by Bob Banfelder
As the headliner for my Nor'east Saltwater Magazine articles is titled "North Fork/South Fork Bays ... and Beyond," I'm going to transport you well beyond Long Island borders to a freshwater fishing mecca that once lie beneath a shallow saltwater sea, 350 million years ago. We'll be heading north to south-central New York; specifically, the surrounding areas of Ithaca and Newfield. Many bodies of water, both big and small, compose a picturesque canvas: lakes, inlets, tributaries, creeks, falls, ponds and pools. The region is but a five-hour drive from New York City. It is an outdoor haven for fledgling to fanatic anglers as well as hunters. Cayuga Lake, which we'll drop in on, is the longest (39.7 miles) and second largest of the Finger Lakes. Cayuga Lake
The Newfield State Forest, encompassing 1,552 acres, is where outdoor opportunities also abound. The forest is connected with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ~ Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area, which covers more than 11,000 acres. Additionally, the NYSDEC has Deer Management Focus Areas (DMFA) to help alleviate deer overpopulation. One of these Focus Areas is located at Cornell University in Ithaca. The Cornell University Deer Management Program provides great hunting opportunities. Visit the Cornell University website for details.
For fishing fanatics, Cayuga Inlet, at the southern tip of Cayuga Lake in Ithaca, provides five ample parking areas, two boat ramps on the east side of the lake, and one on the west side. Too, Salmon Creek on the east side of Cayuga Lake has two parking areas.Author with a fingerling rainbow trout
The DEC stocks approximately 12,500 6-inch fingerling rainbow trout annually, which can grow to 29-plus inches. Excerpted from the Department of Environmental Conservation's website is information referencing Public Fishing Rights Maps:
Public Fishing Rights (PFRs) are permanent easements purchased by the NYSDEC from willing landowners, giving anglers the right to fish and walk along the bank(s). For more PFR information and legally permissible activities on those easements, please see the New York State DEC Public Fishing Rights page.
Most PFR easements are on trout streams. While keeping and eating the fish you catch is part of the fishing experience, many people choose to release their catch. If you release the fish you catch, please review the Catching and Releasing Trout page for tips on reducing the mortality of released trout. Want to know how much that fish you caught weighed? The Use a Ruler to Weigh Your Fish page http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9222.html
will help you estimate the weight of your catch. Please view Fishing for Stream Trout http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/62477.html
for information on catching stream trout. Further area information is available at http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/64153.html
. There are many excellent fishing opportunities listed on the Department of Environmental Conservation's website. One of them is Fall Creek. Fall Creek & Public Access
Fall Creek, located in Cayuga and Tompkins counties, is a major tributary to Cayuga Lake. The creek begins near Lake Como and meanders for approximately 33 miles to Ithaca, where it enters into Cayuga Lake. There are 10.9 miles of Public Fishing Rights (PFRs) along Fall Creek, four with official PFR parking areas; anglers may also use unofficial pull-offs along the stream.Parking Areas
•Old Stage Road.
From State Highway 90 go south on Hinman Road to Groton City. Take Groton City Road south to Old Stage Road.
From State Highway 90 go south on Hinman Road for approximately 1.3 miles. Parking area is just past the County Boundary.
•State Highway 90.
On State Highway 90 approximately five miles west of Homer.•Lake Como Road.
From State Highway 90 parking area go west on 90 about 300 yards to Lake Como Road. Two miles north on Lake Como Road. Cayuga Lake Inlet Areas:
Cayuga Lake Inlet is a small- to medium-sized stream. Cayuga Inlet is a major spawning stream for Cayuga Lake rainbows. A vast majority (around 70%) of the rainbows in the inlet are wild fish. Enfield Creek, a tributary to Cayuga Inlet, is stocked annually with around 10,000 (Finger Lakes strain). Rainbow trout, brown trout, Atlantic salmon, and smallmouth bass can all be caught in the stream.
The NYSDEC Cayuga Inlet Fishway is located on the inlet and is an important rainbow trout egg collection and sea lamprey control point.Author fishing Cayuga Inlet
For fishing and/or big game hunting at its finest, rethink then set aside the Catskills and the Adirondacks for another day. You'll find it quite interesting to note that area streams actually flow north and exit into Lake Ontario, so go with the flow and head northwest this April for some serious outdoor angling action.You'll Fall For The Falls
Area Inlets, Tributaries, Creeks, Ponds, and Pools Provide Plenty of Angling Action
Although lakes and their tributaries offer spectacular fishing in the Finger Lakes region, area pools and small ponds should not be overlooked. Covering a large body of water can certainly wear a body down as we get older, but homing in on a pool for trout or small pond for smallmouth and largemouth bass can still be a blast.
Our friends, Tom Gahan and his wife Darla, found time for a bit of rest and relaxation at a nearby pond in Newfield. Asking and receiving permission of area residents to fish an owner's freshwater pond was amicably given. The only stipulation was that Tom and I catch and release any fish taken. Not a problem. Acquiring a property owner's permission to fish on their land is easier than one might imagine. Folks there are friendly. Left to right: Tom Gahan, author, and Darla Gahan
The boys eyeing their imitations ~ light spinning outfits in the foreground, readying for action.Tom sorting through his boxes of tricks
Although the pond had not produced a single bite for the first hour and a half, Tom's persistence finally paid off. He caught, landed, and released a decent size largemouth bass. Tom was a happy camper; more on camps and other area accommodations in a moment. Tom's largemouth bass, caught and releasedTom with a plastic imitation to which a largemouth bass finally surrendered
Tom went on and on about the effectiveness of a soft plastic worm. I simply told him that it had little to do with the lure but had everything to do with the luck of the Irish, for I
hadn't had a hit all morning. Finally, as the morning wore on, I caught and released a nice largemouth. I went on and on about patience personified and the effectiveness of a crankbait. Tom emphatically insisted that it had wee little to do with the crankbait and everything to do with the sheer stubbornness of a thick-headed German. I didn't belabor the fact that my bass was bigger than his bass. :o) :o)Author caught and released a nice largemouth bass from a pond in Newfield
Over the years, Donna and I have come to know a good many fishing fools, several who remain among our circle of closest friends. So, who is this Tom Gahan guy?
you may be wondering. Tom is the Marketing Director for Eposeidon Outdoor Adventures, Inc., http://www.eposeidon.com/
, a budget-minded company that is making industry inroads by leaps and bounds . . . or should I say waves—BIG waves. Under the Eposeidon banner, the company's brands include KastKing and MadBite, combining both quality and exceptional value. KastKing offers excellent spinning, baitcasting, and—now—fly-fishing rods and reels, along with high quality monofilament, copolymer, fluorocarbon, and braided fishing lines; lines for a fraction of the cost of other leading brand names. The company will soon be producing quality fly lines, too. MadBite features quality fishing lures at a price point that is as sharp as their hooks.
Camps and B&Bs in the area are plentiful in the Ithaca/Newfield areas. Snuggled just 11.2 miles southwest from the tip of Cayuga Lake, in the heart of the Finger Lakes region, surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains, lies The Wilderness B&B sanctuary in Newfield that caters to outdoorsy folks. Six spotlessly clean
, spaciously separated cabins on twenty-one acres, along with a pond, blanket the property. Log onto http://www.thewildernessbnb.com/
. You'll be glad that you did. Frank Hartenstein and his most amicable wife, Andi, run the establishment. During deer hunting season, the couple shift gears and provide a professional deer processing operation. Frank and his associate, Barry Dunning, are both professional butchers by trade. When I harvested my first button buck with a handgun this fall, of course that is where Donna and I brought the animal for custom processing. A young deer is venison at its finest. Author with first handgun harvest
Tomorrow we'll continue our journey, first taking a look at A DEAL OF A FLY ROD & REEL
. Stay tuned.
Crime-Thriller Novelist & Outdoors Writer
Member: Outdoor Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association
Long Island Outdoor Communicators Network
Cablevision TV Host Special Interests with Robert Banfelder & Donna Derasmo
Bi-monthly contributor to Nor'east Saltwater ~ presented on the 1st & 2nd of every month.Available on Amazon in paperback & e-book formats
Available on Amazon in paperback & e-book formats