the next seal change and hope to put a do-it-yourself up. There's only so much fun you can have trying to remove old ones without wanting a better tool!
Speaking of tutorials, later today I'll have the foam popper body tutorial posted. Make your own for pennies! (Okay, it's only economic if you make a few dozen, but I sure plan on using more than a few dozen in my lifetime... and it's also about doing it yourself!) A endless variety of foam poppers is a craft store away...
Happy spring everyone! It's about time... GO FISH!!
I Had A Dream 3/8
And it wasn't pretty! It told me something I'd been denying for months- I missed my chance at the biggest landlocked salmon I saw last year. I told the story once already, about how this big salmon charged my fly, but barely grabbed it. Later found it again but it was on the defensive, no chance there.
I have another bad memory of missing a fish too, this one was "caused" by a snagger. I'd turned around to stare at one (snagger), and when I looked back, a big brown was spitting out my fly! The dream last night brought these two images together- that of the brown spitting out my fly and the salmon charging .
I have to admit, I think I blew it on the Atlantic. I felt a barely "feelable" tap that afternoon, and I attributed it to the fish striking short. Until now I'd been kicking myself for not using an Imp Bunny. If I had I may be singing a different tune, but this dream also shows me I could have hooked that fish ANYWAY!! If you can trust a dream that is, which of course you can't.
The feeling was the same in both cases. In the dream, the Atlantic not only charged, but bit! I was too slow! The water clarity was such that the fish was barely visible, even on the surface- mostly what I had to go on was the bulge in the surface as the salmon came up for my fly. I was waiting until I felt something- a mistake. A biiiggg mistake! That's a lesson I've learned a hundred times. Often if you wait until you feel something it's too late. Sometimes you don't have a choice, but it's true. I caught more than half a dozen fish this fall on a slow swing, on takes I never would have felt if I hadn't seen them. Soft grabs, a gentle mouthing. WHAM! You have a window of less than a second to pop your rod and peg the fish.
That gentle tug I felt was the tug of the fish spitting it out. I should have known, I first learned to identify that tug when jigging lakers. Those are the "hits" that result in nobody home when you set the hook. They're already gone! A "real" take is going to be hard or barely felt, if at all. One of those short quick tugs means the lure briefly caught but is gone.
So... the lesson of my dream is: Don't wait until you feel something- set the hook when the fish stops moving, or when it moves if it was stationary to begin with. I waited, and paid the price of missing out on the biggest Atlantic I saw of the season. Maybe now it'll quit bugging me since I finally figured it out. Maybe...
Hey on a great note, guess what the weather brought in! Birds! The last week has featured several deep storm systems. These systems bring a lot of warmer air in from down south... and with the warm air comes the birds! Last week, on March 1, I heard white throated sparrows. Yesterday, herds of robins were around, and this morning I am watching a shivering blue jay outside my window. It's quite a bit noisier than it has been- spring is definitely on the way!
Finally back on the water! I put the motor back together and it works, hooray! It didn't at first- I'd goofed in several significant places, and it took the whole day, but my motor is running better than ever.
Turns out I'd installed the new float upside down, and absolutely no fuel was getting to the carb. I also started the motor in neutral and the prop was going, so I had to redo the shift linkage as well, I'd hooked it up wrong. Other than that, a few minutes playing with the idle and air screws, and all is well. Made it out on the open water for the first time in a while!
No fish. Oh well, I only trolled for 1/2 an hour and maybe a mile or so. I know this morning was good, but I was the only one out this afternoon and I didn't get a hit. Saw a few marks but nothing special. Water temp was 39, I ran a top line and one down 20. Oh it feels so good to have the boat in order again! Fish on everyone and good luck!
Still Wishin' 1/26
Hoping for warmer weather! Monday and Tuesday look above freezing, I'm going out somewhere to fish for something!
Updates for the area: The Taughannock launch is still open and the bubblers are working. The lake level is very low and the bottom of the ramp is filled in- launching may be a problem if you have a big boat or a deep draft. There were two boats out Saturday (brrrr!!) so it must be launchable.
Ice is starting to reform but it's patchy yet, a fella went into the Whitney Point res yesterday. Try looking for small, high elevation lakes. I may get out a time or two this winter for some ice fishing, I'll see how the winter goes... my fishing habits have changed over the past few years, I'm curious to see what happens next.
Good Pike Recently 1/15
I've been trying to get the new site together and a new reports page up before posting this, but oh well. Pike fishing in the area has been good on both Seneca and Cayuga lakes. I was skunked yesterday in an hour of fishing but before then things have been good.
I've fished several shore spots on both lakes and have come up with fish, no beasts yet but some solid 25-30" fish along with a few dinks 18-24". Great fun though! They're not always fighting that great in this cold water but they are still aggressive enough to go for lures. I've seen guys do much better than me on bait recently but there have been enough biters to keep me happy with the hardware and plastics. Casting out and jigging back works great, most of the time the pike hit on the pause/drop. Sweep forward again and fish on!
These fish really are fun, though a little scary sometimes with the teeth! Tough as nails. I've only kept one in the past few weeks, and it was out of the water for several hours before I filleted it, and finally slit her stomach. As I'm going outside to dump the carcass, I notice the dang fish is still alive!! Maybe it was a reaction thingy like the moving frog legs but I dunno... definite movement when I passed my hand over the eye. Filleted alive, straight to the breadcrumbs and frying pan... guess it doesn't get any better than that! Mmmm tasty. Stay safe everyone!
Park Open 1/5
The launch at Taughannock is now open again... have at it!
Last Ditch! 1/5
If anyone is fishing open water Sunday or Monday and is looking for company, I'm dying to fish! The weather looks great... thanks for considering it folks! (I'm about to check on the park, see if the launch is open yet... it may take until tomorrow...will update later.)
Slight Chance 12/26
It's a toss-up, I may get out somewhere but my year may be over! The weather looks good and the fish should cooperate for anyone who gets out. I wish I could, but I just lost any open-water chances due to overzealous motor repair and I'm sick of the tribs. That leaves me here at home and dreaming! Well good luck to any and all who get out.
Quick note, the weather will actually be above 40 this weekend... Sunday looks a washout but Saturday looks okay for the South end of any Finger Lake, access permitting. I know Treman S.M.P. in Ithaca is frozen up, the Taughannock S.P. launch is plowed and open. Not sure if I'll be making it out but I hope so. It's been a tough couple of weeks and I'd loooove to get out there! Chances are probably on the one in three side of things. GOOD LUCK to any and all who make it out tomorrow!
Late Seneca Report 11/4
I've gone and forgotten what day it was, but someday last week I was given a tour of a few Seneca Lake tributaries! It was great to get out and see new water, including the infamous Dresden and the Keuka Lake outlet.
The wind was howling out there, and I wasn't prepared- a floating line and the big streamers I had were heavy rabbit, not easy to toss with a 20 mph wind around! I know it was partly my technique, which needs work, but I wasn't able to get a backcast in! The wind would blow the line forward, making it very difficult to load the rod on the forward stroke. I have a couple of ideas in hindsight that would improve my casting, not to mention a different line and flies. I'm okay in a moderate wind but this was blowing the tops off the waves! Still great to be out there, and the "tour guide" managed to hook a huge fish.
Other than that day it's been slow around here, winter sat on us over the weekend. It's looking like a respite may be coming this weekend and into early next week, so that's good! Hopefully some fishing! I'm saving some time coming up to take my motor apart- I've a boxful of parts, the plan is to start with the water pump. If that helps, then I'll leave it at that and fish until things freeze up solid in January, at which point I think I'm going to tear it all down and rebuild. Hey it's 22 years old and could use it! That is all... and if anyone gets to fishing, be safe!
Rising Water 11/26
Good morning fishing the rising water! We had a little burst of rain overnight, enough to color things up and get the creeks inching upwards. Today featured a steady drizzle to start, slowly increasing to the solid rain I have at home right now. The creeks started off okay and went through perfect, it's now rising quickly.
It was a tough start, slow for me. It took several hours before I connected. Fished several streamers to small pods of salmon with absolutely nothing to show for it! They were busy spawning, not setting up. After a good while, several hours, I give up and start fishing an egg pattern.
Nothing wrong with it, nothing against it, but for some reason I have an internal resistance to fishing eggs. I suppose I just like swinging streamers, I'm not a big fan of indy fishing. Hey, I'll do it though, and this time it paid off! Second cast, the indicator stops solid and I lift up, fish on! A hot orange male brown pops to the surface directly behind the salmon! Nice! A few minutes later, I beach the brown in the photo spotlight (on the right --> ) and take a very quick pic before releasing him. Not the best pic! Ah well, it was raining and I was in a hurry. Look at the rocks for comparison and not my knees! They're a lot closer to the camera and throw the scale off, those maple leaves are three to four inches across. I cropped the knees out of a different photo and the fish looks twice as big! Photo trickery is an interesting but entirely different topic, that's a good idea for a page. Anyway...
This made my day, I was content to have caught something, it's been tough. No joy on any more eggs. Put the streamers back on, not too long afterwards wack! A good jolt and a 20-21" salmon heads for the surface, jumping at least four times! The medium sized fish can be so much more energetic than the big ones! Great little fight and I let him go, around 2-3 lb.
Switched areas and finally managed a very cute and fiesty rainbow in the 16-17", 1.5 lb range. Heck of a fight there, especially since the water was coming up by then!
Grand total, two on my imp bunnies and one on a small globug. Definitely happy with the day, a trifecta of trout! Looks like everywhere should be a good spot to fish once it stops raining! Thank goodness it's been raining, October was very dry and low. Anyway, good luck all!
Chilly Morning 11/24
Lots of ice in the guides today! Not a lot of catching going on, at least not by me. I saw a few browns caught by guys with egg sacks. I caught a little brown on an egg pattern, I'm trying to work some egg and nymph fishing into the mix- it's hard, I do love to swing streamers!
Stories of the day... I had a swipe from an absolutely HUGE male landlocked. I didn't miss; he didn't connect! Why oh why didn't you bite just a half an inch further upstream?!?! The fish tagged me and disappeared, but boy was my heart pumping! I found it later, hunkered down and uninterested in anything I tossed. Fished to him for a little while but dragged the streamer across his back, briefly hooked in the dorsal for half a second, thank goodness, I would've lost my fly for sure! That was one big salmon! That was it, I blew my chances!
Got into an argument with a knucklehead as well. I suppose I picked the fight but it was his fault! Honest! Guy hooked and played a fish just upstream from me, congratulations! But as he brings it to shore, he gives it a good kick onto the bank before picking it up by the gills, then unhooked and released it! Wow, I couldn't let that go, that's abuse! I couldn't believe he let it go, I figured he would keep it for eggs, he was running a centerpin.
Which means he's not new to the sport and damn well should know better! It was entertaining, I kept my head as he swore at me, called me a faggot, threatened to drown me, etc, etc. I would've been more worried about my health had he been on the same side of the stream! But as it was, he kept telling me to shut the f up, and I kept saying, I will, as soon as you treat the fish right! About ten minutes later, he hooks and lands another fish... treating it nicely. I kept quiet like I promised and we didn't interact again, but really! Did you have a bad morning? Or maybe it's just that those who get angriest are those who know they were wrong in the first place.
To all the honest fishermen (ha! It was this big I swear) good luck!!
What a Morning! 11/21
Nicest day in a while! I had a half hour to spare so I spent it shorefishing, was rewarded with a 17" brown that put up a great fight and will make a tasty dinner tonight. Talked to one guy who didn't get anything going, I've heard of a fish or two being picked up in various spots but no great action. Not a lot of people either, so who knows... still, it's a great day, if any of you can sneak out for a little while I highly recommend it!! Good luck!
Sunday / Monday Tributaries 11/19
Good days despite clearing water! I spent most of Monday out fishing and a few hours the day before. Sunday was a pair of male landlocked salmon, one maybe 19" and the other a solid 22" or so. Nice fish that I had to bring down and beach to get the hook out. Saw a lot of folks out, hey everyone!
Monday was the day I had picked to fish hard, well, the weekend would've been better I think, but at least the crowds were down. Started slow, finally picked up two small salmon, both female this time. One must've taken five or six swipes at my fly before I finally connected! Watching this made me think, man, how many strikes do you miss when you can't see what's happening? She mouthed the fly at least three times that I saw but didn't feel! Just goes to show (yet again) you need to be on top of things to catch these fish. If you aren't paying attention you may as well go home!
Then the excitement level picked up. Unfortunately I fouled a good sized brown in the back. Tried to horse it in to retrieve my fly and it wouldn't budge, I horsed harder and broke off. But at least my blood was moving! For several seconds anyway I thought I had a good one on. Then, maybe 15 minutes later, I did! Whack! A big male brown took a solid swipe and the water erupted! This brown was beautiful, bright yellow/orange belly, great colors all over, and perfectly clean. In the 25-26" and 7 lb ballpark! Big beastly beauty, but the fight was terrible. I'm not sure if it's the cold water or what, but it took maybe 1 minute to land him and he didn't fight a lot, a lot of dead pull. In my limited experience I've noticed sometimes the medium sized fish put up the best fights.
I may switch to nymphs and eggs, the streamer fishing seems to be getting harder as the water cools. I haven't seen a fish break the surface in at least a week, they don't seem to be coming up as much. Tried fishing today (20th) for two hours with no luck. We had another shot of rain with more forecast, should be a good week out there. Good luck everyone!
P.S. That brown finally inspired me to get a new memory card for my camera, so I'm back in the picture business... assuming I catch any more fish, might've cursed myself.
A Sad Day 11/15
I don't get it. What's the appeal? Do you guys get your jollies from sticking hooks in a fish's butt? Or are you not man enough to actually FISH for them? In the past two weeks I've seen maybe a dozen anglers and two dozen snaggers. Oops, I mean scumbags!
And where's the DEC? I've yet to see them though I heard they made an appearance at least once. Not good enough! Sure, you can't have a guy stationed at every creek all day, but my god, the current system is completely ineffective! Sorry boys, I know you do what you can but it doesn't seem to matter, the snaggers are everywhere, I wish more could be done. Raise the license fee if you need to.
Let me tell a story about a "fly fisherman" I've seen around. So yesterday (the 15th) I decide to fish, it's finally been raining. I stop by one of the smallest creeks around and am pleasantly surprised to see three, probably four browns doing their thing. Yay! I'm psyched, the first unpressured fish I've seen in weeks. Gear up and go fish! About five minutes after I get down to the creek, Snagger (new nickname) walks up. I've spoken with him before and even shared a pool but I've been suspicious of his methods. Today I was to become disgusted.
Snagger fishes around the area for a few minutes but I'm fishing to the only fish in the creek. First he comes over, stands upstream from the fish, and spooks them off. Proceeds to find and fish to them, snagging two in the dorsal fin. The first time I was annoyed, the second time I was pissed! He even made a statement of intent: "I'm gonna get that fish." It's weird because he's sort of friendly and offered to let me fish to the fish again... but he's the reason I wasn't still fishing to them in the first place! Now they're all gone, the fish are hiding and it's been an ugly hour. What a change from the peace and serenity I had for the first five minutes!
Go home and get some breakfast, try another creek. As I arrive I talked to someone leaving, "fella just had a huge one on but couldn't land it." Get down there and it's Snagger! I proceed to watch him foul-hook two more fish, one an enormous male landlocked... that he took pictures of! So proud of the snagged fish! By now I'm not fishing as I'm just mad. It's no coincidence when one guy hooks the only four fish I see hooked- and they're all in the dorsal fin.
I didn't say anything. That's what this rant is for! I'd love to light into every jerk I see but I can't, it would give me an anxiety attack- forget it, unfortunately it's not going to happen 98% of the time. I'm just not made for it. Good thing, maybe, I'd get into a lot of fights with knucklehead snaggers. Who knows, maybe they're packing heat, you never know.
Note to snaggers: Here's a tip: Take off the gobs of splitshot, you aren't fooling anyone. When your heavily weighted fly lands on one side of a fish and the splitshot gob on the other you are going to catch them in the dorsal fin. Either you're an idiot or a snagger, I pick both!
Who to call:
It's truly a shame that so much crap goes on in our creeks. Is this representative of the population as a whole? Are a full half of us liars and thieves? Or is it something about the lure of a big fish that makes liars and thieves out of otherwise honest (sic) men? Why do you do it? Get a little extra excitement from snagging? Do you like kicking puppies too?
This story does have a bittersweet ending, after running several errands I returned to the original spot before dark. The fish had returned to their original spots and I managed to catch one, a smallish brown 2 lbs or so. They were spooky and I had to stand well upstream, but after twenty minutes of swinging streamers I felt a small but VERY satisfying tug on my line! I tugged back a lot harder and fish on! They do bite! Not all the time, sure, but that's fishing, live with it or find a predictable hobby!
If you see any snaggers, lifters, or liners out there, don't hesitate to call the DEC: 1-800-TIPP-DEC. Okay, end of rant for now...
A weekend of firsts, this was my first time fishing Canandaigua Lake! Dremarquis took me out again, this time trolling for trout. An excellent morning, big contrast to Saturday, this was crisp and clear, a sunny day. Saturday was warmer and grayer. Anyway, I had the first hit, a good rip on a Rapala. The fish jumped three times (I only saw it once) and put up a heck of a fight! Great start, a brown around five pounds. These fish are so beautiful!
Dre was up next, losing a dink near the boat and landing a dink rainbow. Actually, first he caught a good sized pickerel! We trolled on, and a while later we lose a good rip only to find a big big tangle among several lines! This was the end of the steady action for the morning. To round out the day Dre landed a decent brown and after a long pause of motionless rods a rainbow, probably around 3 lbs apiece. Outfished on numbers but my brown was big fish of the day! Good fun out there, Canandaigua is just beautiful. Great hills!
Big thanks to Dre for fishing this weekend, thanks man that was awesome, like I posted, good to be out on the open water again. Good luck everyone!
Sampson State Park, Seneca Lake, 11/10
First day on pike and boy was it hot! Did some pikin' and laker jigging with dremarquis, great fishing! Okay, I don't do this often but I'm going to repost my report from Sander's. I'm also editing it so it won't be the same... great day, I lost my two best spoons but totally worth it!
Just a great day out on Seneca! Went out of Sampson with dremarquis early this AM with two things on our minds: lakers and pike.
The lakers were active and feeding- not super heavily but the action was good, we caught maybe 8 and dropped and lost as many, they were hitting lightly but hitting out in 100-120 fow. White (both plastics and spoons) worked best as it was DARK in the morning! We didn't see many fish on the screen and caught almost all tight to the bottom. Fun and productive but old hat to me... I was psyched to try seriously for pike for the first time!
We hit the weather perfectly. A bare NE breeze kept a light ripple on the water and made for just the right drifting speed. One of those rare mornings where it's not honking out of the SE! There were "less than ones" all morning, small boat weather. (Dremarquis has a 16' as well.)
Anyway, the pike fishing was excellent! My first time actually targeting pike and we lost count, must've been an easy 15-20 fish each, many lost fish, and I even caught a pike without a lure. Where there were weeds were pike, people have been raving about pike fishing here for a year now and I can see why! So I cast out, hook up, and reel in a fish- bring it in to see it's wrapped around the pike's snout with no lure to be seen! The swivel had been bent open, so the fish must've wrapped itself up and spit the hook, all while forcing open the swivel.
I had a blast, the only downer came at the end, when just as we were about to go, I felt a bump that meant "set the hook." But before I could, my rod doubled over and the drag peeled out about five feet before boinging back in my face... breakoff. A HUGE hit, the pikeosaurus we'd wanted all day, and my dumb ass had the drag set a hair too tight. I'd been playing with it all day, trying to find the balance between a good hookset and letting the fish take line, guess I didn't have it dialed in quite right, it's a relatively new reel to me. Too bad!
Still, a fantastic day out there, soft plastics and hardware worked fine, caught fish on at least half the lures I tried. Water temp 53 F. We had a great time and I'm very happy to have such a good first day of pike fishing. A few pics coming in a day or two. As a side note I estimate it pushes me over the 2,000 lb mark for the year... that's my ton of fish! Felt great to be back on open water again, the creeks get a little small after a few weeks with little rain. Just unbelievable fun! Good luck and stay safe!
Ever Catch a Sculpin on a Fly? 11/6 - 11/8
I have! Just this morning in fact. It was barely longer than my double bunny! I took the opportunity to examine it, I've seen them squirming around in the shallows but they're quick and hard to spot. So here I went and caught one! It's given me a few good fly ideas.
Definitely the smallest fish I've caught so far and probably the most unusual. Picked up two small-medium males, one each yesterday and today. Tuesday I spent out all day after it didn't really rain, didn't catch any fish save a 9" brown. Saw a few strung up under heavy fishing pressure. This low-water year has really concentrated the fishermen... and the "fishermen".
Sadly, I continue to see despicable lifting and snagging on a daily basis. I wish it would rain! Let's get these fish out of sight! It's more fun fishing to fish you can't see, not to mention the strikes are a lot more aggressive. But back to the lifting, I wish the DEC would stop down there occasionally and write up a few tickets. Maybe they do on the weekend, but lots of nasty behavior happens during the week too. Yesterday AM I got to the stream and found some fish guts streamside, and I was one of the last to leave the day before. Somebody had been there at night! Why the hell can't people just bleeping behave? You're grown men for chrissakes! And no, I'm not going to quit complaining about it, not until I stop seeing adult morons out there.
Back to the fishing- the water is low and clear. There are a few fish around, not a lot, but some, and they're pretty stacked into a few spots. It's getting worse as the water keeps dropping, and the ones in the most popular holes have been harassed for days on end. Look in unusual spots or get out early!
Today I also missed a good strike by a big brown. After I caught the salmon these two goons started snagging their way upstream, being fairly blatant about it. As they approached me, I took a look back at them. When I turned back around a big brown was thrashing underwater and spit my fly just as I tried to set the hook... at least a whole second too late! Not only were these two idiots trying to snag fish they caused me to miss a really good fish! (Yes, I know it was really my lax attention and totally my fault.) Darn it! Gave it a shot for a little longer, had to go.
Final report- three days of fishing 3, 5, and 8 hours got me 2 salmon and about 3-4 missed/light hits. A solid, solid grab that I had time to convert to a hookup, but wasn't paying attention for that split second. Bad luck too, if only he'd bit on 98% of my other drifts I'd have been in business! Ah, well, dress warm, be stealthy, and good luck out there!
Great day weatherwise, sunny and warm for late October. A good SE breeze in the AM kept me home and the lake boiling, I pushed off the dock at 9:55 and headed out into the chop. Turned the corner up by the creek and set up for trolling, it was too windy to do much else. Did the run to Frontenac twice before the lake started calming down... aww yeah! What I'd been waiting for, it was going to be calm the rest of the day.
I tried some lake trout jigging but couldn't get any fish, missed two hits and that was it. I'd seen some good marks earlier in the day, they were gone at this time though.
Made my way over to Milliken and set back up for trolling. No bait here! A little bit of a shock seeing as I couldn't get away from it near Taughannock. Back by the park it was a solid carpet of bait anywhere from 90-140 feet down. Fish were still biting though it was slower by now with the nearly calm lake.
Wish I could've come up with a laker! I was a laker short of a trout slam today. Probably could've jigged up a laker if I hadn't run out of water. My mistake and it made me head in early, I had one bottle but left the big jug at home. Total for the day was a half dozen fish, three salmon, two rainbows, and an okay brown around 3 lbs. Good enough for me! A little more for size would've been nice, but a lot of the big trout/salmon have spawning on their minds right now!
Put the boat away and headed out to the creeks again, it was such a beautiful day I couldn't resist. No luck, and spent half the time talking anyway. With the lucky start to the season so far there is much less of a sense of urgency, I've got a few under the belt and it's even helping me catch more. I'm fishing with more confidence and spending more time with my flies in the zone, rather than in the trees or in my hand wondering what to do next. Nine trout and salmon so far, including two beauties, that rainbow that whupped my ass and the fat brown I didn't get a pic of. These past two days have been just beautiful! The creeks are getting much tougher now, we need more rain and never really had enough. Low and clear is the order of the day. Cross your fingers everyone, no real precipitation for a week or so... and good luck!
Tribs Again, 10/29
A beautiful day, crisp to start but the fish were biting, slowly but surely. I heard it had been good the day before... that old tale that never ends.
Started fishing in a popular spot with no luck, fished my way downstream a bit and ended up at another popular spot, where two guys were fishing but one leaving, so I settled in to fish a bit, swinging streamers through the head of the pool. After a while, bang, fish on! It jumps but I quickly notice it's fouled, luckily I also quickly land the fish- a small but studly 17-18" male.
I go back upstream, fish with someone I ran into and just met, and get a few good tips. One being, browns will hit streamers, I always thought they were pretty egg-oriented during the spawn and drop-back browns took streamers much more readily. This lesson had the point driven home later in the day as I caught two on two different streamers! The first was a great fish, a beautiful ~24" female brown that my greedy fishing buddy (a great blue heron) had his eye on! I've seen herons eat some big fish but nowhere near that big!
An hour or so later I caught another female brown, a little smaller, maybe 19" but she put up a good fight and dragged me down through some rapids. Oh, and I forgot about the other male altantic, 18, 19 inches if I'm lucky, a quick little battle and at least one good jump. So, another great day! This season it's really coming together and I'm catching a few fish. It's been a lot of work, but well worth it... fish like that brown this afternoon make a lot of things worth it!
The long-term forecast isn't looking all that rainy, we'll just have to see... there are a few fish around but most streams are really low and we need more rain, things probably won't get better without a good soaker, the recent rains have more or less missed Ithaca.
Pictures from last week can be found here.
Finger Lakes Tributaries 10/26, 10/27
So far so good! Not a lot of rain but a few creeks have seen a little. I didn't make it out after that last rain I posted about so I'm not sure what happened then, but there are a few fish around by now!
Yesterday was quality, today was quantity. I'll work backwards. The last fish I caught today was a ~16-17" bright yellow male brown trout with a cute kype, and I was pretty happy to get a brown, I'd been trying! Just prior to that, a 12" or so rainbow. This morning I caught two small landlocked salmon, one a big 10" and the other a fiesty 17". All good fun but no size, still I'm super happy to have gotten that much action.
Yesterday was a little better, though, and featured my best fight yet! The water was still up pretty high from the rain and I hooked a nice fish at the head of a run. When I finally landed the fish- an absolutely beautiful rainbow- I was 100 yards downstream, had fallen in, passed my rod around a bankside tree, and was several years older. Thankfully, a friend followed me down and was able to take a few picture of this fish- coming up after this report! I'd like to think five pounds, hard to say though.
We returned to the pool we had started in, and within a few casts I'd hooked up again! This time a slightly smaller, maybe 21" give or take, male atlantic. Great few minutes! That was it for the day. Actually, all of my fish have come in pairs like that so far. Fishing pressure today was surprisingly high! Lots of guys out, I suppose we've all been watching weather and the stream gauges. Good luck to all out there!
Oak Orchard Creek 10/20?
Fished the Oak for the first time and had an interesting day. A learning day! It was last week, at this point I'm not sure of the date but I believe last Tuesday. I landed one king and lost what appeared to be a really nice brown early, this is still bugging me but what can you do! I'll just have to go try again. I saw a fair number of browns, a few steelhead, and my buddy caught some of each!
Me, I spent a while being frutrated... I kept seeing fish moving upstream, but they all actively avoided my fly. I just could not figure it out, and it was tough seeing guys "catch" them all around me. Some were, I'm sure, but I also know I saw some folks snagging the fish. Overall it's a different experience than what I'm used to! I'll have to try it a few more times but I may not be cut out for close-quarters LO trib fishing.
The day deserves more of a report than this, but I've been terrible about getting reports out, so I'm making sure not to have too big a backlog.
Another good morning! Slid out early onto a glassy lake, headed to one of the nearby points and started trolling back to Taughannock. Slow morning on the troll, I lost one very small fish right away and then nothing for an hour. I didn't see much up high at all, bait and fish were deep but I kept my high rods out- it's all I've got! The one deeper dipsey may have been down 60, that's where I was aiming anyway.
Eventually, zing goes a rod and I grab it, feel some good shaking and twisting going on. Good fish, I wonder if it's not a laker b/c it never gave up the fight, but it stayed down, no jumps or anything. Minutes later, I land a nice ~3 lb rainbow! Must've been about 20". That made my day right there! Finished up the troll and came back to near the Taughannock for some jigging.
Boated 7 lakers in an hour and a half or so, some pretty good fishing! Not as aggressive as last time (by a little) but plenty active! I also landed one 17" landlocked and lost two other "non-lakers". One was probably another small salmon, one a much bigger "something" that I tried to horse in and lost. As Homer would say, "D'oh!" Regardless, it was good fishing and a fabulous morning- probably the last time I'll be launching at dawn in shorts! Good luck to all this weekend!
Cayuga Jigging 9/20
Great day on Cayuga! Trolled up a few small salmon and a brown in the morning, nothing huge, nothing exciting but consistent action- slow, but consistent. Over the past few days I've seen a lot of marks on the fishfinder as I've trolled overhead, well, today I dropped the jigs down and probed laker-land.
Fish were hungry! Lakers were chasing and hitting through lunchtime, I finally left at one due to the sun. It's lower in the sky but still intense on a clear day! They were even hitting on a glassy lake at lunchtime, conditions I'm not usually confident with. I don't think everyone had good day- I saw a few trollers who weren't real busy, one who might have been, and a jigger or two gave it a go- one guy trying for smallmouth came out and gave it a shot but was having a hard time despite my best advice. (Not bragging, just a warning that it's not as easy as it sounds.) It can be hard to tell someone how to jig, as the old Camel ad used to say "experience is the best teacher. (Try a Camel today.) (Okay don't try Camels I've been hooked on them for years and have had a heck of a time trying to quit.) Stay vertical, watch the fishfinder, and get their attention. Bang your jig around on the bottom and crank it back in such a way that they BITE!
At least 18 lakers today, maybe upwards of 20, I lost count the first time around "5" embarrassingly enough. 18 is a good enough guess, and I dropped 4 more and missed some hits. Just excellent fishing! A super morning out there!
Another quick trolling trip this morning from 6:00 to 9:00. Pretty much ran the same program off the dipseys, it's all I've got for getting down to the trout. Finally got one side working, last trip it was all the left side, this trip both rods caught fish.
I'm just running spoons behind the dipseys, my favorite basic colors- silver, white, purple, blue, green covers 90% of it. So it was a slow start, and again a bit breezy. I ran down to a new section of lake and trolled up with the wind, not much going on until I got to the section I fished yesterday. Then the deep rod went off! I was hoping this dipsey was down 60 or so but I'm just guessing. I had a nice 6 lb or so laker up near the boat when riiiip! goes the port side! "Oh crap" says I and grab for the net. Get the laker in the boat, can't find the pliers, luckily I'm running siwash hooks and I can dehook by hand. Get the laker back in the water and grab the other rod which is still occasionally pulling line.
Fight this fish in and it's a nice brown! Not huge but in the 3-4 pound range. Actually it looked an awful lot like the one I knocked off yesterday! Same spot, same lure, same fish? Could be! I took a few quick pics but they were blurry for some reason. This double was the highlight, about 1/2 hour later I lost another nice fish off the deeper dipsey, probably laker but I'll never know! I wasn't scraping bottom so they were all suspended fish. Also caught one of those dink salmon. So cool, it's been nice to see a few other salmonid species the past few days and not just the lakers! Great mornings though a little breezy on the lake. No boats either! Just one other trailer in the lot, not much traffic at all. A few guys were showing up as I left, and the past few days I've seen a few fish caught by the wall fishermen. Not much pressure there yet either but a handful of guys were out. Looks like a great period of weather, get out there and enjoy!
Cayuga Lake 9/18
Out just before dawn light South breeze. I started by jigging lakers- hooked one in about five minutes, lost it halfway up. It was to be that sort of a day! I then decided to troll- it's been a while and I've been wanting to catch a brown, so off I went. Had one rod down and was working on the second when zip goes the first rod! I fight this fish in maybe 40 feet and it's gone, felt like a decent size. Probably one of the bigger rips I had and it wasn't even close.
Followed this up with three small landlocked salmon, one barely legal and heavily bleeding so I stuck it in the lunch cooler and polished off lunch. About an hour later a good rip went off on the port side and it was a brown! Yay! Nice 3-4 lb fish, I had it up next to the boat for 20-30 seconds before finally knocking it off with the net. I was messing around and wasn't ready, it cost me the fish!
Ah, well, so I lost the three biggest fish of the day- that first laker and the other two trolling. Terrible day catching but I had a pretty good time regardless! It was beautiful out there and I saw two other boats. Good fishing! Surface temp was 67-68, it's dropping, last week I had 71. Good luck folks!
Oops, just a quick correction: The fifth place fish for the Salvation Army Derby was 10 lbs 3 oz, not the 13 oz I wrote the other day, sorry for the typo!
Out of the Money! 9/9
Bumped! What can you do. A boat brought in a 10 lb 13 oz laker before the bell to bump me out of fifth! Ah well, that's how it goes. No time for a real update but I wanted to set the record straight. Maybe next year! Congratulations to everyone I know who placed! That's Mike, Chris, and (just met Saturday) Dan for their fine fish!
Cayuga 9/9 (Salvation Army Derby 2)
Caught a few more fish today in between downpours! It's been on and off all morning, looks like some more heavy stuff is heading this way (it's now 1 PM.) Overall a better morning than I expected, weighed in a 9.1 laker.
Even though getting soaked isn't my best idea of fun, I really enjoy these kinds of mornings! Calm, warm, and hazy, for some reason it just makes me feel good! Calm is key, I hate the wind for several reasons and every moment on a glassy morning feels great. It doesn't make me confident for fishing, but hey you can't have everything.
Ah, so back to the derby and fishing. Lakers were in the same 80-100 fow. I fished the West side of the lake today. First thing that comes to mind about the weekend was not enough boats! I didn't see nearly as many boats as I should have. The weather may have kept some folks away, but come on! A thousand bucks! I'll fish in the rain for that, at least for a while! (A rain jacket would help but I did what I could today, the only boats I could see out when I left at noon were big boats with tops.) Maybe they need more promotion and PR? I like the event and would like to see it grow, that's for sure.
When I left the park, a big laker was lunker, close to 12 pounds, #1 was also 11-something, Mike Canavan was #2 will 10lb 13 oz (nice fish Mike! Congratulations!), #3 and 4 were 10-something, and I was barely holding last with my 9 lb 12 oz. All great catches! Cayuga has some big lakers in here!
Lavarock64 was holding the top "Other Trout" category with a 10-11 lb brown (wow, nice!) and second place was another fat brown. Third was Dan Murphy with a 7-8 lb rainbow, and another pair of browns rounded out category. No salmon on the board this time, they're hiding! (Or not there, if you're a pessimist.)
Well, that's everything I can remember off the board. There's a few hours left before it's over, so that info is not written in stone.No idea about the bass, sorry. One of these days I'll remember to actually take a picture of a leaderboard. This weekend I left the camera at home because of the rain. Speaking of rain, it's picked up again. It makes me want to head North tomorrow and fish the Salmon River or other Lake Ontario trib, this rain should do amazing things to the streams up there.
Fall is here! Go fish!
Cayuga 9/8 (Savation Army Derby Day 1)
An odd but good day fishing today! Started off slooooow and I began to wonder if anything would happen. I wasn't marking fish and zipped around a few spots looking for any hot action. Not to be found so I settled in and started slowly picking off lakers. The second fish I caught I wacked over the head and dumped it in the cooler, later it weighed a nice 9 lbs 12 oz, so far (4:00) good enough for third in the derby.
Several 11 lb lakers and an 11 lb brown are on top of the board! Nice fish! I hope mine sticks but I'm not convinced it will. Just keep fishing, just keep fishing, just keep fishing fishing fishing... it's a lot about luck anyway, it only takes one!
The weather was surprisingly good, Westerly winds made for a calm lake most of the day, and it oscillated between overcast and partly sunny. Enough that I got a good dose of sun! I had to stick a shirt up under my hat to keep it off my neck. Fish are still down 80-100. I almost packed it in at noon due to the sun and fairly slow fishing (6-7 fish in the AM) but went back out... glad I did! Got another 8 in the boat, five of them in a quick 1/2 hour flurry. Nothing huge, several probably pushing nine pound range but they all went back in. Overall a great day!
Now to see what the weather will bring, the forecast for tonight and tomorrow is wet! Good luck everyone!
Cayuga Lake 9/7
Pretty good morning though a bit breezy! Put 8 lakers in the boat, dropped two and missed a few hits. Not very aggressive fish! I really had to work for those and I saw countless chasers and lookers. The bad kind, too, the looker that comes up, takes a peek and then a nose dive back to the bottom! That's "I don't like what I see" laker behavior. I don't like to see it either!
Regardless, I tricked a few into biting and had a much better morning than Tuesday. Conditions were better, though there was a decent Southerly at dawn that kept things moving. Fish were in 75-100 fow and holding tight to bottom most of the time. Not a lot to report, nothing exciting (well, a nice 30" fattie) and of course the Salvation Army Derby is this weekend, can't give too much away! I will say that a good 50-60% of my time is spent using the plain old lead head and white fluke, same as usual! It's often more about presentation than jig choice.
Labor Day Weekend 9/1, 9/4
I hope I got the dates right! The Friday and Tuesday bracketing the holiday weekend. It's possible I fished Saturday instead of Friday, but you know, I can't figure it out. Been almost a week! My selective memory at work.
Medium fishing both days. Friday was okay, I put four or five in the boat in a few hours. Kept dropping fish due to another bent jig. Check your jigs for bendiness! This one looked fine but was spring loaded, put any pressure on the hook point and it bent right open. This can happen after a while so it's always good to check not only hook points, but the integrity of the rest of the jig.
Tuesday was tougher. Both days were short; I've had a tough time getting out in the AM due to some masonry timing. You've got a window after laying mortar to come back and clean it up, it's making fishing at dawn tough these past few weeks.
Anyway, only three fish on Tuesday before nine. Fishing 6:30 to 9:00 is no fun! I want to prefish the Salvation Army Derby this weekend but it's looking breezy tomorrow. I took the morning off to fish and now it's windy! Well, all I can hope is that it's not too bad over the weekend!
Back online now as well, goodbye dialup! Thank goodness... and this leaves the door open for more pics and a site upgrade! Doing web development and uploading pictures on a dialup connection was the pits. Ah, so that's what I've been up to this week.
Went fishing twice for a total of six hours and eight fish, all standard 25-29" lakers. Derby weekend coming up, good luck everyone!
Great to be back out! Had a decent morning, bites were coming slowly but they came. I got lucky and landed the first six hits I had, all nice lakers except for one 16-18" shorty. Also picked up a 17" landlocked towards the end of the day. Caught fish from 65 fow out to 95. Lots of lookers but getting them to hit was a challenge! I had many fish follow nearly back to the boat only to call it off at the last minute.
A stiff early Southerly died by nine or so but it was a little bumpy early! I had to blast back towards the park and tuck into some cover for an hour or two. I discovered I'm out of fishing shape! Got beat up by the sun and my back hurt by the end of the day but it was just plain fantastic to get out after a 3 week break.
I'd say half the lakers put up NO fight whatsoever. Maybe it was the water temps or the non-aggressiveness of the fish this morning but they weren't digging hard. I did have one laker jump out of the water, though! I had a good belly laugh, it was a real jump but a little awkward-looking... I don't think lakers are built for jumping. Good luck out there everyone!
Fishing is Good?
Somewhere, quite possibly on Cayuga Lake, someone is having a good day fishing! It's just not me, though I promised myself months ago, a year even, that I'd go fishing tomorrow. So, I am going to fish tomorrow... I better, it's the August full moon! My first year fishing Cayuga (from my jon boat) I had some extraordinary luck on the August full moon, and it made me a believer in lunar cycles.
That's the day of that huge brown in the photo section, one of those "you'll never forget" days, though I was so fresh to the lake I didn't know just how good a day it was! A day locked in many memories forever, as I had one of my best days ever fishing- just as news came slowly leaking out about the devastation in New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina had just blasted onshore and the leftovers headed straight towards us. That morning the pressure was dropping like a rock and it was overcast and still. Clearly, something was about to happen. It didn't rain here until the following day but I believe the confluence of the full moon (overhead at high noon, when I caught the brown) and the approaching storm helped me catch that fish.
Sure enough, last year I again landed a nice brown on the full August moon. This cemented my thinking- now to go do three in a row! I'll have my hopes up, but not my expectations... there's an awful lot of luck in this fishing game! I hope I'm back... and jeez it's been a while since I said this, good luck everyone!
Something New (sort of) 8/7
Fun day. Mostly I tried to catch carp on flies and bass on lures. A little jigging produced two nice lakers, probably spent just over an hour at it. 80 feet of water, 78 degrees on top. Getting warm!
Launched at Taughannock Park and headed North. Perfectly calm at first, it quickly built into a huge one foot chop before subsiding again around nine. A good haze to the air, it felt pretty fishy out there. I, however, couldn't catch a fish. Bass or carp that is. Milliken got pretty packed, both boats and shorefishermen and I did some watching. One fella caught a nice drum, maybe 5 pounds or so, could be a little more.
Around 9 AM I went off in search of lakers, jigged for an hour, caught two nice fatties, 25" and 28". It wasn't real hot fishing but they were at least biting, I had another slight bump or two. Best fishing was near bait, but with no bait on the sonar screen. Ran into a regular and he told me the DEC was stopping by shortly to pull the survey nets they had out. I headed back to Milliken, and when I saw the DEC boat I went over and watched. Definitely interesting and it sounded like a long day. I hope I didn't make it too much longer by chatting, but there already were two other fellas around. Pretty fun, and DEC Biologist Jeff Robins said NO samples of Cayuga Lake fish have tested positive for VHS. Test results are negative at this time! So far so good, but I can't help but think it's matter of time. Come on fish gods! Thanks yet again to the DEC staff, you all look like you enjoy your work. Weather like today has to help too!
Some gnarly looking weather heading this way later today... time to go batten down the boat. Good luck!
Barreled out of the marina moments after 8 AM. It felt just plain wrong to go out that late! The wind was a pretty stiff 10 out of the South, so I started working my way up the West side of the lake. Not a whole lot going on, and boat control was a pain. Caught one 4 lb fish that rocketed off the bottom and came up 60 feet for my jig. It didn't leave the bottom until my jig was 1/2 way up! Keep an eye out for things like this, you never know when they will hit. Always be ready!
After an hour it looked like it was easing so I crossed the lake- bad idea! Even worse over there, it was just a temporary break in the wind. Back across to the West side and things started looking up, but I kept dropping fish again. Overall I boated three and lost five fish- three lakers, a brown and a salmon.
A good day, though I never really got my bearings and the wind made things a little frustrating at times. Good to be out! Good luck everybody, this is a slowish period from what I remember.
Oh, before I go- Cornell research shows the alewives that are present in the nearshore areas this time of year are immature, both young of the year and one year olds. The immature alewives prefer slightly warmer water than the adults do. Good luck!
1st Annual Cayuga LOU-ALL 8/4
A great day out on Fishstix. This event was held at Long Point State Park and it was my first time there. We headed out of the park and immediately were into lots and lots of fish, all stacked just off the point with a ton of bait around too.
This was enough to toss our plan and we started in on the fish! The weeds were biting heavy and this made things tough but there was lots and lots of fish under them. Calm winds picked up to a light chop out of the North and sunny skies. This really was a lot of fun! Too many laughs to try to repeat here, y'all will just have to fish it next year!
I wish I had more to say (I'm trying) but it's been a heck of a weekend. It's Monday evening and I'm finally getting this down! After the derby I moved some wood and then hit a wedding- it made for a 3 AM to 3 AM day. Whoo, I don't drink anymore but I felt wasted after that!
Anyway, back to the LOU-ALL, we ended up in 3rd place. Would've been second but I convinced Stix to release our first laker b/c it was small. Legal, but small. D'oh! Well it wouldn't've mattered anyway, Rusty Rat got his limit of lakers plus a salmon to take it home! Congratulations Scott!
Just a great group of guys and I met another half-dozen Cayuga fishermen, always a pleasure! Thanks to Bass Pro Shops for some prize donations, your support is well noted. My prize was Rapala Pro Fishing, a computer game- good thing it's not as addicting as real-life fishing!
Short and strange morning. Got out a little late again and I had to leave early, so it was a 2.5 hour fishing trip. Had some action but this was the strange part. Boated a single fish, nice but just one. Had about 25 bites though! Some of them just bit the tail, some I hooked briefly. While they were hitting it was VERY light and sticking the hook wasn't easy- I bet 95% of the time the hook point was nowhere near the mouth and I had no hope. One of those days where dropping a spoon might help- if the lakers nip at the tail you have a chance of hooking up. But I didn't drop a spoon. I often get "stuck" doing the same thing over again and today was no exception. I knew what to do to hook these fish, but for some reason I was stuck dropping the fluke/jig overboard.
Much slower morning today than the past week. The conditions were not ideal and it showed! Good weather made for a pleasant (and short) trip. Overslept and I was done by nine with four lakers to show, one of them a 15" shorty! Bait was around, lakers were just lying there. Hey, what can you do? Can't always catch ten or more lakers! Same 75 fow. Saw bulletbob out there, hope you guys managed to get into a few!
Cayuga Lake 7/28
The lake trout bite continues! Today was a combo of the past two, half jigging and half trolling. The jigging went well, ten lakers from 5-10 lbs and a 17" salmon. I know I've hooked a few small non-lakers while jigging but this was the first one I boated this year. I'd love a fat brown! Maybe soon, it is August after all- will it happen three years in a row?
The trolling left a lot to be desired today. The fishing was fine, no fleas at all and very few weeds, but the catching wasn't so hot. Lost a few small fish, boated a few small salmon. No great shakes today. I'm just not seeing the marks up high that I was before. Where do they go? Hmmm it's hard to stop without finding out the answer! Regardless, the lakers are hitting just fine!
Decent morning out. Jigged for an hour or so, landed two fish and snagged a lamprey. The laker dropped off halfway up! Picked up another fish, 28". Seemed like it was picking up, but a slower bite (relatively) than yesterday so I decided to try something different and aim for salmon.
Threw out the dipsys and went for a ride. Managed to pick up three small salmon (up to 18") and another laker (9 lbs). I also managed to drop the best fish of the day! Boo! Lost a ~4 pound jumper about 40 feet back, most likely salmon. Nice fish! My fault for getting the camera out early! Too bad, but I was happy to connect with a few non-lakers so it was a fairly successful morning. Would've been much better had I landed that one fish!
It was pretty much a one rod affair- I was running a small dipsy that just wouldn't go deep enough for any action. The other regular dipsy was the one that kept firing. Got off the lake just in time- the first round of thunderstorms hit as I was driving home! Another round just passed through the area (6 PM) and it's calming down, though the next few days could be interesting. Good luck!
Been a while. Pretty good fishing this morning, 14 lake trout by 9 AM and then I had to go. 65-85 fow. Some massive bait schools around today, hard to find a place for a jig! Fish were still hitting when I left. White flukes and barely hanging on to the 3/4 oz jigs, next trip I'll probably switch to the 1 oz heads, the fish are heading deeper. Good luck all, hope the weekend turns out okay.
Shorefishing Milliken 7/17
I spent a few hours at Milliken this morning with the fly rod, looking for carp. This quickly turned into looking for bass! I had okay to decent action on smallmouth until I was done spooking out the area. The carp were not anywhere I could see them (except the pool) and casting access was limited.
I had to try some new techniques to get down into the pool- letting the fly ride out into the current wasn't working due to weeds so I limited myself to the raging outlet pool.
That thing is deceptively deep! I thought maybe 5-6 feet, but after wading into the lake and seeing how shallow-looking water came up to my knees, that pool must be a good 10 feet deep or more! The trick turned out to be a heavily weighted leader- basically a centerpinning shot pattern. This was much easier to cast than I anticipated! The distribution of weight over the leader must help a lot vs. bunching it in one spot chuck and duck style. So, despite the dozen BB's on my line 50' casts were not a problem with the 7 wt.
Good to know but I think I'll try to stick with sinking leaders. I have one somewhere but didn't bring it- thought I was going to be very shallow for carp. Tally for the day was 2 smallmouth landed- shorts. Also more than 1/2 dozen taps and light takes. The bigger fish were not aggressive and I saw at least two 15-17" bass tag my flies without a hope of getting hooked. Every time I changed flies they would come over and barely tap the new fly, and then never show interest again. This kept me entertained for a while but I had a hard time hooking up.
This was late morning under a blazing sun so I'm not too surprised. The water is CLEAR right now! There were carp, bass, sunnies (caught one of them too) and gar around the pool this morning. Quite frankly I didn't really care about catching anything the whole point of going was casting flies! Man that felt good to wing out some nice casts! It's been too long, I'll be out after something on the fly soon. I've also had a bug in my head ever since the derby- getting thumped trolling is bothering me, I need to get back out there and re-figure them out!
A few more thoughts from the Salvation Army Derby. First off, I'd like to state that this was a great derby! Well run and friendly, the folks at the Elmira Chapter of the Red Cross really put on a great event. I don't know who they are offhand, but thanks also to the sponsors for donating the prizes!
I also want to apologize to the gentleman with his son or grandson who were around Myers park when I weighed in. I was carrying my cooler and heard my name mentioned, wanted to say "hi" but was short on breath and preoccupied at the moment. So "hi" and I hope the weekend went well! Next time stop me.
Thumbs down to the guys who tried to launch after I did on Saturday evening. I dumped my boat in and parked my truck. In the one minute (literally!) before I returned to the dock, some guys had tried to launch their boat, essentially into mine! It was less than a foot away and one fella was leaning into a rope to keep the boat on the trailer.
Saturday nights are a very busy place at Taughannock because of the concerts. Throw in a derby and it was a madhouse! Thumbs down to the guy at the gate who tried to tell me to go away. He said it was too busy, there was nowhere to park a boat. I told him I'd just been there and besides, I knew someone had just gone through several minutes earlier! He ended up saying "you're on your own" and waving me through.
Thumbs up to all the friendly fishermen I saw out there! I'd have to say it looked like everyone was having a good time, though a few folks seemed a little frustrated and had tough fishing. That's understandable, I had tough fishing too! Overall the weather was fantastic except a squall line that blew through Sunday afternoon. I was seven miles up the lake and outran the whitecaps back to the park. I was pretty fished out by then and called it a day even though the lake looked great after the storm blew through.
I learned a lot, too. Putting in quality hours can be a great learning experience. Even if things aren't going well (no catching!) you can always play with presentation and try to think up new tricks. Even a blank fishfinder screen tells you a lot, unless you forgot to charge the battery! The biggest trick to this is avoiding frustration. Dwelling on the negatives (no fish, tired, distracted, things are going wrong, etc) is counterproductive because you are wasting time instead of learning from your experience. Out there, nothing means nothing, it all means something!
Well, I'm pretty sure I meant to write about a few other topics when I started this post but I've lost track.... great derby!
Salvation Army Derby, 7/14-15
Fun, slow, and productive. A contradictory weekend that netted me a 10.68 lb lake trout, good for 7th place in the derby! Very cool! I jigged this fish up, but spent most of the time trolling. My trolling program has crapped out on me however, so this didn't go too well. Could've just been the luck of the draw, but I had trouble connecting with decent fish all weekend. A bit disappointing as the previous few weeks have been hot! Most of my previous trips landed me fish that would've made the board- a few nice salmon and that rainbow. Didn't even get close this weekend! Only legal non-laker was an ~2 lb brown. None of my hotspots produced for me, though some guys got nice fish from them. I'm not sure what I was doing wrong, but I can't complain, I've only been trolling for a month and I put a laker on the board. Overall I had a great time and got to talk to some folks I rarely see which was maybe the best part of the weekend.
Oops, gotta go- that's it for now- a full report coming later today!
Cayuga Bows! 7/10
A couple of "firsts" today! First trolled rainbow, followed by my second trolled rainbow. These fish were the highlight! Tally of two landlocked salmon, ~17-18", one brown trout, ~20", one laker, ~27", and the two rainbows, ~17-21". Overall a decent morning though not much for size. A 6 lb laker and this 3.5-4 lb rainbow were the lunkers. That's okay, I want to save the good ones for next weekend, and I caught a few! And that list also makes for a trout "grand slam", I caught at least one of each species this morning.
Tried to add to the multi-species list by hitting Milliken for carp on the fly- no good, again! Those fish get tough in the summer! I finally had a follow on a leech but couldn't connect. It got hot out there today, hazy and oppressive. Better than it is here at home though! Whoooeee I already took a shower after fishing, I need another and it's only been 1/2 an hour. It'll be cooling off tomorrow, thank goodness. Good luck all!
Late Saturday Report, 7/7
Not an especially lucky day, but a successful one nonetheless! Seven small salmon and a nice maybe 4 lb brown. Short trip, I fished four hours- trolled two down, two back, getting busy out there on a beautiful Saturday so I left before ten.
The brown was almost caught- got off boatside while I was dorking around. One of those "coulda caught" fish, if I were intent on bringing it in I'd've netted the thing a minute earlier, instead I was looking for the camera! Nice and almost calm, the Milliken stack was bent over from the North but the lake had a light South wind on it. The fish are definitely moving out at this point, and so is the bait.
Red Cross Derby this coming weekend, sign up if you haven't already!
Outstanding Day! 7/3
Great morning bailing out lakers! After a slow start things picked up in a hurry. There was one golden moment that went on and on and on and on... I not only hooked but boated fish on eleven (11) consecutive drops! A new personal best day, two dozen (24) lake trout in the boat, four of five dropped and many missed hits.
Just stellar fishing! What else can I say, the lake was hot this morning. Pretty much fished 60-65, a little shallower, a little deeper, but that 60-65 was the ticket. Both flukes and tubes worked, nothing really seemed better than the other. I caught 23 lakers by 11 AM then I took a break for an hour and then went to try to find some drum. I couldn't find them but did a lot of exploring, which is always a good thing.
Next stop was carp, I wanted to look at the North end of the lake to see if they were still around. Nope. Lots of weeds, no carp! In my boat this takes a while so this whole exploring the North end took most of the afternoon. Lots of sun. I was hoping for more clouds, especially when it got glass calm out there. Several times I had to motor around just to get a breeze! Oh, right, at the end of the day I wanted one more laker to make it an even two dozen, so I started at five for lakers and it took about 45 minutes before I got one, called it a day. Almost stayed out for sunset fishing but decided to save the longest days out there for the derby. The lake is starting to warm and the trout are heading deeper- go fish before it's too late! (And good luck!)
What a morning! What a fish! What a shame I didn't have my camera... a new personal record landlocked salmon from Cayuga! This lake is incredible!
I hauled myself out of bed later than usual but made it to Taughannock around dawn. Got out the marina and set up, there were a few boats there already. Due to the traffic I only made one pass before heading off into lonely water.
This, unfortunately, didn't last, as another boat mysteriously appeared about 200 feet off to port. They dogged me for a few miles, keeping the same speed and actually getting a little closer, 150 feet back and about 45 degrees off the rear. This was really annoying.
To get away from these guys, I head for the opposite shore. As I get into the really deep water most life disappears from the fishfinder. I goose the throttle to make the trip a little quicker and settle into a nice hands-free ride. As I approach the shoreline I'm scanning it, looking for a house that belongs to a family I know. I start turning as I near shore but I'm still out deep, and it's been quiet. Back on the first stretch I'd caught several small salmon and a decent brown, 17-18" with a slightly larger lamprey. Both released, the lamprey severed in two.
I stare dumbfounded at the starboard rod as it screams for several seconds. 150 feet of line was gone before I could move, I was too busy going into shock over the sudden explosion. I've learned by now to grab the rod and set the hook BEFORE stopping the boat, so I do this, but I'm disappointed to feel nothing. Nothing! No resistance, no fish.
Whoosh!! A huge fish blasts out of the water and into the sky! Unbelievable! What a jump, and then again! I cross my mental fingers, hope for salmon, and hold on. A terrific fight followed, great runs, jumping out of my net, burning out more drag, this fish was amazing!
I finally bring it into the boat, a beautiful, healthy, fat, perfect, huge atlantic! 29-30" and chubby! I guess 9-10 pounds but I could be wrong either way, I was in a hurry to get it back in. By far the biggest non-laker and hands down the best fight I've had out here. I cannot believe how beautiful this salmon was! Silvery steel blue on the sides and dark green right on top, but it's the blue that really shines. I have lots of mental pictures but unfortunately no camera today, so no pics. No cooler either, I safely released this one with many thanks to the fish gods (and fish demons, I covered my bases!) and sat down hard for a minute. It measured 29" but I looked back at the other end and saw it wasn't lined up right, so 30" isn't out of the question.
A GREAT way to end this week of fish! It was approximately 30-40 down. Temp 67-68.5, it hasn't been warming up much recently, too windy. Anyway, good luck this weekend everyone, and enjoy the holiday!
Cayuga Jigging 6/28
Long day out there today. A few hours this morning were good and there was an evening bite too. My problem in the evening was boat control. Waves out of the North, wind from the NW, it made staying vertical impossible and it was hard to get a good drift.
Did okay for a number but it took all day. Stuck it out past my usual window today. Slow start but I got eight lakers in the morning, all by 10 AM, and most by 9 AM. I was so happy to have a cloudy day I stayed out. Hooked a few more fish and had a half dozen grabs between 10 and 1:30-2 but I couldn't get anything in the boat.
Took a break, got some food and more water and headed back out around 5 PM. I think if I'd realized how the wind was going to kick in I would've just gone home. Still, I wanted at least 10 fish on the day and I was already there, so I did what I could and got five more lakers before heading in around 8. I figure I probably won't fish much over the holiday so I'm getting out this week!
The lakers seemed to be most active from 55-65 fow, though "active" is a strong word. I blame the moon! We've had a string of very bright nights recently, it's my not-so-expert opinion that the lakers are feeding at night. This does mean, however, that the fishing will be improving over the next week. Good luck everyone!
Mixed Day 6/27
Good morning, frustrating evening. I went out of Sampson Park on Seneca Lake with Ray this morning, we had a good bite until the sun got too high. Total 11 lakers, couple nice fatties and one very small fish. Lots of fun, it seems so long ago now.
Later, after the first round of thunderstorms, I head back to Sampson with my boat... this is where it gets frustrating! I arrive and the lake looks great. Light chop, perfect. I launch and discover I left the fishfinder at home. Again. That's the second time in a week. Crap. I start to go out anyway and a storm starts blowing in. Not coming for us, passing by, but close enough that the lightning makes me uncomfortable and the wind kicks up from the thunderstorm. UGH. So I head back to the park without even dropping a jig.
Wait a while, try to outlast the rain, but it looks like another storm might be headed towards Sampson so I bail, figure I'll hit Cayuga. My house is sort-of not-really on the way, so I head home and grab the fishfinder.
It's 6:30 and a storm is just clearing the Taughannock area, so I head over there and dump in by seven. By now I've been trying to fish for over two hours and it's been mostly driving. This sucks. So I look for lakers near Taughannock, didn't see anything in two spots. Say beep it, I'm not in the mood to mess around, and I throw out the same trolling rigs I've been using.
Pick up two small salmon, that's it, probably an hour of fishing. An unfortunate day.
Quick Trip 6/26
Quick trip this morning, I have family in town so I brought my aunt out! Apparently the only other one in the family that likes to get up early, we got started around dawn. Pretty good day though nothing great for size. I stuck with two rods though as it's what I've got.
Over a dozen fish, mostly small salmon, one decent brown and a medium sized laker rounded out the catch. The fish seemed deeper today, working over 60-90 fow was better then the 40-70 I have been fishing. I'm about to the limits of my trolling gear, I can't get deeper than 40-50 feet or so, so we'll see what the next few weeks are like. The fleas are starting to pick up on Cayuga though still not bad, they weren't interfering.
Sorry for the short report, busy day with the family in town. HOT out there! Cold front coming through Thursday will cool things off, hope it doesn't shut down the fishing too. Good luck!
Salmon, Big One! 6/24
Great morning! Hit Taughannock before dawn. Returned home to get my fishfinder! Back to Taughannock, still before dawn. Out the marina and I set up, a decent South breeze headed up the lake.
The first hour featured several small salmon (5), the second hour one more and a few nice browns! Nice brown number one and nice brown number two! These appeared to be 3-4 lbs apiece, short and chunky 18-21" fish. By now it was slowing down, I trolled on for a while with no action, then three quick little salmon and a rip that gets my blood moving! Zing! Fourty feet gone in seconds, but nobody home. I fish on. Now the lake is getting crowded, a few more boats are starting to work the general area. I start to head out from the congestion and find some free lake. Time goes by. ZING! Pause. Is it gone? Ziiiiinnngggg! NOPE! Wow, a true reel burner! This time 100 feet is gone in seconds!
After a great fight I land this salmon, 24" and fiesty! Very fiesty! Okay, I have to agree with most- the landlocks fight like heck, more so than the other trout in this lake! I dunno about the rainbows, can't compare there, I don't catch enough to know. Anyway, that was it, I finished up and headed home. Yee-haw, I'm getting it!
Oh, right, details. Well, I had 65 degrees on top near the park. That's much cooler than last week. I'm sure the wind over the past few days did a real job on the lake, big currents and moving water. I think I fished from 20-40 down, not real sure about my depths yet. I've been fishing the "dark day, dark lure, bright day, bright lure" plan and it seems to work.
Taughannock Trolling 6/19
I can't get enough of this fishing thing! Back out of Taughannock for a few hours this morning. Trolled both South and North of the park, I didn't want to wander far with the breeze kicking from the South. Not bad fishing but I'm still having trouble catching larger salmon! I know there just aren't as many, so I'm wondering how much is my presentation and how much is due to maybe not running across many of them yet. Probably both.
Fished some spoons, one purple, one green, both caught a few fish from 20-30 down. Five small salmon and two browns, one a nice fat 18-19", back in the drink. Spent three hours out there. It's going to be a hot one!
Storms are coming later, I just hope we get some rain. Everything is low and dry. My ditch hasn't had running water in weeks now. Remember those Junes where it never STOPS raining? Well this spring it rained early and then quit. Anyway, that's all for now.
En Fuego (dos) 6/18
The lakers on Cayuga are just on fire! Another excellent day though the bluebird conditions made for a slightly slower bite. The fish were hitting hard and heavy early on, then the action slowly died, the typical sunny day pattern. They're biting at dawn though the hottest fishing is about an hour later, it depends on relative light conditions. I had bites all morning though they got lighter and farther apart.
The same 45-60 as yesterday. Bait is all over the shoreline and so are the fish! Now is the time to learn jigging! I'd say the fish ran slightly smaller today, one 25" and a few more in the 26-27" range, some 27-28" fish, a 30", overall a nice catch! I love fishing but let's face it, catching is why we do it! The catching is great... go fish!
Cayuga's on Fire! 6/17
Excellent fishing! Just a banner day today, two short of my personal best of twenty lakers. Launched out of Dean's Cove this morning, thankfully just after a bass tourney did. I'm glad I didn't show earlier, it would've been a waste.
Anyway, lots of lakers were in 45-60 fow. Lots of BIG lakers! My smallest was 26" and there was only one of them- the rest were 27" and more! Two 31" fish, a bunch of 29's and 30's... and one lamprey, though I saw fresh wounds on another half-dozen lakers. Also dropped 4 fish, many short strikes and missed hits.
Surface 68-69 degrees, good South breeze that finally turned to the West by the time I left. Pretty bumpy for a while, I took a good 10 gallons or more over the back but the fishing was so good I probably would've sunk if they had kept biting!
Like I said... a banner day! GO FISH!! We've been waiting all spring for this, go for it! Even later this afternoon should be good, if you read this today, go fishing! It's still before noon... good luck!
Skaneateles Lake 7/15
First time on Skinny! You know, it looks a lot like a Finger Lake! Went out with Dre and caught some lake trout which was nice too. Five lakers in the boat (actually, none in the boat, we released everything boatside) and I lost one 30 feet back. Another fish bent the hook on a small lure and got off!
Just something about the shape of the lake made it feel like Cayuga Lake, I had deja vu all morning. The right hand turn at the North end, the constricting point on the NW corner, the jigs and jogs down the lake, and even the primarily NW to SE configuration all felt like a smaller Cayuga.
Anyway, we fished from 40-100 fow and the only lure that got hit was a small shad I had. There are no shad or alewives in the lake though! The lakers loved it though, and when running it beside the boat I think I know why. It's a cheap generic stick, and tracks poorly, but I think that's good in this case, not only does it vibrate back and forth but it swims around too! Unpredictably dodging left and right, I can't believe this was meant to run like this (it just didn't look right) but like I said the lakers loved it. Out of four rods that one lure went 5-8 and everything else was 0-0. Shows how picky the trout can be sometimes!
This was a great trip and lake, I may be back soon to try to hit the mayfly hatches. I hope so! I've heard some good things thought I'm a little lost as to the bugs, mayflies aren't my strong suit. Have a great weekend, good luck!
More Salmon 6 /14
Another good day! No salmon over the 18" mark, most around 16-17". I lost count after a while, must've been a few fish more than a dozen. I'd gone out and (sort of by accident) ended up buying a line-counter reel last night which enabled me to run two rods effectively. Good thing, too, because yesterday's hot setup was a dud most of the morning while the new rod I rigged caught the first 7-8 salmon.
I've just got to move up in fish class, get into more of those 20-something-inch fish that are swimming around. Catching that nice one yesterday gave me some new confidence! Two days, twenty landlocked salmon, hey I'm mighty happy even if most of them were small. There are a few big ones around! Same program as yesterday, fished over 40-100 fow, down 10-20 feet.
The bait is around too, for those of you who like to collect your own- new NYS laws prohibit the transportation of bait without a sales receipt from a certified bait shop. This is very important! Please obey these laws! They are meant to PROTECT our fisheries.
Hot Salmon! 6/13
Great morning on landlocked salmon! Cayuga still can produce at times! Hit the lake early out of Taughannock and didn't have a clue what to do. The lakers haven't really turned on yet and I didn't feel like working too hard for fish so I chose to troll while I thought it over. Yeah, going fishing without a plan is a recipe for disaster but not today. Good idea!
I spent the first hour cruising with a small Michigan Stinger and a stickbait, nothing. I was still near the park and had just decided to see if the lakers had woken up when all heck broke loose! I reeled in one line, then when bringing in the second, tug, fish on! A small salmon, 14" or so. Actually gill-hooked and badly bleeding. Too bad. I hate messing up fish. However, I stuck that one spoon back out and turned around.
Zing!! A minute later I nail a nice 21" salmon! This fish put up a great fight! I'm still cleaning up after this when again the rod fires! 17.5" this time and back in the drink. I picked up a salmon on every pass, ranging from 14"-21", and one small brown, possibly from the stocking this spring.
Fished over 40-80 fow, temp 64 degrees on top, light South wind. I ended up just running that one rod and spoon as it kept firing every ten minutes. Finally, a day of trolling that makes me want to come back for more! Jigging up lakers is great fun but I'm glad to be learning other stuff too. Good luck everyone!
Dean's Cove, Cayuga, 6/10
Tough day for me on Sunday. I'm going to blame it on the weather, plus I just had a tough day! It was pretty darn windy on Saturday afternoon and when I launched Sunday AM it was 63-64 degrees on the West side and 57 over near Long Point! I picked up a few fish but had to really work for them. I'm not sure what it was- at times I had many lookers but no takers. I tried lots of tricks but just couldn't get anything going. The fish were not feeding and I'm not sure why.
There was plenty of bait around but no numbers of fish. I also keep seeing very small alewives come from the fish I'm catching, we'll see over the next few weeks but a lack of adult alewives (a low year class) would keep more lakers out in deeper water- if there aren't masses of bait in shallow, the lakers won't follow! Well, we'll see, if the fishing is still fairly slow in a week I'll really get worried! I've done okay to good so far but it's been work, hopefully the next month will be as stellar as last year, otherwise I'll never make a ton! The great weather continues though we do need rain. Good luck!
Nice Smallmouth Bass! 6/8
Surprise fishing! I had stopped by an area tributary for a minute to take an early look before the lamprey attack I hope to mount later. Saw a tail flash in the low water and grabbed the 5 wt that is a permanent resident of my truck! I scouted the fish and saw where it (she?) moved when I spooked her. Moved down to the creek itself and across, made my way back to the spot. Didn't see anything! I stood there for five minutes without moving, looking upstream and down, prying, trying to catch a glimpse of a shadow or movement.
No hints! That meant one thing (I hoped)- that the bass was hiding on the opposite side of the only large rock in the stream. After considering my options I wet my fly and stripped off 30 feet of line. Set up and cast, whoops, a little short and splashy! No results, no movement either. The smallmouth was still there or never was! The second cast was grabbed by a gust of wind and wasn't even close. The third, however, I tucked nicely around the rock, the leader making a nice left turn and setting just right. I slowly stripped the fly (my "soft alewife" fly) and sure enough, when it got to the upper corner of the rock, I got hung up. Or so I thought... fish on! Nice!! A delayed reaction, then instant commotion as the bass lit up the creek. A few minutes later a beauty 18" smallmouth came to shore.
I made my way upstream and cast into the back of the next pool, two casts later, wham again! A 16-17" smallmouth! Great fights, these fish were pulling drag until the end!
Then I felt bad (Not totally buying the wisdom of opening the season) and I had to go, but an action packed 30 minutes. PLEASE BE NICE TO THE BASS!! I figured two beauties was enough and didn't target their partners (if any) just in case I hooked the same fish. They are trying to make more! If you do fish, please use single hooks (required in streams) and artificial lures, thanks! Of course... good luck!!
Good fishing continues on Cayuga! There is even more bait around than the last time, looks like things should be picking up shortly. Good fishing will turn into great fishing! Out of Taughannock early this AM and quickly into fish. I found them 60-80 near the park, didn't look elsewhere as it was a little bumpy! Nothing too exciting for size but man it was nice to get back out.
It's been a year since I got my boat and already I want a bigger one! Can't afford it right now though, these days boats (especially bigger ones) are for rich folks, or at least those with an above average salary. Anyway, the bait remained but the lakers disappeared as the morning went on, just like clockwork! Ten AM, that's it. Well the weekend looks good, especially Sunday, good luck everyone!
Smart Carp 6/1
skunkaroo! I didn't like getting shut out by those Milliken carp so I went back for more. More of the same! Now I remember why I stopping fly-fishing for carp last spring- by the end of May they get pretty darn picky, not to mention spooky. That early spring bite is much easier.
Spent around 5 hours or so casting for the carp at Milliken but nothing. Most of the time all I saw was the tail as the carp sped away from me!
Some nice schools around, a few loners, but I could NOT get any of them interested! The mostly overcast sky didn't help, I had trouble seeing the fish but they had no trouble seeing me in the clear water! There were a few boats around, a few shore guys, but not much action. I saw one small trout caught and kept. I did catch a few perch again by accident.
OH, I almost forgot! No skunk skunk, just carp skunk. It seems so long ago- early this AM I went out of Dean's and scared up two lakers in several hours. I was trying some new areas, didn't see anything around. Didn't see much around in the regular areas but I didn't really look, I don't think there's much life up there yet, the most bait and fish I've seen recently have been over near Long Point. I was heading home around 9 when I saw the lake calming down, that's when I said "to heck with it, I'm staying out!" and I put back in at Taughannock until 2:30. I know those carp can be caught all summer I just haven't been doing the right thing
Learning Bass 5/29
I thought I'd try something different today. A very mixed fishing day, there was the SE chop at dawn and a pretty good one, I had to stay close to the park, so I trolled between Taughannock and Frontenac once off the bat. Nothing doing, and it took me until halfway there to get two lines out. Then I switched to bass, cast lures at Frontenac, worked the shoreline in between there and the park, and didn't catch anything.
It started calming down so I went to Milliken and had the place to myself for hours! They did not appear to be pumping any warm water. I was still fishing for bass but got a smallish-towards decent landlocked instead. At this point I see a huge school of carp working the shallows. I took advantage of the lack of shore-fishermen and tried casting flies for carp. I have to say I got skunked in that department. Those fish were very spooky and not interested in eating, they were just cruising, I didn't see any carp feeding at all. The afternoon has always been a little better, after the water warms and the sun starts heading back down.
I did, however, find a few great perch flies by accident! Two of my carp offerings were a big hit with the perch and I must've caught a dozen or more on the fly. So that was cool, but no carp! I have to say my confidence level is usually pretty low on these bright, clear, and calm days. Maybe changing that attitude will put a few more fish in the boat.
p.s. Tried jigging lakers at Milliken for approx 20-30 minutes at most, the lakers were quite interested though there weren't too many fish and I didn't see any bait. That said I still hooked a few in that short time from 80-90 fow. Temps ranged from 56 to 59.8, they are rising quickly.
p.p.s. whoops, got the date wrong, that should be 5/30.
A Little Tougher 5/29
Tougher day today. I only had a half-day or so (5 hrs including launch and takeout) and I couldn't find many fish in that time. None of the spots held fish, not even the new ones I checked. I do wonder if today the bite was better late morning and afternoon, it's closing in on the full moon and that's often the case.
Still avoided the skunk! Got a couple fish interested but that's it. I flipped a coin on which end of the lake to fish and apparently tails was the wrong end. Launched at Dean's again.
Been meaning to hit the carp but I keep heading South out of Dean's, not North, I'm not willing to take the time or gas to buzz all over the lake. Sometimes is okay but recently I've been all over. I need to cut it back as the gas budget is limited. I can't wait until the fishing is a bit easier and moving around so much isn't necessary.
I hope I can finally start fishing more soon too, I've been pretty busy. Good luck everyone!
Surface Lakers! 5/25
Good morning on Cayuga! Took home a limit of lakers for smoking. This weekend will be the first batch of the year! Today was a meat and explore day, I did just as much joyriding as fishing. Found some fish in the regular spots and a few more fish in the new spots, so that was cool. Learned a few new areas of the lake and had a great time, is it summer already? Sure feels like it. Shorts and T-shirt by the time I left.
The highlight of the trip was catching two lake trout off the surface! Talk about crazy fishing, sight fishing for giant lakers! For some reason they seemed almost surface oriented today. I guess that's not a surprise since temps up top ranged from 53 to 57 or more. Anyway, I think I had the most exciting lake trout hookup yet. Not the biggest fish or the best fight but the initial hooking of the fish was wild- the fish chases the jig back to the boat, only to turn tail and head back down.
I've learned something over the past two springs- don't give up on that fish! I've had enough close calls to know it's never over when it comes to lakers. So I dropped the jig maybe 5 feet down and started bouncing it, I can see it. All of the sudden.... ZOOM! The laker comes flashing up to the surface, grabs the jig, I pop the rod hard and WHAM angry laker thrashing on the surface! It went absolutely batshit, I was hoping it'd jump right into the boat but no, maybe some other time, but it tailwalked and spun before heading straight down in beserker mode.
That was nuts, a visual strike jigging for lakers, plus the most explosive fight I've seen yet! Today I learned a freshly hooked fish five feet from the end of your rod can put up quite a ruckus. Half an hour later I did it again! This fish didn't fight nearly as hard, but again I saw the strike. Then I almost took a third laker off the top! I had this one up there but it wouldn't grab the jig.
I'd planned on trying the carp further up the lake but to keep this story short, I didn't. I saw one at Taughannock yesterday so they are on the prowl, heading into the main lake. I'm sure many are spawning in shallow but they are starting to disperse. Hopefully I can get out this weekend and give it another shot.
I saw some bait, but oddly not as much as I did the last time out. I looked low, high, and in between with a few schools but nothing massive. Honestly I've seen more in the Taughannock area recently, albeit quite deep 150+. Up by Dean's (where I launched) I didn't see much deep at all, or shallow for that matter, but the fish that were around were more than happy to cooperate. If you can't find them, just keep looking, they're biting somewhere.
Did It Again 5/23
For some reason I did the exact same thing as yesterday. Out of Taughannock, trolled around, tried Milliken, etc, it was a carbon copy! Except the wind wasn't as bad and I only caught one salmon, maybe legal but I put it back. Had a bump and a few follows at the plant but it was near lunchtime.
Great weather but I sort of wish I'd done something else today. Headed for Dean's this AM I realize I don't have the gas. Good thing I didn't make it much past Trumansburg before I noticed. This turned me around, other than downtown Ithaca I don't know where I can get gas at 5 AM! Well that's it, I'm ready to try some other fishing now, I'd hoped to get a decent salmon off the top this spring but a few "almosts" will have to do. I won't give up yet but the next trips will probably be for lakers. Weather looks good, fishing is good, go for it everyone!
Trolled Up a Few Fish! 5/22
They weren't huge but I at last had a good day trolling. Wanted to try fly-fishing but there was a darn good breeze roaring up the lake at dawn. Headed out of Taughannock and decided to try trolling on top again. Couldn't get anything going South of the park so I went North this time. This time I connected with three small salmon, 15", 16", 15" and missed another whack that seemed larger. Some Michigan Stinger spoons worked.
Water temp 49 to 52 in most places. The lakers are still deep, I didn't try fishing for them but marked a bunch when I was in deep water. A very cold spring! Though this is pretty normal, last year it was better fishing but still spotty around now. A little warmer, 53 degrees on top should bring in the bait.
Oops I almost forgot, when I saw the wind start to die I buzzed to Milliken. Nobody around, and no fish either. I did see a smallmouth jump a few times but I fly-fished the area pretty thoroughly and didn't find anything that wanted to play, at least not with my flies! More fishing coming soon, everybody enjoy the weather!
Some Shorefishing 5/15-17
Not a whole lot going on. A few dawns at Taughannock and no fish. Haven't seen many other fishermen either, just one this morning. I've only been there an hour each day, casting streamers into the lake. This morning was raw. A cold wind down the lake chilled my hands pretty quickly and maybe that's why I was having trouble casting. Some days it feels good, some days it doesn't. At this point I'm probably overanalyzing the casting motion and should just spend a week fishing without thinking.
Speaking of fishing... I want to get out, maybe even tomorrow (Friday) but I'm not sure. I did a lot of fishing recently and I'm now doing projects I was postponing. The breeze has also been a major factor, with my little boat I need a light wind, anything over 10 mph makes it rough. Barney's Spring Derby is this coming weekend, 5/19-5/20, stop by Barney's next to Myer's Park for your $20 registration. Good luck!
Gonna Get It 5/14
Nothing doing this morning. Had a few hours, hit the lake early at Taughannock, tried trolling on top. Pretty breezy, I saw two small boats pull through without launching. Made my way into the wind, I am going to catch a brown or salmon trolling one of these days. Again trolled down to Crowbar and back, that was the trip. Beat up a little by the wind and I was short on time, I did a few loops around the creek mouth and called it a morning.
I think the wind turned a little, looking at the trees here at home I bet the lake is calmer now than it was early, a good afternoon to get out if anyone is inclined. As for my morning, not even a bump today. Like I said I am going to get a few fish through trolling, if only to be a stubborn pig about it. I'm going to figure it out someday. Given similar conditions next time I think I'll launch at the South end at Treman Marina. Water temp 48 on top. Most lakers and bait still seemed deep, lots of action down 150 on the FF when I ventured into deeper water. Also a little action in 70-90, it appears some of the bait and lakers are beginning to move up. This is in the middle of the lake though, the end shelves look to be further along from what I've seen.
Odd morning out there today. Lots of fog to start. I'm not sure when I got on the lake but it was most likely around 7:30. Dre and his brother brought their boat and we putted into the fog looking for lakers!
The fog made it hard, dark and we had to stick together. Spent a while trying to find some fish, slowly ended up near Long Point. I put three in the boat and dropped one boatside, that was it for the action, a bite or two for the other guys but it was slow out there. Too stressful, I could never be a guide. Caught fish at a variety of depths, 120-140 fow. Surface temp 50 degrees. getting up there. I did see some bait start to move in by the time I left, bait schools with marks under them... still deep but getting shallower by the day.
Out trolling with Ray on Seneca Lake this morning. Great morning, a few more clouds than the past few days but still a postcard. A relatively "slow" day of "only" thirteen lakers! Ray sure knows where to find them, this was the slowest of the past four days he's been out, just my luck.
Haha, actually it was lucky, my arms are not conditioned to trolling with wire! Fished deep, 120'+, the bait is way down there and so are the fish. Biggest fish (27") was suspended down 80' or so.
This weather is going to hold for a little while longer- the weekend looks breezy-ish but we'll see. It was 85 degrees today! HOT! It should cool off some soon, I'm not ready for summer yet even though it feels like it.
Tried Trolling Again 5/8
Two strikes, no fish. Went up to Dean's Cove early thinking lakers. Wasn't thinking about the stiff SE breeze pushing rollers up the lake! Would've been nicer on the East side but I figured I'd turn tail for Taughannock and try trolling on top again. Got down there and launched, set up, within 20 minutes I was letting out a line and I felt a tug! I tugged back and briefly played with a small trout, lost it when I went to pick up the rod and put it on the reel.
Trolled down the lake to Crowbar Point and back, in shallow, with nothing else. Was about to pull the one line I was running and zing! The drag is singing... for about ten seconds, if that. A substantial fish that never really got hooked. Took a few more passes over that spot and headed in, the sun was pretty bright.
Interesting experiment with trolling again, it was nice to be out and doing something slightly different. I almost caught two fish! That's good enough for a day like this. Mostly I was happy to be out there. The SE wind was a little bumpy but it turned straight out of the South, laid the lake down pretty good near the park.
Gone Carping 5/7
Extra-large carp were the name of the game today! Took my new favorite fly out for another test and yes indeed, it came through big time! While I'd been having success with mostly crayfish, the carp in the open water areas I've been fishing haven't been super excited about the crayfish fly. I've caught a few but given the numbers of fish I wasn't getting the response I wanted. I stopped and thought, duh, this is mud, sand, and weeds. No crayfish here, not like in some of the South end spots I catch them, such as lower Fall Creek.
However, insects live here in the mud! So I threw on a nymph and went on faith- a small mud-colored fly in dirty water? What are the odds? Turns out, the odds are great. At least in this area, I definitely increased my catch rate by switching to nymphs! The humble bead-head pheasant tail has been a very solid carp fly in the past two trips (photo) and taming one of these beasts on a size 12 hook is something else. I got out for a few hours (three) this afternoon and caught two big carp, the second was a long battle as the sun set, great colors in the sky and on the water.
Sorry for the short report, got home late, I'm tired and it's been a long day. Enjoy the new carp pics in the "fin" gallery, those picture are worth a thousand words anyway. More carp tips coming soon, but next up, some trout fishing... get out there it's beautiful!
Good Carping! 5/4
Two nice carp came to the net today, the second one after a loooong battle! I had to chase it with the boat and it took at least twenty minutes but I landed the fish. Fly fishing for carp has been great this spring and it should last until the spawn starts.
Headed up to the north end of the lake again around 8:30. Stopped and picked up three lakers in 130 fow but that wasn't my goal today, I was after the golden bonefish! I'm still having problems with my leaders, I lost another two jigs today. All I can think of is a bad spool of line, it usually takes me months to lose four jigs, they usually bend before breaking off.
Anyway, back to the carp! They were pretty active but the wind was a problem after the first half-hour. Gusty and shifting, sometimes casting was impossible and I had to wait it out. Hooked and landed the first fish right away, I think on the third cast, and I figured it'd be a banner day. Wrong! Still a good day, but it took three hours to catch another fish. I missed one fish in there too, but what did the trick was a great new carp fly. I put this on and instantly got hit.
That fish got off after a few minutes but within five minutes I was hooked up again! This was a huge battle that left a cramp in my arm and sweat on my forehead. Pics coming sometime this weekend. The fly is no secret but I want to make sure it wasn't a fluke before sharing it but dang did it get results today.
Lakers are hitting, carp are too, the bullhead are in at the South end and the fishing is getting good! Good luck out there!
Heating Up 5/3
Good fishing this morning on lakers. Another calm lake but I did better with the lakers, put eight fish in the boat and lost several more. The two fish I lost were from "catastrophic tensioning equipment failure" or in other words, my leader broke and I lost two jigs. That was weird, I replaced the entire leader to be safe. One jig unfortunately stuck in the fish, I had already hooked it. The other I lost when I put the boots to a big laker on a hookset, I actually saw that jig fall to the bottom on the fishfinder!
Not much has changed from last year- I STILL can't catch fish after ten a.m! Another glassy calm lake couldn't have helped things much. Me being me I went back to the same 120-130' of water I had messed around in before. Had good luck there, looked deeper when it slowed but couldn't get anything going on. I think for me it's the clock not the depth. Ten o'clock, that's it for me. I did catch one more shortly after 11, nice 28" fish. Nothing under 26" today, nothing over 29".
They have been eating well- the lake trout are FAT and full of it! Yes, "it!" Darn fish kept pooping all over my boat, sawbelly spines and crap everywhere. I had to really wash out the boat when I got home.
I was very curious what was going to happen when the moon was high (full this past Weds.) but I had to leave around 11:30. Wanted to hit the carp up North too but I couldn't stay- tried later by shorefishing the South end for an hour from 5-6 p.m. and caught one nice 2.5 lb smallmouth. I also stopped through Lower Fall Creek / Stewart Park and did not see any carp. The goldfish are showing up, I saw a few of them. Should be carp in there by the weekend with all this sun.
So the lakers are turning on and slowly moving up, the bait is still deep, fish are biting, the sun is shining, the weekend looks good, go fishing everybody.
Dean's Cove, Cayuga, 5/1
On the lake around eight or so, off by two-thirty. Tough fishing for me. Spent some time searching early, didn't find anything under 100', looked all over, then I started looking deeper. Finally found fish out 120 or so, give or take, and had a little flurry of activity before the wind died, the lake glassed up, and the clouds rolled in.
Just like last time I had a brief window to catch fish, only this time I only managed to get one 27" lake trout in the boat. I dropped another boatside, lost two deeper, and missed a few hits. Neutral fish to start turned downright negative by the time the weather changed.
The most interesting part of the day did not involve catching any actual fish, but fun with chasers- the infamous chasing lakers of Cayuga. These chasers were hardcore. It happened with several fish but one was the king- I had this fish follow my lure to the boat, back to the lake bottom, back to the boat, back down 50', and finally, back to the boat again! I stood there looking over the side at this laker swimming around my jig, about 5-10 feet down. Boing boing boing, I bounce the jig, the laker does circles around it for about one full minute (really!) before finally taking off. Very strange.
Overall, great to be out and great to be fishing, though I had a hard time with the catching today. Did fine hooking, not so good getting them in the boat. I can't wait for these fish to really catch on fire. It seems like they're starting to pick up and the water is warming. Much less debris, the lake level is going down, and clarity is back to normal. Surface temps: 41 West side to 42-44 on the East. Have fun out there and good luck!
Hemlock Lake 4/29
Great early season day on Hemlock! The weather forecast was for much better conditions to the West, which I was happy to hear, I'd made plans to troll this little gem. Met Andre at 6:30 at the ramp and we quickly got under way with mostly clear skies. It had been drizzling when I left home at 4:30 so the bright dawn was good to see!
I caught two pickerel and a nice smallmouth, the captain picked up another nice smallmouth and after dropping me off, a beauty 7+ pound lake trout. Any day on Hemlock is beautiful, any fish are just a bonus, so this was an excellent day. It's fantastic having an udeveloped shoreline to cruise, too, all the little waterfalls and rills make for tiny fish-holding points and great scenery. We also saw one bald eagle up close and a pair flying high.
I came home and tried to work on my boat and trailer but didn't get far- too tired. I'm fixing up a few things, trying to get everything totally shipshape before this season is really underway. Looks like spring is finally underway as well, bulbs and trees are popping out flowers everywhere.
Roughfish time! I decided to quit chasing non-existant rainbows and fish the native species. All told it was fun. Suckers can put up a decent fight in a little current. I had one spit the hook on a jump! Landed a bunch, 6, 8, lost a few more and unfortunately snagged a few, they were in pretty thick. I think, though I could be wrong, these were the first suckers I've caught on flies. They didn't want woolly buggers so I found a nymph pattern they liked to eat. So, if you're interested, it's sucker time.
Also cast into the lake for an hour, I'm working on distance. Can't quite lay out a full fly line yet but sometimes I can get close. That's it for the report, I need to cook dinner... and no, it's not sucker stew. Weather this weekend looks decent, good luck everyone!
Slow Week 4/27
Tried some Cayuga Lake tributaries this week. One day was an hour of fishing until I met two guys who'd fished that creek pretty hard without luck, so I moved and it started pouring... not in the forecast, I had to go home, no rain gear. Yesterday, tried again, hitting two more smaller waters without anything to show. No rainbows in sight. Not for me anyway! I can't say I fished as hard as possible though, I tried to muster confidence but I'm not convinced there are any fish around, even if there are a few. I also spent another hour fishing for carp down at lower Fall Creek with no luck- again, I didn't expect any. It was poor timing, just after a cold front and cold rain, but I had an extra hour to kill downtown so I tried anyway.
It's been a week of spotty fishing, spotty weather, and no catching! Looks like the weekend won't be too bad, Sunday should be nice even. I'm also pretty short on cash for gas. Filled my truck and it broke the bank, forget about filling the boat. Hopefully I can get out this weekend, or find something to fish for later today.
Carpin' Again! 4/22
Picked up where I left off Friday and went carping! Back up to the North end of Cayuga Lake for 4 hours today in the blazing sun. I picked up one big beast after an hour and that was it but for one missed hookup. Definitely so far the biggest of the year! A traditional clouser worked today. One thing is for sure, when you have a big carp on the line, you've got a lot of time! I tried to take some pics of the fight, one of them made it into the fishing photo gallery, as well as two other pics of todays big carp. Had the camera (and spare contacts) along today. Those carp lips are something else!
There were a lot of boats clustered in several spots, I guess perch fishing- I cruised right on past and found myself some empty shoreline, no boats at all. Only guy I talked to when I put in said "nothing doing" I don't know what he was going for but it's unlikely it was carp. Conditions weren't ideal- I saw more carp cruising, sunning and splashing than I did feeding. They sure looked like they were enjoying themselves anyway. It was glass calm and that's not good for fishing in three feet of water! Here's a carp-finding tip: look for mud! Feeding carp really root around in the bottom, often the first sign of carp will be a change from clear water to muddy water without any obvious reason. Good luck and stay safe, there are plenty of sticks and logs and the water is still mighty cold.
Short Shorefishing Success 4/21
Had two hours to spare today so I bounced around the South end of Cayuga in search of carp. I was shorefishing today. Tried the spot I hooked up in last week, didn't see any around, gave it a 20 minute try. Stopped by Stewart Park but it was packed! There was something going on, with a lot of drumming. So I hit a third spot- success.
Unexpected, but I nailed a freshwater drum! The smallest I've ever pulled out of Cayuga Lake at about three pounds, it was still a decent fight. It was also the first drum I've caught on the fly in Cayuga! Wish I had my camera with me... it's in the boat! I had it yesterday but didn't get a chance to try for the carp, I lost my contact lens on the water. So that made it a great day, not to mention I was fishing in a T-shirt in April.
Cayuga / Dean's Cove 4/20
Awesome day! Back to spring at last. Went out of Dean's Cove at 8 a.m. and went looking for lakers. It wasn't easy at all but I found a little pocket of BIG fish that hit hard for an hour, then the fun was over. Actually the fun was just beginning, but only because of the weather... it's gorgeous! Nicest day since last fall. If you can't tell by my exclamation points!
Landed five in that little window and then they were gone. Nice big fat beasties, the smallest fish was 29", I picked up two of those, a 30, 30.5, and 31.5. The last fish gave a monster fight, my arms are out of shape.
I was playing with a new rod for the first time- I like it! It's an 8'6" salmon/steelhead spinning rod with a decent backbone- Six Rivers I think? A pretty cheap rod, I can tell I lost a lot of sensitivity from the BPS Bionic Blade but I'm in love for shallower water! The depths I was in today were perfect, lucky to find fish in 55-75. Those extra two feet make a big difference- both with playing the fish and with weight, the rod was noticeably heavier but not too bad. Also, a lot of extra power on the hookset! Next, whenever that is, I'll splurge on a high-quality long rod for jigging, I wanted to test it first, and I consider the test succesful.
And, naturally (it seems these days) I saw a guy breaking the regs. One man trolling four rods. Wish I had a cell phone. Not that the Sherriff or DEC was on the water today and that guy probably figured on that. Well, I was having too much fun to let it bother me, so I gave him an unlucky karma curse and went on with my day.
Bottom line, the lake is a mess, sticks, trees, mud, it's all out there- but the weather is beautiful!
Hikin' and Fishin' 4/14
Got outside all day today, and a good thing too! Weather looks like it will be deteriorating from here. This morning I headed West past Watkins Glen with my old friend Chris. Our goal was woods, water, and nature. Found all of the above! A great hike on the Finger Lakes Trail, covering some new ground. An old cemetary in the woods, old orchards, creeks, mossy foundations, the works.
This early in the season there are some absolutely fabulous views from the hilltops. No leaves on the trees means you can see much further. We followed a creek, built a stone "statue", and all in all had a grand ol' time messing around in the woods. My legs are burning after all those hills!
Late in the afternoon Chris took off and I didn't want to waste the day before this storm. I also didn't feel like dragging the boat out, so I figured I'd try to tap into the early carp bite. If I remember right last year I hooked into them starting mid-to-late April.
The breeze was fairly light so I took off with the fly rod. Hit my favorite spot but no fish were around. That was alright, I expected this, they tend to show up there a little later in the season. I had a backup spot and I'm glad I went! Great bite for the short time I was out! Hooked two big beasties, one I lost after a few minutes and the other was a burly ~15 pounder which I landed. Dragging crayfish flies on the bottom brought their attention, that was my favorite technique last year and it's still working!
So bring on the storm, I'm beat. Great day out in the woods plus a little fly-fishing fun to top it off. I can't wait for May and the really active fish! Good luck all!
First Skunk of the Year! 4/3
Couldn't scare anything up today. Tried boards on top for several hours but I got out late, around nine a.m, with a flat calm lake and sunny skies. Now, I'm not sure if that makes for poor surface fishing but I suspect so! I'm practicing, working out the kinks this year. New to planer boards and trolling so any time on the water is good. I cruised several creek mouths with nothing to show for it. After a few hours I head up to Milliken, a couple of shore guys weren't doing anything and neither was another boat. Took a few passes around the plant and point again with a big zero. I finally tried dropping a jig down for lakers but I only had a few minutes, spent 10 minutes on the outside trying to get my whistle fish but it wasn't to be. Maybe the boat skunk will go live under the house with the others and I'll get lucky next time!
What a way to end this mini-spring! Great weather! I had to leave by noon so it was a short morning, I wanted to enjoy some sun before this next system moves in. Dang winter keeps coming back. Good luck all!
Trout Streams 4/2
A beautiful early spring day! Most (if not all) area trout streams are stocked, flowing well, and waiting for you. First thing I did this morning was to look around the Cayuga tribs for just a short time, maybe an hour on the outside. Fished one hole for thirty minutes but left when I almost took a fly to the face, and no, it wasn't my fly. This spot is small but "fella" walks in and stands literally five feet from me and begins casting. His second cast came within inches of my face and I decided to leave the tribs to the crowd and looked for stocked water.
Pretty good success in several spots on nymphs. These fish have been pounded pretty good already! Lots of litter around already, empty worm containers being popular. I released all the fish I caught, also did the old "long distance release" more often than I like. If you're looking for an easy meal, go fish! Looks like one more nice day before a return to colder temperatures.
Seneca South End 3/31
An eventful day. Dre and I tried to get out early this morning and hit the lake for salmon. First time on the South end for either of us. Some initial confusion with the signs for the boat ramp pointing to Wal-Mart but we eventually found somewhere to launch his boat. Except it's dumping fuel all over the place! Split fuel line, we race around Watkins Glen trying to find a new one. Dang, my luck is rubbing off on others now! Seneca Marine didn't have any and weren't very helpful. You sell outboards and boats but no fuel lines? Thumbs down.
Anyway we hit the lake but by now it's after nine and the sun has been up. Within an hour I picked up a small keeper brown on a shad stickbait and that was it. Just before this we talked to a boat, said they got five. Didn't see anyone catch anything afterwards either, it looks like despite our efforts we missed the bite again, this time due to the engine failure. It's been an early bite on the surface for folks recently, not that that's a surprise. Dre dropped me off early afternoon and sailed on, I hope he got into more fish!
Also... tomorrow is April 1, opening day! Go for it!
Cayuta Creek 3/30
An interesting day on a year-round inland stream. It was packed! Nobody wanted to wait until Sunday for the regular opener so they all went today! Granted it was a nice afternoon, but still, people everywhere. I only fished for an hour before bagging it, too distracting. Wanted to hit a lake today but was scared off by the 20 degree morning and the forecast winds. Anyway, bring back that moist air! It'll keep AM temps up nice and warm.
The water was high and fairly dirty, 12" visibility tops. I was fishing the artificial only zone. Right where I was were two signs describing the special regulations. Right below the two signs was a guy and his two kids fishing with bait! I didn't notice at first, but when I did I kindly said something to him. Luckily he took it well and we even talked a minute before going on our ways.
Spent the rest of the day scouting several area Finger Lake tributaries, and things are still looking good! Creeks are high and clearing, they should be just right for opening day.
Kept the skunk out! A very foggy morning out there, it kept me along the shore and limited options for a while. I was trying for some salmon or browns on top, this was my first solo trolling trip. I learned a lot! Mostly, I want/need more gear, and about speed, and driving the boat while trying to fish, etc. I also learned to remember the GPS when I fish on a foggy day! I have a handheld piece of junk, but it does tell me where I am as long as I have it along.
Left the park in calm winds, heavy fog, and a massive debris field from the creek. I'm talking acres of logs and sticks, shoot, whole trees! Finally cleared this area and set up South of the park. One flyrod with a stickbait, one spinning rod running a 1 oz sinker and a spoon. Trolled 1/2 mile South past Crowbar Point, hugging the shoreline the whole way. The fog didn't leave me a choice! The only excitement was having a dock-barge materialize out of the fog in front of me. Pulled lines and headed back.
Spent the rest of the day working the mudlines and plume in front of the park. Couple other boats, didn't see any action but I never got too close. At one point I started reeling a rod in to check it, when I felt a little tap. Worked the bait for a second and the fish came back and hit it again, this time it stuck, a 17-18" atlantic salmon! Might've been legal but it was too cute. This was after the fog but while it was still overcast.
Sun came out and I bagged the trolling, looking in the North Cove for lakers and didn't see any. That's about it! I'd say that was a pretty good day for my first solo trolling expedition, no tangles, I caught an atlantic salmon, learned some, and for the first time in a while, nothing broke.
Saved by Fishstix, I got an offer to fish yesterday! We trolled most of the day and ended up having a tough time of it, three lakers and a brown. I was very happy to be out instead of messing with my truck. Today I spent the day waiting on that so I got the parking brake fixed. I surely hope the next fishing trip goes without incident! Sorry, this isn't going to be much of a report, as I'm busy from dealing with the truck. Great day out yesterday, thanks Fishstix, I appreciate it! Tough bite lakewide it seemed like.
Trolling Cayuga Lake, 3/24
Well, it was a hot and cold day. Great morning, rotten afternoon! The sun was shining when I dumped in with Dre at Taughannock at nine-something. It took us a while loading his trolling gear on the boat and getting everything set, and off we went, probably fishing by nine-thirty.
The way it turned out, maybe we should've started earlier! We started strong, with a nice hit from a big fish! The problem was, it was our first time running planer boards and we weren't sure if a fish was on. Hmm, what's that? I dunno, what do you think? Maybe a fish? Hmmm... Dre saw it up top, then it was gone before I grabbed the rod.
Picked up two more small salmon, one maybe 18" but I goofed with the net and lost it at the boat, oh well probably going back anyway. The other was 16" or so. Missed at least one other fish, and that was it. The clouds and front had arrived and the wind rose, the fish quit biting, and it got ugly!
We trolled on for several more hours without a bite. Finally just before it rained I tried to find some lakers near Taughannock but no, and no surprise, they haven't been there for me in months.
All in all, a good day, of course it was great to get out but I sure wish that first fish stuck. Dre said it looked like a beauty! And on the flip side, I saved this for last this time: yet another breakdown. Dang, that's three trips in a row. First the double-tire-debacle. Next the wiring meltdown on the lake, and today, I break the emergency brake cable when putting in the boat! Third time's the charm, right? Maybe that'll be the end of it. Luckily I was still in the truck when it happened and didn't launch the truck as well as the boat.
Boat Work 3/23
Tough decision but I'm taking part of the day to work on the boat instead of fishing. I may jump out a little later this afternoon if I can, but I've got plans to pretty much fish for the next few days, make that weeks, actually I plan on fishing as much as possible the next few months so this is a day well spent. Too bad, it's a light wind! Yesterday I visited the shocking of Naples Creek which was a blast. I almost didn't go but I had a great time, it was very much worth it!
Cayuga Lake 3/14
Beautiful morning, rainy afternoon, a few fish, all in all I can't complain for mid-March. Went out trolling with Ray. We fished up the West side and down the East, half a dozen lakers in the boat, a few dropped, and a few missed. Not hot fishing.
Speaking of yesterday, or at least trailer tires, no problems with them today... but the boat did suffer electrical failure! Not long after setting up, the fishfinder goes on the blink, then dead completely. A little testing and I figure out the battery is good, but no juice is getting to the back of the boat. Pull the battery, find and pull the fishfinder wires, wire it straight in. Back in business and fish on!
During this work, I'd steered out into deep water, and as I start to put things back together, a nice laker hits and Ray brings him in. I figure this is a good sign but it's not to be. Slim pickings most of the day, the bite was getting better just about the time the rain finally soaked us through.
Overall a good March day even though I've got wiring problems to figure out now. Well we'll see what the weather has in store, this time of year is always interesting and changing quickly. Oh, also I wanted to say, when I fish with someone I only count my half of the fish in the tonometer. For example, today we two guys boated six fish, so three of them are "mine" and get added to the yearly total. (Though all fish are recorded for the DEC angler diaries.)
P.S. Go fish, it's spring!
What a day! Read that both good and bad. The good news is, the fish are still biting. The bad news was the flat tire I received coming home from fishing.
This one was epic. Maybe not epic in the dictionary sense of the word, but for a 10 mile drive it sure was! Got to the park, launched, fished, loaded, and left the park, all in good order. Less than a mile from the park I feel something funny happen, and flip flop thumpity thump I've got a flat tire on the trailer. Ouch.
I know I don't have my tools with me but I think I've got a few in the boat. Get the jack from the truck, and for kicks I take out the tire wrench. Lo and behold, it fits the trailer nuts! Hooray! So I figure it might take a little while but I've got it made.
At least an hour goes by before I finally get the flat tire off the trailer! Wow, stubborn nuts and a lousy wrench made it take forever to get that tire off. Well at least I'm done with that, and I remove the first of two nuts holding the spare. The second nut, however... is too small! Too small! I couldn't believe it! The very last one doesn't fit the wrench!
I unhooked the trailer and zipped home. Grabbed the wrench set and went back to the boat. I forgot to bring the WD-40 to spray the nuts with but I hit them each with a squirt of silicone lube. Putting the spare on took maybe 10 minutes. Everything is going great at this point, I'm not exactly happy but I'm thinking I'll get to bed eventually. Get it all squared away and drive off!
A few miles later, flat tire! Holy cow, this is a nightmare! I only had one spare and that just went flat. I'm still five miles from home, I'm three hours late for dinner, and I want to get it over with, so I drive home at 10 MPH. Tire is shredded, the rim may be ruined, and the other tire is flat too. Yuck, time to fix the trailer.
Sorry about the wait to get to the fishing report, here it is. Lake trout are feeding in some areas, I didn't see many right around Taughannock though. I did jig up one beauty 29" before trying my hand at fly-fishing. Actually I did some regular lure-casting for at least an hour with no luck, then I picked up the fly rod.
This was over near Milliken (AES Cayuga), I'm supposed to (we'll see with a busted trailer) fish lakers tomorrow so I went for trout or salmon today. Nothing doing, but I'm happy with the one laker and I was happy with my casting, much better than last week. It's a heck of a lot easier to toss a fly 60-75 feet from a boat than it is standing waist deep in water. I'll (finally) sign off with that "deep thought".
Quick Nothing, 2/28, 3/1
Yesterday, tried shorefishing again. Had one quick short strike and that was it. Increasing wind plus tired arms made casting tough after a little while. Man I'm out of shape! I only gave up after I was truly flailing around out there... the sad part is that it only took two hours! Oh well, good to slowly get into it. I figure my arms will be in shape by the time the nicer weather hits, and it's just around the corner. Thank goodness, I was getting some serious cabin fever.
Today, 3/1, I went out to another spot and cast a few lures for about half an hour. That's it, end of story. Looks like a warm-up is coming for a few days before another chilly spell. Good luck everyone!
Fly Fishing Fun, or, Cayuga 2/27
Went shorefishing on Cayuga Lake (of course) today, landed one nice brown trout on a white streamer. 18.5", just over three pounds, and a heck of a fight!
I tried out a few new patterns I'm testing and one worked! Wham! A hard hit, fish on! this brown trout made three great jumps before coming ashore. The weather was a balmy mid-20's with a light North wind, overcast and lightly snowing. Small waves on the lake, all in all a great winter day!
Looks like it's only going to improve from here weatherwise, and it's looking like a fine spring fishing season! The rainbows are up in the air, we'll see how the run goes this year. I hope to be getting out in the boat by later in the week, temps are forecast to be near 40.
Open Water, Cayuga, 2/21
Found a hole in the ice and put my boat in it this afternoon. Went out in search of lake trout and had a great time. I stopped by Taughannock around noon and couldn't believe it! The ice was broken up! Big chunks were all over the path out through the marina but it looked pretty decent. I'm taking a guess that the park snowplow drove down and gave it a good wack and shove to get things started.
I went home, geared up, and got out!
Shoved and beat a path through the ice and went fishing. The sun was beautiful and I never saw a wave bigger than 8", a light NE breeze. Spent some time near the park in hopes of nearby lakers, but didn't see anything. Boat was running great so I headed up the lake.
Up past Milliken aways I found some fish in 110-150. Put five in the boat, lost two, and brought one home, 6.5 lb (rr clip). A fantastic February day and the lakers were quite active, it felt great to finally feel some weight on! And the fish tacos I'm about to eat are going to feel pretty good too.
The marina at Taughannock Park is currently iced over. This may change as early as later today or by the weekend, but this morning at 8:00 AM it was frozen up pretty good. Come on and melt! The bubbler is on and working away, but it's still frozen. Will update when conditions change.
Lower Genny 2/18
Good day to be out, other than it being a Saturday. Lots of guys, too many for my taste. Regardless, I had a great time. Oh, right, I went fishing! That's why. Catching would be nice too but I never expect it on new water- this was my first time fishing the Genesee River.
Spent the day swinging streamers, with absolutely no hits. Just nothing! Saw a few fish landed, I think most of the action was on the goat path side and earlier in the day, before the crowd shut things down. Hmmm, I'm going to have to give this river another shot on a weekday. It was pretty nice in the gorge, the city disappears and all you can hear is water.
Some shelf ice, and I saw one guy step through it twice! No problems but boy would that be a little scary. Anyway, nice day out, unfortunately no fish but I still had a great time. It's been too long.
This cold snap is finally breaking. Chilly the next few days but by Tuesday we're above freezing. Indications are this will be a long-term trend, at least a week of normal temperatures. Looking good for some fishing. I know it's early... but spring is here. At least, the spring fishing season is here! 20's and 30's is balmy compared to the last few weeks. Go fish.
Fished the park for several hours this afternoon in the snow. I love fishing in snow! It's so peaceful and quiet, a great time. Ran a live minnow 10-15 down on a slip bobber with one rod and cast lures with another. Absolutely nothing! There were a few folks around when I arrived but the snow was starting, they left fairly soon after I got there.
It was a little too warm to fish the snow though, it would hit me and melt, so I got pretty wet. Also impossible to keep my hands dry and warm with the snow and wind. I seem to be missing BOTH pairs of my gloves, I've looked pretty hard and have no idea where they went! Oh well. Anyway, I didn't see any fish, but I did see a bloody pile of snow- someone got lucky recently! The marina is still open and the lake dropping, sorry, I forgot to check the gravel bar under the bridge.
Great day on the ice. A little sun, some sunfish, and a long time coming! It felt great to get out and fish! Hit Dryden Lake this afternoon and brought home 9 sunnies. Put back a small Crappie and a Largemouth Bass as well.
Took a few hours to find the fish, but once I was in the right hole there was good action, albeit with very small sunfish. Two decent ones to start made the rest worth keeping. Just finished pan-dressing them and the rice is cooking. I had to adjust my technique a little, I've always been a pretty constant jigger but today they wanted them still. Little jigs and grubs. Nothing special on the day but man did it feel good to fish again!
Looks like it'll be getting quite a lot colder again this weekend, tomorrow may be the best day to get out for a few days.
Icing Up 1/27
Well... I didn't actually fish, but I scoped the ice scene around town today. Checked out a few spots, and almost fished my favorite for a little while but it was a little noisy. I knew it was Saturday and I expected people, but not snowmobilers! I forgot about that tendency... even in winter I prefer fishing the weekdays.
The good news is, we're finally getting some ice around here! Safe amounts on two lakes near Ithaca. Most smaller lakes and large ponds should have safe ice but it's always best to be careful. This cold snap should last a week or two longer so it looks like there will be at least a short season this year. I'm ready! When I got back after New Year's it was still warm but I was busy... now it's too cold and I have time to fish. Well, the 20's are okay and we'll see a few days in that neighborhood coming up, good news, should get out soon.
Fall Creek 1/12
Tested out the new artificial only, C and R fishing regs today. Nice flow around 200, it had come down from some winter rain over the past few days and the water looked great. I started at the bottom, worked my way up with nymphs, and caught a leaf. Swung streamers on the way back down, not even a leaf this time!
I have to say I don't know where the rainbows hang out in the creek. I fish other creeks for rainbows in the spring, F.C. is my worst stream. This new regulation will give me a few months to find them though! I'm assuming I should fish the slow deep water with the cold water, but I'm not confident enough in that alone, so I also fished some faster water.
Overcast and warm with temps in the 40's, I brought the neoprene but didn't wear it! Crazy weather. After this I hit Taughannock Park and cast hardware for close to an hour, got a follow from a HUGE fish, it was a good 7-8 lbs, whatever it was. Either had a lure on it's head or mold though, a big white spot helped spot the fish (but not ID it). Flat conditions and I didn't stay long.
Also tried Cayuta Creek last week with minor luck, lost one landed one. The water has gotten significantly colder and several rains have probably changed conditions somewhat.
First of the Year! 1/4
Just a great day. Sun broke out around 10 and I was on my way to Taughannock. Put in around 10:30, not really sure when as I spent a few minutes talking and finding Bob there. Brought him out for a little while, we poked around briefly then headed North past Milliken.
As soon as our jigs touched down we had some action, a short while later Bob hooked up, then I did twice in a row. Then Bob had to go! Brought him back to the park and headed back out.
The good bite held up for another 45 minutes, steady pickings, then some clouds rolled in and the lakers disappeared. Fishing 80-100 fow.
As the bite slowed I looked deeper and then shallow. No activity, either they moved out or quit moving, probably the latter. I boated three and lost as many, plus lots of missed hits. Not really agressive, but interested, they were taking the jig on the drop, not the retrieve or the jig.
After that I tried casting spoons at the plant for an hour with no luck. The water was 10 degrees warmer than the main lake. Unbelieveable January weather, temps in the upper fifties.