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bulletbob

Doing something very wrong on Keuka..... any help?

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 Was out today from 6:15 am till 11:30, jigging near the Bluffs. All depths from about 80 to 150 FOW. Never had a touch, and saw almost NO fish at all.. A stray scratch  on the FF screen every 20 minutes or so... Keuka was for years my absolute best "go to" lake for lakers.. Nowadays, I can't even get a hit there .. haven't caught more than one or two  on any given day last few years.. It must be me, as other guys are getting a lot of lake trout in Keuka.. i simply am having trouble understanding how I have gone from always catching a ton of lakers there, to seeing none at all on the screen and not getting even a hit.. Saw no bait either.... I have not launched from the south end of the lake, and its been years since I have launched  at the state park in branchport.. Any ideas??.. Am i just fishing the wrong area by staying within a few miles of the Bluffs?... I used to see incredible screens all around that area, now i am waiting for a half hour to find one suspended mark, and for all i know, I am dropping the jig down on a carp or something... I also see  very few boats there anymore as well.. There were  couple guys in close to the shoreline either bass or perch fishing, but I was all alone fishing for lakers on a gorgeous 70 degree day... never saw another boat jigging deep around the Bluffs today.

 

Getting really discouraged  about fishing Keuka these days, as I simply can't figure out why all of a sudden, i started getting skunk after skunk , fishing  the same techniques, lures and areas I used to catch dozens of fish at...
Sorry for the rant, but I am really perplexed after  jigging  over 5 hours without even a hit.. I was going to go to Cayuga which is less than 1/2 the distance, but historically, Keuka was always hotter for me this time of year for lake trout so I took the ride,,,..   Not looking for spots  or anything.. just let me know if the Bluffs are the wrong place to fish Keuka these days.. Any help would be appreciated... bob

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  Bob- Not exactly sure what is happening with respect to your method/technique but guys have been getting them jigging recently but for so many years guys have just stationed themselves right straight out from the bluff and have gotten used to hammering them there but  the bait moves as do the pods of lakers along with the bait. One of the probable reasons why you didn't see many other fishermen this morning is that it is the first day of gun hunting for deer and secondly a lot of folks (including me) have put their boats up given the snow is coming next few days. Most of the die hards you see from now on in boats will be perch guys and maybe the occasional trout fisherman. The lakers are probably spawning about now in the Finger Lakes and they migrate in numbers to traditional spawning areas and cluster together about now so they may not be in the usual spots so you may really have to do some looking around at this time of year especially. I saw a post very recently of some nice lakers caught on Kastmasters and swirl tail plastic  here by jigging on LOU so  they are in fact still in the lake :) . It looked like they were possibly caught a bit towards Penn Yan from the bluffs where you were apparently fishing from their pic.

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 Never thought about the fact that they may have moved due to the spawn.. I know they spawn a lot later  at  Keuka than they do on Cayuga.. In Cayuga most of the fish move away from the north and south ends of the lake and go to areas between Myers and Sheldrake, with a majority near the park.

 I suppose they might move  in keuka during the spawn as well ,... I dunno, either that or I just suck at fishing.. Just NEVER saw such empty screens as long as I have been jigging lakers , at least 20 years. Not even 1 chaser today...    Our friend Copperliner has told me the area he did well at, and it was nowhere near where i was...   Maybe next time... bob

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Yeah Bob don't get too discouraged. Sometimes you can be doing everything right and it still doesn't work out and next time out you hammer them. I guess it is part of what keeps it interesting too.....kinda like pulling the lever on a slot machine sometimes :lol:

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Our catch is WAY down too but we have not fished the north end except for ice fishing.  So don't feel bad there.  Our last catch was up by the point two miles above the bluffs on the east branch.  We call it the camp ground point but e is a al name for it I can not think of.  The trip before that was form the south launch and we got our few fish from in front of the restaurant 2 miles up the wet shore and the had some action along the east shore points-here se did not do so well as there was a boat ahead of us .  But definitely not like three years ago.....jk   Oh Goldseal had a lot of bait ad fish but no action either

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jk1 it may be Eggleston Point you are referring to on the east side from the bluffs on the Penn Yan branch. We used to get a lot of lakers off there jerking copper and pulling cowbells with peanuts. For deep water jigging this time of year it can be good sometimes right at the edges of the two deepest holes one located on a southwest diagonal from the State launch and the other straight out from Marlena Point about in the middle of the lake arm straight out south from the bluff.  

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You are right, I could not remember that name ouond spot has also been good to us in the past as sometimes we launched form Jakes gas dock and went straight out.  about them spawning, we have found some of the with loose eggs in the skein form August to December, there seems to us to be no one time for them ALL to spawn.  And about the bait fish, we have seen more this year than we have in the previous two year but nothing like 4 or more years ago.  There used to be schools of bait dred acres in size and from near the surface to 30 or more feet down.  Now all we see are an acre or two of them and they are located on the bottom????  Just our observation.....jk

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You are right, I could not remember that name ouond spot has also been good to us in the past as sometimes we launched form Jakes gas dock and went straight out. about them spawning, we have found some of the with loose eggs in the skein form August to December, there seems to us to be no one time for them ALL to spawn. And about the bait fish, we have seen more this year than we have in the previous two year but nothing like 4 or more years ago. There used to be schools of bait dred acres in size and from near the surface to 30 or more feet down. Now all we see are an acre or two of them and they are located on the bottom???? Just our observation.....jk

So do you think the bait died off with back to back winters where the lake froze?

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It has been about 3 weeks now but we did well near Camp Good Days across from the state park. Good number of hungry fish and some bait schools. I had tried earlier around the bluff where we used to do very well but as everyone else says I had poor results. The females we were getting then had not spawned yet so they may have moved to the points to spawn by now.

I would be out covering the north Branchport end if I had better luck deer harvesting. Very poor deer population on my 50 acres this year. I know I am crazy for saying it but my neighbor says he saw and I may have heard a mountain lion in my woods. Also big reduction in squirrel numbers. DEC would say I am nuts but who knows.

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First happy Thanks Giving all.  And we are fisherman so we are nuts.  I never thought of the ice covering for those two years as a factor in the decline in the bait fish.  I was fixed on the flood and dirty water.  Will have to give that a thought. Guff, what size fish are you getting, down at the south end we have not gotten a fish over 24 inches since june and all the fish there were very thin, more like stream rather than lake trout.  And in previous years we have seen spawning fish as early as August(loose eggs in the skein).  Again be safe and have a good Thanks Giving.....jk

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 Actually I feel better knowing I was just fishing the wrong area.. I need to STOP assuming fish will always be in the same spots I always used to catch them. Can't catch fish that aren't where you are fishing... bob

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With all that has been written about Keyuka in the last few months, my thoughts.  Years ago we felt that the Lakers moved south in the winter to the end of the lake near the motel as that is where we found them March-May- LOTS of them.  Then they populated the bluffs and beyond.  Then ice fishing we got them real good at  the at the bluffs, we got a limit every trip, those two years, now to my of thinking it seems to me that they are home bodys, never leaving a very small area of the lake at any time of the year.  At first I thought that there were a few that acted like home bodys for a while then the big school came by and reloaded those spots and some of those resident fish joined the big school while some of the transients took to living a local life on that point for a while reloading the points.   What is your all thoughts on the general movement of them in Keyuka?????? They stay where their egg was laid.....jk

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With all that has been written about Keyuka in the last few months, my thoughts.  Years ago we felt that the Lakers moved south in the winter to the end of the lake near the motel as that is where we found them March-May- LOTS of them.  Then they populated the bluffs and beyond.  Then ice fishing we got them real good at  the at the bluffs, we got a limit every trip, those two years, now to my of thinking it seems to me that they are home bodys, never leaving a very small area of the lake at any time of the year.  At first I thought that there were a few that acted like home bodys for a while then the big school came by and reloaded those spots and some of those resident fish joined the big school while some of the transients took to living a local life on that point for a while reloading the points.   What is your all thoughts on the general movement of them in Keyuka?????? They stay where their egg was laid.....jk

 It would seem to me they would have to go where thier food is most readily available -wherever that is.. Food is foremost.. Just look at the Finger Lakes.. Lakers by nature area bottom fish.. salmon, rainbows and browns are stream fish.. Smallmouth bass are a fish of rock bottom streams.. Pike are weed dwellers.. Yet ALL of these fish are turned into open water fish at times in the fingers -- they might be 75 feet down over 150 fow, because thats where the bait is.. We have all caught bass while laker jigging near bait, FAR from the rocks/ sparse weeds/docks/structure they should be relating to by nature.. Some of us have caught Pike as well while laker fishing, with the closest weed 1/2 miles away,,, Why?.. They were relating to their primary food source. usually sawbellies in the large Finger Lakes... Food WILL trump habitat and temperature preferences, at least some of the time... bob

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BB good point, as a trapper one  of my most common saying is "they sleep in the kitchen".  And that is exactly what  are saying.  But this year we have found more and more bait in the southern part of the lake and very few lakers.  Now of course that could mean that up at the northern part of the west branch there is more bait then I am seeing.  I just have this feeling they are not the travelers that I thought that they were.   More comments appreciated.  One other thing my boat (yatch) is a 14 foot utility with 15 hp Johnson so this lake is comfortable size for us, Cayuga we all feel a bit intimated by the size being twice as wide, that is why we keep going back.  And coming form Pa the south end is 30 minutes closer that the state park at 2hours instead of 2 1/2 hours......jk

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Just a thought.....Keuka is kinda like three lakes in one (three distinct branches going in different directions) with very different land forms and points surrounding it along each branch and in that regard it is very different than the other Finger Lakes. Along that line the lakers in the other lakes such as Seneca, Cayuga and Canandaigua do in fact travel great distances over the season and migrate back and forth mainly to the ends of the lakes in Spring (north end)and Fall (south end). Keuka may present  a bit more of a challenge locating them along the way because of its unique configuration. Bait on these other lakes also seems to migrate and congregate seasonally toward the ends of the lakes in deep water near the ends.

Edited by Sk8man

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We stopped by branchport on the way home from Waneta last Friday for lakers, we never made it more than a mile from the launch and never went deeper than 110' and we caught over 20 in 2 hours. All fish came on 1.5 ounce saltwater jigging spoons. Find fish on the graph and drop it to the bottom and aggressively jig all the way to the surface.

No fish on plastic, I don't think you can work a plastic fast or aggressively enough to trigger the bites you can get with metal.

The fish are there but they don't stay in the same place year round and this time of year can be as shallow as 5'.

Edited by zackblain

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Zack and Alec bring up an important point that also relates to the other Finger Lakes sometimes and that is the need to think about "changing it up". We often get into the mode of doing the things that have previously worked for us and clinging to it despite the feedback we are receiving in realtime (been there done that) :lol: . Jigging and trolling are no exceptions to this. We should maintain  a thought in the back of our minds each time we go out there that if this doesn't work then I'll try either this or that other strategy and bring a variety of things to try. Sometimes it can make all the difference in the world and for a variety of reasons  ranging from preferences of the particular fish to the way in which the lure interacts with the particular depth or currents etc. The above comments about using different lures than the standard stuff that may have been effective at another point in the season or even a different day points this up and can make all the difference in the world in terms of results.

Edited by Sk8man

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Yes that is me, I do get stuck in the mud doing things the same way and not adapting to different technics.....jk

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 Hope I can get out there once more before we get into another brutal winter.. I would love to try the north end around the state park.. Haven't fished there in years.
 Thanks to all that shared, and helping me realize i was simply being lazy, and not expanding my search  for active fish. I won't make that mistake again... I hope..
 I have 3 boats, but can't get to them as the area in my yard where they are is oozy soft  DEEP mud, and my 4 wd pickup sinks down to the axles, and just spins all the tires, when I make the attempt.. I  believe  I need to rethink my "boat storage area"... duh.. Oh well,, maybe I can get one of them out of the mud  before July hits.... bob

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Hit the north end of Keuka out of the state park yesterday. What a terrific mid-January day weatherwise. Decent numbers of lakers showing up mainly over 160-170 fow but also at shallower depths near the bottom and suspended but not very cooperative. Got 4 and lost 2 jigging. Surprised at the amount of bait showing up in the top 30 fow. No Ice in sight even at the extreme north shore. Water temp 38 degrees. Only 2 other rigs in the parking lot. Sure a far cry from the full parking lot  2 years ago in February when the whole lake was iced over and covered with ice fishermen.

Will give it another try Saturday. 50 degree temps. Who needs Florida..

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