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Recommendations for Western NY musky


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Hi all, 

I'll be heading to Jamestown this weekend to fish with my cousin. We're both relatively new to chasing muskies and I was looking for your input/experience. He lives very near Chautauqua but Cassadaga and Bear are quite close as well.  We have Saturday and Sunday to fish.  We'll be using his 12' boat.   We've each only boated 1 musky so we need not to catch a 50" to be happy(although that would be great). Catching multiple 30"-40" esox would be plenty fun.

 

Given memorial weekend boat traffic, your experience / knowledge of any of these waters, how would you spend your time as a novice this weekend ?  Prefer casting to trolling.  Any and all input appreciated ! Thanks and tight lines !!

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Hi Mike -

 

You have basically named your three best options down that way for NY pure musky waters.  I'll be on Chautauqua Saturday.  That entire lake is good for both casting and trolling.  Boat traffic will most likely be an issue by mid-day Saturday  so get an early start if possible.  I may start casting and then switch over to trolling.  Both north and south ends will produce fish but south end (shallower, warms up quicker) seems to be favored earlier in the year by many guys.  If weather/wind gets to be too much on CHQ, then consider other lakes but hard to pass up one of the best lakes around.  I'm excited to get out - best of luck to ya!

 

Chad

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Chautauqua is your best bet for nice sized pure breads. In many outing I've seen one at ~50", good luck on getting one that size. However DEC has netted fish > 56". I look for a school of perch and then cast - jig.

Edited by NPike
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Cassadaga is the backup brute stock for Chautauqua so there are numbers in there but being a smaller body of water, it has smaller fish than Chautauqua.  I don't personally have any experience on Bear. 

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Not that you can't fish Chautauqua in a 12' boat, but I would probably go cast Cassadaga if I were you. I haven't personally fished it, but I know guys that go over there and get 3 or 4 casting.  Chautauqua will be crowded this weekend and there's a good chance of storms all 3 days.  Wind looks light as of now, except Saturday morning.  However, you never know what may blow up with storms.

 

Don't take this the wrong way Chad ( I know you won't), but it's broodstock.

Edited by Ivan
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I think I am the most opinionated person in regards to Cassadaga, so I figured I should throw in my two cents...

 

If it was not a holiday weekend, I would tell you not to go to Cassadaga.  Sure, it is an easy lake to get numbers on, but a probable chance of a decent-sized fish is not there.  There have been guys that have caught fish in the mid to upper 40s on that lake, but most are low 30s.  I want that chance at a 50 no matter where I am fishing.  Also, every trip to Chautauqua is a learning experience with so much water to try out and learn.  Cassadaga gets boring quickly due to its size.  However...with a 12' boat, the forecast (as Adam mentioned), and that there will be gobs and gobs of pleasure boaters swamping every fisherman on Chautauqua this weekend, it is not a bad weekend to voyage out to Cassadaga (it hurts me to even write that. haha)

 

I knew a couple guys a few years back that started their weekend on Chautauqua.  They fished the early morning bite and got off the water when they saw all the pleasure boaters start flooding the lake.  At that point, they pulled their boat and traveled over to Cassadaga.  Since you are starting your trip in Jamestown, this might be a nice move for you?  You would get to experience two different lakes!

 

--Joe

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2 hours ago, Ivan said:

Not that you can't fish Chautauqua in a 12' boat, but I would probably go cast Cassadaga if I were you. I haven't personally fished it, but I know guys that go over there and get 3 or 4 casting.  Chautauqua will be crowded this weekend and there's a good chance of storms all 3 days.  Wind looks light as of now, except Saturday morning.  However, you never know what may blow up with storms.

 

Good point! Could be dicey on Chautauqua in a 12' boat, depending on wind speed - direction. Check weather if winds are predicted at > ~ 8 mph then could be a concern. You can hide a bit near long point depending on wind direction. Great lake but even in my 16.5' I've had to cancel or wait until say 2 hrs before dark to fish.

 

Edited by NPike
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12' boat + holiday weekend pleasure boat traffic= stay off of chautauqua.  You'll be miserable out there getting pounded by waves.  If I were you I'd fish cassadaga or bear.  I cut my teeth on those lakes in a 14' canoe and then a 14' sea nymph.  Lot of fun to fish when your starting out.  Fishing a 12' boat makes them not seem so small.  Great places to learn and with any basic knowledge you should get feedback from the fish and have a good day.  Good luck.

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Thanks for all the input guys.  We will be starting out with Cassadaga.  Depending how it goes we may take an early morning crack at Chautauqua on Sunday as recommended by Nalod.  It would be a bit of a shame to be in the area and not get out there.  

Now that we have that narrowed down and it seems most of you guys will likely by at Chautauqua, would anyone care to divulge any specifics for Cassadaga ?  :lipssealed:  Would you spend  the most time on Upper, middle, lower ? Any good landmarks to try out or techniques you would recommend ?   Totally cool if nobody wants to share that info on a public forum, figured it wouldn't  hurt to ask .

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Thanks for all the input guys.  We will be starting out with Cassadaga.  Depending how it goes we may take an early morning crack at Chautauqua on Sunday as recommended by Nalod.  It would be a bit of a shame to be in the area and not get out there.  

Now that we have that narrowed down and it seems most of you guys will likely by at Chautauqua, would anyone care to divulge any specifics for Cassadaga ?  :lipssealed:  Would you spend  the most time on Upper, middle, lower ? Any good landmarks to try out or techniques you would recommend ?   Totally cool if nobody wants to share that info on a public forum, figured it wouldn't  hurt to ask .
Cover it all. It's not that big. Look at the topo map and cast the weed and drop edges. You'll figure it out. That's all the fun.

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk

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