The view from Cayuga Lake

The weather this week has been about as nice as it can get for an angler. The mornings are jacket-cool and the afternoons are sunny and warm. The wind is variable at 3 to 5 mph. The fish are biting. If you have heard about Chamber of Commerce weather and fishing, this is it.

One thing I want to mention before I talk about the tournament this week is the pumpkinseed population. (They’re also called pond perch in a lot of places.) They’re unbelievable. I’ve caught a few that I swear are as big as dinner plates, and their colors are so bright and distinct they look like they’ve been painted on by a master artist. This place is worth the trip just to catch them.

I targeted smallmouth yesterday with not so good results. It wasn’t so much that I couldn’t catch them as it was their small size. Unless I’m sadly mistaken, this event will be won with largemouth which, in some ways, surprises me.

It surprises me because of the big gobies I’ve been catching on my drop shot rigs. Some of them were in the 6- or 8-inch class. That’s a big goby. You’d think that if they were around the smallie population would explode like it has in other lakes they’ve invaded but that doesn’t seem to be the case here, at least not from what I’ve seen so far.

The largemouth population is thriving up here, though. This lake is very different from Oneida. The river and canal areas at both ends are relatively shallow with lots of grass. But out in the main lake there are no islands and no shallow shoals. Some places out there drop to over 400 feet. That’s deep water, guys.

The shallow, grassy ends and the super deep middle are why some of you are hearing that the lake will fish small come Thursday. That seems to be the conventional wisdom. I’m not so sure.

It’s no doubt true that the boats will be stacked in the 10-mile stretches at both ends of the lake but the vast grassbeds will give us plenty of room to do our own thing, whatever that might be. And, from what I’m seeing — 3-pound green bass are relatively common — the bass will repopulate the grass quickly. That means more room for everyone that first appears.

One thing that everyone should be excited about is the possibility that lots and lots of fish will be caught and weighed. That always makes for an exciting tournament and an especially exciting finish.

This is a really nice place. I know it’s easy to fall in love with a lake when things are as close to perfect as they are this week but I suspect that Cayuga is almost as good when the weather’s nasty. I recommend you fish it sometime if you get the chance.

Actually, I recommend you fish this whole area if you get the chance. Some people think of the city when you say New York but it’s not all skyscrapers and concrete. There are some really wild and remote places in the state. They deserve your attention.

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