This lake usually provides excellent year round open water fishing as it virtually never freezes over due to its intense depths. The last four years of fishing here for trout and salmon have been very slow. This lake used to account for 20% to 35% of my guide trips. In 2017 I didn’t guide a single trip here until November, when I did five trips mainly for northern pike and a little lake trout fishing. In 2018 I did 10 trips here mainly for pike.
We saw and heard of fair numbers of brown trout and salmon here in 2017 and 2018. Shore fishing was mostly slow to fair but occasionally good for these species. The lake trout derby featured a better bite than the prior year, which was encouraging. Mid-lake areas, roughly from Sampson State Park across the lake and down towards Long Point/Lodi provided better fishing for lake trout than elsewhere from what I heard and saw. But most of the fish were smaller. Friends did catch some nice lakers throughout the summer up around Sampson but the fishing wasn’t great.
A lot of rumors are circulating around baitshops, online and around fishing areas with regards to the fishing here. There may be some unknown factors affecting the fishing, but what I consider the “known factors” are likely the main culprits. First and foremost, NY DEC conducted extensive gillnetting here in 2017 in response to complaints about slow fishing. They found BETTER NUMBERS OF LAKE TROUT THAN THEY DID IN 2013!!!
I don’t believe it’s eutrophication due to fertilizer run-off – if that were the case, the lake wouldn’t support any trout. It’s not salinity – that’s monitored along with the water quality overall by Hobart/William Smith Colleges. It’s not rocket science in my opinion. If you don’t have lamprey control, you don’t have a cold water fishery!
Northern pike fishing lake-wide has been very good here over at least the past two years. We had some great pike action here in 2018.
There are great numbers of young smallmouth bass around and quite a few sizeable largemouths to be found. That’s a big plus. Yellow perch fishing has also been pretty good in 2018. There’s been no sign of gobies yet – although they are in the canal that connects Cayuga and Seneca Lake, so they should be a factor soon.
This lake has a virtually straight north to south basin with very few major points and very little curvature; high winds can produce huge waves here. Don’t count Seneca Lake out anytime soon!
People fish here for
I think fishermen take carp for granted. They are so abundant in the area (and throughout the country) that many people don't value them.
Channel Catfish are found in pockets throughout the region. To the best of my knowledge, none of the Fingerlakes have large populations of them.
Walleyes are common in Conesus and and uncommon in Owasco Lake. Other Finger Lakes having populations of them include Honeoye and Otisco Lakes.
The ubiquitous lowly rockbass. Is there any fish that anglers catch in freshwater that gets less respect? I shall think not.
These fish are fairly enigmatic in most of the Finger Lakes. They are abundant in Skaneateles Lake. Numbers have gone up over the past couple years.
Lake trout are abundant in the Finger Lakes region with Seneca Lake being the most famous for its lake trout fishing.
Yellow Perch are popular North American freshwater pan-fish, available year-round albeit small and easy to catch.
Northern Pike are aggressive, predatory fish and some of the largest freshwater game available to target in North America.
I consider brown trout somewhat of a bonus fish for us on Seneca and Cayuga Lakes. They don’t chase flies quite as actively as landlocked salmon.
The Largemouth Bass is by far the most popular freshwater game fish in the US and the state fish of Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.