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Keuka FLTA 9/24


Nautitroller

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Launched outta Penn Yan early with a pile of Bass boats. Trolled the North East branch in 55-65' all morning with great screens. Started out with two very nice small mouth bass 3-4lbs. Thought that most of the marks we were seeing may have been them until we started picking a steady amount of Lakers. Dropped a lot of fish as the ones we did catch were barely hooked in the tip of their mouths. Got a nice surprise early with a 3.6lb ll salmon. All the Lakers were thin cookie cutters at 3 to 3.5 lbs. Also caught my PB chain pickerel and then caught a bigger one! Fun day for my wife n myself. Ended up third overall with 14-10 with our best 4 fish.
Congratulations to Russ n Bobbie on first n second with Bobby landing a great 5+ lb salmon and Russ had a beautiful bow that tipped the scales at 5-13!! IMG_20170924_105709190.thumb.jpg.1b949786482a54f198b44cc031880e0a.jpgIMG_20170924_084919461.thumb.jpg.f53a945ddea6da2d961b41dfae89ca3a.jpg
 
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Very nice job John and thank you by the way as Mike said silvers are hard to come by over there for sure I'm sure you were just as happy as I was when you found a landlock! Sure you can only imagine how I was feeling when the second one hit the deck! Forgot to mention EVERY fish we cleaned had empty stomachs. I figured we were going to find perch try based off forage base and the patterns we were catch mg them on but not even a skeleton in any

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Same here nothing in the bellies, all my fish were males btw.

 

Les hate to tell you but I released both of those toothy critters, figured the esox guys would shoot me if on here if I didn't.. " not sure if they are even in the esox family, lol!"

 

Also thanks Mike not sure if you even have to fish Canandaguia lol! Great year for you bud!

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Same here nothing in the bellies, all my fish were males btw.
 
Les hate to tell you but I released both of those toothy critters, figured the esox guys would shoot me if on here if I didn't.. " not sure if they are even in the esox family, lol!"
 
Also thanks Mike not sure if you even have to fish Canandaguia lol! Great year for you bud!
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It amazes me that none of those fish had any type of forage in them.. The bigger lakers we caught definitely looked long and lanky anorexic looking for sure. One would think if these fish were starving the would hit anything that came by them and I can tell you that's not the case were we fished anyway..


It's not over yet... I'll be there to try and win it just like the rest of you guys..

Mike

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My Theory on the fish not biting would be they go into a survival mode and shut down most movement, they probably don't have the energy to swim and catch bait they do see. Overall I think that Keuka trout are in trouble.

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Amen to the trout being in trouble. I have seen lockjaw more this year on Keuka then the previous 9 years (@1000 hrs) I have fished it. X2 on survival mode theory. Bellies empty on my last few trips as well.


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With that being said one of the landlocks we had was a female and her skein was breaking apart. Won't be long they'll be up the creeks. I hope the fish can figure out a forage base before it's to late though and it might already be.. 

 

Also one of our members caught a very sick looking Laker Sunday I don't know if anyone has a picture of Mike may have one as I saw Matt take a picture... I'm sure that many would like to see it

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Although the observable impact may be different on individual Finger Lakes, most or all of them are in trouble in differing degrees and perhaps for different reasons and Keuka is no exception.The situation is complex and the factors are hard to pin down as far as specific effects on particular species or populations of fish. One thing appears quite clear though after more than 60 years fishing these lakes....they are becoming more eutrophic or nutrient rich. You can see it in the color of the water which has changed greatly over the years, but more especially lately the amount, type, and distribution of weed growth and cluttering of the water surface with floating pods of weeds. The larger Finger Lakes have never had this amount of weeds on the surface for such long durations (e.g. all summer long into Fall). The shallower lakes have had more acute weed problems historically and to a lesser degree some of the shallower areas of the larger lakes but not spread throughout the lakes as well. We can speculate about who,what ,where and it is complicated. The food chain has been significanly disturbed and disrupted by invasives, the water clarity at certain points in the seasons has changed drastically allowing sunlight to penetrate deeper, the shallower of the lake bottoms have been taken over by zebra mussels perhaps interfering with traditional spawning areas, some of the invasives like water fleas are preying on and decimating smaller zooplankton that the young of fish depend on to survive, larger fish are probably out competing smaller fish or particular species of fish for available and diminishing food sources throwing the whole food chain out of balance and creating "missing links" in it. Another perhaps "silent killer" of invertebrates and fish in these lakes may be pesticides from adjacent lawns , farmland, housing developments, and vineyards. It says right on the packaging of many of these commonly used substances that they should not be used near water sources or drainage to lakes because of their lethality to fish. As fishermen we are seeing firsthand the impact of this out of balance relationship firsthand right now and it is much more than a mere shortage of baitfish at the heart of the problems. Sorry about the rant:)

Edited by Sk8man
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Les great comments, four to five years ago there were huge Lakers and piles of bait in Keuka. Seems that something has changed in that timeline. Weather? Frozen lake? Chemical? Invasives? Baseline samples of water quality would've been great. Is it a natural cycle of the bait fish? Could it use a healthy stocking of alewifes? Can the lake sustain smelt? Probably not. I'm not a biologist but it seems like a problem that has come on quickly.

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In reference to the "empty stomachs" observations.. This has been the case in fish I've caught since the hard winters of '14 and '15 in which Keuka froze over most of its length. DEC attributes this event to the decline in sawbellies and lakers. 

 

When I have looked at stomach contents I've found a sludge or mush that looks like fish poop. Put a sample of that in a bowl with some water, stir it up, and you will find a bunch of mysis shrimp. They are about the size of a very small ant. This is what the lakers are eating. The shrimp live near lake bottom during the day, and migrate up the water column at night, forming rather tight bands which makes it easier to eat.

 

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I have a place on Keuka and a walleye carcass washed up on my shore last year. It appeared to be about 15-16 inches but it was only a head and skin. It looked like it was filleted. Maybe caught somewhere else and brought home and cleaned. Surprised the heck out of me, didn't know they were in there. Fished that lake since I could hold a pole, never caught one.

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2 hours ago, Nautitroller said:

The fish were very eager to take a small perch colored spoon leading me to believe that is their forage also.

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I too believe this very true aswell. I was so confident in this theory I ran an entire spread to mimic perch patterns Sunday from before sunrise til weigh in

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Along with the hard winters, a major flood hit Keuka in mid May, 2014. It turned the lake to chocolate brown, especially the shallower areas where the sawbellies spawn. Several heavy rain events occurred after that which kept the lake from clearing up. I remember thinking to myself at the time that the super muddy water would have to affect the fishing somehow. Possibly the combination of two hard winters and super dirty water at spawning time was a knock out punch for the sawbellies?? Who knows?

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