Spring Fishing On Seneca Lake

angler holding a nice brown trout caught while fishing on Seneca Lake
Tom Armstrong shows a nice brown trout caught while fishing on Seneca Lake.

Planning Some Spring Fishing On Seneca Lake

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 had talked about a trip for some spring fishing on Seneca Lake 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 our 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.

Late Freeze While Spring Fishing

Our spring trip was scheduled for April 29 to finally try out fishing on Seneca Lake. 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.

Beating The Sun

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. 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 for fishing on Seneca Lake 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 a.m. we hooked 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, especially since we are fishing on Seneca Lake near the south end.

Finding the Warmer Waters

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 the warmer waters attract the 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.

Choppy Waters Bring In The Fish

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.

Back To The Dock Just In Time

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. We had an action packed time fishing on Seneca Lake!

Charter Information

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.comwww.senecachiefguide.com.

Original Article By Chris Kenyon

About The Author

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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