New York Outdoor News Fishing Report – Nov. 3, 2017
Western New York
(Note: Lake trout season is closed as of Oct. 1 on the lower Niagara River and Lake Ontario. Lake trout season will reopen on those waters on Jan. 1.)
There are plenty of fish around to be caught. Scott Scheffler, marina director for the town of Newfane and heading up Fisherman’s Park at Burt Dam/Eighteen Mile Creek, reports that some dandy brown trout were starting to show up in the creek a bit more readily. It’s a nice complement to the salmon and steelhead already on the scene. “Fresh” fish can be found in all of the deeper holes further down toward the harbor, and fish are still being caught off the piers and in the lake. When there’s a northeast wind, you can’t fish the piers at all because of the waves. However, when those winds subside, get out there and start casting spoons, spinners, rattlebaits, stickbaits or whatever – the fishing usually turns on. Another popular method is to use treated egg skein under a float. You can anchor or drift from a boat, too. Over in Wilson, they are still picking up some perch off the piers, as well as some nice trout. Use spinners and spoons for trout; minnows for the perch. Don’t rule out lake fishing either. If the weather cooperates don’t be afraid to try trolling for salmon and trout off the creek mouths or even out deep.
The Lower Niagara River salmon action was starting to wind down, but they are catching some silver fish that are fresh in the system. Casting glow-in-the-dark spinners and Little Gem spoons under low-light conditions work best. Rat-L-Traps can also produce salmon. Rich Pisa of Kenmore caught six kings from shore on one day and four the next, so they are still getting them. His father, Richard, picked up a few nice kings, fishing the Whirlpool area with treated egg skein. Boaters were still catching kings and cohos as well, with an occasional trout. It won’t be long before lake trout start showing up to spawn, but remember that the season is closed now until the end of the year.
In the Upper Niagara River, bass action has been good in the east river (east side of Grand Island) on shiners. A few muskies were starting to show up, too.
Orleans County: Runs of all of the coldwater species are on again and off again on all of the tributaries within Orleans County. That’s not to say that there is any shortage of any of trout and salmon the tributaries; they are just not the bigger runs anglers would normally see this time of year. With warm air and water temps, the tributary season will be extended this year and that’s great news. Another positive is that people with boats still in the water have been having great success in the near shore waters of Lake Ontario off Orleans County.
All of the inland stream and lakes have been fairly quiet right now, but bass fishing was still doing well, especially on the upper reaches of Lake Alice.
Don’t forget the “regular” bass season closes on Nov. 30 this year and the catch-and-release, artificials-only bass season kicks off Dec. 1.
Perch were being caught on the lower stretches of the Oak Orchard Creek.
The Catch and Release Fly Fishing Derby at the St. Mary’s Archers Club was once again a great success, with some fantastic fish weighed in, some great food served, some great prizes awarded and some great new friends made.
Central New York
We have hit that time of year again; though there is still plenty of good fishing left, many anglers have pulled their boats for the season and are starting to focus on hunting more than fishing. Reports will be harder to come by because of this, so there will likely be few changes to the report in coming weeks. Oswego and Wayne Counties have weekly fishing hotlines on their web sites and would be another good option for fishing reports; Oswego County (visitoswegocounty.com); and Wayne County (waynecountytourism.com). Though Onondaga County doesn’t have a weekly fishing report, their website is another good source of fishing information in the region (fishonondagacounty.com).
Lake Ontario: The lake fishing is pretty much done for the season, with most of the activity know taking place in the tributaries.
Oswego River: There were still chinook salmon being taken in the river on beads, egg-imitating plastics and skein. Steelhead were also starting to be caught in the river.
Remember, the bridge to Leto Island is closed, and there are mandatory PFD zones on the river.
Salmon River: A few salmon were still entering the river but most of the activity is now taking place in the middle and upper sections. Many of the salmon are in the process of spawning. There were some steelhead being taken in the lower and middle sections, with egg-imitating flies or egg sacs producing fish. It has been a great salmon run this fall but it’s now winding down.
Oneida Lake: A few walleye were starting to be taken by anglers casting stickbaits from shore. Some cooler temperatures are likely needed to get the fall walleye bite really going. Often, casting stickbaits (minnow-imitating lures) from shore just before and after dark is a great way to catch walleye this time of year. The walleye come in close to shore as they follow the gizzard shad in. Yellow perch, when found, are biting in 10 to 15 feet of water on small minnows or crayfish.
Sandy Pond: No new fishing information and there will likely not be any now until ice fishing season.
Sodus and Irondequoit bays: Largemouth bass fishing continued to be good, and the yellow perch bite has started to pick up. A variety of lures were working for the bass, while small minnows or minnow-imitating plastics were producing perch.
Finger Lakes/Southern Tier
Seneca Lake: Trolling spoons or flashers and flies down 50 to 70 feet has been working for lake trout.
Cayuga Lake: Lake trout fishing has slowed down in the last few weeks but some were still being taken by vertical jigging in 85 to 90 feet of water. Trolling 70 to 90 feet down over 150 to 200 feet of water has also been working. Some rain is needed to get the water levels up in the streams to get the fall brown trout and Atlantic salmon runs going. With the number of large salmon caught in the lake this summer it will be interesting to see how the fall runs are. Optimism is high.
Keuka and Canandaigua lakes: Not hearing anything from anglers lately, a product of low fishing pressure and a focus on hunting season.
Skaneateles Lake: The lake trout fishing has slowed down; fish were being marked but have been hard to catch. That’s not uncommon during spawning time. No word lately on the yellow perch bite.
Owasco Lake: Vertical jigging has been productive on the north end, but it’s been very sporadic, with one day hot and the next cold.
Otisco Lake: Like Oneida, some cooler temperatures are needed to get the shore fall walleye bite going. Look for largemouth bass in and around the weedbeds. Keep covering water until you catch one, then work that area thoroughly. For tiger muskies, try casting or trolling with large spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, stickbaits or swimbaits.
Whitney Point Reservoir: Look for walleye along the old river channel trolling with a worm harness or by jigging with a bucktail jig tipped with a half a nightcrawler.
Chenango, Chemung Tioughnioga and Susquehanna rivers: Smallmouth bass and walleye were being taken on crankbaits in the deeper holes. Smallmouth were also being taken on topwaters in shallow water. Walleye anglers were awaiting cooler temps to get the fall bite going. And the rivers were very low at last look and could use a shot of rain.
Fishing has taken a back seat to deer hunting, especially with the firearms season now open in the Northern Zone. That said, some anglers took advantage of some great fall weather and conditions to score on Lake Champlain smallmouths, as well as some brown trout – including big browns – on the West Branch of the Ausable River.
The blackfish season is in full swing and has been improving during this report period as the water temperatures continue to cool. The hard spots and rock piles on the North Fork produced limits of blackfish, with pool fish to 8 pounds caught on green crabs and white crabs. Anglers also did well with floating jigs tipped with crabs. Anglers reported a lot of blackfish action off the jetties, the North Shore beaches and on the bridge piles spanning the South Shore channels. Most of these inshore blackfish were shorts, but there were enough keepers to make the trips worthwhile. Off Montauk and Orient points and around Fishers Island, anglers limited out on blackfish, with pool fish between 10 and 12 pounds.
The striper season continued to improve as the water temperatures dropped a few degrees closer to normal for this time of the year. There was a big body of fish along the Rhode Island and Connecticut coasts that have begun working their way along the North Fork, around the Montauk Point and west to Moriches Inlet. They will eventually reach New York Bight. There is a lot of bunker and sand eels in the area, which will hold these stripers until late in the fall.
The best striper fishing was reported from Moriches Inlet, where limits of stripers were taken on live baits – spots, bunker and eels – both during the day and night tides. The surf fishing for stripers improved significantly from mid-Island to Montauk Point and along the North Fork. The largest stripers, those in the high 20-pound class to the mid-30s, were caught on fresh bunker fished on the bottom. A few stripers in the 40-pound class were reported. Schoolie stripers were caught on poppers at first light and tins during the day. Good striper fishing was reported by anglers fishing the Ponquogue Bridge area. Bluefish were mixed in with the stripers.
A good number of false albacore were reported from the South Shore jetties by anglers casting thin-bodied tins as well as by boaters following schools of bait being attacked by these speedsters. Fly casters scored with this fall favorite on spearing and small bunker patterns.
Anglers using clam bellies on the South Shore inlets reported good fishing for stripers from the single digits to 25 pounds, as well as bluefish between 5 and 10 pounds during the outgoing tide. The fishing slowed significantly when the tide turned to incoming water.
The fishing off Montauk Point was hot. Anglers and charter boats are reporting limits of sea bass on the inshore wrecks and reefs, with fish to 4.5 pounds; blackfish off the north side around Shagwong to 10 pounds plus, with porgies to 3 pounds in the same area, as well as limits of stripers on diamond jigs or trolled tubes or parachute jigs around the point.
The ground fishing for porgies and sea bass in state waters has been very good on the South Shore artificial reefs. Most of the sea bass were shorts, with most of the porgies being keepers. Fresh skimmer clams were the bait of choice. There was a good pick of porgies and blackfish along the rocks in the Western Sound reported by both shore and boat anglers.
The federal sea bass season opened the last day of this report period. Anglers took advantage and ran to the offshore wrecks and rock piles and were rewarded with limits of keeper sea bass. Anglers anchoring over the same areas reported limits of blackfish in the 5- to 10- pound class on green and white crabs.
Anglers who fished the Hudson Canyon reported good fishing for longfin albacore and mahi while trolling during the day. Chunking butterfish at night yielded both longfin albacore and a few yellowfin tuna. The shark bite was good, with several large makos in the 200-pound class reported, some as close as 100 feet of water between Shinnecock Inlet and New York Bight. Brown and blue sharks rounded out the catches.
The snapper fishing is coming to a close as the snappers are working their way into the ocean. There are still plenty to be caught, but the most consistent action has been deeper the sound and around the South Shore inlet jetties. The blue crab fishing remains strong, but was showing signs of slowing.
Similar to last report, the freshwater fishing continued to improve with the cooler water temperatures, especially for largemouth bass. The fishing for bluegills, yellow perch and crappie remained strong throughout the report area. Worms, small spinners and fly rod poppers all produced quality fishing.
Not hearing much on the fishing front, and we likely won’t until some safe ice arrives on waters like Great Sacandaga Lake and others in the region. It’s pretty much a deer hunting game now. That said, some anglers were taking advantage of the great late October weather to troll for lake trout on Lake George, and they were seeing some solid action.
Southeastern New York
The unseasonably warm weather allowed for some quality fall fishing in the region, even though many sportsmen had shifted their attention to the archery deer and bear seasons.
Some of the hottest spots late last month were Diverting Reservoir (walleye and white perch); New Croton Reservoir (for both smallmouth and largemouth bass); Rondout Reservoir (lake trout) and West Branch Reservoir, which was yielding brown trout.
Beaverkill and Willowemoc: Both rivers were very low and clear at last check. There are mostly Olives in the late afternoon. They are on the water in decent numbers on cloudy days. There are also a few Caddis in the afternoon as well as some midges early in the day. Terrestrials or small nymphs are a good choice.
Delaware East Branch: Above Shinhopple is closed to fishing now. Hatches are spotty and late in the day. Bugs are a mix of Olives and Caddis late day. Due to the low flow there had been some very selective fish. Small nymphs fished in the film have been effective. Terrestrials like a cricket pattern are still a good choice on this stream. Midges can be important and often mix with Olives. Nymph fishing can be productive.
Delaware West Branch: Floatable at last look. Streamers would be a good choice. The New York section of the river is now closed. The up and down water releases have not been a help.
Esopus: Offering some decent nymph fishing. Those looking for spawners should concentrate on the deeper slots. At this time of year some spawning fish may have moved out of the reservoir.
Neversink: Closed. Reopens to fishing on April 1.
Delaware Main Stem: Was in decent shape. It has Olives most days but more so on cloudy days.
St. Lawrence River: The river’s muskie hunters are picking up steam as the waters cool. One of the biggest we’ve heard of is the Oct. 6 monster caught by James Locker of Horseheads while fishing aboard Irish Hammer Sport Fishing out of Clayton. The big muskie measured 54.75 inches and weighed 49.89 pounds. It was released to fight another day.
James Locker of Horseheads with his 49.89-pound muskie caught on the St. Lawrence River near Clayton on Oct. 6. He was trolling a crankbait when the big fish hit. It was his first muskie.
Black Lake: Richard at Chapman’s Sport Shop in Hammond reports anglers who haven’t put their boats away for the season have seen phenomenal, fast and furious bluegill action, with plenty of keepers in the incredible numbers of fish caught on ice fishing jigs tipped with spikes. The bluegill bite will eventually wane when water temps dip, but then the crappie bite will pick up. A few walleye and smallmouth bass were also being caught by anglers who would rather pursue fish than whitetails.