Spring Fishing Seneca Lake

Chris Kenyon

I am one fortunate dude. Living on Port Bay in Wayne County I am surrounded by water. Lake Ontario roars in my ears, embayments are a stone’s throw away, and every one of the Finger Lakes is an hour’s drive. Like my father told me count your blessings, although he did add a few coarse adjectives to that particular phrase. Jay Burd and I talked about a Seneca Lake spring fishing trip before; however this year we booked it. As I informed Burd, the Rolling Stones aptly say “Time Waits for No One.” “I thought their tune was something about it’s only rock and roll,” Burd told me. “Wrong song,” I said. “Let’s go fishing.” Burd and I booked a trip with Captain Jim Morgan from Seneca Chief Charters. We signed on the dotted line during the Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Show. I was working a tourism booth, Morgan was promoting his business, and apparently Burd was just walking around. Honestly, he was working the Adirondack Champlain Guide Service booth assisting Pete Casamento, another friend from the show circuit.

Our trip was scheduled for April 29; and the plan was for me to meet Captain Morgan at his house, launch his 25-foot Wellcraft in Lodi, and then zip across Seneca Lake and pick up Burd’s group at Severne Point Launch on the east side of the lake.

On the way to Morgan’s, my truck thermometer registered a brutal 22 degrees. It was the last Sunday in April, and later I was informed this was the fatal freeze for much of the fruit crop along the southern shores of Lake Ontario. The buds were out prematurely because of an insanely mild winter. When we launched, the surface temperature of Seneca Lake was 43 degrees, another indicator of a confused earth.

On board that day’s adventure were Burd, Mike Monaco and Tom Armstrong, all Jersey boys. Keith “Wolfy” Dickinson was Morgan’s mate. It was a cool morning; however, Seneca Lake was flatter than a pancake, which is really not conducive for great fishing. “We’ll hug the eastern shore, before the sun breaks over the hills,” Morgan told his clients.

Our arsenal was NK DL-20 and Michigan Stinger spoons, and some AC Shiner stickbaits. We were trying brass and copper colors. Morgan favored Eagle Claw rods and Quantum Reels.

At 8:15 am wehooked doubles and reeled in a rainbow and a small brown trout. Burd has never caught a landlocked salmon, so the pressure was on Captain Jim for some selective fishing. By 9 a.m. we were four for seven with another small brown and rainbow hooked and then released.

The lake was still flat; however, Morgan said the prediction was for a brisk northwest wind, which might be a concern for this north-south Finger Lake, especial ly since we are fishing near the south end.

With “Wolfy” in the stern doing his fish attracting dance, Morgan trolled into his favorite cove. Shallow water temperatures are obviously warmer and like a magnet they attracts bait fish. There are no thermal bars set up on Seneca Lake during spring fishing. You need to troll shallow and
find the bait. The trout and salmon will be there.

As we made the turn, the port rod fired and Burd grabbed the pole. We were using the rotating procedure for playing the fish. “This is like the bull pen,” Burd said. “All you do is sit around until you’re called.” No net was needed for Burd’s small fish. However, that did not affect his enthusiasm. It was a landlocked salmon, his first.

Across the lake, ripples were evident. The predicted northwest wind was on its way. Small waves grew to a nice chop; and when the small rollers reached our boat the fish hit. It was 11:15 am and we had three back-to-back hits. Two were knock-offs, so the captain couldn’t blame his clients on the losses. We calculated our fishing prowess with numbers. Among the four of us we were running six for ten.

Morgan kept is eye on the waves. “We’ll fish till noon” he told us, pointing at the larger waves heading our way. “Don’t forget, I need to drop you off across the lake.” Armstrong snatched the next rod and hauled in a nice five pound brown trout. “This one stays in the box,” he said. “Fillets for dinner.” The brown hit a jointed Rapala colored gold and black, another one of Morgan’s go-to lures.

At exactly 12 noon Burd landed another small rainbow, and at 12:10 p.m. Monaco hauled in the last fish of the day. Nine for thirteen was our respectable catch rate. We dropped the Jersey boys off at the Severne Point Launch and pounded our way back to the Lodi launch. Out timing was perfect, as large waves crashed against the point protecting the small channel. It was another great trip on one of the Finger Lake’s most popular fishing destinations.

For more information
contact: Captain Jim
Morgan, Seneca Chief
Guide Service & Fishing
Charters. 2250 Skinner
Road, Lodi, NY 14860.
Phone: (607) 582 6089.
Email info@senecachiefguide.
com. www.senecachiefguide.

Chris Kenyon
Chris Kenyon is an outdoor columnist
for the Sodus Record-Sun and the
Finger Lakes Times and freelances for
several publications. He is a member
of NYSOWA and AGLOW. He is also
the Outdoor Recreational Coordinator
for Wayne County Tourism.

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