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John USMC

Any suggestions...

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Gentlemen I keep coming up short. This is what I have been trying... does anyone see anything that I am doing wrong? I have been out 5-times and only hooked one small landlock. Any suggestions appreciated. Thank you

1. I have a 16' boat with a 70hp motor. I am using the 70-hp for trolling with one of those flaps that slows down the boat. (is motor noise from the old 70-hp 2-stroke a factor?) Have tried trolling at 1.2, 1.5, 1.9, and 2.5 knots and making slow "S" turns at each speed.

2. Location: Taughannock State Park. Usually head out towards the middle and then troll north.

3. Fish on the finder are usually suspended in the 60-70' and also the 110-130' range. I have been fishing the 60-70' range. I have a Humminbird 365i fishfinder. Doesn't read the bottom well while I am trolling however it does pick up the fish good.

4. Equipment: downriggers, 8-lb balls, 8'3" light action rods, line counter reels, 20-lb flea flicker line with 12-lb flourocarbon leads.

5. Rig One: Spin Doctor green/silver with a green A-Tom-Mik fly trailing 18" behind the spin doctor. 15-20' behind the ball.

Rig Two: Silver Flasher with a Pearl/Silver Spoon trailing 18" behind the flasher. 15-20 behind the ball.

6. I have also tried Dipsy Divers with a Spin Doctor 6' behind the Dipsy and the A-Tom-Mik Fly 18" behind the Spin Doctor. 2-2.5 knot trolling speeds. Making slow "S" turns. (Didn't have line counter reels at the time though so I could have missed the depth I wanted) 7' MH rods, 50-lb spiderwire with 20-lb flourocarbon leaders.

There it is gents... any suggestions? Do I need a smaller kicker motor? Should I go back to Dipsy's? Do the A-Tom-Mik flys work in the Finger Lakes or is that a Lake Ontario rig? I have been fishing mid afternoons... wrong time of day?

Thanks, John

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I'll explain more of my program and let you alter yours to it (if you want). Although I run a down speed and temp unit, your speed seems slow to me. My GPS Speed is normally about .8 mph faster than my down speed. I like to run 2.1 to 2.3 so I'd say kick up your speed.. Another thing to consider is your actual depth of your riggers. I typically run spoons clean w/ cheaters off my riggers - minimal blow back so your achieving max depth out of your rigger. Years ago a good gage is to put your rigger down 70ft and slowly work your way shallow and see where you tick bottom. That will tell you about how much blow back your experiencing. I also run my leads longer than most 21 to 24 inches behind S/D. And depending on what the fish want I run longer leads off my rigger balls as well. I start around 60 ft back and start shortening if nothing goes.

Your boat is fine, I troll w/ a 9.9 kicker or my V8 I/O. Don't worry about the noise, it bothers you more than the fish. Feel free to PM me and I'll answer any questions.

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Define what species you want to fish for, especially if you are running only two rods. Lakers are deeper, rainbow and landlocks higher and browns higher still. If you are dropping down to fish lakers, try a heavier downrigger weight and go deeper to the 80' level and beyond (80' good starting point). Lakers love the bottom, so try there. Try a little higher for the other trout species. You may be above active lakers and below active rainbows and browns. By targeting one species, you can put two rods in the preferred zone and cover water more effectively. Lure selection for each species is different as well, so by targeting one/two similar species your presentation will be consistent with proper running speed for the type of lure used.

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Hi John,

While there are plenty of guys here who know much more about Finger Lakes fishing than I do, here are my suggestions based on my 3 seasons of trolling Cayuga for lakers:

1. IMO mid afternoons are generally the worst fishing of the day. I find the first 2-3 hours of daylight and the last 2-3 hours of the day to be much better.

2. This season in particular, dipsys with fly/flasher rigs are outproducing downriggers by a large margin for my crew. Run your dipsys 200 - 275 feet back on a #2 or 2.5 setting to spread them away from your boat. Green, green/white, and pure white have all been good fly colors for me this year. I run mostly G-Fly + Echip flies, but I think the Atomiks should work fine. Some days the small "peanut" style flies are killer too.

3. If you are running a spoon on your rigger, always run another spoon on a cheater. This way you can put lure down deep for lakers and still pick up shallower landlocks on the cheater. If you are running a flasher on the rigger you may want to skip the cheater to eliminate tangles.

4. Equipment wise, you seem to have all the basic tools you need. If you have some money to burn, the only addition I'd suggest is a downrigger speed and temp probe as Mower talked about. GPS speeds and downspeeds are often quite different - usually I troll between 2 and 2.5 mph at the downrigger ball and the GPS will read anywhere from 2.4 to 3.5 mph.

Good luck and keep at it.

- Matt

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Mower,

Thank you for the input. I did notice the blow back on the downriggers. What weight balls do you use? What color spoons... I have heard silver or purple/black are good... any particular brand? I will try 2.1-2.3 knots next time I am out. I am new at this so let me make sure I understand what you are saying; drop the spoon in with no flasher, let out 60', then attach the line to the release on the ball?

Thanks,

John

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Gill-T,

Thank you for the input. I am a sport fisherman, catch and release, though I may have to try these trout out in the oven. Have never been a trout or lake fisherman before. My background is mainly rivers and ponds for bass and cats. So I am out of my element at this point, however I am determined and enthusiastic to figure this out. The bigger the better so I assume I should target the Lakers? What are the average size of lakers, browns, and rainbows in Cayuga? Flys vs spoons? Colors? Is it harder to catch one species vs others? I will start at the 80' depth next time out.

Thanks,

John

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Matt,

Thank you for the input. I am throwing out my mid-day fishing and will shoot for those first and last couple hrs of daylight. I am going to switch to running fours poles. Two downriggers and two dipsys. When I have used the Dipsy's I set them on 2 but they didn't really seem to pull away from the boat much. Trolled at 2.5 when I was using the Dipsy'S and slowly let out the line so they didn't flip. Had the release tention set right so they didn't open on me. Did I miss anything? Do you run flashers with the spoons or just the spoons? Curious what everone is doing with spoons... colors... brands?

Thanks,

John

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I'll give you my program from yesterday.We started at 8:20 am & quit at noon (bite was steady through out). We did a North troll past AES/Atwaters 250-400 FOW and North troll past Sheldrake 140-370 and turned to cut across lake back towards the plant thru 400. Riggers at 40-50' and 60-80' running spoons w/ cheater spoons. Mag wire dipsies out 180-275 on 1.5. running Mtn Dew spinnies & Echips, w/ matching pattern flies. Gps speed from 2.6-3.2. We went 10/12 on keepers w/ mostly lakers ( also probably 5 salmon (most were just legal and released using a C&R style net).

I have a couple observations about what you are doing; 1- I think you want to get an accurate assessment of exactly where you are running the dipsies (tell us what size they are and what kind of line,etc.) 2- If you are gonna run flashers off the riggers, you want to shorten up the leads and run at least one of them deeper. BUT, I would suggest running spoons on your riggers, figure 40 down and 60' back, 60' down and 40' back,etc. I was only using 8lb weights yesterday & they were fine for working down 60-70 (You are not on Ontario w/ a wicked current & trying to get down 120+). 3- A 6' dipsy leader is the bare minimum & often w/ lakers they like it longer (but I was only running 6' yesterday, so...) 4- I think your fly leaders are a tad short, try 21" as a standard length.

Your boat is fine and it sounds like you got the right stuff, but the devil with this kind of fishing is in the details. Get back to us on what you have for dipsies,line ,etc and just keep asking questions and keeping track of what you have tried and what you haven't, you will get there! -Andy

P.S. Spoon color; play the law of averages & let the fish do the talking; lately I've been running mostly 'naturals' as my main spoons. That is to say spoons like glow frogs,gator,green alewife,etc and then I run small colored spoons up on the cheaters, like boy/girl,chicken wing,nascar,etc. Also you should be able to catch fish ALL DAY ON CAYUGA, (I rarely get over there till 8 or later-sometimes I do best at high noon!)

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Green green green seems to work best for me this year that with some silver or white on spoons. Wire performs better than the riggers for lake trout. I switched to e-chips this year because I can run them at faster speeds. The riggers have spoons on them so I can run cheaters looking for silver fish occaionally like yesterday wire produced silver fish I set the wire at 240 & 210. I'm new to lead this year so I would pick Mower's brain on them. Like Chowder stated keep your rigeers betwen 60 & 40 feet they'll pick up lakers especially early in the AM. The bite for me on the last few trips to Cayuga picked up late in the AM so being there at daybreak isn't critical. I'm only been at this a few years so that's where this website is so valuable because these guys are more than willing to pitch in and help a newbie out.

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Andy,

Thank you for the input. I have tried both (Size 0) 3-1/4" and (Size 1) 4-1/8" Dipsy's. What do you use? I targeted the 30-40' depth when I used them however I did not have line counter reels at the time. (buying two today). I have 50-lb braided spiderwire on 7' MH Rods. I will try the 40-60 / 60-40 method next time. Thanks for the color tips.

Thanks,

John

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Frisco,

Thank you for the input. I have been told green by a lot of people so I have a lot of green in the tackle box. Bass hot spots and catfish holes seem to get carried to the gravesite. This is definetly a different atmosphere and this sight is amazing. So many people willing to help. It is appreciated gentlemen. Thank you

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I only use the Mag size Walkers for my wire rigs ( However I also have a set of super braid reg size slide diver setups for running spoons).Still, if I were you at this point, I'd go w/ the Walker super Mags b/c they dive steeper (=less line out = easier to release 'live' fish) & you will have less diver line in the fish fighting zone when bring in a rigger fish. If you are only running 2 riggers, I'd set the Mag divers on 1.5. If you are fishing in at least 140 FOW (and hopefully deeper) I'd run 1 @160-180 and one @ 200 to start. The depths you spoke of targeting above (30-50) are best worked w/ spoons w/ long leads on riggers (which you all ready have) and with slide diver, and lead core setups (which you should stay away from for the time being). Don't get into skinny water w/ the Mags at these settings or you will bump bottom. It wouldn't be a bad idea to do this in a 'planned' setting though, so that you know, for sure, where your divers run. Run your flsher/flies behind these mag divers w/ a 6-8' 30lb (not 20lb) leader. -Andy

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I agree with everything and I mean everything said here. It will get better as we head toward Fall. After Labor day, you should be able to slam a dozen or so Lakers in about 3 or 4 hours by yourself in the late afternoon/evening.

Most important to me:

Noon to about 4 pm usually sucks

Green flasher green fly

Fish higher than 50 down (20 - 40) for Bows, Brown, Salmon and Below 85 down for Lakers.

Small 2.5" spoons for Bows, Salmon, and Browns. Bigger for Lakers.

If you don't have line counter reels, spool out your line by hand 1 foot at a time and see how many feet must go out to make your leveler make one pass across the spool. Mine is about 10 feet per pass. So, If I want to let out 200 feet, I just watch it make 20 passes and I know I am very close.

Don't worry at all about your motor. I troll with my 125 OB and catch fish in the prop wash about 20 feet from the motor all of the time.

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Most important :(:(:(:( keep your plastic card handy it gets pricey! Have fun :yes::yes::yes:

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Hi John

I'm Kirk my boat's on Seneca out of Billy bob's a pro-line 210. These guys have such good information, I'm sure it's going to help.

I just wanted to say that when I first started fishing the finger lakes in 1999 my girlfriend at the time bought me a half day charter for a couple hundred bucks. I learned more about fishing the finger lakes that day than any one time since.

I'm not a Charter captain promoting my trade at all believe me, but think about the gas money you will save by not fishing unproductive areas and money saved not buying useless bait. We all know what our sport can cost, a couple hundred is a drop in the pucket. Think about it, I fish a lot of the same spots I was shown 11 years ago. Peace and good luck. Kirk

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Get rid of the 8lb balls and get 12's. That will help a ton. Plus all the other stuff the guys said is right on.

RR

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I agree RR. Personally I use 15lb balls - the heavier- the more true they run. Shop around you pretty good on the classified forum. The rule chowder mentioned is a great rule to start off w/. Total line out plus total line deep should equal 100. great starting point. Green is always a good place to start. I run glow till about 9:00 am on my high presentation then switch depending on what the sky is doing. You can run glow deep 70 ft down or more. I like alot of different colors dpending on the cloud cover or lack of? bright sun = silver, cloudy bright colors, partly cloudy I run natural colors. I'm on Cayuga most weekends if you want some pointers on what's putting fish in the boat.

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