Canadarago Lake Fishing Reports
Fishing Report, July 2012
General: The summer’s flood waters are finally going down, and, by late July, the Lake should be near normal levels. Unfortunately, there are many septic systems below water level and failing, so the lake is seeing high nutrient levels, which, combined with less water to block the sunlight, and high temperatures, will cause excessive weed growth in the coming weeks. After decades of studies from Cornell, the Biological Field Station, Soil&Water, among others, it is very clear that the only way to cut down on Canadarago’s weed growth is to eliminate the high phosphorus levels caused by septic overflow.
Notice! Dewongo Island is now a public recreational sight offered free of charge to all friends of the lake. This miracle was made possible by the generosity of the Schoenlien family and the hard work of the Otsego Land Trust and CLIA. Please take some time to enjoy the marked hiking trail, photograph the unique wildlife, or just get out of the sun for a few minutes on the shady deck. As there are no garbage facilities there, please remember, if you carry it in, carry it out!
Bass: The spawn for both LMB and SMB was really off this year - many fish on beds early on were repeatedly blown off them by the very strong winds we had in May, and then by flooding in June. However, by mid-July, most bass are in their normal patterns. With water temps hovering near 85*, and calm, hot days, limiting oxygenation, most bass are pretty sluggish these days. LMBs will be looking for heavy cover and shade, so try the 8-10’ weedbeds, under docks or trees, or anywhere else you notice water a little cooler. Use slow moving and large bodied baits like senkos and ribbon tail worms on a Carolina rig to offer them a meal they can’t refuse. SMB’s will be looking for deeper, cooler water, preferably with some current to it. Try the lake’s points and steep drop-offs using tubes, jerkbaits, senkos, or drop shots. For either species, very early morning and sunset are the best times. As always, Rock Bass are roaming the shorelines and rock beds and will provide near constant action regardless of weather or time.
Walleye: This summer’s (reported) catch has been has been very low, mostly due to a lack of quality fishing conditions and flooding. The ‘Eyes are still out there though! Trollers can work the deep basin, using their sonars to decide at which level to runt heir worm rigs, diving stickbaits, or leeches. Casters will do well near the deepest end of points, as well as the Sunken Island with light jigs and ½ a worm.
Perch: These fish could be anywhere right now! Many perch are found schooling up in 40’ of water, and many are seen in 2-3’ along our docks. Finding the big ones comes down to selecting the right bait and weeding through the little ones. Use larger bait such as minnows instead of worms to keep the dinks off the hook. Most fishermen see that this lake is becoming overpopulated with smaller perch. This has a lot to do with anglers during both summer and winter taking out large numbers of the 12”+ perch, and none of the smaller ones. With most of the lake’s predatory fish preferring alewives (an invasive bait fish species), there is much less predation on the smaller perch than should be. My advice? Throw that 12” perch back, and take several 6” perch home for dinner, they ake perfect bite-sized “fingers” when fried up.
Let’s hope August provides us with some great weather so we can all get out there and enjoy the lake. I know we lost quite a bit of time due to flooding, but summer’s not over yet! Get out there, send us some pictures to email@example.com, and let’s all try to take one action to leave the lake in better condition than how we found it.
Fishing Report May 2013
General: We’ve had a bit of a late spring this year. The ice was off the lake by April, but water temps have been stubbornly low, in the 50s until well into May. The spring water levels stayed fairly steady, with a nice slow rise and fall. The vast majority of our lake rise was due to ice melt from the hills, since the lake immediately began to drop once the snow melted, whereas it would have continued to rise if the groundwater was feeding the lake.
Notice! SUNY Oneonta student Eric Coe will begin operating an invasive species checkpoint at the NYS Boat Launch from Memorial Day to Labor Day. He will be informing the public on the dangers of invasive weeds and keeping track of all the boat traffic on Canadarago Lake. Stop by and see him to learn about invasive species affecting our lake.
Walleye: The walleye began spawning around mid-March, and some can still be found in the rivers. There have been many fishermen on the lake looking for them, and the vast majority of the reports I’ve gotten have had no fish. I suggest looking in the deep waters during the day, trolling flat sided baits in the 15’ range. As the sun fades, look to the windblown points and fresh weed beds to find the post spawn females looking to put on weight. Stickbaits should do the trick.
LMB: Have set up to begin their spawn as the water temp moves into the 60s. There is a “catch and release” season open for bass, but try to get them back to their nests as soon as possible to prevent predation. Bass will aggressively defend their nests, and will hit any lures that come near them, especially if those lures look like they’re rooting around in the nest. Look for nests near hard cover in shallow, warm water.
SMB: This is one of the best times of the year to find the lakes elusive Smallmouths. Pound for pound, these fish will hit harder and fight stronger than any other fish in the lake. They are feeding aggressively now, ahead of their spawn. Crawfish imitations, topwaters, and senkos will all work well, depending on wind conditions. Look for these fish along windy shorelines.
Perch: With the huge numbers of 12-14” perch taken out of the lake during the ice season, I fear our population this year will not be as large as last year. Perch will be laying long strands of eggs in the shallow weeds, and then moving around the shallows looking to feed on spring invertebrates and sunfish fry. Now is the time to catch some long post-spawn perch, but they obviously won’t have the weight or bellies like winter fish. Any small rapala type lures will work great along the weedlines.
Pickerel: Some big pickerel have been caught this winter and spring, some over the 25” mark. These fish are aggressive year round, and can offer a lot of fun and a hard fight at this time of the year. I look for them in the 8’ weeds, and they will hit anything shiny like spoons, stick baits, and rattle baits.
Rock Bass: Rockies are beginning to move into the shallows along docks and hoists, setting up their nests. These too will hit virtually any bait, and can provide lots of fun for youngsters as they bait all day long.
Bullheads: The Running of the Bulls! Bullheads are being caught nightly along shorelines, especially by creeks. These fish in the 1-2lb range are fierce fighters and the very best eating in the lake. Fried whole and eaten like fried chicken, they are spring’s best delicacy. I recently purchased some expensive bait balls from a big name company and caught nothing, while my lines with plain old night crawlers couldn’t stay in the water for more than a few minutes! Goes to show you, simpler is often better.
CLIA has some great plans for the 2013 season as we celebrate our 50th anniversary including more fireworks, special events, and the dedication of Dewongo Island on June 22. Keep an eye on this website, as we will list dates and times for all these events. Get out there and enjoy the lake, the cold winds of winter will be coming before you know it. Please send any pictures of the lake to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s all try to do one thing each time out to leave the lake in better condition than when you got there!
Last Revised: 5/17/2013
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